Review: The Tale

It's how I wrote it.

Jenny (Laura Dern) re-examines her first sexual encounter at the age of 13 with her running coach, Bill. (Jason Ritter). She always considered it a relationship and not the abuse that it truly was. As she goes back to talk to the people involved, she's forced to take a different view of it. 

When The Tale premiered it Sundance earlier this year, there was a lot of chatter about how this is the perfect story to tell in the era of #MeToo. And it is, still, I was iffy when I heard they would be showing scenes of abuse. But director Jennifer Fox - who is dramatizing her own experiences - went to great lengths to use a double for the more troubling scenes, and the film lets you know it. She handles it the same way Gregg Araki did the harder scenes in Mysterious Skin. Knowing all of that, I gave it a shot when it premiered on HBO recently. 

It's still incredibly hard to watch at times. Isabelle Nélisse, who plays Jenny at 13 looks is just so innocent. Thankfully the majority of the film is almost shot like a detective story, with Dern's Jenny slowly picking up more pieces and interviewing those involved. That part worked incredibly well. 

Dern is fantastic here, and I thought Jenny's struggle with accepting the fact that this was rape and Bill wasn't just a boyfriend was completely believable. For me, the film just ended too soon with adult Jenny's story. I wanted to see what she did with her epiphany, but in a way, what matters is that she has one to begin with. I really admire Jennifer Fox for talking about her story and having the courage to make it into a film like this. I imagine we'll be hearing about them again come Emmy season.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I'm the hero." - Jenny (Isabelle Nélisse)

Indie Gems: Please Stand By

I'm ready.

Wendy (Dakota Fanning) is a young woman with autism living at a group home run by Scottie. (Toni Collette) She sticks to her routine, but she's ready to deviate a bit to submit her Star Trek script to Paramount Pictures for a contest. When her sister Audrey (Alice Eve) fails to take her to the post office to mail said script, she runs away to deliver it herself. 

Dakota Fanning is truly a wonderful actress and she's great her. Apparently they had an "autism coach" on set to help make sure everything was going smoothly and not running into offensive territory and I think they did a pretty good job at that. Toni Collette is always a joy to watch as well.

Unfortunately the script does end up with forced conflicts. Wendy gets robbed on her way to Los Angeles, she loses some of her script pages, those times of plot points that are meant to extend the film but wind up being a little frustrating, but they don't distract from the film as a whole.

I enjoyed this. It's different from a lot of things I've been watching lately and it has probably the cutest dog I've ever seen in any film. And he wears a Star Trek sweater. You can't beat that.

Grade: B+

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "This is what happens when you pee on the bus, Pete." - Wendy (Dakota Fanning)

Thursday Movie Picks: Legends/Mythology

Full circle. A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend

Not really, but this week at Wandering Through the Shelves we're talking about legends/mythology. There's plenty of legends in film, but this topic stumped me a bit. I wanted to be creative but I couldn't stick it. I'm sure I'm going to be kicking myself over and over as I read everyone else's posts.

1) Star Wars: The Force Awakens

"Luke Skywalker? I thought he was a myth." I loved how Rey and Finn talked about our original heroes like the legends they are. 

2) Troy

I love this movie, I know it's shit on all the time but Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom are so hot in it. All those oily bodies.... Oh that's right, we're talking legends. Achilles is a legendary fighter that can't help being so damn gorgeous.

3) The Sword in the Stone

The legend of King Arthur starts here. I feel like this is a Disney film that's forgotten but I always liked it. 

Review: Hereditary

All in the family.

After Annie's (Toni Collette) mother passes away. Strange things begin to happen to her family, particularly with her children, Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie. (Milly Shapiro)

It's hard to escape the "scariest film of all time!" hype there is out there right now. While nothing will ever take that title away from The Exorcist for me personally, let's be real; Hereditary is seriously fucked up.

A24 got tricky with their trailers again. Without giving away spoilers something I expected to be a huge plot point in the film wasn't at all, and it was better for it. Hereditary doesn't rely on jump scares like it could have. Instead it's just plain unsettling all around. It plays with shadows and sound. 

