Month: May 2016

A Recap of Thrones: S06 E04 “Book of the Stranger”

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A Recap of Thrones: Season Six, Episode Four: Book of the Stranger

By Holly Hill (@hollishillis)

The episode of sibling reunions, and fire and blood. Making up for last week’s mediocre episode, Book of the Stranger strikes back and gives us everything we’ve been wanting with the exception of one unfortunate death. Let’s kick this review off in Westeros.

Margaery and Loras reunite in a scene that shows just how strong Margaery is, and how weak Loras has become. Loras is at his breaking point, whereas Margaery is stronger than ever and ready to cut a bitch. The High Sparrow confided to Tommen that Margaery would have to do her own walk of shame and Tommen being the brave king he is, held Ser Pounce tight and went to go tell his Mommy. At the small council meeting, the 1% of Westeros decide to rally forces to go against the High Sparrow. Cersei gets the Tyrell’s to agree to march on the Sept with their army, and is clearly hoping Margaery gets slain in the process. I’m sure if she lives, Cersei will have another plan up her sleeve to get rid of her, but with the Tyrell army behind her it’s hard to see how she will lose this round especially when The Rains Of Castamere starts playing in the background.

Yara reunites with brother Theon, and is understandably pissed at first. When Theon admits he wants to see her as King of the Iron Islands she accepts his return. This will inevitably lead to what I hope is a successful King’s Moot for her, and a plea to fight with the Starks to take back the north from Ramsey.

Littlefinger is back, and he comes bearing gifts to the Little Boobsucker Lord bribing him easily, and showing the power he holds over him. I’m hoping we eventually get another scene with Petyr and Varys again. Those two are making all of these chess pieces move. What their true intentions are, is still a bit unclear. I personally think they are the two great heroes of this story; doing whatever they have to, making sure the right people are on the throne. While Littlefinger does it more for power, I think Varys and him are the smartest people on this show. With ease, Littlefigner convinces Little Boobsucker Lord that they need to ride north to Castle Black and join forces with pretty much EVERYONE to defeat the Boltons.

In a sad, but not altogether unpredictable death, Osha tries and fails to seduce Ramsey to death, and he instead beats her to the punch. It would have been nice to see Ramsey go, and we all love Osha, but it would have been an anticlimactic death. I’m personally hoping Wun Wun rips him apart limb by limb. Slowly. That or Theon and Sansa take turns cutting off his dick, inch by inch.

We FINALLY get to see a reunion of Starks. I screamed when the doors to Castle Black opened and in strut Sansa, Pod, and Brienne. It is happening. IT. IS. HAPPENING. Sansa was always rather mean to Jon growing up, seeing him as a bastard and not her true brother, but when you’ve been through what they have, sometimes all you need is a little hug from your family. It was such a satisfying moment. Also looking forward to seeing more of that weird sexual tension between Tormund and Lady Brienne. Davos nearly finds out from Brienne that Melisandre burned Shireen alive. The Red Lady admits only that she now is obsessively stalking Jon Snow as the new Lord of Light. Brienne admits to executing Stannis which left Davos a bit speechless, and left time for Melisandre to quietly walk away before the subject of Shireen came up again. Sansa has become Jon’s backbone in a move that surprises no one, as Jon has never been able to say no to a red head. When Ramsey sends Jon a letter threatening him, Sansa, Rickon, and all of the wildlings, he finally decides enough is enough and agrees to take back Winterfell. The Bastard Bowl has begun.

Over in Essos, Tyrion is trying to make peace with his enemies. He comprises with the enemies of Daenerys to bring peace to Mereen and all of Slavers Bay. Tyrion is doing a pretty good job of ruling, but he is also doing it in a typical rich white dude kind of way. He might need to take a step back and listen to the two minorities backing him up. However, it doesn’t really matter what he does, because Dany is coming back with a horde of loyal Dothraki at her side.

Dany takes matters into her own hands as Jorah and That Guy Dany is Sleeping With, find her and try to save her. She laughs in their faces, asking them to step back while she takes care of shit. She burns down the Dosh Khaleen with the Kahl’s in it, and walks out in a scene reminiscent of Carrie. The rest of the Dothraki bow, and finally after many seasons of doing nothing interesting, Dany is back on top bitch. YAS MY QUEEN.

We are in for what is sure to be a very satisfying rest of the season.

