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Showing posts from December, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Snowy Winter Movies

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is snowy winter movies. I have a love/hate relationship with snow. I think it's beautiful, when it's falling softly at night, it's so pretty and there are many scenes in films where it's snowing that I love. But fuck ice, and -50 degree weather, seriously. Here are some of my favorite winter movies. 1) 30 Days of Night This ended up as a bonus pick during the graphic novel week, so I'm glad I get a chance to use it here. The snowy setting makes this scenario even more dire. 2) Let the Right One In Yeah, two winter vampire movies. I know, but I love Let The Right One In and winter plays an important part in one of my favorite scenes, Eli and Oskar meeting outside and Eli isn't dressed for winter. 3) Misery Worst person to get caught in a snow storm with ever.  Bonus: The Ice Storm - not a whole lot of snow in this movie, but the ice they get at the end of it is memorable.

DVD Review: Z for Zachariah

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The Godzilla rev up of eye fucks. A nuclear disaster wipes out nearly all of the human race. Ann (Margot Robbie) is a young woman living on a farm in a valley that has protected her from the unnamed plague that killed everyone. One day, she meets a scientist John (Chiwetel Ejiofor) whom she saves from radiation poisoning after he's wandered near her farm. They have their disagreements, but they work together to survive, then grow a little closer than that. Then, another man, Caleb (Chris Pine) enters their world, and makes things 50 shades of awkward. I never read the book this is based on. Which apparently doesn't matter because after reading the summary of it, it's nothing like the film. I think this initially had a lot of potential, but it's wasted on a love triangle that doesn't make much sense, and comes to a pretty anticlimactic conclusion. Did they not think the film could work with just Ann and John? I think it could've. Caleb's only purpo

Review: The Danish Girl

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"I dream her dreams." In 1920's Denmark, two painters Einar and Gerda Wegener (Eddie Redmaybe and Alicia Vikander) are happily married. Einar has all the acclaim, Gerda is still trying to make her mark. What starts out as asking her husband to put on stockings and shoes to finish a portrait of her friend, Ulla (Amber Heard) starts escalating to Einar wearing her nightgown during a bit of foreplay, to actually dressing up as a woman and going by the name "Lili" at an art show. But Einar has always gravitated towards women's clothes, you can see it in the light touches he gives them. Soon, he wants to only be Lili and both he and Gerda struggle with the hurdles to come. The film captures Einar's pain well. Being born with the wrong gender has to be one of the hardest things in the world, I would think. Especially so long ago. You really want to just hold Lili and tell her it's okay. The same compassion is felt for Gerda who goes from having

DVD Review: Southpaw

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Sometimes you just know. I almost went to see Southpaw in theaters a few different times, but I never did. Something always stopped me. After getting it from Netflix, I can see why. The movie itself is just "fine." Nothing more. Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a boxer who in the prime of his career suffers a massive tragedy when his wife, Maureen (Rachel McAdams) is accidentally shot by someone in a rival boxers' entourage and killed. He goes off the deep end, loses his house, his friends, and worst of all, his daughter, Leila (Oona Laurence) He seeks the help of a coach, Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker) to get back on track. There's nothing I dislike about Southpaw , but there's nothing I love either. Gyllenhaal is a great lead, and it's nice to see him in shape after that creepy  look he had in Nightcrawler , and Oona Laurence showed incredible range for an actress so young. The film itself dissolves into cliche after cliche and has a very predict

Indie Gems: Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

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Fascinating. Like the title says, this isn't a true biopic of photographer Diane Arbus. (Nicole Kidman) Diane feels like an outsider in her own family, despite her husband and fellow photographer Allan (Ty Burrell) trying to encourage her otherwise. She's intrigued by a new neighbor who moves in upstairs, Lionel (Robert Downey Jr.) a man who suffers from hypertrichosis who introduces Diane to a world of "different people" whom she feels immediately at home, and becomes entranced with Lionel himself. I don't know anything about the real Diane Arbus, unfortunately, aside from recognizing a few of her pictures. So I can't really argue the veracity on how she's portrayed here. The film makes her both sympathetic and selfish at the same time. She's quiet, caring, and while I was happy she found this world where she fit in, I hated that it was at the expensive of ignoring her entire family. The acting is wonderful across the board. Kidman was

Thursday Movie Picks: Holiday/Vacation Movies

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is Holiday/Vacation movies. You would think this week would be all Christmas (Merry Christmas, everyone!) But I'm stuck on two Thanksgiving movies instead. Here's a few of my favorites. 1) The Vicious Kind Peter brings his girlfriend Emma home for Thanksgiving, and she ends up forming a strange attraction to his brother, Caleb, who also happens to hate his father for leaving his mother. To say things get complicated in this movie would be a massive understatement. 2) Pieces of April April's mother has cancer so she invites her entire family over to her apartment for Thanksgiving. April is obviously the black sheep of her family. 3) Elf This kind of counts as a vacation! Buddy, being raised with Elves his entire life takes a trip to New York City to find his birth father. 

