Thursday Movie Picks: Blockbuster Flops

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about those blockbuster.....flops. Yes, not every big budget movie is a hit and some of them bomb hard. However, there are a few major flops that I have a soft spot for. 

1) Poseidon 

This remake of The Poseidon Adventure ate a 77 million lose. I don't think it's good by any means, but it was entertaining enough. 

2) Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner may have a bit of a cult following but apparently the masses were not ready for a nearly 3 hour sequel. That's a shame, because 2049 was really good and beautifully shot. 

3) Peter Pan (2003)

So Peter Pan has been done....a lot. But 2003's live action version is a lot better than it gets credit for and it lost 70 million. 

2019 Emmy Nominations

I forgot the Emmys were going to be announced yesterday, so I was pretty surprised when I refreshed my Twitter feed and saw it trending. You know I have some thoughts...

Outstanding Comedy Series
Barry
Fleabag
The Good Place
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Russian Doll
Schitt’s Creek
Veep
I didn't realize Russian Doll was a comedy. I had thrown it in my Netflix queue based on reviews but I was assuming it was a drama. I'm here for Veep and Mrs. Maisel. 

Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Bodyguard
Game of Thrones
Killing Eve
Ozark
Pose
Succession
This Is Us
We all knew GoT was going to get this even with its lackluster finale. What confuses me is The Bodyguard. I found that show SO dull even with sexy ass Richard Madden in it. 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Billy Porter, Pose
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
I keep meaning to watch POSE but Billy Porter serves so many looks on the red carpet that I want him to win just to see him accept a statue in whatever he blesses us with wearing. 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Laura Linney, Ozark
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Robin Wright, House of Cards
I'm not on the This Is Us train but I've never been a huge fan of Mandy Moore's acting, so her nom is the surprise. Emilia actually deserves this one too.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie
Mahershala Ali, True Detective
Benicio Del Toro, Escape at Dannemora
Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal
Jared Harris, Chernobyl
Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us
Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon
I'm so happy Jared Harris is here. Chernobyl was fantastic. I wanted so badly to like Fosse/Verdon for Rockwell, but I just didn't. Happy Mahershala got in as well.


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie
Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
Joey King, The Act
Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
Aunjenaue Ellis, When They See Us
Niecy Nash, When They See Us
I can't believe I'll probably have to watch Amy Adams lose AGAIN when she should be winning everything. *heavy sigh* I love it when young people get nominated so I'm thrilled for Joey King. I'm getting my HULU back to watch The Handmaid's Tale and The Act is something I plan on binging.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Bill Hader, Barry

Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
Can Julia Louis-Dreyfus do it again? I hope so. Her and Brosnahan are so great. They're the only two performances I've seen. 

Outstanding Variety/Talk Series
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The Late Late Show with James Corden
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
John Oliver for everything, please. 



Outstanding Limited Series
Chernobyl
Escape at Dannemora
Fosse/Verdon
Sharp Object
When They See Us
I'm very happy Sharp Objects and Chernobyl are here. When They See Us I still need to watch, but I'm surprised True Detective missed out. That was a very solid season.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Stephen Root, Barry
Tony Hale, Veep
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Henry Winkler, Barry
I wish Tony Hale would finally take one of these home for playing Gary. He's been through so much. 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Chris Sullivan, This Is Us
Alfie Allen is long overdue for an Emmy nomination so I'm glad he finally got one. He should have in season 2. It's too bad D&D screwed over Isaac Hempstead-Wright by removing Bran's personality meaning he never had any chance of an Emmy nom in the last two seasons.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
Sian Clifford, Fleabag
Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Alex Bornstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
I'v never seen Fleabag but now I feel like I need to. I'm always here for Anna Chlumsky who gave her best work in Veep this season.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones
Julia Garner, Ozark
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve
Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
I love Lena Headey for life, but she didn't do ANYTHING this season. She drank wine on a balcony, fucked Jared LethimselfGo and got killed by a ton of bricks. Gwendoline on the other hand I'm psyched for. Same with Julia Garner, while I don't care for Ozark she's such an underrated actress and was my favorite part of it. 

