Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Aliens


STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW!!!

I mean, this is something you should only be reading if you've already seen the first Alien movie. Aliens picks up right where Alien left off, so if you think you're going to just jump ahead to this sequel you should stop that nonsense right now and go watch the first movie! I don't want to ruin important things for first time watchers.

For those who remember, Ripley (Signourney Weaver) had successfully launched an escape pod out of the self-destructing ship she was on board and was hurting out into space and out of harm's way. And by harm's way, I mean having her face ripped off by the Xenomorph alien creature. Except that the Xenomorph had hitched a ride on her ship and she had to blast it out of the door and fry it with the little pod's rocket launcher. And with the alien foe no longer an issue, Ripley and Jonesy the cat settled into their hyper-sleep bed together and passed out until they are safely within the proximity of Earth. Except that they never got into Earth's proximity. Ripley's pod was found on the off chance that a space junk salvaging crew was out on duty and happened to find them. And there's something more too, something much more shocking.

Oh the things they've seen...

Instead of being asleep for the few weeks that is the norm when entered into hyper sleep, Ripley's little escape pod was found YEARS after she had escaped danger. 57 years to be exact, and quite a few things have changed since then. For example, Ripley is now being investigated for the possible murder of her entire crew...which does make a lot of sense since she returned without them and detonated the entire ship. And sadly, no one is buying her story about the dangerous alien eggs that are just sitting on that distant planet waiting to hatch and thrive and eat more humans. Why are they not buying her story? Simple! THAT PLANET HAS BEEN DEVELOPED AS A RESIDENTIAL AREA!! If Ripley had only been found a few years sooner, she could have stopped this from happening...but now there are people living on this bear trap of a planet and no one is listening to her. So what choice does Ripley have but to shut up and get a new job and continue to live her life?

Sure, of course she murdered her entire crew and blew up the ship but
has horrendous nightmares about aliens every night. Make sense. 

It isn't too long, however, before problems start to brew on this dangerous planet. Ripley is approached one day by Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), a representative of the company that used to employ Ripley and that also developed Planet Evil. They have lost all communication with the planet and cannot get a reading on if anything is happening. Sure, it could be a fluke...but what if Ripley had been right and those alien eggs had hatched and eaten all the humans living there? The only way to be sure is to send in a team of Marines to scope out the planet and either help repair the damaged technology or perform a rescue mission. Because Ripley is the only person with any first-hand experience with these Xenomorphs, she is asked to come along...which she begrudgingly agrees to do.

Looks like the team for the job to me. 

Alongside a team of rough-and-tumble Marines, Carter Burke, and a robot - any flashbacks from the first Alien movie happening yet? - the gang boards a ship and heads out for Planet LV-426. And from the second they land, it's painfully obvious that something has gone horribly wrong in this place. There are no people to be seen anywhere, the planet is totally desolate. And within the compound that serves as housing, there are more horrors to be found. Huge barricades have been set up being doors that have been welded shut...or that were welded shut and have been rammed in. What happened here? And that's when the team gets their first stroke of luck: they find a little girl named Newt (Carrie Henn) who appears to be the only survivor, and thus their only clue as to what they're up against. But the further the team explores, the more danger they find themselves in. They are not alone on this planet, and if they don't get out as quickly as possible they won't be getting out at all.

Get 'em Ripley!!

After my first ever viewing of Alien last month, I was very excited to see this movie. The first one was insanely gory, suspenseful, and terrifying...and I've only heard rave reviews about the sequel so I knew I wouldn't lose. And I was totally right! While the first movie was a little bit slower, quieter, and a tad more subtle in certain areas - this movie just blows your mind continuously! And I have no doubt in my mind that that has everything to do with master writer/director of this movie, Mr. James Cameron. In this movie we see a lot more technology, we get a look at this technologically advanced world and get to marvel in its glory. But James Cameron paid a very respectful homage to the first movie - same actors, same dialogue and tones for the movie, and he not only stuck with the brilliant initial designs of the Xenomorph but he expanded them and made them BIGGER! Yes, this movie does run 2 and a half hours long. But the entire film is such a brilliant spectacle that time flies by! I highly recommend this movie for Sci-Fi fans, fans of the first Alien movie, or for those who love an excellent action movie. Prepare to lose your mind! And also be prepared for a vigorous reminder of why James Cameron is basically the king of everything.

