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Showing posts from February, 2017

Review: 20th Century Women

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It takes a village...somewhat. In the 1970's, a single mom, Dorthea (Annette Bening) owns a boarding house with her teenage son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann)  and two other tenants. When she feels she isn't reaching him, she enlists the help of one of her tenants, Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and her son's friend, Julie (Elle Fanning) to help "raise" him with her.  I really love the way this story was told. We get to hear each of the main character's inner monologue some point and developed well. It's much more than just the struggle between Dorthea and Jamie, the film makes sure everyone gets their say. We see Abbie deal with recovering from cervical cancer, to Julie essentially using Jamie as her quasi-therapist at times. Jamie is probably the most interesting teenage boy I've seen in a movie in a long time. You don't often see teenagers questioning their parents unhappiness, or picking up feminist literature. Jamie is truly one of a kind. Th

2017 Academy Award Winners

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Holy fucking shit. That's about the most articulate thing I can say at this point. The Best Picture envelope fiasco quite literally sobered by ass up. I was a bottle of wine in. I'm actually really mad for a number of reasons. 1) That Moonlight didn't get to properly enjoy its Best Picture win, and it will forever be remembered by this fuck up. 2) That the La La Land team actually got through their entire speeches before someone stopped them and 3) Why didn't they question that envelope more?  Anyways, aside from that colossal fuck up. Kimmel was an excellent host. I love his ongoing "feud" with Matt Damon and how it made it into several parts of the broadcast "Ben Affleck and Guest" I went 15/25 with my picks (would've been 16/25 with the first movie they called Best Picture) Below are the winners + my thoughts.  Best Picture Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell Or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester By The Sea

Indie Gems: Train to Busan

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All aboard. Do you know what movie I shouldn't have to file under "Indie Gems?" This one. This film at its height was opened in 36 theaters total across the U.S. From what I could find, it was a big hit in its native South Korea and other Asian countries but it didn't find its footing here. A film like this should've been given a wide release. People need to get over their fear of subtitles. /end rant Anywho, Train to Busan follows a very preoccupied father, Seok Woo (Yoo Gong) whose  daughter, Soo-an (Soo-an Kim) begs him to take her to see her mother in Busan for her birthday. He's a workaholic, but after being guilt tripped a bit he plans to take the train there quickly and come back. A sick passenger also boards the train, and when they die, they turn into zombies. Suddenly the mass outbreak that is now affecting the other cities is effecting the moving train, and Seok Woo, Soo-an, and a group of other passengers must fight their way throug

Thursday Movie Picks: Superheroes - TV Edition

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We have another TV Edition from Wandering Through the Shelves. This week we're talking about Superheroes. I decided to go with one show I enjoy now, and two I loved when I was a kid. 1) Daredevil I was never a huge fan of Daredevil, especially after that disastrous Ben Affleck movie, but add a wonderful actor in Charlie Cox and Netflix's vision and this has easily become my favorite of all the Marvel TV efforts.   2) Batman: The Animated Series I loved watching this on Saturday mornings as a kid. Until Nolan got his hands on Batman, this was my favorite way to watch him.  3) The X-Men Another one I loved when I was a kid. I miss liking all things X-Men. I haven't enjoyed anything since X2. 

LAMB devours the Oscars - Supporting Actress

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I case you missed it, this piece was originally published over at LAMB for " LAMB devours the Oscars ." In 2014, I got to talk about the supporting actors for LAMB Devours The Oscars. This time around, I've got the actresses. Though there's a clear winner in this category, it's full of strong performances. I'm going to talk briefly about some of the things I adored from each one of these talented ladies. Octavia Spencer - Hidden Figures At first, Octavia over her co-star Janelle MonĂ¡e bothered me slightly. It just felt too "safe." In retrospect, it makes sense. Octavia's Dorothy Vaughan is one to take charge. She organizes and holds everything together. Her hard work, like Spencer's pays off. It's easy to rally behind her. Spencer plays Dorothy very calmly, even though you know she has so much more to say. She keeps it professional. In a powerful moment when Kirsten Dunst's character attempts to justify her stance on racism, D

