Indie Gems: The Skeleton Twins

What the hell happened to us?

Twins Milo (Bill Hader) and Maggie (Kristen Wiig) haven't spoken to each other in ten years. Coincidentally, they both attempt suicide on the same day, though Maggie gets stopped before the act while Milo gets stopped after it. She decides he should move back to New York with her to figure things out.

I was a little worried about this film because I'm not a Kristen Wiig fan, and her attempts at drama in the past have been very lackluster. She's clearly the weakest link in this cast, but she's not bad. She and Hader have excellent chemistry, though it's him that soars in this film.

Supporting cast includes Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell, who are all great in their roles as well. The film finds a good balance between comedy and drama, even if the ending is eye rolling predictable. Suicide is the main theme here, and the film goes to some dark places, but never for long

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "I've never taken a shit before." - Milo (Bill Hader)

Thursday Movie Picks: Married Couples

I was kicking myself last week for not including Blue Valentine in my post, but it actually fits in this week too! (I could've done all of my picks with Michelle Williams movies) This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is Married Couples, and because I love all things dysfunctional, I picked films where the marriages are troubled.

Take This Waltz

Poor Margot just doesn't know what she wants anymore. She was happily married, then ends up falling for her neighbor. Yikes. 

Blue Valentine

The ultimate depressing "I'm losing my marriage" movie. 

Celeste and Jesse Forever

They probably have the chillest divorce in movie history. It's weird to call a movie about a marriage falling apart "sweet," but this one really is.

In With The New Blogathon


Wendell over at Dell on Movies is hosting this blogathon! He wants us to share our favorite remakes that we think are better than the originals. Here are the rules:

1. No sequels or prequels. That means even if the movie in question has an entirely different cast it doesn't count if it positions itself as such. That means Superman Returns, which sets its timeline in a way that makes it a sequel to Superman II, is not eligible. On the other hand, Man of Steel is since it retells our hero's origin story.

2. Create a post by Sunday February 8th, 2015. Leave a link to your post in the comments section below. On Monday the 26th, I'll feature links to all those who have participated.


3. Use one of the banners in this post or feel free to create one of your own. Just be sure to include the name of the blogathon and that it's being hosted by Dell on Movies.

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this was horror movies. Yes, we love to bitch when our favorites get remade, then fail miserably, but there's a few that I think are far better than the original. I decided to pick three (seriously I'm in Thursday Movie Pick mode) and write a few short things on them. They were all films I went to midnight showings with my friends in high school, so they're very dear to me in that way. Just don't laugh at me for the last one..

1) Dawn of the Dead (2004) - a remake of the 1978 version of the same name.

This remake is actually one of my all time favorite horror movies. The creep factor was there, the humor was there. It just did everything right. The original felt too dated, and the film over all benefited from new technology and a better budget. 

2) The Amityville Horror (2005) - a remake of the 1979 version of the same name.

They swapped the haunted pig thing for a creepy dead girl, so that helped. Also this version had shirtless Ryan Reynolds so that is an absolute plus. I know critics kind of hated this, but I never did. The overall feel of the remake was a lot scarier than the original.

3) House of Wax (2005) - a remake of the 1953 film of the same name.

Shut up, the House of Wax remake was hysterical. Paris Hilton was so laughably bad that it made her death scene 1000 times better. It was gory fun. It honestly had little to do with the original, but the camp factor was far better in the remake.

Thanks for hosting, Wendell!

Review: Cake

This isn't going to be easy.

Claire Bennett (Jennifer Aniston, not the cheerleader from Heroes) suffers from chronic pain. She's pretty much closed off from everyone besides her maid, Silvana. (Adriana Barraza) In the wake of one of the members of her support group, Nina's (Anna Kendrick) suicide. She gets herself kicked out for being, to put it lightly, a total bitch. She then begins to hallucinate Nina and finds herself drawn to her life. This includes dropping in on Nina's widower, Roy. (Sam Worthington) 

Cake is a very interesting film that's handled poorly. I have to admit, I've been intrigued about this film for awhile, simply because Anna Kendrick talked about it so much on her Twitter account while she was filming it. It's too bad it didn't have more Nina in it. Jennifer Aniston delivers the best performance of her career for sure, but it's only because we're used to seeing her in romantic comedies. That's why it seems to good. I did think she really nailed the movements of someone that experiences chronic pain though, I found that to be very authentic. 

