Rambling TV: Thoughts on Fear The Walking Dead, Daredevil + more

It's been awhile since I've done one of these, but I wasn't watching many shows simultaneously and I only really write in depth about The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. But, I manged to finish a few series and start a new one, so I have some rambling to do.

True Detective

It's been a few weeks since season 2 wrapped up. I still think this season got way more shit than it deserved. It wasn't as good as season 1, but it was still solid, and I hope they do a third season. I never thought I was going to be sad about Taylor Kitsch's character dying at the beginning of the season, but man I was. That was so sad.

I'm also sad about Ray. Literally nothing good happened to him. Though his super sperm worked on Ani so at least there's another little Ray to live on. (Seriously, the UST between those two. I'm glad they hooked up.)

Daredevil

This was another show I finally finished up. The last few episodes were the strongest of the entire season. Great pacing and story telling. I'm looking forward to next season. But the biggest question I have...do I like Claire and Matt or Karen and Matt? I'm leaning more towards Claire. 

A side note about Daredevil - one of my friends complained about this show because "he gets his ass kicked too much." What the fuck do you expect? Matt's blind. That's going to happen. 

Fear The Walking Dead

So far, I'm liking this. It's a slow burn, but an interesting perspective to see what happened before the world went into the total apocalypse. I hope they put that off for as long as they can, otherwise it will just be a rehash of The Walking Dead. Maddie needs to tell her daughter what the fuck is going on though, or else her teenage stupidity is going to get her killed.

Frank Dillane is killing it though. There's some serious talent in that family.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day At Camp.

This show is so off the wall ridiculous. That's all that can really be said. It's hilarious. 

Indie Gems: Not Another Happy Ending

Scottish accents make everything better.

Jane (Karen Gillan) is an author who is trying to get her first book published. She's turned down by so many people, but Tom (Stanley Webber) sees something in her and after helping edit her book down, he publishes it and it's an instant success. But when she goes to write her second novel, she ends up getting a bad case of writer's block.

Why did I say Scottish accents make everything better? Because this is a rom com and I'm shocked that I actually enjoyed it so much. I kind of feel like I would've hated it had it taken place anywhere else, but this place and this cast just make this film shine.

Initially, I threw this film in my Netflix queue because of Iain De Caestecker. His part is small, but he's charming as always. Gillan is an absolute joy to watch. I know she has a rather large fanbase from Doctor Who, but I'm not as familiar with her. I can see why she has so many fans, she's lovely.

It's nice when you find a film in a genre that you normally hate and end up enjoying it so much. The whole thing works well together. Even though it hits some typical cliches, it at least makes them feel a bit fresh.

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I've never been this happy." - Jane (Karen Gillan)

Thursday Movie Picks: Stepfamiles


It's another all in the family edition and Wandering Through The Shelves and this week's topic is step families. Or as I liked to call it: "That week where I tried really hard to pick something other than Stepmom" and also "The week I kicked myself for already using What Maisie Knew and Pan's Labyrinth" So let me give you the good, the weird, and the ugly side of step parents.

1) Juno

I think one of the most important parts about Juno to me was how supportive the step mother was. A lot of films paint step parents in a negative light, but this one we had the step mom being as supportive as she could with the situation. 

2) Step Brothers

It's the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer and also one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. I about died when Farrell called Richard Jenkins a "geriatric fuck."

3) Bastard out of Carolina

This film is so hard to watch. When I first saw it on TV (on Lifetime because of course) it was heavily edited and I had no clue. Then I watched the original cut later on and nope'd the hell out of a re-watch ever again. Jena Malone gives one of the best young performances I've ever seen. Why they didn't throw an Emmy (It was a TV movie) at this child is beyond me. I'm raging all over again thinking of how much I hated both the mother and step father in this film. 

DVD Review: Silk

I don't hate you because you're a bad husband. You're a bad husband because I hate you.

The scene is France in the 1800's, though you would never guess because everyone speaks in an American accent. Seriously, they didn't even use the go to English accent that's at least, you know...European. Herve (Michael Pitt) has recently gotten out of the army and begins working for a silk merchant. His job is to go to Japan and get more silkworms after a nasty storm kills all of theirs. He leaves behind his dutiful wife, Helene (Keira Knightley) but becomes enchanted with a girl (Sei Ashina) who is the mistress of a Baron in Japan.

