Rambling TV: Thoughts on Westworld and TWD

With the holiday I almost forgot to write about TV this week, despite Westworld having an amazing episode. Let's talk about that first.

Westworld

SO many theories were confirmed in the penultimate episode. Bernard really is a host made in Arnold's image. There's almost certainly two time lines and William really will end up becoming the Man in Black. 

They didn't let us know what happened to Elsie, Stubbs went looking for her and was captured by hosts, which leads me to believe she's at least alive.

Logan was tormenting Dolores in front of William until she escaped. Logan handed him a picture of his sister, the same picture that threw Dolores' father out of whack in the premiere and gave it to him to "remind" William he has a girl at home. William says he understands, then while Logan is passed out, he kills all the other hosts.

Mauve is still plotting and building her army.

We got a visit from old Clementine again. Bernard corners Ford about hist past and has her put a gun on him. After Ford messes with Bernard a bit, making him relive his painful memories, he finally drops the bombshell Arnold truth on him. This is spliced with a scene of Dolores after she leaves William, her scenery and clothes change back and forth until she comes face to face with Bernard/Arnold, and reveals she is the one that killed him. Then Ford has Bernard put a gun to his own head. I really hope someone brings him back.

Next week's finale is 90 minutes, and that has to tide us over until early 2018. I can't wait.

The Walking Dead

This week in The Walking Bottle Episodes, we check up with Tara and Heath for an entire 70 minutes. They get separated, and Tara runs across an all female community who had all the men and boy killed by Saviors a while back. They have a shoot immediately policy, but Cyndie takes a liking to Tara and saves her. She then walks back to Alexandria and learns about Denise, Glenn, and Abe since that all happened when she was gone.

In theory, this story wasn't bad. Tara is one of my favorites. Even though this new Oceanside community is just a gun filled plot device for our currently gunless group, I liked Cyndie and the thought of an all female community is intriguing, though Gimple will probably fuck it up because he can't write female friendships. But the bottle episode format really hurts this. Had this story been told along side others over multiple episodes ala Game of Thrones (seriously, they try to be GoT so much, you'd think they'd attempt parallel story telling) it would've worked. But sadly, it didn't.

Next week is a 90 minute episode as well. I think Gimple took a page out of Mr. Robot's book with all these extended episodes this season. 

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

Review: Allied

Could you do it?

Canadian Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) is an intelligence officer on a mission in Casablanca. His partner, French Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard) are instructed to pose as a married couple and assassinate some German officers during WWII. After completing their mission, they move to London and marry for real. After some time, Max is told that Marianne may be a German spy, and if it's proven she is, he must execute her himself. 

Allied poses a heavy question. If you found out your beloved spouse was spying for another country, one that's consistently bombing the one you live in, would you believe it? If it was true, could you actually kill them yourself? I'd probably chicken out, personally and Max is understandably about 2 inches away from an existential crisis over it for the last half of the film. 

I feel the same way about Allied as I did The Accountant. It's not a bad film, far from it, it just didn't wow me. It's certainly worth seeing, though maybe on DVD. It does quite a few things right. Pitt and Cotillard are perfectly cast, the score is fitting and the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous, but it's missing something. I can't quite put my finger on it, and while it builds suspense very well during the first 3rd of the film, it fails to match that level again. One thing I thought it did very well was the air raids in England. While they don't show the brutal reality of them, the shots of the skies were horrifying.

Recommended: Yes, but no rush.

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "A husband always offers his wife a cigarette before lighting his own." - Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard)

Indie Gems: Imperium

What would you do to prove yourself?

Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe) is a young FBI agent that's eager to prove himself. When another agent, Angela (Toni Collette) asks him to go undercover as a white supremacist to help her uncover a terrorist plot she believes they're planning, while apprehensive at first, he's eager to prove himself a capable agent.

I didn't intend on watching this movie the same week we found out who will become our next president, but it happened. It's actually scary watching this movie and seeing how normal some of these people look on the outside. Sam Trammell plays one of the leaders who has a loving family (whose younger daughter spouts some surprisingly paranoid shit to Nate at one point) and looks like a normal guy. Every time we see a swastika or a burning cross, you can't help but cringe. It's a scary and sad reality how deep racism can run.  This film builds two different kinds of worry very well. The first and more prominent is that Nate will be found out. The second, and it's more of something that's just in the back of your head is "man, what if he starts buying this?" It's very suspenseful in that way.

Radcliffe is great in a role that's very different from what we've seen him tackle post: Harry Potter. I was a big fan of Trammell in True Blood, it's hard to watch him play a character like this, but he was good as well. There were a few loose ends I wish the film tied up, but overall it was a very interesting peak at the ugliest part of America. The film was inspired by a former FBI agent who helped write the script.

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "I thought we had a case." - Angela (Toni Collette) 

Thursday Movie Pick: Westerns

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves happens to be the one "big" genre of film I never get into. One I dislike even more than rom coms: Westerns. I tolerate some of them, as I'm sure you'll be able to tell this week as I pick the three most un Westerny Westerns that ever Westerned. 

