Weekend Binge #2

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)war_for_the_planet_of_the_apes

I like the Planet of the Apes franchise, in particular I enjoyed the originals a lot, but I couldn’t really get into the new trilogy. This was an ok movie, but I only watched it for completion’s sake so I wasn’t expecting too much. See I find it extremely difficult to follow the plot in movies that are live action but mostly CGI because my brain just zones out.  I thought it was almost interesting trying to come full circle by introducing Nova, but it didn’t really work for me because if you watched the first Planet of the Apes right after this, it wouldn’t make any sense. In that movie she’s put in a cage like another animal, so if she was originally like a pet to them or someone they cared about how come they treated her like any other human? It felt like a quick last minute tie in and not something that was very thought out. The effects are pretty great obviously, and they did a good job trying to evoke emotion from the audience. I couldn’t really empathize too much with CGI though, so it was sort of lost on me. Now try and stay with me here… what I’m about to say in no way reflects the quality of this movie, I’m merely trying to compare the ideas. This was sort of like the Star Wars prequels in that it tries to explain things that I never really wanted to know. Personally, I never cared why humans couldn’t talk or how apes took over the world so this just didn’t appeal to me in any way (just like how I don’t care about Midi-chlorians!).

However, this is a well done movie with some emotional moments and I can understand how it was so highly praised. If you liked the first 2 movies in this trilogy I’m sure this won’t disappoint you.

 Verdict: 7/10 Don’t forget the subtitles or you’ll end up listening to monkey grunts for 20 minutes and have to rewind

Stronger (2017)stronger.png

I looked at this movie and thought it was some tear jerking Oscar bait movie and didn’t want to waste my time on it, but then I noticed that Jake Gyllenhaal was in it and I pretty much had no choice. He hasn’t disappointed me in a long time so any movie he’s in, I’m there. Thankfully this ended up being so much better than I thought it’d be. I thought it was really respectful of the event and the survivors and it didn’t feel like it was just trying to cash in. One of my favorite scenes is when Jeff is in the hospital and he’s getting his bandages changed. The focus of the camera is on his face and his pain, while his legs are out of focus in the background. The point of the scene is to show what he had to endure, not to show the gore for shock value or flaunt off the special effects. It was unexpected, but I liked how they handled that a lot. They did something similar when he goes to wave the flag at the hockey game. That whole scene was incredible with the way they handled his PTSD and the emotion between him and his girlfriend, Erin.

Overall this is a pretty good movie. The acting, effects and handling of the tough subject matter was all done exceptionally well and this is well worth checking out.

Verdict: 8.1/10 Bring some Kleenex

mother! (2017)

The only thing I knew about this movie going in was that it was really weird and you’ll either love it or hate it. For some reason, I thought Jennifer Lawrence was supposed to be a robot and I spent the whole movie waiting for her to plug herself in to charge or something. Maybe if she was a robot I would’ve liked it more than I did. The first half wasn’t bad, but the second half was just too WTF for me. There was too much going on and none of it really made sense. I don’t even have a favorite image to screengrab here so all you get is text!

As a fan of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, I thought I might enjoy this but oh well… you win some you lose some. Maybe if you liked The Fountain you might like this.

Verdict: 6.4/10 She’s definitely NOT a robot…

Sing Street (2016)

sing_street.pngThis is another musical with another great soundtrack. This one takes place in the 80s and stars a 15 year old boy who starts a band to impress a girl he likes. I was a little skeptical at first after hearing the boy’s voice, but he started to get into it and I thought he sounded great. Some of the songs were catchy and they were a lot of fun to listen to. The brother was really great in this movie; his character was so deep and well written, and the actor who played him gave a fantastic performance.

If you like musicals then I’m sure you’ll like this. If you grew up in the 80s, I’m even more sure you’ll like this.

Verdict: 7.8/10 Get ready for a good time!