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Best quotes this week:

  • “Winterfell is our home. It’s ours…and Arya’s, Bran’s, and Rickon’s, wherever they are. It belongs to our family, and we have to fight for it.” – Sansa Stark
  • “You wait so fat time.” – Tyrion Lannister
  • “You are small men. None of you are fit to lead the Dothraki. But I am. So  I will.” – Daenerys of House Targaryen, the first of her name, Queen of Mereen, Protector of the Realm, Khalessi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Fucking Dragons
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Deadpool

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Deadpool (2015) – Action | Comedy

Directed by: Tim Miller

Starring: Ryan Reynolds and T.J. Miller

How I Watched: Amazon Instant Video

Best Line: “I had another Liam Neeson nightmare. I kidnapped his daughter and he just wasn’t having it. They made three of those movies. At some point you have to wonder if he’s just a bad parent.”

(I’m going to start this out by telling you that I have next to no familiarity with Deadpool and the universe surrounding him in the comic books. I sincerely apologize if I make any blasphemous misinterpretations or assumptions in the following review.)

Hollywood took a risk here. Allowing the X-Men franchise to stray into the world of violent rated R films was not without the potential hazard of being dead on arrival. Middle America is stuffy and boring and for some reason, Hollywood makes most of their choices to appease these pastor-driven zombies. I mainly drift toward independent film to avoid this, so when I heard “Marvel is making a Rated R action comedy,” my eyes and ears definitely perked up.

Ryan Reynolds hasn’t exactly had it easy since Green Lantern shit the bed in 2011. With movies like R.I.P.DThe Woman in Gold, and Self/less coming out and causing everyone to scratch their heads, you couldn’t help but wonder if it was over for him. Deadpool is more than enough to get his career back on track, though. In the movie, you get a sort of Van Wilder on a cocaine binge. His one-liners fly out of his mouth at a rapid pace and laughing at one might cause you to miss the next. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself either. There are at least a couple references to his last attempt at superhero stardom.

The other cast is unfortunately pretty underwhelming. T.J. Miller is funny as a bar owner and Wilson’s friend, but everyone else just seems to be there. The film’s antagonist is a British dude doing a Jason Statham impression and seems to really ride Reynolds’ wave throughout. Thinking about it now, though, this may have been the intention. Reynolds easily carries each scene, whether he is in the suit or casting jokes in his hamburger-like skinjob.

While Deadpool doesn’t exactly showcase a budget that its X-Men counterparts would receive, it makes the most of what it has. The script is fragmented in a way that allows those unfamiliar with the story to follow along without actually focusing too much on Deadpool’s origin. Superhero movies fall into the ‘origin story’ trap far too often (ahem, Spiderman, cough, cough) and it was nice to see it presented a different way. I realize that Reynolds was introduced in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as Wade Wilson and Deadpool, but it really doesn’t feel like those are connected at all once you watch this movie.

Maybe I was a little spoiled by violent action comedies like Kick-Ass and Kingsman, but I was prepared for a little more insanity that there actually was in Deadpool. Don’t get me wrong, right from the hilarious credit sequence, the movie is pretty nuts. Think Guardians of the Galaxy, but with stripclubs and George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say. From the way people were talking about Deadpool though, I was expecting to have my mind blown. Dredd and Punisher: War Zone both featured an unbelievable amount of jaw-dropping bloodshed, and even Netflix’s series Daredevil went off the handle once in a while. Deadpool has its fair share of R-rated insanity, but I felt like they could have gone crazier.

This was the perfect way for Marvel and Fox to dip their feet in the adult-aimed, superhero water. Grab a star that is self-aware that his last attempt at being a superhero hit a wall full of broken lanterns and let him run wild as a swearing, murdering jester in a red suit for an hour and a half. Like I said before, this could have exploded in their faces, but honestly, most everything works in Deadpool. It’s funny, pretty damn violent, and gives hope to a franchise that really, could have used this shot of coffee in its arm. If you haven’t already, check it out. If you have, watch it again. I’m sure like me, you missed a bit when you were laughing.

Final Score: 3.5/4

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Similar Films: Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Guardians of the Galaxy

Cathy’s Take on ‘The Ridiculous 6’

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The Ridiculous 6 (2015) – Western-Comedy-Hybrid | American History

Directed by: Frank Coraci

Starring: Adam Sandler and Rob Snyder

How I Watched: Netflix, NO DOY!

Adam Sandler is undeniably the king of comedy. I hear people talk about Eddie Murphy, which I can understand cause he played the entire Klump family without even batting an eye (except for the little Hercules farting kid), but for my money, it is Adam Sandler. Every movie he makes is outrightly outrageous, starting with The Wedding Singer, moving all the way through tear-jerker Clank, and culminating in his most recent hit, a Netflix exclusive, The Ridiculous 6, and let me tell you folks, those six are Ridiculous. The Magnificent Seven needed seven to be magnificent, or so I’ve heard, but six is a much more ridiculous number, hence The Ridiculous 6. I don’t really go for westerns, but this one had me riveted and laughing, even though the humor could be a little blue at times.

