Review: mother!

Under his eye.

In a large house in the country side, a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) is living with her older, poet husband. (Javier Bardem) While he struggles with writers block, she has been fixing up the house to make their own little paradise. One day, a man (Ed Harris) shows up unexpectedly, and her husband allows him to stay the night. The next day, his wife (Michelle Pfieffer) arrives. Soon, more and more people inexplicably show up at their house and none of them are listening to what this young woman has to say.

When it comes to the plot, I went into this completely spoiler free, and I'll keep the review this way too. It's better that way. All I had was the hype, some that it lived up to, some that it didn't.

This is an experience. I really liked the story Director Darren Aronofsky was telling. It's heavy on symbolism and metaphors but it works up until a point. The last 20-30 minutes of this film is a clusterfuck of the highest order. It is very disturbing, though not nearly as much as I expected it to be with the way some early watchers described it. It's mostly just a mess of things thrown together until we get to the big moment, which you see the outcome from a mile away. 

The performances are good. I personally didn't find any of them near Oscar caliber. Ed Harris is probably the best because he gets to showcase the most range. Even so, Jennifer Lawrence's character did resonate with me quite a bit. I was frustrated as hell watching the way everyone treats her in this movie. I haven't rooted for mass murder this much since I saw The Hunt. One cameo in particular threw me out of the film though, and that was Kristen Wiig. She felt incongruous here. 

I don't imagine I'll stop thinking about this film for a while. I have so many questions still. It's a hard film to rate. It's so fascinating but so poorly executed. I think the story and intentions are strong enough to carry it ultimately.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "You don't love me, you just love how much I love you." - Mother (Jennifer Lawrence)

2017 Emmy Winners


I'm a bottle of wine in and it's time to discuss the Emmy Winners! This was a huge night for WOMEN! Big Little Lies, Veep, and The Handmaid's Tale won big. Stephen Colbert was a decent enough host. The only skit of his I flat out loved was his Westworld one. Let's get to the winners!

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul
The Crown
The Handmaid’s Tale
House of Cards
Stranger Things
This Is Us
Westworld
I feel a bit vindicated here. I was saying THT was going to be big tonight but so many people said Stranger Things was a lock to win. I'm happy with this win as the show was wonderful.


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA  SERIES
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Anthony Hopkins, Westworld
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
I got this one wrong, I thought they'd go with Spacey but I'm happy for Brown. He makes me want to watch This Is Us. He's just so likable. He even went on talking even after the orchestra cut him off.



OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES 
Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder
Claire Foy, The Crown
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
Robin Wright, House of Cards
You all know I was rooting for my girl Evan, but Elisabeth is truly wonderful in this series. She has to carry so much emotional baggage. 


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES 
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld
This was a huge surprise (to me anyways) Ann was surprised too, Samira shouted at her after her win. Her speech was so wonderful I couldn't even be mad that Thandie didn't take this.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
John Lithgow, The Crown
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Ron Cephas Jones, This Is Us
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld
Oh The Crown, They finally got one. Had The Handmaid's Tale not happened I think they would be sweeping everything. 


OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES 
Alison Wright, The Americans
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder
Ann Dowd, The Leftovers
Laverne Cox, Orange Is The New Black
Shannon Purser, Stranger Things
I really thought Purser would win because of how Barb obsessed everyone is, but I'm glad Alexis took it home. 


OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
BD Wong, Mr. Robot
Hank Azaria, Ray Donovan
Denis O’Hare, This Is Us
Brian Tyree Henry, This Is Us
Gerald McRaney, This Is Us
I was pulling for BD Wong. I've never seen an episode of This Is Us.


OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Atlanta
black-ish
Master of None
Modern Family
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep
I love Veep and I never get sick of seeing it win. 


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Jane Fonda, Grace & Frankie
Allison Janney, Mom
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Lily Tomlin, Grace & Frankie
The queen wins again! This is her 6th Emmy win in a row. If she wins next year, I wonder if that will be a first? An actress winning for every single season a show has been on television (one season wonders don't count)


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Zach Galifianakis, Baskets
Donald Glover, Atlanta
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Glover, wearing the hell out of that tux won two Emmys tonight. 