1) 3:10 To Yuma

The remake, obviously. I saw it for the cast and ended up liking it a lot more than I normally like Westerns. Would I watch it again? Probably not, but it was good enough. 

2) Bone Tomahawk

This film really drags its feet getting from point A to point B, but point B is so damn entertaining. 

3) An American Tail: Fievel Goes West

Don't judge me. I told you Westerns aren't my thing! Admittedly, I'm not sure how this holds up as an adult.

2017 Independent Spirit Award Nominations


Ahh the Independent Spirit Awards. AKA the awards where I immediately save half of the nominees into my Netflix queue because they haven't made it here yet. Quite a few of these I expected, while there were a few surprises. 

FEATURE
American Honey
Chronic
Jackie
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight
Chronic is the only head scratcher. It makes me wonder which year Midnight Special was supposed to be eligible for, this year or last? Because if it was this year, that defintiely should've been in there. 


FIRST FEATURE
The Childhood of a Leader
The Fits
Other People
Swiss Army Man
The Witch
I love seeing Swiss Army Man and The Witch here. 


JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (best feature made for less than $500,000)

Free in Deed
Hunter Gatherer
Lovesong
Nakom
Spa Night

DIRECTOR

Andrea Arnold - American Honey
Barry Jenkins - Moonlight
Pablo Larraín - Jackie
Jeff Nichols - Loving
Kelly Reichert - Certain Women
I think Jenkins might repeat in the Oscars. Moonlight is the only one of these I've seen yet, though I want to see all five. 


SCREENPLAY

Moonlight
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Woman
Little Men
Hell or High Water
Hell or High Water getting a screenplay nom but not a feature nom is a bit off, especially with how popular this film was. 


FIRST SCREENPLAY

The Witch
Other People
Barry
Jean of the Joneses
Christine
I really want to see Christine. The only one I've seen here is The Witch, which I liked, so I'm happy to see it here. 


CINEMATOGRAPHY

Free in Deed
The Childhood of a Leader
The Eyes of My Mother
Moonlight
American Honey
Moonlight better repeat at the Oscars that film is absolutely gorgeous. American Honey I hear is gorgeous too. I won't see that until December. 


EDITING   

Swiss Army Man
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Jackie
I've actually seen 3/5 of these! That doesn't happen often for these awards at the time they're announced. 


FEMALE LEAD

Annette Bening - 20th Century Women
Isabelle Huppert - Elle
Sasha Lane - American Honey
Ruth Negga - Loving
Natalie Portman - Jackie
No Rebecca Hall for Christine is really concerning because I was hoping she would be a dark horse Oscar nominee. I feel like Portman has already won this based on buzz alone. I expect her and Negga will be there on Oscar morning for sure. 


MALE LEAD

Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea
David Harewood - Free In Deed
Viggo Mortensen - Captain Fantastic
Jesse Plemons - Other People
Tim Roth - Chronic
Casey Affleck is already winning everything in this category, right? But hey, Meth Damon got a nomination! Good for you, Meth Damon. 


SUPPORTING FEMALE

Edwina Findley - Free In Deed
Paulina Garcia - Little Men
Lily Gladstone - Certain Women
Riley Keough - American Honey
Molly Shannon - Other People



SUPPORTING MALE

Ralph Fiennes - A Bigger Splash
Ben Foster - Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges - Manchester by the Sea
Shia LaBeouf - American Honey
Craig Robinson - Morris From America
I'm so happy to see Ben Foster in here for Hell or High Water and NOT Jeff Bridges. I can't stress enough how wrong it is to push him for supporting actor when Foster was so much better. Aside from Manchester by the Sea, all of these other films are in my Netflix queue, so hopefully I'll be getting to those soon. 


ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD

“Moonlight”: director, Barry Jenkins; casting director, Yesi Ramirez; ensemble cast, Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders

DOCUMENTARY

13th
Cameraperson
I Am Not Your Negro
O.J.: Made in America
Sonita
Under the Sun
I haven't seen any of these (but plan on watching 13th this weekend) I think we'll be seeing a lot of these come Oscar time too.

INTERNATIONAL FILM

Aquarius (Brazil)
Chevalier (Greece)
My Golden Days (France)
Toni Erdmann (Germany and Romania)
Under the Shadow (Iran and U.K.)
I haven't seen any of these either, but that's not a shocker for the foreign language category. I feel like I never see the bulk of them until AFTER Oscar nominations. 


20th PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD

Lisa Kjerulff
Jordana Mollick
Melody C. Roscher & Craig Shilowich


23rd KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD

Andrew Ahn, director, Spa Night
Claire Carré, director, Embers
Anna Rose Holmer, director, The Fits
Ingrid Jungermann, director, Women Who Kill


22nd TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD

Kristi Jacobson, director, Solitary
Nanfu Wang, director, Hooligan Sparrow

DVD Review: Equals

Conceal, don't feel.