I know what you are thinking; “Cathy, is this just a comedy making fun of a very serious and tumultuous time in the history of the great American west?” Yes, but they go out of their way to make it very historically accurate. The Indian costumes look very much like costumes from other movies I have seen, and Sandler alum, Rob Snyder does a spot-on Mexican accent that took me half the film to realize he wasn’t really a Mexican. It was that good! Everyone rides horses and shoots six-shooters. And even though they take what they are doing seriously, they have a little fun with it. I haven’t seen all the Matrix movies, but some of the stunts in The Ridiculous 6 looks like they could have been pulled from one of those films.

In the film, Adam Sandler plays an Indian who comes to find out that his father is a white man played by Gary Busey. Gary Busey is then kidnapped and Adam Sandler sets out to try and save his dear old dad. Along the way, it appears that Gary Busey is a bit of a lothario type (remember how I said there is a lot of blue humor) and has fathered sons along his travels. Adam Sandler discovers that he has five other brothers, who make up the gang of the Ridiculous Six, and they all try to rescue Gary Busey. I can’t really remember all the brothers in it but I remember they were funny (Rob Snyder is one and he is Mexican). Hilarity, as is its doing, ensues and there are a number of scenes in which a donkey farts out diarrhea on people or against a wall.

Adam Sandler has touched on many topics in his day, and the plight of the American Indian is a welcome entry into this pantheon of feel-good movies. Cinema is often the stomping ground for our ideals, and to see someone create a film that can be both funny, as well as have a message is really what Netflix is going for when they put out a movie like this. Kudos.

Also, I have heard people talk about a western called The Hateful Eight and was wondering if that is connected to this film? I don’t know much about it, but it seems like a weird coincidence if not connected, so check that out.

Cathy Gives It: I give this movie 10/10 Ridiculous Six-Shooters.

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Similar Films: The Wedding Singer, Clank, Gary Busey Movies

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

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Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982) – Science Fiction | Action

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Starring: Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer

How I Watched: Blu-Ray

Best Line: “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

The first time I saw Blade Runner, it was playing on cable in standard definition and it was the spectacularly underwhelming theatrical version. For those unfamiliar, Blade Runner has had a tumultuous history, and seven versions exist that we know of. I really enjoy Ridley Scott’s films, but after seeing that cut of Blade Runner, I had no real intention of watching any other version as it left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. What I did take note of though, was the world that Scott had created as well as the incredibly cool Vangelis score. So when I heard that a sequel was being made by a director that I really respect (Prisoners‘ Denis Villenueve), I thought I’d give The Final Cut a try. And god damn, I’m glad I did.

Perhaps it is not fair to dislike a film for something as minute as voiceovers, but when it comes down to it, this is the main culprit behind my disdain of the theatrical cut of Blade Runner. Harrison Ford’s narration is cheesy and comes across as condescending, as if we’re too stupid to follow the storyline. It almost reveals too much about Ford’s character Deckard, and strips away the natural mystery that Scott intended for the audiences. It’s a ham-fisted approach and honestly changes the tone of the entire film. Luckily in The Final Cut, this narration has been completely removed.

It’s obvious how much influence this film has had on the genre of Science Fiction. The neons and electronic score, flying cars, cascading skyscrapers, hyperrealistic androids and dystopian future are all on full display throughout Blade Runner. It’s easy to see why many consider this the peak of Sci-Fi film. Truth is though, this movie is more closely related to noir fims like L.A. Confidential or Chinatown.

The themes that Blade Runner address are deeply philosophical and grow exponentially larger once the film’s antihero Roy Batty (a ridiculously good Rutger Hauer) is introduced. Like many throughout history, Roy is consumed by the philosophy of what it is to be alive and those limits we must all face. I have a feeling that Ridley Scott underestimated Hauer’s acting chops and there is tragically too little of Roy Batty by the time the credits roll.

The set design is perhaps, Blade Runner‘s greatest cinematic achievement. The slow zooming aerial shots are incredibly breathtaking, and though at times you can tell that these shots feature scaled models, the detail is amazingly unbelievable. Scott created a world (with the assistance of H.R. Giger) that was almost revolting in Alien and a good amount of that carried over in Blade Runner. I’ve always been impressed with the dreamworlds in Terry Gilliam’s movies (none more than Brazil) and I get the same feeling from the set design in Blade Runner.