As killer as the first movie is, the second one is BETTER!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Walking With Dinosaurs


Every fossil has a story, and the story we are going to hear today all began about 70 million years ago in the late Cretaceous period. Our narrator is an Alexornis, a small feather bird, named Alex (voiced by John Leguizamo) who tells us the tale of his best friend Patchi. Patchi is a young Pachyrhinosaurus, a dinosaur that looks kind of like a Triceratops. Born the runt of the litter, Patchi was always pushed around by his older brother Scowler and no one paid him much mind because he was so much smaller and kinder than all the other Pachyrhinosaurs of the herd. But when Patchi grows up, he would have to rise up and take the role of a leader to help save his friends and family.

Meet Patchi and Alex! Patchi looks like a real hero, doesn't he? 

The Pachyrhinosaurs lived in the Northern part of the world that we now know as Alaska, and even though the climate was considerably warmer then the dinosaurs still needed to migrate South during the winter to follow the heat they need. But Patchi (voiced by Justin Long) had an even greater desire to travel South, and her name was Juniper. Juniper (voiced by Tiya Sircar) is a young Pachyrhinosaurus that Patchi ran into in the forest one afternoon, and for Patchi it was love at first sight. But because they were from different herds, Patchi and Juniper weren't allowed to talk to each other...and then Alex tells Patchi that Juniper's herd had headed South several days before their herd. Perfect! Patchi couldn't contain his excitement at possibly seeing Juniper again...but the journey South would take an extreme detour that none of the Pachyrhinosaurs could have expected.

Will Patchi ever see Juniper again?

While travelling through a forest late one stormy night, a bolt of lightning struck one of the trees and set the entire forest ablaze...but as the Pachyrhinosaurs tried to escape they were picked off and attacked by large predatory dinosaurs called the Gorgosaurus! Patchi, his brother Scowler, and his father Bulldust were separated from their siblings and mother...and Bulldust fought bravely against the carnivores to protect them all...but it wasn't enough. Patchi and Scowler (voiced by Skyler Stone) are the only family each other has left now. But there is a stroke of luck! Scowler and Patchi join up with a new herd...and it's Juniper's herd! Patchi is finally reunited with his love! And the migration continued South.

The herd eventually made it South and waited out the winter before once more migrating back to the North in the Spring. Years went by, and eventually Scowler took over as the leader of the herd. Which put him in charge of migration, decision making for the herd...and other things as well. Even though Scowler knew that Patchi was in love with Juniper, Scowler now has possession of all the females in the herd...and Patchi is heartbroken. But just because Scowler is bigger, doesn't make him smarter. During their first winter migration, Scowler tries leading the herd across a frozen lake but Patchi instantly senses the danger and warns the other Pachyrhinosaurs to get off the ice immediately! Patchi ends up saving the herd...but Scowler is not happy with being undermined as the Alpha male. Can Scowler see that his bonehead ideas are going to kill the herd and step down as leader? Or is Patchi going to have to rise up and prove that he's got the courage to do the right thing?

You want a piece of this Gorgo? Better think twice!

Considering my love of dinosaurs, this movie was SO CUTE!! Made by the same studio that also brought to life the brilliant BBC Walking With Dinosaurs mini series, this movie uses brilliant 3D animation to bring these dinosaurs to life in an amazingly realistic way and the added voice overs help give us an idea of the struggles of these creatures. I will warn that this movie is kind of violent for a kids movie, showing dinosaur attacks and such but there is no gore so no need to worry there. Probably not a good movie for kids under 10. And as for us dinosaur loving adults, PREPARE FOR TEARS!!! I cried 3 times while watching this movie - the story is emotional and so sweet, so don't be ashamed to weep away. Reminding me of a more educational version of Disney's movie Dinosaur, I recommend this movie for ALL dinosaur lovers. This movie is prehistoric perfection!

