DVD Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

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 briefly. Saoirse Ronan as Zero's love interest. Willem DeFoe playing a very Willem DeFoe type character. Adrian Brody, who's first line made me go "I can't believe he just said that." Harvey Keitel, who took me a good 20 minutes to finally figure out it was him. Edward Norton. Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzmen, and plenty of other Wes Anderson regulars. 

This isn't the strongest of Anderson's work, but it has his signature look and feel and still manages to be a good watch.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Don't flirt with her." - Zero (Tony Revolori)

Review: Begin Again

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 compared to so many other things out there today. It's nice to see two leads not turn into a romance. They definitely had a few "will they, won't they" moments, but it isn't important.

Director John Carney brought us a beautiful musical film, Once, back in 2006 and this film has a similar formula. Two compelling leads, beautiful music, and such a touching story. This was an absolute joy to experience. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I wasn't trying to win you over, I was telling you to fuck off." - Greta (Keira Knightley)

Rambling TV: True Blood recap

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 absolve yourself of all the horrific shit that you have done in your life!" Sarah says she can, because they made a cure for Hep V in V camp last season, and she drank it all. Amber drinks her blood and is cured. The episode ends with Eric grabbing her by the neck and demanding to know what happened.

So THAT'S why Sarah Newlin is being kept around. 

As far as the various things going on in Bon Temps...

Jessica overhears Bill calling his lawyer and telling him he's Hep V positive and needs to get his affairs in order. Bill leaves to said lawyer's office and ends up killing her after she tries to embezzle money from him on a bribe. Bill's hep V is also spreading faster because of Sookie's fae blood.

Jessica calls Jason to tell her to bring over Sookie, which he does. Sookie and Jason have a few sweet moments before she finds out that she is Hep V positive. Blood from the sick vamps got in her open wound from episode three. 

Violet overhears Jason's phone call with Jess and trashes his house and leaves him a break up note, which Jason is weirdly not bothered by. 

Earlier, Andy caught Adilynn and Wade in bed and he and Holly got into a fight over the whole thing. Violet finds Adilynn and Wade after they've run away and says she has a safe place for them. Because of course the woman scorned has to be the baddie. 

Girl I Don't Give A Fuck About is leaving Sam, and I still don't care. Even if Sam's unborn daughter is going with her. Just get the fuck off of my screen.

James convinces Lafayette to let Lettie Mae trip out on V because maybe Tara IS trying to tell her something. They trip together and release Tara from this cross she was tied to. Tara then takes them to an old house they lived at and stars digging, then the Reverend interrupts. He gives Lettie Mae an ultimatum, and she chooses finding out what's going on with Tara over going with him.

Am I the only one that notices that NONE of these vampires have the bleeds, even when they're awake during the day time? Did they just throw that out the window this season?

I'm hoping this is the last slow episode of the season. There's only three episodes left, and they need to go out on a memorable note. I don't want True Blood to be remembered by the shit it turned into, I want it to be remembered for how great it was in the beginning. 

Indie Gems: Child's Pose

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 written dialogue and brilliant acting. Luminita, she was wonderful. She reminds me a bit of Jacki Weaver in a way. She was intense, and even though I hated her character, I loved every second of watching her.

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "You have another child. I only have him" - Corneila ( Luminita Gheorghiu)

Women in Film Blogathon

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 pick one, but I decided to go for one whose strength may have seen more subtle at first glance: Anna in Eastern Promises

Anna is a meek midwife that's just gotten out of a long term relationship and had recently suffered a miscarriage. But let's think about what she did here.

She finds the diary of a Russian teenager that dies giving birth on her shift. She does a little detective work, and makes her way to a restaurant where she thinks the girl may have worked. After speaking with the owner, she realizes something more complicated is at play. But she doesn't back down.

Anna was in the position where these men could've easily intimidated her, but she didn't let that happen. Sure, she befriends Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) but it isn't because she's afraid, she just wants to get to the bottom of this and he's the decent one.

