How It Works

I love movies, but I hate most movie reviews. I hate them for two reasons: First, they always begin with a 3-5 paragraph in-depth description of the film. I don't want to know the entire plot, I want to know if it's good! I may say generally what the movie involves but that's it. Second, most movie reviews are unclear. I've read countless reviews that left me with absolutely no indication as to whether or not I should even see the film. Not here. I developed three methods to rate television and movies:

1. Just your average 10 point scale.
10 is obviously the best and 1 is the worst. Although, Something Borrowed might make below a 1 if I ever get around to reviewing it. I consider myself quite harsh, so if you see anything above a 9, it's probably in my top ten of all time.

2. What's it Worth?
I will tell you if I think it's worth paying for and worth the 2 (and ever more increasingly 3) hours of your time. I also make an educated guess as to whether or not you can multitask during the film.

3. The (not-yet) Patented Clairometer
In honor of my college friend Claire, I developed this rating system in order to display how "appropriate" the film is. It is designed to tell you a more detailed rating system. I find this helpful. Sometimes you want to know ahead of time so you're not stuck watching Black Swan in an empty theater with your mom. The range between PG-13 and R is more vast than the plot holes in a Michael Bay movie. I hope to combat this. The scale shows photos and descriptions of a few well-known women in film and television. The rating is the farthest woman to the left of the scale who would approve of the film. For example, June Cleaver would not approve of
Tequila Sunrise. The woman who would is probably Mathilda.





With this blog, I write as though someone will read it and enjoy what I have to say. I am under no false pretense that I have a wide readership. It is mostly for me and for the one other person who accidentally stumbled across this blog. If that is you, I'm glad you are here. With this blog, I send my thoughts about what I watch on a black box into the abyss of the world wide web. I hope you enjoy reading these thoughts as much as I enjoy writing them.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Out Now Review: The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight (2015)
Written and Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Demian Bichir, and James Parks

My Rating: 7.9
Worth: Paying to see it in the theater, 3 hours of your time - but to be honest, you could multitask.
Clairometer: The Bride (of course)

It begins with an overture, during which the screen is red and the music builds. This sets the tone of blood and escalating suspense. Also the mere presence of an overture in a film evidences its departure from the norm. This blog will not discuss 70mm in any way other than this sentence.

I love true filmmakers. There's nothing better than seeing the credit "A film by...." followed by a name that you not only recognize, but appreciate many of their prior films. You know what you're getting into by watching it. That moment we all had a few years ago when we watched the Hugo trailer and saw "A film by Martin Scorsese" is the opposite of what I'm describing. Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino are two of my favorites who are comforting in their predictability. With Quentin, you know you're getting violence, masterful dialogue, violence, plot twists, violence, and blood.

The last two films I've seen with Samuel L. Jackson have been Django and Kingsman. No one is really a protagonist in The Hateful Eight, but it was so nice to see him not as the flaming antagonist. If it were revolutionary for Samuel L. Jackson to play a role with tenacity and eloquence he would be nominated for an Academy Award. But alas, we've come to expect his quotable perfection so the Academy snubbed yet another well-deserving actor (**racial subtext**).

I found interesting the lack of cameo by Mr. Tarantino. Does one count a few sentence narration halfway through the film a cameo? I'm not educated enough (or at all) in the intricacies of film to know the answer. What puzzled me was the presence of characters with only a few lines towards the close of the film. These roles were ripe for yet another display of his acting and accent chops. By the looks of the setting, perhaps his tookus was frozen to his director's chair. On a tangential note, go see this while you can, even though The Hateful Eight does not grace Tarantino's top 5 in my book. He seems quite serious that he only intends to do 10 films. (source: Tarantino himself on the horrifically hosted Hollywood Reporter Roundtable. Seriously, who did Stephen Galloway bribe to hold this position for life? I'd give a kidney to host it.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I'm Looking Forward to This

Today I scoured the internet to find a trailer that excited me. I came up with nothing. Which is really disappointing about what lies ahead. Also, when did television trailers become so prevalent? That being said, the new Game of Thrones trailer excites me very much. Instead of what is to come, I'm looking forward to catching up on the films I missed in 2015. If you missed the films I still want to see, you can read the list here. I will leave you with this adorable video. In a sense I'm looking forward to his career, so perhaps the heading still works?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Best Films of 2015

As I peruse the list of films that were released in 2015 I can't help but feel disappointed. I did not see very many that were released this year. Here are the films I haven't seen yet but still wish to:
Ex Machina, Dope, Brooklyn, Far from the Madding Crowd, Amy, Spotlight, Black Mass, Room, He Named Me Malala, Suffragette, The Martian, The Intern, The Big Short, Sisters, and Joy.

But here are some of my favorite films released in 2015:

8. Shaun the Sheep Movie 
Aardman Animations never ceases to amaze me. Yes the animation is impressive, and cute. But the real genius is in the plot. This film has no lines. No words. Zilch. Yet you become enthralled and completely invested in the fate of the farm animals. The film has the perfect amount of topical references without relying on technology as a plot point. I also love how the animals act like the animals they are supposed to be (well, a very humanized version). The sheep act like sheep. The pigs act like pigs. Disney turns every animal it animates into dogs (e.g. the horse in Tangled and Sven in Frozen). It drives me crazy.