Sometime in the future, society has figured out how to suppress all emotion. Those who do show signs of it are diagnosed with SOS - switched on syndrome. They're given medicine to try to combat emotion before they're taken off for more intense deprogramming. Silas (Nicholas Holt) after witnessing a suicide of a colleague notices Nia (Kristen Stewart) subtly reacting. He starts to feel different, and ends up being diagnosed with SOS. He and Nia start having an affair, and try to hide it for their own good.

Director Drake Doremus brought us films like Breath In and Like Crazy that I adored. Equals is very different on the outside, but explores a similiar theme: love. Forbidden love as well. Terrible things happen to people caught "coupling" as it's explained, so Nia and Silas have to be extra careful.

Holt and Stewart both eventually give great performances. As do actors like Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver who show up later. I say "eventually" because the whole point is to act like they don't have any emotions at the beginning. The problem with the film is that it ends up being far too ambiguous. What is the point of the work they're doing? What happens next? These are all questions that I asked myself more than once as the film chugged along. It feels rather aimless and that's disappointing when Doremus' previous films had so much purpose. 

Recommended: No 

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "I don't feel it anymore." - Silas (Nicholas Holt)

Girl Week 2016: Female Led Indie Gems




Wendell over at Dell On Movies is hosting a Girls Week. He's focusing on films with female protagonists between November 21st-27th and anyone can join in.

Now, I'm being pretty lazy this week. I'm on vacation, all my content for the week is stuff I wrote months ago and scheduled, but I can't just miss the opportunity to talk about great female roles and participate in the fun posts Dell always has. Since I love my indies, Here are some of my favorite Indie Gems with a strong female performance (If you do actually click those links, some of these are super old so don't judge my even messier writing style. I've grown in my ramblings, I swear)

Thirteen - I've said many times how much I could relate to Tracey, the teenager who just wants to fit in and goes down a dangerous path. Evan Rachel Wood gives a career best performance and she was robbed of an Oscar nomination

Dreamland - Audrey has so much on her shoulders, and Agnes Bruckner makes us feel every second of it. 

Winter Passing - Reese is my favorite performance of Zooey Deschanel's. Going home is hard sometimes, especially when you find out your father has made a semi dysfunctional family of his own in your absence. 

The Vicious Kind - Emma might not be the main character in this film, but her story is the strongest. She goes home with her new boyfriend for Thanksgiving, finds herself strangely attracted to his brother, even though he labels her something that she isn't. It's a career best performance from Brittany Snow

Tallulah - This film boasts one of the strongest female casts I've seen in years. It's an amazing film about rash decisions, love, acceptance, and learning. 

Breathe - A beautiful French film film about the relationship between new best friends, and it's directed by Melanie Laurent. 

Camp X-Ray - I can't tell you how much I defend Kristen Stewart's acting in casual conversation. If you need to question it, see this film. This is by far her best. Amy's compassion puts her in a tough patch in her job and Stewart's performance shines through. 

I Used To Be Darker - I have to highlight Daragh Campbell's debut performance. This is bleak film. But to have your first lead gig to be a film where it relies on those tough emotions is no small task. 

Afternoon Delight - Great performances by the always reliable Kathryn Hahn and Juno Temple. This film gets a little fucked up towards the end, but it's a great watch. 

Byzantium - A very different vampire flick starring the always perfect Saoirse Ronan. 

Ghost World - Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birtch are the perfect moody,  disinterested teens. I love watching them in this. 

The Oh! in Ohio - Parker Posey plays a woman who has never had an orgasm. That sounds very shallow but Posey make it so much more. 

Ginger and Rosa - This film may be a bit of a drag, but Elle Fanning and Alice Anglert give wonderful performance far beyond their young years. 

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Westworld, TWD + more

Westworld

It was going to be hard to top last week's episode. While this one was a little slower it provided a lot of interesting information, and gave another big theory another point in its direction.

Let's talk about how fucked Sylvester and Felix are. Felix's sympathy for Mauve bit him in the ass in a big way this week. Mauve wants to build an army to escape, and Sylvester thinks they should shut her down and wipe her memory. That doesn't happen, and she slits Felix's throat lightly to demonstrate just how little they can control her. He lives, though. Later, she murders the new replacement Clementine and is taken out by techs. We get a flashback of her begging them not to wipe the memories of her daughter by saying "this pain is all I have left." Now we know where Ford got that line for Bernard.

Speaking of Bernard, he cleans up his tracks for being with Theresa, but when he asks Ford if he's ever made him kill before, a memory flashes before his eyes of him grabbing Elsie, but his memory is wiped before he can do more.

Dolores gets to the old town where she calls home and remembers herself massacring it. William stops her from bringing the gun to her own head. They run into Logan and his men as they leave, and the preview for next week looks creepy and awful.