Lovesong (2016)lovesong.png

I’m not totally sure where I heard of this movie but it somehow made it on to my “To Watch” list, so when I saw it on Netflix I thought I’d give it a go. This movie is about 2 friends who sleep with each other once then don’t see each other again until one of them gets married. It’s a little awkward, but also kind of sweet, but also kind of sad. This movie was a child size roller coaster of emotion. That kid was so adorable I thought I was going to die whenever she said something and there were some really good laughs, namely “Anal Saturdays”… man was that a great scene. I liked the movie up until the ending then I got sort of annoyed. Watching people being stupid just makes me mad. I wish I could’ve reached into the movie and slapped them. Look at that image! Don’t they look happy? I think so. Ok… well out of context that doesn’t look too happy, but in context it was really sweet and I liked it.

Overall, this is a slow, mediocre “romance” type movie and I’d say it probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have nothing else to do on a Sunday afternoon, maybe give it a whirl.

Verdict: 7/10 Anal Saturdays

45 Years (2015)

I heard good things about this movie and I had it queued to watch on Netflix for months despite it not looking too interesting to me. My instinct happened to be right in this case, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It’s about this couple who are just about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary when they receive some news that will change their lives in a big way. I won’t give away what the big news is because I think learning about it as the characters do helps you feel the emotions right alongside them. As far as how it made me feel, well I can understand the heartbreak and how it’d feel to have your entire life put into question, but maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to really have it hit me emotionally.

I found myself really bored through long stretches of this movie. Perhaps if you’ve been married for 44 years and 11 months you might be able to relate a little more and will enjoy this… otherwise I can’t really say I’d recommend it.

Verdict: 6.4/10 Ehhhhhhh


Weekend Binge #1

The Weekend Binge is a new series of blog posts I’ll be writing where I rattle off some reviews of the movies I binge watched on the weekend. Sometimes I just like chain watching movies and don’t really have the time to give them all a full post, but I’d still like to talk about them. So here we go!

Band Aid (2017)

This movie reminds me a lot of Patti Cake$ because of the way this couple creates their songs. It’s very organic and it all happens in the moment. Some of the songs were pretty funny and the leads had great chemistry. Writing songs about their fights is an interesting idea, and the movie was entertaining to watch. There were some extremely awkward moments though. Like so awkward that I didn’t even want to watch them. Most of the scenes with Fred Armisen just made me cringe. I think they played the awkward weird neighbour card a little too much. Also, the ending wrapped itself up a little too quickly and I think it would’ve been better served to take its time tying up all the loose ends.

Overall this is sort of a fun movie, but it deals with some heavy topics. I enjoyed it a lot and if you like Patti Cake$ I think you’ll like this one too.

Verdict: 8/10 A band aid for the heart

Frank & Lola (2016)

I really wanted to like this movie, and while I enjoyed the story, I felt like the acting just left a little too much to be desired. Most of the time I just wanted to slap Frank and make him say something. He barely says a word through most of the movie. He’ll take like 10 seconds to answer someone and when he does answer them, it’s in this low voice and it’s really slow. In his job interview, the conversation was something like, “Did you use a truffle?” – “…Yes.” – “That wasn’t in the basket.” – “…Ok.” – end of scene. All that aside, I was semi-invested in them as a couple and was rooting for them at the end of the movie.

This one isn’t terrible, but it’s not great. If you’re in the mood for something really… really… slow… you might like this.

Verdict: …6.7 …/ …10

Logan Lucky (2017)


I did not expect to like this movie at all. I saw it and vaguely recall hearing that it was good, but I didn’t know what it was about. Turns out it’s a hillbilly bank robbery movie and a pretty funny one at that. The chemistry between the characters was very good and I actually laughed out loud. The heist was interesting and I didn’t expect what happened at the end. While not a huge change to the heist movie formula, it took me by surprise and I love surprises.

This is a very good movie. It’s a lot of fun, has Kylo Ren as a one armed bartender, some sexy car shots, and a great ending. Definitely worth a watch.