If I had one complaint, it's the film's pacing, which was incredibly slow at times. I'm a patient person but I was getting to the point where I felt like we were taking a beat too long to get from point A to point B. And it wasn't just to build tension, I think it almost took away from some of it because it was going on so long. There are also a few illogical decisions that are forced in for plot purposes, but this is a horror movie. We're all used to that by now. 

Toni Collette is wonderful in this, and I hope all the talk about A24 getting behind her for an Oscar campaign is true because she'd deserve it. The biggest surprise for me was Alex Wolff. I tend to get him confused with his brother Nat, which is unfortunate because Alex is the one with the talent and he really shows it here. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "You tried to kill me." - Peter (Alex Wolff)

Thursday Movie Picks: Speech/Soliloquy/Monologue

I was going to come up with some witty, drawn out speech to fit the theme, but it wouldn't really fit my rambling theme here now, would it? This week's theme at Wandering Through the Shelves we're talking about films with a famous monologues. Here are the first three that came to mind.

1) Call Me By Your Name

Of course I'm kicking things off with this recent Oscar nominee. Michael Stuhlbarg's monologue at the end of the film when he's trying to ease his son's broken heart was beautiful. He's a parent that is so understanding he's making the rest of us question ourselves. 

2) Doubt

Doubt is a movie I haven't thought about in a while, so it surprised me a bit when it came to mind so quickly. Viola Davis is in this movie for about 10 minutes total, but her plea to Meryl Streep over her son is extraordinary. This film has plenty of memorable speeches. On top of Viola's, there's Meryl's final "I have doubts" words that stay with you even after you leave. 

3) Pulp Fiction

A speech so famous that it's responsible for nearly everyone misquoting the Bible. I'm talking about Jules of course. English motherfucker, do you speak it?

Indie Gems: In The Fade

Justice

Look at this! Another Indie Gem. Because my ass is too lazy to go see something new at the theater and instead went and saw Infinity War for the third time. 

Katja's (Diane Kruger) husband and young son are killed in a bombing. When the neo-nazi's responsible are put on trial, it ends up not being as simple as she expected.

Germany's submission to last year's Academy Awards didn't disappoint. I'm still making my way through last year's foreign releases. The Insult is up next. I wasn't sure about this going in because of my feelings towards Diane Kruger but she was excellent in this role. I believed her grief and her self medicating. Another actor that really stood out was Denis Moschitto, who played Katja's lawyer Danilo. He was a lovely addition and I hope to see more of this actor.

The way this film is shot is interesting. It's told in three different acts, and each act looks different. It starts gritty, then becomes more polished when they enter the courtroom scenes. The final act almost has an ethereal look about it. The middle act was my favorite as I end to enjoy those type of films. Even though I wanted to punch the defense attorney in the face.

In The Fade clocks in at 1 hour 46 minutes but feels much shorter. The pacing is very to the point, but doesn't move too fast where we don't get the chance to examine how Katja feels.

Grade: A-

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "Fuck off" - Katja (Diane Kruger)


Indie Gems: Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

Just love.

This might not be the least heard gem I've done in a while. It was nominated for a few BAFTAs. But the release this film got in the states was pathetic. This should've been an Oscar contender. More on that in a bit.

Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) is a struggling actor when he meets former screen legend Gloria Grahame. (Annette Bening) despite their age difference, they form a relationship that lasts several years and comes to a close as Gloria seeks out Peter again while dealing with a terminal illness.

Bening and Bell are both so good in this film that it's an absolute joke that they were robbed of Oscar nominations. They had amazing chemistry and I loved their scenes together. I almost wish this movie was three hours long so I could continue to see them together. I haven't read the source material, nor am I even that familiar with Grahame as an actress, but now I want to be.

While it's Bening and Bell's show, the supporting cast works nicely as well. Especially Julie Walters as Peter's mother. The film also makes great use out of it's small budget. You can tell a few scenery shots are up against a green screen but they don't look awful and it's the acting and the way this film deals with aging that makes it stand out. 

I wish this film had been a bigger hit over here. I wish I had seen it last year as well because it would've easily made my top 10 list. 