Now to the big reveal. The Man in Black, when telling Teddy who he really is leaves us two huge clues that point to both the Alternate timeline theory and William being the MIB. The blonde woman they save is the host that helped William pick  out his outfit in the first episode he appeared. MIB says "I thought they would've retired you." Then MIB mentions he's married to a woman and has two kids. That's not a huge stretch, but we know William is about to marry Logan's sister. And if their marriage didn't work, I have to wonder if it's because she found out William did something to Logan - I think there's a good chance William could end up killing him. 

There's so much to digest in this episode. But the most mind boggling....how does Lee still have a job?

The Walking Dead


TWD shocked me this week by actually having a good episode, albeit a long overdue one. We FINALLY checked in with Maggie and Sasha, which should've happened three episodes ago.

Every scene the two of them were in was good. It was nice to see how Glenn and Abe continue to live through them. They also stepped up and helped Hilltop in their time of need, even though Gregory tried multiple times to throw them out. Plus we were given a break from Negan speeches this week by letting Simon take the lead. 

Carl and Enid also had a sweet teenage love story before he jumped aboard the Savior's truck to go kill Negan himself.

Of course, while the episode was good, it still had problems. Mainly Gregory and Xander Berkeley's black hole of charisma. His character is almost as cartoonish as Negan.  The episode also highlighted how shitty Gimple has been at developing stories. Jesus is all gungho about helping Maggie and Sasha, but why? Why is he all of a sudden on Team ASZ? He disappeared after his introduction last season. And Maggie gives Enid Glenn's watch. Why? They should've showed us more scenes of the three of them bonding as a family for it to make sense that Maggie would give away what was one Hershel's to someone that's a non family member, and not save it for her own child.  

Other TV Thoughts

I'm not shocked the least funny SNL episode was the one Kirsten Wiig hosted. The only segment that even drew a laugh from me was the Weekend Update. It was just bad. Hopefully Emma Stone can bring the laughs back in a few weeks. ABC also greenlit an 8 episode Inhumans TV show. I'm assuming this means Agents of SHIELD is being cancelled. If not, I hope the Inhumans show takes Daisy off of AoS so I can stop cringing through her scenes. They specifically said it's not an AOS spin off, but come on. Kill Daisy or shove her on some other show. I want her off my screen. 

Rambling TV is a series where I ramble semi-coherently about the things I've watched on television this week. Click those gifs to be redirected to their makers. 

Review: Moonlight

Who are you?

Moonlight follows a boy named Chiron in three parts. When he's a child who goes by Little (Alex R. Hibbert) and finds refuge with a couple, Juan and Teresa (Mahershala Ali and Janelle Monáe) that he looks up to. Then, when he's a shy teenager who doesn't like being called by any name other than Chiron. (Ashton Sanders) After an incident there, we meet him again as an adult who goes by Black (Trevante Rhodes) when he gets a call from a childhood friend Kevin (André Holland as an adult) that changes everything.

Watching Chiron is a very sad experience. He's gay, but he can't show it living in the predominantly black neighborhood in Florida. He's constantly teased for not being tough and his only relief seems to come from meeting Juan. A moment with Kevin made me want to cry for him, when Chiron admits he cries so much at times. It's hard to watch anyone who has to hide who they really are.

The film is beautifully shot (though a few spinning camera techniques could've been dropped) It's subtly bathed in colors that seem to enhance Chiron in every scene mixed in with a wonderful use of classical music. The acting is tremendous all around. It's hard for me to choose which Chiron actor I thought was the best. They're all brilliant, but Rhodes has this moment where he is speaking to Kevin on the phone and for a second looks like he's going to cry, but sucks it back up to keep his "tough" image and it's absolutely incredible to watch. 

If the film had a fault, it's the ending, which was way to abrupt. I wanted it to keep going. I wasn't done with watching Chiron yet. I didn't want it to end.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable quote: "I know you can keep a secret." - Kevin age 16 (Jharrel Jerome)

Indie Gems: Joshy

Boys weekend.

Josh (Thomas Middleditch) was happily engaged, and then that suddenly ended. And not in the way you think. He had put down a deposit on a house in Ojai, California for his bachelor party and his friends, Ari, (Adam Pally) Adam, (Alex Ross Perry) and Eric (Nick Kroll) decide to throw a party anyways to bring his spirits up.

This film is disguised as a comedy where these men drink and smoke away their problems, but it actually ends up being pretty heavy. There's a few laughs, but the bulk of the film isn't just Josh's pain. All of his friends are having issues too, and aside from Adam, none want to address them in wake of Josh's problems. 

Middleditch is very talented, which anyone watching Silicon Valley knows. It's always a pleasure to watch him. The cast has chemistry, especially when Jodi, a character played by Jenny Slate shows up. A lot of other actors make small cameos in the film as well. Aubrey Plaza, Lauren Graham, Frankie Shaw, Alison Brie, Jake Johnson. 

The editing of the film is very clunky, though there's a reason for it later on in the film. The story isn't always steady on its feet, but it was something completely unexpected and that I can appreciate.

