Month: May 2016

Cathy’s Take on ‘A Walk to Remember’

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A Walk to Remember (2002) – Fun Family Romp That Is Fun For The Whole Family | Cancer Romance

Directed by: Adam Shankman

Starring: Mandy Moore and Shane West

How I Watched: VHS Like, 30 Times

Sweet November. Love Story. The Fate in Our Stars. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. These are all movies that take the tragedy that is cancer and turn them into a super romantic movie. All of these movies are five star affairs with great casts, but all of them pale in comparison with my all-time favorite film of all time; A Walk to Remember. I own this movie on VHS and I own this movie on a DVD-Blu-Ray combo pack that I bought at Best Buy on Black Friday 2011, though I do not own a Blu-Ray player. And now, starting June 1st, you and me and Earl and the Dying Girl can all watch A Walk to Remember on Netflix as it is the latest addition to the wonderful library of streaming films.

A Walk to Remember, like I said, is my favorite movie and I find it such a blessing to be able to share this recommendation with you loyal followers. It is about a young stallion of a guy played by Shane West as Landon Carter, also known as a modern day Johnny Castle from Dirty Dancing. Though there is no dirty dancing in this. He meets a wonderful religious girl named Jamie Sullivan played by pop-star turned actress, Mandy Moore. He gets forced to work on her school play and finds his new love of acting and relationship with Jamie to be a stabilizing force as well as reinvigorates his zest for life.

As their love grows, Jamie pulls away emotionally. She has a secret. She has cancer. Which is pretty amazing considering most people I know with cancer don’t keep it a secret. They talk about it all the time. My aunt had breast cancer for a while but she passed away. Every time she’d come over, she’d just complain about my cooking, saying that the chemotherapy won’t allow her to eat chicken fried steak, so I’d have to pull out Lean Cuisine Stroganoff that I usually saved for work for her. I understand she was sick, but I wouldn’t want to be alive if I couldn’t eat chicken fried steak. But she passed away. Just like Mandy Moore does at the end of this movie.

I highly recommend this movie for anyone who loves movies about true romance. I don’t know why cancer makes romantic movies more romantic. Maybe it is the fact that when you die, you don’t give people the opportunity to get bored or disappointed by you. They can choose to remember you as they want to cause you are no longer living. Sounds pretty romantic to me. This is a pretty fun family romp that is fun for the whole family. I have seen it like thirty times, so you should see it also.
Cathy Gives It: I give this movie 10/10 of those bags they keep chemotherapy in.

A Recap of Thrones: S06 E06 – “Blood of My Blood”

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A Recap of Thrones: Season Six, Episode Six: Blood of My Blood

By Holly Hill (@hollishillis)

It seemed like a rather dull episode, but when you think about it quite a bit happened, and a lot was revealed. We don’t hear anything from Sansa and Jon, or Tyrion and Varys, but some big revelations were made this episode that really set us up for the final four of the season.

The most exciting news by far was Benjen Stark’s return. It makes the second time (and possibly not last, if the books have anything to say about it) that a Stark has returned from the dead. Before Benjen saves Bran and Meera, we get to see the exciting last moments between Jamie and the Mad King in Bran’s visions. In about five minutes, Bran is now fully up to date on pretty much everything that has happened in Essos and Westeros, past and future. Oh, except TOWER OF JOY, OH MY GOD WHY ISN’T THIS CONFIRMED YET? We find out that Benjen is half Wight; the children of the forest stopped the ‘curse’ with dragon glass before he could transform completely into a White Walker. We also know that he knows about the previous three-eyed raven (the current one being Bran) so this could be a very exciting turn of events for Bran and Meera. Let’s hope they head toward The Wall, and eventually Winterfell to meet up with his siblings.