DVD Review: The Falling

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Follow the leader. Abbie (Florence Pugh) and Lydia (Maisie Williams) are best friends at an English Boarding school in the late 60's. When something terrible happens to them, an epidemic of fainting starts happening throughout the school.  Spoilers because this movie is pretty terrible and spoiling a few things will help explain why. I'll get the good out of the way: There are some gardens in this film that are absolutely breathtaking to look it.  That's about it. This movie fundamentally fails at just about everything else. When you have an unlikable lead character, you should at least make her interesting. Lydia is not. Maisie Williams shows such range on Game of Thrones , but none of that can be found here. It's like trying trying too hard to be this bratty, melancholy teenager. I don't know if it's the direction, but Williams isn't a bad actor. It reminded me of Georgie Henley and Kara Hayward in the equally terrible Sisterhood of the Nig

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Droid, please. It's here. Oh my God it's here. I was smiling like an idiot as soon as "A long time ago, in a galaxy far away..." hit the screen. I'm probably going to see it again in theaters this week, which I never do.  The First Order has risen from the Empire, lead by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) they are trying to find a Resistance pilot named Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) who has something they desperately need. In true Star Wars fashion, he hides his secrets in his droid, BB-8 (Who is my new favorite droid, by the way) right before he's captured. A Stormtrooper, Finn (John Boyega) horrified with what the First Order is doing defects and sets him free. After they crash land back on the planet of Jakku, BB-8 has fallen into the hands of a scavanger Rey (Daisy Ridley) who now along with Finn find themselves on the First Order's most wanted list, and fleeing to the Resistance.  This film is so fun. It's every

Rambling TV: Thought on Fargo and Jessica Jones

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Fargo Look at that picture! Allison Tolman had a voice over as adult Molly talking about her life, and they showed this scene of the original cast. I loved it. Aww... The finale was pretty underwhelming, especially compared to last year's but it still had some good moments. Peggy has gone full on insane, imagining that Hanzee was trying to smoke her and Ed out of the freezer they were hiding in. Ed has this look of "I'm so fucking over this" right before he dies. It's very fitting. Later, Peggy's dumb ass keeps going on about how it's not really her fault until Lou shuts her up and tells her people died because of her.  Lou's wife didn't die, that surprised me. Mike Milligan, after working so hard to "move up" so to speak is now going to be stuck in a tiny office. That's probably not a good idea, he looks like the type that would go all Nelson Van Alden and kill his co workers. The most interesting part (aside fro

Indie Gems: Defendor

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Get the spelling right. Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson) is just a regular guy who turns into "Defendor" his alter ego and super hero at night. He's looking for "Captain Industry" who he believes murdered his mother long ago. He fights crime with his home made weapons. One day he encounters Kat (Kat Dennigs) a prostitute and crack addict he saves,  she speculates on who Captain Industry might be. This turns Arthur's sights on a local king pin. I feel like this movie was massively marketed wrong. The trailers I watched made it seem like a comedy, and there are some amusing moments, but it's certainly not one. Arthur is actually very tragic. He's a man who suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome when he was born and isn't "all there" now. So seeing him sort of blow off his small support system is sad.  Harrelson is great, and he looks like he's having fun with this role. Of course a film like this will remind you of Kic

Thursday Movie Picks: Family Get-Togethers/Reunions

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is something either people love, or people hate. Personally, I love seeing my extended family...until they start talking politics, then I want to drink myself into a stupor. This week, I decided to focus on family get-togethers that none of these people wanted: 1) Rachel Getting Married Kym has been in and out of rehab for a long time. She comes home for Rachel's wedding, but ends up with most of the attention on her, albeit unwanted. This may have been the most awkward pre-wedding of all time.  2) Shotgun Stories You know what's super awkward? Being at a funeral of your father, when his three other children from a previous marriage show up and deliver a eulogy over how shitty he is. (And he must have been, he named his older kids "Son," "Boy" and "Kid") 3) Winter Passing Reese goes home to visit her writer father because she's offered a ton of money to find some love

2015 Blind Spot Series: Winter Light + my 2016 list

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What I knew going in: Absolutely nothing. It was just a random title I selected from Bergman's films. Well, here is is. My final Blind Spot film of 2015. I love participating in this so much. When I threw my list together, I saved this one for last because it had "Winter" in the title and seemed fitting. But this is definitely not a cheery movie by any means. Pastor Tomas Ericsson (Gunnar Bj√∂rnstrand) is having a bit of a spiritual crisis. He goes through the motions at his small church with an even smaller congregation. He's a widower, and frequently refuses the love of a woman, Marta. (Ingrid Thulin) who says she's in love with him. He's also faced with counselling a depressed man named Jonas (Max Von Syndow) though he doesn't know what to say to him since he's barely a believer anymore. This movie is bleak. I'm so torn on how I feel about it. On one hand, I think it was wise of Bergman to have a run time of 81 minutes as this i

