Thursday Movie Picks: Father/Daughter Relationships

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is father/daughter relationship. The only stipulation is that they must be biologically related. Here are my favorites:

1) The Ballad of Jack and Rose

This is a fascinating little movie with excellent performances from Daniel Day-Lewis and Camilla Belle. Though it could also be a lesson in not sheltering your children. 

2) Dreamland

Audrey's father is so dependent on her that she feels like she cannot leave home to go to college. (He can barely leave the trailer park without having panic attacks) It's a very interesting dynamic of the father not wanting to hold her back, and the daughter being too afraid to let go.

3) The Descendants 

I was late jumping on the Clooney bandwagon, but this is one of my favorites of his, and I loved his interactions with his daughters. Plus Shailene Woodley is very good when given strong material. She was great here. 

Review: Ex Machina

Perhaps you should change your approach?

Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is a coder for an Internet search engine called BlueBook. He wins a contest to go meet BlueBook's creator, Nathan (Oscar Isaacs) and participate in a revolutionary experiment. After signing the mother of all NDA's, Caleb is off to see said experiment: Ava (Alicia Vikander) an AI that Nathan has created. He wants Caleb to test her to see if he can really separate man from machine. However Ava clues him in on Nathan not being all that he seems.

This film was fascinating. Writer/Director Alex Garland definitely turns out solid work, so I had high expectations. At this rate, Gleeson could have a career that rivals his father's if he keeps being a part of films like this.  Isaacs was especially great too. I can now forgive him for boring me to tears during Inside Lewelyn Davis. (okay, maybe that wasn't his fault) Vikander was intriguing as well, though it's hard to grade her on a performance level because she was playing an emotionless robot. 

It has a slower pace, but it asks the right questions and the suspense level is high. This keeps the film from dragging. There's plenty of interesting moments (even an unexpected dance number) but the back end of the film is really what is impressive. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "What happens if I do not pass your test?" - Ava (Alicia Vikander)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Game of Thrones, Agents of SHEILD + more

Game of Thrones:
Sansa perfectly demonstrating how I feel about her story

Winterfell - Uggghhh here we go. Littlefinger, who at some point apparently suffered a traumatic brain injury is now marrying Sansa to Ramsay Bolton against her will. Sure, she goes along at the promise of avenging her family, but Littlefinger says he doesn't know much about Ramsay and he's about to LEAVE HER THERE ALONE. Way to go, Turbo. (Though Sophie Turner was absolutely brilliant in this episode. Especially in the above gif and when she meets Roose Bolton for the first time.)

Moat Cailin - Brienne and Pod had this beautiful moment where Pod says he's proud to be her squire then she ruins it by talking about killing Stannis. Brienne, bby, join Stannis, don't kill him. Renly sucked anyways.

King's Landing - Ewwww Tommen and Margaery. But the amount of shade she threw at Cersei was glorious. We also got to meet the High Sparrow. 

Castle Black - My favorite scenes again are at The Wall. Janos Slynt's head finally rolled. I'm disappointed they changed the line from "Edd, fetch me a block" to "Olly, fetch me my sword" it just doesn't have the same ring to it, but the scene was awesome and Stannis' approval was excellent.

Volantis - I'm a bit sad we won't get more of Tyrion and Varys' banter now that Jorah has effectively kidnapped him. Although it looks really stupid since he's being kidnapped and taken to the destination he was going in the first place.

Veep
You can't fire Dan!! ARRGHHHHHHHH


Agents of SHIELD
There was way too much of Skye/Cal in this episode. Like wayyy to much. Chloe Bennett is getting better but she's still not a strong enough actor to carry that many scenes, especially not opposite of Kyle MacLachlan who is SO fucking terrible.

Coulson told Ward he will put him through the Tahiti protocol to wipe his memories. This sounds like a cheap plot device to make Ward a good guy again.

Cue massive misunderstandings..

19 Kids and Counting.
Ah, another episode of Duggar cultural ignorance. France and Italy, I'm so sorry you were subjected to the Seewalds. 

