Indie Gems: Hellion

Metal and Motocross

Jacob (Josh Wiggins) is your typical angry 13 year old. He's into motocross, metal, and causing trouble with his friends. Eventually that trouble leads to his 10 year old brother, Wes (Deke Garner) getting taken away by CPS to live with their aunt. (Juliette Lewis) Their father, Hollis (Aaron Paul) has been drinking heavily since the death of his wife, and has been leaving them to fend for themselves. Both he and Jacob need to clean up their acts in order to get Wes back.

Aaron Paul continues to be amazing, this is a far departure from Jesse Pinkman. Garnder and Wiggins were wonderful as well. This film reminded me a lot of Hesher, and I think that contributed to me liking it so much. The story was interesting, and it didn't make CPS look like the bad guys. (I always appreciate that, because I hate that so many people view them) The way the film escalates felt organic, and it could've very easily been over the top. 

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I love you more than anything, you know that, right?" - Hollis (Aaron Paul)

Review: Fury

Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.

Fury takes place in 1945. WWII is coming to the end, but the United States Army is still trying to subdue the rest of the German forces. On board the tank that the film is named after, we have Don 'Wardaddy,' (Brad Pitt) Boyd 'Bible,' (Shia LaBeouf) Trini 'Gordo' (Michael Pena) and Grady 'Coon-ass.' (Jay Bernthal) They've been together for years and when one of their own is killed and replaced by the young Norman, (Logan Lerman) they're sent off on another mission with the inexperienced kid. 

One major complaint I've seen about Fury is that "it's just another war movie." Maybe that's true, but honestly I don't watch a lot of war movies, so this felt fresh enough for me. I loved the main cast, they were all wonderful with Shia LaBeouf in particular being a stand out. Lerman, I'm usually on the fence with, but I think he gives his best performance here. Even topping Perks of Being a Wall Flower.

The film is understandably bleak, and even though it's easy to guess the story's eventual outcome, it's beautifully shot and scored. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "This is an American tank, and we speak American." - Don (Brad Pitt)

Favorite Movie Titles - Halloween Edition!

I've been racking my brain over what to do as a Halloween theme this year. I've done lists, horror themed Indie Gems, films that scared me, but since I've been on a movie/TV title kick this year, I figured it fit. Here's a list of my favorite Halloween/Horror/Thriller related titles. Keep in mind, I don't necessarily like these movies, but their titles are awesome.

An American Werewolf in London
Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Cannibal Holocaust
Dead Hooker in a Trunk
Event Horizon
Fright Night
Ginger Snaps
I Saw The Devil

Killer Klowns from Outerspace
Let The Right One In
Midnight Meat Train
Nightmare on Elm Street
Orca: The Killer Whale

Planet Terror
Queen of the Damned
Red, White, and Blue
Sleepaway Camp
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Valley of the Zombies
Wicked Little Things

You're Next
Zombie Strippers

Rambling TV: Boardwalk Empire recap + thoughts on The Walking Dead

Boardwalk Empire

The series finale of Boardwalk Empire is definitely something I'm still thinking about this morning as I write this post. Yes, it did feel rushed, but while some parts were satisfying, others were not. Yet, I wouldn't call it horrible, but it did leave me with a lot of questions on one particular characters.

Let's breakdown where we left each of our cast.

Luciano and Lansky are head of their crime organization, and they take out Narcisse at church. The Narcisse part felt rushed, but we always knew that's where Luciano and Lansky were.

Margaret makes a ton of money in stocks for herself, Nucky, and Joe Kennedy. And when he tries to make a move on her, she puts that bastard in his place. She visits Nucky before he leaves NYC and they dance together one last time.

Al Capone is heading to court for tax evasion, but he can still have a tender moment with his deaf son first. Stephen Graham is amazing as Capone, I don't care what everyone says. They way he showed him as nervous, then he flips a switch and puts on a show for the cameras was brilliant.

Eli and Nucky have one last scene together in which Nucky gives him some money and tells him to try to make it right for his wife. I honestly thought there was going to be a gun in the bag, and Eli was going to shoot himself. So that's where my mind goes.

Nucky visits Gillian in the home in what was the most disappointing scene for me. They didn't actually TALK about anything. wtf?

