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


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)

Review: Late Night

Dream big.

Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is a long running late night talk show host whose ratings have been declining. When she's accused of hating women by her colleague, Brad (Denis O'Hare) she immediately orders him to hire a woman. Enter Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) an essay winner with no comedy experience who happens to be in the right place in the right time, and now she's the only non white male on Katherine's writing staff. 

I've been looking forward to this since it was announced at Sundance, but when the first trailer came out I put the brakes on my hype a little because it was kind of awful. I'm happy to say that the trailer did not do this film justice at all. 

Mindy Kaling is a great writer and even though the script plays it pretty safe, I love what she did here. There's plenty of laughs and the characters were easy to warm up to. Molly is instantly likable and Katherine is fairly complex. The privilege drenched writing staff, lead by Reid Scott, Max Casella, and Paul Walter Hauser among others are all very amusing themselves and are responsible for some really great jokes. They're a bit typecast, but it works.

The star is Emma Thompson. I assumed it would be Molly that carries the story but it really is Katherine. We see glimpses of who she was before she stopped caring about the quality of her show and we feel her desperation at not wanting to let go. It's a great performance.

As I said, the script does play it really safe but it makes for a fun matinee. You'll certainly enjoy yourselves.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I like it. The glitter, the ponies. Are you super excited about getting your first period?" 

Indie Gems: Little Woods

You can start over.

Ollie (Tessa Thompson) is trying to lead a straight(er) life after getting caught running drugs over the North Dakota/Canadian boarder. When her sister Deb (Lily James) falls pregnant and knows she can't afford to have the baby, Ollie turns to dealing again for hopefully the last time. 

First off, thank you all for leaving comments on the two posts I had scheduled while I was on vacation. I'm currently typing up a bit of content, then I'm off to read your lovely blogs. Even when I travel I normally set aside time each night to check out my blog roll, but I was EXHAUSTED at the end of each day. I'm happy to be back in the swing of things.

I had to laugh when I started watching this movie and realized it was set around the area I grew up in. (Though they choose a fictional name for the town) They certainly capture the despair and general bleakness of Western North Dakota well, especially now that oil drilling is so common there. The desperate need of affordable health care is prevalent and I found the way the film addressed that to be very believable. 

Tessa Thompson gives a very understated performance here that I just adored. Ollie is a good person trying to make the best out of hard times, for herself and her mess of a sister. I enjoyed Lily James in this role too. I felt like it was fairly different for both of them.

I give this major props for not going with the ending that I was sure they choose. It's a very quiet film, there's not a lot of action nor excitement but something like this is rare. We have so many films about trafficking drugs through the Mexican boarder but barely any that address the desperate need for pain killers and how some attempt to get fake Canadian ID cards just so they can afford basic health care. 

Grade: B

Watched on: Delta Studios In Flight Movies

Memorable Quote: "How do you always manage to fuck things up?" - Ollie (Tessa Thompson)

Thursday Movie Picks: Undercover

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about characters that are undercover. There's a lot to choose from, so I went with a theme within a theme. All of these movies are about law enforcement agents going undercover. Two sets of cops and one FBI agent. All with varying degrees of comedy involved.

1) 21 Jump Street

I didn't have the highest expectations for this but my husband and I got a rare date night away from our then baby so we went to this on opening night and laughed our asses off. Comedies are the only times I like big crowds in theaters, all that laughter is contagious. 

2) Kindergarten Cop

I watched this movie so much as a kid and sadly, I still quote it frequently.

3) Big Momma's House

Yes, I'm aware this movie is dumb as hell and full of stereotypes but I laughed.