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Showing posts from November, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks: TV Edition - Adapted From Non English TV Series

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Wanderer is making it difficult for me this week. We're talking about shows that are adapted from Non-English series. I watch exactly one TV show (Attack on Titan) that didn't originate in the English language. Only one other thing came to mind right away, and the rest I had to dig for. 1) American Ninja Warrior Ninja Warrior, or as it is known in Japan as Sasuke came to mind because I used to watch the Japanese version all the time on G4 (remember that channel?) It was great, The American remake has cool courses but makes us sit through every single competitor's back story which really brings the watchability down.  2) Iron Chef America Based off a Japanese cooking show, I watched one season of this, and it was only because I recognized a bunch of the competitors from Chopped . I liked it, but I'm still confused on what purpose Mark Dacascos serves? It's just awkward.  3) Fear Factor Apparently this was based off a Dutch show called Now or Neve

Review: Boy Erased

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Why do I have to be angry? Jared (Lucas Hedges) thinks about men, but keeps it a secret. He's the son of very conservative parents (Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman) and on top of that his father is a pastor. When he's forcibly outed by a man who rapes him in college, he's shipped off to a two week course in gay conversion therapy run by Victor Sykes. (Joel Edgerton) Joel Edgerton, who also directed the film and wrote the screenplay said he ultimately wanted this film to be about fear. How fear is what motivates some families to go route when their children come out. How that fear is felt in therapy itself. He drives that home by having the one and only scene featuring men in a sexual situation being a disturbing rape scene. Because of this, the overall feeling of the film is very cold. That is a different approach with this subject matter but the film itself ends up being just fine. I think had he dug a little deeper, it could've been truly extraordinary.

2018 Blind Spot Series: Akira

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What I knew going in: That many people consider this either their favorite anime or what got them into anime in the first place.  Kaneda is a leader of a biker gang into Neo-Tokyo. After witnessing a strange event, one of his friends and fellow gang members, Tetsuo gets kidnapped and put into a secret government test program that leaves him with telekinesis and a raging temper. Kaneda happens upon a group of activists who help him try to save his friend.  This ended up being one of my alternates. My original Blind Spot pick was Suddenly, Last Summer , then suddenly, someone decided to hoard the Netflix DVD and my local library didn't have a copy for back up. I've been watching a lot of Attack on Titan lately, so I figured Akira would make for a decent watch.  About that... To start off, I realize I'm quite sensitive when it comes to sexual assault in movies. I'm not going to lie, if I'm not prepared for it happening and it makes zero sense in the story

Underrated Gems For Girl Week

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You know I love my indies, and so my last contribution to Dell's wonderful Girl Week  is going through my catalog of reviews and sharing some of my favorite female led favorites. Click the titles if you wish to read the old reviews Afternoon Delight Kathryn Hahn and Juno Temple give wonderful performances as a bored housewife who attempts to "save" a woman who doesn't need it.  Wadjda I only reviewed this last year but I can't help but love this little lady. I think this is one of the best movies out there that incorporates religion into its plot, if not the best.  52 Tuesdays This follows a young girl who deals with her mother's transition.Director Sophie Hyde actually shot this movie on each Tuesday for an entire year with no professional actors and it's remarkable how it turned out. I Used To Be Darker This title sums me up, I tend to gravitate towards stuff like this. Taryn is a teenager who runs away to live with her aunt and uncle

Thursday Movie Picks: Non-Linear Timelines

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This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is non-linear timelines. There's probably a joke somewhere in here to make. I could've started with the end of my sentence first, but instead let's talk about some of my favorite films that use this gimmick. 1) Sin City This film is easily one of my favorite comic adaptations and his pretty high on my all time favorites list as well. The three 1/2 stories they tell are intertwined, but they're not told in the correct order. When we catch a glimpse of another character in a story we've already seen, but hasn't played out yet in current time, it feels like a nice easter egg.  2) Paranoid Park Gus Van Sant's quiet skater drama lets us know from the very beginning that Alex has seen or done something pretty horrible and it doesn't show us until later on. It's mostly linear except for the beginning, but no one ever mentions this movie anymore, so I felt like I should use it here. 