Nucky's final scene was with "Joe Harper" the kid that came into his service this season, and was intercut with a flashback of Nucky about to pimp Gillian out to the Commodore. "Joe" reveals himself to be Tommy Darmody, Jimmy's son. He says his grandma always talked about Nucky, he thought she might be in love with him. Then he shoots him in the same place Nucky shot Jimmy in season 2.

The "Joe Harper is Tommy" theory has been around the net for awhile. At first, I didn't subscribe, because that kid looked way too old to be Tommy, who at this point in time would only be about 14-15. But hey, he looks like Michael Pitt so that's where the casting director's thought process was apparently. The finale scene was very poignant, but I felt like they missed a huge opportunity to have a flash of Jimmy instead of Gillian. That wouldn't packed more punch, in my opinion. Jimmy was Nucky's surrogate son, and yes he ruined Gillian's life, but he was always closer to Jimmy.

So how did Tommy know all of this about Nucky? Was Gillian writing to him from the mental hospital? Surely he would have more memories of things Richard said over Gillian? And was be bluffing when he said he didn't have a home? I hope so, because wtf happened to Julia? Maybe my love for all things Jimmy and Richard blinds me when it comes to other characters having the spotlight, but I just felt that mentions of them would've worked better.

Oh well, you had a good run Boardwalk Empire. Even though you killed EVERY SINGLE ONE of my favorite characters. To the lost.

The Walking Dead

We finally finally got to hear Bob yell the famous "tainted meat" line from The Hunters arc in the comics. He sold the shit out of it too. I loved Gareth in this scene, calling Carol the "Queen Bitch." I'm glad more people are starting to realize Carol IS queen. lol

This episode was pretty tense and brutal through out. We learned Father Gabriel's secrets, how he locked everyone in his church out.

Tyreese attempts to comfort Sasha about Bob and tells her to forgive. I love Ty, but what happened to Karen and what happened to Bob are two TOTALLY different things, and I kind of felt like forgiveness was misplaced here.

Abe wants to go to D.C, Glenn tells them to wait 12 hours and if Carol and Daryl aren't back, they'll go with them. 

The Termites go back to the church only to get ambushed by Rick and co and brutally beaten to death. Tara, Glenn, Ty, and Maggie all look terrified of what their family members are capable of.

Abe leaves Rick a map to D.C, Glenn, Maggie, and Tara go with while the others stay and wait. I can't tell you how annoying it is to see the group split up again when they JUST got back together. Even though *START SPOILER/HIGHLIGHT OVER IF YOU WISH TO VIEW* I know they meet up again in a few episodes. *END SPOILER*

Daryl comes back at the end of the episode without Carol, when Michonne asks where she is, he says "come out" to someone hiding in the trees. Those idiot guests on Talking Dead last night actually thought he could be talking to Beth, because she, as a member of the group would totally be hiding. ffs.

Other TV Thoughts:

I'm giving up on both Gotham and Big Bang Theory, despite how much I wanted to like the former. Gotham has potential, but it just doesn't seem to be doing much with it, and BBT is no longer tolerable. It's just boring. At least Agents of SHIELD is picking back up, and Fitz and Simmons are reunited! I'm looking forward to next week's episode. I'm still watching the train wreck known as 19 Kids and Counting. This week's episode was titled 'All About Jill' despite this entire season already being all about Jill. Jim Bob is giving me some serious perv vibes though...eww...

2014 Blind Spot Series: Wild Strawberries

What I knew going in: Not much, only that when I asked for recommended Bergman films, this one came up frequently. 

Igmar Bergman was the director I had in mind when I started my Blind Spot list. His films occupied 3 spots in my 2014 list, and 2 more in my preliminary 2015 one. This one was almost always recommended.

Dr. Isak Borg (Victor Sjostrom) is a professor that's been isolated from nearly everyone for many years. He's on his way to a University to pick up an honorary award and decides last minute he's going to drive there. Along the way with his daughter in law, Marianne (Ingrid Thulin) and eventually a few other passengers (including Bergman favorite Bibi Andersson) he reminiscences about his life and comes to the realization that maybe he's been a little too distant.