As for the plot, it's very muddled and drags for a film with a relatively short run time. They really hammer in the fact that Claire is hurting, but they spend so much time on that there's little to develop elsewhere. The supporting cast doesn't really get fleshed out, which is a shame because Barraza really shines. The film adds stupid subplots that they could've axed in favor of some actual development. Seriously, Britt Robertson's character is frustrating and pointless and there were 1000 other ways they could've handled the part of the story she "contributes" to.

I was hoping Cake would be an enjoyable little indie, but it completely lost its way.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "Your last thoughts are important. They're all you get to take with you." - Nina (Anna Kendrick)

DVD Review: Boyhood

The film 12 years in the making.

We all know what makes Boyhood special. Director Richard Linklater shot this film for a few weeks each summer for over 12 years, using the same actors. So we get to see them grow on screen. That's also where the special runs out.

The story follows Mason (Ellar Coltrane) who starts off the film when he's around 6 or 7. It's about his life with his single mother, (Patricia Arquette) his annoying older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, nepotism at it's finest because she's nearly unbearable to watch) and their father (Ethan Hawke) who comes in and out of their lives.

Other than the fact that Boyhood was filmed over 12 years, this film is generic. Nothing stands out. The 3 hour movie drags along while people go in and out of their lives without a mention of them later on. Which is true, sometimes that's life, but there's a specific set of people they encounter, then leave who I find it a little funny were never brought up again. The acting borders from "okay" to "terrible." I'm not really sure where all the Oscar buzz is coming from this movie. The gimmick is interesting, but the performances are mediocre, the direction feels uneven, and the editing made me feel like I was watching a slide show at times.  

I wanted to like this movie so badly. It was hyped, and hyped, and I read so many beautiful reviews from people who loved it, to say I'm disappointed is a massive understatement. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C-

Memorable Quote: "What we're watching here is history." - Dad (Ethan Hawke)

*Blogger's note: I wrote this review back on January 4th, and even though I find myself disliking this film more and more by the day, I'm leaving my original grade. In retrospect, C- is very generous. I think it must have been the nostalgia factor for them lining up to get the newest Harry Potter book.*

2015 Screen Actors Guild Winners + my thoughts



Here are the 2015 SAG winners. I did better with these predictions then I did my Globe ones, that's for sure. SAG is a quieter show, so it wasn't overly exciting, but there were a few surprises. The winners are in blue. My thoughts follow in green.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
I did not see Redmayne beating Keaton here. I'm not upset though. Generally, I prefer Redmayne as an actor and even though Birdman was my favorite movie of the year, Redmayne was great in Theory as well. I would've been happy with any of these gentleman. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Jennifer Aniston - Cake
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon - Wild
I just wish Rosamund would win something!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Robert Duvall - The Judge
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Edward Norton - Birdman
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
His speech was excellent. I still can't wait to see this

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game
Emma Stone - Birdman
Meryl Streep - Into The Woods
Naomi Watts - St. Vincent
Did no one see The Imitation Game? Come on!

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
I'm so happy Birdman won here, they were hands down the best. (And wow, Zach Galifianakis was nearly unrecognizable) I would've been happy with anyone but Boyhood winning, to be honest. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Adrien Brody - Houdini
Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock: His Last Vow
Richard Jenkins - Olive Kitteridge
Mark Ruffalo - The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thorton - Fargo
Ruffalo won and he wasn't even there to accept! He gave his acceptance speech on Twitter. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Ellen Burstyn - Flowers in the Attic
Maggie Gyllenhaal - The Honorable Woman
Frances McDormand - Olive Kitterage
Julia Roberts - The Normal Heart
Cicely Tyson - The Trip To Bountiful
McDormand's speech was a ball of hilarious, crabby, self promotion. I loved it.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi - Boardwalk Empire
Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones
Woody Harrelson - True Detective
Matthew McConaughey - True Detective
Kevin Spacey - House of Cards
So McConaughey loses everything when he's nominated for True Detective, but wins everything when he's nominated for Dallas Buyers Club. I will never understand this. Yes, he was always going to lose to Cranston at the Emmys, but to lose everything else? That's insane. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series 
Claire Danes - Homeland
Viola Davis - How To Get Away With Murder
Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife
Tatiana Maslany - Orphan Black
Maggie Smith - Downton Abbey
Robing Wright - House of Cards
Her speech was so touching I almost cried. Seriously. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell - Modern Family
Louis C.K - Louie
William H. Macy - Shameless
Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory
Eric Stonestreet - Modern Family