She stands up to Kirill (Vincent Cassel) and calls him and his father out on their insane bullshit. She isn't afraid of what he might do. When they threaten her family, or come to her place of work, she still doesn't back down.

Spoilers ahead! Then after all of this, she saves the orphaned baby from Kirill and raises it as her own. How sweet is that?

When people see Eastern Promises, it's easy to see why they leave transfixed with Nikolai and how badass he was, but so was Anna. Just in a different way. 

2014 Blind Spot Series: The 400 Blows

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 (Jean-Pierre Leaud) 

Rambling TV: True Blood Recap

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. The whole town shows up. So does Alcide's father. Lots of shit goes down in no particular order:

1) Sookie gets drunk and has a heart to heart with Arlene over what it's like to lose a loved on. Arlene says sometimes when no one is around she puts Terry's coat on so she can feel his arms around her. I honestly almost teared up. Carrie Preston is so amazing.

2) Andy proposes to Holly with a ring Gran left to Jason. They're making Violet extra bitchy for her and Jason's inevitable break up when we're supposed to take his side. Holly says yes. Jason tells Adilyn and Wade "If ya'll are fucking, you won't be anymore."

3) James and Lafayette bond, which leads to them having sex and Jessica catching them. She makes a huge scene which would normally be called for, but due to the nature of the party feels highly inappropriate. 

4) Lafayette puts Jess in her place and says “If he is, what’s so fucking unimaginable about that? Red? Huh?! Everybody else in this fucking town is falling in love and getting engaged and having babies. Has it ever fucking occurred to you that Lafayette, that QUEEN that make all you white heterosexuals laugh and feel good about yourselves, has it ever fucking occurred to you that maybe I want a piece of happiness too?!”  

the queen has spoken

He asks Jessica how James turned, where was he from before he turned? She doesn't know the answer to any of these, but he does. Clearly she doesn't love him. This inevitably leads to Jessica and Jason having a long talk, then a fuck, only for Violet to overhear them. Because of course she does. Deborah Ann Wohl still apparently has a "no nudity" claus in her contract, because that scene felt extremely staged so that they didn't show anything.

(honestly, I agreed with Lafayette throughout this entire scene and don't even feel the least bit sorry for Jessica. Is that weird? I like Jessica too.)

5) Girl I Don't Give A Fuck About, aka Sam's pregnant wife tells everyone that their behavior is ridiculous and this kind of thing doesn't happen in other towns. Good, can you leave please? Go back to whatever town you came from and stop wasting screen time.

6) Lettie Mae shows up to say a few words about Tara, then ends up stabbing Willa to try to get her blood. (I guess Willa is sticking around. Zzzz) She says Tara is trying to reach her, and everyone thinks she's crazy because she used to be an alcoholic. Lafayette points out everyone thinks she's crazy because SHE JUST STABBED SOMEONE.

7) All throughout the night Bill was having flashbacks of his days as a human. They paint him in a very positive light because apparently Bill is end game and everyone must be forced to love him.  He and Sookie hug while their theme song from season one plays. More on Bill later.

Eric and Pam are in Dallas at a fund raiser trying to track down Sarah Newlin. Her parents are there, so she must be too. Eric is wearing a ridiculous cowboy hat and Pam says she's a Republicunt. Sarah manages to find her mother there and tells her she's in trouble, and that the Yakuza are after her. They show up, kill her parents (and several others) and just as Eric has Sarah and is about to choke her out, they show up, and Eric DROPS SARAH to go rip their faces off. I kind of feel like he could've snapped her neck and did all that in the same amount of time. 

The episode ends with Bill looking at himself in the mirror, and he notices he now has Hep V veins. Dun dun dun. I guess that blows the theory of fairy blood being a cure out of the water. By the way, the preview for next week looks like a gigantic clusterfuck. Oi. 

Six Degrees of Separation Blogathon

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

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 are following is unclear. Do they follow because they need to protect someone in trouble? Or are they a sign of impending death?