Review: Room

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He's not our friend. Jack (Jacob Tremblay) just turned five years old. He wakes up in Room, the place he lives with Ma. (Brie Larson) He greats his sink, wardrobe, rug, all he knows is Room. Ma has chosen to tell him that Room is all there is, and nothing exists outside of it. Only she did, Ma was kidnapped when she was seventeen and has been imprisoned in a man named Old Nick's (Sean Bridgers) shed for seven years. She finally tells Jack there's more to the world than just Room, and she sets Jack up for an elaborate escape. But things aren't easy, and getting used to the world as it is now isn't going to be a cake walk for either of them. I suppose it goes without saying that I ugly cried in this. More than once. Actually, I probably devoted one hour of the two hour run time to scrunching my face up and using my scarf as a tissue. I reached the point that I like to call "Internal discussion ugly cry." I kept telling myself "you didn't

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Fargo and Agents of SHIELD

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Fargo Well that was a hell of a penultimate episode. We finally see the big Sioux Falls shoot out that was referenced in season one and it did not disappoint. Well, I'm a bit disappointed the Blumquists continue to live. Lou's wife, though, that made me so sad. Hanzee getting a proper revenge story is interesting, and I love that they brought Martin Freeman back to narrate. (Even if it was kind of a weird change considering they've never done that before) So what do you think of the UFO? I didn't mind Rye seeing it in the first episode, I thought it perfectly symbolized paranoia of that time, but I'm not crazy about everyone seeing it again. It's just weird, I'm not sure where they're going with this. Agents of SHIELD I have to say, I love Mack taking charge of SHIELD like this. Man is sexy when he's handing out orders. I also love May being the only person with her shit together during that siege. Let's talk about Will. Pointl

Indie Gems: Heartbeats

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Imaginary lovers. Marie (Monia Chokri) and Francis (Xavier Dolan) are best friends who both start falling for a sweet and unassuming dumbass, Nicolas. (Niels Schneider) He's blissfully unaware of Marie and Francis' affections for him, and soon things start to escalate between the two of them when Nicolas hasn't chosen one over the other. This is a very thought provoking film. All three of these people start off as likable individuals, but slowly change as their insecurities come to light. Marie tries to be something she's not. Francis struggles with exception. Nicolas is well...just kind of daft with beautiful hair.  Dolan must be a big Gregg Araki fan. The way this film was shot reminded me of scenes from both Mysterious Skin and Kaboom. I loved that. I love the color pallet Dolan chose for this film. He captures some beautiful moments, even if he over does it with the zoom and the slow motion shots.  This is probably my least favorite Dolan movie, b

2016 Golden Globe Nominations + my thoughts

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And the award for worst live stream goes too.... Seriously, the HFPA needed to sort their live stream out. I couldn't hear half of these. Here's a list of the 2016 Golden Globe nominations. There was a few great surprises here, and some eye rollers as well. My thoughts follow in green. Best TV Series - Comedy or Musical Casual  Mozart in the Jungle  Orange Is the New Black  Silicon Valley  Transparent  Veep  Two of these I haven't heard of, Two are not comedies, and the other two are Veep and Silicon Valley which are very deserving of their spot.  Best Actress in a TV Series - Comedy Rachel Bloom- Crazy Ex Girlfriend  Jamie Lee Curtis- Scream Queens  Lily Tomlin - Grace and Frankie  Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep  Gina Rodriquez - Jane the Virgin  I've only seen Veep so JLD forever.  Best Actor in a TV Series - Comedy Aziz Ansari - Master of None Gael Garc√≠a Bernal - Mozart in the Jungle Rob Lowe - The Grinder Patrick Stewart - Blunt Talk Jeffr

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies set in a Hotel

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Ahh hotels, they either provide you with the best part of your vacation or the worst. This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about movies set in such a place. Here are three of my favorites. 1) Bobby I thought the idea of following around a group of people who happened to be staying at the same hotel that Robert F. Kennedy would eventually be shot and killed at was a very interesting idea. The cast was mostly excellent too. 2) Lost In Translation It's at a hotel bar were Charlotte and Bob first meet and start their beautiful friendship in this wonderful film. 3) Forgetting Sarah Marshall You know you want to stay at the Turtle Bay resort in Hawaii after seeing this. I know I do. Especially if Paul Rudd is giving surfing lessons.  Bonus: Dunston Checks In - Okay this movie is awful, I haven't seen it since I was about 6, but I was all about it back then. 

2016 Screen Actors Guild Nominations

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The SAG's decided to sleep in a few hours this year, and Anthony Mackie adorably butchered a few names. But here is the list of nominees that were announced on Wednesday. (Busy week at the blog) There were a few surprises here for me. My thoughts as always follow in green. Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Bryan Cranston - Trumbo Johnny Depp - Black Mass Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl The SAGS never match up with the Oscars in all 5 spots, but I would not complain if these were the 5 Oscar nominees. Actually, I would a little because Attah should be in there for Beasts of No Nation, but his age makes him have a long shot.  Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Cate Blanchett - Carol Brie Larson - Room Helen Mirren - Woman in Gold Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn Sarah Silverman - I Smile Back Who the fuck saw Mirren and Silverman coming? I didn't. I rea