This film is somewhat like watching a live action poem. It's beautiful to look at. The music, the cinematography, the costumes are lovely. However sometimes poems aren't meant to be feature length films. I think I would've much preferred to read this one. (And I haven't read the book it was based on) Herve's purpose is to basically cheat on his wife. Only, he doesn't even cheat on her with the women he's obsessed with, he beds a random instead. I didn't give a damn about Herve, even when he has his epiphany in the film's final 10 minutes. I just didn't care.

It's a shame too, I love Pitt and Knightley and I always meant to see this film because it's so different from what Pitt is normally in, but they phoned it in. Neither seemed to have a lot of faith in this picture. I felt like the first 40 minutes or so was original content, then we just kept seeing the same scenes over and over, only different places and sometimes with different people.

It's a shame the script couldn't back up the production workers. They did a marvelous job. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C-

Memorable Quote: "Not long after that, I found something that sent me on another journey." - Herve (Michael Pitt)



Review: End of the Tour

It's about loneliness. 

David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) writes for the Rolling Stone. He sees an article praising an author, David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) and begs his boss to let him cover a writer for once. He interviews David on the last stop of his book tour in Minnesota, and at his home in Illinois. 

This film is very quiet, very still, it flows easily from once scene to the next. It starts with the news of Wallace's suicide, a brilliant choice by the filmmakers to put it there, because everything Wallace says holds more weight now that you ultimately know where it ends. It's very tragic. The film is essentially like an extended interview between Wallace and Lipsky. It's mostly them conversing, and with the wrong actors, the film could've been a bore.

Luckily it didn't have that problem. Segel and Eisenberg are wonderful. Beyond wonderful, this is the best I've ever seen Segel. (Aside from him flapping his dick around in Forgetting Sarah Marshall because that was amazing) He plays Wallace so thoughtfully. He's also very believable when it comes to showing his addiction . Admittedly, I don't know much about the real David Foster Wallace, yet everything Segel did felt so true. Eisenberg is always reliable. He often gets typecast as the nerdy guy, but he has so much more to offer. This is another one of those films. Lipsky is a cordial guy, but he has a bit of a nasty side, which Eisenberg subtly shows here and there. 

I also can't help but smile at seeing the Mall of America and Minnesota in a movie. I can also relate to all that snow.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "I don't even know if I like you yet." - David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel)

2015 Blind Spot Series: Mulholland Dr.


What I knew going in: That this movie, as many put it is "pretty fucking weird."

A woman (Laura Harring) is being driven in the back of a limo. They pull over on Mulholland Dr. and a man in the passenger seat is about to kill her. Suddenly, another car hits them head on, and the woman is the only survivor. She stumbles into an apartment complex where Betty (Naomi Watts) a fresh faced aspiring actress has just arrived from Canada to pursue her dreams. The woman can't remember anything. She says her name is "Rita" but she got it off a movie poster. Betty decides to help Rita find out what happened to her. At the same time, the police investigating the accident know someone is missing. Meanwhile a director, Adam (Justin Theroux) is broke and being bullied into casting a certain woman in his next production. And his wife cheats on him with Billy Ray Cyrus so you know he's having a bad day.

I found all the scenes of Rita and Betty's story to be completely fascinating. Naomi Watts is such a treasure. I love watching her on screen and she's excellent here. It's an interesting mystery. I also liked seeing the audition scenes in Hollywood. They were exactly how I assume auditions are really like.

There was some filler that I didn't care for. The cops, the botched robbery, though that was hilarious. And the film does get super weird in the last 45 minutes or so. Overall, I enjoyed it, even if parts of it left me scratching my head.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "What are you doing? We don't stop here."  - Rita (Laura Harring)

Indie Gems: The End of Love

Priorities.

Mark (Mark Webber) is a struggling actor and single dad trying to take care of his two year old son, Isaac. (Webber's actual child, Isaac Love) He's not getting any parts, a failed audition with Amanda Seyfried is shown early in the film, and he can't pay his roommates rent. Since Isaac's mother died, he's struggled with relationships. He meets woman named Lydia (Shannyn Sossamon) who runs a children's play center who is slightly awkward and shows her interest in him, but he jumps into things too quickly.