Grade: B-

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "So I gave him a handy and he's like sobbing and coming and sobbing and coming." - Isadora (Lauren Weedman)

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies Based on TV Series

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves are films that were based on their smaller screen counter parts. This was really hard to narrow down. A lot of children's shows came to mind, like Rugrats or Doug. Shows that were a bit before my time like 21 Jump Street and Dukes of Hazzard came to mind too. I decided to stick with movies based on shows that I watched quite a bit.

1) X-Files: The Movie (Or Fight the Future depending on when you bought your DVD)

My dad and I watched a lot of TV together (we also watched Highlander, which I used a few months ago) X-Files was one of our favorites. I was shipping Molder and Scully before I even knew when shipping was. I remember being so pissed that they didn't kiss when we saw this in theaters. 

2) Jackass: The Movie (and sequels)

So the show and the movies it spawned are all gross and outrageous but I loved how much people hated it. This bothered so many simply because it existed. The reaction it all provoked was hilarious. I was happy to see a less censored movie versions, even if it meant seeing Steve-o stick things up his ass on the big screen.

3) South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
I started watching this show in it's first season, when I was all of 11 or 12. My dad justified letting me watch it because I learned a decent lesson at the end of each episode, and never repeated the swear words. (in front of him) I'll also never forget his face when he took me to see this in theaters and the Uncle Fucker song came on. He literally groaned and shrunk in his seat. He says that's still one of his most embarrassing parental moments.

Review: Arrival

What happens now?

Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a linguistics professor who is recruited by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) to help translate when 12 alien ships suddenly descend to Earth. However not everyone wants to take the time Louise does to teach them how to communicate when other countries are on the verge of declaring war.

Early on, Louise explains how you have to start with small words and that learning language takes time. That's how the first part of the film feels. It takes its time setting up the premise. The eerie score haunts us right up until the moment we see the aliens for the first time. It's a slow burn, but it needs to be. That's how learning another language is. Once we get to the back half of the film it completely filps around everything we thought we knew. It's an amazing turn of events that I felt completely wowed by.

Amy Adams is a dream. I've said that countless times, she never gives a bad performance and she's perfectly cast here. Louise is smart and has a certain vulnerability to her. She keeps her cool, when she's given so many opportunities to scream "listen to me!" to some of the men she's working with. She has great chemistry with Jeremy Renner, a fellow scientist that's working with her. He also provides some much needed subtle humor. 

Arrival starts off as just "good" but it ends on "spectacular." Denis Villeneuve makes amazing movies. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A+

Memorable Quote:"We need to make sure they understand what a question is." - Louise (Amy Adams)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Westworld and The Walking Dead

I'm not even in the mood to write about TV. Aside from Westworld, everything I've seen on TV this week has been downright awful. From TV that drags, to forced monologues, to the fact that my country elected a racist as president. It's not been a good week. Let's get all the shit out of the way first.

The Walking Dead

This week's episode was a prime example of how sometimes a show reads better than it watches. When I read the spoilers, I actually had a bit of hope. I'd be seeing Rick and plenty of the other characters again, but instead it was just more of the same.

More of Negan speechifying everyone, more forced stupid decisions. You're really going to tell me that Rick, the guy that buried weapons outside of Terminus, and hid a gun outside of Alexandria didn't think to have Olivia make a fake inventory list and then hide half their weapons? After they already said they set aside supplies for the Saviors? Come on. 

The episode was also 90 minutes when it didn't need to be. So aside from a great moment between Rick and Michonne and some amusing Father Gabriel moments, we got stuck with extra speeches and extra focus on characters like Spencer and Olivia who can't act their way out of a paper bag. It's sad that the best episode of the season so far has been the one with a fucking pet tiger in it.

Westworld

Now for the good, Westworld continues to be absolutely amazing, and one of the big theories was finally confirmed tonight - that Bernard is in fact a host. Now, a lot think he's a host made in Arnold's image, but if not, was Bernard a real person? Did he gross Ford, end up being murdered, then a host made to cover that up? Is that Theresa's fate? 

We got more sweet moments between William and Dolores, even though they didn't get to do much in this episode, but hey, a body filled with explosives got to blow up to give them an escape route after their train was stopped.

One of the most disturbing scenes (aside from the fact that Charlotte called a meeting with Theresa midway through fucking a host) was the two of them "proving" Ford has tampered with the hosts enough to the point where they're dangerous. Clementine gets beat up by another host, then after she's reset, she kicks his ass. When Stubbs goes in to stop her, he count power her done and has to kill her. They decide to give her a lobotomy, but not before Mauve gets Felix to take her there to witness it. 

No MIB or Elsie this week, but I can tell these last few episodes are going to be action packed. I can't wait to see where it all goes next. 

Rambling TV is a series where I ramble semi-coherently about the things I watched on television. This week is brought to you by anger and depression. 

2016 Blind Spot Series: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner


What I knew going in: A good amount of people seem to feel very strongly about Hepburn winning an Oscar for this. Guess Who was somewhat of a remake. 