Review: Wildlife

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In Montana....who knew? Fourteen year old Joe (Ed Oxenbould) is put in a tight spot when his father, Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job, then goes out to fight wildfires in rural  Montana against the wishes of his mother, Jeannette. (Carey Mulligan) I have been waiting for this film since it premiered at Sundance. It's directed by one of my favorite actors, Paul Dano, and it's his first time behind the camera. And I'm always down for Mulligan and Gyllenhaal. To say I had high expectations for this would be and understatement.  And I'm happy to say all those expectations were fulfilled. This isn't the most exciting film out there, and because of that I know it won't be for everyone, but I can't find a thing wrong with it for what it is.  Oxenbould is definitely one to watch. I wish the Oscars didn't hate men under the age of 20 in the Lead Actor so much because if there's any justice, he'd be there. Unlike a lot of films told

Review: Widows

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Dell has perfect timing with his annual Girl Week blogathon. I saw two wonderful female led films last week and saved them for this, so let's jump into the first one... Widows! When Veronica's (Viola Davis) husband Harry (Liam Neeson) is murdered during a robbery, she finds herself on the receiving end of his debts when she's paid a visit by Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) demanding the 2 million dollars Harry stole from him. She rounds up the other widows from the job gone bad, Alice, (Elizabeth Debicki) Linda, (Michelle Rodriguez) and another woman, Belle (Cynthia Erivo) to do their husbands' final job. Does Steve McQueen make bad movies? I don't think he does. Widows is amazing. He and his co-writer Gillian Flynn are a great match. The story is rich, but quite vast. It definitely feels like it could be a novel. We not only spend time with our four main ladies but with several other side characters too. In a way, it's nice to properly build the &qu

2019 Independent Spirit Award Nominations

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Awards season is in full swing and as always we start with lovely independent cinema. I've actually seen a fair amount of these ahead of time! The rest I hope to catch. My watch list is building. Here are a few quick thoughts on the nominees.  Best Feature EIGHTH GRADE FIRST REFORMED IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK LEAVE NO TRACE YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE The only one I haven't seen is If Beale Street Could Talk, which I'm looking forward to quite a bit. The rest are all solid films, Leave No Trace being my favorite.  Best Director Debra Granik, LEAVE NO TRACE Barry Jenkins, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK Tamara Jenkins, PRIVATE LIFE Lynne Ramsay, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE Paul Schrader, FIRST REFORMED Look at all those ladies! I added Private Life to my Netflix queue the other day, so I'll probably give it a watch this weekend.  Best First Feature HEREDITARY SORRY TO BOTHER YOU THE TALE WE THE ANIMALS WILDLIFE Wildlife has been on my must see list s

Thursday Movie Picks: Museums

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Are you ready to learn? This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is all about museums. I love them, personally. Whenever I travel I always try to visit at least a few of them. A few favorites are the Victoria and Albert's museum in London, The Dulles Air and Space museum in Washington D.C, and the Louvre in Paris. (which is a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but still beautiful) Now for a few favorite movies where museums play a part. Unfortunately they're not as memorable for me as some of the places I've visited. 1) Bringing Up Baby The main plot here is David (Cary Grant) securing a donation for a museum while meeting a very peculiar Susan (Katharine Hepburn) This was one of my Blind Spots, and I liked it enough, though it's not very memorable for me. 2) House of Wax I will defend the 2005 remake of this film to my grave. It's just fun and gory. And to be honest, I had a better time watching this then I did seeing an actual w

Review: Beautiful Boy (2018)

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What happens next? David Sheff (Steve Carell) is determined to help his oldest son, Nic (Timothee Chalamet) overcome his crystal meth addiction. But like with any addiction, nothing comes easy. Not to be confused with the other Beautiful Boy  - I've never read the pair of memoirs this film is based on, so I can't speak to its accuracy or if Hollywood came in and romanticized anything. (Hello, The Glass Castle) One thing that sticks out is that it seems like everyone involved did their research when it comes to addiction. It helps having both books as guidelines, on top of one of the writers being a former addict himself.  This film feels very sincere. It is quite by the books as far as these dramas go but it never once fell into cliche or Hallmark movie territory. It helps that the cast all around is fantastic, right down to the young actors portraying the Sheff's younger children and the scenes of young Nic. Everyone looks natural. Carell and Chalamet bo

Review: Suspiria (2018)

They're witches! Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) leaves her small Ohio farm to travel to a dance academy in Berlin in 1977. Run by Madam Blanc, (Tilda Swinton) Susie falls into the roll of lead dancer after a series of strange events that take a few other girls out of the picture. But the teachers are planning something special for Susie. I'm a huge fan of the original Suspiria . It's beautiful in its colorful, campy glory. I knew going in this was going to be completely different. Gone are the bright colors and the soundtrack that's almost a character in itself. In are greys and neutral tones, and no memorable score until one pivotal scene. I admire what director Luca Guadagnino did here. Instead of making a full on remake, he took the bare bones of the story (Susie goes to Berlin to dance, and it's run by witches) and imagines something completely different.  Only it's kind of awful. Unlike the original - which I'll stop comparing it with a

Quick TV and Movie Reviews Courtesy of Netflix

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I go through entertainment moods. Sometimes I'm in a reading mood, other times I'm in a watching mood. For pretty much all of October, I've been glued to my Netflix account. While I wrote a few full reviews for some of the movies I watched, such as The Kindergarten Teacher and Apostle,  the rest I decided to do in one post. Here are some movies and TV series I've been binging lately.  DVD   The first three reviews are from their DVD rental service. Side note, how do more people not use this? It's amazing! Do you all still have video rental stores in your neck of the woods because I sure as hell don't. Eighth Grade Elsie Fisher is a gem. This is a very quite movie, some would say "nothing happens" but really, everything does. I laughed pretty hard a few times and cringed at others because I could relate. Middle school was hell. I had ICQ and MSN Messenger to make mine awkward, I couldn't imagine having even more social media to add to it now

Thursday Movie Picks: Political Comedies

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Finally a theme from Wandering Through the Shelves that actually made me get off my ass and watch In The Loop: Political comedies. It took me way too long to watch that. I realized when thinking of films for this categories that I actually haven't seen as many of these as I thought. I'm familiar with a lot of them, but haven't seen them all the way through. Here's what I came up with. These make me a lot happier than the mid term election results in my home state. (ugh...red states..) 1) In The Loop Sati recommended this to me years ago and in 2018, I finally made it happen. I haven't seen The Thick of It, which the main character, a man who works for the prime minister was based, but it was hilarious nonetheless. I didn't feel I missed much of anything not seeing the show, and now I plan on watching that too. Hopefully it doesn't take me another few years.  2) Dick I loved this movie when I was a tween. Back then, a lot of the political stuff

Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

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Under (studio) Pressure Bohemian Rhapsody follows Queen frontman Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) from the beginning. He meets his life long friend Mary (Lucy Boynton) his eventual Queen band mates, Brian May, (Gwilym Lee) Roger Taylor, (Ben Hardy) and John Deacon. (Joseph Mazzello) Then we see the rise and fall of Mercury's tumultuous career. This movie is the definition of uneven. It's a shame because Queen was a great band that deserved a great movie and what they got was a script that still managed to be messy even though they were playing it as "safe" as possible. Biopics tend to follow a tight formula and few ever take risks. This followed the exact same pattern Walk The Line did to a T, but never balanced out the way they did. What is it with biopics? Why are some so great (The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything) and others so...blah? I think the makers of Bohemian Rhapsody were more concerned with making Freddie as "big" as possib

Review: The Kindergarten Teacher

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That's a poem. Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal) teachers kindergarten in New York. She takes a poetry class at night from Simon (Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal) where she doesn't really succeed. One day she notices one of her students Jimmy (Parker Sevak) composes a beautiful poem while pacing her room. She writes it down, and passes his work off as her own at poetry class. She becomes obsessed with him thinking he's a prodigy and that no one in his life is nurturing him enough. This movie is so uncomfortable. I wanted to wake my child up when I was finished to have yet another "You know you're not supposed to get in other people's cars, right?" I think as a parent in this day and age you have to suspend a bit of disbelief in a sense to think that Lisa gets as far as she does, but this film knows what it's doing and it's here to make you squirm.  Maggie Gyllenhaal is fantastic in this and easily gives one of the best performances I've seen

Thursday Movie Picks: Gangsters

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This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is all about gangsters. I'm not crazy about Gangster films, but some are pretty good. Here's one I absolutely love, and two that are decent. 1) Eastern Promises If you know me, it should be no surprise I picked this. It's one of my all time favorite movies. I love this story of a nurse caught up with Russian gangsters in London. It's the gold standard for me.  2) Black Mass This was a nice reminder that Johnny Depp can do more than Jack Sparrow. I had almost forgotten. The entire cast in this film about Whitey Bulger (minus Dakota Johnson and whatever the fuck accent she was doing) were wonderful. 3) Legend This film was never talked about as much as it should've been. Tom Hardy was excellent as twin gangsters Ron and Reggie Kray.