Also SO MUCH BABIEZZZZ!! That's all they cared about in this episode. Quiverfull has to out breed us heathens. I do have to laugh at Jessa and BenJERmin's People magazine spread. It looks like they either photoshopped Jessa's bump to be bigger, or photoshopped her head (poorly) on another body completely.
Actual photo of Jessa taken a few days ago:

Indie Gems: Little Athens

Slacker nation

This film centers around a group of teenagers/early twenty somethings trying to pass the time in Athens, Arizona. You have Jimmy, (John Patrick Amedori)a small time drug dealer who's got some big problems. Jessica (Jill Ritchie) leaves the young girl she's babysitting home alone and drags along her friend Carlos (Michael Pena) as she tries to find someone to kick her boyfriend's ass for her. (He's pissed because she gave him an STD) Then you have Corey (D.J Qualls) and Pedro,(Jorge Garcia) a couple of slackers that are trying to come up with rent money to get back into their house after their landlord shuts them out. Finally there's Heather, (Erica Leerhsen) who's convinced her cop boyfriend is cheating on her and frequently takes her anger out on her friend Ali. (Rachel Miner)

All of these characters' lives are intertwined and they all end up at the same party at the end of the night. This film feels really authentic in capturing what small town life is like on a boring summer day. Everyone in the cast is a natural and fits perfectly. The film is very low budget, you can tell by the way some scenes are edited. It gets sloppy, but you have to appreciate what they managed to do with it all. The film uses a color palette frequently. Corey's scenes often have blue, Ali's yellow, Jimmy's red, etc. The score is very simple and a lot of the songs they used came from unsigned bands that only had MySpace pages at the time.

I really wanted to see this when it came out back in 2006, and I'm a little ashamed of how long it took me to sit down and watch it, but it was well worth the wait. 

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "I don't understand why you do it." - Ali (Rachel Miner)

Thursday Movie Picks: Superhero Movies

How fitting that as Age of Ultron approaches us that this week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is something that people either really love, or are really getting sick of: Superhero movies. Lucky for me, I'm still in the camp that loves them, so here are my favorites.

1) The Dark Knight

This is my all time favorite superhero movie, and I'm not sure if anything will ever top it to be honest. Avengers came close, but Heath Ledger's Joker is always going to be perfect for me.

2) The Avengers

I wanted to scream "THIS IS AWESOME" several times during this film. I hope Age of Ultron is just as good. (Even though after reading some of the spoilers, something is going to piss me off greatly)

3) Super

In the first time in my Thursday Movie Pick history, I'm doing a revision. It dawned on me after I posted this that I left out one Superhero flick that I really, REALLY love. So I had to swap out X2 for this little gem Super. He might not be an *actual* Superhero, but he tells crime to shut up, so he wins.

Honorable Mention: X2: X-men United, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Spiderman 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hellboy 2, Thor 2

White Swan/Black Swan Blogathon


The wonderful Sati over at Cinematic Corner has come up with a great idea for a blogathon. She asks us to pick characters to showcase their "white swan/black swan" So basically, to show how they have wildy contrasting traits that they show to some, and now others. Here are the rules:

1. Choose max 3 characters to write about.
2. You can also feature characters from TV series.
3. We are not looking for doppelgangers - we are looking for one person with two sides. For example in Black Swan you can write about Nina and her alter ego but not about Lily and Nina, which are two different people. You can write about Gollum/Smeagol but you cannot write about Bette and Dot - the Siamese twins from AHS: Freakshow - because technically they are two different people.
4. Write about why you chose the character 

5. Provide a theory on what causes the two different sides and what are the signs and contradictions between the two, for example you can write about things like that:

*Spoiler alerts*

Walter White of Breaking Bad

Let's start with the obvious. Walter White and his alter ego "Heisenberg."


White Swan: Kind, family man, somewhat of a push over, insecure.



Black Swan: Over confident, murderer, liar, schemer.