Verdict: 8.2/10 Logan Lucky to have been in the presence of a car as beautiful as that Mustang

November Criminals (2017)


This movie didn’t really appeal to me, but I’m a fan of Ansel Elgort after seeing him in Baby Driver, a movie I loved so much that I watched it back to back. He tried so hard in this movie, but the script and plot just couldn’t be overcome. None of the character’s actions felt genuine. It was like the writers wanted certain things to happen so they forced the characters to do things they would never do and made no sense. Then the movie kept repeating its themes over and over again. I think the audience is smart enough to realize why he’s looking into his friend’s death, they don’t need to be beaten over the head with it. In the end, I just felt like this was a pointless movie with nothing new to offer to the solving a crime genre.

If you’ve never seen a crime solving drama before, maybe you’ll find this interesting. Personally, I didn’t really care why the kid died or who did it… I was just not invested through most of it. I hope both the leads can get out of the teen dramas and start doing some more adult movies because they’re both excellent actors and I want to see them in more excellent movies.

Verdict: 5/10 Maybe next time just call the police?

Crown Heights (2017)


Last but not least, a movie that shows I don’t change. I’m still judging movies based on where they played. This one was also part of the Sundance film festival along with Patti Cake$ and was one of the only reasons why I decided to watch it. I didn’t have very high expectations, but this was actually pretty good. I’m a huge fan of these wrongful conviction, crime solving movies and this was one of the good ones. The biggest thing that sets this apart from other movies in this genre is the way the story is presented. You see almost nothing of the prosecution’s case in the beginning, it’s all from Colin’s perspective and you’re left wondering why all these stupid kids keep lying. Later on in the film, you start to see why they said the things they said. It’s one of the first movies I’ve seen that gives some insight into what the so called witnesses were thinking or feeling during the case. This is based on a true story so I guess the outcome really shouldn’t have surprised me, nonetheless I was a little surprised by how it ended. Usually these movies follow a specific formula: meet the main character, crime happens, character is arrested and convicted, friends/family/interested third party takes up the case, character is retried and wins the case. This movie hit all of those beats, but changes it ever so slightly at the end and it almost gives me hope for the US justice system.

If you like this type of movie, definitely give this one a watch. It’s near the top of the pile and will get you pretty fired up. There are lots of ups and downs and “how can this happen?!” moments.

Verdict: 8.3/10 If someone dies in your neighborhood, maybe just leave the country to be safe…


Anime, Movies

A Silent Voice (2016)

a_silent_voiceIt’s finally happened! I’ve watched an anime that I actually liked! I’m ashamed that I’ve had this movie queued up for so long because this is the best anime I’ve seen in at least the past year. A Silent Voice is about a teenage boy trying to find redemption after bullying a deaf girl as a child. This story isn’t something I can remember seeing before in an anime or even in a live action movie and I enjoyed it a lot.

I loved how the bullying felt so realistic because it didn’t just start out with the group picking on her, but it developed gradually as they got more fed up. You could see how Ishida, the main character, would do or say something then look for approval from his friends, and once he got that approval things escalated quickly. Most of the reactions of the characters felt so grounded in reality that never once did I roll my eyes and think, “That would never happen.” I will immediately contradict myself though and say there was one part in the movie that was so anime cliche that steam started coming out of my ears. Why does every anime assume that girls always look at other girls’ breasts and want to touch them? I am actually female and I can guarantee I never once discussed the size of another girls’ breasts at school or even entertain the idea of groping them. Can we please just stop with this stupid anime trope? That one cringe inducing scene aside, this movie deals with bullying in a different way by following the bully instead of the victim. I found it very refreshing and it gives you a chance to really step back and look at both sides. Is this guy unworthy of redemption for something he did as a kid? Can people ever really change? Would you forgive your childhood bully? All these questions ran through my head as I was watching this and I love a movie that can pull me in so deeply.