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Ron Cephas Jones, This Is Us
Michael McKean, Better Call Saul
Glynn Turman, How to Get Away with Murder
Michael Angarano, This Is Us
Kumail Nanjiani, The Comedian
Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale
I assumed The Handmaid's Tale missed the Emmy cut off until I came across 
Bradley's name. Wow. 

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Matt Damon, Saturday Night Live
Luke Kirby, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Peter MacNicol, Veep
John Mulaney, Saturday Night Live
Robert De Niro, Saturday Night Live
Adam Sandler, Saturday Night Live
Hear me out; Rober De Niro is TERRIBLE on SNL. He is fucking painful to watch. Stop nominating legends just because they're legends. 

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Fiona Shaw, Fleabag
Kristin Scott Thomas, Fleabag 
Jane Lynch, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Sandra Oh, Saturday Night Live
Maya Rudolph, The Good Place
Emma Thompson, Saturday Night Live
Fiona Shaw is killing it with nominations this year. I loved Lynch in Mrs. Maisel. 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie
Ben Wishaw, A Very English Scandal
Asante Blackk, When They See Us
Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora
Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl
John Leguizamo, When They See Us
Michael Kenneth Williams, When They See Us
I'm happy to see Paul Dano's name anywhere. Also happy for Skarsgard in Chernobyl.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Cherry Jones, The Handmaid’s Tale
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Apocalypse
Phylicia Rashad, This Is Us
Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away with Murder
Carice van Houten, Game of Thrones
Carice getting nominated was a huge surprise, she normally doesn't get much to do as Melisandre at all. I forgot about OITNB existing again. They under-use Cox. 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie
Patricia Arquette, The Act
Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon
Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us
Vera Farmiga, When They See Us
Emily Watson, Chernobyl
Please don't make me see Patricia Aqruette steal TWO Sharp Objects trophies. 

Outstanding Telvision Movie
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (Netflix)
Brexit: The Uncivil War (HBO)
Deadwood: The Movie (HBO)
King Lear (Amazon)
My Dinner With Herve (HBO)

LOL BANDERSNATCH

2019 Blind Spot Series: Judgement at Nuremberg


What I knew going in: I had seen parts of this on TV before.

Judge Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy) goes to Germany in 1948 to oversee three former judges being tried for their crimes during the Nazi regime. 

I enjoyed the way the courtroom scenes were staged. The standout is still Maximilian Schell playing the German defense attorney. I'm glad he's the one who went home with an Oscar that year. 

This was one of the films I was most looking forward to on my Blind Spot list because I enjoyed the parts I've seen previously. I realize now that I must have been watching an edited version on TV because a lot of the non courtroom scenes were completely new to me. The run time for is over three hours and I did feel that length at times.

I'm glad I finally saw this in one sitting. It wasn't as thrilling as I had hoped it would be now that I got to take it all in at once. I'm struggling to talk about it a bit because I didn't love the one thing most people seem to about this film, and that's Spencer Tracy. He was fine, Haywood in theory is an interesting character, but I walked away far more impressed with other actors instead.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "It came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death that you knew to be innocent." - Judge Haywood (Spencer Tracy)



10 Things I Love About Movie Blogging


Can you believe this little blog has been around for TEN YEARS! When I picked Blogger as my place for sharing my full length reviews, I hoped I would keep it up, but I never imagined I'd be around a decade later still typing away. To celebrate, I figured I would share 10 things I love about blogging.

1) YOU. I've been online since 1999 and have found myself in many fandoms and groups along the way, the movie blogging community, while not free of drama has been the most welcoming and consistent. I wouldn't still be at this without the lovely and interesting people I've met along the way. Especially those who take the time to read and comment. Thank you!

2) Not having to worry about catering to a specific audience. I shared movie reviews on another site at one point in time and I'm pretty sure no one there liked the same kind of movies I did. It's nice that most film fans are open to anything.

3) Another excuse to go to the theater.

4) Expanding my horizon. There are plenty of directors I never would've sought out had it not been for the movie blogging community. 

