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Showing posts from May, 2015

Indie Gems: Departures

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Well, that's not what I signed up for. Daigo (Masahiro Motoki) recently lost his job as a cellist in an orchestra when they go out of business. He decides to move back to his home town with his wife, Mika. (RyĆ“ko Hirosue) He sees an advertisement for a job involving "Departures" He thinks it's a travel agency, but soon finds out it's actually someone who prepares dead bodies for their burials. Though he's cautious at first, he ends up taking a lot of pride in this job. The film gets off to a bit of a slow start, but when it gets going it's nothing short of amazing. Motoki is perfect here. He's very charismatic and it's a joy to watch his journey. His chemistry with Hirosue is spot on as well. The supporting cast of Tsutomu Yamazaki and Kimiko Yo are excellent as well. The score and cinematography are equally beautiful. It's easy to see why this film won the Best Foreign Film Oscar.  Grade: A Memorable Quote: "...you

Thursday Movie Picks: Mother/Son Relationships

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is mother/son relationships. They have to be biologically related. Out of all the other "All in the Family Editions" I had a hell of a time thinking of movies for this one. No idea why, but here's what I came up with. 1) I Killed My Mother This is a very intense character study on mother and son here. It was the first one that came to mind. 2) Looper There's a lot of things going on in this movie, but the relationship between Cid and Sarah, and what would eventually happen with it is what moved the entire story. And little Pierce Gagnon was so good.  3) We Need To Talk About Kevin I read this book right after I had my own son, and he got extra kisses every day. Is it possible to have a more complicated relationship between mother and son than Eva and Kevin did here? For everyone else's sake, I hope not. I mean, look what he's doing in that gif! 

DVD Review: Top Five

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Tupac. Biggie. Eminem. Nas. Jay-Z...Ludacris at 6 (seriously) Andre Allen (Chris Rock) is a former comedian and huge franchise star that is desperate to be taken seriously. He has a controversial new drama out that no one seems to care about. They only care about his impending marriage to a reality TV star, Erica. (Gabriella Union) Andre spends a day walking around New York City with journalist Chelsea (Rosario Dawson) who's trying to get a good story. I've always been a fan of Chris Rock, especially his stand up. His movies might not always be for me, but this one was surprisingly funny There's a lot of cameos from other great comedians as well. Rock doesn't miss a beat and Dawson is perfect for the part she's playing. It does tread into typical waters towards the end, but the humor makes it enjoyable.  Recommended: Yes Grade: B Memorable Quote: "He said 'I wouldn't see his movie if it were playing on my glasses.'" -

Movie Roulette Blogathon

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The beautiful Mettel Ray is hosting another blogathon . This one is interesting. So interesting that at first I wasn't sure how to exactly play. It kind of blew my mind. You'll need to head on over to her blog for the full experience, but here are the rules: . There are 25 facts, you have to pick 5 or more and for each, you drag out a movie as an answer! *Click on the gif, hold it and drag out a single movie* 2. You can only drag out one movie for each statement, no do overs, guys! *If you haven’t seen the movie (or can’t recognize it) you can pick again. *If you pull out a movie you already dragged out, you can try again until you get a different one. 3. Write down your answers and feel free to comment whether they make sense or not. 4. Link back to this announcement, and link to the Movie Roulette Ultimate Gif Set as well! *The gif set does have some movie title glitches, apologizes! 5. Last but not least, have fun! I chose random numbers without rea

DVD Review: The Fault in our Stars

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Okay? Hazel (Shailene Woodley) has terminal thyroid cancer and is very uninterested in attending a support group her parents are forcing her to go to. But there she meets Augustus (Ansel Elgort) who lost his leg to cancer. He brings some much needed positivity into her life, and they form a tight bond, particularly over Hazel's favorite book. I never read the book, and I didn't have any interest in seeing this movie, but when it came on HBO one night, I figured "why not?" It actually was pretty decent. I thought Woodley was very good, as she usually is when given the right material. Elgort played Gus well, but as an actor, he's kind of terrible. His lack of talent showed, but it didn't ruin the film.  I was kind of expecting it to be a huge tearfest like My Sister's Keeper. But it wasn't. It showed the horrors of cancer, but still managed to be pretty uplifting. I wish there was more Sam Trammell though. Recommended: Yes Grade: B

Rambling TV: Thoughts on the Duggar Scandal + Non-depressing Shows.

