Indie Gems: Legend

You can't he half a gangster

I shouldn't have to label this film an "Indie Gem." Had The Revenant not been released in the same year, I imagine the studios would've been trying to ride on Hardy's performance here. But alas, they didn't and this film got zero marketing in the States. It played in 107 theaters at its highest peak, then dropped to 19 two weeks later.

Reggie and Ronnie Kray (Tom Hardy) are twin brothers and gangsters in 1960's London. We see them spend time in jail, own night clubs, ruin those clubs, and slowly rise to more power throughout. Reggie's relationship with Frances Shea (Emily Browning) is also heavily featured.

I never thought I'd be into gangster movies. I don't know much about the Krays, but hearing the name Meyer Lansky mentioned, as his people deal with the them gave me a bit of Boardwalk Empire nostalgia. The atmosphere in this movie is great. It's well shot, calm and steady. Then the music turns up when the Krays began to fight and we're given high energy choreography. 

Tom Hardy, I can't say enough about this man. He's brilliant in this. Ronnie is the wild card, but Reggie is where he truly shines. You can tell beneath it all, he longs to be a normal guy, but he loves being a gangster even more. Emily Browning, whom I love, is our conscience in the film. Her naivety pulls us into the mess that is the Krays. Acting wise, she's not given a lot to do other than be our eyes, but she carries herself well. I just wish there was more emotion from her. I kept feeling like we were teetering on what could've been a more memorable performance, but we never quite take that dive. Tom Hardy gives it all, she should've too.

If I had another complaint, it would be that the film ends a but too abruptly, but I enjoy the rest so much I can forgive it. If you read about the Krays, you'll know what was coming anyways.

Grade: B

What are you going to do with that? bake me a cake? - Ronnie Kray. (Tom Hardy)

Thursday Movie Picks: Affairs

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is about affairs. I swear sometimes I feel like I'm having an affair with my blog. I don't actually tell anyone I know that I do this. There's a lot of great films out there that fit, but I'm going to try to stick with films I haven't used in any of the previous years. Admit it, you were expecting American Beauty to land here?

1) The Good Girl

Until Cake, this was probably Jennifer Aniston's best role. She's Justine, who ends up having an affair with a young colleague that she finds intriguing. 

2) The King

Gael Garcia Bernal plays a young man who goes to look for the father he never knew, only to have that man, played by John Hurt turn him away. So he goes an has an affair with his 16 year old daughter. 

3) Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

Diane's affair with Lionel starts as curiosity and grows into a companionship she craves. Though you feel very bad for Diane's husband, who is a stand up guy through all of this. 

DVD Review: Macbeth

A gifset film...

Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) receives a prophecy that he'll one day become the King of Scotland. His wife, (Marion Cotillard) is on board with this and pushes him to take matters into his own hands, he murders the current king to take the throne, however nothing is that simple.

I read this play in high school, but it was very forgettable. As I was watching this film, some things would come to me. I remembered why I forgot it in the first place; it's pretty damn bleak. The film clearly chose style over substance, which brings me to the title of this post.

This film looks like an extended series of gifsets. They do great things with color and scenery, and all the things I'd expect to see while scrolling through tumblr. It's like this film's only purpose is to be seen in these small, yet beautiful frames by themselves, with nothing to tie them together. 

The dialogue is at times very hard to understand, Fassbender and Cotillard are excellent actors who don't seem to actually be trying very hard. Maybe they realized the film wasn't exactly relying on their performances? The director didn't seem to pay them much mind, so why try? 

Aesthetically, it's gorgeous. Albeit a bit pretentious at times. I was hoping to be proven wrong about Macbeth. That I didn't remember the story because my taste in high school was terrible, but this film did nothing but disappoint me. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "We'll not fail." - Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard)

Rambling TV: Game of Da Fuq? Agents of Shipping Trash + more

Game of Thrones
It's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. This was a sold opener (aside from one thing) that got the ball rolling.

Castle Black
Davos hears Ghost's heartbreaking howling and he finds Jon's body. He, Edd, and some other Night's Watch men get his body into a room and baracade themselves. Throne, like the asshole he is tells the other members of the NW about what he did, and tries to rally them to their side. Davos knows there's going to be a fight. Melisandre takes one look at Jon and leaves, her faith shaken. Edd goes off to summon the Wildlings while Davos makes terms with Throne like a boss. Stannis would be proud. The episode ends with Melisandre's glamour coming off, showing her in her true form...that of an ancient woman. Wow.

