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Showing posts from July, 2018

Indie Gems: Permanent

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Middle school is hell.  Aurelie (Kira McLean) is about to attend a new school and wants to get a perm. Her parents, Jeanne (Patricia Arquette) and Jim (Rainn Wilson) are tight on cash so she goes to a hair school and it goes horribly wrong. On top of Jim fretting about med school and Jeanne being kind of a spaz, Aurelie is at an awkward spot in life. Whenever I rent an independent film from Netflix, I always make sure to watch the trailers. They usually have something that never got on my radar and Permanent is one of those films.  The best way to describe it is "cute." It's nothing mind blowing. It falls victim to one of the most annoying tropes out there - over the top bullying - but McLean, Arquette and Wilson have wonderful chemistry and watching their family antics was a decent way to spend the evening. I don't think you need to rush out to see this, but if it ever streams on Netflix or another platform, give it a go.  Grade: C+ Watched

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: Spies

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It's another TV edition at Wandering Through the Shelves and this week we're talking about spies. There's a decent amount of shows that are specifically about spies, but I wanted to think a little outside the box this week. 1) 13 Reasons Why Tony was a semi-spy, watching Clay and making sure he listened to all of Hannah's tapes. Sure, he wasn't reporting to anyone but his creeper game was pretty strong. This series, though it dragged a bit was really good and was there for me during a really tough time. I'll always have a soft spot for it.  2) Waco This excellent mini series that aired earlier this year had a spy in Jacob Vazquez, an agent sent as a plant to get a look inside a cult. Of course, no one listened to him and well...you know what happened. 3) Agent Carter Now for a show where spies were a focal point. I absolutely loved Agent Carter and I cannot believe ABC cancelled it. Seriously? With all the other trash they air? This show was

Review: Sorry To Bother You

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Did I catch you at a bad time? Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is hard up for money and starts a new job as a telemarketer. Alongside his girlfriend Detroit, (Tessa Thompson) his friend Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) and their coworker Squeeze (Steven Yeun) they attempt to make a stand for more pay, but Cassius learns the secret of being a good salesman and ends up rising to heights he never thought possible. This review is going to be spoiler free. The less you know before going into this, the better. I will say that it is an absolutely batshit ride.  This movie landed on my radar long ago because of Steven Yeun, now that he's free from the dumpster fire that The Walking Dead has become. Back then, I wasn't really sure what this film was going to be about. This is one of the most original films I've seen all year. It's a comedy, social commentary and horror movie all put in one. Part of it almost plays like an episode of South Park.   Stanfield is a won

Rambling TV: American Crime Story - The Assassination of Gianni Versace

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It took me way to long to watch the first season of American Crime Story . It was damn near perfect in covering the OJ Simpson trial. So I knew I had to watch season two right away.  Season two follows serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) as he kills world famous fashion designer Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramirez) and three others. Versace's name may be in the title, but this is really Andrew's show. The way he probably would've wanted it. I don't think I'm going to be able to see Criss as anything other than Cunanan again. He officially has one of the most punchable faces on the planet after this. He's just good. So is Ramirez. Penelope Cruz, who got a lot of hype playing Donatella Versace was surprisingly one of the weaker acting links, which I never would've expected. Unfortunately unlike season one, the way they told the story didn't work for me. The first episode was Versace's murder, which I think was the right thing to do, the seco

Thursday Movie Picks: Bad Parents

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I think we've all been there with this week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves - bad parents. When you're a kid at some point you've probably thought your parents were the worst. But do they have anything on the parents in these three films? 1) Matilda As soon as I read this topic, Matilda instantly came to mind. Her parents were so shitty that she some how got telekinesis as a coping skill? How else do you explain that? I really like this film, even though it made me not eat chocolate cake for years.  2) Mommie Dearest This film is so over the top and always good for a laugh, but I forever hate the Razzies for nominating Mara Hobel for Worst Supporting Actress. She was a kid, and she wasn't that bad. Fuck them. Back on topic, according to this Joan Crawford was a shitty mother.  3) Happiness I caught this on TV again recently and it really is one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen. While the other parents on this list yell

2018 Blind Spot Series: A Streetcar Named Desire

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What I knew going in: Nothing, really.  Blanche (Vivien Leigh) travels to New Orleans to visit her sister Stella (Kim Hunter) after her property is seized. It's clear she's stressed and accustomed to living a certain way. Stella's husband Stanley (Marlon Brando) only seems to make things worse during her stay.  This was another pick that I went off mostly by title. I've never seen nor read the Tennessee Williams play this is based on, so it was all new to me. The heaviness of it surprised me. I feel like the majority of classic films I've seen don't have the emotional weight that more films nowadays do.  The actors are outstanding, especially Vivien Leigh who absolutely steals the show here. I think Blanche is written very sympathetically. At first glance, she could seem stuck up and naive but all I wanted was for good things to happen to her throughout. It made me wish someone would've just sat down and had an actual conversation with her. Brando&#

Rambling TV: The End of the F***ing World

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Speaking for myself, sometimes I find Netflix's tv options a bit overwhelming. There's just so many things to pick from and some look like trash. Thankfully every now and again you'll find a gem of a show, and that's what I found in The End of the F***ing World . Based on a graphic novel that I have not read, this 8 episode series is a quick watch. (Seriously, the episodes are around 25 minutes each) and it follows two teenagers, James (Alex Lawther) who is pretty sure he's a psychopath. And a new girl at school Alyssa (Jessica Barden) who talks him into going on a road trip with her to find her real father.  What caught my eye were the two leads. Lawther was tremendous in an episode of Black Mirror (Shut Up And Dance) and Barden I recognized from the wonderful Hanna .  Since it was so short, I ended up watching the entire season in one night. They were excellent.  The show is very different. It's mostly a dark comedy. Some pretty awful things happen, b

Indie Gems: The Insult

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I'm sorry. Tony (Adel Karam) is a Christian in Beruit who gets into a row with a contractor and Palestinian refugee, Yasser. (Kamel El Basha) When Yasser insults him, Tony takes him to court and the complicated case blows way out of proportion.  I'm quite ignorant of the conflicts between Palestinian and Lebanon. All of that was new to me and that's one of the things I love about foreign films. You learn new things, even though this is a fictional account. Karam and El Basha were both wonderful in their roles. You find it easy to be on Yasser's side given the circumstances but Tony isn't a character that you can exactly hate either. They've all gone through things, and had they not been in that fight, or had those prejudices, they would likely get along. I love courtroom dramas and this one did not disappoint. It's very worthy of the Oscar nomination it received this year. If I had one complaint, I thought the use of flashbacks was kind of

2018 Emmy Nominations

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The Emmy nominations snuck up on me today. For some reason I thought they were on the 16th. As usual, the Emmys are a weird bunch. Here are the main nominations plus my thoughts.  DRAMA SERIES The Americans The Crown Game of Thrones The Handmaid’s Tale Stranger Things This Is Us Westworld It feels like an eternity since Game of Thrones was on the air. This is exactly what I figured the drama nominees would be. It's a good bunch, though I'd personally throw Mr. Robot in there.  COMEDY SERIES Atlanta Barry Blackish Curb Your Enthusiasm GLOW The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Silicon Valley Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt BARRY?! That's a shock to me because I tried to watch it and found it to be incredibly boring. Shows like Atlanta and GLOW are ones that are on my current watch list. LIMITED SERIES The Alienist The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Genius: Picasso Godless Patrick Melrose No Waco is disappointing, but I'm glad to see

Thursday Movie Picks: Characters Magically Aging Up or Down

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is all about magically aging. It's too bad this isn't a TV pick so we could add all the times someone replaced a baby with a toddler and acted like no one noticed. Since this category is very specific, there wasn't a lot to choose from. I had to cheat a bit 1) 13 Going on 30 I haven't seen this in years but I remember thinking it was pretty cute after initially writing it off. Jennifer Garner really shined. 2) Freaky Friday Yes, I'm talking about the 2003 version. I haven't seen the original. Tess and Anna switch bodies so mother becomes daughter and vice versa. Ahh man, remember when Lindsay Lohan had it? I actually jammed out to Ultimate quite a bit. (The song she sings at the end) 3) Orphan This one is a bit of a cheat as there's no magic involved, but really. That twist with Esther..did you see that coming?

Review: Incredibles 2

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Who's watching Jack-Jack? With Superheros still being illegal, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) is given a chance to make a case for their abilities by a rich brother/sister duo Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) who add a camera into her suit to capture all the good moments. Mr. Incredible (Craig T Nelson) meanwhile is left behind to be a stay at home dad. The first film was released nearly 14 years ago, but fans have still been thirsty for that sequel. Personally, I was never head over heels with The Incredibles . I liked it, but it wasn't one of my favorite Pixar films. I went in with an open mind but I landed about the same place I was before. It really annoys me when films make dads look completely incompetent at parenting for comic relief. It's such an overdone trope and unfortunately we get a dose of that here. On top of that, Violet and Dash, even though they get to save the day at one point really get shafted character-wise. Viole

Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp

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Do you just put "quantum" in front of everything? Two years after the events of Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is still under house arrest. He's been building elaborate forts for his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) learning magic tricks, and trying to start up a security business with his friends. When he has a strange dream about Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer) he notifies Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank (Michael Douglas) and they reluctantly take him out on another mission. It's still hard for me to believe that I almost didn't go see the original Ant-Man in theaters. I just wasn't hyped for it. It wasn't until they started advertising Falcon's cameo in it that I decided to give it a go. Is there really another Marvel property that makes you feel the love quite like Ant-Man? Scott's love for his daughter is abundant. His relationship with his ex wife and her new husband is kind of adorable. And then there's his trio o

Rambling TV: The Alienist

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Last week I talked about another mini series I watched this year that I adored in Waco , and today we're talking the captivating series The Alienist .  TNT aired this during the winter. It follows an Alienist Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl) a police secretary Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning) and a newspaper illustrator John Moore (Luke Evans) as they attempt to assist police in catching a serial killer that is murdering young boys. I never read the book in which this is based, and it took a lot for me not to Google spoilers while watching this. I was so impatient! I wish I could've binged this show all at once because waiting week after week was torture. I loved how the series used fictional characters but wove them in with real ones like Theodore Roosevelt. (Brian Geraghty) We got to see them talk about early psychology and see things we take for granted now like taking a match of a finger print. The entire series was fascinating. Bruhl is an actor that might give Kitsch

Indie Gems: The Death of Stalin

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Who's going to replace him? When dictator Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLo ughlin) passes away, his cabinet members  (including Steve Buscemi and Jeffrey Tambor) scramble to replace him amid chaos, arguments, and his pestering children. (Andrea Riseborough and Rupert Friend) My theater had this film for about a week this past winter and I wasn't able to see it. It's yet to hit Netflix either, so I was pleased when this was a choice on a recent flight I took. The first thing I need to do is publicly apologize to Rupert Friend for referring to him as "poor man's Orlando Bloom" for years. He was hysterical in this movie. I laughed so loud at one point people turned and looked at me. (whoops) His character is just so over the top and ridiculous. It's glorious. I really liked the cast in general. Of course this film doesn't take itself seriously at all so everyone is speaking in their normal accents and it absolutely works. It kind of loses dir

Thursday Movie Picks: Long Awaited Sequels

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is a long time coming... Long awaited sequels! I used The Force Awakens in an earlier pick, even though it would've fit here perfectly. Since I can't go with one of my favorite franchises, here's three other sequels I enjoy 1) Blade Runner 2049 It's ballsy as hell to do a sequel 35 years after the original which arguably wasn't that popular in the first place. But I liked 2049 far more than the original and it was beautifully shot. Roger Deakins is a gem. 2) Finding Dory 14 Years after Finding Nemo we finally get to find Dory. I actually like this one a bit more than the original. It was one of those films my son had to watch every day for three months straight and it didn't drive me insane. That's always a plus.  3) Mad Max: Fury Road This counts, right? There were a lot of Mad Max sequels but in my opinion, this one is the gold standard. I never expected to enjoy this film and it

Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

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This is the land of wolves. When the cartels start smuggling terrorists into the United States, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is once again called in to take some drastic measures. His idea this time is to get the cartels to fight each other, so he recruits his favorite hitman, Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) to help kidnap the daughter, Isabel (Isabela Moner) of one of the cartel leaders.  There's no mention of our heroine of the last film Kate Macer, played by Emily Blunt. Not only are we missing her, but former director Denis Villeneuve, former DP Roger Deakins, and former composer, the late J├│hann J├│hannsson all sat this one out too. Because of that, it feels very derivative of Sicario because new director Stefano Sollima put some effort into trying to recreate everything exactly as it was.  Unfortunately just because you can do a decent Villeneuve impression doesn't mean the story is still strong enough to stand on its own two feet, and that's wh

Rambling TV: Waco

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As Emmy FYC season ramps up, I wanted to talk about a mini series that I hope doesn't get forgotten come Emmy time this summer. Paramount Network's Waco. What caught my eye initially with this mini series was one of my favorite actors, Michael Shannon. I was only six when the Waco standoff happened. And I realize after watching this how little I actually knew about what went down there. Shannon plays FBI negotiator Gary Noesner with Taylor Kitsch playing cult leader David Koresh. The rest of the cast is rounded out with Rory Culkin, Shea Wigham, Paul Sparks, Andrea Riseborough, Julia Garner, Melissa Benoist and John Leguizamo. A talented bunch all around. Who surprised me the most? You probably guessed it...Taylor Kitsch. This guy is awful in 98% of the things he stars in but after being pretty damn good in season two of True Detective he blew it out of the park here. He was charming and scary at the same time. He really captured what I knew of Koresh.  Shannon is bri