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Let's get the rant out of the way first. 19 Kids and Counting. You've probably heard about this show in the news this week and I wanted to touch up on that since I make fun of the Duggars so much. Now maybe people who don't know about their cult will see why they are not good people.  There's been rumors online for years that the oldest son, Josh molested someone. It was known as "sin in the camp" and many thought it had to do with a daughter of a senator that Jim Bob knew. There was also a rumor about a failed Oprah show where she brought up an accusation that Josh molested his sisters. Even less people believed that one over the first. Well, it turns out both are true. Here's the statement from People. and Here's the full police report from In Touch. Here's a quick timeline of events from Crushable. Josh, or Smugger as I typically call him did molest five girls, and the police report gave away that four of them were his own sisters

Tears of a Clown Blogathon

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Wendell came up with a wonderful idea for a blogathon and even provided us with the most terrifying banners I have ever seen. He asks us to talk about a comedic actor that took on a serious role. A clown we love that gave us a hell of a dramatic performance. Here are the rules. 1. Create a post about a comedic actor in a non-comedic role. Tell us what are your favorite comedic roles of this performer. More importantly, tell us why you like the dramatic role in question. Be as thorough as you feel you need to be. Convince us it's a great performance. 2. Use one of the banners I have in this post. 3. Include a link back to this post. 4. Leave a link to your post in the comments section below or tweet it to me @w_ott3 You know, there's a lot of comedic actors that give great dramatic performances. Jim Carrey came to mind first. A comedian who I loved as a kid, but now prefer his dramatic turn. I love Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction and Adam Sandler in Spanglish

Indie Gems: Rosewater

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You are not alone Maziar Bahari (Gael Garcia Bernal) is an Iranian-Canadian journalist covering the elections in Iran in 2009. When he goes with his driver he's befriended, Davood (Dimitri Leonidas) to see the more "controversial" sides of the people. He's eventually detained, beaten, and interrogated for over four months in prison by Javadi. (Kim Bodnia) Sometimes I wonder if I should shy away from doing newer releases as Indie Gems. I go back and forth on this frequently. But Rosewater , though new seems like it was almost forgotten this past year. It's a shame too because it is a fine film. I've been a fan of Bernal for a long time, and he's great here. This role is very far out of his comfort zone, but he nails it effortlessly. The whole cast really, is perfect. Of course since the film is directed by Jon Stewart, he throws in a bit of humor here and there and it's much welcomed. Otherwise this film would be very bleak. The way it is

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies based on Graphic Novels

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is movies based on graphic novels. The only catch is they cannot be about super heroes. This one was a little tricky, because obviously super heroes immediately come to mind when you think of graphic novels. But here are a few great ones. 1) Sin City Plenty of the characters in this movie are good fighters, but none of them are superheroes, even though a few would make good ones. This film is absolutely stunning and I never get sick of watching it. 2) Ghost World Did you know this was based on a graphic novel? That threw me the first time I heard it. Either way, I love this little indie. Johansson and Birch were excellent.  3) Scott Pilgrim vs The World To this day, I still don't see how this movie bombed at the box office. I know this one might seem iffy, because the evil exes could be seen as super villains, so just in case this doesn't count... Bonus: 30 Days of Night. This is one of the best va

2015 Blind Spot Series: Primal Fear

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What I knew going in: I've seen bits and pieces of it over the years, and I knew Edward Norton gives a great performance. A hot shot lawyer Martin Vail (Richard Gere) - and we know he's a hot shot because that's literally how he introduces himself to his client picks up a case involving a 19 year old man, Aaron (Edward Norton) who is accused of slaughtering an Archbishop. His former girlfriend, Janet (Laura Linney) ends up as the prosecuting attorney, but Martin starts to believe that his client may actually be innocent of this crime. The one thing keeping me from watching this movie in the past is Richard Gere. I can't stand the guy, and I thought he was terrible here as well. Still, even though he is our lead, all the other actors around him are so good they drown him out. Norton obviously is brilliant. Laura Linney, Alfre Woodard, Andre Braugher, and Maura Tierney give great performances as well, even though they are small. I love a good courtroom drama, an