5) Visibility. There's more visibility for foreign and LGBTQIA films and more diversity in the bloggers themselves. I love that. 

6) Lists. I love making them and they're a fun, quick way to share tastes.

7) Oscar season. I have no one in my real life that cares about the Oscars as much as I do so having so many people to tweet and blog with about them is a Godsend.

8) Blogathons. Those are so fun to participate in and a great way to find a new blog to read. I enjoy the clever themes everyone comes up with.

9) Twitter. #FilmTwitter and blogging go hand and hand for me. I couldn't have one without the other. 

10) And finally, I just love having my own space in general. I was never one to keep a diary or a journal so having a place to share my movie thoughts that's saw me through my entire 20's and now into my 30's is magical. I need this mentally.

Thanks again for reading my ramblings, even when they're not very interesting. You're the best! 



Thursday Movie Picks: Muses

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is searching for some inspiration. We're talking about muses today. Is it just me or is there a shortage on movies with male muses? Every one I thought of was female. Here's what I came up with. 

1) Factory Girl

Sienna Miller gives a career best performance as Edie Sedgwick, who goes on to become Andy Warhol's muse with tragic results. 

2) Girl With A Pearl Earring

Greit becomes somewhat of a muse for painter Johannes Vermeer. While this film is a tad slow, there are great performances all around. Even Cillian Murphy in that awful wig. 

3) Phantom Thread 

Alma becomes a muse, and wife, and eventually something much stranger to Reynolds Woodcock. I didn't love this movie as much as Film Twitter did but I certainly laughed my ass off at a part that probably wasn't meant to be laughed at. 

Review: Midsommar

Join the festivities. 

Dani (Florence Pugh) has been going through a lot emotionally. Her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Raynor) wants to break up with her, but keeps putting it off. His friends are mostly assholes about it too. When they plan on going to Sweden for a festival, Christian reluctantly invites Dani along. Saying things get weird is an understatement.

Ari Aster has really made a name for himself in the past few years. His brand of horror is weird and very psychological. He's not just interested in gore, he's interested in emotions and this film is very in line with what he's done in the past.

Midsommar is the prettiest nightmare you'll ever see. Its full of flowers and sunlight. It never once gets dark and gloomy, even though the subject matter certainly calls for it. Florence Pugh gives an amazing performance. Dani suffers from panic attacks and the way they're portrayed here was so realistic. This is easily one of the best performances of the year so far. Pugh and Lupita Nyong'o for Us are currently the Best Actress queens. The rest of the cast is great. Jack Raynor and Will Poulter are always reliable as well.

The thing about this film - I loved it - but this isn't going to be something I'd recommend to everyone. I learned that after watching Hereditary. Nearly everyone in my blogging life loved that, but everyone I recommended it to in real life hated it. Midsommar is a lot like Hereditary. It's a bit like The Babbadok as well. If you didn't like either of those, I don't think you'll care for this. A lot happens off screen and there's a fair amount of ambiguity that I know doesn't work for everyone.

The things that happen off screen at times weaken it a bit. This film has a hefty run time, which you really don't feel when watching it but for how many minutes they have, I think had they wanted to delve more into horror, they could've shown a few more terrifying things. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Does he make you feel like home?" - Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren)

Review: Spider-man: Far From Home

Back from the blip.

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has had quite the year. He fought Thanos, died, came back, and fought Thanos again. Now he wants to have a relaxing summer on a science trip to Europe so he can hang out with Ned (Jacob Batalon) and tell MJ (Zendaya) how he really feels. Only Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Colbie Smoulders) show up and hijack his vacation when strange things start happening.

Far From Home has the tough spot in following Avengers: Endgame and having to show the aftermath of Thanos' snap. They don't dwell on it, but they manage to show both the hilarious side, and the sad one with people being displaced. 

Holland continues to be my favorite live action Spider-man and he does a great job with all of Peter's emotions. He feels the tremendous pressure of no longer having a mentor in Tony Stark yet still just wants to do regular things like give the girl he likes a necklace. There's never too much Fury in a Marvel movie either, and I'm glad he plays a supporting role here.