Mark and Isaac's interactions feel so natural. Obviously, because they really are father and son and Webber centered filming around Isaac, but it's refreshing to see that play out on screen. Sometimes it's easy to pick out overly coached moments with child actors and everything flows so organically in this film. It's fun to watch. The opening scene of Isaac simply waking up is presented so brilliantly. The film does lose its way a bit during a scene where Mark attends a party at his friend Michael Cera's house. (Aubrey Plaza, Alia Skawkat, Michael Angarano, and Jake Johnson also make appearances) But once Mark gets back with Isaac, it finds its footing again. 

I've been a fan of Webber's for awhile. Both his acting and directing. It's nice to finally see this film which clearly means so much to him.

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Are you talking to Daddy the fish or Daddy the dad?" - Mark (Mark Webber)

Thursday Movie Picks: Asian Language Movies Set in East Asia

This week's theme at the ever wonderful Wandering Through The Shelves is Asian Langauge movies set in East Asia. The catch is they cannot be horror movies. This made me realize I have not seen enough Asia non-horror. So while my picks are probably going to be very obvious, what I'm really looking forward to is everyone else's for the recommendations. So here it goes!

1) Departures

The Oscar winner is about a man who thinks he's applying for a job at a travel agency when he ends up getting one preparing the dead for the afterlife. It's beautifully shot and acted. (Even though the 4 Ways a Best Picture gents didn't love it as much as I did)

2) Battle Royale

The idea of this film IS horrifying, but I wouldn't call it a horror movie. It's about as much of one as the Hunger Games is, only this is gorier. Middle schoolers getting dropped on an island to fight to the death, it's so twisted.* 

3) Oldboy

Oldboy is the example I always use when I try to argue the cases of dubs ruining films. When I first watched Oldboy, it was the English dub, and I thought it was terrible. The lead actor's speaking voice and "thinking" voice were different and took me out of the moment. Then Netflix finally got the subtitled version and it was like watching an entirely different film.

* And if Battle Royale is too horror-y, then my bonus pick is Spirited Away

Against The Crowd Blogathon

Dell over at Dell on Movies is bringing his popular blogathon from last year back! I had fun with this last year. I got my hate on with Rebel Without a Cause and told you all how much I love Gothika. Of course I'm back for more!

Here are the rules:
1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of at least 75% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you hate it.

2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of less than 35% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you love it.

3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies.


4. Use one of the banners in this post, or feel free to create your own.

Let's get the ugly out of the way.

Boyhood

Oh Boyhood, the darling of last years award season, and a film I wanted so badly to like. But the more I think about Boyhood, the more I hate it.

It was slow, aimless, poorly acted (Patricia Arquette, while the best in the movie was highly overrated, in my opinion) and I think it gets far too many excuses made for it. You frequently hear "Oh, that but's how life is." Indeed, life can be boring, but that doesn't mean a film about a mediocre life is going to work. This one surely didn't. The most interesting part of the film was in the first hour, with the abusive husband and having to leave behind their step siblings, but then it's never mentioned again. They fell off the face of the planet.

On top of that, random Twitter fanboys made this worse for me. I'm not talking about other film fans that enjoyed Boyhood. We're a respectful group with a variety of tastes. I'm talking about Twitter accounts that are seemingly set up to only argue with people that didn't like Boyhood. You have no idea how many "Wahhh Boyhood was the best, no one will remember Birdman next year!!!111!!ELEVENTY!!!!" tweets I got sent to me during awards seasons last year. Sorry randoms, I put a good effort towards liking this film, and I just couldn't. 

Running With Scissors

I was actually going to go with another Evan Rachel Wood flick, Pretty Persuasion, but this one had a lower audience score. This was a film I always thought was really interesting and was filled with great actors and great performances. I'm honestly not sure why it has such a low score on Rotten Tomatoes? Was it too weird? I kind of love everything about it. It was really complex and kind of out there, but this cast is amazing. Annette Benning, Evan Rachel Wood, Patrick Wilson, Joseph Cross, Alec Baldwin, Gabrielle Union, Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes. I mean, sure Gwyneth Paltrow was in it too, but even she wasn't terrible here. This was a film that I thought would actually have some decent Oscar potential when I first saw it, then nothing.