The part that stands out the most for me is that one of the main characters is deaf. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a deaf anime character before, and if I have, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one where they use sign language. I thought that aspect of it was awesome and it really warmed my heart when some of the kids wanted to learn it so they could talk to her easier. I loved her character because they really took the time to flesh her out. You get the sense that she believes she’s a burden to everyone around her and that’s why she always feels the needs to apologize and not complain. It’s heartbreaking as you learn more about her struggles and there were definitely more than a few times that this movie made me cry.

This is a gorgeous movie with an excellent, moving story that anyone who is a fan of anime should check out. I wish they’d keep making movies like this because I’d love to get back into anime again. Check this one out, if you like anime or not, it is definitely worth your time.

Verdict: 8.8/10 I knew that wasn’t a boy!


Una (2016)

unaOk so I’m a liar… I didn’t continue watching movies off They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?, I watched a movie I’ve been waiting to see all October. Since it’s finally not horror movie month, I came home and turned on Una, a movie about a woman who confronts a man who slept with her as a young teenager and stars my favorite actress, Rooney Mara, as the lead, Una.

This movie is a slow burn, but it really packs a punch. I love the way the story plays out because at the beginning you have one picture of what happened to Una as a child. It’s very one sided and you think you have all the pieces, but then things change. You’re given new pieces of information that make you think that maybe this guy isn’t as bad as he came off at the beginning. But then things change again! I’ll go against the spirit of my blog and not spoil anything, but by the end of the movie I was left wondering what the real story was. Granted, it’s not the most original movie in the world, but I love how it was told nonetheless.

I liked Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn and even Riz Ahmed in their roles. They were all very believable and interesting to watch. Riz Ahmed had a small part, but ever since seeing him in The Night Before, I’ve looked forward to every part he’s played. He kind of plays that innocent, wide eyed, go with the flow type of guy in most of his roles but he’s always good. The chemistry between the two main characters though is where this movie shines. I felt all the emotions these characters were feeling; when they cried I felt sad, when they yelled I couldn’t stop watching, when they touched I cringed. One thing I love in movies is when they can communicate without having to say a word. One look, or just silence itself can say everything without needing to hold the viewer’s hand through the plot. There were several scenes where this was done perfectly for me and I was just able to read their body language or see in their eyes what they were thinking.

This definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and for some reason it’s gotten some low ratings, but if you don’t mind a slower movie this one is pretty great. The acting, story and execution were all top notch.

Verdict: 7.8/10

Movies, TV

Catching Up

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything here. I haven’t felt the desire to really put my thoughts about what I’m watching into words. Not to say I haven’t watched things lately that weren’t worth writing about. I’ve slowed down a lot on movies, but I’ve watched some great TV Shows. I’ll do another quick fire of things I’ve watched recently to get my juices flowing. Then the next movie I plan to watch, At Once, will hopefully have something worth writing a full post about.

The Newsroom (2012)

This is a TV Show that aired on HBO for 2.5 seasons. I watched the first episode and was hooked. I actually couldn’t make myself stop watching it. I watched the first season and a half in just 2 days. I thought the premise to try and run a news broadcast that focuses on the news and not ratings was interesting because I hate watching the news for that exact reason. I immediately fell in love with the ideas, the characters and the dialogue. I’m a fan of the fast talking sarcastic quips they do fairly often. I laughed a lot and ended up caring about almost every character on the show. Season 2 was brilliantly laid out and made it so I had no choice but to keep watching. They start off somewhere in the middle of the season’s plot and then fill in the pieces with each episode until you’re caught up. I watched the first episode and just had to know what could’ve possibly happened that was so bad. Season 3 took a little bit of a dive with the first 2 episodes feeling dull, and the series finale wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t that great. If they were able to do a full last season and finish it off stronger I would have given it a perfect score. It’s definitely worth a watch, just make sure you have a couple hours set aside cause you won’t be able to watch just one episode.