Review: Clouds of Sils Maria

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There's more than that. Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is a actress whose career was launched 20+ years ago in a play where she played a young seductress. Now she's been asked to be a part of the play again, only in the role of the older women her character seduces. She's torn as she feels connected to her previous part. Her assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart) attempts to get her to see the play in a different light. The part she had previously is now being played by a young wild child actress Jo-Ann Ellis. (Chloe Grace Moretz)  This film got quite a bit of buzz at Cannes last year, then felt like it dropped off the face of the planet. When I went to the theater to buy my ticket, the guy that sold me it told me the booking people emailed them this movie out of the blue on Friday and told them to play it. They'd never heard of it.  Still, I'm glad it came around and I finally got to see it after hearing so many wonderful things about the performances.

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Game of Thrones, Agents of SHIELD + more

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Game of Thrones Kings Landing: Littlefinger tells Cersei about Sansa and tries to pit her against the Boltons. His plan still doesn't make any sense, I'm sorry. He should've stayed in the Vale. I'm glad Olenna is back to throw some shade. But Tommen, sitting there like a baby back bitch when Margaery got taken away? I almost miss Joffrey. Jorah and Tyrion's walkabout: I have no idea where they are, but they ran into slavers and Tyrion convinced them to keep him alive to sell him to a "cock merchant" and I nearly died of laughter. There was a beautiful scene between them earlier where Tyrion told Jorah that his father died. Iain Glenn was brilliant. Dorne: Trystane and Myrcella are the worst, I'm sorry. I don't want this Romeo and Juliet shit. Everything about the was awkward, even more so when she saw Jaime. The fight with the Sand Snakes was decent though, I expected worse. Though now I expect Bronn to die since he was cut. I'm su

Indie Gems: The Sea Inside

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Life is a right, not an obligation. Ramon (Javier Bardem) has been paralyzed from the neck down for the past 28 years. He longs to end his life, however the courts will not allow it without calling it a homicide. He hires a lawyer, Julia (Belen Rueda) who has an ailment herself to represent him. His path also crosses with Rosa (Lola Duenas) a woman who wants him to continue living. As I'm making my way through the best foreign film Oscar winners, this is another one that's absolutely breathtaking. Bardem is wonderful here. Despite being in the situation he's in, and wanting it all to be over, he spends 90% of this movie smiling. It brings up an interesting subject on whether or not euthanasia should be legal or if "right to die" is valid. It reminds me of that girl that was in the news earlier this year who ended her own life before her terminal cancer could make everything even more painful. I thought of her a lot while watching this. The movie fee

Thursday Movie Picks: German Language Films

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This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is kind of special to me, and also kind of hard. German is the only other language I speak besides English (though I'm getting quite terrible because I never practice anymore..I should) Yet, I haven't seen nearly as many German films that I've liked as I should. So here are the ones that stick out for me. And before you ask, yes I've seen Lola rennt (Run Lola Run) and I hate it.  1) Nowhere in Africa I just love this movie. I started off kind of hating the parents in this film, but they eventually got better and I had the ugliest cry face at the end. Though not all my Four Ways a Best Picture buddies agreed with me.   2) The Live of Others This film is just excellent from top to bottom. (Okay, I could've done without that guy forcing himself on the girl in the car scene) but it's is so interesting I couldn't really take my eyes off it.  3) A Coffee in Berlin Thi

Review: Stockholm, Pennsylvania

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Of course this ended up on Lifetime. Leanne (Saoirse Ronan) was kidnapped from a park when she was four years old. Ben (Jason Isaacs) told her the world had ended and kept her in his basement for 17 years. He renamed her Leia, gave her a different birthday, and teaches her different things. After she's freed (but don't expect an explanation because why the fuck would we want to know that?) she goes back to live with her parents (Cynthia Nixon and David Warshofsky) but has issues adjusting. If you noticed my sidebar, this is a movie I was really looking forward to this year. It premiered at Sundance, but got lukewarm reviews. I ignored this, because I love Saoirse Ronan and this plot is very interesting. An intense study on Stockholm Syndrome and coming back from that? Count me in. Unfortunately that's not what this film was about.  I tried to look at this objectively. Is the fact that it premiered on the Lifetime Network clouding my judgement on the film? Thi

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Game of Thrones, and Trashy Reality TV Rants.