I kind of felt like this movie was a few beats away from being a road trip comedy. At least Bergman road trip comedy. Parts were amusing, other parts very ethereal. I think the pacing kind of dulls the movie a bit in places, but the story was fascinating and Sjostrom was wonderful. I can see why this is a Bergman favorite. I definitely preferred Persona to this one, but this was still a good watch.

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "I have liked having you in that house." - Isak Borg (Victor Sjostrom)

Indie Gems: Obvious Child

Remain calm.

I'll admit, I was determined to like Obvious Child before I saw it. The story follows a stand up comedian, Donna (Jenny Slate) who gets dumped by her boyfriend and is about to lose her job all within the same week. She has a one night stand with a very nice guy, Max (Jake Lacy) but ends up pregnant. She knows very well that she is in no place to be a parent, so she decides to have an abortion.

People saw the word "abortion" and jumped on this movie like white on rice. "I can't believe they'd make a joke over killing babies!!" people cried. of course, all these people bitching never even saw the film. I knew there just had to be more, and thankfully there was.

Obvious Child doesn't handle this topic lightly, but it handles it realistically. It's Donna's choice, she has her reasons for doing it, and really, it's not the focal point of the film at all. Donna's relationship with Max and subsequently getting her shit together is. We see her bomb at stand up a few times for getting a little too real. A scene where she's in the recovery room with other patients feels important and heartbreaking at the same time.

This film definitely provokes a conversation, but beyond that it's a very good little film with Slate shining as the lead.

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I can't tell anyone to shut the TV off..." - Donna (Jenny Slate)

Thursday Movie Picks: Vampire Movies

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is Vampire movies. This was hard to narrow down to three. You will find no Twilight shit here. 

1) Let The Right One In

This will always be one of my favorite movies, and I don't think I'll ever see another vampire movie I like more than this. Eli and Oskar's relationship is so sweet and free of judgement. I love it. 

2) Thirst

This South Korean film is a real gem and Kang-ho Song and Ok-bin Kim are fantastic in it.

3) Interview With a Vampire

This is one of the few films I actually like Tom Cruise in. It also started my fangirling over Kristen Dunst. 

Brilliant acting defined by one look.

All this Fincher talk lately gave me the idea for this post. So many bloggers were pointing out how awesome Rooney Mara was in her short time in The Social Network, that it gave me this idea. Sometimes a simple look an actor gives is nothing short of brilliant. So here are my favorite examples of great acting in one particular scene.

Rooney Mara in The Social Network - When Erica finds out what Mark has been saying about her online. Just look at her face. Mara shows she's one of the best actors in this movie with this look alone.

Denis Leary in Rescue Me - The look on Tommy's face when he finds out his son has died is absolutely heartbreaking, and is the only time I've ever cried when watching a TV show.

Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones - Sansa's gone through hell in King's Landing. And when Margaery, a proper lady she admires offers friendship, Sansa is so happy she nearly cries. Look at her face. She was perfect.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet in Mysterious Skin - This is the scene where the reality of what happened to these men when they were children sinks in, and all they can do is sit there silently with each other. 

Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda - His despair in this scene. I burst out in tears. (shocker, I know)

Natalie Portman in Black Swan - "I was perfect" she says. The reality of how much she wanted that hits you like a ton of bricks. 

Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men - His face says "Literally, you can buy this same knife anywhere, for fucks sakes."

Michelle Fairley in Game of Thrones - Catelyn's life is ruined and she's about to die. She knows this, and you can feel her anguish. 

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad - This hug says so many things. Walt's manipulation of Jesse. Jesse knowing it's all bullshit. Yet deep down, even after everything, they can't help but still care about the other. 

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight - The Joker's introduction set the stage for what was in store. We know here we're in for a wild ride.

Adepero Oduye in 12 Years A Slave - Eliza telling Solomon why she will continue to weep for her children was powerful, heart breaking, yet very brave of her. She had nothing to lose at this point.

Evan Rachel Wood in Thirteen - This was the moment that the weight of Tracey's decisions came crashing down on her. 

Ralph Fiennes in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Yes, I had to sneak some Harry Potter in here. But seriously, (Siriusly?) The minute Voldemort opens his eyes after returning is terrifying. We know immediately he's still every bit as dangerous as he once was.

Kevin Spacey in American Beauty - "Spectacular" The monologue he's giving and the way Spacey plays it match up so perfectly.

Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men - Yep. He's going to kill you.

Melissa McBride in The Walking Dead - Carol having to make one of the hardest decisions she's ever done weighs heavy on not only her, but the viewers. We feel Carol's pain here, but we know she's doing the right thing. 

Michael Shannon in Take Shelter - No one loses their shit quite like Michael Shannon. It's so hard to watch him in this scene. Everyone is judging him, thinking he's crazy, but no one is offering to help him. It's sad.

Hopefully this post made sense. Tell me some of your favorites?

Review: Men, Women & Children

Technology ruins everything...or maybe it just enhances it?

Jason Reitman is one of my favorite directors, but recently he's been lacking. Young Adult and Labor Day were both pretty lackluster. Men, Women, & Children is a step back into the right direction, but it makes me wonder if Reitman actually saw Disconnect? Because his movie feels incredibly similar.

Interwoven stories about people and how the internet effects their lives make up this film. There's Don and Helsen (Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt) who's unhappy marriage leads them to seek out other comfort online, while their teenage son Chris' (Travis Trope) online porn preferences are ensuring his relationship with Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia) will never be normal. Hannah is very overt with her sexuality and her mother (Judy Greer) even helps her take seductive pictures for her website in hopes of landing an acting/modeling career. There's Patricia (Jennifer Garner) playing the ultimate helicopter parents and monitoring everything her daughter, Brandy (Kaitlyn Denver) does online. Brandy also strikes up a new friendship with Tim, (Ansel Elgort) who in the wake of his mother's abandonment quits football and turns to online role playing games. There's a few other stories linked in there, but that covers most of the basics.

I said at the beginning this was very similar to Disconnect, another muti story film about how the internet effects people, and while I hate to compare them, that film just all around did it better. MW&C drags a bit under the tremendous weight of all these stories. Some of the conclusions barely seem satisfying. That's not to say the movie is bad, I actually enjoyed it, cliches and all and would recommend it, but it's hard NOT to compare the two. 

Garner, Denver, and Dean Norris were the standouts for me. This brings me to Adam Sandler, he was decent here. It just pisses me off even more that he makes such shit movies when he's actually capable of putting on a good performance. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "That is why I put a computer chip in my daughter's brain, with a 7 digit pin code to her vagina." - Donna (Judy Greer)

Rambling TV: Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead recaps

Don't forget to click those gifs to be redirected to their makers.

Boardwalk Empire

There's only one episode left, and we said goodbye to another fan favorite tonight. Okay, fan favorite may be stretching it, but fuck you. Mickey is awesome.

Nucky arranges to have Benny kidnapped so he can gain some leverage on Luciano and Lansky. So what do they do? Seconds after a newly back in Atlantic City Eli meets up with his son, Willie, Luciano and Lansky have him abducted right in front of him. Touche.

Benny was golden in this episode, even when he was singing a song about vagina. I actually cared more about Benny then I do Willie. I wouldn't have been too broken up if Willie had been killed. When both sides meet to agree to terms, Benny punches out Willie and his goons grab him again. Nucky has to agree to give Luciano and Lansky his empire, AND kill Salvatore Maranzano. Mickey Doyle and Nucky's Cuban bodyguard are also killed during the melee. 

This week's flashbacks include Mabel wanting to keep Gillian and not send her back to where she ran away. Nucky disagrees, and she eventually bolts. He also begins to learn that being a man of the law has some shady sides too. The last scene was Nucky reading the letter Gillian wrote him from the mental hospital. She says he's the only one that knows her, and she wants him to save her.

It's a little hard to be excited for the final episode of Boardwalk Empire when you know, historically, that Luciano and Lansky come out on top. That Jimmy flashback I was hoping for won't happen, because now I'm 100% certain the final flashback is Nucky giving Gillian to the Commodore. So really that leaves Margaret and Gillian to be the interesting ones in the next episode. I gotta head it to Steve Buscemi in this episode though, Nucky was pissed and he was great.

The Walking Dead

After last week's explosive premiere, we were treated to a quieter, more character driven episode. I liked the development we got, but it also came off as very predictable.

Come on, even the casual viewers knew Bob's time had come to an end. (or is about too) That ALWAYS happens when a minor character/red shirt gets lines like he did.