Mild spoilers about the villain - I don't consider this a major spoiler because I think it's quite obvious what they're going to do, but the trailers show otherwise,  - I liked Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio. Gyllenhaal was really good and even though I can see some fans not being crazy about his reasoning, I like how they inserted it all.

One of the best things about this movie is the special effects. At first they seem strange because we see a lot of Peter flying around without his suit, but they do some really cool things later in the film that reminded me a bit of Into The Spider-verse and it looked amazing.

Far From Home has two very interesting credits scenes that are certainly going to shape the way the MCU moves forward and not just for Peter, so definitely don't miss those. I'm happy to say our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man has yet to disappoint.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Yeah, it's math." - Betty (Angourie Rice)

Indie Gems: JT LeRoy

The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things

Savannah (Kristen Stewart) has just moved to San Francisco. She takes over an apartment owned by her brother, Geoff (Jim Sturgess) and sister-in-law, Laura. (Laura Dern) Laura wrote a best selling book under what she calls an "avatar", JT LeRoy, a young man who grew up in poverty and prostitution. She convinces Savannah to pose as JT in public, and the rest is history.

I first heard about JT LeRoy around 2006-2007 when I happened upon a movie based on his book - The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. Asia Argento starred and directed (Diane Kruger plays a version of her in this film) and actors like Jeremy Renner, Ben Foster and the Sprouse twins were in it. It was very disturbing, and also very different from films I had been watching at the time. It grabbed my interest, so I read JT's novels along with it. Of course a quick Google search showed that JT wasn't a real person but the audacity of his hoax was just fascinating to me. 

There's already been a documentary on this hoax from Laura's perspective, plus many interviews, so I was excited to see that this was being adapted from Savannah Knoop's memoir, Girl Boy Girl. (Which I also read and enjoyed) and her side of things is a breath of fresh air in the LeRoy drama.

Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern are so perfectly cast that I can barely comprehend it. They were perfect incarnations of Savannah and Laura. Laura's manipulation of Savannah is so clear, as is her own temptation with living in the lime light. It covers nearly all of the big beats of her memoir. Unfortunately this film is so fast paced that it feels rushed.

If you've ever followed the JT Hoax, this is a must see for you, and even if you haven't, I think this would be an enjoyable nonetheless.

Grade: B+

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "Art is fucking eerie, man." - Laura (Laura Dern)

What I Watched on TV in June

June FLEW by. A lot went on for me personally in this month so it felt a bit chaotic but I still had my down time to watch some TV. Here's what was keeping me busy on the small screen in June.

Attack on Titan

Season 3 came to a very beautiful end and it is announced that S4 will be its last. There's quite a bit of Manga left so I'm hoping there's plenty of episodes to fit that all in. And hopefully the guy running things is reigned in a bit because we don't needed forced Eren/Mikasa in every episode. (Seriously, the worst ship)

Big Little Lies

Season 2 has been great so far. The biggest surprise for me has been Adam Scott. Not that I'm surprised he can act, I knew that, but they gave him great material. You can tell Reese is gunning for that Emmy this year. Meryl Streep's Mary Louise is the worst character I've seen in a long time. I hope she gets tossed down the steps at the end of this season.

Euphoria


Euphoria has been a big surprise. I wasn't sure how much I could enjoy a show following teens as I feel so removed from it nowadays but Zendaya is outstanding. The drama surrounding these kids is mostly very interesting and I appreciate how the show is choosing to show a ton of dick instead of the usual female nudity. The dick pic power point in episode 3 was hysterical.

Legion

I've only watched the first episode of the 3rd and final season and as always, I'm confused. We basically followed a new character around for the majority of it. I'm not sure why I continue to watch this to be honest, they're almost too weird for their own good.

Thursday Movie Picks: Parenting

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about parenting. Everyone participating this week that is a parent is going to tell you how hard it is, because that's true. Parenting is fucking hard, and you will never believe how much you can worry over someone else, but it's so rewarding. Even if it turns you into an emotional mess. Of course since I'm me, I'm bringing you some depressing parenting movies that I enjoy.