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES 
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Vanessa Bayer, Saturday Night Live
Kathryn Hahn, Transparent
Judith Light, Transparent
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
I really thought Anna had a chance here. I expected the SNL ladies to split a lot of votes, but I forgot everything McKinnon did as Hillary was eligible. I should've seen that coming.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES 
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Matt Walsh, Veep
This was probably the easiest pick of the night. Of course Baldwin threw some shade at our dumpster fire of a president by saying he finally got that Emmy. I'm sure some angry tweets will happen later tonight. 


OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Wanda Sykes, black-ish
Carrie Fisher, Catastrophe
Becky Ann Baker, Girls
Angela Bassett, Master of None
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
I think we all knew she was winning. 


OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Riz Ahmed, Girls
Matthew Rhys, Girls
Dave Chappelle, Saturday Night Live
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Saturday Night Live
Tom Hanks, Saturday Night Live
Hugh Laurie, Veep
This surprised me because I thought Chapelle was one of the weaker SNL hosts this year just because my expectations of him were so high. 


OUTSTANDING TV MOVIE
Black Mirror (“San Junipero”)
Dolly Parton’s Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love
Sherlock: The Lying Detective
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Wizard of Lies
I love Black Mirror. It should be in Limited Series, but fuck it. Go Black Mirror.


OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES 
Big Little Lies
Fargo
Feud: Bette and Joan
Genius
The Night Of
This show won huge tonight. This was such a stacked category that I would've been happy with anything sans Genius winning. (I didn't watch) 

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Carrie Coon, Fargo
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
All my vote splitting predictions were wrong. I'm happy Nicole got this. She was up against some huge talent but out of all of them, she was my favorite performance. The orchestra didn't even try to cut her off. She had the longest speech of the night. 



OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE 
Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Lying Detective
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
John Turturro, The Night Of
FUCK YES! I'm so happy about this win. Riz's sexy self is going to be my new Awards Season banner/gif. 


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE 
Regina King, American Crime
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies
Judy Davis, Feud: Bette and Joan
Jackie Hoffman, Feud: Better and Joan
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies
I thought Shailene Woodley was far better than Laura in BLL, but the funniest part about this win was how pissed Jackie Hoffman was. Just look at her reaction.



OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE 
Alexander Skarsgård, Big Little Lies
David Thewlis, Fargo
Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan
Stanley Tucci, Feud: Bette and Joan
Bill Camp, The Night Of
Michael Kenneth Williams, The Night Of
Alexander deserved this. This man actually made me not be attracted to him. That's a big deal because come on....10/10 would bang. 


OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES 
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late Late Show With James Corden
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Real Time With Bill Maher
I love this win. Earlier in the show Dave Chapelle thanked DC Public Schools as a joke because he couldn't read his teleprompter, so when John Oliver won for writing he thanked them and told everyone to get them trending, and well...they did. 

Thursday Movie Picks: The Financial World

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about a field I would fail miserably in: the financial world. Luckily, they sometimes make really interesting movies and here are three of my favorites

1) Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Kevin recommended this documentary and he's absolutely right in calling it amazing. I had no idea what Enron was and I still found this doc to be very engrossing. 

2) The Wolf of Wall Street

My favorite Leonardo DiCaprio performance because he lets loose. Are they the worst Wall Street stock brokers or the best ones? There was a lot of coke involved. 

3) American Psycho

While the financial part isn't very prominent in the film, Patrick Bateman's day job is very important to him. BRB I have to go return some video tapes. 

Review: It

You'll float too.

Bill's (Jaeden Lieberher) little brother George went missing months before. We know that Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) a demon clown is responsible but Bill doesn't know that yet. Until he and his group of friends, the "Losers" as they call themselves all start seeing Pennywise in random places and realize that something isn't right in the town they leave in.

*book spoilers*

I had really high expectations for this, and it met nearly every one. While the 90's mini series felt campy, this film is having none of that. It presents itself as a coming of age type story, but when it needs to be creepy it dials it to eleven.

