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Showing posts from July, 2014

DVD Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Why does Wes Anderson hate animals so much? Seriously, is there some sort of inside joke I'm missing? What's with all the animal death in his films? It's not like it's overly graphic, but it's just one of the many repetitive things I notice. The Grand Budapest Hotel opens with a writer (Jude Law) staying and said hotel and starting up a conversation with Mr. Moustafa. (F. Murray Abraham) He tells him the story of how he came to acquire this hotel, long ago when he was just a bell boy named Zero (Tony Revolori) and took orders from the eccentric concierge M. Gustave. (Ralph Fiennes) Here's the thing, this film is actually very sloppy. So many parts of it feel random and ridiculous, but it still manages to be amusing amidst all this dumb fuckery. That might sound like I didn't care for it. I did, I enjoyed the whole thing, but I have to point that out. Fiennes and Revolori have good chemistry, and plenty of other great actors show up briefl

Review: Begin Again

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Can a song save your life? A record exec, Dan (Mark Ruffalo) hasn't been having the best of times. He's just lost his job, he's an alcoholic. He's estranged from his wife and young daughter (Catherine Keener and Hailee Steinfeld) when he's out drinking at a bar, he overhears a singer/songwriter playing at an open mic night. She's Greta (Keira Knightley) who is new to NYC and doesn't fall for Dan's immediate bullshit about signing her and making her change who she is. She's also fresh out of a break up with a rising start, Dave (Adam Levine, who surprisingly doesn't suck) Instead, they collaborate on an album together. They record live in various places throughout New York City, in hopes that Dan's former label mate will like her music and sign her right away. I loved Dan and Greta's friendship. They don't fall in love and run away together. They help each other when they both needed it the most. That felt really unique comp

Rambling TV: True Blood recap

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This episode stuck true to the show runners words when they said they wanted to keep this season about the people of Bon Temps. While we were treated with a couple revelations this episode, it did end up feeling about 2 hours long.Click those gifs to be redirected to their makers.  Eric opens the episode with a pretty badass fight scene with the remaining Yakuza. Eventually he and Pam are captured and meet with the president of the company that produced True Blood. He too wants Sarah Newlin dead for what she did to his empire. Eric isn't going to give up Sarah's location because HE wants to be the one to kill her, but Pam eventually makes them work out their differences.  Meanwhile, Sarah shows up at her sister Amber's house and finds out she's sick. She goes off on a tangent on how she is a "new me" and everything happened for a reason. This leaves Amber to deliver the line of the night - "You can't just dye your hair and blow a guru and ab

Indie Gems: Child's Pose

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Ma! You're smothering me! That's how this film would probably start if it were set in the Bronx, but fortunately us, this one is set in Bucharest, Romania. Corneila (Luminita Gheorghiu) is bitter over the fact that she can no longer control her adult son's (Bogdan Dumitrache) life. When he gets into a car accident that results in the death of a 14 year old boy, she sees an opportunity to assert herself in his life once again. Fisti over at A Fistful of Films reviewed this film and brought up a great point about Munchausen by Proxy, which I couldn't be on board with more now that I've seen this. The relationship between Corneila and Barbu is fascinating and really makes you wonder what she was like when he was a child. You get a good idea of it. Child's Pose reminds me how much you can appreciate a film that is really just characters having conversations with one another. Not a lot of action, or physical things to drive the plot foward. Just well writ

Women in Film Blogathon

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John over at Hitchcock's World has been running a blogathon about strong female characters in film. Here are the rules. 1) The female character in question should have qualities that make her strong. That doesn't necessarily mean better than the guys, just well-written; we're trying to promote equality here, not reverse misogyny. 2)  Unlike my previous blogathon, I'm going to be a bit stricter here and say that each entry should only focus on one character. However, if you like you can write multiple entries examining different characters. 3) If you can, do try to find less obvious choices. There are a few that I can expect are likely to get picked: Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, etc. If you decide to write about any the "obvious" choices, I encourage you to at least try and find something new to say about them. 4) You are allowed to pick characters from any film from genre or time period you like. There's so many strong female characters to