Winterfell/North
Ramsay brings his dead girlfriend up to his wife's bedroom. Talks about how much he loved her, then orders the maester to feed her body to the hounds. Stay classy, Ramsay. Roose then keeps up with PA parenting 101 and brow beats Ramsay about losing Sansa and Theon. He ends with the comment that his wife is carrying a son.

Out in the snow, Theon and Sansa are running from the Bolton forces. They go through a freezing river and hide under a tree. Theon hugs Sansa, and it's so sad because you know he's thinking of Robb there too and how he let down the Starks. He offers himself up so she can escape, but just as they're about to be captured, Brienne and Pod show up and kick some Bolton ass. Theon even kills one of them. Brienne swears her oath to Sansa like she did Catelyn, and Sansa accepts. Pod helped her with the words.

Dorne
Fucking Dorne is a catastrophe. Seriously, I get they're trying to get some faux feminism "girl power!" thing going on with the Sand Snakes and Ellaria but it just doesn't work. I see all these jokes on Twitter about the Sham Snakes "listening to Lemonade early." Now. These women aren't empowering. They're going on a stupid revenge story for Oberyn who would not approve of them obliterating his ENTIRE family line, which they did in this episode. Fuck Dorne. I hope I never see it again.
King's Landing
Cersei is practically skipping to the harbor to greet Myrcella and Jaime and I almost feel bad. When Cersei finds out she dies, she tells Jaime of the prophecy of her children dying and how she knows it's now true. We also check in on Margaery in the dungeon, and you can tell she's about to plot something.

Meereen
Tyrion and Varys have some great banter and then all of Dany's ships got set on fire. Whoops.

Dothraki Sea
The Dothraki are pigs. They talk about the most disgusting things and Dany doesn't say anything until the last minute when she makes everyone look like an idiot. I loved that. It's been a while since I loved a Dany scene. Unfortunately for her they're taking her to Vaes Dothrak because that's where widowed Khaleesi's are supposed to live. Daario and Jorah are on her trail.
Braavos
Poor Arya is still blind and getting her ass kicked by the Waif. That water dancing training should be handy right about now.


Better Call Saul

The episode started with this really brilliant shot of Chuck on a gurney that was very unique. I love when they do things like that. The directors of this show manage to seamlessly pull of tricks like that without feeling pretentious.

Let's talk about the tension in the scene where Mike has a gun on the Salamancas. It's amazing how intense that was, even when you know three of those people obviously don't die. 

Then there's the ending. With Jimmy confessing he set Chuck up and Chuck capturing it all on a tape recorder. I hated it. It ruined the entire episode for me. Not only because I saw it coming but because Chuck is literally the worst. I suppose it makes for good drama next season, but it was so typical and that's something Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad rarely is/was.
Agents of SHIELD


Inhumans are boring and they were the main focus of this episode. Every time one of them does something stupid, I secretly wish that an Avenger would show up and put them in their place. It did get more interesting towards the end. Hive, as they're now calling FrankenWard can possess Inhumans, and after a reenactment of And Then There Were None, we find out he got Daisy. As much as I wish they would kill both her and Ward off, they won't. But at least this should be interesting. 

May continues to be my spirit animal asking "what the hell is going on?" 

Malick is dead, at first I thought it was really underwhelming that he died off screen, then they flashed back to it and it was actually fucking gruesome.

Now for the most important part of this episode: FITZSIMMONS! They're finally a canon ship! It was so sweet and laid back and perfect, and I will kill this show with fire if they ever split them apart.

Veep

Holy shit this episode was hilarious. I can't believe how on point the dialogue was. Selena still doesn't know if she won the election or now, she's sending Amy (who recruits Dan)  to Nevada to schmooze some voters that have to revote. Jonah also got demoted which always warms my heart.

Memorable Quotes: "I declare a state of go fuck yourself." "You can't quib, I already fired you, rebard." (Said after receiving a text with a typo in it) "There is now time for some Chinese baby. Cancel it and see if you can get your money back."


Rambling TV is a weekly series where I ramble semi coherently about the things I've watched on television. There's usually wine involved on my part. Click those gifts to be redirected to their makers. 

2016 Blind Spot Series: Au Revoir Les Enfants


What I knew going in: Nothing. I didn't read the plot summary until right before the film started, and I picked it based on seeing it pop up on others' lists previously.