DVD Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

If you save the world, we can do it in the asshole.

When Eggsy (Taron Egerton) was a boy, a mysterious man came to his house to tell his mother of his father's death. He gave him a medal of valor with a phone number on it to call if he ever needs help. Fast forward about 17 years, Eggsy's life has been rough. His mother's boyfriend is an abusive douche, and after he gets thrown in jail for stealing a car, he decides to call the number on the back of his medal.

He's then reunited with Harry, (Colin Firth) though he doesn't recognize him as the man that gave him his medal. Harry is part of the Kingsman. A secret spy organization with a very long history, and an advanced training boot camp. Harry believes in Eggsy, as he did his father, and gets him on the path to start his training. Now is the perfect time too, because a tech mongrel, Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is about to kill a good portion of mankind.

I remember seeing the previews for this and thinking it looked like a stupid Bond rip off. Then it came out and got some great reviews. I still waited for the DVD, but it was absolutely worth the wait. The Kingsman is the best kind of campy. It's so over the top and ridiculous and easily one of the funniest films I've seen in ages.

It's shot quite brilliantly, especially during some of the many extended fighting takes. It's a lot gorier than I expected it to be, but the cast was wonderful and it's easy to see why they would want to be a part of this film. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable quote: "That was fucking spectacular!" - Merlin (Mark Strong)


That was fucking spectacular
If you save the world, we can do it in the asshole

DVD Review The Chocolate War



This is what happens..


This is what happens when your Netflix queue is a 50+ DVD disaster. You throw films in, then you can't remember why you put them there or who recommended them to you.

This brings me to The Chocolate War. What the fuck was I thinking? This story follows Jerry (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) a new student at a private Catholic school who has to deal with his new classmates forcing him to conform to their ways, and one of the weirdest teachers of all time in Brother Leon. (John Glover) On top of that, Brother Leon is practically forcing these kids to try to sell chocolate bars to get the school extra funds. 

Maybe I was feeling nostalgic for The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys or Saved when I threw this one in the queue. I do like to grab random indies as I see them, but this just wasn't good. It was sluggish and decent performances aside couldn't save it. Plus the casting is terrible. I get it, adults play teenagers. It's easier to avoid child labor laws. But when half your class of teenagers look about 30, you did something wrong. 

This was based on a book, which I haven't read. Perhaps that translates better. 

Recommended: No

Grade: F

Memorable Quote: "Don't you have some great days or some rotten days?" - Jerry ( Ilan Mitchell-Smith)



Indie Gems: Camp X-Ray

It's never that simple.

Private Amy Cole (Kristen Stewart) is assigned to work at Guantanamo Bay. After a rough start, she forms an interesting relationship with one of the detainees, Ali, (Peyman Moaadi) which is against the rules.

I've been watching to see this film for ages, but it never came to any theaters near me. What I learned while waiting is that it raised a lot of questions. Was Ali innocent? Was it wrong to show GITMO in this light? I try not to get too political when watching films. What I can say for sure, that this film was very thought provoking. 

I can add this to the never ending list of films that people who bitch about Kristen Stewart's acting should she. She's excellent here. Her part was originally written for a male, but it was changed to suit her well. I couldn't picture anyone else in this role. Moaadi was the star for me. He's someone I've only known from A Separation, which he was wonderful in. I hope to see more of him, because he has a ton of talent. Plus, I can't help that love the fact that when we first meet him, he's bitching about the newest Harry Potter book not being available because he thinks Snape might be a good guy now. The director, Peter Sattler said he envisioned Ali almost like a crack head when he wrote him, then Moaadi came in and humanized him and brought out so much more.

It's very straight forward and doesn't sugar coat anything. It's a unique story and hopefully more people can see it now that it's out on DVD.