1) Infinitely Polar Bear

So this one isn't completely depressing, but it is completely underrated. Mark Ruffalo plays a depressed man trying to take care of his two daughters while his wife is away at school. I adore it.

2) The Broken Circle Breakdown

Aside from one terribly misplaced scene, this is a very solid story about two people who start a whirlwind relationship, have a child, then struggle to deal with that child getting cancer. It manages to feel a bit different from your usual sick kid movie. 

3) We Need To Talk About Kevin

I read this book right after I had my son and I swear I gave him so many extra snuggles because of it. A great book translated into a great film, and Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller should've had Oscar nominations for it.

Review: Yesterday

Take a sad song and make it better.

Jack Malick (Himesh Patel) is a singer/songwriter in England trying to make it big while working part time at a warehouse. He's encouraged by his friend and manager, Ellie. (Lily James) One evening, the entire world loses power for 12 seconds, and at that exact moment, Jack is riding his bike and is hit by a bus. When he wakes up following the accident, he realizes that no one else but him remembers The Beatles (among other things) so he takes the opportunity to pass off their songs as his own.

Danny Boyle is one of my favorite directors so I make a point of seeing everything he makes. On top of loving The Beatles, I thought the concept of this film was really interesting. The best thing about this film is Malick and James together. They have absolutely wonderful chemistry and their characters felt the most genuine when they were playing opposite of each other. Unfortunately for them, and Alexander Arnold who plays Gavin, the person who records Jack's first album, everyone else is terrible.

It's extraordinary how much the comedy in this film misses. The two biggest sources of "comedy relief" are meant to be Rocky, (Joel Fry) Jack's stoner friend/assistant. Debra, (Kate McKinnon) the money hungry executive, and to a lesser extend, Jack's parents. Every joke they give goes on far too long to the point where it becomes excruciating to sit though. McKinnon, who I think is one of the funniest people to come from SNL in a long time is spectacularly over the top. She plays Debra like a bad parody, only when no one else is taking that approach it makes her stick out like a sore thumb. 

I had read some early reviews where critics had issues with the world building, which didn't bother me. The scenes of Jack figuring out things like Coca Cola and Oasis don't exist were the only good laughs of the film, though the big "twist" - and I use that term loosely - is bound to rub some people the wrong way.

I never expected to be this annoyed over this film, and it's a shame because I loved James and Malick in it. They deserved a better supporting cast and script that matched their efforts.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "Like Benedict Cumberbatch becoming a sex symbol?" - Ellie (Lily James)

Indie Gems: Never Look Away

Work of the author.

Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling) is an artist in West Germany. He's often haunted by growing up during WWII, and how his beloved Aunt Elizabeth (Saskia Rosendahl) who fed his creative spirit was sent to her death by the Nazis because of her mental illness. He meets and marries Ellie (Paula Beer) whose father, Professor Seeband (Sebastian Koch) doesn't approve of Kurt and unbeknownst to him is the same doctor that is directly responsible for his aunt's death. 

I saved this movie into my Netflix queue after this year's Oscar nominations came out. Never Look Away was not only a Foreign Film nominee, but was also a surprise entry into the Cinematography category. What I didn't notice until I opened the DVD Netflix sent me is that this movie was over three hours long. It's probably for the best I didn't pay attention to that before because I'm not sure if I would've put in the effort otherwise. 

Is every bit of its hefty run time warranted? Of course not. There's a point in this film where Kurt and Ellie move to Dusseldorf and the film absolutely stalls. The first hour flies by and is very engrossing but I checked my watch once I was rounding out two hours it's like the film is moving slower on purpose. I almost wonder if you'd still get the jist of everything if you put the last hour on fast forward. Another thing that I think works against the film is the outcome. You know Seeband is going to figure out that he killed Kurt's aunt. But because Kurt wasn't there to see him give the order, there's really no satisfactory resolution from Kurt's end. It's only semi satisfying to the audience but it still left me wanting more to come from that.