Grade: A+

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "How do I look?" - Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening)

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: The Entertainment Business

It's another TV week from Wandering Through the Shelves. This week we're talking about the entertainment business. This one was a bit tough for me. (Seriously, I almost chose Hannah Montana) but I managed to find three shows that I enjoyed.

1) Feud: Bette and Joan

This was such a fantastic mini series. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were already larger than life and Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange were the perfect powerhouses to play them.

2) American Dreams

This show wasn't on very long, but it was about American Bandstand and they frequently had singers like Kelly Clarkson guest star in roles. Most of those performances can be found on Youtube.

3) 30 Rock 

I didn't watch all of 30 Rock, this is one of those shows that I would sit down and watch if it was on, but never followed it all the way through. Even so, every episode I saw was hilarious. 

Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Never tell me the odds.

Because he became the smuggler/war general we all know and love, Han (Alden Ehrenreich) was just another scrapper trying to get off of a nowhere planet with his girl, Qi'ra. (Emila Clarke) He meets Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and joins him and his team on a mission that changes everything.

Despite Han Solo being one of my favorite Star Wars characters, I can't say I was hoping for an origin story for him. I love Harrison Ford as Han and seeing someone else fill his shoes was never high on my priority list. After watching this film, fun as it is. It's easily the most mediocre of the new batch of Star Wars films.

The thing I loved the most about this movie ended up being Chewbacca. After seeing the previews, Lando stood out to me. I was interested in seeing Donald Glover's take the character but he still came in second to Chewy. I knew I was supposed to feel some type of way about Han stepping foot in the Falcon for the first time, but Ehrenreich wasn't selling me. The minute Chewy got in the copilot seat though? I felt that.  For the most part I really enjoyed the script. Especially the dialogue, everything Han and Lando said felt like something we would've heard the original counterparts say, and I appreciated that. Even if they threw in a pun or two at our expense. ("I hate you/I know")

Where the film didn't work for me was the rest of the characters. Ehrenreich didn't sell me as Han. He came off as someone who was concentrating really hard on doing a Han impression. At times it's like he was trying to scrunch up his face to make it stick, and he left me incredibly underwhelmed. On top of that, he had no chemistry with Clarke and their romance felt so empty. The new characters also didn't resonate with me the way Rogue One's did. The one that did was killed off after about 15 minutes of screen time. The ending of this film teases a sequel and I cannot imagine spending any more time with these newbies again. 

That said, the good outweighs the bad here, but it's still nothing spectacular. Especially following something as rewarding as The Last Jedi. I had fun, but I can't see myself purchasing this like I have the other Star Wars films, or even wanting to watch it again in the near future. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I don't think you know her well enough." - Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson)

Review: Fahrenheit 451

I want to burn.

In the future, books are illegal and burned on sight. Firefighters no longer put out fires, they find books to burn. Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) was content with being a firefighter and looking up to his superior, Captain Beatty. (Michael Shannon) But then he starts remembering things, and an encounter with Clarisse (Sofia Boutella) changes everything he knows.

I never read the book this is based on. I understand there were some big changes, like the technology in the future. For someone that didn't have that preset expectation, I thought it looked really cool and made sense. If they've taken over the internet and wanted to maintain control over everyone 24/7, why wouldn't the buildings look like they do here? 

The Michaels have had a great year. This is the second of two strong performances Michael Shannon gave on TV this year, though I think he was better in the brilliant mini series Waco. Michael B. Jordan, of course brought us one of the best Marvel villains we've ever seen in Killmonger gets to show us his softer side. I thought he was wonderful. Guy seems cocky to us at first but Jordan plays him with a beautiful vulnerability. There's a scene in the film where the camera just lingers on his face that I think is outstanding. 

It did feel like it dragged a bit for me, but I also didn't start watching this until around 10:00pm at night. I could've just been tired, but overall I thought it was a good TV movie. I haven't read other reviews, but I've heard book fans are mad. If you read the book, let me know why.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote "Did Benjamin Franklin really start the first fire department?" - Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan)

Thursday Movie Picks: Friendships

We're getting friendly this week for Thursday Movie Picks. Wanderer wants us to pick movies about friendships. This is another topic with plenty of movies to choose from, so I decided to dive into my Indie Gems for picks.