In 1944 France, Julien (Gaspard Manesse) is a young boy sent off to a Catholic boarding school during the war. He could somewhat be described as a "mama's boy." He wishes he could stay with her while his brother François (Stanislas Carré de Malberg) seems largely indifferent to being away. He's a bright kid who also tries to hide the fact that he occasionally wets the bed. But that's not the only thing he ends up hiding. A new student named Jean (Raphael Fejtö) shows up and becomes a bit of a rival to Julien. He's quiet, yet very bright and slightly  better in school than Julien. He soon learns a secret about Jean, and the two become friends.

To put in perspective how good this movie really is, let me tell you about the DVD Netflix sent me. It was terrible. It had a massive scratch in it, but since I'm cutting it close to the end of the month, I watched it anyways. The dialogue didn't always match up to the character's mouths, but that wasn't the issue. The DVD actually stopped in the last chapter. It would not play. I had to search the ending on youtube and use their closed caption translation function. And even with all that, the ending was still profoundly powerful. 

I'm just in awe of this movie. It's hard for kids to carry films, and you can tell Manesse and Fejtö were very green, but they make it all work. Their relationship progression felt natural. It's easy to think "not another movie set during WWII, but this doesn't even feel like that type of movie. It's instead a study on childhood friendships that mold Julien and Jean even during the horrors of war. 

And I'm always here for a teacher referring to a student who wrote an essay as "a bit pretentious." That made me laugh harder than it should've.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A+

Memorable Quote: "Goodbye, children." - Father Père Jean (Philippe Morier-Genoud)

Indie Gems: Shelter

"I used to be someone."

Tahir (Anthony Mackie) is a Nigerian man who is homeless on the streets of NYC. We meet him as he's being released by the police on a disorderly contact warning. He finds his cart and all his thing stolen. He spots another homeless woman, heroin addict Hannah (Jennifer Connelly) with his jacket, and follows her. After a rocky start, the eventually fall in love and we find out what put them on the street in the first place.

At first it's almost jarring to hear Mackie speak in an accident that's not his own. I've grown so used to him in Marvel movies. It's a welcomed change to see him out of his comfort zone. Jennifer Connelly is intense as always. I found Tahir and Hannah's relationship to be very layered. Tahir finds Hannah at rock bottom, rock bottom for being homeless anyways. While they both homeless for different reasons, the way they somewhat connect is heartbreaking.

This is Paul Bettany's directorial debut. He makes a few mistakes, but wouldn't we all? I think he relied on those long drawn out scenes with only music playing a bit too much. At times I always wanted to skip forward until the characters were talking again. But knowing Bettany and Connelly's history of donating to homeless shelters in NYC, I think they treated the subject carefully. They showed how hard it can be, how anyone could end up that way. It felt very sincere in his hands.


Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "So you're not one of those Creationists." - Hannah (Jennifer Connelly) 

Thursday Movie Picks: Astronauts

This week's theme from Wondering Through the Shelves is all about astronauts. You know, that thing everyone wants to be as a kid but few actually do as adults because it's really hard to become an astronaut. Here's three of my favorites. 

1) The Martian

Mark Watney is the king of Mars! The poor guy got left there and managed to survive. Mars fears Watney's botany powers. Hopefully NASA doesn't bill him for the effort to retrieve him...

2) Gravity

If Gravity had a title like Birdman's, it would be "Gravity: Or fuck that, I'm never going to space." Even though I'm not a Sandra Bullock fan, I loved seeing a strong female character lead this film. It's also one of the few movies I think worked in 3D

3) Moon

This film is so underrated and Sam Rockwell deserved an Oscar nomination for this astronaut who has been working on the Moon by himself for three years. It also has twists you may or may not see coming. I certainly didn't, because I actually managed to avoid all trailers of this before popping it in my DVD player all those years ago.

DVD Review: Daddy's Home

The evil step king

Brad (Will Ferrell) loves kids. He can't have any of his own, so when he marries Sara (Linda Cardellini)  who already has two young children from a previous relationship, he thinks he has it made....until the children's absentee father, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) comes back into their life and he finds himself in an awkward dad-off to win the children's affection.

If you've seen The Other Guys, you know Ferrell and Wahlberg have tons of comedic chemistry. Since this film is PG-13, and not an Adam McKay PG-13, it does feel like they're held back a bit.