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba - Orange is the New Black
Julie Bowen - Modern Family
Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep 
Amy Poehler - Parks and Recreation
Her speech was excellent as well. It was so adorable. 

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Uuuhhhhhhhhhh......

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Brooklyn Nine Nine
Modern Family
Orange is the New Black 
Veep 
I'm happy for OITNB, even though I don't think it's a full on comedy. Veep is the funniest show here for me, but I love OITNB's cast and seeing all those beautiful women (and a few men) on stage was wonderful.

Review: Foxcatcher

Do you have a problem with me?

Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) won an Olympic gold medal at the 1984 games. When we meet him in this story, it's three years later and he's drifting by and training for the Worlds. He trains with his brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo) who tends to overshadow him. One day, a mysterious billionaire named John du Pont (Steve Carrell) contacts Mark and asks him to train at his Foxcatcher farm. This starts a troubled relationship that ends in tragedy. 

At first, I had planned on not reading about what really happened in this true story. Then I ended up having to read the bare minimum because a lot of reviews talked about the ending in their opening paragraph. This film changes quite a few things, but it doesn't matter. This is the definition of a slow burn. It moves at a snail's pace while building tension. It reminded me a bit of how Audition was structured. 

The score is pretty ominous and sets the tone, but the best thing about this film is the acting. Channing Tatum plays Mark with a stick shoved so far up his ass he barely cracks a smile. That's a compliment, it works here. Then you have Mark Ruffalo, who's so sweet and attentive, but realizes rather quickly something is wrong. Last but not least, we have Steve Carell who completely disappears in his role. The only thing recognizable about him at all is his voice. You've probably seen pictures of him, but seeing him actually move around (all these actors seem to have altered the way the walked) is quite jarring. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "Horses are stupid." - John du Pont (Steve Carell)

Indie Gems: In Fear

Look closer.

I first heard about this film from Dan when he reviewed it on his blog. He straight up said, while this hits many of the normal horror movie cliches, it's still something more. He was right.

Tom (Iain De Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert) met only a few weeks ago, but are going on a date to a music festival. Tom decides to surprise Lucy by taking her to a beautiful looking hotel for the night, but when they get lost trying to find it, they realize something far more sinister is at play.

Yes, Tom and Lucy make the typical horror movie mistakes, but where this story goes is quite fascinating, and I certainly didn't expect the end result. Most of this film is shot with them driving in a car, lost in a maze. That makes it feel extra creepy. I'm a big fan of De Caestecker, he's the best actor on Agents of SHIELD and was wonderful in The Fades. I'll really watch this guy in anything, and that's what drove me to see this film. I'm glad I did.

In Fear won't change anything about the horror genre, but it's a good little film to watch and is currently on Netflix Instant. 

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I already told you what happened." - Tom (Iain De Caestecker)

Thursday Movie Picks: Colors in the Title

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is movies with colors in the title. You should be proud of me, by the way. I didn't include White Chicks even though I wanted to so badly. Here are my favorites.

1) The Color Purple
I wore my VHS tape of this out when I was a kid. I just love this film so much.

2) Blue is the Warmest Color
I don't think I'll ever stop raving about this wonderful French film.

3)Black Swan
My favorite Aronofsky film and also one of my favorites in recent memory. 

