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Showing posts from June, 2017

Indie Gems: I, Daniel Blake

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A never ending cycle. Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) suffers a massive heart attack at age 59. His doctors tell him he can't go back to work, but he's getting the run around from the unemployment office when trying to sign up for benefits. While there, he befriends a single mom named Katie (Hayley Squires) who is also having a rough time trying to get benefits after she's forced to move. I hadn't heard of this film until the BAFTA's gave it a ton of love earlier in the year. It struck me as an American, how amazing Britian's healthcare system is compared to ours with nearly everything covered. You'd think that all their government programs would be the same, but that's absolutely not the case. Daniel is given zero guidance on how to register for the proper help. They won't even assist him with filling out a form online when he isn't familiar with computers. It's frustrating to see him treated that way, especially when he wants to get ba

Thursday Movie Picks: Medical Dramas - TV Edition

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Someone is going to need to prescribe me some muscle relaxers for the amount of reaching I'm about to do this week. It's another TV edition from Wanderer , and I just happen to be the only person who never got into Grey's Anatomy, ER, Nip/Tuck or any other medical drama. So brace yourselves, some bullshit is coming. 1) Scrubs This is at least close to the theme, though it's a comedy. Scrubs is the only TV show I watched that took place in a hospital. It had some dramatic moments, damn it. 2) Agents of SHIELD What's this madness? Well, Simmons, one of the leads on this show is a doctor and they actually do talk about medical procedures fairly often. Someone is always quarantined, injured, or an alien that needs examining.  3) Doc McStuffins You think a kiddie show can't be dramatic? Well, thanks to my son I've seen every single episode of this show and let me tell you, Doc's toys are dramatic as hell. Stuffy always thinks he's inju

DVD Review: Beauty and the Beast

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This movie sucks, you guys. I don't think I need to recap what Beauty and the Beast is about. It's one of my favorite Disney movies, and when I heard they were doing a live action version, I welcomed the idea. In my mind, I fan casted Emmy Rossum as Belle as she would've been perfect. Instead, they chose Emma Watson, who cannot act (nor sing as it turns out) and apparently didn't spend enough money on proper CGI because it all looked awful. This isn't a review; it's a rant. I'll be up front about it in case you want to stop reading. I skipped it in theaters after seeing the trailers but it was an option for an in flight movie and my son legitimately wanted to watch it.  It's sad when the two most obnoxious characters, Luke Evan's Gaston and Josh Gad's LeFou are the best part of the film. Kevin Kline was atrocious as Maurice, he looked like he couldn't be bothered to emote (maybe that's where Belle got that from?) Emma Watso

DVD Review: Split

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It's the voices. Dennis (James McAvoy) is a troubled man diagnosed with 23 different personalities. His therapist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley) thinks he's a marvel, but his constant emails for emergency meetings have her concerned. And that's for good reason, seeing as he's just kidnapped three teenager girls; the troubled Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her two red shirts classmates Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia. (Jessica Sula) Casey is the passive one. She doesn't want to fight, she wants to listen and figure this out first. Things start to escalate. I gave up M. Night Shyamalan movies long ago because they're trash. But when this one got good reviews, I decided I'd give it a chance as I'm a big fan of James McAvoy. He does not disappoint. He's absolutely wonderful in this film and really gets to show off his versatile acting chops, but I have to wonder if this film is getting over praised because Shyamalan didn't massively f

Thursday Movie Picks: The Woods

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is everyone's favorite creepy place to hang out alone: the woods. It's really hard not to go completely with the horror route this week. Here's what I came up with.  1) The Cabin the Woods I gave myself one horror pick because I love this movie so much. It's still hilarious no matter how many times I re-watch it.  2) The Hunt for the Wilderpeople This wonderful little film that takes place in the New Zealand bush was one of my favorites from last year.  3) Once Upon a Forest I used to watch this movie all the time when I was a kid. It's about some woodland critters (not the South Park kind) who try to find a rare plant to save one of their sick friends (who was voiced by Elisabeth Moss, which I never knew before)  To make this childhood story even more lame, the only reason I had this on VHS in the first place was because I won it at my local roller rink for winning the "Four Corners&q

2017 Blind Spot Series: Do The Right Thing

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It's gonna get hotter.  What I knew going in: Aside from the themes about racial divide, not much at all. Sal (Danny Aiello) owns a pizza place in Brooklyn. His customers are almost exclusively black due to the area he built in. His racist son, Pino (John Turturro) thinks he should relocate, but he refuses. One day one of his customers, Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) asks why he only has photos of Italian American white men and no black men on his walls. This disagreement turns into Buggin Out attempting to boycott the pizzeria, which continues to escalate throughout the day. Mookie (Spike Lee) A friend of Buggin, but an employee of Sal finds himself caught in the middle. Doing "day in the life" films can be difficult. It's hard to follow someone, or a few people around for a set period of time if their story doesn't progress or shift in any way. Do The Right Thing makes it look easy. There's a lot going on in this film. Through Mookie's eyes, w