I love that I got to watch this movie with my nephew! He has excellent taste! 
(psst...he's also the nephew that watched 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey


Yes, I saw this movie! I am not ashamed to admit it! Shortly after the 50 Shades craze began, my best friend Bri demanded that I read all 3 books. and I did protest at first, why would I be interested in some overly-glamorized romance novel series? But then I got hooked and read all of the books in about 2 weeks, it was not hard to get wrapped up in the excitement and intrigue of the story. And yes, I am very aware of all the controversy around these stories too. I am very aware that everyone is going to have their own opinions on the existence of these books and the movie, but I am here to tell you about the movie and nothing more at the moment. However, I will leave my opinion at the end of this post if you care to read it - I don't want to bombard you with my opinions when you're just curious if the movie is worth seeing or not!

No matter what, Bri and I had tons of fun laughing and gasping
at this movie - perfect for a girl's night!

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is an English Literature major at Washington State University, and is finally nearing the end of all of her senior year. Without any real plans for life after school, Ana is focusing on just surviving finals - which isn't too hard since she lives with her best friend, and fellow student, Kate (Eloise Mumford), who is suffering right alongside her. Kate is majoring in English Journalism and one afternoon, she is supposed to be conducting an interview with Seattle-based billionaire Christian Grey. But Kate gets the flu, so she asks Ana to take her notebook loaded with all of her questions and make the 3 hour trek to Seattle from Portland to get the scoop on the elusive tycoon. Ana is a nervous wreck, she doesn't know the first thing about interviewing someone...and once she lays eyes on Mr. Grey all hope is completely lost.

"Keep your cool Ana, keep your cool.."

Painfully handsome, formal, and stern; Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is the most intimidating person that Ana has ever met. But the weird thing is that Christian seems to be as enticed by ordinary, mousy Ana as she is by him. So much so that he has to see her again...which ends up being at the hardware store in Portland where Ana works. Which is slightly creepy. And then he offers to do an exclusive photo shoot for Kate's article. He buys Ana rare first editions of her favorite books and sends them to her home. He asks that they go out for coffee...Christian wants Ana, it's so obvious. But the minute that she is in his reach, he pushes her away and commands that she stay away from him; that he's not the man that Ana thinks he is. Naturally, Ana is baffled by this - she thought things were going so well! Well it turns out that Christian is much more complex than he lets on, and he can't help but be a little reserved.

Oh Mr. Grey...hello there.

After Christian rescues Ana one night from being drunk and stupid in a bar, Ana wakes up the next morning in Christian's hotel room...and she's almost disappointed that nothing happened between them the night before. There's such obvious sexual tension between them, and they know they want each other...what's the deal? And so Christian tells Ana he will let her in on his secret...after she signs a non-disclosure agreement at his apartment a few nights later. Weird, yes, but considering that he's a billionaire and constantly in the public eye it makes sense. After the document is signed, Christian takes Ana's hand and leads her to a door in the hall that is firmly locked. Inside, Christian says, is his Playroom and Ana is free to leave any time. And with that he opens the door...

Inside, the room is colored a deep sultry red and there are racks of sex toys and accessories everywhere. Everything from gags and restraints - rope, cuffs, straps and so on - to displays of different sized paddles, riding crops, flogs, and whips. Anything Ana could have imagined, and a few things she's never seen before, are all on display in here. And this is where Christian tells her more. He is a Dominant, and he is looking for a Submissive which he is hoping will be Ana. If Ana chooses to accept the position - DON'T LAUGH! - she will bend to Christian's will and do as he instructs in order to please him. But there are more stipulations as well - which are all outlined in a multi-paged contract that Ana is able to look over and sign once she has properly researched and thought about what she could be getting into. It takes a couple of weeks, and many impatient messages from Christian but Ana agrees. She feels such a strong connection and pull toward him - how could she possibly do anything but say yes?