There's a lot of really stupid things about Daddy's Home. Some jokes are very over the top. There's a scene half way through the movie where both Brad and Dusty attempt to teach their young son how to fight some fourth graders who are picking on him. The pay off of this scene is so hysterical it  almost makes the entire thing worth it.

Truthfully, there's not a lot to say about Daddy's Home. It's nothing spectacular, but I did laugh a few times, and pretty hard during one of them.

Recommended: Yes/No. If you like Ferrell and Wahlberg together, you should definitely see it. If not, skip it. 

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I can't stay inside the cones, man." - Dusty (Mark Wahlberg)

Rambling TV: Better Call Kim, Drugs fix everything + more

Better Call Saul

This was hands down the best episode of Better Call Saul they've had this season. Maybe even for its entire run.

Not only did we have Mike in old school Breaking Bad style sabotage the Salamanca's truck in a big way, but we found out Nacho is on to him. It makes me wonder if this is the next step to "no fucks given" Mike. We know Mike doesn't like to leave people alive in Breaking Bad, but he has on this show. Is Nacho's warning what will push him into that territory?

The real star tonight was Kim. After she gets Mesa Verde back, Chuck goes on a whiny bitch rampage to prove that Jimmy doctored his paper work. I have to say, it gave me great joy to watch Chuck fail. It really did, I don't even care how terrible that sounds. But in a scene in Chuck's home where he explains to Kim, in front of Jimmy, what he did. You can tell Kim believes it, instead she turns it on Chuck, hands out a ton of truth and manages to make both Chuck AND Jimmy feel like shit by the end of it. It was perfect. And her warning to Jimmy later on the evening was big of her.

So we were left with a cliffhanger of Chuck, after having an episode, hitting his head. Does he survive it? I'm not sure. I don't think he will. Something has to push Jimmy over the edge to become Saul, this might be it. 

Agents of SHIELD

This week's episode had a bunch of flashbacks to Gideon as a child and how he screwed over his brother. He's also standoffish of FrankenWard because he saw the future and he's going to kill him, but that's didn't happen. Instead, FrankenWard takes on his brother's conscience (I think?) since he was also thrown through that moneleth. This gets super creepy when brother is possessing FrankenWard and he lays one on Gideon's daughter. Eww

May threw it down with Iron Chef guy and gave one of the best crotch kickings of all time. I'm legitimately bummed I can't find a gif of it. That was a thing of beauty. 

Am I the only one getting annoyed with Lincoln? You sent Bobbi and Hunter off to their own spin off but we get stuck with this dude? It's bad enough we have Daisy, who can barely carry a scene. But these two together, no thank you.


Vinyl

Vinyl's season finale was intense, but it makes me nervous for next season. Terrence Winter isn't going to be showrunner, and I'm afraid the show may suffer because of it.

I'm glad this show taught us the valuable lesson of how to get back on stage after nearly ODing on heroin......more drugs of course.

Richie and Zak witnessing a murder, Jamie getting "fired" from the Nasty Bits, Lester cracking one of the best dick jokes of all time, there was a lot going on here. I'm just surprised Devon wasn't in the episode at all, especially given how the previous one ended.

Game of Thrones and Veep are back next week! Click those gifs to be redirected to their makers. Rambling TV is a weekly column where I ramble semi-coherently about the things I've watched on television. 

Indie Gems: Labyrinth of Lies

Your country's history from 1938-1945 is missing.

It's 1958, Johann Radman (Alexander Fehling) is a bottom of the barrel public defender who overhears a reporter, Thomas (Andre Szymanski) going off about Auschwitz. However no one seems to be taking him seriously. What happened in the camps at this point in time was kept very secret in Germany. Johann wants to dig deeper, and ends up exposing cover ups that change Germany's history forever.

This film was submitted for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, but even though they've typically gone after Holocaust movies in the past, they didn't bite at this one. It surprises me as this is a different take than what we're used to. It's interesting to see the perspective of the war a decade later in the eyes of a lawyer who's largely been kept in the dark.

Fehling is a great lead. His naivety is apparent,  and you can't help but root for the guy. He just wants to do the right thing, even if his bias tends to get in the way at times. Szymanski is also very good as the harsh reporter who drops quite the secret on Johann in the 3rd act.

The film is a bit of a slow burn, but an interesting one. 