Carol had three important talks this episode. One with Rick, he says he owes her everything, essentially admits he was wrong to cast her out, then asks if she'll "have them." She agree, she gives him back his watch, but doesn't accept hers back. Then her and Tyreese talk about the Grove. Ty doesn't want to tell them about the girls, he wants to forget, but he wants Carol to tell everyone about Karen and David. I love Tyreese, but I thought that was kind of stupid of him to ask, especially when he said he DIDN'T want anyone to know about the Grove immediately afterwards. Then there's Daryl, who frequently checked on Carol throughout the episode. He wants to know what's wrong, but she won't talk.

in which Daryl attempts to get his flirt on with Carol and fails

The group meet Father Gabriel, who's been hiding out in his church this entire time. He lets them in, leads them to a spot to get more supplies, which they do. During all of this, Bob is apparently bitten, though he doesn't tell anyone. They know Father Gabe is hiding something, and Rick tells him if that something hurts a member of his family, he will kill him.

Abe also gives a speech about going to D.C, everyone says it's Rick's call, and he eventually agrees to go. Tara also had a big moment in this episode, explaining to Rick about The Governor tricking her, (he was forgiving, he could tell she didn't want to be there) and she admitted to Maggie she was there as we. (Maggie hugged her and said shes with them now.)

Carol attempts to leave on her own, the guilt over everything that happened to her is still heavy on her heart. Daryl catches her and just as he tells her to come back with him, they see a car with a white cross on the back. He recognizes this as the people who took Beth, and they stupidly jump in the car to chase them. I say it's stupid because 1) They all just got back together. 2) These people are obviously watching them, so they'll come back. Maybe Father Gabriel knows something about them. and 3) They were all JUST about to go to D.C, and suddenly they remember Beth is out there? I guess Beth fans can thank Carol for that. She's the only reason they're going after her now.

Bob goes outside for a good cry, because he's obviously bitten, when he is knocked unconscious. He awakes to find Gareth, Martin (remember that guy Tyreese insisted to Carol that he killed?) and others around a camp fire. Gareth explains nothing was personal, but they took their home from them. They didn't want to start eating people, but it just came to that. Bob looks down and his leg is missing, they're roasting it over the campfire.

My TWD spoiler addiction knew all of this was coming, of course. Bob was born to be "tainted meat." (a comic line) These little moments were a nice touch, and the ending was super creepy. I think everyone is looking forward to seeing what's next. 

10 Best Superheroes Relay

Bubbawheat over at Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights (another blog title I'm jealous of) passed me the baton to his very interesting 10 Best Super Heroes relay. This isn't just any old relay where you swap one, add one, and keep going. His rules are very specific:

1. The list of movies will be passed to another blogger who will post their list within a week.

2. The blogger will take their list, remove 3 movies – with explanations, and replace with 3 new movies – with explanations.

3. If a movie lasts five rounds without being removed, it becomes locked in; it is permanent and can no longer be removed from the list.

4. If a movie is removed three different times, it is locked out and can no longer be put back onto the list by someone else.

5. Once four movies are locked into place, bloggers will replace 2 movies.

6. Once eight movies are locked into place, bloggers will replace 1 movie.

7. Once all ten movies are locked into place, the relay will be complete.

Here's the relay as I received it. The locked titles are in bold.

The Avengers

The Dark Knight

Spider-Man 2

Iron Man


The Rocketeer

The Incredibles

X-Men: First Class 


Blade 2 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier 

Superman II 

I'm removing:
X-Men: First Class - This is not the best X-Men film out there, so it simply cannot stay.

Kick-Ass - Because it's kind of overrated, and I have another "random person becomes a masked vigilante movie in mind."

I'm adding:

X2: X-Men United - Now THIS is my favorite X-Men movie.

Super - Super may be the least well, "super" movie on this list, but I absolutely love this little seen indie and I think it deserves a spot for charisma alone.

It was tough only removing 2, I actually wanted to remove several, but this was a fun twist on the normal relay. I'm passing this long to the very funny M. Brown at Two Dollar Cinema

Other participants:
A Fistful of Films
The Focused Filmographer
Life vs. Film
Simplistic Reviews
InSession Film
Dell on Movies
Jeffrey K. Lyles’ Movie Files