Indie Gems: Here Comes The Devil

When being a helicopter parent would've been helpful.

Felix (Francisco Barrerio) and Sol (Laura Caro) are vacationing with their two children, Adolfo (Alan Martinez) and Sara. (Michele Garcia) When the kids ask to go exploring some mountains in Tijuana, the parents take the opportunity for some alone time/car sex, only for their kids to disappear. Thankfully, they return the following day, but they are acting strange and show signs of experiencing a traumatic event. 

Demonic films tend to all look the same, but this one attempts to do things differently. There's no exorcism, no crosses flipping upside down, the film relies heavily on its slow burn and it really nails that aspect of building dread. You know where the film is probably going to go, but it doesn't make it any less unsettling. 

Here Comes The Devil succeeds in being very creepy and mysterious, however a few directorial choices stunt it from achieving greatness. There's an overt sexual nature about the film to the point where the nudity is distracting and serves no purpose. The use of quick zooming in and out also gives the film a feel of a low end soap opera. These negatives are annoying, but they don't bring the film all the way into unwatchable territory. 

Grade: B-

Memorable quote: "This is going to be hard to understand." - Sol (Laura Caro)

Thursday Movie Picks: Ghost Movies

This week's Halloween edition from Wandering Through the Shelves is movies with Ghosts. Like last week, some of my picks aren't horror movies, but they have ghosts so here we are. Here are some of my favorites:

1) Ghost Ship

This film has one of the best openers I've ever seen. Cruise ship, people dancing, seemingly innocent...then a giant wire gets pulled across the floor and kills everyone.


2) Casper

I have a soft spot for this film. I love Christina Ricci, and I loved her growing up. And Casper was Devon Sawa. 8 year old me thought he was SO cute. (lol)

3) Gothika

This is a guilty pleasure of mine. I pop this DVD in frequently enough. It's a creepy and interesting story. Plus, I accidentally dumped popcorn all over my best friend when we saw this in theaters because of one of the jump scares, so it's very dear to me. It's not often that I toss food at people.

Bonus: All My Friends are Funeral Singers

Besides the awesome title, this isn't the best movie out there. In fact, it's almost like watching an extended music video. But, I love my indies and this one, about a woman living in a house with ghosts was still worth the watch, flaws aside. 

Review: Steve Jobs

Woz forever.

Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender), innovator extraordinaire was kind of an asshole.  Maybe more so than "kind of." This film follows him at three points in his life. 1984, 1988, and 1998, all while at launches of his currents products. We see his various relationships with colleague, Jonanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) former Apple colleagues, Steve Wozniak, (Seth Rogan) Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) and John Sculley. (Jeff Daniels) and his estranged relationship with hsi ex, Chrisann (Katherine Waterston) and the daughter that Steve likes to pretend isn't his when it clearly is. 

This film hit plenty of bumps on the way. While it was always written by Aaron Sorkin, David Fincher was supposed to direct with Christian Bale starring, then it changed to Danny Boyle directing and Michael Fassbender starring. All good choices. The film is exceptionally well made. I liked how it was split into three timelines with news footage bridging one scene to the next. What was a bit strange about it was in the 122 minute run time, about only 30 minutes of that felt like a Danny Boyle film. The way a few things, mostly in the 1988 part of the film stood out as Boyle shots, the rest felt like an Aaron Sorkin film He's a writer that can very easily over shadow a director, and that's what happened here. 

Michael Fassbender was wonderful as Steve Jobs. I couldn't picture anyone else playing him, he nails Jobs' voice. The other big stand out for me was Michael Stuhlbarg, who is so underrated. The cast works well as a whole, even though I wish we would've gotten to see a bit more of Rogen as Wozniak, because I just love that guy. Jeff Daniels, unfortunately kept reminding me about how pissed I am at Sorkin's ego sinking The Newsroom. Kate Winslet only brought her B game, but let's be honest her B game is still good. 

Steve Jobs is still a wonderfully written biopic on a very complicated man. There's always going to be a bit of drama surrounding how he's portrayed in this film - essentially a dead beat dad - but it also helps account for some of the most tender scenes in the film as a whole.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "Fuck you." - Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender)

Review: 99 Homes

And you thought the people in Up in the Air had tough jobs.

Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is a single father living with his mother (Laura Dern) in their family home. After some bad advice from a banker, and the construction crew he works with going under, Nash finds himself evicted from their home by a seedy real estate broker, Rick Carver. (Michael Shannon) After he's forced to move his family into a dingy motel, he returns to Carver to confront one of the men that that moved his stuff, only for Carver to offer him a job, first on maintenance, then it quickly escalates to kicking other people out of their homes. But he's so hard up for money, he has no choice.

I appreciate the caliber of asshole Michael Shannon is capable of playing. Rick Carver's temper and flat out douche baggery is practically a work of art. So much so that I didn't even hate the guy. I was too impressed. Garfield, who I think is a very strong actor was actually kind of bad compared to Shannon. Though bad for Garfield isn't terrible by any means.

The film could've used a bit more polishing. It felt poorly edited and the ending, while it worked, may have benefited from a different approach. The story is good and it's worth it for the performance of Michael Shannon alone.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I can. I'm a Doppler fucking radar." - Rick Carver (Michael Shannon)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on The Walking Dead, Fargo, and Agents of SHIELD

Rambling TV is a series where I ramble incoherently about the things I watched on TV for the week.

The Walking Dead

Let's get this out of the way: Glenn's not dead. That's massive trolling from the powers that be. The walkers were clearly ripping Nicholas' body apart on top of Glenn. Intestines don't come out of chests. I think he'll crawl under the dumpster (ala Rick in S1, when they first met. Glenn even called Rick "dumbass" again in this episode like he did in 101) Not to mention *SPOILER - HIGHLIGHT FOR IT* Glenn has been spotted filming consistently. There's pictures of him in September, even one released by Entertainment Tonight when Jesus' actor was cast. He was spotted filming again this week. They're on episode 14. Rest easy, Glenn fans. *END SPOILER*

I want to talk about Michonne, who was the stand out for me. I love her character and I'm so happy they gave her some depth. She was so caring with David, yet she had her same "no bullshit" stance with their mission. Her determination and compassion were my favorite part of the episode. I loved her conversation with David about his wife Betsy. I can't help but think that Michonne was thinking of Rick during that conversation. Much like Daryl was probably thinking of Carol when he considered going back. Those felt like little nods to me.

Now we have to sit through a 90 minute episode of Morgan while this one ended on a massive cliffhanger. I like Morgan, but the last few seasons of this show, episode 4 has killed the momentum. I'm afraid it will do it again. 

Fargo

The biggest question by far on this week's episode of Fargo - Was Jesse Plemmons wearing a prosthetic belly? He has to be. Either that or he has the most symmetrical man boobs I've ever seen. 

I was right, Jeffrey Donovan can't control his accent. There were a few moments where it's like he thought he was supposed to be from the Midwest and used a southern drawl instead. How does this guy keep getting work where he has to use a different accent? 

Lou's story is by far my favorite. Peggy makes me nervous. I'm afraid she's going to (politely) murder someone else. 

Agents of SHIELD

Another episode of cock blocking the FitzSimmons ship, hopefully the pay off is worth it next week.

Then there's Ward. People still see this asshole as some misunderstood bad boy that can be redeemed, but he can't. Especially after this week. He needs to feel the wrath of May after murdering her ex, and she better take that out on him and not Hunter, who made the right call. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and yes Hunter has a chip over what Ward did to Bobbi last season, but he was still right.



2015 Blind Spot Series: Smiles of a Summer Night


What I knew going in: Apparently this is Woody Allen's least favorite Bergman film, despite the fact that he's seemingly tried to capture its feel it over and over.

It's funny, when I went through a list of Bergman movies and started adding them to my Blind Spots, this was one where I don't even think I looked at the plot. When I watched Wild Strawberries last year, I wondered if that was the closest thing Bergman would ever get to a comedy. Nope, that is this film.