This film is based off a short story from Jonathon Lethem (It's part of his The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye collection) and until recently I had no idea they even made it into a film, let alone one starring one of my favorite actors. (Paul Dano) The film is practically identical. The story itself is fascinating, and makes you wish it went beyond it's short 70 minute run time, but then there's that flaw I talked about at the beginning of the review:

This movie has the worst production value I have ever seen. It's like it was shot on a cell phone, then edited with the cheapest computer program out there. THE CGI Sufferer looks like it came straight from DeviantArt. That's what bums me out about this film, more budget would've done it WONDERS and it's a shame it didn't get that. People will see the opening shot and judge it harshly, and not give the full film a try. (Or they'll just go read the story, which isn't a bad thing either) I made fun of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D for being more ambitious than their budget, but now that I watch this, I feel bad for saying that. This was a film that had no budget and therefore couldn't be ambitious with it. They got stuck with using bottom of the line techniques because they had to do something.

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "No one will get hurt." - Don (Paul Dano)

Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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 terrifying. 

Clarke isn't as interesting of a lead as Franco was, but it makes sense for Franco's character not to be there. That's nothing against Clarke, he's still good in his role. Far better than Oldman was, anyways. His character felt a little pointless. Dawn has some issues with pacing and it almost feels like a marathon at times, but it offers a unique perspective from both the humans and the apes' side of things. Caesar in particular has become such an iconic character because of all of this.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B- 

Memorable Quote: "I have you and your father now.." - Ellie (Keri Russell)

Review: Snowpiercer


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 few things. Minsoo's daughter, Yona is a clairvoyant, yet we don't know if that's something relatively known to the general population or not. There's a late reveal with Edgar's character too that reminded me of one of my major pet peeves in film, but I won't complain because Bell is such a joy to watch. I also wondered how the lower class people acquired their tickets in the first place, especially after they make mention of being "herded on."  

Snowpiercer is easily one of the best films I've seen this year, and it's one I hope isn't entirely ignored around Oscar season. (These July release dates are killers)

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Anything in the whole wide train." - Curtis (Chris Evans)

Rambling TV: True Blood recap

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 the ass later.

We were treated to a series of flashback of Pam and Eric in this episode. Eric tells the pilot of the private jet they are flying to go to Shreveport to get Willa, and we find out how they ended up there in the first place. Turns out, Fangtasia wasn't always a bar. It was a video store and the Magister forced them to own it in 1986. They also mention there's a secret tunnel underneath it. Flash foward to 1996, we see them meeting bar maid Ginger, who was then just a vampire film fan in college. She sees Eric for the first time, in a complete 90's slow mo scene, cheesy music bad hair and all, and immediately asks for a job application. Then we jump to 2006, where Ginger brings Eric's famous throne chair to the store, and pitches the entire idea of Fangtasia to Pam, who glamours her into thinking it was all Pam's idea. As she's telling Eric this story, their exchange goes:

Eric: "You bitch."
Pam: "I know. You still love me, right?"
Eric: "Always"


Back at Bill's house, Jessica and James fight about her not eating. Turns out she hasn't fed in over 2 months. Bill is staging an intervention for her when Sookie comes in. She offers to talk to Jess. (Sookie is playing therapist in this episode) and basically tells her to shut the fuck up and eat. Jess said she will, but she won't drink Sookie's blood. Queue them calling Lafayette's sassy ass in to feed Jess. "Step aside, Hookah" he tells James. Sookie also lets Bill feed from her while I roll my eyes.

While Bill, Sookie, Jason, Violet, James, Jess, Sam, etc are meeting at his house, discussing vampires they can call to help them take Fangtasia, the doorbell rings. It's Eric: "Pam tells me you wrote a book in which you claim not to be an asshole anymore?" Bill see's Eric's Hep V veins and legitimately looks sad about it.