Joey Drayton (Katharine Houghton) and Dr. John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) met 10 days ago in Hawaii and have fallen in love. They intend to marry, only it's the 1960's and she's white, and he black. They know how society will view their relationship, so they decide to start small and hope to win over Joey's parents (Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) first. Of course, they only give them a few hours to decide before they fly onto Geneva for John's work.

It's so embarrassing that I saw the awful Guess Who, yet never watched this until now. When I put together my Blind Spots, I knew I wanted to see more of Katharine Hepburn, and this movie was one had some strong opinions about it. 

I enjoyed it. The acting is phenomenal across the board. (Okay, Houghton isn't that great, but Joey is so sweet you almost forget) I thought it had a lot of really interesting things to say. Especially how they were more focused on race instead of the short courtship.

There's some strange choices in the film that stop me from giving it a perfect score, like the dancing delivery boy and the weird encounter at the ice cream shop. It's also sad to think that Spencer Tracy died two weeks after making this, he doesn't look sick in the film at all, which is probably a testament to how good Tracy is. So did Hepburn deserve that Oscar? I haven't seen all the other performances she was up against, but she was so good here.

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Get permanently lost." - Christina Drayton (Katharine Hepburn)

Indie Gems: In Secret

How dare you disrupt my extramarital affair!

Therese's (Elizabeth Olsen) life kind of sucks. She's orphaned at a young age, sent to live with her Aunt Raquin (Jessica Lange) and her sickly cousin, Camille. (Tom Felton) Now Madam Raquin babies her son excessively, then when they come of age, she decides to marry Therese to her cousin and move them to Paris. It doesn't help that Therese is very sexually curious, and her husband is well...sickly and her cousin. She ends up having an affair with one of his friends, Laurent (Oscar Isaac) and it ends up having dangerous consequences.

I should start by admitting my stupidity. While I was watching this, I kept thinking to myself, especially towards the end, that "man, this reminds me of the non vampire version of Thirst" Well, turns out they were adapted from the same book. I never knew that, but seeing as I liked Thirst, I feel justified in my pick.

Did I mention I put this movie in my Netflix queue because I saw a bunch of gifs from Isaac and Olsen's sex scenes online? Well I did, and there's lots of it, so another point for me. Watching a move purely for sex scenes can turn out to be a good decision. That's all I was expecting from it, and I was generously rewarded. This got terrible critic reviews, which I don't think is really fair. Sure, it's messy at times, but it's a decent enough costume drama to pass the time.

Lange is such a great actress. She's a powerful force here, and Tom Felton is very good as well. Our leads have great chemistry, although their accents aren't very believable. It's worth seeing for the actors alone.

Grade: B-

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "When were you going to discuss this with me?" - Therese (Elizabeth Olsen)


Thursday Movie Picks: Movies About Addiction

I'm addicted to the internet. I love staying connected, but that's not as destructive as the films I'm going to talk about today. This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is about addictions. I'm sticking with three separate addictions. Here's what I came up with. 

1) Smashed

This film follows Kate, a teacher with an addiction to alcohol. When that addiction leads to a very public incident at work, she tries to stay sober and her relationship with her husband suffers because of it. 

2) Trainspotting

Renton is addicted to heroin and struggles with trying to get out of the drug scene. We showed a movie called Wasted to teenagers in our addiction studies group at a former job. Effective, but I can't help but wonder how much more effective it would've been if we showed Trainspotting instead. You know, sometimes scaring kids out of something works. 

3) Shame


Brandon is addicted to sex. He's frequently hooking up with people, viewing pornography even when he's at work. Michael Fassbender is so spectacular in this film and he was robbed of an Oscar. 

Review: Doctor Strange

Not everything makes sense. Not everything has to.

Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant neurosurgeon with a massive ego. When he suffers permanent nerve damage to his hands after a car crash, he desperately searches for ways to repair them so he can practice again.  This leads him to Nepal where he encounters Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofer) who brings him to a woman called The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) they train him in the mystic arts and help him open his mind. Only a former master, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelson) has stolen part of an ancient book and threatens to unleash dark magic on the Earth. Strange must now help them stop him.

When I first saw the teaser for Doctor Strange last year, I wasn't sold. I thought it drew too heavily from a film I already loved - Inception, and I wasn't thrilled with that. As time went on, I just became more and more hyped. Marvel tends to do that with me. This is unlike any other film Marvel has done. Visually, it's stunning. It's like riding a psychedelic theme park ride and should definitely be seen on the big screen. Story wise, it follows a very simple pattern as far as origin stories go, but it's never boring set up.

Cumberbatch does very well here, as does Swinton, Mikkelson, and Ejiofer. Supporting characters like Rachel McAdams (playing another doctor and Strange's ex girlfriend) and Wong (Benedict Wong, the librarian so to speak at the temple) don't have as much to do. Wong, even with his short amount of screen time is the stand out for me. I now want to see a Marvel short with just him listening to Luis from Ant-Man explaining things. The score is also very different from the other films. It fits the mystical tone.