DVD Review: Your Name

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What is this life? Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) is a teenager living in a small town in Japan who dreams of living in Tokyo. Taki (Ry√Ľnosuke Kamiki) is a teenager living an overly scheduled life in Tokyo where he attends school and works part time at an Italian restaurant. Some nights they have dreams where they live the other's lives, and they start to communicate by leaving notes for each other to make those "dreams" easier.  I'm not familiar with writer/director  Makoto Shinkai's work, but when I read a few reviews for this film a while back, I knew immediately I wanted to see it. I was happy to see that it was an option to watch on my long flight to Europe last week.  The story itself is quite amusing. Obviously you can't just seamlessly transition into living someone else's life. Mitsuha and Taki make a ton of mistakes in each other bodies. Mitsuha also attempts to help Taki's dating life much to his embarrassment. Taki doesn't

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies Based on True Events

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is all about real life. There's a sea of bio pics and movies inspired by famous murders out there. I'll be surprised if there's a lot of overlap at all. I ended up doing a theme within a theme without realizing it. All three of the movies I chose feature James Franco 1) True Story Christian Longo murdered his wife and three children, then fled to Mexico using the alias of Mike Finkel, a New York Times reporter. He then tells his story to the real Finkel while in prison. Even knowing the case behind this, the film still managed to make you wonder if things were going to be different.  2) Lovelace The true story of Linda Lovelace who was pushed into the adult film industry by her creep of a husband and was frequently abused by several people in the business before getting herself out. Amanda Seyfried gives her career best in the lead role, the entire cast is very strong.  3) 127 Hours Aron Ralston g

Thursday Movie Picks: Double Features

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This week, Wanderer asks us to choose films we think make a good double feature. There are endless possibilities here. This is what I came up with. 1) 2:37/Elephant Both of these movies involve tragedies set in high schools. At one time, 2:37 was accused of ripping Elephant off but aside from one tracking shot, I think they're very different looks into how the worse thing imaginable can happen within a school. 2) Black Sheep/Tommy Boy Nostalgia pick! I used to watch these two films back to back all the time when I was a kid. In fact, sometimes when I think of a specific scene, I struggle to remember which movie it was from. 3) The Big Short/99 Homes Both of these movies tackle the American housing crisis in 2008, but they look at it from different sides. The Big Short shows us the rich Wall Street workers that pulled it off, and 99 Homes shows us the poor people that suffered. 

Review: Wonder Woman

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Nevertheless, she persisted.  We've already met Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in Batman v Superman but in her solo film we see her as Diana, a princess in her hidden land of warrior women called Themyscira. They're sworn to protect man from Ares, the God of war. When a WWI pilot, Steve (Chris Pine) breaches their barrier and washes up on shore. Diane goes with him to help save innocent lives after he tells her of the Great War.  DCEU finally has a film on their hands that isn't a complete trainwreck, and that feels good. But am I going to lose a little blogger cred here if I say that I didn't like all of it? Don't get me wrong. The majority of this film is amazing. The first time we see Diana dawn her costume, walk into "No Man's Land" solo, with her perfect theme music picking up at just the right moment was masterful. I couldn't believe how emotional I felt watching it. It was stunning, I thought I was actually going to cry for a minute, bu

Indie Gems: The Girl With All The Gifts

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I'm like you. When we first meet Melanie (Sennia Nanua) she's a normal looking girl. Aside from the fact that she lives in a cell block, and has to be transferred to her school room via restrained wheelchair, along with several other students every morning. It doesn't take long to explain why Melanie and her classmates are different. She has an innocent crush on her teacher, Ms. Justineau (Gemma Arterton) who has to be repeatedly told she's not "a real child." When all hell breaks lose, and the zombies (or in this case "hungries") on the outside break their way into the once safe compound, Melanie, Ms. Justineau, and a few others must flee to find a safe place. I read the book last year and enjoyed it. The film does a great job of fast tracking the novel. Not much has changed. Just enough to keep the story moving but all they key elements are still there. This is one of the most fascinating takes on the zombie apocalypse I've seen in s

Thursday Movie Picks: Tall Buildings

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This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about movies featuring a tall buildings. There's probably a bunch of really obvious ones I'm missing but I could think of two.  I decided to use my 3rd pick as more of a pun. Here's what I came up with.  1)  Man on Wire This wonderful documentary was about a man named Philippe Petit who hung a tight rope between the Twin towers and walked across. It almost plays out like a heist.  2) The Walk This is the movie version of Man on Wire starring my favorite actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Sure, it's not the documentary but it was a good film and managed to use 3D filming to its advantage.  3) Annie "This floor better shine like the top of the Chrysler building!"