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Game of Thrones The Wall - Stannis is still being a grammar nazi. He has a sweet heart to heart with Sam though, and mentions is father. He doesn't call him a massive fuckwad though, to my disappointment. Jon pisses off all of the Night's Watch, and pretty much confirms that Olly will be "for the watching" later on in the show. (book spoiler) Melisandre gets one last eye fuck of Jon for the road. Winterfell - Myranda is still fucking pointless but the scenes between Ramsay and Roose were golden. I love Roose Bolton. He's a slimy fuck but he's so interesting and watching him troll Ramsay was amazing. Sophie and Alfie were so good in their scenes together. As much as I hate this Sansa in Winterfell plot, I look forward to her scenes with Theon. Mereen - Barristan is dead, Grey Worm is alive (and taking screen time with Missandei) Dany decides she's too pissed to remember what Barristan said about her father going mad and burning people, so she t

Indie Gems: Middle of Nowhere

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We're in some middle place. When Derek (Omari Hardwick) is sentenced to eight years in prison, his wife Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) puts her dreams of medical school on hold. She works long hours as a nurse. She has a somewhat strained relationship with her mother (Lorraine Toussaint) and shaky one with her sister. (Edwina Findley Dickinson) When things get harder, she begins to questions if waiting for Derek is really the best option. I first heard of this movie on Candice's blog what feels like several years ago now. I immediately saved it in my Netflix queue, and I waited. And waited. And waited. And now after all this time, I finally got a hold of this DVD. I'm happy to report that this film absolutely met my expectations and was well worth the wait. The only actors in this film I was really familiar with were Toussaint and David Oweyelo, who are obviously both fantastic. But Corinealdi, she was so good! Ruby is a strong character, yet she has all her emo

Thursday Movie Picks: Work Place Movies

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is Work Place Movies! I tried not to go with the obvious pick, which would be Office Space. I think that movie probably comes to 95% of everyone's mind when they hear "work place movies" so I tried to pick something a little different. 1) Up in the Air A movie about a job that requires you to fire other people from their jobs. This is my favorite Reitman film, and also one of my favorites in general. They might not be in the typical office all day, but the're traveling around, much like the rest of my picks. 2) Thank You For Smoking Speaking of Reitman, who knew being a tobacco lobbyist could actually look so appealing? I also like how despite the entire film being about smoking, not one person is shown smoking on screen.  3) The Social Network You know who I would never want to go into business with? Mark Zuckerberg. Even with his hilarious business cards. Honorable mentions: Anchorman,

DVD Review: John Wick

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One man's epic quest for a replacement puppy. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a retired hitman whose wife has recently passed away due to an illness. In one last token of love, she sends him a puppy to take care of. Then an asshole naemd Iosef (Alfie Allen) robs Wick, steals his car, then kills his puppy. Now he's pissed. Iosef's father, Viggo (Michael Nyquist) knows all about Wick and attempts to reason with him, but no avail. One does not simply kill another man's puppy. This movie definitely isn't for me, but a lot of people said it was fun, so I gave it a watch. It was pretty amusing. It also had cameos from actors on several of my favorite TV shows. Game of Thrones, Rescue Me, The Newsroom, The Wire, Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter. That was kind of nice. I'm pretty sure people are continuously shooting for the last 30 minutes. Sad Keanu racks up quite an impressive body count by the end of the film. For a shoot 'em up movie, maybe John Wick e

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Game of Thrones, Agents of SHIELD + more

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Game of Thrones King's Landing - Cersei creates a religious army and has them storm brothels and eventually arrest Loras Tyrell. Margaery is pissed of course, and Tommen goes to try to free him, he chickens out because there's no way to do it without violence. She should've went with him. She had enough rage to probably get the job done. Dorne - Jaime and Bronn head there to smuggle out Jaime's "....niece?" as Bronn puts it. There was this really great moment when they're on the ship that Jaime sees an island he mistakes for Estermont, but the captain tells him it's actually Tarth. He stares at it lovingly for a second thinking of Brienne. Later he says he wants to die in the arms of the woman he loves and I'm going to pretend that's all about Brienne and not Cersei. Later we meet the Sand Snakes, who were not as bad as I expected, but we only saw them briefly. Tyene has the worst wig I've ever seen on this show. Usually they're