1) Water Lilies

This lovely little French film follows three girls who meet at the pool over summer break and the semi-love triangle that forms. There's lots of angst but lots of beauty as well.

2) All The Days Before Tomorrow

Wes and Alison are best friends who probably could've been a couple had the timing been right. Before Alison leaves to move to Japan she and Wes take a trip down memory lane. 

3) Driving Lessons

This is a bit of a quirky/dumb comedy but it reunites Rupert Grint and Julie Walters. Ben forms a friendship with Evie when he goes to work for her. 

2018 Blind Spot Series: Sex, Lies, and Videotape


What I knew going in: As weird as this sounds, I thought I had seen this when I was a teenager and just forgotten most of it, but as I watched it in full now, I'm fairly sure I was confusing it with something else. 

Ann (Andie MacDowell) is pretty indifferent to sex at this point in her life. Her husband, John (Peter Gallagher) has started an affair with Ann's sister Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo) in the meantime. When John's old college friend Graham (James Spader) comes back to town after a long absence, he changes the lives of everyone involved. 

You would think with a title like this there would be a ton of nudity and sex scenes, but there isn't, and that's the beauty of it. This film makes its dialogue about sex. It's discussed, described, implied off screen, but never gratuitously shown. 

Director Steven Soderbergh is an interesting filmmaker. When I view several films from one director, I'm always trying to find their style. What makes them this great auteur. I'm not sure I can nail down his. Everything he does is so different from the film he directors before. 

I loved the cast here. Gallagher is great at playing smarmy fucks, but it's MacDowell and Spader that are the standouts to me. She was perfect as Ann, especially during her therapy sessions. She felt like a real person. Spader (side note: he was pretty hot back in the day. You go, Ultron.) had excellent chemistry with everyone he shared the screen with. That really shows you how great of an actor he is. I missed him when he wasn't in a scene.

I like it when I have a certain expectation for a film, and it gives me something completely different and better than what I was expecting. That's what this did.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I've got a lot of problems, but they belong to me." - Graham (James Spader)

DVD Review: Downsizing

Get small.

When scientists figure out a way to shrink humans to about 5 inches tall in order to save the planet, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) think it will be for them. They're struggling with money but what they do have saved will translate into millions once they shrink. When Audrey bails on Paul after his procedure, he finds he can't live like the king he wanted, and is forced to get another meaningless job there. It's only through his easy going Serbian neighbor Dusan (Christoph Waltz) that he meets Ngoc (Hong Chau) and finally starts to see the bright side of things again.

I wasn't so sure about this film when it was in theaters. Matt Damon is kind of on my shit list at the moment, and the trailer showed so much of Kristen Wiig whom I can't stand. Thankfully, she completely disappears after the first 15 minutes and Damon, personal life aside is actually very good in this role. 

They don't spend a lot of time with the science of things, but they give it enough detail that you know this didn't come to be something "because fuck you that's why." It's Chau and Waltz that bring this film to life, especially Chau. Her character isn't someone who chose to be shrunk, it was done to her against her will so that offers a different perspective and she was excellent in this role. 

The film does tend to drag a little towards the end, but it's balanced very well with humor and its more emotional moments. The film was much better than the trailers let on.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable quote: "It was a love fuck!" - Paul (Matt Damon)

Thursday Movie Picks: Twisty Thrillers

Plot twist.........actually not really, but this week at Wandering Through the Shelves we're talking about twisty thrillers. This is such a broad topic and there are so many great films that fall into it. I have a little theme within a theme here. These are thrillers that I saw quite some time after they were actually released. 

1) Frailty 

I was so late in seeing this film. I didn't see it until 2013 and I happened to catch it on IFC one afternoon. I was blown away by it, and my husband couldn't believe I had never seen it before. 

2) Fight Club

My friends and I put this in one night at their house, and the first words out of someone's mouth were "can you believe...*spoils ending*" Followed by several apologies because I was the only one that hadn't seen it. Even knowing the ending ahead of time, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. 