Sookie runs to hug Eric immediately, and when she notices his veins, they go to talk privately. Pam isn't pleased. She hates Sookie and her precious fairy vagina. Eric tells Sookie how he traveled the world, how an avalanche saved him from burning alive. (and took out an entire ski village in the process) He asks her what kind of trouble she's gotten herself in as she begs "don't die on me." Alcide who?

playing with her hair? awww

Eric and Pam are going to help Sookie's group get into Fangtasia through said tunnel the Magister mentioned in the flashback. Eric also summons Willa who's PISSED at him for leaving her. 

Sam shifts into a rat and gets into Fangtasia's basement. I forgot Arlene doesn't know Sam's a shifter. She freaks at the sight of him. "Please don't turn into a rat again..oh god. He did."

Eric is trying to bust down a wall out back, but is too weak to do so. Bill does it instead, and I'm instantly pissed because Bill should never be shown to be stronger than Eric. I don't care if he's sick.

Arlene is taken upstairs and nearly drained by the time they all make it in. Remember how I mentioned Sam and Jason talking to Rosie earlier? Well, she told them about their plan to go to Fangtasia, so now the anti vamp mob is on their way to fuck everything up. All hells breaks lose, a lot of vampires die. Bill finally kills that asshole mayor guy who's name I'm too lazy to look up. Eric goes to find a healthy vampire to feed Arlene, she's seeing Terry since she's so close to death, but he tells her to stay. She and Sookie hug as Eric watches on. Jason goes "Jesus Christ, that was intense."

Against The Crowd Blogathon

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 theories with this movie. I saw a ton of over-acting and ridiculous situations. Obviously 96% of people will disagree, but this movie was just not for me.


Walk into this prison like "what up? I'm conflicted."

My friend once joked that this was my "feel good" movie because I was watching it when I had freshly gotten home from the hospital once. I just think it's a good horror movie. The story was interesting, it was creepy, it had jumpy scenes, including one that made me accidentally dump half my popcorn on my friend when I saw this in theaters. Robert Downey Jr. was in it. He and Halle Berry had good chemistry. The twist was decent and it was gory. It's still one I always go to when I'm bored. I knew people didn't like it, but I was shocked to see its rating was at 15% Come on, The Room is at 33%!

Thanks for hosting, Wendell!

2014 Emmy Nominations + my thoughts

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"
"Modern Family"
"Orange is the New Black"
"Silicon Valley"
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"
"The White Queen"
So Treme is a mini series now? Either way, good for Fargo and Bonnie and Clyde!

Outstanding TV Movie
"Killing Kennedy"
"Muhammed Ali's Greatest Fight"
"The Normal Heart"
"Sherlock: His Last Vow"
"The Trip to Bountiful"
So Sherlock is no longer a mini series and is now a movie? What? Normal Heart is winning anyways.

Best Actor - Drama
Bryan Cranston - "Breaking Bad"
Jeff Daniels - "The Newsroom"
Jon Hamm - "Mad Men"
Woody Harrelson - "True Detective"
Matthew McConaughey - "True Detective"
Kevin Spacey - "House of Cards"
I would hate to be voters in this category, choosing between Cranston, McConaughey, and Harrelson. I'd still choose Cranston though, I want Breaking Bad to go out on top.

Best Actress - Drama
Lizzy Caplan - "Masters of Sex"
Claire Danes - "Homeland"
Michelle Dockery - "Downton Abbey"
Julianna Marguilles - "The Good Wife"
Kerry Washington - "Scandal"
Robin Wright - "House of Cards"
I don't watch any of these shows, but I'm happy for Lizzy Caplan and Kerry Washington, just because I love their other work.

Best Supporting Actor - Drama
Aaron Paul - "Breaking Bad"
Jim Carter - "Downton Abbey"
Peter Dinklage - "Game of Thrones"
Josh Charles - "The Good Wife"
Mandy Patinkin - "Homeland"
Jon Voight - "Ray Donovan"
Aaron Paul, ftw!