Verdict: 9.5/10 

Carol (2016)


I absolutely loved this movie, it’s now one of my favorites and is on my regular re-watch list. I’ve seen it twice and am probably going to go for a 3rd watch soon. Maybe tonight because writing about it makes me want to see it again. It was so beautiful and restrained, nothing felt forced or unrealistic. It was slow but it sucked me in completely. Carol is kind, sophisticated and knows what she wants. There is something about her that just draws you in and it’s easy to see how Therese felt drawn to her. The movie had ups and downs that kept me emotionally invested and I felt so much throughout the entire movie. That feeling of thinking you found something special and then having it ripped away from you is devastating. I don’t want to say too much on the plot cause I think not knowing how it turns out really amplifies every decision the characters make and leaves you in suspense. It’s one of my top favorite romance movies and 100% recommend it.

Verdict: 9/10

Hush (2016)


This is a horror movie where the main protagonist is both deaf and mute. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. As far as thriller/horror movies go, this is one of the most suspenseful and thrilling ones I’ve seen. I really wanted the main character, Maddie, to succeed and get out of there alive. Every scene is straight out of all the other horror movies out there, but it’s elevated to a new level when we know she can’t hear anything. He could be coming up behind her and she would never know it. When she’s trying to be quiet walking on the roof, she doesn’t know if she’s making lots of noise or not. That unknown makes it all the more suspenseful. Not to mention the fact that they inject some realism into the story with her not being able to load the crossbow.  Great, she got a weapon, but she’s still just a regular person and didn’t immediately become some badass who can shoot a man with a crossbow from across the room. Not that I don’t love that, but when I don’t have to suspend my disbelief as much, I enjoy movies a lot more. This one is on Netflix and is definitely worth the time.

Verdict: 9/10

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)


As I was writing my other reviews, I realized a common actor among them–John Gallagher Jr.. He was in the Newsroom, Hush and in this review’s movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane. This is a “sequel but not really” to Cloverfield which I liked a lot when it came out. I didn’t know much about the movie before I started watching it and felt myself getting frustrated wondering when the Cloverfield things were going to start happening. So much so, that I almost couldn’t finish the movie because I thought it was crap and a waste of time. So I paused it, went over to IMDb and realized that it’s a standalone movie that merely exists in the same universe as the other. Once I understood that, it became a lot better of a movie. It was suspenseful and mysterious. I kept going back and forth in my mind wondering if John Goodman was telling the truth or if he was lying to keep her imprisoned. If it were me in that situation, I wouldn’t want to believe him because all I could think is that I’d end up as some idiot who was tricked into living in a bunker for 10 years. Momma didn’t raise no fool, so I really felt her predicament. On the flip side,  I’m really crushing on John Gallagher Jr. now. He was so sweet in this movie as Emmett and in the Newsroom. Ok sure, he was like a serial killer in Hush… but he was also in Short Term 12 which was an equally amazing movie. It all balances out in the end and I loved his character in this movie. When Emmett, let’s just say, was no longer part of the movie my jaw hit the floor. I love when movies have balls and just shock me with a plot decision. Overall, this was a really cool standalone movie that I will definitely re-watch.

Verdict: 8/10

And lastly, one sentence verdicts on some of the other movies I feel deserve a shout out.

10.000 km (2014) – Another great romance movie, except the characters start out in love and the movie progresses from there. Verdict: 8/10

Victoria (2015) – A 2h 18m movie all done in 1 continuous shot with strong characters and plot. Verdict: 7/10

Moulin Rouge! (2001) – A loud, obnoxious, annoying movie with weak characters and plot. Verdict: 5/10

Ant-Man (2015) – Pretty boring super hero movie that was lacking something that I just can’t put my finger on. Verdict: 5/10

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – Great movie but needs a re-cut without the Mr. Yunioshi scenes… Verdict: 8/10