The score by 1980’s electronic virtuoso Vangelis, is one of the most important additions to the movie. I cannot imagine any other score than this synthesizer-soaked soundtrack sweeping over the shots of the dark dystopian metropolis. The neon-lit rain and absolute darkness are accompanied perfectly by the music and it gives a feeling of such wonder, that you can’t help but want to visit this insane landscape.

I’ve heard that “The Director’s Cut” version of the film is the next best way to go if you can’t get your hands on The Final Cut. Unfortunately, this version was not actually supervised by Ridley Scott and instead was rushed out to the public by the studio in 1992. I picked this version up on Laserdisc a few years ago, but did not watch it in fear of being let down by what was left out compared to The Final Cut. All I can say is, if it’s your first time seeing this movie, be safe and make sure it is this Final Cut. The theatrical version is relatively terrible to this and if you enjoy Science Fiction, you owe it to yourself to see The Final Cut.

Final Score: 4/4

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Similar Films: Looper, Total Recall (1990), Brazil

A Recap of Thrones: S6 E03 “Oathbreaker”

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A Recap of Thrones: Season Six, Episode Three: Oathbreaker

By Holly Hill (@hollishillis)

It was the fart heard round the world. Somehow in all the of the deaths we have had on Game of Thrones, old ass Grand Maester Pycelle is still alive and farting. I had to pause the show for a good seven minutes so I could laugh at the absurdity of the moment, so in the spirit of farts let’s kick this review off in King’s Landing.

Cersei’s creepy Doctor Frankenstein guy is now trying to control Varys’ ‘little birds’ which turn out to be the little children of flea bottom. He is looking for dirt on the High Sparrow and it’s only a  matter of time before he gets it. Ser Gregor the zombie gives Pycelle a look so scary he farts his pants. Jamie and Cersei are denied seats on the small council, and Tommen goes to visit the High Sparrow in what seems to be a display of his power, but really just shows how terrible he is at ruling. I’d guess Tommen only has a few episodes left in his life, and I’m betting this is the last episode everyone shits all over the Lannisters.

Jon Snow is alive, and as much of a moral downer as always so it’s safe to say death hasn’t affected his personality much. The Red Woman is so astounded, she is annoyingly convinced the Lord of Light has brought him back for a reason, but last time she thought the Lord of Light had a purpose for her,she burned a little girl alive. Maybe think twice before you make such great assumptions. For those of you Redditors frequenting r/fuckolly, your subreddit is no longer valid. Olly has been fucked, and hanged. I’m disappointed Ghost didn’t get to eat anyone’s face off, but I guess Jon has to sentence the traitors to death with ‘dignity’, or whatever. Jon Snow ended the storyline at the wall tonight, by dropping the mic with a “and now my watch has ended,” giving his lord commander cape to his friend Eddison. I’m sure by now there is a thug life gif of the moment somewhere on the internet. I’m all for it. Let’s get Jon away from this shitty never ending wall storyline and back into the REAL fight.

Ever wondered what happened to the littlest Stark boy? Rickon? Well he ran away with Osha and Shaggy Dog (I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT, I WILL JUST END UP CRYING), and it seemed he would never be heard from again, but at least he would be safe. Well, looks like he’s been caught and is now in the arms of Ramsey. So…RIP Osha and Rickon’s  ‘body parts,’ whichever Ramsey chooses them to be.  Maybe Ramsey will use Rickon as a bargaining chip for Sansa to come back? Just when things seemed to be going so well.  

In the BIGGEST upset of the week (yes, even more so than Shaggy Dog’s head on a spike), it looks like we have to follow fat Sam and Gilly to Oldtown. First Sam must stop and try and convince his complete asshole of a father to keep Sam’s ‘bastard,’ and Gilly safe while he goes off adventuring.

Bran has what we think is going to be THE vision. THE VISION THAT WILL CONFIRM ALL OF OUR THEORIES! But alas, the old tree man blue balls us, and pulls Bran away from the truth JUST as we are about to see WHAT IS IN THAT GODDAMN TOWER. The most interesting part of this bit (besides the awesome choreographed fighting), is seeing that Bran might be able to manipulate the past. So no Tower of Joy confirmation theories this episode. Ah well, too much good news too soon is never a good thing.

Dany finally arrives in Vaes Dothrak, and since she ‘went out into the world’ instead of going straight to Vaes Dothrak after Kahl Drogo’s death, she is going to have to go through some kind of trial to decide what her fate will be. Will they let her stay in Vaes Dothrak or will she be punished for breaking the rules? Probably neither. ‘That guy she is sleeping with’ and Jorah will put a stop to it before it comes to that. What a sad plot for the Mother of Dragons.