Fredrik Egerman (Gunnar Bj√∂rnstrand) is a lawyer married to a 19 year old, Anne. (Ulla Jacobsson) They haven't consummated their relationship. Fredrik gives her time, but eventually her eyes start to wonder to his son, on a break from seminary school, Henrick. (Bj√∂rn Bjelfvenstam) Only he's too busy lusting after their hot maid, Petra. (Harriet Andersson) Then you have Fredrik trying to rekindle and old flame in Desiree, (Eva Dahlbeck) a stage actress. Only she's having an affair with the Count Carl Magnus Malcolm, (Jarl Kulle) who is cheating on his wife, Charlotte. (Margit Carlqvist) Desiree decides the only sensible thing to do is invite them all to a dinner part at the same time. Catch all that?

I made it sound more confusing that it really is. The film is just fun. It's almost slap stick-y in nature. There's all these affairs going on, yet the fact that none of the actors actually have romantic chemistry with each other is kind of golden. It's easy to root for Desiree, who gives zero fucks at this point, and Petra because they are just fun. It's very theatrical and beautifully shot, like every Bergman film I've seen has been. This also feels very different from the others, and I appreciate that he went for something light hearted, but still threw a very intense scene in there that completed worked.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Does it fit? Not too big? Not too small?" - Count Carl Magnus Malcolm (Jarl Kulle)

Indie Gems: Honeymoon

Cabin in the woods? Totally safe.

Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadway) are newlyweds who decide to spend their honeymoon in Bea's family secluded lake cabin. It starts off great. They're in love, they joke, they make out everywhere. But then things get weird. Paul finds Bea wandering around in the woods, disoriented. Then she starts acting strange, forgetting things. And it only gets worse.

I applaud this little film for not going in the direction that I thought it would. Sure cabin in the woods films are done time and time again, but this one at least attempts to be different. Leslie and Treadway have amazing chemistry and they really feel like the perfect couple. It makes it all the harder to handle when things start to go south.

The tension builds well and the leads are strong. It's a very creepy film, and while it's not overly gory, it gets pretty damn unsettling. 

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "You knew the water was cold." - Paul (Harry Treadway)

Thursday Movie Picks: Werewolves

This week's Halloween theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is movies about Werewolves. I have to admit, werewolves are not my favorite supernatural beings in films, but that doesn't mean there isn't some great films out there involving them. So I'll give you one I love, one I didn't expect to like, and one that was a good part in a bad film.

1) Trick R Treat

First, the one I love: This film has a lot of great things going for it and the werewolf subplot leads to one of the most memorable shots in the entire film for me.

2) Underworld

This franchise sort of went to shit, but when the original Underworld came out I really liked it. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it at all, but I liked how it was this supernatural take on a forbidden romance. At the time, it was a nice change.

3) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I'm a massive Harry Potter fan, but Prisoner of Azkaban is probably my least favorite movie. I know everyone has an Alfonso Cuaron boner, but he completely fucked this film, let's be real. Lupin, however is a great character who happens to be a werewolf. So he gets to be here. At least Cuaron didn't fuck with Lupin's character like he did Ron's. 

Review: He Named Me Malala

The power of education

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani girl who spoke up against the Taliban. She wanted equal education for girls, something that is being frowned upon in her home nation. They retaliated by shooting her in the head. She made a miraculous recovery and still continues on inspiring people, though she's unable to return to her home in the Swat Valley as she is being threatened with murder.

I've been moved to tears by hearing Malala speak before. She comes off so well adjusted, but this documentary shows that she really is just a normal girl, who fights with her brothers, crushes on hot cricket players, and occasionally does poorly on biology tests. She's very adamant that this life is not one her father chose for her, but rather one she chose herself. The bulk of the story is how she was named Malala and how her father encourages her. Her childhood is total through shadowy animation that works perfectly well. She mentions at one point that thinking of Swat feels like a "story" to her since she's not allowed to go back. It's only fitting her past takes on this animated story form too.

If anything, I wish there was more information here. I craved it. The film is very careful and still had plenty of original content, but I still had hoped for a bit more. One thing I never realized until recently was the amount of vitriol that is thrown towards this girl for not returning to Pakistan. Mostly by commenters on conservative websites, but still. I guess they think she should be a martyr and go home to be murdered? The doc touched very briefly on the criticism, but Malala herself didn't comment on it. It felt like an after thought. I wanted to hear what she had to say on the matter. Maybe it would help me understand it better, because right now it just sounds ridiculous.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I chose this life." - Malala Yousafzai

Review: Crimson Peak

If your new home has a giant hole in the roof, you should probably walk away.

Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is an aspiring author who has been seeing ghosts since her mother died when she was eleven. She's beloved by her father, Carter (Jim Beaver) and sought after by a handsome doctor, Alan (Charlie Hunnam) but who really catches her attention is a mysterious English inventor, Thomas Sharpe. (Tom Hiddleston) He's looking for funds to help run a red coal mine his family's home is on, but Carter sees right through him. Edith is smitten. He's the first man to actually compliment her manuscript. And even though he's clearly a step away from going full Lannister with his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) Edith marries him and moves with him to his family home, only to discover that it's full of ghosts who have apparently died very violent deaths.

Like every other Guillermo del Toro movie, the production is astonishingly beautiful. The red clay that is seen frequently in the film is always a stark contrast to the rest of the sets and makes everything a little bit creepier. When Edith first enters the Sharpe mansion and we see leaves falling through a hole in the roof, it's stunning to say the least. It will be a damn shame if the film's other missteps deter away Oscar voters when the production team did such an excellent job.

I feel like the film doesn't quite know what its tone was supposed to be. Or rather, del Toro did, and it got edited to shit in post production. Being a ghost movie, there's plenty of shots of said ghosts, but it didn't seem like they were meant to be jump scares. They never really come out of nowhere, there's always hints before they appear, yet the music plays as if it's expecting to make you fly out of your seat. It just felt a little strange.

That's not to say it's a bad movie. It isn't, and it's awesome to see Jessica Chastain play a villain. She's so much fun even though she kills a dog off screen. At least it wasn't graphic. It also features a pretty rad knife fight, (My husband and I were rolling during part of it, even though I'm sure we shouldn't have been.)

The film could've used a bit more polishing, more of Hiddleston's bare ass, and a different score, but it was still a good watch.

And when did Charlie Hunnman get so hot? Seriously, dude is gorgeous without that Sons of Anarchy bullshit.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Show me where." - Thomas (Tom Hiddleston)

Rambling TV: Thoughts on The Walking Dead, Fargo, and Agents of SHIELD

The Walking Dead

I didn't talk about last week's season premiere. It was a solid episode with good character moments, but I was ultimately very underwhelmed for a season premiere. I thought director Greg Nicotero tried way too hard to be Ingmar Bergman and failed pretty spectacularly. The use of black and white to distinguish past and present ended up washing everything out and the gimmick certainly overstayed it's welcome.

Now episode two...holy. shit.

I knew going in that Rick wasn't in it, and usually that takes the episode down a notch for me, but it was expertly shot and I loved the action. Carol is FINALLY out of the Suzy Homemaker get up! She kicked ass. I also loved Maggie's scenes with Deanna and seeing Tara and Rosita get to do a few things as well. Merritt Weaver is going to be a great addition as Denise.

Morgan's philosophy is a bit annoying, and letting those wolves go is going to come back and bite everyone in the ass. But I just loved this episode. 


Fargo

I wonder if Jeffrey Donovan's character's accent is going to disappear in this like it does all his other films?

Keiran Culkin was the stand out for me, the show got off to a good start, though I can already tell Kirsten Dunst's character is going to drive me crazy. My biggest issue was how fucking all over the place the direction was. It had some cool camera angles, but then it felt like it was just checking off a list of stylish approaches. Split screen? Check. Random fade to blacks? Check. POV view camera? Check. 


Agents of SHIELD.

FITZSIMMONS FITZSIMMONS FITZSIMMONS!

Okay, enough fangirling, but they were the highlight of this episode. They were so cute. Simmons is obviously very disturbed about where she just came from, and she needs to answers. She tells everyone else she'd like to listen to them, but she actually talks to Fitz about what happened, even if it's not in great detail. And they kept their dinner reservation.

May kicking ass never gets old. I love that so much. 

Lincoln though, everything with his story was predictable. You could see where it would go from a mile away and Daisy talking back to Coulson was getting annoying. Daisy, you're a hacker. Coulson's the director of SHIELD. Know your role, and shut your moth. 

Indie Gems: The Midnight Meat Train

Riding the Subway in the middle of the night is totally safe.