2015 SAG Predictions: Who Will Win, Who Should Win


Here are my predictions for Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards. Hopefully I do better here than I did at the Globes.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Who will win: Michael Keaton
Who should in: Jake Gyllenhaal.
Keaton deserves it too, but Gyllenhaal is still my #1 here. I'd be fine with any of these men winning, to be honest.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Jennifer Aniston - Cake
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon - Wild
Who will win: Julianne Moore
Who should win: Rosamund Pike
I can still dream for Rosamund, right? RIGHT?!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Robert Duvall - The Judge
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Edward Norton - Birdman
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
Who will and should win: J.K Simmons

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game
Emma Stone - Birdman
Meryl Streep - Into The Woods
Naomi Watts - St. Vincent
Who will win: Patricia Arquette
Who should win: Keira Knightley.
Stone and Knightley both gave stronger performances than Arquette, but they weren't in the 12 year in the making movie so they won't win. It's a shame.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Who will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who should win: Birdman
I like every single one of these casts except Boyhood, and I've been thinking Boyhood would win for the longest time, but with the momentum Grand Budapest has picked up, I think they might take it here. 


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Adrien Brody - Houdini
Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock: His Last Vow
Richard Jenkins - Olive Kitteridge
Mark Ruffalo - The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thorton - Fargo
Who will win: Billy Bob Thorton
Who should win: Him, or Ruffalo, or Cumberbatch.
Tough category again. So much talent here. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Ellen Burstyn - Flowers in the Attic
Maggie Gyllenhaal - The Honorable Woman
Frances McDormand - Olive Kitterage
Julia Roberts - The Normal Heart
Cicely Tyson - The Trip To Bountiful
Who will and should win: Maggie Gyllenhaal

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi - Boardwalk Empire
Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones
Woody Harrelson - True Detective
Matthew McConaughey - True Detective
Kevin Spacey - House of Cards
Who will win: Kevin Spacey
Who should win: Matthew McConaughey
McConaughey hasn't won shit for True Detective, but he really should. I think he has a good chance here, but Spacey will probably take it. The dark horse is Buscemi since it's his last season of Boardwalk.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series 
Claire Danes - Homeland
Viola Davis - How To Get Away With Murder
Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife
Tatiana Maslany - Orphan Black
Maggie Smith - Downton Abbey
Robing Wright - House of Cards
Who will win: Viola Davis
Who should win: Tatiana Maslany
Viola is getting a lot of praise for her show, so I think she'll take it. But from what I've seen of Orphan Black, Maslany is insane. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell - Modern Family
Louis C.K - Louie
William H. Macy - Shameless
Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory
Eric Stonestreet - Modern Family
Who will win: Ty Burrell
Who should win: Louis C.K
Burrell had a strong year on Modern Family, and he won the Emmy. Louie is still the funniest guy in the room. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba - Orange is the New Black
Julie Bowen - Modern Family
Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep 
Amy Poehler - Parks and Recreation
Who will and should win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Who will win: House of Cards
Who should win: Game of Thrones.
Dark horse again is Boardwalk Empire. They've won before and it was their final season.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Brooklyn Nine Nine
Modern Family
Orange is the New Black 
Veep 
Who will win: Modern Family
Who should win: Veep
Veep has the best cast, but for some reason they never win. Modern Family is the safe bet, though OITNB has a lot of momentum as well.


Quick Book Reviews


 I don't normally write book reviews on my blog, but I figured I'd include a few quick words on the things I read this past year since I was so pleased with most of them.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - I've raved about this book and its film adaptation extensively. I think it will go down as one of my all time favorites. 

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - This book was nearly impossible to put down. The ending was pretty cliche, but I welcomed it in this case. Sometimes I like having things tied up with a neat little bow, damn it!

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - This was a good one too, though not as strong as Gone Girl or Dark Places. Still, I like the women that Flynn writes. 

My Year of Flops by Nathan Rabin - I wasn't crazy about this at all. I like books about bad movies, my favorite being Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies by Michael Adams. This just wasn't nearly as funny.

The Guilty One by Lisa Ballentyne - I recommendation I got from one of my favorite blogs, Mysterious Bibliophile. The court room scenes in this book were fascinating, but I wanted to rage when I finished it.

Your Movie Sucks by Roger Ebert - I love Roger Ebert, especially when he's being blunt about how shitty a movie is.

The Disaster Artist by Greg Sissero and Tom Bissell - This book was addictive. I think I finished it in about three hours. The Room is a movie I'll never forget, and this book about the making of it is something I'll never forget either.