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "You're already married..." - Johann Radman (Alexander Fehling)

Thursday Movie Picks: Fish Out of Water Movies

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is movies featuring a character who is "a fish out of water."  For some reason I had a really hard time finding movies with someone who doesn't quite fit in, which is kind of ridiculous considering there's so many, but here's what I came up with. 

1) Some Like it Hot


This is one of my favorite films to come out of my Blind Spot lists. Joe and Jerry couldn't be any bigger fish then they are, dressed as women hiding out with an all female traveling band. 

2) The Devil Wears Prada

Poor Andi, she just doesn't get or appreciate fashion, despite her job in the world of high fashion. This film makes me want to go shopping every time I watch it. 

3) Brooklyn

Eilis is an Irish girl trying to make it in Brooklyn by herself with her family back in Ireland. I have so much love for this character. While she's not the only fish out of that pond, it's still amazing watching her come into her own.

Review: Demolition

DIY the pain away.

Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his wife in a tragic car crash. While sitting in the ICU, he gets his candy stuck in a vending machine, and ends up writing a series of letters explaining his predicament to their customer service department. Karen (Naomi Watts) reads them and becomes concerned, and reaches out to him. Davis realizes that he was coasting through his life previously. He was always told he didn't pay enough attention, and now he's finding that to be true. Aside from writing letters to Karen to cope, he also starts to crave working with his hands, and disassembles quite a few different things.

I felt like this movie had something interesting to say, but then ran out of those things about half way through. For a film as short as this one, it drags in the 2nd half. Davis goes from coping with his own trauma to trying to figure out what's going on with Karen's teenage son, and while it provides some nice moments, it mostly felt forced. Like they needed a bit more drama and hey, moody teen always works.

Gyllenhaal is good, but when isn't he? There's moments in this film where I'd even call him great, but I just wanted more. I wanted my attention held. I'm not sure what other route they could've taken this film, perhaps it would've been better as a short?

Recommended: No

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "Well...that's different." - Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal)

Rambling TV: Better **** Chuck, VIP Players clubs + more

I'm so glad The Walking Dead is over, none of my shows pissed me off this week. It's been so long.

Better Call Saul

While Mike continues to creep on the Salamancas, Jimmy is working hard to screw over Chuck.

Howard and Chuck took Kim's big clients away from her, so while Chuck is having a panic attack over his electricity allergy, Jimmy takes a bunch of his documents to a copy store and changes the addresses around. I feel almost as corrupt as Jimmy here. I should feel bad for a clearly mentally ill man being taken advantage of....

but I don't

Fuck Chuck.

Agents of SHIELD

After last week's spectacular filler episode, Mac sits this one out and we end up with an hour full of character development and plot advancements. That was nice. (And we also saw that damn space ship again)

Daisy encounters another InHuman, Charles,  that can make you see the future by touching you, and in those visions, someone always dies. It was profoundly sad to listen to this guy's wife talk about how he walked out on them because he knew he'd never be able to hold his baby girl without her crying because of the visions.

Malick also beat the shit out of Daisy before getting touched by Charles and (seemingly) seeing his own end. 

We saw Andrew again, still attempting to control what Lash does to him. He had some great scenes with May. There was also a sweet Fitzsimmons moment at the end. That has to be good, right?

Vinyl

Poor Jamie, she gets kicked out of her aunts apartment, takes a tumble down those stairs, and ends up having to stay with Kip. He's being surprisingly sweet about her homelessness too. I always get the feeling (until tonight) that he barely cares about Jamie. But he seemed to here.

Andrea comments at a staff meeting that she can get Hannibal to come back. Cece notably leaves the room, and it turns out later it's because she's pregnant with Hannibal's baby. This prompts Andrea to literally go on a "why are all the women that work here twats?" rant about Cece getting knocked up and Jamie sleeping with the lead singer of her first act. This was my only issue with a very good episode. I felt like there was a serious undertone of "WOMEN AMIRITE?!" that I just found kind of gross.

Especially when Andrea's point gets proven later on when Jamie has the most predictable threesome in TV history. 

Speaking of Richie, he was actually not an asshole in this episode. He had these sweet moments with his children, and then again with Cece when she told him her news. It was kind of surprising.

Zak gets a phone call at the end of the episode from the casino he and Richie stayed at in Vegas telling him he's a VIP member. When someone points out that you'd have to spend 50k to earn that, Zak puts the pieces together that Richie gambled away the money, hunts him down and punches him in the face. The episode ends with Richie confessing to Devon that he killed Buck Rogers. Olivia Wilde really nailed that scene, her facial expressions were horrifying and perfect.