How bad could being Christian's slave really be? 

At first everything is light and Ana feels comfortable. Christian is gentle with his touch and he shows Ana new forms of pleasure she never knew existed before. But as their time together wears on...things start to change. One night when Ana rolls her eyes at Christian one too many times, he takes her across his knee and spanks her - which is her punishment. This was irritating, but not too bad. What gets to Ana more than anything though is that they are not exactly a couple. Ana wants romance, she wants to go to dinner and movies and do couple things. But Christian is completely opposite, he treats their arrangement as just that and doesn't act like he wants anymore. And worse still, he doesn't even give Ana the small gift of sleeping in the same bed with him. But then one night, when Ana questions and pushes too hard, Christian goes too far in his punishment. And Ana knows that this isn't something she is able to do. But even then...can she walk away from Christian?

But more importantly...could Christian stay away from her? 

Considering the extremely sensitive subject matter, I am really impressed with how well this movie turned out! The pacing is probably my favorite part - when Ana and Christian first meet everything is intoxicating and romantic, but then once Christian and Ana get serious there is so much sexual tension and this sense of danger - amazing job there! I also loved the choice for the actors! Dakota Johnson has that perfect amount of doe-eyed naivety, while Jamie Dornan also gives off this sweet first impression but quickly becomes dark and intimidating when needed. As you can imagine, there is LOTS of nudity and sex in this movie. It's just everywhere. And it's steamy! Granted, some of the acts are extremely staged - calm down Dakota, no one thrashes around THAT much - and that makes for an almost comic experience. But overall, this is a decent adult-appropriate movie and I really enjoyed the whole thing. The best part though? It ends in the perfect place to suggest a sequel!! I can't wait!!

My personal feelings on the 50 Shades controversy:

50 Shades of Grey is NOT an accurate portrayal of BDSM or of a Dom-Sub relationship and there is more educational literature out there to read in regards to those subjects. HOWEVER!!!! These books are also FICTION, they are not real by any means, and they were not written to cause any harm or falsely promote any kind of scene. Twilight was not written and transformed into a film series to promote obsessive adoration for vampires, and Harry Potter wasn't created to boost the world's view on magic and wizardry - and whether those things happened is not the story's fault. Which entirely goes with 50 Shades. If there is a spike in interest in BDSM, that is ok. But if a couple of idiots go out and get themselves physically or emotionally hurt because of this exploration, it is not the responsibility of the author or the screenwriters to hold the audience's hands and tell them what to and not to listen to. But much like the extreme stunt television show Jackass, I guess some things need to come with warnings to sate the hyper sensitive crowds out there and keep the dumb-dumbs from being even dumber than usual. So there you have my thoughts on the movie and the controversy, I'd like to know your thoughts on either of these topics as well. Feel free to leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and leave a comment there :)

If you plan on revisiting the books, get on it! The sequel is set
to come out in one year!

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Out-of-Towners


My movie blogging buddy Psycholiloquy and myself were browsing through Netflix for something new to watch a couple of nights ago - 9.99 times out of 10 we always watch action movies, and the other .01 times its usually a horror movie. But what about something totally different? Neither of us had heard of The Out-of-Towners, but we love 90s movies and everyone loves Steve Martin so how could we lose? Answer: we didn't lose, this movie won. And it won HARD!

Married couple Henry (Steve Martin) and Nancy Clark (Goldie Hawn) are entering a new and terrifying stage in their marriage - they are about to become empty-nesters. Their son Alan (Oliver Hudson) and the rest of his college class are leaving their little state of Ohio to study abroad in Europe, so what are Nancy and Henry supposed to do now that it's just them two? Well, Henry is already cooking up a plan. He has an interview set up with an advertising agency in New York, and if it goes successfully then he and Nancy could potentially move. But poor Nancy is just too delicate to even think about leaving her beloved home right now so Henry decides to travel alone...but maybe Nancy doesn't want to be alone right now.