A lot of time was spent on Gilly and Sam this episode. This normally can turn out pretty boring, but it was actually a very interesting bit of the episode. Sam took Gilly to his father’s home, and no surprise, Sam’s father was exactly the kind of awful person Sam always said he was. Gilly stood up for Sam, but in the end ousted herself as a Wildling. Sam was going to leave her and baby Sam with his father while he is at the Citadel, but Sam FINALLY after six long seasons has grown up, and isn’t taking any more of his father’s shit. After a fight with this father he, baby Sam, and Gilly leave in the middle of the night, but not before stealing his father’s 500 year old family sword, Heartsbane, which means more to him than his entire castle, and family combined. What Sam hoped to accomplish with this we are still not sure, but it was good to see him finally flip the bird to his worthless father. Maybe he will take it back to the wall, knowing that his father will come for it. Then his father can see the White Walkers first hand.

In the biggest upset in Lannister history, Tommen and Margaery have decided to give up on her brother and serve the High Sparrow which pleases the common people, but leaves the rest of the Tyrell’s and the Lannister’s confused, and  a bit pissed off. Tommen is a compete pawn in this game, and I believe that Margaery has given up all her ambition to be Queen to serve the faith as much as I believe Ned Stark is going to come back with a sewn on head. I’m just not buying it. She’s in it for the end game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Margaery is Queen on the Iron Throne when Daenerys finally shows up. I have a pretty good feeling this will be Tommen’s last season.

I also get the feeling that Cleganbowl is finally coming to a head. Cleaganbowl (meaning, the ‘Super Bowl’ battle between The Hound, and his brother, The Mountain), is a fan theory that dates back since we found out how much The Hound hates his brother, and how he burned him as a child. We never saw The Hound die, and it looks like Cersei is going to go to trial by combat with The Mountain as her champion. Could it be that the High Sparrow has The Hound hiding somewhere up  his sleeve, and we will finally get the justice we so desperately want to see The Hound receive? It might be far-fetched but one could hope.  

Tommen sends Jamie off to Riverun to take back the castle from the Blackfish. Little does he know he’s about to go up against Sansa Stark, Jon Snow, and his old flame Brienne. If The Mountain loses in trail by combat, Cersei might go bye bye, and then Jamie will be free to take a different side as the Lord of Casterly Rock. This is all speculation of course, and it’s hard to say what will happen here, only that we know it will be interesting.

Finally it is confirmed that Arya is not No One. She is most definitely and always has been Arya Stark. She refuses to make the kill that The Many Faced God desires, and takes her sword, Needle, back from its hiding place. Jaquin is saddened and sends the Waif who keeps beating Arya up, to dispose of her. Why the waif has always had it in for Arya I can’t really tell, unless she is super jealous that sexy Jesus Jaquin seems to prefer Arya to her. When Jaquin agrees to let the Waif dispose of Arya, he at least seems to do it reluctantly. Arya takes needle and lays down in her bed with it in the House of Black and White. Is she waiting for the Waif to come get her?

Dany rides with her Dothraki back to Mereen, but senses Drogon on the way. Dany makes a speech to her Dothraki about how they will take back Westeros, and it seems like a tired old speech for Dany to give at this point except this time she gives it on the back of a fully tamed Drogon. It’s a big deal for her to finally be worthy of his obedience to and show her power to the Dothraki. Even better if she rides to Mereen on it, and gets her ass on that ship to Westeros.

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Best quotes this week:

  • “That’s your father’s sword, won’t he come for it?” – Gilly
  • “He can bloody well try.” Samwell Tarly.

Cathy’s Take on ‘Ghost’

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Ghost (1990) – Spooky Cute Lovey Dovey | Family Fun

Directed by: Jerry Zuckermanbergen

Starring: Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore

How I Watched: South Gate Retroplex in 1990

I know it isn’t Halloween but I got a spooky movie for you all. And sadly, a movie that is leaving Netflix in June, so be sure to grab at it. Believe it or not, I don’t believe in ghosts. I believe in Bigfoots and Draculas, but those make sense. Never been one to believe in ghosts, but I used to.