Bossypants by Tina Fey - A very funny and enjoyable memoir. 

Horns by Joe Hill - Another one of my favorites of the year. I wish the film had held up.

The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight by George R. R. Martin - These are the Dunk and Egg stories that I've been meaning to read for ages. They take place 100 years before Game of Thrones. There's a of interesting info on the Targaryens here, specifically Bloodraven, aka that old guy Bran just met beyond the wall.

The World of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin and Elio Garcia - This book is one gigantic info drop on the world of Westeros. I really hope Elio wrote most of it, because it's obvious A LOT of work went into it, and GRRM should be focusing that amount of work on The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

Pilgrim's Wilderness by Tom Kizzia - So I've been on this weird kick reading about Christian Fundamentalists and their all around batshit crazy-ness. (I blame the Duggars, without them I never would've come across sites like Free Jinger or Recovering Grace) Papa Pilgrim takes the cake though. What a horrible person. 

Yes Please by Amy Poehler - I didn't care for this one as much as I did Bossypants. Her timeline was all over the place. 

Dark Spell by Mayra Levitt and Jason Baldwin - The West Memphis Three was a case that always fascinated me, but Damian Echols was always the mouthpiece. I found myself more interested in hearing what Jason Baldwin had to say, and with this book he finally gets his chance. I hope he writes more, especially about the times right before and after his release. 

Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman - This book reminded me a lot of Boy A, which I really enjoyed. I like mysteries and court room cases like this one. Plus, it had an interesting twist, and a movie was recently made about it starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Banks.

Girl Boy Girl by Savannah Koop - The whole JT Leroy fiasco really fascinates me. I watched The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things when it first came out, then read the books straight after. THEN I realized JT Leroy was a fake. This was all probably in 2006-2007. So this story by Koop, the girl that was dressed up as JT was an interesting read. I wish it would've been longer and talked more about what happened after JT was outted as a fake. 

2015 Blind Spot Series: His Girl Friday



What I knew going in: That this was one of the more famous "screwball comedies."

Hildy (Rosalind Johnson) was once a star reporter. She walks into her office after a long absence to tell her boss, Walter (Cary Grant) that she quits and is moving to Albany to marry the mild mannered Bruce. (Ralph Bellamy) But Walter is actually Hildy's ex husband, and he spends the rest of the movie trying to convince Hildy to stay and do her job rather than marry.

This movie was just plain adorable. It didn't really make me laugh, but it certainly made me smile several times. I like how face paced the dialogue was. I feel like that will be the most memorable part of the film for me. The entire cast was great, especially Grant, even though I wanted to dropkick his character several times throughout.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "From now on I thank you to keep your nose out of my affairs." - Walter (Cary Grant)



Rambling TV: Strong Women of Television


While watching ABC's Agent Carter, I couldn't help but be impressed with how good it was. I'm glad Marvel is finally getting behind a female lead franchise, and I think the show has a ton of potential. It got me thinking of other badass women on TV right now. These are just a few from the shows I watch.Tell me who your favorite female character on television is and what makes them strong.


1) Peggy Carter of Agent Carter

Peggy's male co-workers may underestimate her, but we viewers certainly don't. She's not trained in combat like Black Widow or Agent May, but she still manages to kick ass and get things done. 

Kick ass moment: Burning some guy on her stove THEN throwing him out a window. 

2) Carol Peletier of The Walking Dead

No character on The Walking Dead has seen an evolution like Carol. Starting as a meek, abused woman who found her inner strength and is now able to make some of the toughest decisions. She's my favorite character in all of television right now.

Kick ass moment: Lighting up Terminus like the 4th of July, then finding time to reunite with her group and give Rick and Daryl hugs that gave me feels overload. 

3) Brienne of Tarth of Game of Thrones

"All my life men like you’ve sneered at me, and all my life I’ve been knocking men like you into the dust.” Lady Brienne is more than just a Lady, she's efficient with her sword and has been gutting dudes for a long time. She also has a strong sense of duty and honor. 

Kick ass moment: Beating The Hound in the face with a rock.

4) Melinda May of Agents of SHIELD

She flies a plane, she's trained in martial arts, there really isn't anything Agent May can't do. She's proven time and time again how reliable she is, and I'm sure she'll be beating bitches for a long time to come.