Grade: A+

Memorable Quote: "Quit with that Hannibal Lector shit." - Cole (Kristen Stewart)


Thursday Movie Picks: Movies With Devastating Endings

Everyone ready to be depressed? This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is movies with devastating endings that make you want to weep. As someone who cries in movies all of the time, this wasn't too hard. My only gripe is that I already used Atonement, and that should surely be here too. Spoiler Alerts, obviously

1) Requiem for a Dream
This movie is so devastating and disturbing I don't think I could ever watch it again. Especially when it comes to Ellen Burstyn's character. I sobbed the majority of the time she was on screen.
2) The Mist

This might seem like a weird choice because it's a horror movie, but the ending is SO depressing. Unable to outrun the monsters, a man with only four bullets left in his gun kills his young son and three other survivors. As he waits for the mist to take him, a military tank shows up with a bunch of other survivors, some he encountered earlier. He killed them for nothing.

3 Old Yeller

Hey, you know that dog that got attacked by a bear, boars, and a wolf all to protect these annoying ass kids? He gets rabies and they shoot him. Wow. Such family movie. Much hope. Very fuck you.

I hate Old Yeller. 

Review: The Gift

No more massive windows.

Seriously. Does anything good ever happen to people who live in these nice houses with more floor to ceiling windows than actual concrete walls? No. Because it's creepy. I love a nice view as much as everyone else. I also like blinds. 

Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have recently moved from Chicago back to California, not far from where Simon grew up. He got a new job, she's recovering from depression after a miscarriage, this new start seems fitting. However right when they move back, they run into Gordo. (Joel Edgerton) Gordo is an awkward old classmate of Simon's that seems innocent enough at first, but he starts leaving random gifts on their door step and showing up with Simon isn't home. When they try to end things with Gordo, Robyn starts to realize that maybe there's a very good reason he's showing such an interest in them.

I first saw the trailer for this a couple of weeks ago, and I figured it would be a renter. Then I found out Edgerton wrote and directed it, and the Fantastic Four bombed, so I decided to make a go of it in the theaters. It ended up being a solid thriller. Sure, it relied on a few jump scares (one even got me) but overall I felt it had enough going for it that set it apart from the many films like this.

The casting is perfect. Bateman plays a good asshole, Hall always has a likable presence and Edgerton really brought the pain behind Gordo's eyes. The ending seems to be dividing people. I won't spoil it. There is a massive flaw in the logic of it, but you can't say it's one that you've seen 100 times before. It makes you feel really gross at first, then the more you think about it, you can't help but question it.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Kids are honest." - Simon (Jason Bateman)

Review: Dark Places

We all have the capacity for cruelty.

When Libby Day was seven, her mother and two older sisters were murdered in their house in the middle of the night. She escaped, and her older brother Ben went to jail for the crime. 28 years later, Libby (Charlize Theron) hasn't done a thing with her life and is living off her diminishing trust of donations from the crime. She comes in contact with Lyle (Nicholas Hoult) who is part of a "Kill Club" where the focus is solving murders. They don't believe Ben to be the killer and eventually start to get Libby to question how things went down herself. 

I'm a huge fan of the novel by Gillian Flynn, and though she didn't adapt the screenplay like she did for Gone Girl, writer/director Gilles Paquet-Brenner does a fine job. There were only very minor changes. Though Paquet-Brenner is a horror director, and sometimes I think he went a bit too heavy on that tone for this film. 

When I first saw the casting of Theron and Chloe Grace Moretz as young Ben's girlfriend, Diondra, I was worried. Theron's a good actress but she looks nowhere near how Libby is described in the books. As I predicted, those were the two weakest links for me. Libby is a very angry woman, but Theron didn't capture her naivety well. Libby is almost meant to be very small and walks with a limp, adding to that vulnerability, and 5'10 Theron just couldn't capture that. She didn't give a bad performance, just not one I imagined as Libby. Moretz never impresses me in anything, so she's just her usual bad here.

The rest of the cast I loved. I laughed when Christina Hendrick's was cast as Libby's supposedly "plain" looking mother, because Jesus have you seen Christina Hendricks? But they toned her down quite a bit, and she really made you feel how stressed Patty does. She was heartbreaking. Nicholas Hoult is always an interesting guy to watch, and he was great as Lyle. The casting of Tye Sheridan/Corey Stoll as the young and older versions of Ben was spot on as well. (And Rescue Me's queen bitch Andrea Roth makes a small appearance too!)

Dark Places gets a lot right, and I hope it gets more exposure. Anything based off Gillian Flynn's work deserves to be scene.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable quote: "Lyle Wirth looked like a serial killer which means he probably wasn't." - Libby (Charlize Theron)

DVD Review: Cut Bank

I think IMDb trivia is lying to me.