2014 Blind Spot Series: The 400 Blows

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What I knew going in: Nothing, really.  Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud) is a schoolboy that's neglected by his parents. His mother seems to dislike him, his father is disinterested, his teacher has no patience for him. It's no wonder he gets bad grades and makes questionable decisions. Soon, he starts skipping school, sneaking in movies and stealing.  This is my first "French New Wave" film. I think it can be risky when you have a child lead, but Leaud did a wonderful job. I feel like Paris as a city really does enhance every film it's in. I found the parents in this film pretty insufferable, but it just made me sympathize with Antoine even more. (It's sad when the bed at the juvenile detention center looks more comfortable than the one he has at home)  I ended the film with the hope that he can turn everything around. Recommended: Yes Grade: B Memorable Quote: "They don't believe me when I tell the truth.." - Antoine

Rambling TV: True Blood Recap

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This gif has nothing to do with anything. This is just what happens when I get bored. Well, after last week's awesome episode we're back to mediocre. To be fair, this was a big transition episode that is setting everything up for the rest of the season. It ended up feeling very soap opera-ish. As always, click those gifs to be redirected to their makers. At Fangtasia, Willa refuses to help Eric and Pam find Sarah Newlin, but she offers up information in exchange for Eric releasing her. He does, and she tells them about Sarah's vampire sister in Dallas. (Who was briefly mentioned as missing in season 2) Dallas was also were Godric lived. Please give us a flashback and leave Nora out of it. At Sookie's, Lafayette and James are there to take care of her. I liked seeing these scenes between Sookie and Lala. It reminded me of season one after Gran died. They decide that they're going to throw a party to celebrate life instead of moping about death.

Six Degrees of Separation Blogathon

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Nostra over at My Film Views has another new blogathon ! I think everyone's familiar with the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon game. The theory that anyone can be connected to someone else in show biz in 6 steps or less. I was assigned Groucho Marx to Leonardo DiCaprio by Jenna and Ellie over at Flick Chicks.  Here it goes! Groucho Marx was in Skidoo with Mickey Rooney Mickey Rooney was in The Muppets with Amy Adams Amy Adams was in Catch Me if You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio I'm passing this on to M. Brown over at Two Dollar Cinema  Connect Leonardo DiCaprio to Shirley Temple!

Indie Gems: Light and the Sufferer

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You wanted to make something happen, right? I debated using this in my Indie Gem column at first. I liked it, but I still had a few problems with it. Then I realized this is one of those films that NEEDS to be given a chance, because it has one glaring flaw that's going to turn a lot of people off from it. Paul (Michael Esper) has just dropped out of college. He decides he wants to start a new life in California, and goes to look for his estranged younger brother, Donovan, whom he and his family haven't seen or heard from in a year. (Paul Dano) Eventually he runs into him wandering around a Brooklyn park. Don thinks they could get more money before they leave, so they attempt to rob some dealers he knows, but that doesn't go as planned. Soon after their botched attempt, an alien begins to follow Don. They are relatively known in society, they're referred to as 'Sufferers.' They don't speak, they don't interfere, they just follow. But why they

Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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Why can't we all just get along? We pick up more than 10 years after the virus eliminated seemingly all of man kind. Caesar (Andy Serkis), still living in the woods of California is in charge of his colony and has a family of his own. However there are a group of humans, led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) near by, and they need access to a generator that is underneath a dam near the Apes' home. Caesar makes the decision to trust them, particularly Malcolm (Jason Clarke) but his confidant, Koba (Toby Kebbell) isn't as trusting. I realize now when watching this that even though I enjoyed Rise , I didn't really remember a lot of it. This film, though it still has its flaws feels like it will be far more memorable in the long run. Everything is turned up a notch. The CGI looks even more realistic, there's far more action. There's a scene of Koba, riding a horse wielding two machine guns that I'm still trying to decide if I thought it was hilarious or terrif

Review: Snowpiercer

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Nice. In the future, an attempt to slow down global warming goes horribly wrong, leaving the world frozen. The only people who survived are on board a train run by the mysterious Wilfred that travels the globe. The rich enjoy comforts while the poor live in poverty. We meet Curtis (Chris Evans) who wants to change all that. He and his fellow passengers, Gilliam, (John Hurt) Edgar, (Jaime Bell) Tanya, (Octavia Spencer) etc stage a plan to move to the front of the train, but first they need to free a prisoner, Minsoo (Kang-ho Song) who is the only one that can open all the doors. This film has beautiful imagery and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. As they move through each train car, another secret is revealed, and it's all fascinating. Evans gives his best performance here, and the cast as a whole is great. (I loved seeing Song again, who was so wonderful in Thirst )  If anything, I actually wish the film had been a little longer just to elaborate on a f