Kick ass moment: Beating down another agent that is wearing a clocking device that makes her look like May. So two Mays in an epic showdown. 

5) Amy Brookheimer of Veep.

Amy may not have martial arts skills, knives, or guns like the other ladies on my list do, but her words are what makes her strong. She's smart, quick on her feet, and basically runs everything in the Vice President's office. Plus, she's eaten hummus with a pen cap. don't judge her.

Kick ass moment: Any time she's had to put Jonah or Dan in their place. 

*click some of those gifs to be redirected to their makers*

Indie Gems: Coldwater

Juvie from hell.

A teenager, Brad (P.J Boudousque) is sent to a strict juvenile reform facility run by an ex marine. Col. Frank Reichert (James C. Burns) He soon realizes that not only is this place intense, but the power hungry staff make some seriously questionable choices when it comes to the treatment of the residents.

The schtick of a troubled youth going to an awful reform school has been done plenty of times. Still, it never stops being interesting. I think there's a lot of good treatment programs out there, but I don't for one second think places like this don't exist. 

This film is very bleak, and at times reminded me of The King of Devil's Island, but that's not a bad thing. Boudousque shows a lot of promise in this performance. I found this to be an intensely interesting study on the choices Brad had to make once he found himself in this situation. Just when you think things can't get worse, they do.

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Why are you here after everything that happened?" - Brad (P.J Boudousque)

2015 Academy Award Nominees + my thoughts

Joaquin may be smiling, but I'm not. The nominations started off so well with two very deserving Original Song nominees. Then the Academy descended into basic bitch status and played it way too safe. Seriously, what's with the Clint Eastwood boner? Here are a list of the nominees, my thoughts as always follow in green.





Best Picture
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash
The Academy can fill 10 slots, yet they only pick 8. They picked 9 the past two years. Why not just pick 10? Films like Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler, and Gone Girl all deserve to be here too. Selma's nod feels like a "Don't worry! We're not racist" nod at this point. It only got nominated here and for original song.

Best Director
Alexandro G. Iñárritu - Birdman
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game
Tyldum and Miller were surprises for me. I wasn't sure how this was going to go outside of Linklater, Iñárritu, and Anderson.

Best Actor
Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper - American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
You cannot tell me that Bradley fucking Cooper was better in American Sniper than Jake Gyllenhaal was in Nightcrawler. (Or David Oyelowo, Ralph Fiennes, or Miles Teller for that matter) Where the fuck did this movie come from and why is it taking away from Gyllenhaal? This is by far the most annoying thing.

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard - Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon - Wild
That coveted 5th spot ended up going to Cotillard! I was expecting Amy Adams, though I think I can hear Jennifer Aniston crying in the distance. This is Gone Girl's sole nomination, which is a fucking travesty even though Pike deserves it.

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall - The Judge
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Edward Norton - Birdman
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
Robert Duvall? Was he really that great in The Judge? He looked pretty bland. And Hawke wasn't anything special in Boyhood, but I still saw that coming.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Laura Dern - Wild
Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game
Emma Stone - Birdman
Meryl Streep - Into the Woods
Larua Dern is a big surprise here. I thought she was great in Wild. I wish someone like Carrie Coon, Tilda Swinton, or Jessica Chastain wouldve gotten in over Streep though.

Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki - Birdman
Robert Yeoman - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski - Ida
Dick Pope - Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins - Unbroken
Ida really deerves this, it's shot beautifully. Too bad the rest was lackluster.

Best Foreign Language Film
Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Timbuktu
Wild Tales
I'm pretty pumped for Tangerines and Timbuktu, since those are both countries' first nominations. I threw Leviathan in my Netflix queue after the Globes. I strangely get a lot of page views from Russia, so I'm happy for them too. lol

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash
Whiplash made it in! There was some question on whether or not it would since they switched from Original to Adapted so late in the game. Gone Girl not being here is ridiculous though. Fuck you again, American Sniper. No women has ever been nominated for adapting her own novel. Gillian Flynn should have. 