Per IMDb, the script for Cut Bank made the infamous "Blacklist" for best unproduced screenplays in 2009. Either that's total bullshit, or the ending changed drastically from the screenplay back in 09. This review in the final paragraph will contain spoilers for the ending, because I can't get around talking about it to explain why this film is ultimately pretty ridiculous. 

Dwayne (Liam Hemsworth) hates living in Cut Bank, MT. But he has to take care of his ailing father, so he feels he's stuck. He wants to leave for "the big city" with his girlfriend, Cassandra (Teresa Palmer) but one day while they're recording a video for her audition in the Miss Cut Bank pageant, they witness the murder of the local mail man. (Bruce Dern) They show the video to the beautiful cinnamon roll Sheriff Vodel(John Malkovich) and Cassandra's dad, Stan. (Billy Bob Thorton) They start to investigate, but at the same time a timid, stuttering man named Derby Milton (Michael Stuhlbarg) is dead set on finding out who did this himself because he had a very important parcel on that mail truck.

The cast here is outstanding on paper. I threw this movie into my Netflix queue originally because I saw Teresa Palmer was in it, so it was really disappointing to find out she's terrible in it. I love her, I've never seen her be terrible in anything, but what was she thinking? There was nothing redeemable or even remotely interesting about Cassandra. Her whole purpose was to stare at Dwayne lovingly and somehow think it's okay to stay in town for a pageant despite her boyfriend literally telling her SOMEONE IS TRYING TO KILL HIM. The only characters that have any meat to them are Stuhlbarg's, who is quite brilliant, and Bruce Dern, who gets to tell a few people to go fuck themselves. That's the high point of the film.

It does peak interest throughout, but when it gets to the climax, it's like all logic gets thrown out the window. Spoiler time - So Dwayne worked with Georgie and others to stage his murder to get some reward money so he can leave his small town life behind. Which all would've gone over smoothly if Derby wasn't looking for his damn parcel - which turns out to be a fucking lunch box for a picture he's recreating in his basement. So Derby beats Georgie to death (Remember, this is the mail man that was supposedly shot in the video) for not telling him where his parcel is. He finds Dwayne and Cassandra and holds them hostage while they take Derby to his package in a storage unit. Dwayne nonchalantly signals the employee there to call 911. Derby gets caught by Sherrif Vodel. Vodel then takes Dwayne and Stan into the morgue to show them Georgie's body. Vodel, who throughout this entire movie has been so straight laced that he's never seen a murder before, takes out his gun and shoots Georgie's dead body so that the bullet holes in the video are actually there. I guess he didn't realize that coroners can tell if bodies were harmed after that, but what ever. Then he basically tells Dwayne "Nice plan you had there, take your money and go live a better life." And Stan, who seems to dislike Dwayne throughout the movie was like "Yeah, go, and don't tell my daughter. But take her with." WHAT?! They're just going to cover up a felony just like that? There's no reason to help Dwayne. Vodel and Stan are risking their lives/careers for this random kid? No way. I'm sorry, but this is just stupid.

Recommended: No

Grade: D (Should be an F, but I can't do that to Stuhlbarg and Dern)

Memorable Quote: "Y-y-y-you know what? Go fuck yourself." - Georgie (Bruce Dern)

Indie Gems: Blue Ruin

I'm going to politely kill you now.

When we first meet Dwight (Macon Blair) he seems like just another homeless man trying to get by. Soon, he's informed that a man that did prison time for killing his parents has been released. He finds him and kills him, but soon that man's family, led by Teddy Cleland(Kevin Kolack) is hot on his trail. 

Blue Ruin is a perfect slow burn. Movies often get criticized for being slow, and some certainly deserve it, but it works very well here. Dwight is very soft spoken, and almost too naive to be carrying out the violent crimes he commits. There's a lot of waiting on his part. It fits with the constant worry that Dwight is in over his head.

Blair is excellent here. And the Cleland family is so perfectly trashy. Their faces needed bullets. I was on the fence about this movie for awhile, but I'm glad I finally took the plunge and watched it. It was definitely worth it.