Schilling, Koch, and Rosendahl are all German actors that I enjoy and have seen before. Koch of course was in director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's last German film, the wonderful The Lives of Others. They're all fantastic here and von Donnersmarck's direction is excellent. And yes, it absolutely deserved that cinematography nomination. There's not a single frame of this movie that isn't beautifully shot.

I thought a lot about Toni Erdmann after watching this, another long German film, and for comparison, I would say I preferred Never Look Away. If I'm honest I prefer this to the foreign film winner, Roma as well. It's too long, but it says enough to make me happy I spent the time on it. 

Grade: B-

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "All that is true is beautiful" - Elizabeth (Saskia Rosendahl)

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: Gangsters

This week's TV theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is gangsters. This is yet another reminder for me that I need to start Peaky Blinders. Here are my favorite shows featuring a gangster or two.

1) Boardwalk Empire

"You can't be half a gangster" is something Jimmy tells Nucky in Boardwalk Empire's first season, and he eventually accepts his fate. While BE wasn't perfect I think it has one of the best casts ever assembled on television. 

2) Breaking Bad

I could count the wonderful Gus Fring as the ultimate gangster, but let's go with Jesse Pinkman's friends like Badger, trying their hand at the wannabe gangster game.

3) The Wire

Indeed, The Wire had its fair share of gang members and drug lords. This was a show that lived up to every expectation I had, which was rare.  I also have a funny memory of binging this with my husband. I put our then two year old to bed one night and joked "Mommy and Daddy need to watch The Wire" only for him to respond in a perfect sentence - "But I want to watch The Wire!" Sorry, little one. 

Behold My Netflix Queue Black Hole


One of my goals for 2019 was to finally watch all the films I've had saved in my Netflix streaming queue for what seems like an eternity. I estimate that all of the titles below have been in my queue for at least a year. 41 total, and I did it! I'd like to thank the horrid winter we had this year that made a lot of this possible.

Here are my very quick thoughts on all the titles in my black hole of a queue. Now only a few films + a bunch of TV shows are left in it. Time to binge all that TV, I guess. 


The Life and Death of of Marsha P. Johnson - I had never heard of Marsha and was happy to learn about her but I think this doc tried to take on a bit too much at once. It was good, but could've been better - B

The White Helmets - After watching the full length Last Men In Aleppo I never did get around to watching the short film following the same brave men helping save people in their war torn cities in Syria. This was very good and I'm glad more has been expanded on it - A

In This Corner Of The World - Overall I liked this story, but I think they went way overboard with Suzu being "naive" and a "dreamer" I get what they were going for but they made her almost seem like she had some type of mental disability that wasn't addressed and in turn it made her situation even more uncomfortable. It could've just been the dub I was watching, but I couldn't shake that thought. B-

The Fundamentals of Caring - Parts of this are touching but I swear they check off every generic indie film trope out there. C+

Adore - Is this supposed to be a parody? D

Hot Fuzz - This had some funny moments. I didn't enjoy it as much as Shaun of the Dead but more so than World's End. B

City of God - This movie really reminded me of Guy Ritchie's older work. I had seen bits and pieces of it before, but never all at once so I'm happy I finally sat down and watched. It's a solid film. B

Advantageous - This took a while to get going but was ultimately a pretty interesting little sci fi film. I think this has been in my queue the longest so I'm happy to finally get to it. B

People Places Things - I liked this and it's by the same writer that did The Incredible Jessica James. Jemaine Clement is always reliable. B

Trash - This was shot beautifully, kind of like a City of God/Slumdog Millionaire mashup but about half way through I realized I had forgotten the original motivations of some of these characters. A compelling story was in here somewhere. C


Moonwalkers - This actually had a lot of potential to be a good parody but it's honestly just too dumb for words. Too many of their jokes rely on the characters being stoned. What happened to Rupert Grint? He should have Taron Edgerton's career post Potter and instead he's doing this? D

Lucky Them - Toni Collette is great but Thomas Hayden Church is not. No one other than Toni has a personality in this. It's not bad, but it's definitely not memorable. I wonder if I'll even remember this movie when this post goes up? C