All of the child actors here are excellent in that parts, with Leiberher being the strongest. I was worried when I saw the trailers that they were going to forgo Bill's trademark stutter, but its still there and he makes it very believable on top of all the emotional baggage Bill brings around. Sophia Ellis plays Beverly, our lone girl in the group. Her story is easily the most disturbing and she handles that subject matter well. Other standouts are Finn Wolfhard as the trashmouth Ritchie and Jack Dylan Grazer as the ever jittery Eddie.

Following in Tim Curry's footsteps isn't an easy but, but I think Bill Skarsgard one ups him as Pennywise. This clown is downright horrifying and the script stands behind him.

The film isn't perfect. I don't agree with changing the decade to the 80's instead of the 50's like the novel. I felt it was only done so they could have a better musical selection for the soundtrack. Otherwise nothing they did justified the time difference and it's going to make Chapter Two, whenever that comes out even weirder considering it will take place in 2016. It also really diminishes Mike's connection with the group. He's the one that will eventually bring them together again as adults, but of all the foreshadowing that goes on in this movie, there's none for that.

I would complain about Beverly being made into a bit of a damsel - Pennywise kidnaps her and that's what gets all of our Losers together in the sewers, but considering the novel quite literally had her have sex with all of the boys to get them out of the sewers this is a massive upgrade. The way they temporarily defeat Pennywise this time around is quite different from the book.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Now I have to kill this fucking clown." - Ritchie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard)

Thursday Movie Picks: Animated Films Geared Towards Adults

I'm to blame for this week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves. I suggested it. But I'm curious, what animated films out there do you like that are meant for adults? And don't say Grave of the Fireflies...

1) My Life as a Zucchini

I can't rave about this film enough. EVERYONE should watch it. It tackles serious subjects like child abuse, abandonment and depression, but it's so light hearted and lovely as well. 

2) South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut

This hilarious film needs no explanation. I laughed so hard I cried during Cartman's new version of "Kyle's Mom is a Bitch." My dad still says taking me to this movie in theaters is his most embarrassing parenting moment. (Though I'd argue that but I digress..)

3) Watership Down

I love watching other people watch this movie. The English Bunny Massacre on the surface makes you think rabbits will be running from some G rated danger but that's not the case. My husband's face when he saw the movie for the first time last year was priceless. 

2017 Emmy Predictions: Who will win, who should win.


With the Emmys coming up on September 17th it's now time for me to make my mostly incorrect predictions! Seriously, the Emmys are weird and Game of Thrones isn't eligible so there goes the easy win. Below are my predictions on who will win, and in some cases, who should win.

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul
The Crown
The Handmaid’s Tale
House of Cards
Stranger Things
This Is Us
Westworld
Who will win: The Handmaid's Tale
Who should win: Westworld
I don't watch House of Cards or This Is Us so I can't speak for those two shows, but I'd be happy for a win for any of the other shows. At the beginning of this year, I would've said The Crown would take it easily, but The Handmaid's Tale has a ton of buzz behind it and I can see it being rewarded.


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA  SERIES
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Anthony Hopkins, Westworld
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Who will win: Kevin Spacey
Who should win: Hopkins, Odenkirk, or probably Brown.
With last year's winner not even nominated I see the Emmys playing it safe here. Spacey has never won an Emmy, I can see them changing that this year.



OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES 
Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder
Claire Foy, The Crown
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Who will win: Elisabeth Moss
Who should win: Evan Rachel Wood or Claire Foy.
Claire Foy already has a Globe and a SAG for her role in The Crown but she wasn't competing against Emmy darling Elisabeth Moss. If my prediction for THT getting a lot of love is right, she'll get it too. Though if I had it my way, Evan would be going home with this.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES 
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Who will and should win: Thandie Newton
Even with the Handmaid's Tale love, I think Newton will walk away with this. Though the Emmys could want to be a bit edgy and give it to young Millie Bobby Brown.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
John Lithgow, The Crown
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Ron Cephas Jones, This Is Us
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld
Who will win: John Lithgow
Who should win: Jeffrey Wright
With no Handmaid's Tale in this category, The Crown will likely prevail. I hope Wright wins, he was one of my favorites on Westworld.


OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES 
Alison Wright, The Americans
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder
Ann Dowd, The Leftovers
Laverne Cox, Orange Is The New Black
Shannon Purser, Stranger Things
Who will win: Shannon Purser
Who should win: Alexis Bledel.
Just watch fucking Barb win this. Just watch.  


OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
BD Wong, Mr. Robot
Hank Azaria, Ray Donovan
Denis O’Hare, This Is Us
Brian Tyree Henry, This Is Us
Gerald McRaney, This Is Us
Who will win: Ben Mendelsohn
Who should win: BD Wong
Ben Mendelsohn won an Emmy for this role in the supporting category last year so I suppose he could take it again here. This is Mr. Robot's sole acting nomination and I'd love for it to get a win here.


OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Atlanta
black-ish
Master of None
Modern Family
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep
Who will win: Veep
Who should win: Veep
I'm bias so I always pick Veep. I think if this were the Globes, black-ish or Atlanta would have a good shot, but Emmys are creatures of habit, so Veep will win again.


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Jane Fonda, Grace & Frankie
Allison Janney, Mom
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Lily Tomlin, Grace & Frankie
Who will and should win: Queen Julia Louis-Dreyfus


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Zach Galifianakis, Baskets
Donald Glover, Atlanta
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Who will win: Jeffrey Tambor
Who should win: Donald Glover
I'd be shocked if the Emmys changed their mind here. Tambor will take it again.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES 
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Vanessa Bayer, Saturday Night Live
Kathryn Hahn, Transparent
Judith Light, Transparent
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Who will and should win: Anna Chlumsky
Bold prediction here, but all those other votes have to cancel each other out, right? Anna might be in it to win it this year.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES 
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Matt Walsh, Veep
Who will win: Alec Baldwin
Who should win: Tony Hale
Baldwin's dumpster fire impression is so well received that I think he'll win. (Then said dumpster fire will rage tweet about it at 3:00 am)


OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Wanda Sykes, black-ish
Carrie Fisher, Catastrophe
Becky Ann Baker, Girls
Angela Bassett, Master of None
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Who will win: Melissa McCarthy
Who should win: McCarthy or Carrie Fisher
The only thing working against Carrie Fisher is I don't think many people saw Castastrophe. Everyone saw McCarthy on SNL.


OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Riz Ahmed, Girls
Matthew Rhys, Girls
Dave Chappelle, Saturday Night Live
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Saturday Night Live
Tom Hanks, Saturday Night Live
Hugh Laurie, Veep
Who will win: Hugh Laurie
Who should win: Laurie or Ahmed
I'd be happy with either of those two winning, but I think there will be a lot of cancelling each other out here as well.


OUTSTANDING TV MOVIE
Black Mirror (“San Junipero”)
Dolly Parton’s Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love
Sherlock: The Lying Detective
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Wizard of Lies
Who will and should win: Black Mirror.
This still should not be in this category, but fuck it.  

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES 
Big Little Lies
Fargo
Feud: Bette and Joan
Genius
The Night Of
Who will win: Big Little Lies
Who should win: Any of them except Genius (which I haven't seen) they're all worthy.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Carrie Coon, Fargo
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
Who will win: Felicity Huffman
Who should win: Any of them.
I think between Feud and BLL there will be some cancelling, though Nicole Kidman feels like she could still happen. While Fargo is the far better show, I think they'll play it safe and go with Huffman



OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE 
Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Lying Detective
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
John Turturro, The Night Of
Who will win: Ewan McGregor
Who should win: Riz Ahmed
Riz should take this but I think too many people will be splitting between he and John. Fargo has to win somewhere.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE 
Regina King, American Crime
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies
Judy Davis, Feud: Bette and Joan
Jackie Hoffman, Feud: Better and Joan
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies
Who will win: Regina King
Who should win: Shailene Woodley
I think Regina will repeat here, even though Woodley and Hoffman gave really good performances. 


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE 
Alexander Skarsgård, Big Little Lies
David Thewlis, Fargo
Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan
Stanley Tucci, Feud: Bette and Joan
Bill Camp, The Night Of
Michael Kenneth Williams, The Night Of
Who will win: Alexander Skarsgard
Who should win: Any
Feud and Night Of will cancel, so that leaves BLL and Fargo and Alexander is far better than Thewlis. 


OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES 
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late Late Show With James Corden
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Real Time With Bill Maher
Who will and should win: Last Week Tonight:

Indie Gems: Incendies

I've got a secret.

When their mother Nawal (Lubna Azabal) dies, she leaves behind a will requesting her twin children, Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) to locate the father they thought was dead, and the brother they never knew they had.

Denis Villeneuve has easily become one of my favorite film makers in the last few years. I've loved all his recent films, so I decided to go back and see what he made before Prisoners put him on my radar. 

Incendies does ask you to suspend a bit of disbelief. Nawal could've just written her story down instead of sending her children on a hunt throughout the Middle East, but hey you're gone. The story is told between Jeanne trying to get more information about her mother and flashbacks showing Nawal's very difficult life.

No seriously, this movie gets pretty fucked up. Even with that, it's a fascinating story and I never wanted to stop learning about these characters. I've grown so used to Villeneuve's style through Roger Deakins' lens that this film felt very different from his others. I like the focus he put on his characters, he let their actions speak volumes.

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "I need you here." - Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin)

Thursday Movie Picks - High School: TV Edition

It's the end of the month so we have another special TV edition. This week Wanderer wants us to talk about high school. You know, that thing for awkward people like me that we try to forget. However, here are some great shows about high school that I always recommend:

1) The Wonder Years

The summer before 6th grade, I broke my foot and ended up spending a lot of time in bed because of it. Lucky for me, Nick at Nite had a Wonder Years marathon on that started from the beginning so I got to watch all of it. I was addicted to this show and when I excitedly told my dad how awesome it is, he had to gently tell me that it's an old show that was on in the 80's. It felt so modern compared to the other things I watched on Nick at Nite that I had no idea it wasn't a new show. Derp. 

2) Ja'ime: Private School Girl

This was a mini series that aired on HBO and it was fucking hysterical. Chris Lilly is apparently an Australian national treasure but this was my first time seeing him. I love that HBO gave him the platform to show off his talents to other countries. 

3) Freaks and Geeks

I didn't watch this until way after it was cancelled, but it was a really good show. I wish it had a few more seasons as the cast was wonderful. 

Review: Wind River

What's left out here?

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) hunts predators on farm lands for a living. While he's on a job at the Wind River Indian Reservation, he stumbles upon a corpse of a girl he knew, Natalie. (Kelsey Asbille) FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is the only agent available and is sent to investigate Natalie's murder. But she soon finds out that the law is handled very differently there.

Writer/Director Taylor Sheridan is on a role. He's written wonderful films like Sicario and Hell or High Water, and he brings the same level of precision here. But it has to be said, this film really is just Sicario on a Native reservation. Jane is an FBI agent with a good heart like Kate. Cory, like Alejandro is driven by a family tragedy. They even have a conversation towards the end of the film with "wolves" thrown in. But what it lacks in originality it makes up everywhere else.

I'm okay with seeing another version of Sicario because this film was really great on its own. It builds tension masterfully and shines a light on the struggle of lawful jurisdiction on the Reservation. You almost feel tired watching these characters trek through all this snow. It made us feel like we were there. 

Jeremy Renner is amazing in this role, I think it's become my favorite role of his to date. He and Elizabeth Olsen have amazing chemistry together. (And of course seeing them just made me even more hyped for Avengers: Infinity War) The supporting cast makes the most of their screen time as well. Gil Birmingham who plays the grieving father is excellent. He wears his feelings on his face and his final scene is one of the best in the film. 

I can't wait to see what Sheridan does next. This very simplistic, yet rich approach to crime thrillers is compelling. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Luck doesn't live out here. It lives in the city." - Cory (Jeremy Renner)



Review: Ingrid Goes West

Prayer hands emoji.

Social media addict Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) is fresh out of a mental institution following a disastrous breakdown. When she finds her new obsession, a popular Instagram user named Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) Ingrid cashes in her inheritance check from her recently deceased mother and heads to California to insert herself into Taylor's life. 

