Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: Globetrotting

 

This week's TV theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about the shows that jump all over the world. The rule is that you must pick scripted TV, so no travel shows, reality competitions, etc. That makes it pretty tough, but here's what I came up with.


1) The Falcon and the Winter Soldier -
We watched Bucky and Sam go from the U.S, to Europe, to Marvel's fictional crime city Madripoor. 


2) Heroes -
This took place in multiple locations and one of the heroes could teleport, so I'm counting it here. This show's drop in quality is still unmatched. I can't think of another show where I was so into the first season, then didn't even finish the second.


3) Outlander -
I don't have Starz, so I only watched the first half of season one when I had a free preview, but Claire traveled through time. We're going to count that as Globetrotting. 

Review: Oxygen


Liz (Melanie Laurent) wakes up in a cryogenic medical pod with no memory of how she got there. With only an AI to talk to, she attempts to rebuild her memory while her malfunctioning pod runs out of oxygen.

Even though I had read a few reviews before watching Netflix's newest offering, I had forgotten that it was mean to take place in this single location. Films like this can be tricky, but Laurent is a very capable actress and she keeps you very invested in Liz's situation.

It's hard to do something new with "trapped in a box and must escape." You can make what put her their compelling, which I feel this film succeeds at, but it's going to hit some very familiar beats along the way. 

Director Alexandra Aja normally makes horror movies, and he throws in one very cheap and out of place jump scare in this, but overall I really enjoyed what he did here. I didn't feel overwhelmingly claustrophobic while watching this, while the reality of the very small space she is in is never lost on us, her surroundings were intricate enough to make me wonder what else is out there.

While nothing about this film is groundbreaking, it's a fairly satisfying way to spend 100 minutes at home.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable quote: "You whispered something. I heard you." - Liz (Melanie Laurent)

Review: Willy's Wonderland


A quiet drifter (Nicolas Cage) takes on a janitor job at an abandoned Chucky Cheese like restaurant after he runs into car troubles and the small down shop he's in doesn't have an ATM. He's meant to spend a night working off the cost of fixing his car, and cleaning the place up so it can reopen, but he's unaware of the cursed animatronics that haunt this place at night.

Dumb Nicolas Cage horror movies are a genre in itself so I was expecting to have a fun and gory ride with this Five Nights at Freddy's rip off. I knew it wasn't going to be a good movie, but I was a bit taken aback at just how bad it was.

Cage doesn't have any dialogue in the film, which is good for him, because everyone else who does is awful. The other characters are bare bones stereotypes and none of the actors can make the most basic dialogue sound natural. I get the filmmakers wanted to sell this on Cage, but that didn't mean they had to half-ass (quarter ass? 1/8th ass? half seems too much) everything else. It's like they took one take of everything and called it a day, no matter how bad it was.

The positive about this is the fun house style way its shot, but it reminded me of a better film, The Guest that did this better. If you want your campy Cage fix, you'll find better films in Mandy or Color Out of Space. This is an absolute dud.

Recommended: No

Grade: D-

Memorable Quote: "Wanna fuck, Fatty?" - Siren Sara (Jessica Graves Davis)

Thursday Movie Picks: Cyberpunk

 

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is Cyberpunk. Not gonna lie, this one was a bit hard for me. I don't think I've actually seen a lot of films that qualify as cyberpunk. But I've seen a few, so here's what I came up with.


1) Blade Runner 2049 -
This is the first film that came to mind and I still prefer it to the original Blade Runner. It's long, but interesting and beautifully shot.


2) Dredd -
This was a movie I expected to hate but ended up having so much fun with. It's pretty badass.


3) Elysium -
The only reason I picked this was because my husband and I were talking about it the other day. Does anyone even remember this movie? It really just came and went. 

Review: The Woman in the Window


Anna (Amy Adams) is a woman who suffers from agoraphobia and spends her days watching old movies, drinking wine, and spying on her neighbors. When she witnesses a crime, the police don't find her to be the most reliable witness given her history.

I read the book this is based on a few years ago and really enjoyed it. (Before I learned about the author and man, what a trainwreck. I probably wouldn't have picked the book up had I known that.) Because of that, I was very cautious about this film adaptation despite loving Amy Adams. Not all mystery novels translate well on screen. Girl on a Train was a good example of a book I loved feeling a bit too Lifetime-y. So when this started getting negative reviews, it wasn't a surprise, but I still wanted to watch.

And honestly...it's not that bad. For a Netflix movie, it's perfectly fine. The film leans heavily into Rear Window territory, which I never felt while reading the book despite the similarities. It's very well shot for a movie that takes place entirely in a dank house.

Adams is wonderful in this role, and I knew she would be. The film boasts a very strong supporting cast in Brian Tyree Henry, Anthony Mackie, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Jason Leigh Wyatt Russell, and Fred Hechinger though none of them get a ton to do compared to Adams. Russell and Hechinger come close. I liked them in their roles, they played out pretty much exactly as I read them in the book. Gary Oldman was the biggest dud for me surprisingly. He's just there to be an asshole, which is essentially what the book was like too, but I felt like there was more to him there.

The film does cut a pretty big part of the novel out, which is Anna's online friend. Because of that, I felt like the 3rd act doesn't get the development it needed because we hadn't seen her build this virtual relationship. I felt that answered a lot of questions that are just kind of rushed through in the movie. 

Overall, this might not be the Oscar contender some were hoping it to be, but it's a good Netflix watch and a must see for any Amy Adams fan.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable quote: "She has issues with privacy." - David (Wyatt Russell)

Review: Those Who Wish Me Dead


Hannah (Angelina Jolie) is a fire jumper in Montana who has been regulated to tower duty after a tragic turn on the job. Then there's Connor (Finn Little) a young boy whose father is a forensic accountant who discovered something big done by some very bad people. (Adian Gilen and Nicholas Hoult) He and Hannah cross paths and must find their way out of the wilderness safely. 

Taylor Sheridan is a writer/director who always has my attention so when I saw this film was coming to HBO Max, I knew I'd be watching. I'm glad that's the platform it was available to me on, because while I wouldn't rush out to see this in theaters, it was a perfectly fine at home watch.

I feel like it's been ages since I've seen Angelina Jolie in anything, and it was nice watching her again. Hannah carries a lot of baggage and Jolie portrays her well. Finn Little also holds his own. Connor is traumatized and Little plays him in a way that's always believable and never over the top. I think he has a bright future. My favorite character was Allison (Medina Senghore) a pregnant woman who runs a survival school and instead of just being a one off victim, she gets shit done. I would watch an entire film on her.

There is a lot of vagueness in the script, but I was never bored while watching this. It was perfectly paced, and I can accept that this doesn't have the same fine tuning that some of Sheridan's other films haven't. For a movie to watch at home, this was fine.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "We're leaving right now." - Hannah (Angelina Jolie)

The Weirdest Movies Blogathon


Ronyell over at The Surreal Movies and TV Blog is hosting a blogathon on their specialty - weird movies! Here are the rules.

1)  List up to 5 or 10 of the weirdest movies that you have ever seen.  If you want to list over 10 movies or below 5 movies, then you are free to do so.

2)  You don't necessarily have to list your favorite movies or movies you even like.  Just movies that you think are weird.

3)  Use the banner at the top of this page in put into your post.

4)  This blogathon runs from April 23rd - May 20th, so you need to send your submissions in by May 20th.  After that, I will make a special post where I will list all the bloggers who had participated in this blogathon!

5)  If you are interested in joining this blogathon, then please feel free to leave your link to your post here or tweet me (@rabbitearsblog)

6)  If you are participating in this blogathon through Twitter or you want to let your followers know about this blogathon, then please use the hashtag #weirdestmoviesblogathon so that way, I will know who's participating in this blogathon


And with that, let's get on to my list.


1) Troll
- Everyone talks about Troll 2 being the worst movie ever but they sleep on just how campy and hilarious the original is. WORKS BURGER forever.


2) The Rocky Horror Picture Show -
While you're dancing along to this movie at midnight showings on Halloween, do you ever stop and think just how strange the concept of this movie is? I love it.


3) Swiss Army Man -
A man marooned on an island with only a farting corpse to keep him company? You wouldn't think it works, but it absolutely does thanks to the magnificent Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. 


4) Rubber -
This movie is about a tire that kills people with its mind. Yes, you read the right. It's dumb, but worth the watch.


5) Eraserhead -
I knew this was going to be weird going in, but I still wasn't prepared for that mutant baby. 


6) Enter The Void
- This movie is a neon acid trip.


7) The Lure -
A Polish mermaid horror musical. What more could you ask for?


8) Dogtooth -
This film was my intro into Yorgos Lanthimos and I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't....this. I think this is a fantastic movie, but it is very weird indead.


9) Deathgasm -
This is a heavy metal horror comedy from New Zealand that features a fight scene full of dildos. 


10) The Last Unicorn
- I loved watching this cartoon as a kid, but when I revisted it as an adult...honestly what the fuck is this?

Thursday Movie Picks: Period Dramas

 

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is another re-occurring theme: Period dramas! I've grown to love these quite a bit as my movie tastes have changed. My only rule of course is to not repeat anything I've used in the previous years, so here's what I came up with.


1) The Crucible (1996) -
I've been wanting to re-watch this lately. I always enjoyed reading this in school and the 1996 version was really good. Plus, screaming "I saw Goody Proctor with the Devil!" is always a great thing to interject into a conversation.


2) Portrait of a Lady on Fire -
SNL recently did a skit on "lesbian period dramas" which was spot on for Ammonite, but not so much for Portrait of a Lady on Fire. This film is wonderful, and I will go to bat for it anyone someone tries to say it's tropey. You're wrong. This movie is just amazing. Yes, I make the rules.


3) Jane Eyre (2011) -
I love this version of Jane Eyre. I keep meaning to read the book, which I haven't gotten to at the time of this posting, but one day I will. Hopefully I enjoy it as much as I did this film.

2021 Blind Spot Series: A Hard Day's Night

 


What I knew going in: The music.

A hectic day in the life of the Beatles is made worse on top of everything else, they can't keep Paul McCartney's grandfather (Wilfred Brambill) in check.

Despite being a big fan of The Beatles' music for my entire adulthood, I've been dragging my feet at seeing their 5 movies. I assumed they were just extended videos and that really didn't entice me when I could just listen to their albums. But I knew I wanted to remedy that, so I chose this one to be my first foray into the Beatles movies.

And that's exactly what they are...extended music videos with a bit of plot. I'm quite surprised this was nominated for its screenplay to be honest. Was this very experimental at the time? I feel like I'm in a bit of an awkward place with this because movie wise, it's not great...but it's The Beatles! I love their music, and I'm happy to spend an hour with them running around aimlessly and just listening. 

Frankly, I needed this short time with the Beatles to unwind. Life has been very busy and stressful lately. I haven't had a lot of time to sit and watch movies, much less write reviews on them. I've been feeling a little discouraged, so I don't have a ton to say, but it did the trick. It's currently available to stream on HBO Max.

Recommended: Yes, if you're a Beatles fan.

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Well, everyone's entitled to two, aren't they?" - Paul McCartney

Thursday Movie Picks: Oscar Winners - Best Director

 

It's another Oscar theme over at Wandering Through The Shelves and this week we're focusing on the directors. As usual, I feel a stronger connection to the more recent Oscar winners just because I've seen more of their bodies of work. Here are three directors I love to talk about.


1) Bong Joon-Ho: Parasite -
This is probably one of the most invested Best Director races I've ever been in. While Bong was somewhat of a front runner, there was still a very real chance Sam Mendes would win this and I'm just happy Bong prevailed with such a wonderful film.


2) Ang Lee: Brokeback Mountain -
I think about this movie a lot, and how perfectly Lee captured everything. Of course the actors are great, but Lee was tasked with making this sad, melancholy story look beautiful and move it along without ever making it boring. I love what he did here.


3) Chloe Zhao: Nomadland -
Of course I have to mention Zhao's historic win. I'm so happy for her. The best part of Nomadland for me was the way she directed it. She crafted a beautiful picture and she deserved to close out the night with her Best Picture win. I hate that was robbed from her. 

What I watched on TV in April

April flew by and because of that, this post is going up a bit later than usual. Here's what I was watching on the small screen last month.


Falcon and the Winter Solider -
I really enjoyed this over all. I thought the ending felt rushed, much like the Wandavision finale, but that's the reality of COVID happening on the tail end of finishing a TV show. Mostly, I like the possibilities this created. Sam looks amazing in his Captain America suit. (minus the head piece, they need to re-work that) He and Bucky have moved forward, there's much to be explored with Sharon, and I know we'll see Julia Louis Dreyfus again. 


Attack on Titan -
They're now on a break before they finish up the final season, but the manga ended and it was so terrible that I feel like I owe the Game of Thrones showrunners an apology. I'm not even sure I want to watch it when it comes back.


Mare of East Town -
We're only a few episodes in, but I'm already invested. I just hope this doesn't go the way of The Outsider and have an awful finale.


Frank of Ireland -
I was looking for something dumb to laugh at, and this is certainly dumb, but I'm not sure if it's funny. It has its moments, but it's very weird.

Indie Gems: Rent-A-Pal


In 1990, David (Brian Landis Folkins) is a 40 something living with his mother, Lucille (Kathleen Brady) who suffers from dementia. She needs constant care, so he can't work. He stays with her all day and subscribes to a VHS dating service where he watches tapes, and calls in to try to get matched. One day when he re-records his own tape, he stumbles upon a VHS called "Rent-A-Pal." A pre-recorded chat with Andy (Wil Wheaton) then David slowly begins to obsess over.

On paper, I probably wouldn't have bothered with this but I saw a trailer on another movie I had rented and I immediately took notice of how unsettling it looked. And it succeeds at that. I feel like the market for 80's nostalgia is very oversaturated at this point so I liked that this film leaned heavily into the 90's. 

David does lean into incel territory but his position over all is very unfortunate so it makes sense that he's exactly the type of person the Rent-A-Pal video is marketed towards. I expected the film to go a little further with this concept, and that's the biggest flaw. There's a lot of build, and then the climax is over very quickly. 

Folkins is very convincing in the lead role but it's Brady who I thought was wonderful. I thought she played someone suffering from dementia very convincingly and she has a lot of rough scenes she's required to do. I was the most impressed with her.

While this might not be a perfect film, if you liked semi-horror films such as Creep or May, this one might be for you too.

Watched on: DVD Netflix

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "I need Andy!" - David (Brian Landis Folkins)