Yay! Couples trip! So much fun! Right? 

Henry boards his flight and is settling into his seat when Nancy suddenly comes flying on board, she couldn't stand to let him go without her so they're going to make an adventure of the trip. But from the second the plane takes off, nothing but trouble plagues the Clarks. New York City is so heavily fogged in that their flight can't land and has to be rerouted to Boston! Great! Henry hopes that once they land they'll be able to find another flight to New York...but nothing is able to land in the entire state! Okay...so they'll catch a train! Which would have worked if they hadn't lost their luggage and then spent so much time in the lost luggage department trying to get their things, but that took so long that their train left the station without them. Well, at least they're able to rent a car now! Which takes longer than necessary, but Henry and Nancy finally leave Boston and head North.

What do you mean everything is going wrong?!

After getting a little lost thanks to Nancy's inability to properly read a map and with a few issues with their navigation system, the Clarks make it to the city but are continuously met with more hiccups. They try to check into their hotel, where the snooty concierge (John Cleese) informs them that their credit card has been declined and because they have no other cash they aren't able to stay at the hotel. Great. Their only other option is to go stay with their daughter who is also in New York, but Henry will absolutely not let this happen. Their daughter decided to drop out of medical school and get an apartment and a job in New York, Oh, and Nancy gave her permission to use Henry's credit card to furnish her apartment which is why it's maxed out. So they have no place to sleep and no money to get them off the streets...how could this possibly get worse? Well, you'd be surprised. Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong for the Clarks and it'll be a miracle if they make it out of New York alive!

Only in New York!

Seriously, whatever happened to the 90s style of comedy? These zany adventures where every possible thing could go wrong but everything turns out so right at the end? This movie is total, quintessential 90s and I love that so much! Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn are a comedy dream team with their witty dialogue, plus thrusting them into the big fast-paced city of New York this movie becomes a mad-dash comedy that had me laughing out loud so many times! But the best part is totally John Cleese. He's not a big part in this movie, but there's a certain part that I don't want to give away, but John Cleese does a thing that had me laughing so hard I cried!! Fans of a good comedy are going to love this movie, and now I'm curious to check out the original 1970 version of the movie with Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis!

This trailer has me convinced - plus, Neil Simon's work is amazing!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bad Ass


I absolutely love Danny Trejo, I think he is one of the greatest humans to ever grace the silver screen. And I'm sure that my posts on MacheteMachete Kills, and Dead in Tombstone have made this pretty obvious. My Netflix queue is also overflowing with Danny Trejo movies too - I don't know what it is about him, but I become overly excited over any movie that I see him starring in. Maybe it's his total BAMF attitude or his grizzly voice or his perfectly white teeth, but whatever the case may be I will always watch his movies. I knew literally nothing about this movie but had a feeling that it would become a trashy gem that I could share on Trash-Tastic Thursday and I ended up being totally right!

Frank Vega (Danny Trejo) is a Vietnam war veteran who let his life get away from him. He was drafted into the war at the young age of 18, and was away for several years. Frank would have been away longer but he was shot in combat and had to be rescued by his brother in arms Klondike. Recovering from his injury, Frank went home expecting his beautiful high school sweetheart to welcome him back with open arms. Which she did...but with her two young daughters clinging to her skirt. His girl had found someone else, and now Frank had to take his broken heart and move on too. But this became increasingly difficult because no one wanted to hire a wounded veteran and Frank had nowhere to turn for a job. So he started up his own small business selling hot dogs on the street corner. But this too, only took him so far. 