I tend to roll my eyes a bit when I hear the complaint "people these days look at their phones too much!" Sure, there's times and places when you shouldn't but most of the time I just get bitterness from that statement. Ingrid though, she's worthy of having that criticism. She's probably the most sympathetic antagonist I've seen in a long time. Everything she's doing is wrong. By the way she gets into Taylor's life, to how she treats her well meaning land lord Dan (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) but you can't help but feel bad for her. She needs serious help and real friends.

This is Aubrey Plaza's best role to date because she's not playing herself for once. She shows range that I didn't know she had. Elizabeth Olsen is so convincing as Taylor it's almost a surprise that she avoids social media herself in real life. O'Shea Jackson is the real MVP for me. I loved his character so much.
Wyatt Russell, who if you watch Black Mirror you know as the lead from Playtest is also good in his smaller role as Taylor's husband. 

There was one glaring problem I felt the film had, and that's with the character Nicky. (Billy Magnussen) This isn't a knock at Magnussen, I think he played the role the way it was meant to, and by that I mean he was supremely annoying and I wanted to punch him in the face almost instantly. But I felt the way he was shoehorned in towards the end to mess up Ingrid's plan was unnecessary. I think they could've ended up in the same place without this character at all. He served to be an annoying thorn in Ingrid's side. If the script couldn't get around him, having him more sympathetic and less of a douchebag would've helped. I actually found myself on Ingrid's side during their scenes, which is not where I was supposed to be. I hated Nicky that much.

I think this is a really interesting film on what it means to be a popular social media user, and when someone takes it to far. Now excuse me while I go post this review on my social media. *hair flip*

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Don't smile, I think it will look better that way." - Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen)

Indie Gems: Brimstone

I saw the devil.


I've been majorly slacking on these lately. It's nice out, I'm not inside to watch movies enough. No one noticed, right?

Brimstone follows a mute woman Liz (Dakota Fanning) living a quite life with her husband Eli (William Houston) and his children. When The Reverend (Guy Pearce) arrives in their small town, Liz knows she's in danger. 

I have to preface this by saying this movie is two and half hours, and the DVD I got from Netflix said it was an hour and forty-three minutes. So I started this at about 10:00pm after a few glasses of wine. I didn't notice the length until I happened to glance at my watch and saw it was midnight and still going. So that's a plus on its part. It's long, but it doesn't feel that way for the first two hours.  

But man, this movie is weird. I still have a hard time accepting Fanning as the adult that she is when she was such a prolific child actress. So to see her in a few of the situations in this film is quite jarring. I'd go into detail but then there would be spoilers, and this is something you should just let unfold. Liz's story is told out of order, in four parts. There's exceptional gore in all of the these stories. The entire premise is uncomfortable but you just can't look away

I have never hated Guy Pearce so much in a film. He's tremendous as The Reverend and Fanning as always is exceptional. Game of Thrones vets Kit Harrington and Carice Van Houten also show up in act three and are interesting to watch. 

Grade: B-

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "People think it's the flames that make Hell unbearable. It's not. It is the absence of love." - The Reverend (Guy Pearce)

Thursday Movie Picks: The Stage

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is another form of entertainment we love: stage performances. There's a lot to choose from, here are three of my favorites.

1) Get Over It

This is one of my favorite rom coms. I loved it as a teen, Ben Foster is trying to get with Kirsten Dunst so he auditions to be in his school's stage version of A Mid Summer Night's Dream. Plus Kirsten Dunst sings and it's lovely.

2) Birdman

This all in one take (but not really) look at Riggam, a fading actor appearing on Broadway is amazing. I'm still so happy this won over Boyhood for Best Picture.

3) The Producers

Yes, I'm talking about the remake. I like it. It's funny. I know everyone else hates it. (mental note: write a guilty pleasure review of this)

2017 Blind Spot Series: Paris, Texas


What I knew going in: It often appears on "Best of" lists for independent films.

As a lover of indies, Paris, Texas has always been one that has escaped me. So many hailed it as one of the best. Yet, I kept skipping over it in my Netflix queue. Thankfully the Blind Spot Series gave me the motivation I needed.

Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) has been missing for four years when he decides to wander back into society and meet up with his brother, Walt (Dean Stockwell) who in turn has been raising Travis' seven year old son, Hunter. (Hunter Carson) Travis decides he wants to find his long lost wife and takes Hunter along for the ride.