Rambling TV: True Blood recap

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Oh man, it's been a long time since I've been able to say I loved an episode of True Blood. But I can say that about tonight's. There were so many great lines, familiar faces, and interesting flashbacks. I'm going to jump around a bit in my recap to summarize, but I'll leave the main point at the end. As always, click the gifs to be redirected to their makers. The episode opens up with a series of calls. Sookie calls Alcide's father to tell him he's passed. "He loved the fuck out of you" Jackson tells her. Jason calls Hoyt to tell him about his mom, and clearly still struggles with Jessica glamouring him in season 5.  Sookie checks in with Arlene's kids, Kobe and Lisa (holy crap, they've grown up!) and uses her mind reading to help Holly remember where she came from. They narrow down Fangtasia. Sam and Jason now know Kevin is dead from Holly's memories, so they go to tell his wife Rosie. This is going to seriously bite them in

Against The Crowd Blogathon

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Wendell over at Dell on Movies has a new blogathon! He's asking us to pick movies that we're "against the crowd" on. To pick one that we love that everyone else hates, and one that we hate that everyone else loves. Here are the rules: 1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of at least 80% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you hate it. 2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of less than 30% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you love it. 3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies. Rebel Without A Cause  No, you're tearing ME apart. This movie was on my Blind Spot list this year, and I was genuinely looking forward to seeing it. It was awful. How was this over the top film considered a classic? How is James Dean considered a fantastic actor? I didn't see anything to support those th

2014 Emmy Nominations + my thoughts

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So I waited a few days to post these (because I have a weird thing about how my blog looks when I make more than one post per day) so here's al ist of the 2014 Emmy nominations. My thoughts as always follow in green . Outstanding Drama Series "Breaking Bad" "Downton Abbey" "Game of Thrones" "House of Cards" "Mad Men" "True Detective" Breaking Bad! True Detective! Game of Thrones!   Outstanding Comedy Series "The Big Bang Theory" "Louie" "Modern Family" "Orange is the New Black" "Silicon Valley" "Veep" Silicon Valley surprised me. That show is mostly pretty boring. I'm happy for Veep and Louie though. Outstanding Miniseries "American Horror Story Coven" "Bonnie & Clyde" "Fargo" "Luther" "Treme" "The White Queen" So Treme is a mini series now? Either way, good for Far

Indie Gems: Explicit Ills

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Love, drugs, passion, poverty. Explict Ills follows five different stories centered around people in Philadelphia. Jacob and Michelle (Lou Taylor Pucci and Frankie Shaw) are a young couple that fall deep into drug abuse. Rocco (Paul Dano) is a struggling actor. Babo (Francisco Burgos) has asthma, and his mother (Rosario Dawson) struggles to get access to his medication. Demetri (Martin Cepeda) is a teenager trying to pick up his first girlfriend. Jill and Kaleef (Naomie Harris and Tariq Trotter) are a religious couple that struggle with money. Director Mark Webber takes a very artful approach to his first feature. Each narrative it split up with painted pictures of the people it involves. The color pallet he uses is rich, despite the theme of depression the film has. Dano, Pucci, and Dawson are standouts. While their stories are more interesting than the others, that's not to say they are lacking in any way. I'm a big fan of Webber, both as an actor and as a dire

Relay: The Ten Biggest Stars of Classical Hollywood

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John of Hitchcock's World  has another relay started. This time he's asking for the 10 biggest stars of Classic Hollywood. Everyone that reads my blog knows that I suck at seeing classic movies, but I instantly had someone come to mind when Alex passed this to me. Who Stays: Ingrid Bergman Humphrey Bogart James Cagney Henry Fonda Cary Grant Katherine Hepburn Marilyn Monroe James Stewart Audrey Hepburn Who leaves: Rod Steiger Since this is the "biggest stars" relay, I felt like I had to remove the one I knew the least about, and unfortunately that's Steiger. Plus I couldn't find a single gif of him alone so where are you on that, internet? I'll accept 10 lashes and go watch a Steiger movie now. Who I'm adding: Shirley Temple I may not know a lot about classic films, but I've seen nearly every  one of her films, and I absolutely adore her. I wanted to be her when I