Best Supporting Actress - Drama
Anna Gunn - "Breaking Bad"
Maggie Smith - "Downton Abbey"
Joanne Forggatt - "Downton Abbey"
Lena Headey - "Game of Thrones"
Christine Baranksi - "The Good Wife"
Christina Hendricks - "Mad Men"
NO MELISSA MCBRIDE?!?!? DID DOWNTON ABBEY REALLY NEED TWO NOMINATIONS!?!?!?! Okay, Melissa was always a long shot, but I still wanted her there. I won't let that disappointment get in the way of my happiness for Gunn and Headey though. Both are so deserving.

Best Actor - Comedy
Louis CK - "Louie" 
Don Cheadle - "House of Lies"
Ricky Gervais - "Derek"
Matt LeBlanc - "Episodes"
William H. Macy - "Shameless"
Jim Parsons - "The Big Bang Theory"
I know every year I ask "who the fuck watches Episodes" but this year it's "who the fuck watches Derek?"

Best Actress - Comedy
Lena Dunham - "Girls"
Edie Falco - "Nurse Jackie"
Julie Louis-Dreyfus - "Veep"
Melissa McCarthy - "Mike and Molly"
Amy Poehler - "Parks and Recreation"
Taylor Schilling - "Orange is the New Black"
JLD's 16th Emmy nomination! Go Veep!

Best Supporting Actor - Comedy
Andre Braugher - "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
Adam Driver - "Girls"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson - "Modern Family"
Ty Burrell - "Modern Family"
Fred Armisen - "Portlandia"
Tony Hale - "Veep"
I really wish the Veep actors would get the Modern Family treatment in this category. They're all hysterical.

Best Supporting Actress - Comedy
Mayim Bialik - "The Big Bang Theory"
Julie Bowen - "Modern Family"
Allison Janney - "Mom"
Kate Mulgrew - "Orange is the New Black"
Kate McKinnon - "Saturday Night Live"
Anna Chlumsky - "Veep"
I'm happy for Anna. I still wish Mayim would go away. Kate McKinnon is awesome too.

Best Actor - TV Movie/Miniseries
Benedict Cumberbatch - "Sherlock: His Last Vow"
Chiwetel Ejiofior - "Dancing on the Edge"
Idris Elba - "Luther"
Martin Freeman - "Fargo"
Mark Ruffalo - "The Normal Heart"
Billy Bob Thornton - "Fargo"
God, this category will be hard to call as well. Benny Batch, Mark Ruffalo, Freeman, Thoron. Holy crap.

Best Actress - TV Movie/Miniseries
Minnie Driver - "Return to Zero"
Jessica Lange - "American Horror Story: Coven"
Sarah Paulson - "American Horror Story: Coven"
Cicely Tyson - "The Trip to Bountiful"
Kristen Wiig - "The Spoils of Babylon"
Helena Bonham Carter - "Burton and Taylor"
Kristen Wiig is overrated.

Best Supporting Actor - TV Movie/Miniseries
Colin Hanks - "Fargo"
Jim Parsons - "The Normal Heart"
Joe Mantello - "The Normal Heart"
Alfred Molina - "The Normal Heart"
Matt Bomer - "The Normal Heart"
Martin Freeman - "Sherlock: His Last Vow"
Holy Normal Heart, Batman. And ANOTHER for Freeman. He had a good year.

Best Supporting Actress - TV Movie/Miniseries
Frances Conroy - "American Horror Story: Coven"
Kathy Bates - "American Horror Story: Coven"
Angela Basset - "American Horror Story: Coven"
Allison Tolman - "Fargo"
Ellen Burstyn - "Flowers in the Attic"
Julia Roberts - "The Normal Heart"
The only one that matters here is Allison Tolman for Fargo because she was awesome. But Flowers in the Attic getting a nomination? LOL

Outstanding Variety Series
"The Colbert Report"
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"
"Jimmy Kimmel Live"
"Real Time with Bill Maher"
"Saturday Night Live"
"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
"The Amazing Race"
"Dancing With The Stars"
"Project Runway"
"So You Think You Can Dance"
"Top Chef"
"The Voice" 