Selling hot dogs was a great gig in the 70s, Frank would have people lined up around the block wanting to buy his product. But now, in the 2010s, people are frequenting snazzy food trucks instead. And as the years have gone by, Frank hasn't exactly stayed up to date with the newly digitized world - he wouldn't know how to use a computer if you plunked him down in front of one. And this ends up being extremely ironic because Frank ends up getting his 15 seconds of fame on the Internet. One day he's riding the city bus to his home when a couple of Skinhead jerks hop aboard and start harassing some of the riders. Frank finally has enough and stands up to defend one of the riders and when one of the kids threatens him, Frank beats the crap out of both the kids before getting off the bus. Another passenger on the bus just happened to have been recording the whole incident on their cell phone, and uploaded that video to Youtube. 

You're messing with the wrong man kids...

The video of Frank goes viral and because no one knows who this "unofficial keeper of the peace" is, Frank is given the nickname 'Bad Ass'. When Frank finally does come forward, he is showered with attention and love from the community. He goes on ride alongs with the local cops, he is a guest on morning news shows, and is recognized and congratulated on the street by perfect strangers. After feeling like an outcast for so many years, Frank finally feels like he belongs somewhere. But then his world comes tumbling down. One night, he's hanging out with his best friend and fellow veteran Klondike (Harrison Page) when Klondike decides to hit up the corner store to get a pack of cigarettes...but he never comes back. In the middle of the night after Frank has gone to bed, he gets a phone call from the coroner's office. Klondike was found shot to death in an alley way around the corner from Frank's home. That's it, Frank's only friend or family in the entire world is now gone. What does he have left now? 

Alone again...what now? 

A couple of days go by and Frank is getting anxious, he wants the cops to catch Klondike's killer and bring him to justice. But he keeps getting the run around, he's told that Klondike's case is one in a long line of other murder cases all trying to be cracked. Frank isn't convinced though, especially when he walks by an office and sees a handful of cops horsing around. Really? This is the modern justice system? Well, that's not okay by Frank! So Frank decides to do something about it. He hits the streets and starts sniffing around for clues and asking for names. But before Frank can stop himself he is spiraling down a rabbit hole of corruption that he never imagined his best friend being connected to. 

Get out now Frank, while you're still alive!

This movie is fun, but definitely not one that I would watch all the time. It's got some excellent violence in it, nothing beats watching Danny Trejo beat the crap out of street thugs and hooligans! The story is kind of lame, but I never wanted to watch this movie for the plot anyways. Overall, this movie is fun to watch for the action but you're definitely not going to stay for the story. Which makes this a perfect Trash-Tastic Thursday selection! And apparently it has 2 sequels too: Bad Ass 2 which also stars Danny Glover alongside Danny Trejo, and then there's Bad Asses of the Bayou which sends Trejo and Glover down to the deep South. And yes, I am curious...

It looks totally cheesy, but Bad Asses 2 could be good maybe? 

Due to some robot issues, Zorch Radio will be off the air tonight but we'll be back next Thursday from 7-10pm PT for the Thursday Night Wrecking Pit on REAL PUNK RADIO!! However, Gone Mental will still be holding down the fort with the best in Psychotronic rock n' roll starting tonight at 6pm PT. And you still need your weekly dose of Psychobilly tunes, so make sure to tune in to Real Punk Radio tonight!

Thursday nights done right!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Les Miserables


I feel so betrayed and let down! I am so bummed! The first time I saw the trailer for this movie, I was taken aback and I cried over how powerful and beautiful the music was. If a trailer makes me cry, I know the movie is going to be good. And Les Miserables is a timeless story as well - I've seen bits and pieces of the 1998 version starring Liam Neeson and I really liked it. But this...this was torture. And it shouldn't have been! It had all the right elements! A brilliant all-star cast, shining vocal stars, modern day CGI and access to creative minds that have the power to tell this tale in a way the world has never seen before...and none of those things helped. Which is a major bummer because I tried so hard to like this movie.