Review: A Cure For Wellness

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The creepy resort where no one ever returns is totally safe. Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) is an ambitious executive for a powerful company in New York. Once the big wigs get word of a hit of a scheme he pulled, he's sent off to Switzerland to retrieve his colleague who went to a wellness center and has no intention of returning after sending an ominous letter. When he gets there and meets with Dr. Volmer (Jason Isaacs) he starts to realize that what's packaged as a luxurious spa is far more than it seems.  I feel like the filmmakers took what was actually an interesting concept and said "Make it look like Shutter Island !" It's impossible not to see the comparisons between the two. It almost seems like DeHaan was cast simply because at certain angles he looks like Leonardo DiCaprio. It's not a quick shot here or there either. Since A Cure For Wellness moves at an absolute snails pace, you're forced to contemplate the similarities more and more.

2017 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

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We're a week a way from the Oscars, now it's time for predictions. For what it's worth, I always get the technical categories wrong. Seriously, I have to look up the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing every year for a reminder. You'd think after doing this for 8 years I'd remember. Anyways, here's who I think will win, and in some cases, who should in.  Best Picture Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell Or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester By The Sea Moonlight Who will win: La La Land Who should win: Moonlight or Hidden Figures La La Land NOT winning at this point would be a bigger shock than Crash swooping in over Brokeback Mountain. I like La La Land a lot, I just happened to like a few other films more.  Best Actor Casey Affleck - Manchester By The Sea Andrew Garfield - Hacksaw Ridge Ryan Gosling - La La Land Viggo Mortensen - Captain Fantastic Denzel Washington - Fences Who will and should win: Denzel W

Indie Gems: Latter Days

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Why are you all named Elmer? Elder Aaron Davis (Steve Sandvoss) is a Mormon missionary that is sent to Los Angeles. It's his first time away from home. He meets his new neighbor, Christian (Wes Ramsey) a gay man that doesn't hide his sexuality, even though it makes Aaron's fellow Elders (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rob McElhenney and Dave Power) angry. Christian at first is amused at their discomfort, so when his friends casually bet him to try to sleep with Aaron, he's all for it. There's plenty of movies with this plot line, but none quite like Latter Days . It's a very green film, in fact the opening scene almost looks right out of a corny 80's movie despite being filmed in 2003. But don't let that throw you off. I felt very moved by the story, even though you can tell only some of the actors were seasoned. It's a testament of how much heart it really has. While I watched it for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, his part is very small. Sandvoss and R

Thursday Movie Pick: Shakespeare Adaptations

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is movies adapted from Shakespeare's work. Thankfully this theme leaves a lot of wiggle rooms because there's plenty of films that are loosely adapted, and those work for me. I'm going to share my favorite, one that I forgot was based on Shakespeare, and one that I have a really stupid memory of.  1) 10 Things I Hate About You Loosely based on "The Taming of the Shrew" This one is my favorite. I love the cast and it's just so fun. It's easily my favorite rom com of all time.  2) My Own Private Idaho Loosely based on Henry IV. I love this movie, but I almost always forget that Van Sant was basing this on Henry IV. Aside from some the way some of the characters speak, it's very subtle. Either way, great film. 3) Romeo and Juliet (1968) Now here's my stupid memory. We read a lot of Shakespeare in my freshman lit class and our teacher showed us this film. Being as we were all

2017 Blind Spot: The Three Colors; Blue, White and Red

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What I knew going in: I had read plenty of reviews on each of the films. Blue: "Liberty" - Julie (Juliette Binoche) loses her husband and young daughter to a car crash. Now she's determined to shed every thing from her old life and to keep to herself in Paris. However the music from her composer husband's last piece of work haunts her, and she can't shake it. Reading the synopsis of each film,  I thought Blue would be my favorite but it's kind of a downer. However, it really is an incredible piece of filmmaking.  I like how introspective the film was. It had to be that way, because that's how Julie lives now. She's distancing herself, and the film almost distances us from her. While I would normally hate the "fade to black" cuts director Krzysztof Kieslowski uses frequently, I like how it sort of forced us to focus on the music instead. B White:   "Equality" Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) is a Polish man living in France,