7. Inside Out
Apparently audiences were very divided about this movie. If that's true, I was on the "sobbing and loving it" half. I really resonated with the little girl. I'm an only child who liked to be strong and hide my emotions from my parents. I just moved to San Francisco, and loneliness is one of my most commonly felt feelings. Plus, I love love love the message: that all emotions are necessary to live a fulfilled life. Emotions are what allow us to connect to other humans and express the depths of our souls. Well played Pixar. Well Played.

6. The Revenant
My complaint with this movie is that it tends to become a bit boring in the middle. But that's the nature of the story line. I've described it as an intense cast away in the tundra. The opening battle is probably the best "attack scene" that I have ever seen. It's so beautifully and horrifically shot.  Alejandro G. Iñárritu is a genius, obviously. However, I don't love all of his choices. There are portions of the film where the camera is clearly so close to Leo's face that he creates fog from his breath on the screen. Intentional and interesting. I didn't think it suited this film. It broke the 4th wall. He also went a very long time before cleaning the lens after it got "blood" or mud on it. Again, it made it very clear that a video camera was there in the 1820s. Perhaps this method would be good in a modern film of a similar nature. But like I said, he's a genius, so who am I to criticize? 

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I don't have much to say about this. I was so pleasantly surprised. It was so true to the old films without keeping the bad parts. The acting was great, the call backs were great. It is rare that I leave a theater and don't have the following sentence on my tongue... "It was great but it would've been so much better if ___." This film was the best it could've been.

4. The Hateful Eight 
I plan to write a full review of this. I liked it. I don't think anything will come close to Inglorious Basterds. This is exactly what you'd expect from Quinten Tarantino. I enjoyed the experience. But overall, I'm ready for a modern film again (e.g. Jackie Brown).

3. Sicario
I have done a full review on this. Read it here. Such a good suspense film. I was incredibly impressed.

2. Straight Outta Compton 
I have written in various locations throughout this blog that the purpose of fiction is to expose you to a world you would not otherwise know. This film achieved that, and then some. For all intents and purposes, I'm a spoiled white girl who cannot know what it's like for other people without films like this. I realize that non-fiction is the best route for understanding. But, eh. Fiction is more fun to write about and to watch. The acting is great. I loved the story. I'm very traditional when it comes to what makes a good movie. And as cheesy as it sounds, a good movie makes me laugh and makes me cry. This movie did that perfectly.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
This movie is in my top 10 of all time. I can't fully explain why this movie is so fabulous. I usually don't like post-apocalyptic films. I usually don't like films with a ridiculous number of explosions. I usually don't like films with drawn out car chases. Mad Max takes place on a truck, with loads of explosions, in a post-apocalyptic world. But I love it. The action is intense, but you can actually see what's happening. This is an action movie for feminists. I know many people have labeled this feminist propaganda. I am a feminist, so I'll address it. Just as a background however, I do not want to free the nipple. I think the way to respond to the disproportionality between men's and women's nipples on screen is to cover up men's as well. I think modesty is valuable. But I try to live without judgment (against people, not movies). That being said, this movie does empower women - and I LOVE that. People have complained about lines such as "One man, one bullet." That is said by a group of women being chased and shot at by a group of male war lords. I think that's a necessary comment for women in their situation. There were no women chasing and shooting at them. There is a scene that sums up the feminist theme in the movie. Can we trust those men? "Yes they helped us get here." Trust the people who help you to get where you want to go. These women could not trust most men because the men were bread to be war lords. The film shows how women and men working together creates the best results. Furiosa and the other women could not have achieved what they did without the help of Max and Nux. But their society needed women in equal roles in order to function well. PERFECTION. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Top 10: The Office (US) Cold Opens

The Office is my favorite television show. It is the perfect combination of heart and humor. These are my favorite cold opens from the show. Cold opens are the bits in the beginning before the theme song plays. They often don't have anything to do with the rest of the episode. The ones that I have selected are not necessarily the most shocking or laugh out loud funny. To me, these 10 cold opens epitomize the best of The Office. 

10. Season 6 Episode 25 "The Chump": The one where Toby is leaving radon test kits everywhere, and the office tests how to kill Toby, Bin Laden and Hitler with one bullet.

9. Season 8 Episode 21"Angry Andy": The one where Jim says that Phyllis says the same 12 cliches every time it's raining, and if she says them all by noon that day, he'd send out for hot chocolates.

8. Season 3 Episode 11 "Back From Vacation":  The one where Michael asks Dwight to record all meetings in his absence. Then Jim and the rest of the sales staff yell things out to ruin the integrity of the recording.

7. Season 3 Episode 20 "Product Recall": The one where Jim impersonates Dwight. Watch it here

6. Season 6 Episode 13 "Secret Santa": The one where Jim and Dwight unveil the Christmas tree and everyone hates it.

5. Season 7 Episode 9 "": The one where the server goes down and they need to remember the internet password.

4. Season 7 Episode 6 "Costume Contest": The one where the whole office tries to determine if there is a limit to what Stanley won't notice.

3. Season 5 Episode 14 "Stress Relief Part 1": The one where Dwight pretends to set the office on fire. Watch it here

2. Season 4 Episode 1 "Fun Run": The one where Michael hits Meredith with his car.

1. Season 7 Episode 1 "Nepotism": The one where they lip dub to Human Beinz' "Nobody". Watch it here