SNL

I think SNL broke the record for the amount of times "vagina" was mentioned during a broadcast. They had Russell Crowe be a creepy perv in essentially every skit.

Rambling TV is a weekly series were I ramble semi coherently about the things I watched on television. Click those gifs to be redirected to their makers. 

Indie Gems: I Smile Back

Putting up a good front.

Laney (Sarah Silverman) is her own worst enemy. It's hinted that she's suffered from some type of mental illness for awhile. Possibly depression and bipolar disorder. At this point in her life, married to a supportive husband, Bruce (Josh Charles) with two children, she's just being destructive. She drinks too much, sneaks into her bathroom to snort cocaine, she's having an affair with a friend. After all of this comes crashing down, Laney goes to treatment in an attempt to get things back to normal.

Silverman was a surprise SAG nominee for this role, though after seeing it, it's no surprise at all. She was great. I knew she had dramatic chops in her when I saw her supporting role in Take This Waltz. Here she commands every second of screen time and was so believable in playing an addict. An especially weird one, mind you. There's a few really uncomfortable scenes in here. Josh Charles is also very realistic as the supportive husband whose patience keeps being tested. 

If I had one issue with the film, it was the ending. The run time is only 80 or so minutes and I felt like there was more that could've been covered. It was poignant, but I wanted a bit more resolve from it.

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Don't fall in love" - Laney (Sarah Silverman)

Thursday Movie Picks: So Bad It's Good

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is something I love. I fucking LOVE campy movies. We film fans spend so much time being lost in these amazing films and trying to decipher them. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and watch something so bad it's good.

1) White Chicks

I've written about this film being my guilty pleasure before. I had a nice time seeing this with friends in high school and I still love it. I don't care how terrible it is. I will laugh at Terry Crews in this movie for the rest of my life. "Eaaasssssy White Chocolate."

2) Sleepaway Camp

I love campy horror films. This film is pretty terrible, but the ending is actually really surprising. I didn't see it coming at all. I think I was 14 or 15 when I saw this. It's all over the internet, so even if you haven't seen it you probably know it. Still, it's something else. 

3) The Room

I participated in this "So You Think You Can Review" tournament over at The LAMB about four years ago. Two people were given the same movie to review and people voted on who they thought wrote the better one. I was given The Room, (and shockingly advanced to the 2nd round with this thing) I watched it sober, and hated every minute. I mused towards the end that this was probably better under the influence, and I was right. Watching it again with a few beers and a few friends made this movie hysterical. Now it's hysterical to me with or without booze. It's SO FUCKING BAD. You have to see it. 

Bonus


Review: Eye in the Sky

Kill first, protocol later.

Eye in the Sky spans three countries. In England, we have Col Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) who has been tracking an English citizen turned extremist for six years, and has finally found her in Nairobi. She's holed up in a house with a bunch of explosives and two men putting on suicide bomber vests. General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) is also in England, communicating with Powell while he sits in the room with the Attorney General and other powerful members who are not used to war. On the ground in Africa is Jama Farah (Barkhad Abdi) who is flying a little beetle with a camera inside to see what the terrorists are doing. In the United States, there's Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) and Carrie Gershon (Phoebe Fox) who are operating a drone high in the sky above the house. But when they're given orders to shoot, conscience gets in the way and everyone finds themselves between a rock and hard place.

Without the cast, I'm not sure if I would've seen a film like this. It's gotten zero marketing, and I wasn't even 100% sure what it was about going in. I just knew that I wanted to see Alan Rickman again, and I'm glad I did. I'm not sure I've ever seen a "war movie" that's taken place solely in front of computers. You would think something like this would be stagnant but it manages to be very intense and keeps you on the edge of your seat a few times. 

It's sad watching Rickman, knowing we won't hear that beautiful voice of his in anything new after this and Alice Through The Looking Glass. He's good here, his character is a soldier so he keeps it calm even when he's in a room full of indecisive cabinet members. Helen Mirren is fierce as Powell. She commands so much power that she subtly imposes on the people below her. Aaron Paul, man, no one cries like Aaron Paul. He does so much with his eyes, it's just wonderful. It's nice to see Barkhad Abdi again, even if he doesn't get to stretch his acting talents very much. Other actors are a bit wasted, Iain Glen shows up, quite literally, to take a shit and deflect a question. 