For a while my other nephew, Stephen, who is Donna’s 23 year old son (enough said), was living with me and while he was living with me, some strange occurrences would occur. Initially it was small stuff, like the refrigerator door left open or all the dog food would be spilled on the floor, and when I asked Stephen about it, he never knew what was going on. So I figured I had ghosts that were upset by Stephie’s presence. So much so, that I would find money missing from my wallet and once even awoke to find the condo filled with a dark and smelly mist, that originated from under Stephen’s door. I was darned scared out of my wits and tried to warn Stephen. I even went so far as to consider calling a priest or exorcist to clean out the spirits, but Stephen got a job in Denver and moved out and all the occurrences disappeared.  I realized later that it was my sneaky neighbor Dave causing all the problems. He didn’t admit to it, but he never would.

So my run-in with a ghost was less sexy than Demi Moore in the classic movie, Ghost, in which her husband dies and then still tries to keep her from dating other guys. But it is Patrick Swayze, so I can’t blame her for loving a ghost. Also there is a hilarious Whoopie Goldberg that plays a medium (My uncle said I should use the joke, “she’s awfully large to be a medium,” but I feel it is too offensive to be included, but that’s Mark for ya) who helps reuniting ghost Swayze and human being Demi Moore. It is a love tale for the ages and when I first watched it in theatres back in 1990, I am going to be honest, I joined a pottery class, but soon came to my senses. Ghosts don’t like pottery. They like Demi Moore. So I threw out my ceramics and got a pixie haircut and never looked back. But I never got another pixie haircut after that.

While it is a bit spooky, Ghost is a fun family romp that would do well either home alone on a Saturday night or in the background of a ritzy dinner party. It has a lot of really cool parts in it, including Patrick Swayze singing “Henry the Eighth, I Am.” Whoopie is hilarious and Demi Moore is beautiful. When the credits roll, you will be weeping from both happiness and sadness to know that a love like that could ever exist and that it is so fleeting. It is by far the greatest love story of all time, rivaling Kim and Kanye West and even Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. Definitely check out this romantic hit before it is gone off of Netflix.
Cathy Give It: I give this movie 10/10 pottery wheels.

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Similar Films: Ghost Dad, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, R.I.P.D.

A Recap of Thrones: S06 E05 – “The Door”

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A Recap of Thrones: Season Six, Episode Five: The Door

By Holly Hill (@hollishillis)

And then there were two. Just two direwolves left. Ghost and Nymeria. We assume, of course, that Arya’s is still alive somewhere. Hoping that she will make an appearance in the most badass possible way at some point in time. With the execution of Bran’s Direwolf, Summer, just like the Starks, the Direwolves’ numbers are dwindling.

The super delegates sat their asses behind Hilary Clinton this week, I mean Euron Greyjoy. Bernie Sanders, I mean Yara Greyjoy seems to not have enough for the nomination. It was nice to see Theon go to bat for his sister, but it’s called a KINGSmoot for a reason. No queens allowed. Euron admits he killed his brother, and no one seems to give a fuck since he has a penis and Greyjoy blood. Seeing the worst, the siblings take all the best ships and book it out of Pyke. Good thing Euron didn’t tell them of his plan to unite with Dany, oh wait he did. Interested to see where the two end up. What’s dead will most certainly die if Euron thinks he can just go off and have Dany for his own.

Meanwhile Petyr Baelish has to look uncomfortable for the first time ever, trying to spin that whole ‘oops, I left you with a psycho’ thing. Clearly this is the season of Sansa not taking anyone’s shit, as she sends him packing. He does mention to her that her great-uncle Brynden the Blackfish has retaken Riverrun so he could help her in gaining more men to her side. The fact that LITTLEFINGER told her this, and she’s taking him at his word, worries me a bit. They could be walking into a trap. Why not kill 2/4 of the remaining Starks?

The one thing about this show is we can always assume the worst and rarely be disappointed. Jon, Sansa, Pod, Brienne, and Tormund, head off to make some friends and remind the North that the Starks are still alive and kicking. There is some more weird amazing sexual tension between Brienne and Tormund this week, and it builds to a crescendo with creepy looks of longing across the distance of mounted horses. “And that Wildling fellow with the beard,” Brienne says, fully not understanding what epicness awaits her.  Can’t wait for that one to happen.