Review: The Lego Batman Movie

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I don't need anyone. Batman (Will Arnett) doesn't need anyone. He doesn't need The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) to be his greatest enemy. He doesn't need need a family, and he definitely doesn't need that kid, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) he accidentally adopted. When The Joker gets fed up with not being appreciated as his arch nemesis, he releases a ton of other villains (all from WB movies) from a prison known as the "Phantom Zone" and forces Batman to consider working with the new commissioner, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) to help stop them. Batman was a breakout in 2014's Lego Movie, but there's zero connection between the two films. They mention being a "master builder" once, I believe and none of the other characters make an appearance. That was slightly disappointing, and though Lego Batman doesn't capture the same magic its predecessor did. It still has plenty of laughs for the adults and kids. I loved all the jo

Indie Gems: Complete Unknown

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Who do you want to be? It's Tom's (Michael Shannon) birthday and his wife Ramina, (Azita Ghanizada) has organized a get together with their closest friends. They're at a bit of a crossroads. Tom wants to stay in New York City to follow up with a proposition he made at work. Ramina was accepted into a program in California to further her jewelry business. When his friend/coworker Clyde, (Michael Chernus) invites a woman named Alice (Rachel Weisz) that he met in a cafeteria. Tom realizes he knew her from before, but her name was Jenny and she was nothing like the woman that stands before him. I have to admit I was a little mislead by Netflix on this one. I expected it to be somewhat of a thriller, where we learn why Alice does what she does and that there would be something sinister behind that. It's nothing like that at all. Alice is up front on why she changes identities so freely. The film stops short of saying she has some type of dissociative identity diso

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies About Prodigies/Geniuses

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This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about prodigies and or geniuses.  There's so many to choose from. Since we're in the middle of Oscar season, let's go with a few of my favorite Oscar winners about geniuses. 1) The Imitation Game A film about Alan Turing, the man who cracked enigma, and whose studies went on to make computers what they are today. He doesn't get talked about enough. I'm glad this movie re-started the conversation. 2) The Theory of Everything A film about the early life of Stephen Hawking. Yes, it's Oscar bait, but damn it it's GOOD Oscar bait. And I'm a whore for this fireworks shot. 3) Good Will Hunting It was tough to choose between this and A Beautiful Mind. I went with this because how can you not love how excited Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were when they won their Oscar?

Review: Lion

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I don't know where I'm from. In India, a young boy named Saroo (Sunny Pawar) is helping his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) steal coal to sell. Guddu is leaving for a "night job" that Saroo insists he's strong enough to handle. Guddu is hesitant, but lets him tag along anyways. When they arrive, he's too tired to do anything, so Guddu leaves him on a bench to sleep and tells him to wait there. When he wakes, he wonders onto a train, falls asleep again and winds up on the other side of the country. Eventually he winds up at an orphanage, and being adopted by a kind Australian family, Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John. (David Wenham) 20 years later, older Saroo (Dev Patel) starts having dreams of his former life, and he sets out to try to locate his home using Google maps. I was worried I wasn't going to get to see this before the Oscars, then my indie theater came through. It easily lived up to my high expectations. I was kind of iffy about the whole

Rambling TV: Thoughts on all of it.

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It's been a while since I've written about TV. It's Oscar season, and there's so many movies to write about. But now that I've seen all the Best Picture nominees at least. It's time to get back into the swing of things for TV. Here's what I've been watching: Agents of SHIELD The Ghost Rider theme was a hit, but now they're on LMD, which after watching Westworld feels like a very cheap rip off. It isn't very good. As usual, Fitz and Simmons are the only interesting parts, with a few great moments from May and Mack thrown in. I really don't see this show getting picked up for another season. They've already had May (well, LMD May) and Coulson kiss which feels like an ending point.  Luke Cage Speaking of Marvel, this show was better. I hate that it took me so long to watch it. Jessica Jones left me so disappointed. This wasn't perfect, Mahersala Ali was amazing as Cottonmouth, the villain for the first half, but then they swa