Our story takes in France during the early 1800s, when the country was on the verge of a revolution. In a state of horrendous poverty, the common people of France were toiling endlessly to overthrow the French Monarchy. But this story does not focus solely on what would come to be known as the June Rebellion, our story focuses on a man named Jacques Valjean. Arrested for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving nephew, Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is imprisoned and forced into slavery where he works in the shipyards tirelessly. When his sentence is finally fulfilled and Valjean is released on probation, he tries to do the honorable thing and look for work. But he is a criminal forever. No one will have him. Is there any point in trying to obey the law when he is shown no mercy? Perhaps it is time he made his own destiny.

Is there any hope in the world for a man like Jacques Valjean?

After shredding his probation papers, Valjean decides to begin again. Which he does, by changing his name and quickly climbing the social ladder. It only takes 8 years, but when we see him again he is the owner of a factory where he employs as many of the city's poor as he can and had even been named the Mayor of the small town. And it's in his newest position of power that Valjean does his greatest good deed. In the old shipyards one night, he finds a sickly prostitute who is on the verge of dying. Wanting to do what he could to save her, Valjean pulls the woman from the gutter and takes her to a hospital where she dies a dramatic but comfortable death. But not before she asks one favor of Valjean.

"Please sir, I beg you..."

This prostitute's name was Fantine (Anna Hathaway), and she had not always been a lady of the night. She used to work in Valjean's factory, but when she didn't return the lecherous foreman's advances Fantine was thrown into the streets to fend for herself. But what she hadn't mentioned was that she had a daughter who was living with an innkeeper and his wife, she sent them money to pay her board...and when forced onto the streets Fantine had to resort to the unthinkable. She sold every piece of herself that she could for money - her hair, some of her teeth, and finally her body. But it was not enough. And so on her deathbed Fantine pleaded for Valjean to find her daughter and care for her. And Valjean didn't think twice before saying  yes.

A face like this deserves more than scraps and rags.

It took some time, but Valjean finally found the young girl who was being treated like a slave by the innkeeper (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his money-grubbing wife (Helena Bonham Carter). He bought young Cossette's freedom and together they left for another city where Cossette (Amanda Seyfried) grew into a beautiful young lady. But the revolution was steadily drawing closer and radicals were found everywhere...and one of them, a young man named Marius (Eddie Redmayne), stole away beautiful Cossette's heart. Valjean is torn between letting his "daughter" experience true love or stealing her away from the pain of loving a rebel. But there are worse problems still. Police Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) was the overseer of Valjean's prison sentence, and when he learned that the man had fled from his probationary duties Javert has been on the hunt for Valjean ever since. Will Javert finally catch his prize or will Valjean slip away? It's only a matter of time before something blows up...literally!

Can love prevail in the midst of war? 

Like I mentioned earlier, I had every reason to like this movie but it fell so flat! Yes, the singing was good and the cast was amazing - I think Anne Hathaway should have won a billion awards for her role, talk about pipes! But it just didn't work! The CGI used in this movie was pretty lame, and I would actually compare it to some of the stuff you'd see in THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. There were times when the swelling of the music could been pushed further so it would really just pound the audience and give us the sense of grandeur that this movie really lacked. And we need to talk about the length. I get it, this is a long story and its got tons of meat and important components that are practically impossible to cut but someone should have tried harder. This movie was 2 and a half hours long but it felt like more. And that is a quality I sincerely hate in a movie. I mean, you'd think that since this is the 13th time Les Miserables has been re-made that it would be astounding. Well...so much for that dream. If you're curious about this movie and don't feel like heeding my warning, feel free to take this one for a spin. Just know that I warned you...

A bit of a stinker, but at least my curiosity has been sated. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Homesman


This was another blind pick up I did the other day while out shopping with my mom. I've never heard of this movie before, but I'm all for modern day Westerns starring Tommy Lee Jones. I am always a little hesitant when it comes to Hilary Swank because she comes off as a very masculine woman in my eyes, and I couldn't see her playing the part of a delicate lady of the Old West. Well I was completely wrong, Hilary Swank was amazing and her and Tommy Lee Jones together were perfect! This is a blind buy that I am MORE than proud to say that I own...unlike Les Miserables but we don't have to talk about that now.