And it wouldn't be Marvel without its Easter eggs. We catch a glimpse of the Avengers Tower in New York, and get an infinity stone mention, and even more curious - I think we may have just witnessed part of the origin of Captain Marvel's powers. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Did those people work for you?" - Wong (Benedict Wong)

Review: American Pastoral

Who are you?

Swede Levov (Ewan McGregor) was supposed to have the perfect life. He was a star athlete in high school, when he came back from the war, he married a beauty queen, Dawn. (Jennifer Connelly) He now runs his father's shop and has a beautiful daughter, Merry. (Dakota Fanning) Merry has a severe stutter, and that stresses him out a bit, but that's nothing compared to the radical anti war ideas she develops when she's 16. When Merry bombs a post office and flees, Swede is stuck between wanting to find his daughter who hates him, and trying to move on.

McGregor takes on not only the lead role but the directing reigns too. The former is easier for him. His direction is quite text book at times, but he nails the more emotional scenes. The acting from the three leads is wonderful, especially Dakota Fanning. I wish she was talked about more when it comes to Supporting Actress nominees. The film captures the 60's look well and Alexandre Desplat's score is lovely as always.

I never read the novel this was based on. From what I understand, the novel also left a lot of questions. The film does the same thing, and when it ended, while a poignant scene, I couldn't help but want a bit more.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "It tastes like your da-da-daughter." - Rita Cohen (Valorie Curry)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Westworld, TWD, Agents of SHIELD + more

The Walking Dead
How I felt during this episode. 

Oh my god this episode was boring. Did it really need an entire hour devoted to it? They could've summed up the Saviors and how the run shit in 5 minutes. I don't understand why Gimple gives boring characters like Dwight, Beth, and the Governor episodes all to themselves? It's a waste of time. They shouldn't be playing "Easy Street" on a loop for Daryl, they should be showing him this episode over and over again. 


Westworld

No Dolores and William this week. Instead we spent most of our time with Mauve, Bernard, and Elsie.

Let's start with Mauve, who was glorious in this episode. Flex explains how she works, and even takes her on the world's most paranoid office tour. She's shocked to see her "dreams" on the screen. When Felix's colleague returns and threatens to turn him into HQ, Mauve puts a scalpel to his throat and talks him into helping her. He and Felix change her coding at her request. They'll regret that later, I'm sure.

Bernard gets dumped by Theresa, so fuck her. She doesn't deserve him. He and Elsie are still hard at work trying to figure out who planted that transmitter. Bernard goes to a floor so secret they don't even let electricians in to fix their blinking lights, apparently. He figures out where the signal is coming from, and Elsie finds the time stamp on it and discovers a computer hidden in a secret part of the park. As Bernard is about to tell Theresa something is off, Elsie calls him and tells him that she's been one of the people setting off the hosts. She and Arnold. Someone suddenly grabs Elsie from behind and I'm over here having a heart attack because I was so afraid someone was going to kill her.

The Man in Black and Teddy didn't accomplish a whole lot, but Teddy shot a fuck load of people and that's probably the most interesting thing he's done all season.

Tessa Thompson also made her debut in this episode. She was my favorite part of Creed. I can't wait to see what more she does here. 

Bernard, while still looking for more answers happened upon some old hosts that Dr. Ford keeps aside to live out his fantasies, essentially. Right down to that dog story he told Bernard before. However, the episode ends with the host dog dying, and the host boy telling Bernard that Arnold told him to kill the dog. I almost felt bad for Ford there. Almost.

Agents of SHIELD

This week we finally got Reyes' backstory on how he became the Ghost Rider. I have to say, for an ABC show the CGI in this episode was quite incredible, especially the shot of Robbie flying out of the car. Of course we finally got a glimpse of Johnny Blaze, although not his true face. The only thing that ruined it was Daisy interjecting herself into the big reveal. If SHIELD gets picked up for another season, I really hope she dies in this one.

The big twist was that Robbie's uncle is actually the evil one, and these ghosts are his fault. I wasn't crazy about that, though I loved the "dark matter" mention. I miss Agent Carter. 

Fitz and Simmons being split apart again is annoying, hopefully they get a good reunion scene out of it. 

Other TV News

Is it just me or was SNL fucking weird this week? That dead grandma sketch was just uncomfortable, even with adding the Cubs in there. Bill Maher finally got to interview President Obama on Real Time, that was a treat. It's too bad he couldn't be in the studio but I'm glad Maher finally got his interview. 


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. 

Indie Gems: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Not your regular camping trip.

Ricky (Julian Dennison) is a frequently misbehaved young boy bouncing around the foster care system. He's placed with Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hector. (Sam Neil) His happiness with them is soon disturbed, and when he and Hector go into the New Zealand bush, a nation wide manhunt is set out to look for them.

My indie theater had this for a few weeks earlier this year and I missed it. The glowing reviews made me regret that. This film has unbelievable heart. It's very much a Waititi film (and honestly, this makes me even more pumped for Thor: Ragnarok even though I'm sure the tone will be different.) There's lots of humor through out, most subtle, some perfectly ridiculous. It covers the harder topics with ease. 