Best Original Screenplay
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler
I love that Nightcrawler got nominated here. (too bad it didn't get nominated anywhere else) but Boyhood was not original. At all. How many times can I say this? Interstellar was more original than Boyhood.

Best Make Up and Hair Styling
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything
Aleandre Desplat got nominated twice. He deserves them, but I really wish Gone Girl would've gotten in here too. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross did wonders with that. What the fuck is Mr. Turner anyways?

Best Original Song
“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
“Glory” from Selma
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again
I'm so happy that "Everything is Awesome" and "Lost Stars" are both in here. I don't even care about anyone else!

Best Animated Feature
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
I am aways team HTTYD2, but Lego Movie not being in here is fucking insulting. What were they thinking? Fuck you, American Sniper! (Yeah, I know it's not here, but another fuck you can't hurt.)

Best Documentary Short
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Best Film Editing
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

Best Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner
Again with Mr. Turner. Maybe I should go find this? I remember a few people talking about it. Interstellar surprises me here for some reason. It's not as showy as the rest. I would've put Snowpiercer here, that film deserved more love.

Best Animated Short
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Best Live Action Short
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

Best Sound Editing
American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken
Fuck yooouuuu American Sniper. I would've put Winter Soldier here.

Best Sound Mixing
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Best Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men being in here surprised me. I would've put Godzilla's special effects above it. Same with The Hobbit's, and probably even what little I've seen of Transformers. 

Best Documentary
Citizenfour
Finding Vivien Maier
Last Days of Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga
No Life Itself? You couldn't give a documentary about the most celebrated film critic of all time an Oscar nomination? Ugghhh.

Best Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner
All period pieces.






Thursday Movie Picks: Musicals

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is musicals. I love these, so this was hard to narrow down. I could've made a top 10 list. 

1) The Rocky Horror Picture Show
I didn't see this until a few years ago, so I'm very late to the party, but this is just fun.

2) Hairspray
That's right, I like the remake better than the original. I just think the entire cast is on point. 

3) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
I was not expecting to like this movie as much as I did, but I absolutely loved it. A gory musical? Hell yes!

DVD Review: Here

He works better alone.

Will (Ben Foster) works for a satellite mapping company and is currently in Armenia drawing up new maps. He meets a photographer, Garadine (Lubna Azabel) who tags along with him on his assignment.

I've had Here in my Netflix queue for ages and I've always gone to click it, then moved to something else. Now having finished it, I know why. This film was terribly slow.

The cinematography was beautiful and the actors did well. (Ben Foster always does) but at the end of the film, I didn't feel like I accomplished anything by watching it. It's meant to be a character study, but I didn't get to know either of them better. They were just coasting by. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C-

Memorable Quote: "This is how it all started for me." - Will (Ben Foster)

Review: The Imitation Game

Imagine that.

I got a break when I went to this. The box office guy apparently took pity on me and gave me a free ticket. Sure, it was probably because no one wanted to be liable for me in the event that place burned down or something and my gimpy ass couldn't hobble out in time, but still. That was a nice gesture. You know who could've used a nice gesture in life? Alan Turing. 

In 1939 mathematician Alan Turing is tasked, along with another group of men with breaking Enigma, a machine that the Germans were sending coded messages with in WWII. At first, he doesn't get along with this colleges. Particularly, he clashes with his superior, Ozymandias Hugh. (Matthew Goode) When he finally gets funding and approval to build a machine to counter Enigma, he esembles own staff, including Joan Clarke. (Keira Knightley)

Turing's genius made him a peculiar case, then there was the fact that he was hiding his homosexuality in a time where it was illegal. The guy had a lot to deal with, and ended up being very unfairly treated. I didn't know much about Turing before this film came out, but now I want to read more. 

The film was wonderful. Benedict Cumberbatch was perfect for this role. At the beginning, I was afraid he'd be a little too Sherlock-y, but he was so much more than that. Keira Knightley also gives a stunning performance. Joan is very meek and understanding, but in once scene she shows so much fire that you wouldn't expect it coming from her. She was just wonderful, and she's easily moved to the top of my supporting actor list. The score was beautiful and the film well paced. Easily one of my favorites of the year.

Recommended: Y

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Oh, Joan's at the market..." - Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong)