Review: Dope

90's nostalgia 

Malcolm (Shameik Moore) and his friends Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) and Jib (Tony Revolori) are nerds. They dress like they're from the 90's because that was the prime of hip hop to them. They live in a tough part of California, and Malcolm dreams of getting into Harvard. He's gets good grades and stays out of trouble, but after a mix up at a party, he ends up with a bunch of drugs in his possession and people trying to find him to get them back. 

Malcolm, Jib, and Diggy are perfectly awkward and are a joy to watch. The actors have excellent chemistry and they do feel different from the other kids we're used to watching in these coming of age type movies. That being said, the rest of the movie falls into a familiar pattern, with each obstacle Malcolm faces predictable and kind of annoying. Still, even though I got a little antsy with some of this, the end result was worth it and the film was amusing enough to keep things interesting.

I like the use of a narrator. It added another layer that was needed. The soundtrack on this film is wonderful, and I loved watched the three main actors. It was especially nice seeing Revolori again after his turn in The Grand Budapest Hotel. It might be more of a DVD movie than a theater one, but it's still good enough nonetheless.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "We're just doing what geeks do." - Malcolm (Shameik Moore) 

DVD Review: The Babadook

Do you want to die?

Amelia (Essie Davis) is a single mother who is still struggling with the death of her husband 7 years later. He died on the same day her son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman) was born. He has behavioral problems that she refuses to get diagnosed, but is also growing tired of handling them herself. When a mysterious book called 'The Babadook' shows up at their house, and Samuel becomes obsessed with seeing the monster, Amelia begins to wonder if there's not something more at play.

I think this might have been the most hyped horror movie I've heard of in awhile. It got nothing but glowing reviews last year, and of course came nowhere near me. After watching it, though it does hit a lot of horror cliches (Kid sees monster, kid is teased, kid pushes accidentally hurts and arguably brattier kid) the message itself is what makes this film stand apart.

This film isn't about supernatural monsters, it's about grief. It's about dealing with grief on your own without any help. That was Amelia's biggest problem. This film is expertly cast. Davis and Wiseman are absolutely perfect and natural in their roles. I didn't find the film to be scary, but it did have some creepy imagery. This didn't bother me because in the end, I didn't think that was what this film was about.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I can't stand to be around your son." - Claire (Hayley McElhinney)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on True Detective, OITNB + more

True Detective

Apparently everyone in this episode has gone to the Rick Grimes School of Eye Fucking. There is so much to think about here.

Frank getting his hands dirty for Ray and becoming more desperate.

What's up with Ani's bondage obsession? And I NEED to know more about this cult she was in. I loved those scenes with Ani and Ray in the car. Calling smoking an e-cig the equivalent to sucking a robot's cock. LOL

What's the deal with Paul? What happened to this guy? He's obviously been through some traumatic shit, and his mom is going full Norma Bates creep on him. On top of all this, I'm wondering if he's perhaps in the closet? 

Also ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww to that autopsy scene.

About that ending with Ray? Is he dead? Alive? Would this should really use Farrell for only two episodes? I'm leaning towards alive. They didn't make anything definite in the preview for the next episode. (Not like Game of Thrones showing Selmy's funeral)

Orange is the new Black (episodes 3.2/3.3)
So last week I complained about Piper's lying, and in episode 2, both Red and Alex found out about said lies. I'm glad to get that out of the way, but it didn't help that Piper and Alex's scenes were still endlessly boring when they were alone. They only shine when they're with the rest of the cast.

Let's talk about Natasha Lyonne in episode 3. WOW. What a performance she gave. That was a tough episode for Nikki, who's now on her way to Max, but damn Lyonne killed it. 

Daredevil (episodes 1.3/1.4)

I'm being slow as hell watching this show despite the fact that it's very good and I love Charlie Cox. But holy shit the ending to 1.3. I wish more Marvel movies would go there because that was brutal. 

19 Kids and Counting
No, don't worry. Pedo cover ups and their quiver full of ignorant children are not back on the air. But they are back in the news and you know I can't take my eyes off this train wreck. Jill and Derick announced that they are going somewhere over seas to be "missionaries" (I put that in quotations because we know their missions are more about trying to convert people and handing out lollipops then actually trying to make life better for them.) Jill's the one that said poverty is caused by people having faith in the world and not in Jesus Christ. So what exactly are they going to do to help when they have a newborn baby? Jill was a student midwife whose instructor lost her teaching license, so she's nothing. Plus, she'll probably be pregnant again shortly. Derick just had surgery on his mouth and has braces on his teeth. You'd think he would wait until all of that is removed before leaving. And in true Duggar fashion, they're asking for donations to sponsor this trip. Why use any of their own millions? Missionaries are great when they put in time and resources to help, but the Duggar's missions have never been about that. They're about telling other people to adopt their own religion. To put it bluntly, Derick is now drowning in the fundie Koolaid, (he quit his job at Walmart to do this) and Jill is dumb and has a baby she can't even put in a sling properly. What good exactly are they going to do?

Oh hey, and in honor of those hateful Duggars
teehee

DVD Review: A Most Violent Year

A Most Tame Movie

Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac with the worst wig ever) is trying to expand his truck/fuel business in 1981 New York City. But trucks everywhere are getting robbed, and their fuel stolen. He's also under investigation by the D.A (David Oyelowo) for illegal activity. He and his wife, Anna (Jessica Chastain) attempt to do whatever they can to protect their investment, even though their methods of doing so are quite different.

For a movie called A Most Violent Year, our lead spends the entire film trying hard not to be violent. His wife is the one we worry about blowing someone's head off, not him. I found Abel's struggle with that fascinating, unfortunately the film itself didn't match that. It was slow, many things were left unexplained, and at the end of the day it just fell short.

Oscar Isaac has been growing on me. I'm starting to see what everyone else does, and he is a fine actor. Chastain is great here too. Oyelowo isn't in this film much at all, which is disappointing, but a lot of faces from Boardwalk Empire popped up. I was hoping there would be more to this movie, but I think it will just end up being forgettable to me.

Recommended: Yes if you're a fan of Isaac and Chastain, but no for the story

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "This was very disrespectful." - Anna (Jessica Chastain)

Indie Gems: Blue Car

Po-em.

Meg (Agnes Bruckner) is a high school girl that's having a lot of problems at home. Her parents are divorced, she never sees her dad. Her mom works nonstop, her little sister is depressed to the point where she's self harming and has stopped eating. Meg channels all of this through poetry in her AP English class. Her teacher, Mr. Auster (David Strathairn) takes an interest in her and encourages her to enter a poetry contest.

Bruckner is an actress who I'm always shocked hasn't gotten bigger. She's the lead in one of my favorite films, Dreamland, and her performance in this film is incredible. This is a very hard drama. Nothing good actually happens to poor Meg until the very end, and that's less of a "good" and more of an acceptance. Strathairn was great here as well, even though the scenes of Mr. Auster getting closer to Meg are wildly uncomfortable to watch.

It's hard to sell a "downer" movie to people. But the story here is so rich. Considering this was shot for next to nothing, then edited on an early 2000's version of Final Cut Pro, it looks pretty good. I'll still hold out hope for Bruckner to get more mainstream roles.

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "Lily, you don't need wings." - Meg (Agnes Bruckner)

Thursday Movie Picks: Sibling Relationships

It's another "All in the Family" edition at Wandering Through The Shelves This time we're asked to focus on sibling relationships. The only restriction is that they must be biological. 

1) Dogtooth

This movie is so twisted. These siblings are isolated in their house and are basically taught the most backward things by their over protective parents. (Examples: that a "cunt" is actually a large lamp and cats eat children) It's so fascinating. 

2) The Savages

How can you not love a film with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney? Their relationship is tested when after they've spent the majority of their adult life avoiding their father, they're forced to care for him all over again. Their chemistry is amazing.

3) Radio Flyer

This movie has an ending that I wrote about a little over five years ago. These two brothers, one being abused by their drunken step father while the other is forced to keep it a secret provoke a lot of thought about how this film actually ended. Plus Elijah Wood and Joseph Mazello are two of the best child actors of all time. 

Bonus: Frailty 
I'm kind of kicking myself for not using this during the father/son week, so I think I'd stretch a bit and include it here. The relationship between these two brothers is tested throughout, and that twist involving them is pretty shocking for us. 

Review: Love & Mercy

Smile.

Love & Mercy follows the story of The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. We start off in the 60's with a younger Wilson (Paul Dano) who takes a break from touring to try to create new music, which doesn't always mesh well with his band mates. We switch back and forth with 60's Brian, and 80's Brian (now played by John Cusak) as a man who has been struggling with mental illness for years and is kept on a tight leash by his doctor, Eugene Landy. (Paul Giamatti) Brian meets Melinda (Elizabeth Banks) who sells him a car and becomes his girlfriend, but not without conflict from Landy.

You don't have to be a big fan of the Beach Boys to enjoy this film. I certainly wasn't, though I was always aware of their music. I mainly saw this film for Paul Dano, and I was certainly not disappointed. He's amazing in this performance. He gained nearly 40 lbs to play Wilson, and alternated (wisely) between his actual singing voice and lip syncing to Wilson. The scenes were he's in the studio particularly are fun to watch because Dano is such a natural. Even though Cusak was good in this role, I almost wish Dano would've played both versions just so he could've had more screen time. Banks has really been good as she expands into more dramas, and Giamatti is always a good villain.

At times, parts of this film feel very cliched, but that's something that director Bill Pohlad knew going in, and nearly considered re-working parts of the script to avoid that, but he left everything as is. I thought that was very bold of him, though the mid June release date will pretty much ensure that this will not get the normal Oscar biopic treatment, which is a shame for someone like Dano who gives such a fine performance.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "It makes sense in my head.." - Brian (Paul Dano)

Review: Inside Out

Just cry it out.

Riley (Katilyn Dias) is an eleven year old girl that moves from Minnesota to California with her parents while the emotions in her head, Joy, (Amy Poehler) Sadness, (Phyllis Smith) Fear, (Bill Hader) Anger, (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) try to handle it all. Joy and Sadness accidentally get sucked out of Riley's "headquarters" and end up in her "long term memory." They have to get back since Joy has mostly been running things all Riley's life and Anger, Disgust, and Fear aren't going to help.

You have to hand it to Pixar for thinking outside the box. The story here feels very original and the animation is stunning. But it's just sad. Even the short film paired with this feature, Lava borderlines on very depressing territory. My kid kept whispering "it's so sad" to me throughout this movie and I was worried he was going to start crying. (Hell, I almost got ugly cry face there for a second) The film ended up being an overall downer because of it, despite it having some pretty funny moments. (Like the annoying gum commercial song that never leaves you)

There's been a lot of hype surrounding this movie, how it's one of the best Pixar has ever done. I actually think it ends up fairly low on the Pixar list, personally. To me, this is more in line with Cars and Monsters Inc than WALL-E and Toy Story. It's not a bad film, and it's something interesting for kids to think about. It just ultimately didn't meet the hype for me.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "Sometimes we send this one up to headquarters for no reason." - Forgetter Bobby (Bobby Moynihan) 

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Veep, True Detective + more

Veep

In my bitching about Game of Thrones last week I forgot to talk about the Veep finale, which ended in a very interesting place.

Selina tied the election with her opponent, so now each state gets one vote, and if they tie again, the Vice President elect automatically becomes president. That's how I think it will go next season too. Tom will win, and Selina will be back in the Veep position. 

I did love Amy coming back to the Meyer camp, and Selina specifically running over to her when she got the bad news. Now all we need is Dan to be back in with the group.

True Detective

Season two premiered last night and it was very interesting. The episode was mostly build, getting to know the characters since they're not partners like Cohle and Marty were in season one. They all eventually came together at the end.

Colin Farrell's character also took his son's bullying into his own hands: By beating the shit out of said bully's father with brass knuckles then telling the kid "If you do this again I will come back here and butt fuck your father with your headless mother's corpse." Because that's totally the best way to handle this situation.

Taylor Kitsch didn't bother me as much as I thought he would, so that was a nice surprise.

And wtf David Morse is in this?

Orange is the New Black

I started season 3, and Piper, despite being the lead is still my least favorite character. I hated that reminder that she lied to both Red, AND Alex and neither know it yet. It's frustrating. That final scene with Poussey where she's thinking about her mother was beautiful and so sad. 

Indie Gems: Maps to the Stars

Cronenberg's take on satire. 

Remember when Julianne Moore got nominated for a Golden Globe in the comedy category for this film? Well sure, her character is amusing, but this film is not a comedy. Or a traditional satire for that matter, and that's okay.

Havana Segrand (Moore) is an actress determined to star in a remake of a film her late mother did. She thinks is has "Best Supporting Actress" written all over it. She also hallucinates her young mother (Sarah Gadon) who taunts her and calls her a liar. She see's a strange therapist (John Cusak) who happens to be the father of an insanely bratty child star, Benji. (Evan Bird) Then there's Agatha, (Mia Wasikowska) who has just arrived in Los Angeles for a very specific reason that she does not share at first.

Like I said before, it's not a traditional satire, though for some reason it's talked about as one. It never felt like Cronenberg was poking fun at this lifestyle to me. It was like he was showing how fucked up it really is. It also had interesting commentary on mental illness, which plagues several characters, if not all of them in this film.I loved it though, as I tend to love everything other than Cosmopolis from him. (Robert Pattinson is unfortunately in this too, but only ocassionally.)

Moore was great, even better than she was in Still Alice. Wasikowska and Bird were stands outs as well. Really, everyone fit in their parts perfectly. This movie is very weird, but in the best way possible.

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Whenever I said that, they went away." - Agatha (Mia Wasikowska)

Thursday Movie Picks: Animated Movies

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is animated movies. I left WALL-E and The Lion King out of here even though those two are my favorites, as I've used them before. This was really hard to narrow down to three, but here are some animated films that I adore.

1) Sleeping Beauty

Aurora has always been my favorite Disney princess, despite saying very little in this movie at all. She just has the best singing voice, okay!?

2) The Secret of NIMH

This movie was a staple in my house growing up. It was darker than most Disney films, and for some reason most of my friends had never heard of it, so it felt cool to me. 

3) InuYasha: Swords of an Honorable Ruler

Alright, I feel like I can be honest with you guys. I don't watch a lot of anime, but I have this weird obsession with InuYasha. When I was in high school, it was on Adult Swim every night when I got off work, so I'd watch it and do my homework. Then I got really into it. Someone was uploading the manga on photobucket, and I read it every week. I've seen every episode. Now, the movies they made were so so at best, but this one, the 3rd one, was actually really fucking awesome. 

Honorable Mentions: The Last Unicorn, A Bug's Life, The Land Before Time, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan, Sampson and Sally, Spirited Away, All Dogs Go To Heaven and The Black Cauldron. 

Review: Jurassic World

What's the worst that could happen? Things don't escape anymore, right?

Twenty two years after Jurassic Park crashed and burned, the park has now been re-opened and has turned into a full on SeaWorld inspired theme park. It's got animals in captivity doing tricks, a petting zoo, poorly insured rides. (Seriously, who lets a teenager drive a vehicle, in this case, a moving hamster ball with another child in it?) and plenty of safe guards that are destined to fail so this movie can smack us in the face with some more nostalgia. 

Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the typical uptight childless workaholic whose nephews Zach and Gray (Nick Robinson, and the worst child actor on Earth, Ty Simpkins) come to visit her at the park, by themselves. Of course since she's SO focused on her job, she pawns them off on an assistant. Meanwhile, there's Owen (Chris Pratt) and ex-Navy turned raptor trainer whom she consults to see if the cage the built around their genetically modified dinosaur is actually safe enough. Turns out, it isn't, and suddenly their freak of nature T-Rex hybrid is on the loose. On top of this, there's Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio) who wants to use Owen's trained raptors as military weapons. His dick is practically hard at the prospect of this hybrid escaping because now he can test this out. 

Jurassic World had plenty of problems. Howard's character is an annoying trope. She doesn't have kids, doesn't want them (which is fine) yet when she sees parents reuniting with children towards the end, she stares lovingly at Owen and might as well yell "give me your sperm!" at him. It felt forced. The biggest issue by far was the two children, who are no Lex and Tim. (despite Gray being a near carbon copy of Tim) Simpkins, if you remember was the annoying kid in Iron Man 3, and he hasn't gotten better here. These two actors are completely wooden and would've served the story better if they had just been killed off right away. These two kids, despite being in a park with a massive dinosaur chasing them had the time to dick around with an old car (because apparently whoever renovated Jurassic Park just left all the old stuff in a garage and built around it) then watch as their care taker got tossed around by Pterodactyls while they should've been running for cover. 

I know I'm doing a lot of complaining in this review, but the film does get quite a bit right. It reuses John William's brilliant score, and it makes everything seem twice as epic.  They went a little overboard with the nods to the original (We see mirror shots of the kids in the hamster ball vs the kids in the car, feet on the glass. The Indominus Rex enters a room in the exact same way the T-rex entered the museum in the original. The kids have similar dialogue when they're trying to turn something on, like Lex and Tim had with the flash light. The climatic scene is staged nearly identical to the original, etc) It was all a bit much. The CGI here is fantastic, and admit it, you really wanted to see that T-rex again. This was an entertaining, mindless blockbuster for sure. And definitely the best of the Jurassic Park sequels.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "Why did you have to make it personal?" - Lowrey (Jake Johnson)

DVD Review: The Last Five Years

On my fucking birthday?

Cathy (Anna Kendrick) and Jamie (Jeremy Jordan) have been in a relationship for you guested it, the last five years. This musical follows this couple at different points in the relationship. Cathy's songs start at the end of it, while Jamie's are at the beginning.

This is based on an (apparently) popular Broadway show that I had never seen nor heard of until this film went in production. I guess I'm not theater geek enough, but I can see why people like this. It feels different from most musicals, and I can always appreciate it when the word "fuck" is dropped in a song.

I liked how the film was styled, and the costumes were gorgeous. Seriously, just give me all of Cathy's wardrobe. Kendrick and Jordan have excellent voices, though sometimes I don't think their faces are matching up to the emotions in their singing voices. I'm not sure how Jamie has fans either, he was kind of a douche. Cathy isn't the best character either, she seems so content on a man just coming in to "save" her at the beginning instead of focusing on her goals, but she ultimately gets the short end of the stick.

Maybe that's the point. These characters are not perfect, but I still couldn't help overwhelmingly siding with Cathy throughout.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Are you really touching my dress right now?" - Cathy (Anna Kendrick)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Game of Thrones and "snobby book face."

Yesterday was the season finale of Game of Thrones. Now unless Winds of Winter is released prior to April of 2016, we're all going to be Unsullied for the most part. This season has made quite a few controversial decisions. I've hated plenty, and didn't mind others. I've always tried hard to separate book from show. I know they're different and not everything in the novels can be in the show. But I failed to do that in the finale, and I ended up watching with "snobby book face."

Winterfell - Stannis is apparently the heaviest sleeper in the world because half his army managed to leave before he woke. Then his wife hung herself in grief over the burning of their daughter. Then Melisandre bailed on them. THEN he has to march to Winterfell on foot and take on the Boltons as they're all on horses. THEN after losing said battle (the most underwhelming ever) Brienne shows up out of nowhere and kills him in the name of Renly. Stannis is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Thankfully we always have book Stannis.

While all of this is going on, Sansa breaks out of her room with the corkscrew she stole. (Then promptly drops it) She lights a candle in the tower, but Brienne and Pod are too busy fucking off with Stannis to see it. So she runs into Myranda and Theon. Myranda taunts her, and eventually Theon has had enough and shoves her off the side of the wall. Sansa and Theon realize the Bolton army is back after their "battle" and they jump off the wall into a pile of snow. Hopefully they didn't break anything.

Meereen - Daario actually does something right for once, and tells Tyrion to STFU as they discuss what to do after Dany flew off and bailed on them. Tyrion was being a dick to Jorah, so he kind of deserved it. Grey Worm is up and moving, just in time for more romance scenes with Missandei instead of getting Lady Stoneheart and the Manderley's. Varys shows up to beef up Dany's small council (welp, no King's Landing epilogue) 

Dothraki Sea - Drogon just wants to eat and sleep off his injuries instead of flying back. So Dany stupidly walks away from him and gets surrounded by the Dothraki. In the books she was actually WITH Drogon when she sees them, so this scene was all wrong in my head. It woudl've been cooler for them to find the two of them together.

Dorne - In conclusion to the most pointless story line of the season, Ellaria kisses Myrcella on the lips as she leaves. Jaime has a stupid heart to heart with Myrcella about him being her real father. Then she dies. Ellaria kissed her with poison lipstick. Guess they're turning that boat around.

Braavos - In one of the only scenes I liked, Arya disguises herself as the little girl who she convinced to die earlier on and kills Meryn Trant like the creepy bitch he is. Then Jaquen gets after her for stealing a face. She goes blind at the end of the episode, much like she did in the books.

King's Landing - Cersei has to talk her penance walk through King's Landing. Aside from the fact that they thought it was a good idea to CGI Lena Headey's face on a body double, that scene was very well done. Headey was spectacular. She gets to the end, and we see her new Kingsguard, Ser Robert Strong carry her away, just like the books.

Castle Black - Sam and Jon bro out and talk about sex, then Sam gets sent to Oldtown. Davos shows up and is trying to talk Jon into sending aid, however Melisandre comes to tell them Stannis and his entire army are dead. Later, Olly, that little cunt comes into Jon's office to tell him a wilding is talking about knowing his Uncle Benjen (who has been missing since S1) When Jon follows him, it ends up being a trap, and he's stabbed to death by some of the men of the Night's Watch. Ghost is nowhere in sight. For what it's worth, I'm sure Jon won't stay dead. Not with Melisandre there. 

And that concludes a painfully dreadful episode of Game of Thrones. One where I got to see the character assassination of Stannis complete, where they tweaked book scenes so they never reached their full potential. That was brutal and disappointing. 

2015 Blind Spot Series: Taxi Driver


What I knew going in: I had seen the first 15 minutes or so of this movie a long time ago, so I figured it was time to finish it.

Travis (Robert De Niro) is an insomniac who drives a cab at night to keep himself busy. He becomes infatuated with a woman named Betsy (Cybill Shepard) who works on a political campaign. He becomes consumed with the idea that the scum must be cleaned from New York City. On his personal quest of becoming the moral police, he focuses on Iris (Jodie Foster) a 12 year old hooker he wants to free from the life she lives.

I remember thinking the film was a bit slow when I started it so long ago, but I didn't get that feeling this time around. I actually loved how quiet was. How everything felt so meticulous. De Niro was just excellent here. Probably the best I've seen him. 

That shoot out at the end was pretty ridiculous. No one knows how to properly aim a gun apparently, but damn that shot of De Niro putting his own fingers to his head was haunting. I'm glad I finally got around to finishing this.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "You're so square." - Iris (Jodie Foster)

Indie Gems: Starred Up

Punch first, think later.

Eric (Jack O'Connell) is 19 and has recently been "starred up" from a juvenile facility to an adult prison due to his violent behavior. He ends up in the same wing as his estranged father, Neville (Ben Mendelsohn) who attempts to micromanage his son's life on the inside. He also bonds with Oliver (Rupert Friend) a counselor who is determined to rehabilitate him.

Despite following a similar formula that prison dramas tend to abide by, Starred Up is pushed beyond that due to the powerful performances. Admittedly, I haven't seen a lot of O'Connell's work, but he was brilliant here. He perfectly embodied Eric in all his anger and trauma he has suffered. Same with Mendelsohn as his father. I found Neville to be rather annoying, but towards the end of the film it becomes very obvious why he's acting that way. I have to give Friend credit as well. I've been referring to him as the "poor man's Orlando Bloom" since I saw him in Pride and Prejudice, but he's probably the better actor. Touche, asshole me. 

This is a very hard drama. It's shot entirely in the prison and there isn't even a score to accompany it. There's little room for light moments (though the prisoners drink from ceramic mugs with their names painted on them in big purple letters, that amused me. It's like they made them in an art class or something) but it works perfectly for the tone. It definitely lived up to the hype from Alex and Josh

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "You are fucking embarrassing. You are pathetic." - Eric (Jack O'Connell)

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies Set in High School

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is movies set in a school. Allow me to pressure you high school style and tell you that all the cool kids are participating in this weekly event, so you should too. This was actually kind of hard as I've used a LOT of my favorite high school set movies on previous themes (Mean Girls, Superbad, American Pie, etc) so here's what I came up with:

1) Not Another Teen Movie
This is a good example of a parody done right. I love this movie. It's so stupid, but so hilarious. Plus now it's even funnier to think about Captain America doing that. 

2) Brick
While the other movies I picked spend most of their time within the halls and the classrooms of school, Brick spends most of it on the grounds. This is one of my all time favorite movies. It's so good I actually looked past one of my biggest pet peeves in films, adults that are playing teenagers.

3) Lucas
So in retrospect, this movie has so many cliches, but I watched it quite a bit when I was a kid. I wouldn't mind watching it again now that I'm thinking about it. 

DVD Review: Predestination

Some things are just inevitable. 

We first meet a man, whose name we don't know. He's a temporal agent, traveling through time to prevent tragedies. After an apparent accident requiring surgeries, we meet him again as a Barkeep. (Ethan Hawke) A man named John (Sarah Snook) comes to his bar. After a bit of banter, he offers to tell the barkeep the most interesting story he's ever heard for a free bottle of liquor. She starts. That's right, she. John wasn't always John, at one point she was Jane. Smart, awkward, orphan Jane who was selected by a man named Mr. Robertson (Noah Tyler) to join Space Corp. After a fight she gets in, and a secret Mr. Robertson doesn't bother to tell her, she's let go. It gets worse, and the Barkeep offers to put the man that ruined her life in front of her, she accepts.

Candice over at Reel Talk brought up an interesting question awhile ago on her blog. Can you love a film you don't understand? At the time I left my comment, I couldn't think of a film that fit that category for me. After I finished this film, Candice's post immediately came to mind. I really enjoyed this movie, it was absolutely fascinating, I also do not understand what the fuck happened in the last 15-20 minutes or so.

Rather, I do understand what happened. I'm just not sure why. Why did this happen? Why didn't they do this? The more I think about it, the more my husband and I attempted to talk through this, the more confused I got. It's a strange feeling. I feel like I should hate this film for its rubbernecking, but I don't. Not at all. I really dug it.

Sarah Snook is fantastic. I can't say I've seen her in anything other than a brief few minutes in Sleeping Beauty. But she does an excellent job here. Ethan Hawke is always Ethan Hawke, but he's perfectly cast here. 

To answer Candice's question for sure now, yes, I can love a film I don't understand. This is one of those movies.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "I miss you dreadfully." - The Barkeep (Ethan Hawke)


Rambling TV: Thoughts on Game of Thrones, and Game of Duggar Excuses + more

Game of Excuses

The Duggars interview on Fox News aired this week, and like everyone predicted, it went terribly. Jim Bob and Michelle tried to white wash the whole thing. I copied down some of most outrageous excuses they made so that you can lose faith in humanity right along with me. They will be bold, my thoughts will be in italics.

"It was over the clothes" because that makes it less of a crime

"There were some under the clothes, but only like, for a few seconds" because child molesting is protected under the five second rule. Like when you drop your food on the floor.

"It wasn't rape or anything like that" Well thank god, it was JUST child molestation and incest. 

"Parents are not mandatory reporters" But parents are supposed to be parents and report crimes. Technically clergy are mandatory reporters, but home churchs must not qualify. Silly me.
"We needed to focus on his heart" You need to focus on your daughters

"Josh and the girls saw an professional, accredited therapist" Accredited by who? Bill Gothard. I caught that you didn't say "licensed."

"They were too young to know" You talk about sex, purity, and baby making so much, I think they get the picture.
"They were sleeping, they didn't know" jfc.

"We know other families that have went through similiar issues" You know there's something wrong with the cult you belong to when..

"We set up safeguards. Little ones don't sit on big boys' laps. Boys don't babysit, don't play hide and seek and two go off alone." Great, so treat all boys like potential pedophiles
"The big thing is protecting juveniles' records. We want to be an advocate for protecting juveniles' records" So you can what, help other families hide dirty little secrets? The records were obtained legally.


"There's an agenda, there's people who are purposing to bring things out to hurt and slander us." You mean, an agenda like complying with the Freedom of Information Act?

"They didn't understand it was an improper touch." Except for when they described it as such in the police report, and you know, ran to you crying when it happened.

"I dont know if the rest of our family should be punished for the act of one of our children 12 years ago." What he means is KEEP MY SHOW ON THE AIR!

"We still love Josh and we love the other ones." The other ones. HA
 "they’ve been victimized more by what has happened in these last couple weeks than they were 12 years ago because they honestly – - they didn’t even understand or know that anything had happened until after the fact when they were told about it." Actually, no. Remember how you basically outed one of the victims when you had them file a petition to get the records destroyed? The Media isn't sexually assaulting your daughters right now, Your son already did that.

Then for the Friday night edition with Jill (who starts off the interview by having to think really hard about how old she is now) and Jessa

Jill: "They can't do this, we're victims" (referring to the media releasing a redacted police report) Well, technically the media isn't victimizing you. Your parents did that by not protecting you and covering up a crime. Your brother did that by molesting you. The media are the only ones that would probably get you help to work through your brain washing and obvious ignorance.

Jessa: “I’m like, that is so overboard and a lie really. I mean, people get mad at me for saying that, but I can say this because I was one of the victims.” You can't call yourself a victim if you refuse to call your brother a child molester.  

Jessa:  "In Josh's case he was a young boy in puberty, a little too curious about girls and that got him into some trouble and he made some bad choices but really the extent of it was mild inappropriate touching on fully clothed victims while they were sleeping." Except for the other two that were awake, that with you coming forward confirms that Jinger was molested in the laundry room (and broke down during her police interview) and Joy was the one on Josh's lap reading a story. (though that was always clear)

Jessa:  "No, I think we're different than most girls in that he was subtle. He knew in his mind his actions are wrong but he was very sly. The girls didnt catch on. If you catch them sleeping its like a quick feel or like you know if youre just not really aware. They weren't awake and not aware. It was very subtle." You know what's not a compliment? Describing a pedophile as "subtle" 

Jessa also used new buzzwords she learned from all the criticism. The therapist they saw is now "licensed" (yeah, right.) And she mentioned the FOIA and said that they cannot release juvenile records. Though a literal quick visit to their website shows you they CAN if no one is prosecuted. So had Jim Bob and Michelle brought Josh to the authorities and got Josh court sentenced counselling, those records would be sealed and I wouldn't be bitching about this on my blog.

Jessa also pointed out the parents company of In Touch Weekly "does pornography" (Google says they do a soap opera magazine, but fuck me, right?) and maybe they're used to making objects out of women. You mean like patriarchy?

In conclusion, the Duggars are more worried about the fact that someone leaked their police report than they are over the fact that their son is a child molester. Their children are clearly showing signs of Stockholm Syndrom because of how they were raised in this patriarchy world. Their number one priority right now is saving the show, not making sure the daughters have any lasting effects.

Game of Thrones

The Wall - Quit your bitching, Olly you little fuck. 

Dorne - Unless we get the "fire and blood" speech in the next episode, what the fuck was the point of Dorne? It accomplished nothing but making my eyes roll back into my head. Doran and Areo are very interesting characters, but the show barely gave them any notice.

Braavos - So on top of Meryn Trant being a total cunt, he's also a pedophile. Please kill him now, Arya.

The North - Now this is the most offensive thing Thrones has ever done. All those bonding moments between Stannis and Shireen? Yep, they were there to make us all feel worse about this scene, which involves Stannis actually letting Shireen burn at the stake. (After he conveniently sends Davos back to Castle Black, and denies his request to take Shireen with him.) D&D never liked Stannis, that was always clear. But having him okay her burning is the worst thing they've ever done. Having Melisandre and Selyse do it behind his back would've made more sense. But nope, he watched her burn as she screamed bloody murder and clutched a toy Davos made for her. Awful.

Mereen - The prior scene with Shireen killed my lady boner for Daznak's. Sure, we got some great Tyrion banter, good acting from Emilia Clarke, Dany FINALLY forgiving Jorah, and Drogon torching mother fuckers. But I couldn't even be that excited for it. Plus, CGI Dany flying Drogon was terrible, but I always knew it would be on a TV show.

Veep

At lease this show made me laugh this week. From Jonah calling Dan a "Solid 5 1/2, weak 6" to the reading of the "Jonad files." It was so amusing how all these people threw each other under the bus in this episode. I needed that laugh.

Review: Every Secret Thing

The importance of communication. 

When Ronnie and Alice (Eva Grace Kellner and Brynne Nyquist as children, Dakota Fanning and Danielle MacDonald as adults) were 11, they were responsible for an infant's death. An infant who was a stranger to them that they just took. It sounds simple, but it isn't. Seven years later, they are out of juvie, no contact with each other, trying to live their lives. Sullen Ronnie works at a bagel shop. Snobby Alice spends her days walking, trying to get in shape. When a toddler goes missing, her resemblance to the daughter of the woman whose baby they killed is uncanny, so that brings Detectives Nancy Porter (Elizabeth Banks) and Kevin Jones (Nate Parker) to question them.

The film opens with a scene that isn't revealed until much later in the book. I felt like that may have taken some of the mystery away. Though obviously having read the book it's hard to say. It just seemed like a strange thing to open with. Like they wanted you to know right away which one of the two was the cruelest, where you kind of had to guess a bit more in the novel.

The film did well at condensing the novel into a short 90 minutes. They didn't leave out any big points. They managed to make Cynthia Barnes actually feel more sympathetic, whereas in the book she came off as kind of a bitch. (Which is terrible, I know, she's obviously a character that is hurting, but I couldn't shake that feeling when I was reading it)

I thought the cast was excellent, Banks and Fanning being the strongest, even though Fanning's role was small. Diane Lane is great as Alice's frankly ridiculous mother, and MacDonald is perfect as Alice. Very close to how I imagined her. 

I suppose many might see this as a typical melodrama, but the story here is very fascinating and the cast is great. It's a worthy adaptation to a great book.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "Some things are easier if you can sleep through them." - Ronnie (Dakota Fanning)

Indie Gems: Tracks

Walkabout. 

Tracks follows Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska) as she intends to make a 1,700 mile trek across the desert alone. She's sick of it all. Sick of city life, and she seems sick of people too. Since Australia has a large ferel camel population, she intends to tame 3 camels to carry her gear. She takes the time to work on camel farms to learn more about them. She writes a letter to National Geographic to sponsor her trip, and they agree to do so if American, Rick (Adam Driver) can meet up with her occasionally and take her picture along the way.

Depending on who you are, this is a film about a seemingly lost woman on the quest for self discovery, or according to some people online, a "horrid animal abuser who makes her dog walk along with her and steals wild animals and forces them to carry her shit." I've heard that last one in several places. Still, a film like this sounds pretty boring on paper, but was anything but on screen. Director John Curran, who brought us The Painted Veil (which is very underrated, I might add) treats this film in a similiar fashion. It's beautifully shot and he gets a great performance out of Wasikowska who carries the film. Driver plays a good, annoying character for the bit of screen time he gets. Rick and Robyn's relationship was certainly interesting.

There's dog death, which sucks. I knew it was coming so my wussy self fast forwarded through that. It did feel a bit like the Australian version of The Wild, but the film features beautiful cinematography and a great performance by the always wonderful lead actress. It might not sound that interesting on paper, but it certainly is. 

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "The universe gave us three things to make life bearable: hope, jokes, and dogs. But the greatest of these was dogs." - Robyn (Mia Wasikowska)

Thursday Movie Picks: Kids Movies Adults Would Enjoy

This week Wander asks us to pick non animated children movies that adults would enjoy. When I first saw that theme, I thought it was going to be so hard. Then I realized it was actually harder to narrow it down to three. The only rule I made for myself was that I couldn't use Shirley Temple movies, because then I would just use all Shirley Temple movies. Here are my favorites:


1) The Santa Claus
The sequels were all terrible, but I have very fond memories of watching this film as a kid. I watched it again this Christmas and it still holds up. Plus I could watch that scene where the step dad gets the weenie whistle over and over and over again.

2) Hocus Pocus
I think I've watched movie once a year ever since it was made, so I know for sure that adults can enjoy this one too. It's ridiculous fun, and it's also the only Sarah Jessica Parker performance I've ever liked. 

3) The Secret Garden
This last one was hard, I almost went with A Little Princess, but I figured I'd see that one pop up in other places more than Secret Garden, so I went with this one. It's still very enjoyable for an adult. Beautiful scenery, and a very sweet story.

DVD Review: The Last of Robin Hood

"But she acted so much older!" 

This true story follows Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning) an up and coming dancer/actress/singer working at Warner Brothers studios when she catches the eye of actor Errol Flynn.(Kevin Kline) He's taken with the young beauty and does the the typical creepy Hollywood thing; takes her to an audition, butters her up, then has sex with her. When he finds out she's not actually 18 like he thought (she's 15) He immediately cuts all ties with her and turns himself in for statutory rape. I'm just kidding, he does jack shit. Neither does Beverly's fame hungry mother. (Susan Surandon) 

I love Dakota Fanning, I'll pretty much watch her in anything (except Twilight) so I was hoping this movie would be more than her just getting perved on for 90 minutes, but it really wasn't. It was actually very boring and uninspired. She was trying to elevate the material, you could tell, but other than her performance and the wonderful costume design. This film was very forgettable.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "Why? You already got what you wanted." - Beverly (Dakota Fanning)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Game of Thrones, Veep + more

Game of Thrones

Mereen - Poor Jorah gets sent packing again. Just take him back, Dany. ffs. 
She and Tyrion chat, he takes her down a peg which is nice. Was this the moment everyone has been waiting for? For them to meet and talk?

Braavos - Arya gets her "Cat of the Canals" disguise, only they don't call her Cat much to my pisstivity. I suppose they thought the general audience was too dumb to see another "Cat" in this show.

Winterfell - Can we talk about the way this scene was cut? With Theon opening the door and seeing Sansa, dressed up, hair done, staring straight at him. That was hysterical to me. Sophie and Alfie are such fine actors and they were amazing in this scene. Theon tells Sansa that Bran and Rickon are really alive. This seems to give Sansa something more to fight for.

Meanwhile, Ramsay disagrees with Roose's seriously legit plan and will probably (hopefully) fuck something up. And by "fuck something up" I mean getting stabbed by Stannis, hopefully.

King's Landing - Cersei is getting smacked by the evil Philomena nun for not confessing. Qyburn comes in to tell her a shit load of bad news like Tommen being depressed and her uncle Kevan coming back. He also says no word from Jaime (please let me get the letter burning scene!) Then he creepily tells her his work is going smoothly.

Castle Black - Sam talks some sense into Olly, or at least I hope he does. No mention of Old Town yet. The fuck are they waiting for?

Hardhome - This whole sequence was absolutely brilliant. Hardhome is only mentioned in the books, so I had no idea what was actually going to go down here. We got some awesome banter, The Lord of Bones getting stomped by Tormund after about 30 seconds. Wun Wun! And replacement Val who didn't live every long, unfortunately. But the main thing was The Others. The Wights attacked Hardhome. Jon fights one of the White Walkers and kills it with his Valyrian steel blade (They used dragon glass to make that steel) Edd has the dragon glass one minute then apparently loses it the next, but they escape only for the Knight King to give everyone the most terrifying "come at me bro" face ever, and raises all the dead the Wights just killed as White Walkers.

And those kid Wights were fucking creepy.

Wow. Now what are they going to do in the next two episodes? I think they used all of their budget here. 

Veep

Can Dan and Amy just go back to working in the White House? I loved seeing them with Gary this week.

Also Selina's coughing, yelling, and pointing was way funnier than it should have been.

"I can't believe you found your way out of your own mother's vagina"

"You human fucking fanny pack"

“Your support will shrink faster than a penis in the December Hudson”

"Go get me some soup."

19 Kids and Counting
So get this. Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, child molester protectors, are going to be appearing on Fox News (because of course) to "share their hearts" about the scandal. It will probably be about how the girls have "forgiven" Josh and how they're being persecuted because their Christians, and this brought them SO close to God. I refuse to watch Fox News, so maybe I'll find a clip somewhere and watch later, but what a fucking joke. Can't an actual journalist interview them and ask them legit questions like the ones WTF Fundie Familes graciously laid out?