Travis wasn't a likable character for me. He's selfish and reckless but at the same time I was still so curious about his journey. The film didn't answer all the questions I had, but I enjoyed myself nonetheless. Stanton is excellent and carries everything well.

It tends to feel longer than it's 2 1/2 hour run time, but there's a lot of beauty here. The way it was shot reminded me a bit of My Own Private Idaho. The final scene of the film is my absolute favorite.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "But you just found me." - Hunter (Hunter Carson)

Review: A Ghost Story

Watching. Always watching.

We start with a couple known only as C (Casey Affleck) and M. (Rooney Mara) She wants to move. He wants to stay. After C dies in a car accident, he rises again as a ghost under a literal sheet. He could move on, but he chooses to go back to his home to watch M. Eventually, M has to move on, but C is now stuck there. 

I'm a huge fan of director David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints so I've been curious about this since it premiered at Sundance. The film is shot in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. It's almost as if you're watching the film through a camera or a window. Even the corners are rounded. It's an interesting way to frame this story.

This movie isn't going to be for everyone. It's a very somber film. With lots of long takes and little meaningful dialogue, but you can't help but admire the risk Lowery took with this. We're literally following Casey Affleck under a bed sheet for most of this film. But sometimes we linger a little too long on shots. Long enough to be thrown out of the movie and to start thinking of the film making process. Did they really make Rooney Mara stress eat that entire pie? What kind of pie was it? Did this guy giving the doomsday speech have a script or is he just ad-libbing?

Issues aside, I can't help but love how sad, strange, and beautiful this film is. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "What do you like about this house so much? - M (Rooney Mara)

Against The Crowd Blogathon 2017


If you've spent any time here, you know how much I love Dell and his blog. He and his co-host KG are bringing back one of my favorite events, the Against The Crowd blogathon! This is my 3rd year participating.(2015 and 2016) Here are the rules in his own words:

1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of 75% or more on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you hate it.

2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of 35% or less on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you love it.

3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies.

4. Use one of the banners in this post, or feel free to create your own.

5. Let us know what two movies you intend on writing about in one of the following ways:
Comment on this post
Comment on KG's Movie Rants
Tweet me @w_ott3

Tweet KG @KGsMovieRants1

Now, I was ready to tear apart the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast then I saw it was at 71% and didn't qualify. I didn't think it was that low. (though it deserves lower) Since the Planet of the Apes trilogy just finished in spectacular fashion, trilogies have been on my mind lately, and one particular one is always hailed as being the one of the best: Toy Story. 

But you know what?

Fuck the Toy Story sequels. Toy Story 3 in particular. 





I'm supposed to feel nostalgic about this. I was Andy's age when the first Toy Story came out. I could relate, and I loved it. But now I'm an adult and I'm supposed to feel all weepy about the toys no longer being needed? Sorry. You offered nothing new.

Toy Story 3 follows the same basic formula but manages to be even more annoying than the 2nd film. Its villain is just Toy Story 2's villain in teddy bear form. It's all just a rehash of a sequel that already didn't work. Someone grows up and abandons a toy, someone gets taken, they must break them out, token barbie doll joke. Rinse. Repeat. I will never understand why this trilogy is so highly regarded when two of the movies are trash.

At least films like Finding Dory tried something new when using the same formula. Speaking of trying something new, let me bring you back to 1992 and a cartoon who dared to be different and got shit on for trying:

Rock-a-Doodle

Okay, I'll admit this film starts off on a really corny live action note and has a typical precocious child protagonist. But one thing it did that Toy Story 3 couldn't even dream of; it dared to be different. 

Rock-a-Doodle has some church bell sized balls. It has a magical owl that turns a boy into a cat. A singing rooster, a chicken who is essentially being forced to be an escort among other things. There's drinking and heavy themes. I can't think of a single cartoon that even comes close to being similar to Rock-A-Doodle and I'm surprised to see it has such a low tomatometer rating. This wasn't bad. The songs were catchy and it was creative. You know who can't say that? Toy Story 3

Thank you for reading Against The Crowd: Petty Cartoon Edition. Thank you, Dell and KG for hosting!