3) Mulholland Drive

This was on one of my Blind Spot lists and I'm so glad I watched it. Don't ask me what happened in the last 30 minutes, I still don't get it, but I liked everything else. 

Review: Tully

I'm here to help you too.

Surprise! I actually saw something new instead of going to see Infinity War again.

Marlo (Charlize Theron) is about to have her third child. It wasn't planned, she already has her hands full with two other children, one with special needs and her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) is utterly useless. Her rich brother, Craig (Mark Duplass) gifts her a night nanny in the form of Tully (Mackenzie Davis) who is there to make Marlo's life easier. 

There's been a lot of think pieces written about this film, which I will address after I give my rating because I can't do so without spoilers. The review itself is spoiler free.

Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody make a good team. Bringing back Theron after working with her in Young Adult was a great move on their part as well. Unlike her character in that film, I found Marlo to be believable and I understood her struggle. Marlo needs Tully because she has no support system anywhere.

Theron is excellent and really dedicated herself to this role. Davis is a breath of fresh air herself. Sometimes with Cody's scripts, I find that I can't imagine real people talking the way she writes them, but I didn't have that problem here. There are a few things I don't think this film handles particularly well, and I'll get into that in the spoiler talk, but it's a very honestly portrayal of the harsh realities of postpartum mental illness and those who can't afford to treat it. I'm glad this film brings that conversation to light.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorbale quote: "I'm just here to bridge a gap." - Tully (Mackenzie Davis)

SPOILER TALK
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You may have saw me complaining about this briefly on Twitter, but the backlash surrounding this movie by those who haven't even seen it is kind of outrageous and reminds me of similar complaints about a film that came out a few years ago, Obvious Child. See, Tully comes with a twist ending, and that twist involves Margo suffering from postpartum psychosis. The only problem is no one actually calls it that in the film. Drew tells a nurse she once suffered from "some depression" and it's left at that. Do I think that aspect is poorly handled? A little. I think a scene of the nurse actually explaining her condition to Drew would've been helpful, but do I think that ruins the movie and what it was trying to say? No way. It's not even the most poorly handled part of it.

That part is when Marlo and Tully have a conversation about how she and Drew no longer have sex. It's written very carefully to show that both parties are interested and it's Margo's insecurities that lead to her not wanting it at the end of the night, but Tully's response is essentially "You need light that fire" or something of the sort, and I find it extremely uncomfortable when someone has to be talked into sex. The dialogue used was a poor choice. This scene ends with Marlo having Tully dress up and fuck Drew in a way he's fantasized about and I just couldn't help but feel gross about the entire thing. This got way too close to to the suggestion of martial rape for me. I know that's now how Cody was writing it, but it was barely above "Well, you as the woman are responsible for pleasing your husband no matter how you feel" that I was really just put off. That to me was handled worse than not naming her medical condition. It's a personal opinion and I don't expect many to view that scene as I did, but like I said. It just got too close to "wtf territory" for me. 

So there you have it. No, the medical condition wasn't handled perfectly, but maybe that was Diablo Cody's point. She already said this film is for people that don't get help. Maybe not having someone explain exactly what's wrong is part of that too. Marlo already dealt with no diagnosis for her son, maybe she's not meant to get one either.
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END SPOILER

Thursday Movie Picks: Cannes Favorites

I consider the Cannes film festival somewhat of a frenemy. Many times I've been tricked into watching a film because of a reaction it got at Cannes, and only half the time do I love them. Cannes introduced me to one of my least favorite filmmakers, Lars Von Trier when I watched a film solely because people lost their shit over it at Cannes. But this week, Wanderer wants us to talk about Cannes favorites. So don't worry, no AntiChrist or Melancholia rants from me. 

1) The Piano

This Palme d’Or winner is a beautiful film. It features one of my favorite piano pieces - The Heart Asks Pleasure First, and of course some wonderful performances. 

2) Drive

Drive was so good and so well liked at Cannes that it almost made me blindly accept anything Nicholas Winding Refn made. Coming back down to Earth after seeing Only God Forgives was tough. 