Eye in the Sky is a quite little thriller, but one that should definitely be seen.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Never tell a soldier he doesn't know the cost of war." - Ge Frank Benson (Alan Rickman)

Rambling TV: The Walking Cliffhanger, Agents of F.I.L.L.E.R + more

The Walking Dead

Well, we made it. The season finale of what I'm going back and forth on as being the worst season of TWD to date. (Season 4 was pretty terrible, it might still be worse, but this was terrible TV too)

And how does TWD reward you after it's hyped its new big bad all season? With a finale of filler and a massive cop out ending. I really hope critics and viewers continue to call out the show on their bullshit. The ended a lackluster season with a pathetic attempt to get big ratings for their season premiere, even though anyone following filming spoilers will know who the person is that died in May. It's too bad Negan can't bash all of our brains in for putting up with this show. I feel bad for everyone that doesn't read spoilers and didn't know this was coming. Gimple knew Negan was going to be the very last moment of this season, so he stalled, he dragged out stories, he gave come characters personality transplants and forced arcs that made zero sense all so we could build up to this moment where we don't even get the proper pay off. It kills the momentum not knowing who died. It's disrespectful to the actor to turn their final moments on this TV show into a gimmick.

Also Gimple, this better be rock bottom for Carol. I know you think it's awesome to take the woman that went from a domestic violence victim to a capable survivor and assassinate her character, service her for Morgan, shoot and stab her, and isolate her from her family, but this shit needs to stop. It's not good story telling. Just like it wasn't good story telling when you made Rick into Shane 2.0 during his Jessie story. Or when you skipped all of Carl's trauma over getting an eye shot out. Or when you gave Daryl yet another recycled man pain story. Or when you had Michonne kill a kid and not even think about it for another second. Or when you decided you weren't going to touch up on Glenn having to kill people for the first time at all. 

tl;dr fuck Scott Gimple.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is fine though. 



Better Call Saul

I just wanted to scream "Noooooooooooooooooo Kim" during this entire episode. That's the problem with prequels, knowing where certain characters end up makes things hard to digest at times. Mike's scenes with his daughter in law are heartbreaking because we know Mike dies and Kaylee doesn't get any of the money he was saving for her. Kim wanting to practice with Jimmy is a tough pill to swallow because he is going to become Saul.  It doesn't make the show any less good, but it can be slightly frustrating.

Agents of SHIELD


This is the first episode of this show that I've disliked in a while. It was pure filler. While I like Mack, and was happy to learn a bit of who he is outside of SHIELD, nothing happened in this episode. All the important stuff was just kind of tossed in towards the end. 

Vinyl


Devon, get your shit together.

Actually, everyone on this show, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER. 

Except you, Lester. You good. 

Rambling TV is a weekly series where I ramble semi coherently about the things I've watched on television. Click those gifs to be redirected to their makers. This week's post was brought to you by pure, unadulterated hatred and wine. The two other things besides movies that fuel me. 

Indie Gems: The Broken Circle Breakdown

Love. Hardship. Bluegrass?

Set in Belgium, Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) is a banjo player in a blue grass band that falls for a tattoo artist named Elise. (Veerle Baetens) They're so different, but he takes to her free spirit and she takes to singing in his band. Eventually they have a daughter, Maybelle (Nell Cattrysse) who develops, and later dies of cancer at only 6 years old. This drives Didier and Elise further apart and their conflicting beliefs on faith do nothing to help.

It's interesting to see American bluegrass in a film from Belgium. Heldenbergh also wrote the story, which was originally a play. It got lukewarm reviews when it first came out a few years ago, so my expectations were fairly low, but I was surprised despite it's flaws how much I enjoyed it.

Heldenberg and Baetens have excellent chemistry, so it makes it that much harder when life starts driving them apart. The story is told in fragments, frequently jumping around in the narrative. I think that style works for a film like this, but I think they should've tweaked the order. It's easy enough to follow where we are in our time line until the end. While Faith is in the film's synopsis, it doesn't play a huge role like I expected. At one point Dieder goes on this cringe worthy George W. Bush ran about stem cell research that feel so wildly out of place.

It's not a perfect film, but I liked the story even though it's overwhelmingly sad at times.

Grade: B-

Memorable quote: "Since you won't get a tattoo..." - Elise (Veerle Baetens)