Varys finds out that the slave owners in neighboring cities to Mereen are funding the Sons of the Harpy rebellion. A fight will have to happen, and I’m hoping dragons are involved. If they’re not, I can guarantee we are in for a snore fest the rest of the season.

Arya trains until she is rewarded her eye sight back. I think it’s time to do some killin’, and get this storyline back on track.

Overall it wasn’t a great episode. Not a lot happened, but I can forgive that because the writers have brought us Jon back. The only thing that is going to piss me off is if Sansa shows up at the wall after Jon leaves. I cannot STAND this almost missing each other thing that the Starks have going on. It drives me insane. Until next week.

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Best quotes this week:

  • “I know that (you’re not a God), I saw your pecker, what kind of God would have a pecker that small?” – Tormund Giantsbane
  • “Did I ever tell you I used to think the sea was called the sea because it was nothing but sea as far as the eye could see? It was before I learned to read…obviously.” – Gilly
  • “My watch has ended.” – Jon Snow

 

The Witch

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The Witch (2015) – Horror | Drama

Directed by: Robert Eggers

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Ineson

How I Watched: Amazon Instant Video

Best Line: “Wouldst thou like the taste of butter and pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?”

As a pretty big fan of supernatural horror movies, I was naturally pretty excited when I saw the first trailer for The Witch. One of the darlings of the Sundance Film Festival, the movie met critics’ adoration the world over, commending the film’s creeping horror and brutal dreadfulness. It hit particular theaters at odd times, so I didn’t get the chance to see it, but took advantage as soon as it started showing on online streaming services.

It’s not too often that a movie can inject dread right into your veins within the first few minutes. Dread is important in horror films and this is something The Witch more than excels at. In fact, I think it’s a perfect exercise in the art of dread, each frame dripping with an unforgiving despair that does not let up until the screen finally goes black. It’s surprisingly ruthless right from the beginning and completely unafraid to show what a lot of horror movies don’t.

I am personally horrified by religious fanaticism. The Witch is set in a 17th century New England, so there is plenty of this right from the beginning. The family in the film blindly follows the Word, Old English being uttered by each character throughout, leaving a very bitter taste in your mouth that grows worse as the story progresses. The plot of land they live on is dirty, unable to grow produce, and completely shrouded in a depressing gray hue that leaves you feeling completely hopeless. If any movie was to ever gloat about its ability to introduce a universe utterly devoid of a heavenly being, it would be The Witch.

In fact, not since Rosemary’s Baby have I been left feeling thoroughly creeped out by a Satanic force. Typically, it seems that directors have a difficult time making witchcraft and/or Satanism frightening. It usually comes across as if they’re trying too hard or even show too much, with a heavily made-up dude in red donning cloven hooves and a tail. The Witch though, without giving away too much, succeeds with terribly evil flying colors at making witchcraft downright horrible. It’s couch-clutchingly vicious at times and even momentarily bordering on the unbearable.

Another facet of the film that really helped me get into it was the setting. I grew up nowhere near New England, but the farm I grew up on in the Inland Northwest looks eerily similar to the one featured in the film. My childhood home has an open valley expanse meeting a dark treeline on all sides and in the winter, mornings and sunset strike an uncanny resemblance to The Witch‘s moody gray-soaked cinematography. My father kindly told us witches lived in the woods, seeking children in the night, so you can probably imagine how much I identified with this film (Thanks, Dad).

My one complaint about the movie is probably a silly one to some people. I mentioned previously that the film’s dialogue is drenched in Old English, and while I find it to be strategically a good move in authenticating the storyline, it’s next to impossible to understand some of the whispered conversations without switching on subtitles. I am not one to complain about subtitles, but the film is not meant to have them, so it was a bit annoying to turn them on (me being a film snob that likes to see movies as they are meant to be seen).

Really though, The Witch is a damn great movie. It’s hard to call it a horror film, as really, it’s more of a suspenseful thought-piece on religion with some unbearably tense scenes peppered throughout. I’m excited to see where first-time director Eggers goes with his career. The acting is convincing enough, even with the translation issues coming through the speakers. If you really get into it though, with the lights off and the sound cranked up, The Witch will intravenously creep right in and stay with you the next time you’re out in those dark, moonlit woods.

Final Score: 3.5/4

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Similar Films: Rosemary’s Baby, The Blair Witch Project, There Will Be Blood