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Arya gets smacked around for a good ten minutes once again. Jaquin H’agar wants Arya to kill a nobody actress who performs a play in Bravvos. We do see a pretty clever play, which genuinely made me laugh, and had some great writing. Arya agrees to do the killing, but isn’t super thrilled about the idea. However, in order to continue training and exact her revenge, she must continue to play the part of no one.

No word from King’s Landing this episode, but I can guarantee we will be getting our war with the High Sparrow next episode.

Dany finally finds out about Jorah’s grayscale and commands him to go find a cure. Yawn. She had a good run last episode so we will forgive her for the sleep inducing scenes this episode. She and her Dothraki are off the Mereen to gather the rest of their army and HOPEFULLY go to war.  

Tyrion and Varys have brokered a fragile peace in Mereen. They call on another Red Lady, Kinvara, the high priestess of the red temple of Volantis to put out the good word of their work. Let’s hope they can reunite with Dany soon, and her and Tyrion can ride the dragons back to Westeros (in my dreams).

We find out quite a bit about the origin of the White Walkers. The Children seemed to have created them to protect themselves against men from Westeros. The only problem being that their robot overloads seem to have rebelled against their creators. Bran decides to do some ‘weir walking’ on his own, and the leader of the Night King touches him and brands him, gaining him access to the cave where they are hiding.

Hold the door. Hold door. Holddoor. Hodor. There you have it people. The origin of Hodor. He had a ‘seizure’ as a child, and saw his own death, damaging him beyond repair. If you weren’t crying in that scene then you clearly have no heart. RIP big bear. As they attempt to run, Summer sacrifices himself (WHYYYY), and Hodor holds the door so Bran and Meera can escape. How will the two traverse through the ice and snow without him? Who knows. Will we EVER find out about what really went down at the Tower of Joy yet? Probably not until the season finale will all our dreams be confirmed (LET’S HOPE).  

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Best quotes this week:

  • “Did you know about Ramsey? If you didn’t know you’re an idiot, and if you did know then you’re my enemy.” – Sansa Stark
  • “Not him (Jon), he seems trustworthy. A bit brooding perhaps.” Brienne, in the understatement of the century

We Are Still Here

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We Are Still Here (2015) – Horror | Drama

Directed by: Ted Geoghegan

Starring: Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig

How I Watched: Blu-Ray

Best Line: “You’re not leaving here. You stay, you satisfy the darkness.”

A good haunted house movie is defined by the house itself. It has to use the house in a way that it stands as its own character, impacting the story in a way that you, as the viewer, do not want to be in that house. It has become a difficult feat in modern horror cinema, something that was taken to heart back in the 1970’s. The Shining and The Exorcist both used their surroundings to scare the living hell out of their audiences and first-time director Ted Geoghegan knows this well.

We Are Still Here‘s house is a prime example of how to use the setting as an effective character. The movie begins with the characters driving up to the house and then shots of the lonely rooms inside of its antiquated shell. Each great shot is dripping with dread and it really does not let up from these first few moments for the rest of the film. Setting this in the 1970’s was extremely effective as well. The absence of cell phones in We Are Still Here plays a big part in this story and I think Geoghegan knew this when he wrote it.

The cast is not especially incredible but it does not really need to be. Barbara Crampton plays the grieving and ever-optimistic mother role pretty well, carrying a few scenes that really needed a convincing performance. Andrew Sensinig does a convincing enough job as her husband and Lisa Marie plays a pretty damn good hippie with self-professed mental gifts. Monte Markham has a particularly good turn as the film’s menacing antihero, growling his way through some pretty dark scenes.

We Are Still Here‘s standout performance though, comes from Larry Fessenden. Evoking a stoner Jack Nicholson from The Shining, Fessenden grabs the screen from his first appearance as Jacob Lewis, husband of Lisa Marie’s bohemian telepath. He seems immediately lovable, providing the film with its first hints of levity from the opening credits. His ultimate scene though, is one of the most intense in the movie, reminiscent of The Exorcist at its most extreme. This scene will cause you to grit your teeth and sink into the safety of your couch and was really the standout of the film, for me at least.