Outstanding Variety Special
"AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks"
"The Beatles: The Night That Changed America"
"Best of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Primetime Special"
"Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays"
"The Kennedy Center Honors"
"Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles"
There's a bunch of other Realty categories this year, but I didn't include them in my post because I don't give a fuck.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Nathan Lane, "Modern Family"
Steve Buscemi, "Portlandia"
Jimmy Fallon, "Saturday Night Live"
Louis C.K., "Saturday Night Live"
Bob Newhart, "Arthur"
Gary Cole, "Veep"
Buscemi for Portlandia is hilarious. I guess they had to make up for that Boardwalk snub somewhere.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, "Orange is the New Black"
Laverne Cox, "Orange is the New Black"
Natasha Lyonne, "Orange is the New Black"
Tina Fey, "Saturday Night Live"
Melissa McCarthy, "Saturday Night Live"
Joan Cusack, "Shameless"
Melissa McCarthy for hosting SNL? Again? She's overrated.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Dylan Baker, "The Good Wife"
Reg E. Cathey, "House of Cards"
Paul Giamatti, "Downton Abbey"
Robert Morse, "Mad Men"
Beau Bridges, "Masters of Sex"
Joe Morton, "Scandal"
No Pedro Pascal is very disappointing.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Kate Burton, "Scandal"
Jane Fonda, "The Newsroom"
Allison Janney, "Masters of Sex"
Kate Mara, "House of Cards"
Margo Martindale, "The Americans"
Diane Rigg, "Game of Thrones"
Kate Mara! Diane Rigg! Jane Fonda!

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
"Breaking Bad" -- "Ozymandias" (Moira Walley-Beckett)
"Breaking Bad" -- Felina" (Vince Gilligan)
"Game of Thrones" -- "The Children" (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss)
"House of Cards" -- "Chapter 14" (Beau Willimon)
"True Detective" -- "The Secret Fate of All Life" (Nic Pizzolatto)
Give Ozymandias every Emmy there is.

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
"Boardwalk Empire" -- Farewell Daddy Blues" (Tim Van Patten)
"Breaking Bad' -- "Felina" (Vince Gilligan)
"Downton Abbey" -- "Episode 1" (David Evans)
"Game Of Thrones" -- "The Watchers on the Wall" (Neil Marshall)
"House Of Cards" -- "Chapter 14" (Carl Franklin)
"True Detective" -- "Who Goes There" (Cary Joji Fukunaga)
I know Watchers on the Wall's nomination game from that awesome giant kill. That was epic. (and I hate using that word, but there's no other way to describe it)

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
"Episodes" -- "Episode 305" (David Crane)
"Louie" -- "So Did The Fat Lady" (Louis C.K.)
"Orange Is the New Black" -- "I Wasn't Ready" (Jenji Kohan and Liz Friedman)
"Silicon Valley" -- "Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency" (Alec Berg)
"Veep" -- "Special Relationship" (Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche and Armando Iannucci)

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
"Episodes" -- "Episode 309" (Iain B. MacDonald)
"Glee" -- "100" (Paris Barclay)
"Louis" -- "Elevator, Part 6" (Louis C.K.)
"Modern Family" -- "Vegas" (Gail Mancuso)
"Orange Is the New Black" -- "Lesbian Request Denied" (Jodie Foster)
"Silicon Valley" -- Minimum Viable Product" (Mike Judge)

Indie Gems: Explicit Ills

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 director. I look forward to checking out more of his features. (He's got one coming to theaters soon, called The Ever After)

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "At this current moment, getting a little closer to death is a good thing" - Rocco (Paul Dano)

Relay: The Ten Biggest Stars of Classical Hollywood

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 was a kid. I started tap dancing because I watched Shirley Temple movies. I fucking LOVE Shirley Temple, you guys.

Who's Next?
I see it fitting that I pass the baton to my original go to blog for Classic films: Anna at Defiant Success!

Contributors Thus Far:

Wendell from Dell on Movies 

Andrew from A Fistful of Films 

Alex from And So it Begins…

Brittani from Rambling Film