The difference between Walt and Heisenberg is for obvious reasons like I pointed out. He's a secret drug dealer. But I chose Walt because I find him to be one of the most fascinating characters I've ever watched. It was almost impossible not to root for him at times. Starting out as the teacher who had a part time job at a car wash, and had to clean his cocky student's car to becoming "the one who knocks" was brilliant. The lines between the two eventually began to blur, but we were constantly reminded that even though Walt is in the big times now, we still knew where he came from.

In the final episode, Walt says it himself. "I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. I was really...I was alive."

Angela Hayes of American Beauty


White Swan: Low self esteem, a virgin, seemingly needs love and structure.


Black Swan: Confident, greatly exaggerates things, sexually experienced. 

In Angela's case, it's the black swan we see the most of. She tells the world she's had all the experiences, yet she's hiding behind false confidence and tells people things that she thinks they want to here. There's an interesting parallel between Angela and her friend Jane in the film. Jane gradually starts wearing less make up as her character begins to come into her own, and Angela gradually wears more and people start to see through her facade. I think what it boils down to is Angela is someone that craves attention because she probably isn't getting much of it at home. She's disappointed her modeling career isn't taking off, so she tries to make herself sound bigger than she is. She's in need of a good friend or a steady parent to learn from. I chose Angela because American Beauty is my favorite movie and I find each and
every character endlessly interesting. 

2015 Blind Spot Series: The Crying Game


What I knew going in: The big reveal - which did not play out like I thought it would.

*****Spoiler Alert!*****

Ah, The Crying Game. This movie is rather infamous by now, isn't it? I have a friend who saw this in theaters and said people actually walked out. I wish I had been old enough to be there and yell "Y U MAD BRO!?!?!" after all of them. 

Jody (Forest Whitaker) is an English solider kidnapped by some IRA soldiers. Fergus (Stephen Rhea) sympathizes with him and in the three days he's held captive, they share stories. Jody talks about his girlfriend, Dil (Jaye Davidson) and how if something happens to him, he wants Fergus to find her and tell her that Jody loves her. Well, something bad happens, so off Fergus goes to find Dil.

Okay, I think everyone knows that Dil is a guy. Literally everyone knows that about The Crying Game, but what surprised me was this is actually revealed in the middle of the film. I expected them to kind of go the Sleepaway Camp route and do it at the end. Obviously in 1993 this was a much bigger deal then than it was now, but it was a pretty genius marketing ploy on their part.

The film is so much more than that though. It's interesting, touching, brutal. The performances are great. Neil Jordan is a wonderful director. (have you seen Breakfast on Pluto? You should.) The film is nearly two hours, but it feels much shorter. I'm happy to say that this is yet another positive mark on my 2015 Blind Spot list. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Told you I was fast." - Jody (Forest Whitaker)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Game of Thrones, Agents of SHIELD + more

Game of Thrones

The acting in this episode was wonderful. Wow, I just loved it.

King's Landing: Cersei going full bitch at the Small Council was great, but I hate how pussy whipped they are still making Jaime.

The Inn - Littlefinger, his TBI, and Sansa really bothered me in this episode with their snobbish behavior, but not as much as it bothered me that Brienne didn't even mention Arya was alive. Why the fuck would you not say that? Or bring Pod with you, Sansa might be comforted in seeing him! Ugh.

Dorne - Yes Areo and Doran! Beautiful water gardens. Ellaria needs to chill the fuck out.

On the way to Volantis - Varys praising Tyrion for his duties as hand gave me life. And Tyrion almost drinking the bug. "You might accidentally eat something solid." lol

The Wall - These were my favorite scenes of the episode. I loved Shireen teaching Gilly to read. Jon's scene with Stannis, and Jon being elected Lord Commander. It was perfect.

Meereen - Dany, what the fuck? Go free Viserion and Rhaegal while you're at it.

Braavos - The opening credits spoiled Jaquen's return, but I loved Arya in these scenes. She gives zero fucks. 

Agents of SHIELD

Fitz is about to psych out some bitches and now I have to wait until next week to see it.