3) Raw

This made my Top 10 list last year. This French cannibal feature doesn't sound like it would be a huge hit for the Cannes crowd, but it was. 

Indie Gems: Patti Cake$

Bow down

Patti (Danielle Macdonald) is an aspiring rapper who is seemingly stuck in her hometown in New Jersey. She's not taken seriously, especially when her mother is a fairly well known local singer herself. She's also ridiculed for things like her weight and social status. At a show, Patti and her best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay) meet a performer/producer named Basterd the AntiChrist (Mamoudou Athie) and the unlikely trio comes together to form a group and chase their dreams. 

I first heard of this film when it was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, but I hadn't seen many reviews of it. So when it was an option for an in flight movie, I wanted to give it a chance. 

I absolutely love the three leads in this. Macdonald, Dhananjay and Athie have fantastic chemistry together and are completely immersed in their roles. Even if the film follows a pretty typical formula these three are so different from what I'm used to seeing that I didn't care. Macdonald impressed me back when I saw her in Every Secret Thing, but she blows it out of the water here. 

For as much as the aspiring musician thing has been done, this film excels when it deals with the relationships between the characters. They're very complex and never feel like caricatures. It makes for an inspiring watch.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "You got this. You're a boss bitch." - Patti (Danielle Macdonald)

Thursday Movie Picks: A New Start

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is all about a new start. Everyone dreams of those at least once, right? Here are a few of my favorite films that are trying to make that new start a reality

1) Ingrid Goes West


After a stint in a mental institution Ingrid takes her inheritance money and goes off to California to stalk her newest Instagram obsession and to give herself that perfect social media life she craves. This was one of my favorites from last year. 

2) Silver Linings Playbook

Pat, like Ingrid in my first pick is also fresh out of a stint in a mental institution for beating up his ex-wife's lover. He's on a good set of meds and he's ready to be a changed man. I think this film gets a lot of flack nowadays but I still really love it. 

3) For A Good Time, Call...
Lauren gets dumped by her boyfriend and let go from her job at the same time. Her new start comes in the form of getting a new room mate who moonlights as a phone sex operator. Together, they turn it into a successful business. 

Review: Avengers: Infinity War

It all leads up to this.

Thanos (Josh Brolin) has been watching from afar and is now ready to make his move attacking Earth. After the events of Civil War, the Avengers are fractured and now must band together once again to fight for all humanity.

To say I was hyped for this movie is an understatement. I love the MCU (most of the time) and what they bring to the table. Ten years of films have been leading up to the war against Thanos and here we are. I kept my expectations in check, there's a lot of people in this film and I always knew there was a chance it could be over stuffed. So how did it do?

Incredible. The thing I worried most about a film of this magnitude was that it would be overstuffed, but it never felt that way. Even characters who only had a scene or two felt like a big deal because they made it into Infinity War in the first place. The pacing was perfect. This didn't feel like a two and a half hour movie at all.

The best part as always is the chemistry between the actors. Not just the lasting relationships like Steve and Bucky and Wanda with Vision, but the characters meeting for the first time. Doctor Strange and Tony Stark together was one of my favorite things. Same with Rocket and Thor. As for acting, Robert Downey Jr, Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen and Chris Hemsworth get to shine the most. Downey really makes you feel the weight that's on Tony's shoulders. Cumberbatch gets to expand on his powers while Olsen is the emotional center of the big climax. And while I went into this film expecting to only perv on Steve, Thor got an entrance that almost rivals his bridge scene in Thor: Ragnarok. On the Guardians side, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) has an arc I love as well.

If I have any complaints, it's that I wish we would've spend more time in Wakanda and with Team Cap. This film is very space heavy, but it makes sense that it is. This is Thanos we're talking about. Speaking of Thanos, he's easily one of the best comic book villains out there. He felt fully fleshed out and his motives were more realistic.

We all knew this was going to end in a heavy fashion, but that still doesn't ruin the rewatchability. I'm going to see this again later today. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "You could never.." - Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen)

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: Failed To Get a 2nd Season

It's another TV week over at Wandering Through the Shelves. This week we're talking about TV shows that were not long for this world. Those one season wonders, those shows who could've went on to do something big, but crashed and burned. 