Until Dell talked about this in one of his Thursday Movie Picks. I only remembered it from the Easter egg in Silver Linings Playbook where it was on a marquee at the movie theater in that film. But after hearing him talk about it, I figured this would be good, gory fun.

Leon (Bradley Cooper) is a photographer who is itching to get approval from a big art dealer, Susan. (Brooke Shields) When she tells him not to turn away before he gets the best shot, he breaks up an attempted assault in the subway station one night. But the women he photographs goes missing, and he catches only a glimpse of the last man scene with her, mute Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) who happens to be a murderous butcher. He becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to not only this woman, but others who have gone missing on the Philadelphia subway. 

This movie had an interesting time in production. Judging by the way it was shot, I'm assuming this was intended to be a big 3D horror film. However Lionsgate hired a new exec, Joe Drake who apparently hated the film and gave it a limited release of about 100 theaters in the U.S. It's unfortunate, because the film is good fun. It's very gory, there's lots of blood and things that will make you squirm. 

Bradley Cooper and Leslie Bibb, who plays Leon's girlfriend are both kind of awful, but it works in this strange way. Their acting takes a back seat to Mahogany bashing in people's brains with a giant mallet. The ending is pretty weird. I'm now wondering if another big horror movie may have used this as inspiration for something they made fun of. If I said which movie I was talking about, I'd give it away, and I don't want to do that. Flaws aside this film is very entertaining

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "I've got a train to catch." - Leon (Bradley Cooper)

Thursday Movie Picks: Asian Horror

This week's Halloween theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is Asian Horror! I don't think I've ever seen an Asian horror movie that I didn't like, there's so many great ones to choose from. Here are my favorites. I wish I had some obscure little indie to talk about here, but these three are very widely seen. I really need to see more.

1) Audition

Whenever I tell people to watch this, I warn them that it gets off to a very slow start. You need to keep with it, because once you realize that something is very off, it doesn't slow down from there. 

2) Ringu

I saw the American remake The Ring first, and I loved it. I had to see the original, and it doesn't disappoint. The scariest thing for me here was the fact that Sadako (this version's Samara) looked so tall coming out of that TV. She was very menacing. 

3) A Tale of Two Sisters

This was another one where I saw the American remake first (The Uninvited) and had to check it out the original. This one is definitely freakier.  

DVD Review: Parkland

What was everyone else doing?

Much like Bobby, a film about John F Kennedy's younger brother's assassination, Parkland follows a similar formula where it follows the lives of random citizens on that day.

Only unlike Bobby, these citizens are a lot less random in relevance to the story. We see the nurses and doctors at Parkland Hospital that fought to save him, (Marcia Gay Harden, Colin Hanks, Zac Efron) CIA employees in Washington trying to make sense of what's happening (Ron Livingston, David Harbour) Abraham Zapruder, (Paul Giamatti) a photographer who caught the shooting on film. Local government employees in Dallas (Billy Bob Thorton, Paul Sparks) and the shooter's brother, Robert Oswald. (James Badge Dale) Tom Welling, Jacki Weaver, Mark Duplass and Jackie Earl Haley also have small parts.

They have a great, extensive cast, but this film doesn't seem to know what it wants to be, so it can't really devote a lot of meaty material to its actors. It doesn't wade into conspiracy territory completely, though it does show Ron Livingston's character getting very shady. It also tries a bit too hard with its camera trickery. For instance, Jackie Kennedy is in several shots at the beginning, but the director goes to painstaking lengths not to focus on her face for long. The back of her head, her hands, arms, anything but her face. Then there's the pivotal moment our characters see Zapruder's footage for the first time. They chose to show it as a reflection from Zapruder's eye glasses instead of actually showing the footage. (Though we've all probably seen it any how) 

The film is very engaging and intense to start, but when it ends, it feels unfinished. Like there was more to say, and they didn't know where to stop. While I liked parts of this very much, overall, it just didn't seem to come together.

Recommended: Yes/No. Not the greatest film, but a decent enough watch.

Grade: C+

Memorable quote: "This might be the biggest fuck up in the history of US law enforcement." - Gordon Shanklin (David Harbour)



Review: Sicario

So what's why we're here. 

Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is an FBI agent selected by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) to be part of a government task force aimed at taking down the Mexican cartel. They work along side a DOD agent, Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) who Kate is instantly wary of. It turns out this assignment is nothing she expected it to be, and she and her partner Reggie Wayne (Daniel Kaluuya) are constantly questioning everything.

The highlight of Sicario is Roger Deakins beautiful cinematography, which is among the best he's ever done. I know we're all predicting Emmanuel Lubezki to take home his 3rd Oscar in a row for The Revenant, but he's got some serious competition here. The way Deakins frames the quieter moments of the film are masterful, but it's the way he helps the film build tension in something as simple as traffic are something else. (Johan Johannsson's menacing score helps too) Plus, he films a a portion of the film through the lens of thermal and night vision cameras without making it feel too gimmicky. 

Blunt is perfectly cast here. Kate has some baggage but she does her best to not let it interfere with her work. Kaluuya provides the lighter moments, and I'm so glad he's getting more work Stateside because he has been brilliant in the British TV shows and films I've seen him in. Del Toro also stands out. Alejandro is a very intimidating character but he manages to bring out a softer side of him. Of course, it doesn't last long. He's quite ruthless, but seeing those moments there reminds us there's more underneath.

I never planned on seeing this film until recently, it just didn't seem interesting to me. I'm always happy to be swayed by good reviews to see something I may have written off. This was worth it.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "You should move to a small town, somewhere the rule of law still exists." - Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro)

Indie Gems: Creep

Keep the camera rolling

Aaron(Patrick Brice) is a videographer who responds to an ad on Craig's List to film a man named Josef (Mark Duplass) for a day. Josef tells Aaron that he's dying of cancer, he has a son on the way, and wants to film something for his child to watch when he's older. Soon, Aaron realizes that there's something extremely off about this situation.

The film is shot entirely on Aaron's hand held camera, which can be annoying because of the shakiness, but there really wasn't any other way they could've told this story. They at least set the camera down during for most of the film, so it can focus. 

We don't see a whole lot of Brice since he's operating the camera, so Duplass is the main standout, and he's wonderfully creepy. He still has that goofy charm Duplass usually does in his films but when he needs to get serious, he does it well.

The film is short, running at just 75 minutes, but this makes for a good quick watch.

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "You have a really nice, kind face." - Josef (Mark Duplass)


Thursday Movie Picks: Villainous Children

This week's Halloween theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is villainous children. There's so many great horror films to choose from with bad kids. I'm just bummed I already used The Ring.

1) Village of the Damned

What would you do if you lived in a town where 9 women mysterious got knocked up and gave birth to creepy peroxide blonde babies? Fucking move, that's what. 

2) Wicked Little Things

This little indie had some very unsettling imagery. It might not be the strongest horror film out there, but it nails the creep factor for sure. 

3) Pet Sematary

Funny story, I know two people personally that named their sons "Gage" because of this movie. Because nothing says "story of your birth name" better than "Oh, I named you after this dead kid in this horror movie." Hopefully one of them has another son they can name Malachai to even it out. Kidding aside, I love this movie. Always have. 

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Fear The Walking Dead, Agents of SHIELD + more

Fear the Walking Dead

* So the final episode of the season, while strong and well acted ended up being extremely predictable. I knew as soon as I saw the casting for Liza that she would eventually die. The actress is already a regular on Orange is the New Black, so that part I was expecting to be obvious. But Travis letting the soldier go, then for said soldier to come back and screw everything up? Come on. Everyone saw that coming. Travis will hopefully toughen up next season, because he's still being the Lori of this show. (Only even more unlikable. Though not as much as Chris though, fuck that kid)

I'm not sure how excited I am for season 2. The interesting part for me was how the military handled everything, and what the first few weeks were like. If they're swiftly moving past that, it's only going to be The Walking Dead part 2.

Agents of SHIELD.

* For the season opener, Sky is now going by her real name, "Daisy" and the characters each say her name several times throughout so the audience remembers. They also want to show she means sexy business because her go to clothes for explaining what's happening to a new Inhuman are a tank top and a wonder bra. (I wouldn't call out something like that if it wasn't so obvious)

Bobbi is in the lab rehabbing her knee, Coulson is still trying to get used to have a fake hand. and Fitz is trying to trace down leads on how to get Simmons out of that gigantic rock. Iain De Caestecker was the highlight of the episode again. It seems Fitz has gone from a helpless nerd to a very determined man during the off season. Though I swear if he and Simmons don't get reunited AND start making out ASAP I'm going to kill someone.