Though We Are Still Here is set in the 70’s, the movie feels like it was filmed in that decade as well. It seems purposely low budget, not dirty, but not very polished. Scenes are awash in a sea of grey and earthy tones, making the red in the especially gory scenes stand out that much more. CGI is used sparingly, Geoghegan springing instead for physically acted frights. There are not many jump scares to speak of and darkness is used cleverly by the film’s cinematographer. The score is not overbearing and its electronic elements remind me a lot of Fulci’s films, as well as Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.

I think why I enjoyed this movie so much was due to how they used the house. One of the most repeated quotes by multiple characters in We Are Still Here is, “This house needs a family,” suggesting ultimately, that the house itself is an active character. This idea has frightened me since I saw The Shining for the first time, imagining that an inanimate object can bend the will of humans. It gives me shudders and this film carries this idea out masterfully.

We Are Still Here definitely isn’t perfect. It precariously rides the fine line between B-Horror throwback and haunted house hall of fame. Some may understandably find the low budget schlock angle off-putting and even a bit silly. What the film lacks in polish though, it returns in a deliciously vicious mountain of dread. It takes quite a bit of love and dedication to make a haunted house movie this well, and to learn that this is director Ted Geoghegan’s debut is very impressive. I really can’t wait to see what he has for us next.

Final Score: 3.5/4

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Similar Films: The Innkeepers, The Evil Dead, The Shining

Cathy’s Take on ‘Dolphin Tale’

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Dolphin Tale (2011) – Cute Family Fun | Dolphin Gore

Directed by: Charles Martin Smith

Starring: Harry Connick Jr (hubba hubba) and Morgan Freeman

How I Watched: Netflix

I don’t have a dolphin tattoo, but by golly, I wish I did. I’d probably get it on my back or on my ankle and after seeing Dolphin Tale this weekend (I was sick in bed with strep throat), I would get a dolphin without a tail. Cause that’s what Dolphin Tale is about.

First off, when I discovered that a movie called Dolphin Tale is about a dolphin without a tail, I was super tickled pink. Cause I love dolphins and I love homonyms. Oh, and did I mention that I love Harry Connick Jr., who plays Doctor Clay Haskett? There is also Morgan Freeman who you may know as God in that God movie with Jim Carrey and the guy in Shawshank Redemption who can get things for people. I really like him a lot too. So this was setting up to be a real winner of an evening (despite my strep throat) but unfortunately, the film turns out to be pretty gruesome with the dolphin getting its tale caught early on in a crab trap.

Maybe, I was a little sick (I had strep) but it just seemed too much. Nick told me to look for themes that may be connected across films and compare that to the crew to find commonalities in perspective. So I looked into Google to see if maybe who directed this movie also directed The Passion of the Christ because they were both very violent and based on true stories, but The Passion of the Christ was directed by Mel Gibson and Dolphin Tale was directed by Chris Martin Smith.

Outside of that horrific scene, this is a family friendly romp about a young boy’s relationship with the tail-less dolphin and it reminded me in many ways to Free Willy, a film about a boy and a whale with a curly-cue fin that jumps over rocks (maybe cover your children’s eyes for that scene too. It is pretty nerve-wracking). Harry Connick Jr. delights as a very friendly doctor trying to help Winter (which is the name of the dolphin, played by real-life dolphin named Winter) and the children are very funny and amusing.

The film is very much a fish-out-of-water story, cause the dolphin can’t swim very well after its accident, but with the help of the humans, learns to swim just like a fish-in-water. It kind of reminds me of a personal story when I had to have bunion surgery and ran out of medical leave days and had to return to work. I rented a scooter, but my cubicle is real small so I would leave it by Anton’s office and hobble in. The first couple days, Anton would trip over my scooter and curse under his breath, but by Wednesday he was learning to walk around my scooter, and for that I am really proud of him.

Sorry for the late post this week. I hate to say it, but I have strep throat. If anyone has any good remedies, send them along in the comments.
Cathy Gives It: I give this film 10/10 scooters for Anton.

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Similar Films: Free Willy, Dolphin Tale 2, The Passion of the Christ