Kelly & Cal - This started off fine until they pointed out that Cal is actually 17 and when you cast an actor that is closer to 30 to play a high school student, all my suspension of disbelief goes out the window. I think this would've been a better film if Cal had been a college student in his 20's. I would've had a slightly easier time buying that.  B-

White Girl - I think this is a great portrayal of white privilege and how it can affect bother the girl in question and the POC around her, but I started to lose interest when the sex scenes felt like they started to be about titillation and less about the plot. Then tossing in a rape towards the end just rubbed me the wrong way. Morgan Saylor was great though. C+

Under The Shadow - This was a solid ghost/entity story. Although when I hit "play" Netflix immediately started with the dub and when I switched it to subs and heard the actual voices....lord I hope no one watches the dub. B-

Blind Date - I realized when watching this that I don't see enough goofy French movies. This was cute. It's completely nonsensical but it had a lot of funny moments and quite possibly one of the best placed headbutts in cinema history. B

Other People - I cried. Full review here. A-

Imperial Dreams - This was pretty heavy. John Boyega gives a good performance as a father trying to do the best for his young son but I just didn't buy him in the gang-type scenes. That threw me out of this a bit. B-

Love Song - I love Jena Malone and Riley Keough is proving to be wonderful as well, but I got kind of annoyed with the story occasionally. It was a nice film overall. B

It's Only The End of the World - Wow, this was so cold and detached. Dolan should've focused less on his close ups and camera tricks and more on the story which had a ton of subtext but was severely lacking in expanding on any of it. C-

The Incredible Jessica James - LOVE! Full review here. A

Desierto - Neither myself or my husband recall adding this and I can only deduce that it's some type of mistake because why would I ever want to watch trash like this? I can't believe I did. I kept thinking maybe something would jog my memory. F

A War - I sometimes forget Pilou Asbæk can do more than play absolute douchebags, but he's excellent in this Danish film about a soldier in Afghanistan who is put on trial for a war crime. They spend a good amount of time building up both parts of this story. It was slow in parts but very satisfying overall. B

Catfight - This was so ridiculous but I had a lot of fun watching it. I suppose you can't go wrong when a lesson in "not being a dick" interludes Sandra Oh and Anne Heche beating the shit out of each other while classical music plays. B

The Void - I was enjoying this until I saw the conclusion of the female characters' stories. It really just rubbed me the wrong way. B- 

God's Pocket- What a waste of an excellent cast. Tonally this movie was all over the place. C-

Girlfriend's Day - What the fuck is this movie? Was this avant garde? Honestly how do you make 70 minutes feel so long? D

Girl Asleep - THIS is how you do a weird 70 minute movie. Full review here. A-

Dark Night - This seems like it tried to do what Little Athens did so much better in 2005. Telling the story of the mundane ordinary before tragedy strikes, only this doesn't have anything interesting to say until it suggests a recreation of the Aurora, CO movie theater massacre. Don't worry, they at least spare us seeing that unfold. F

Hurricane Bianca - The entire premise of this is so unbelievable and stupid but it's worth the watch for sassy Queens. C+

Shimmer Lake - I had the laziest reaction ever to this movie. It's told backwards but it's not interesting enough for me to make an effort to try to follow things more closely. Benjamin Walker is in it and now I want to rewatch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter instead. C

Super Dark Times - I really liked this but it's also a text book example of a rushed ending. Full review here. B+

The Wound - I know nothing about the Xhosa culture so this was a fascinating and beautifully shot film that does a lot in its short run time. That ending though...not sure how I feel about it. That was unexpected. B+

Planetarium - This was so dull the only thing I can say about it is that Lily-Rose Depp surprised me and did a pretty good job. - D

6 Years - As someone in a long term relationship that started when I was in college,  6 years, which follows a young couple who have to decide what to do with their relationship when one of them gets a job offer appealed to me. The leads had wonderful chemistry and while the film itself was pretty basic, I enjoyed it. I felt it ended a bit too soon though. It could've used 5 more minutes. - B

The Ritual - Four twats in a forest! This is one of the better horror movies I've seen on Netflix. It builds tension very well and the ending is actually satisfying. I was expecting something far more open ended. B