This episode really about May. We got to see why she's called "The Calvary" and how loving she used to be before she was hardened by her job. I loved this. Ming-Na Wen is amazing.

We also find out what Raina's power is, and Skye is all happy with her equally terrible actor family. Quaint.

19 Kids and Counting.
They just stitched together a bunch of old episodes, fuck you TLC. You made me witness Josh's awful singing at his wedding again. Beer me. 

Veep
That scene with Selena and Gary though! I went from laughing to thinking I was going to start crying in a millisecond. Give those two Emmys, now.  "I am your calender. I am your Google. I am your Wilson the Volleyball!"

Indie Gems: Lilting

When words fail you..

Junn (Pei-Pei Cheng) Is a Cambodian-Chinese woman living in a retirement home in England. Her son, Kai (Andrew Leung) recently died in a car accident. He was her life, and she's having trouble adapting. Also having a hard time is Richard (Ben Wishaw) his boyfriend, though Junn thinks they're just room mates. He struggles with wanting to grieve Kai openly and talk about their relationship with Junn as she doesn't like him and they don't speak the same language. He hires a translator, Vann (Naomie Christie) to make things easier.

Wishaw is an actor that really had to grow on me. I always associated him with that creepy Perfume movie and it was hard to get behind him as anything else. He's really wonderful here. Very subtle and pained. His chemistry with Leung is incredible. We only see it in a few flashbacks, but I wish there was more. Cheng was wonderful as the grieving mother as well.

This film is very touching and quiet, and with it's 89 minute run time it never drags. 

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I can smell him in your room." - Junn (Pei-Pei Cheng)

Thursday Movie Picks: Police Movies

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is dedicated to those who protect and serve. I've been binge watching The Wire recently, so I feel like I've spent a lot of time with police on my TV lately. Here are some of my favorites, but honestly there's so many good ones it's hard to narrow it down. 

1) Se7en

One of my all time favorite movies, you can't help but love the detectives in this film. It's so creepy and fascinating.

2) The Departed

How can you not have a higher respect for undercover police work after watching this? I love The Departed, it's just smart film making. 

3) End of Watch

This one is completely different from the other two just by the way it was shot. It's all done documentary style and it feels so real. The ending gutted me. 

Review: Lost River

In case you ever wondered what doing schrooms was like...

Billy (Christina Hendricks) lives in the run down city of Lost River with her sons Bones (Iain De Caestecker) and Franky. (Landyn Stewart) They are in danger of losing their house, so Billy takes a job at a gory club where they reenact murders. Bones had been stealing copper from abandoned houses to earn extra cash, but now he's being pursued by Bully. (Matt Smith) Bully starts to not only terrorize Bones, but also his neighbor/girlfriend Rat. (Saoirse Ronan)

This film feels very disjointed. On one hand, Bones, Rat, and Billy are very intriguing characters. Especially the first two. Their scenes together were the best in the film. I feel like director/writer Ryan Gosling tried too hard to make an "art film." He comes off as pretentious with the imagery. There were times his actors were giving very emotional performances, but the camera was everywhere except their faces. While some of those shots were beautiful, it ended up being a bit of an overkill. 

Hendricks, De Caestecker, and Ronan all gave fine performances. They always do. Matt Smith was terrible. His character is so over the top and ridiculous I hated every single moment he was on screen. Seriously, what were they thinking?

The tone is creepy, and the score was very eerie and fit well but I didn't get the sense that Gosling wanted to make this film his own. It's like he wanted to make a Nicolas Winding Refn film. It's a shame that he got such talented actors, had a semi interesting story, then just vomited neon lights and shadows all over it. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "What else do I have?" - Bones (Iain De Caestecker)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Game of Thrones, Agents of SHIELD + more

Game of Thrones
I feel like I'm going to have to split my thoughts this seasons from "Show POV" and "Book POV"

The opener was a slower episode, but still fascinating and it got the ball rolling. 

Show POV: I loved Tyrion and Vary's scenes, Dany's scenes, and everything involving Jon and Stannis. I like that they included Cersei's flashback (though it sucks they cut it off, I'm assuming we'll revisit it later if not, see book POV) It's about fucking time Dany said the name of her other two dragons on the show too. 


Book POV: If this is actually the end of Mance's story, what a fucking waste. Knowing where Sansa's story is going (Me? Avoid spoilers? No.) is going to make me rage. Also no valanqor mention? None at all? Come on, man!

Better Call Saul
It's funny that the season finale was the weakest episode of the season. It wasn't bad, it just didn't have that top notch quality the others did. The last comment from Saul to Mike was brilliant though. I can't wait to see where it goes.

Agents of SHIELD

"Oh, you didn't know?" I wanted to punch that dude every time he said this to Skye. Apparently she missed out on the debriefing packet every person brought to Bumblefuck China is supposed to get. 

I loved FitzSimmons pulling a fast one on the "real" SHIELD. It's nice to see them back on the same page.

So Skye's mother, or some version of her is still alive. Great, can we kill off her father now? 

Veep
Poor Gary. This episode was hysterical though. They go by so fast though. 

19 Kids and Counting.
Everyone is so EXCITED Jill is having a baby. It's CRAZY. Do you know how many times the words "excited" and "crazy" were used to describe Jill's pregnancy? At least 20 times. No one in this family knows any other adjectives. 

Also can we talk about Duggar logic here? They had a gender reveal party for their baby, so they go out and buy pink candy and blue candy. They're going to fill a pinata with the winner. They also make Derick's brother buy a pink and a blue bouquet to surprise Derick's mother. Why wouldn't you just wait until you found out, THEN buy all this crap? Isn't saving money one of the biggest things they pushed for in the earlier season? This was so stupid.

Also I'm pretty sure this pet dog of theirs is just a stray they randomly used for the show. Pets shouldn't be near this family after that kitten fiasco of an episode a few years ago. Or that one where they fed all those dogs a shit ton of cheese while J'chelle did nothing. Or Derick purposely trying to run a cat over on a sled this year

Also Jill and Derick, we get it. You're married. You don't have to hold hands 24/7. You're allowed to fuck now. Their birthing classes were so awkward because they are clinging to each other when all the other couples are just acting normal.

I think all the Jim Bob talking heads should come with a "boner meter" icon in the corner of the screen. His pervy talk about how "the man gets the woman pregnant, so he has to help" was creepy as fuck. 

It was also announced this week that  Jill and Derick had their baby and named him Palestine Israel. And he was nearly 10 lbs, because that's what happens when you go two weeks over your due date.  Then in true Duggar fashion, they photoshopped his name on Israel, the country's flag to announce his birth and hastaged it #standwithisrael Way to turn your child into a political statement.

Indie Gems: Starry Eyes

How far would you go?

Sarah (Alex Essoe) is an aspiring actress in LA who's blown a few too many auditions. After one she was particularly excited for, she retreats to the restroom to throw one hell of a fit, pulling out her own hair. But strangely enough, a casting director (Maria Olsen) sees this and tells Sarah that's exactly what they're looking for. Soon, her auditions grow weirder and weirder and Sarah finds herself going to dangerous lengths to get what she wants.

For a film that stars mostly unknowns (though the wonderful Amanda Fuller and Marc Senter from Red, White and Blue have supporting roles) and was shot on a very small budget, this film looks great. The music is eerie, the cinematography is excellent, and the make up and effects are perfectly gory. It's one of the best looking indie horror films I've seen in a long time, and it's creepy as hell.

Then it gets even creepier. Essoe is a perfect fit for this role and she gives a hell of a performance. She elevates it and gives us something different from other films that involve cults. Plus there's something endlessly interesting about the dark parts of Hollywood. 

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I am not a million other girls." - Sarah (Alex Essoe)

Thursday Movie Picks: Dance Movies

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is dance movies! They cannot be musicals. I almost did this post on the worst dance movies I've ever seen, since I've suffered through You Got Served, Honey, and Step up, but I decided to stick with things I like, so here are my favorites. 