No May or Ward in this episode, but we did get to see some weird blue mohawk monster. It seems this season is going to follow the Inhumans closely, which is kind of a shame because the most interesting thing about Agents of SHIELD to me was the actual non super heroes. We already have that in the Avengers. Daisy is also still the show's weakest actress and having her lead even more than Coulson is a mistake. 

Episode 2 - Ward is still off trying to peice together Hyrda and getting on with his bad self. Hunter tries to get May to come back to SHIELD. But the big part is the rest of the team decides to stop treating Fitz like a child when it comes to the portal once he actually figures out how to get through it. Of course Daisy had to use her powers to help, because it's all about her, but the end result was Jemma coming back and her and Fitz were ADORABLE. And she cuddled up to him after she woke up from a nightmare afterwards. This is all I care about, it was so cute! Nothing cute has happened for any of my ships since Jaime caught a glimpse of Tarth on Game of Thrones. 



Mr. Robot

*Did I mention I binged this show and it was amazing? Because it is. I can't wait for season two. 

Boycott TLC

So TLC losing the last ounce of dignity they had decided it would be okay to put the Duggars back on the air. They're airing a few specials centered around their boring, smug older daughters Jill and Jessa. You know, the ones that got on Fox News and minimized sexual abuse? Jessa is currently preaching hell fire and brimstone on Instagram while Jill is pretending to be a missionary and a midwife in El Salvador. I say pretending because they're not helping anyone there. They're attempting to turn Catholics into Evangelicals and she's acting like her lay midwife certificate is equal to that of a doctor. (It it's, lay midwives can't even practice in certain states/countries and has some of the shoddiest requirements I've ever seen) Will I be watching? Hell no. I'll read a recap to snark at Free Jinger, but I'm never turning on TLC again. It isn't okay to back people who not only enabled sexual abuse but tried to downplay it as "mild inappropriate touching." Jill and Jessa don't get to fall under the "they're victims" blanket because they see themselves only as victims of media and nothing else. They need to step away from that cult, get actual therapy, and attempt to have an original thought about all of this. Maybe then they will realize the damage they did when they shrugged off what their younger sisters went through.

Next week brings the return of The Walking Dead and Fargo!

Review: The Walk

Hope you don't mind heights.

I don't consider myself a person that's officially afraid of heights. Do I enjoy them? Not really. But being in tall buildings doesn't freak me out. That being said, watching this movie made me squirm just about as much as I would during a gory horror movie. They manage to make you feel like you're really that high up.

Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a street performer who love to walk the high wire. One day he sees a picture of the under construction twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York City and decides that's where he wants to hang his wire. He trains with Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) and soon, along with his girlfriend Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) and two friends Jean-Louis (Clemont Sibony) and Jeff (Caesar Domboy) they are off to New York to attempt to pull off this heist and gain a few more accomplices on the way.

I think one of the fears many had going in was that this was going to be unnecessary after the excellent 2008 documentary Man on Wire covered the same subject. I don't think it is, more people will see a feature over a doc and the film still tells Petit's story well. It's very theatrical, narrated by Petit as he stands on top of the Statue of Liberty, but it works for someone as charismatic as Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (and Petit himself, really) I thought JGL is wonderful here (bias, what bias?) he nails the accent and captured Petit well. He even trained with him to wire walk in preparation for the film. 

The visual effects in this film are stunning, like I said in my opener about how it makes you feel as if you are really that high up. The only thing that doesn't work is this terrible CGI bird they included during his walk, it looked awful and I wish they would've scrapped it. The film should ride this all the way to the Oscar nominations, but if they don't get one, that stupid bird did them in. I wish JGL would get a nomination too, he's so good here.

I couldn't help but feel like this also served as a love letter to the twin towers. Seeing them again was something else.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Why would you use that word?" - Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

Review: The Martian

How can Aquaman control whales? They're mammals! Makes no sense.

Since one of my favorite Mark Watney ponderings got left out of the movie I figured I'd include it here. 

Mark (Matt Damon) is part of a 6 man Ares mission on Mars. When a storm causes them to evacuate early, he's struck by debris which sends him flying in the opposite direction and kills his monitor. His crew members, Leader Lewis, (Jessica Chastain) Martinez, (Michael Pena) Johanssen, (Kate Mara) Vogel, (Aksel Hennie) and Beck (Sebastian Stan) assume he's dead. But he isn't, and when SATCON employee Mindy (Mackenzie Davis) discovers he's alive when looking at satellite images, Ares director Vincent (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and director of NASA, Teddy (Jeff Daniels) among others need to figure out how to bring him home.

The book by Andy Weir is one of the best I've read in recent memory. I would probably say it's now in my top 10 of all time. This film had big shoes to fill in that sense, and they still hit it out of the park. Sure, they left things out as all book adaptations go. Watney experienced more setbacks in the novel.(including accidentally blowing up MAV) They also cut an amusing scene where Johansson tells her family that even if something goes wrong, she was chosen to survive because she's the smallest, needs the least amount of food, and when her other crew members die she can cut them up and eat them.

But I found it easy not to dwell on the things they left out. The cast is fantastic, with the exception of Kristen Wiig, who plays NASA spokeswoman Annie with way too much of a "sad panda" expression when Annie was more of a hard ass in the book. I'm not quite sure why she was chosen to play her. The film splits the time between Mars, the Ares 3 crew, and Earth so while Watney carried the book, Matt Damon isn't tasked with carrying the entire film. Ejiofor was the stand out for me.

The visual effects in this film were stunning. They made Mars look so beautiful and intimidating at the same time. The score was lovely, even when Watney is stuck listening to disco music most of the time. They also made good use of their two allotted "fucks" for their PG-13 rating.  

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A+

Memorable Quote: "Did you really just say that to me?" - Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor)

Indie Gems: The Harvest

Tis the season

I figured I'd kick off October with a fall themed Indie Gem. The Harvest follows a sick boy named Andy. (Love is Strange's Charlie Tahan) He's never gone to school, his controlling mother Katherine (Samantha Morton) never lets him out of the house while his timid father Richard (Michael Shannon) stays with him during the day. Maryann (Natasha Calis) who has been recently orphaned moves nearby with her grandparents (Peter Fonda and Leslie Lyles) and strikes up a friendship with Andy after curiously peering through his window. But Katherine doesn't like Andy having friends..

I kind of love this cast. Morton is scary as Katherine. 
She micromanages everything and you're afraid of what will happen if she snaps. Shannon is very subdued. I'm so used to him playing "quietly psycho" that I almost wish he would've completed freaked out on Katherine. This is the same guy who killed people on Boardwalk Empire when he was angry. The kids show promise, even though they're not the strongest players here. 

The film builds well, although it's a little obvious where it will go. The atmosphere is perfect for this time of year. It does wade into corny B movie territory at times, mostly due to Maryann's grandparents who are hands down the most ridiculous adults I've ever seen. There's a scene with them towards the end that is so jarringly stupid that it nearly derails the entire film. Let's just say it's the worst timing ever for a platitude.

My overall grade drops a bit because of that scene, but any fan of Morton or Shannon should give this a watch. Or anyone that likes a light thriller/mystery.

Grade: C+ 

Memorable Quote: "Did she say why she doesn't like me?" - Maryann (Natasha Calis)

Thursday Movie Picks: Alfred Hitchcock Movies

This month at Wandering Through The Shelves is all about Halloween! Hitchcock is obviously one of the most known names in horror, but it's a little embarrassing the amount of Hitchcock I've actually watched the whole way through. And I can't pick Psycho three times.  So instead of picking three favorites, I'm picking three films of his that I really need to see. 

1) Rear Window

I always seem to catch the ending of this film on TV, but I've never sat down and watched it the whole way through. Though Drew hates it, so maybe I shouldn't bother?

2) Marnie

Another film of his that always gets great reviews that I have yet to visit. I have it on my preliminary Blind Spot list next year. 

3) Rope

I do love some James Stewart. I've noticed this film has some pretty passionate haters. This, I have to see. 

What do you think I should see?