God's Own Country - I'll do a full review on this eventually as it was the last film I watched but man was this beautiful. The chemistry between the leads was outstanding and I loved the ending. Side note: Alec Secareanu is soooooooo hot. A

Faces Places - This worked for me in a way that Stories We Tell didn't. A documentary about ordinary stories, but this set in France with beautiful artwork as their backdrops and of course the glorious Agnes Varda. A-

Miss Stevens - With a lesser writer this could've ended up in "teacher messing around with student" territory but it never did. I thought this was a great look at how a teacher and student can relate in depression and unhappiness. Great performances too. B

The Endless - I dug it. Full review here. - B+

Quiz Show - It's been years, but I finally watched all of Quiz Show in one sitting! It still holds up. B


Indie Gems: The Wedding Guest

Surprise!

Jay (Dev Patel) is headed to a wedding in Pakistan, only it's not your typical affair. He's armed with several passports, a few guns, and a plan to kidnap a bride, Samira (Radhika Apte) instead of watching her nuptials.

I knew nothing about this movie before I selected it while browsing through my in flight selection. Let's be honest, Dev Patel with his beard is enough to get me to watch anything.

The thing The Wedding Guest does very well is it keeps you guessing on what the characters' motivations are. Jay is our eyes to this world, but he's obviously not a good person. Samira is dealt several shitty hands throughout but it's never certain where she's going to land by the end of it. Do you want them to trust each other? Fight? Run? There's plenty of possibilities and the film doesn't take the most obvious choices either.

I think Patel and Apte are both good here. Neither role is really requiring a lot from them in terms of emotions but the commentary is interesting, especially when it comes to Samira and her marriage. I think there will be plenty who want more from this film, and that would be a valid critique, but I was fine with how it played out. It's not the most amazing watch out there, but I'm glad I did watch it. 

Grade: B-

Watched on: Delta Studios 

Memorable Quote: "I don't want to be married." - Samira (Radhika Apte)

Thursday Movie Picks: Period Dramas

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is either something you love or hate; Period Dramas. I admit that sometimes they get old but I don't avoid movies because of the time frame. Here are three that definitely stick out.

1) The Favourite

This film has the perfect title considering it was one of my favorites from last year. If you're iffy on period pieces, this gloriously petty story about Queen Anne and two women vying for her attention is a good place to start.

2) Lady Macbeth

While I didn't love this film I admire it. Following completely unlikable characters is a tough sell but this did it and Florence Pugh was amazing as a young woman sold off into marriage that makes questionable choices.

3) The Edge of Love

This one doesn't go quite as far back as the others but no one ever talks about this film staring Keria Knightley, Sienna Miller and Cillian Murphy in the 1940's. The most famous thing about it is probably the fact that Lindsay Lohan was a trainwreck and dropped out of it (and was replaced by Miller) but it was a fine film. 

2019 Blind Spot Series: A Woman Under the Influence


What I knew going in: Not much, other than what it was about.

Mabel (Gena Rowlands) is a housewife who lives to please her husband, Nick. (Peter Falk) However she suffers from a mental illness that neither Nick, nor anyone else in their family is equipped to help her with.

When putting together my Blind Spot list, this was a recommendation I got on Twitter and it was a film I was familiar with due to all the praise for Gena Rowlands' performance.

That aspect of the film was no hyperbole. Rowlands is fantastic. It's sad to watch Mabel who with a less shitty husband and more supportive social circle could've gotten the help she needed and thrived. There are parts of this movie that are so deeply uncomfortable that it kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to follow.

Speaking of Mabel's husband, Nick really is the worst, right? This is nothing against Falk who's great, but Nick is so unlikable that the film, which is already far too long at 2 hours and 35 minutes drags even more when Mabel is sent to an institution and we're left to watch him parent his children. I wish the film would've stayed with her instead because it's not interesting enough when she's not around.

Thankfully the majority of this works well, I think it's a bit overlong. The story is interesting and the actors deliver, it just needed a bit of trimming. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Oh you poor thing. You can't name someone Harold." - Mabel (Gena Rowlands)