1) Save the Last Dance

You have no idea how many times I watched this movie as a teenager. Just writing about it now makes me want to watch it again. 

2) Black Swan

I know I've used Black Swan on a past theme, but I have to use it here as well. I just can't skip it. It fits perfectly. This is a film I could watch over and over.

3) Billy Elliot

This is the movie that introduced me to Jamie Bell. He's excellent in it and it's very endearing. It did become a musical eventually, but since it didn't start as one I think it counts. 

Bonus: Drop Dead Gorgeous - Not a dance movie, but I love Amber's tap dance scene. 

Bring It On - Hey, they said "Cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarded." That sort of counts, right?

Five Senses Blogathon

Nostra of My Film Views, in conjunction with Karmel Cinema and MovieInsiders came up with another wonderful idea for a blogathon. He asks us to name five films that remind us of the five senses. Here are the rules:

The idea
As you know the body has five senses (although some movies might suggest there is a sixth one): Sight, Sound, Taste, Smell and Touch.
So what’s the idea behind this blogathon? For each of these senses you will have to describe the movie related association you have with it. This can be a particular movie or even a scene, but also something having to do with the movie going experience (so for example the smell of popcorn in the theater).

What do you have to do?
– Write your entry to The Five Senses blogathon, where you describe the association you have for each of the senses
– Include the above blogathon logo in your post
– Add a link to this blogathon announcement so others can participate as well

– Leave a link to your entry in the comments so people can easily find your entry

Here are my five films:


Sight - Enter the Void
This movie is an attack on the eyes. The opening credits alone should come with a seizure warning. Everything about this film is trippy and neon, and it's really just a wonder to watch. 

Sound - Interstellar
I complained about Instellar's sound in my review of it. The score was so loud at times I couldn't even hear what the actors were saying. I suppose it was fitting for the film, but this one immediately came to mind for sound.

Taste - Waitress
All of the pies in this movie look delicious. I can just taste them while watching this film. The funny thing is, I don't even like pie. 

Touch - The Descent
This might seem like a weird one for "touch" but that's what I kept doing while watching it - stretching my arms out and touching the side of my couch and the person next to me. I'm not claustrophobic at all, but this film made me feel that way. 

Smell - Se7en
The gluttony scene ruined spaghetti sauce for me. I have not touched the stuff since watching this film. Every time I see it, I smell spaghetti sauce and it makes me want to vomit. I am now one of those losers who spent her childhood only eating butter on noodles. 

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Better Call Saul, Agents of SHIELD + more

Better Call Saul

WHY CHUCK!?!?! WHY!?!?!?! Did that final scene not break your heart? It made me so angry.

I love seeing Mike in his element though, and that "criminal" speech he gave was perfect. 

Agents of SHIELD

After last week's episode fell on its face, this one was better again. We got to see what really drove Mack and Bobbi into the "real SHIELD"

Skye also escapes with that eyeless guy whose name I keep forgetting.

FitzSimmons held hands! But next week's preview shows him leaving everyone else, the fuck is that?

19 Kids and Counting

Duggar snark must be picking up on Twitter because I'm interacting with a lot more people that appreciate the comedy gift that keeps on giving. This week's episode was the two hour Jessa/BenJERmin wedding extravaganza. Here are my thoughts:

Jim Bob is still a creepy pervert and he and Michelle still managed to try to make a lot of this wedding all about him. (Like when Jessa said she didn't want her dad to literally hand her over to BenJERmin, J'chelle had to pipe up and say "BUT HE'S GIVING YOU AWAY!!!!111!!!"