1) The Fades

This was a cool horror show that starred some of my favorite up and coming British actors and it only lasted six episodes. It ended on a cliffhanger too. Pretty much everyone in it found success on other shows/films but I wish they would've went at least another season

2) Freaks and Geeks

I didn't watch this until well after it was on the air but I wish I had seen it earlier. It was so funny and I wish we could've seen where they would've gone. 

3) My So Called Life

I was a little young to get all of this but I watched it with my sister and it reminded me of her since she was in high school at the time. I was sad when it ended. 

2018 Blind Spot Series: Singin' in the Rain


What I knew going in: I had seen some of the musical numbers


A silent film star, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) finds himself having to get with the changing times when the first "talkie" film is a big hit. A chance meeting with a young up and coming actress, Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) blooms into a secret romance when she is talked into dubbing over Don's frequent costar, Lina (Jean Hagen) in their newest films.

I decided I wanted to think of something other than A Clockwork Orange when I hear the song "Singin' in the Rain." As much as I love tap dancing, I'm awful at watching these classics all the way through instead of just looking up specific routines.

This film is absolutely delightful. The fact that Debbie Reynolds didn't have any dance experience before she made this is extraordinary. Gene Kelly is always a reliable leading man and Donald O'Connor is a joy to watch. The funny thing is this film makes me hate The Artist even more in retrospect. I should've watched this then. 

I think they captured the 1920's feel well, and while a later routine gets a bit self indulgent, the spectacle is worth it. I loved that my son sat down and watched this with me. And that he tried to tap dance himself afterwards while singing the title song. Moments like these make me love movies even more.

Recommended: Yes


Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I'll do it, but I never want to see you again." - Kathy (Debbie Reynolds)

Thursday Movie Picks: Meltdowns

We've all had them, right? Maybe not as dramatic or messy as some. Or maybe our children have had them, and we have to handle it while trying not to die of embarrassment. Or perhaps someone has wire hangers in their closet. But Wanderer wants us to talk about meltdowns this week. Here are some of my favorite films where the characters are just done.

1) Hello I Must Be Going

Amy (Melanie Lynskey) is going through a divorce, has moved back in with her parents, then starts to have an affair with a guy a lot younger than herself. When everything gets heavy, she has one of my all time favorite moments in film where she falls over and says "where the fuck is bottom?" 

2) Black Swan 

This might be the most controlled and beautiful meltdown of all time but Nina is essentially losing her shit during her performance. *puts Black Swan DVD in*

3) Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy

HE'S IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION!


Indie Gems: BPM (Beats Per Minute)

I want you to live.

Members of the French advocacy group ACT UP Paris are struggling with getting their leaders to acknowledge the AIDS crisis in 1990. Our main view point is a young HIV positive man, Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) who finds a new relationship with Nathan (Arnaud Valois) a new recruit.

This is yet another movie that gets the AIDS crisis better than Philadelphia does. I know it's a weird way to start a review but I keep thinking back to my February Blind Spot and I still can't believe how the Academy embraced something that played it so safe. The extraordinary thing about BPM is that a number of the scenes take place in a classroom where the group meets. They just debate and talk out their issues, and it's fascinating. A film that relies so heavily on scenes like that already has an up hill battle with keeping everyone's attention and this film tackles it perfectly. I could've sat it on these meetings all day. 

Biscayart and Valois have excellent chemistry together, and Adèle Haenel who was in another French film I love, Water Lilies also has a big role. The cinematography in this is gorgeous as well. Not only is there a stunning shot of the Parisian skyline (you'll know it when you see it) but even the way they shot their protests and marches was beautiful. They made it feel like you were really there with them.

If there's one place BPM struggles, it's towards the end. Obviously, the film is going to get heavy but I just didn't think the last 20 minutes or so was as engaging as the rest of the film. There was a stark contrast between the two parts. 

I wish this would've been on the Best Foreign Film ballot at the Oscars this year. It certainly deserved to be.

Grade: A-

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "You gave it up? For five years?" - Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart)