Archive | January, 2016

Mojave Review

30 Jan


Written By: Maria Leia

There have been a lot of actors that have floundered despite showing early promise, never achieving the full range of their talent despite a number of quietly stellar performances. Oscar Isaac, after Star Wars: The Force Awakens, seems to have broken out of that bubble and might have moved from being a familiar face into true movie star material. Which is why his next released film, Mojave, is so important and hopefully won’t derail a career that is primed to take off.

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The X-Files “Founder’s Mutation” Review (10×02)

25 Jan


“I think that one day, you’ll probably have your own ideas about it.”

“Founder’s Mutation” is undoubtedly a step up from the premiere, effectively utilizing the “monster of the week” setup that it perfected way back in the ’90s. Old X-Files scribe James Wong imbues the episode with a continuous undercurrent of tension, kicking off the episode with a creepy opening and including quite a bit of unsettling imagery throughout the remainder of the hour. Even if the episode has its problems, it at least has some momentum going for it; also, it has a story structure that doesn’t attempt to do too much, that doesn’t try to be anything other than the entertaining sci-fi show it is.

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The X-Files “My Struggle” Review (10×01)

24 Jan


“The truth is out there/you want to believe/trust no one/insert catchphrase here/etc. etc. etc.”

Pure nostalgia alone makes “My Struggle” worth watching. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are two characters who never fail to make me smile, and seeing the original opening credits play out on a large screen is undoubtedly an exciting experience. This is a show that had its ups and downs–and it certainly explored both ends of that quality spectrum in depth–but in the end, it was a classic, setting the foundation for much of the television landscape afterward. And here, thirteen and a half years later, it’s making a return to TV in this age of reboots, remakes, and sequels.

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My Top 15 Film Scenes of 2015

19 Jan


Haven’t Seen: Legend, Crimson Peak, Grandma, I’ll See You In My Dreams, Trumbo, Heaven Knows What, James White, Taxi, Arabian Nights, Spy, Breathe, Experimenter, The Forbidden Room, Heart of a Dog, Mustang, The Walk, The Assassin, Chi-raq, Victoria, Li’l Quinquin, Blackhat, Hard to Be a God, Magic Mike XXL, Mr. Holmes, Amy, Bone Tomahawk, Dope, Girlhood, Shaun the Sheep Movie, Youth

HONORABLE MENTIONS: The opening (It Follows), The hospital scene (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Long take boxing match (Creed), Rey gets the lightsaber (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), The ending (End of the Tour), Connecticut (Mistress America), Catherine’s monologue (Queen of Earth), Dirty Talk (The Duke of Burgundy), Shootout (Slow West), Selling the Mop (Joy), Eilis gives advice (Brooklyn), Celebrity cameos (The Big Short), Boyz-N-The-Hood recording (Straight Outta Compton), Opening chase (Bridge of Spies), Agu’s final monologue (Beasts of No Nation), Church fight (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Opening sequence (Steve Jobs)

Awesome moment: The Rock flexes off his cast in Furious 7

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Billions “Pilot” Review (1×01)

17 Jan


Billions is not the next prestige drama. That’s something that needs to be recognized before diving into Showtime’s new series, because going in expecting something Mad Men-level will significantly lower the enjoyment you can obtain from watching these characters. The show operates in a heightened state of sorts, utilizing soap-operatic qualities to its advantage as it pits rich people against each other with fervor. It’s far from the most complex and nuanced series out there, but it knows how to entertain.

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My Top 15 Film Performances of 2015

14 Jan


Haven’t Seen: Legend, Crimson Peak, Grandma, I’ll See You In My Dreams, Trumbo, Heaven Knows What, James White, Taxi, Arabian Nights, Spy, Breathe, Experimenter, The Forbidden Room, Heart of a Dog, Mustang, The Walk, The Assassin, Chi-raq, Victoria, Li’l Quinquin, Blackhat, Hard to Be a God, Magic Mike XXL, Mr. Holmes, Amy, Bone Tomahawk, Dope

Honorable Mentions: Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Sylvester Stallone/Michael B. Jordan (Creed), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), David Thewlis/Tom Noonan/Jennifer Jason Leigh (Anomalisa), Steve Carell (The Big Short), Michael Shannon (99 Homes), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Benicio del Toro/Emily Blunt (Sicario), Johnny Depp (Black Mass), Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Matt Damon (The Martian), Eddie Redmayne/Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Carey Mulligan (Suffragette), Joel Edgerton (The Gift), Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Kitana Rodriguez/Mya Taylor (Tangerine), Marion Cotillard/Michael Fassbender (Macbeth), Rest of the Spotlight cast, Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs), Paul Dano (Love and Mercy), Elisabeth Moss/Katherine Waterston (Queen of Earth), Juliette Binoche/Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria), Bel Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl), Jack O’Connell (’71), Greta Gerwig (Mistress America), Geza Rohrig (Son of Saul), Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight)

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Thoughts On the 73rd Golden Globe Awards

11 Jan


First of all, RIP to David Bowie. I’ll probably be listening to “Modern Love”, “Heroes”, “Space Oddity”, “Life On Mars?”, etc. again tonight. What a musician.

Second of all, let’s head on down the winners’ list for the 73rd Golden Globes.

Best Motion Picture: I’m really, really surprised that The Revenant won. I think it’s a great movie, but I thought that Spotlight pretty much had it locked down; nevertheless, this makes the race for the Oscar slightly more interesting. As for The Martian, I’m pretty ambivalent about the film overall (I’d have gone with The Big Short myself), but I do have to say this: this is nowhere near as baffling a “comedy” nomination/win as some others have been in the past. I get that the premise isn’t exactly the most comedic in the world, but people seem to be forgetting that the movie is pretty damn funny. I feel like it runs on jokes, no matter how bleak its premise may be. I am 100% fine with this in the comedy category.

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45 Years Review

7 Jan


45 Years moves at a deliberately slow pace, necessary in order to let the film’s opening revelation fester within the household and within the central relationship of the story. That central relationship is between Geoff and Kate Mercer, played with nuance and poise by Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling, respectively. The aforementioned opening revelation comes from a letter Geoff receives, one informing him that his ex-girlfriend Katya’s preserved body has been found in the Swiss Alps. It’s a revelation that occurs around the time of the couple’s 45th anniversary, and the two events coincide at just the right moment, dredging up wounds and memories from the past and slowly dividing the supposedly happy couple. The past haunts and hangs over every scene, and it’s like a horror film told through the lens of real human drama.

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My Top 20 Television Shows of 2015

3 Jan

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 1.37.04 PM

Haven’t seen: The Jinx, Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, South Park, Casual, Catastrophe, Bob’s Burgers, Halt and Catch Fire, The Flash, Looking, Steven Universe, Doctor Who, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Outlander, Key and Peele, Manhattan, The 100, Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Making a Murderer, F Is For Family, American Crime, Fresh Off the Boat, Getting On, Wolf Hall, Agent Carter, Black Sails, Agents of SHIELD, Inside Amy Schumer, Empire, House of Cards

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