A couple of indie pick ups - anyone seen The Theory of Everything yet? 

In the late 1850s, in the Nebraskan territory lives a good Christian woman named Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank). She'd always dreamed that she would be married with children and together she and her husband would raise crops and care for their land, living out their days to a ripe old age. But, sadly, that never happened for her. So Mary Bee got her own plot of land, had her own house built, she farms her own land with her team of mules, and takes care of her small home. She thought she was close to marrying once but she was instead told she was too bossy to ever marry. So that's that, Mary Bee is set to live out her life on her own. But she is determined to make the best of it. However, the Reverend in her town comes calling to her home one day and tells her that some families in the territory need her help.

She hasn't been able to catch a husband, but Mary Bee
is needed for things much bigger than marriage. 

Three women in town have all gone insane, the hardships of the untamed West were too much for them and they lost their minds. Arabella Sours (Grace Gummer) lost three of her children one right after the other to a respiratory disease while Gro Svendson (Sonja Richter) flew into a crazed rage after her mother died and her husband started abusing and raping her. And finally, there's Theoline Belknap (Miranda Otto) who was so defeated and horrified at the continuous hardships her family faced that she sunk into herself and threw her infant child into the outhouse! The husbands of these women are unable to care for them, and have all agreed that the women need to go back East to a church in Iowa that can better take care of them. And from there, these women will be reunited with their parents and given further care. But because some of the husbands have children, livestock, and crops to look after none of them are able to make the 5 week trip East to deliver these women. And that's why Reverend Alfred Dowd (John Lithgow) has called on Mary Bee. She's a kindly, God-fearing woman and she is the only person is town with no crops or family who can handle driving a team and shoots better than most men in town. And Mary Bee agrees, she is the best person to take these women home.

With a wagon fitted with a locking door and supplies donated from the townsfolk, Mary Bee sets off to meet with the families and collect their wives. Along the way, she comes across a man with a noose around his neck sitting on his horse beneath a tree - he's in his underwear, covered in soot, and weeping hysterically. Mary Bee can't leave him alone in good conscious knowing she could have done something so she orders the man (Tommy Lee Jones) to swear he will not harm or desert her, and that he must also swear to do the job she tells him to in exchange for saving his life. Which he agrees to, but once he finds out that Mary Bee wants him to accompany her on her journey East with three crazy ladies in tow he's livid! But a man is only as good as his word in the West, so he is obligated.

Like you had any choice to begin with!

The women are collected and Mary Bee and the man - who reveals his name is George Briggs - are well on their way. But the journey winds up being far more than Mary Bee had bargained for. These women are basically incapable of caring for themselves, and need constant care and attention. One of them is violently deranged she kicks and bites at anyone who tries to touch her so she has to remain tied up! The company encounters Indians that threaten to kill them all and steal the few goods they have, and the winter cold is harsh and unrelenting. But Mary Bee will not waver, she must carry out this journey! And George...well he'd being lulled along by the promise of $300 once they arrive in Iowa. That is, if they all should survive.

These women need you George, you can't turn your back on them!

This is a Western totally unlike anything I've ever seen before, and much unlike any other Western on the market. I was prepared for a rough-and-tumble story about a man conquering the Wild West, because that's what I'm used to. And instead I was met with a beautifully delicate story focusing on the women of the West and the kinds of pain they are submitted to. I love that we see desperate Hilary Swank aching for a husband, and then we have these three mentally destroyed women who need to go home to their families because life was just too hard! Amazing! This entire movie was a major win for me, it was very intense and emotional and beautifully filmed. I cannot recommend this one to all Western fans, because this isn't typical in the least. But if you love a classic genre film with a twist, this one is well worth while. 

Nothing ordinary about this movie, maybe that's why I loved it so much.