Hey, speaking of trying to make someone else's wedding about themselves. Let's talk about Jill. Jill has gone from one of the Duggar kids I thought I liked the most to one of my most hated after her courtship/wedding/ME ME ME. So Jill, all of FIVE months pregnant decides she is much to pregnant to paint her own toenails and has her husband do it for her in the bridal suite. Not at home, before the event. Jessa asked Jill how her vale looked, and Jill couldn't even be bothered to take her eyes off her husband to check it for her. Then, because they're married, (remember guys, Jill is MARRIED) She cannot walk 30 feet out of the wedding with the Groomsman she was assigned to. Her husband has to interrupt and walk her down the aisle instead, but not before awkwardly dipping her back for a kiss in front of everyone, despite the couple that actually got married not doing that in front of everyone. Fuck off, Jill.

Also I love that Jessa and BenJERmin didn't kiss in front of anyone. JB's boner probably died a slow death.

I felt bad for Jinger during the rehearsal dinner. She said she felt unworthy to have Jessa as a sister and she's been with her during her "lowest" points. These kids are sheltered, what low points could she be talking about? Do her parents make her spend a lot of time in the prayer closet or something for not being a good enough Christian? 

I spotted a flip phone of shame as well.

Also Ben's dad is kind of a douche, right? His wedding "well wishes" were harsh. 

Outlander

I had a free preview of Starz this weekend and I DVR'd all the episodes. This show is actually pretty good, and now I'm annoyed I won't be able to see the next episodes for while.

DVD Review: Big Hero 6

Nerd school!

13 year old Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter) is finally convinced by his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney) to go to the tech college he attends. He shows Hiro Baymax, (Scott Adsit) a health care robot he has been working on, and that pushes Hiro to create something equally as extraordinary. But when tragedy strikes and his invention is stolen by an evil masked man. Hiro and his friends must band together to stop him.

Well, at least my kid loved this movie. He's been wanting to see it for ages, and it was at our discount theater, so why not? I know I went into this movie with a mini chip on my shoulder because this one the Oscar over How To Train Your Dragon 2. But I was right, this wasn't better. It's not a bad kids movie, it just feels like several other ones that are already out there. I know it's based on a graphic novel, but that still didn't stop it from looking like another version of the The Incredibles or Miles from Tomorrowland or any of those Disney movies with similiar animation. The music was very good and really elevated the movie, but at the end of the day, it just wasn't anything special. And all the funny Baymax parts were already in the trailer.

Recommended: Yes for your kids, no for you.

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "My brain hates my eyes for seeing this." - Wasabi (Damon Waynes Jr.)

Indie Gems: Synecdoche, New York

I'm not sure what I just watched but man, did I like it.

That's a thought I had frequently when watching Synecdoche, New York for the first time. Several times I was like "wait, what?" but never in a bad way.

Caden (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a theater directing suffering from somewhat of a mid life crisis, despite him being very good at his job. He wants to achieve something different, so he takes a crew to a warehouse to build an elaborate mock up version of New York. As he gets deeper into this, the rest of his life takes a strange course. 

It's very depressing for me to watch movies with Hoffman in them now, knowing he's no longer with us. He's so talented, and it's a shame he's gone. But at the same time, I love seeing this films of his I missed for the first time. He really is a powerhouse here, and the expansive cast is wonderful as well. The make up also stands out as we follow these characters through several years.

The film is pretty ambitious, and sometimes the lines are so blurred that it's easy to get a little lost, but I can't help but appreciate it as a whole. It's very clever and well done.

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Everyone is tattooed." - Claire (Michelle Williams)

Thursday Movie Picks: Teen Comedies


This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is teen comedies. I think these type of films hold a special place in everyone's hearts. I've used a few teen comedies in other themes for this meme, so I'm going to try to pick different ones here. Here are my favorites. (And yes, I realize I didn't even try to be original this week)

1) American Pie

This was the big raunchy teen comedy of my high school years, even though I was technically only in junior high when the first one premiered. I love these films, with the exception of American Wedding. That was terrible.

2) Superbad

I about pissed myself the first time I saw this movie because it reminded me of so many people I went to high school with.

3) Jawbreaker

This was another one of my junior high favorites. It's even more comical to me now because Jesus, no one looked like a teenager in it. And no school would allow that dress code.