Dennison and Neil are perfectly casts. Both characters are assholes in their own ways, yet vulnerable in others. They play off each other well. Rachel House, playing an over zealous social worker and her appointed police officer, played by Oscar Kightley were welcome additions as well.

The film loses points for dog death though. It was unnecessary and Old Yeller scared me enough with wild bores attacking dogs. Thankfully the film's budget didn't allow this to be graphic.

Grade: A-

Memorable quote: "heh....you said bush." - Ricky (Julian Dennison)

Thursday Movie Picks: Middle Eastern Films

It's another foreign language edition at Wandering Through The Shelves. This time Wanderer asks us to focus on films in Middle Eastern languages. I look forward to these foreign weeks the most because it opens me up to films I may have missed. I love watching films from other countries and seeing what the world has to offer cinema wise. Regrettably, I haven't seen many films from the Middle East, but here's what I've enjoyed..

1) A Separation

From Iran -  This film is about a married couple that faced with some difficult life decisions and how those decisions may drive them apart. It stars the wonderful Peyman Moaadi who I cannot get enough of. This movie was wonderful, but the ending made me rage. I think both me and my husband yelled "what?" a little too loudly when we first saw it. 

2) A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

From Iran* -  This film is about a lonely vampire who lives in a town aptly named Bad City. This is one of the most stylish black and white movies I've ever seen. It was gorgeous. *It was produced by the US, but the cast is Iranian and it's in their native language, so I went with it. 

3) Paradise Now

From Palestine:  Two men who were childhood friends become suicide bombers. When their mission goes awry, they're forced to rethink their decisions. I saw this in theaters when it first came out and I found it to be really thought provoking. I'm ashamed that I only saw it that one time, it's something I need to watch again.

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Westworld, The Walking Dead, and Agents of SHIELD

The Walking Dead

Thought you'd see how Maggie and Sasha were doing after the deaths of their husband and lover? Thought you'd see how Carl and Rick were handling that almost arm slicing? Nah, let's kill that momentum and check in with Carol and Morgan at the Kingdom. (Interesting enough, this episode was actually supposed to be the 3rd of the season, and next week's was supposed to be the 2nd. They switched the order last minute, probably because they wanted to make people "laugh") The best thing I can say about this episode is that I didn't hate it as much as I was expecting, and it probably will be more interesting than next week's, which we spend at the Sanctuary. 

Showrunner Scott Gimple is quite extraordinary in that he's managed to make me hate my favorite character's story so much. I'm sick of Suzy Homemaker Carol. I truly hope this is the last we see of it because it was never funny. It was over the top and I daresay pretty sexist at times. 

Shiva looks like shit, but we all knew he would. Morgan was actually a lot better in this episode than he was in all of season 6. I didn't hate Ezekiel as much as I thought it would though. He's very over the top, and even though I nodded off during his monologue a little, he's at least entertaining. Even though the plot forces yet another man to "get" Carol when he family doesn't. Gimple needs all the pacifists to mansplain things to her, I guess. 


Westworld

This episode was AMAZING. Easily my favorite of the entire season.

We find out Dolores still is in communication with Arnold somehow. She eerily says "I didn't tell him anything" after Dr. Ford interrogates her.  She steps up this episode, killing the men threatening William, kissing William, and talking him into escaping with her after she realizes they're caught in a trap. (And leaving behind Logan, who is still an asshole) At one point she says "You say people come here to re-imagine the story of their lives. I imagined a story where I didn't have to be the damsel." It was perfection.

On the employee side of things, Elsie and Felix got some focus. Felix dreams of programming and he fixes up a bird he smuggled out of the part, which flies straight to Mauve to end the episode. And Elsie forces a butcher to let her examine the body of the host that tried to kill her after catching him on camera having sex with a host he was supposed to be repairing. (she calls him a creepy necroperv) She finds a device in his body that she believes was used to smuggle intel out of the park. She brings it to Bernard.

The Man in Black generously gives Teddy a blood donation after killing that other guy he was traveling with, then he gets a visit from Dr. Ford. This was the first time we've really seen MIB not have complete control. 

All I want to do now is learn more about Arnold. I'm not even going to touch reddit right now. I'll fall down the theory rabbit hole. 

Agents of SHIELD

We're back to Daisy being completely insufferable this week. Her suicide mission at the prison was cringeworthy. Of course they have to show how much Coulson and May REALLY care about her. Just let her go people, she's never been a good fit on this show.

Robbie got some revenge on the man who called the hit that paralyzed his brother. Easily the best scene of the episode, but because they were in a prison, the whole thing was caught on security videos so now the government has something on SHIELD.

Oh, and the director came out as an Inhuman on live TV, apparently embellished something that he "did" in Vienna - that Simmons called him out on, then allowed himself to get manipulated by a Senator with that prison footage. I miss Nick Fury.  

Rambling TV is a weekly series where I ramble semi-coherently about the things I've watched on television. Click those gifs to be directed to their makers.