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "Wipe that off your face. He probably has hepatitis." Ben (Devin Ratray)

Thursday Movie Picks: Alien Invasion of Earth

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is alien invasions of Earth! Before we get into this, if you're not participating in this awesome weekly series, you should be.

Admittedly, I'm not crazy about alien invasion movies, but there are a few I'm okay with. So that's what this list will be about. Films that are just "okay" 

1) War of the Worlds

I know people kind of hated the remake, but I had a good time watching it. When I saw it in theaters, there was an insane thunder storm going on at the same time. My friends and I ran to my car in the midst of pouring rain, thunder, and lightening. Then as we were driving away, we saw someone we knew whose car was stuck in a massive puddle that we had to go push out. I won't forget it. 

2) Mars Attacks

This movie is so stupid, but so funny. Terrible music defeats the aliens. You can't get much better than that.

3) The Faculty 

This is one of the first R rated movies I can remember seeing in theaters. I remember my sister telling me something like "If you get scared you can go watch The Prince of Egypt again." (I think it was Prince of Egypt) I stuck it out, though. Writing about it now makes me kind of want to watch it again.

DVD Review: The Sisterhood of the Night

Teenagers suck

Seriously, they're are the worst. The following film, while marketed as somewhat of a thriller is actually just a lesson in how awful teenagers are. 

Emily (Kara Hayward) is a bit of an outcast with a blog no one reads. She gets into a fight with the mean girl of her school, Mary. (Georgie Henley) Mary makes her flub an audition in drama class, Emily steals her phone and posts her texts on her blog. Eventually, they cool down. Then Mary starts a mysterious group called "The Sisterhood" It's very exclusive, and only Mary gets to decide who gets in. Several of the girls in their school desire to be a part of it. When Emily secretly follows them and sees them doing cult-like activities, she blabs about it on her blog and the entire town they live in turns into a media hell hole.

I spent a lot of time wondering if I was having trouble taking Georgie Henley seriously as a mean girl because I was so used to her as Lucy in the Narnia movies. No, that's not it. It's the fact that Henley doesn't even seem to believe she can play a mean girl herself. She's playing a caricature of one. Completely with over the top bitchy glances and head tilts. There's nothing natural about that at all. Same with Hayward, who showed so much promise in Moonrise Kingdom. While she hits her emotional notes when she needs to, her scheming feels equally as uninspired as Henley's Regina George impression.

This film wasn't what I expected. I like cult movies, I like mysteries, and while this film seemed to have that on the surface, it ended up just being a vapid teen movie. The only thing that saves it in the end is the fact that it's another lesson in how bullying can ruin lives. Maybe teenagers will like this film. It certainly wasn't for me.

Please join me in a prayer circle for Kal Penn, Laura Fraser, and Louis Ozawa Chanchein who somehow found themselves in this mess.

Recommended: No

Grade: F

Memorable Quote: "You're such a cliche." - Mary (Georgie Henley)



DVD Review: Glorious 39

Too much privilege.

Anne (Romola Garai) is the adopted daughter of Alexander, (Bill Nighy) a member of the Parliament. She lives a very privileged and sheltered life in Norfolk with her (non adopted) siblings, Ralph (Eddie Redmayne) and Celia. (Juno Temple) WWII is impending, and Anne eventually finds some secret gramophone recordings of her family members threatening others in the pro-appeasement movement. When she attempts to learn more, people start dying around her. The film also spends a bit of time in modern day London with Michael (Toby Regbo) who is Celia's grandson, attempting to get more information on what happened to Anne. 

I've talked about my Netflix DVD queue being a permanent disaster area that's taken me ages to get through. I was on a Charlie Cox kick last year and threw this in there. When It got to me last week I looked at the summary again and was like "why the fuck did I do this to myself, it's going to be so boring!"

I was wrong, it's beautifully shot and the costumes and art direction are flawless. It ended up being a good, mysterious film. Garai is good in her role. She's an actress that's been consistent, but not one of my favorites. Redmayne and Temple were excellent as her stuck up siblings. And I got to see Charlie Cox's bare ass so that was worth it.

The ending hurts the film a bit. It was written well, and I hate to say it, but the actors kind of blew it. It felt awkward and overly cliche. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Listen to them again, Anne." - Gilbert (Hugh Bonneville)