The Movies We Loved in 2014 — By Friends of the Blog

Me and some other writers share our thoughts on what we believe were really the best movies of 2014.

Thanks, Gabe, for asking me to participate!

I chose Whiplash of course because, why not? Whiplash is an amazing film.

Gabriel Diego Valdez

We don’t tune into awards shows to be told what the best movie is. That’s not why they’re so popular. We tune in to disagree, to do it with friends and family around us, because the real show that night is what’s happening in front of the TV – it’s your arguments for and against the choices being made. It’s your chance to stand up for the movie you feel closest to and defend it.

My own views on movies are shaped by the people I’ve gotten to make and discuss movies with over the years, the critics I read or the actors I pay attention to. So I asked them – What was your choice for best film of 2014? What movie most connected with you? Which one will you take forward with you into the rest of your life? I’m excited to see both some expected choices and…

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Genre Grandeur February Finale- The Perks of A Wallflower (2012) – Justine’s Movie Blog

My entry for Genre Grandeur at Movierob’s blog is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I fell in love with this coming-of-age film when I saw it three years ago, and even though there’s so many to choose from, I had to choose this one to write about. Seriously, I cry every time, not even sure why.

Thanks, Rob for letting me choose this month! I hope everyone else who participated enjoyed revisiting their favorite films in the genre. I know I enjoyed reading the reviews.

Be sure to check out Movierob’s blog if you haven’t already, and as well as the other bloggers who participated 🙂

For this month’s final entry for Genre Grandeur February – Coming of Age movie’s, here’s a review of The Perks of A Wallflower (2012) by Justine of Justine’s Movie Blog who chose this month’s genre for us all.

If you missed any of them, here’s a recap:

This month we had 12 review for GG:

  1. The Kings of Summer (2013) – Digital Shortbread
  2. Starter for 10 (2006) – EmmaKWall
  3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) – Tranquil Dreams
  4. An Education (2009) – Film Grimoire
  5. An Education (2009) – The Girl Who Loved to Review
  6. Mean Girls (2004) – Life of this City Girl
  7. Frances Ha (2012) – Sidekick Reviews
  8. Taps (1981) – MovieRob
  9. American Graffiti (1973) – MovieRob
  10. Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982) – MovieRob
  11. Footloose (1984) – MovieRob
  12. Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) – Justine’s Movie Blog

Thanks to everyone who participated this month!

In addition, I…

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Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)


Usually I try to keep my reviews on here somewhat professional and devoid of ranting and vulgarity. But for this movie, I’m going to say fuck it.

WARNING: Vulgarity and rants ahead! (I probably should’ve put the warning before I said “fuck it”). Fuck it.

I guess I’ll get right into it and say that this film is garbage. Is that too bold a statement? I don’t even care. I read part of the Fifty Shades of Grey book written by E.L. James. She’s a master with words, really, I think after about the 30th phrase involving this thing called an “inner goddess,” I wanted to off myself. Bravo to those who can actually get through this juvenile insult to literature. Why was this woman published, again? Oh right, because confused women love reading stories about abusive rich men (or vampires) who only show their softer side to one woman, and that’s apparently called “love” or something. So if I hated the book then why’d I see it? Well, I was fucking curious.

It’s okay, I get it. I’m a girl and I sometimes get confused too. But let me tell you a little something I’ve learned from that confusion about “love.” As someone who has been on the receiving end of douchebag behavior plenty of times, this bullshit is not love, it’s not “romantic,” and it sure as shit is not erotic. I don’t know much about the world of BDSM, so I won’t even go there, but something tells me this is an insult to people who practice it.

The whole story is built on the fact that Christian (Jamie Dornan) is this screwed up soul, and for whatever reason, he can only feel intimacy through being a “dominant” with his “submissive.” Well if that’s the story, then why is the sex so tame? Where’s all the sex toys, and the whips, and the…oh right, Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) doesn’t like that stuff. She’s a virgin! A pretty, virginal college student who works at a hardware store, doesn’t have a computer, and uses a flip phone! Imagine that. So this deeply disturbed predator sniffs out this virgin and decides he wants her to be his new submissive. Because he’s good looking and rich, of course the virgin is going to consider it, I mean, why not? He buys her a computer, a new car, flies her in his helicopter (yup, he’s rich and he knows how to fly), who wouldn’t consider getting flogged by that, right? Right!? Um…guys…

When it comes down to it, this movie isn’t about BDSM at all, what it’s really about is this unhealthy, controlling relationship she gets sucked into with this head case of a man. The worst part about it is, that she realizes at multiple points in the film that she willingly allowed herself to fall so deep into this mess, and there’s just this sad hopelessness in her eyes when she knows the situation is unlikely to change. Now I have to get off topic for a second and give credit to Dakota Johnson, because she really was the best part of this film. She seemed like a real person and not this stupid caricature E.L. James wrote her as.


Anyway, it’s really the fact that this story is trying to pass off an abusive relationship as romantic that bothers me. I’m not even talking physical abuse. There’s little of that here, believe it or not, plus the physical stuff that does happen is all stuff she seems to enjoy. It’s the mental abuse. The mind games and the control are what I find messed up. She makes it pretty clear she’s not into all this freaky stuff, and that she’s a romantic who would rather go out on dates and have the “flowers and hearts,” as he says it. He tells her “that’s not me.” Let’s not forget the award-winning line, “I don’t make love. I fuck, hard.”

So in a way, he does warn her of his unusual tastes. But then he’ll give her what she wants, little by little, whether it be holding hands, letting her meet his mother, referring to her as his “girlfriend,” yeah, mixed messages much? It’s like giving her slack on the leash and then reeling her back in. “Oh, but he’s falling in love with her, too.” No, no, no. Let me remind you that this man is eagerly trying to persuade this naive girl into something she has no experience in. I mean, aren’t there ways of connecting with people who are already into this BDSM stuff?

No, the bitter ex-girlfriend inside me would say, “It’s like those relationships where the man is a huge douchebag deep down, then suddenly he’s the best part of himself when he senses you’re about to leave him.” Anyone else been in that situation, or is it just me? Example: Christian demands that she abide by his ludicrous contract involving what he can do to her. She writes a joking e-mail saying, “Yeah, it was nice knowing you.” He thinks in his mind, “Oh fuck! Let me go to her place and let myself in with some wine and gentle sex. That’ll keep her hooked!” Another example: Christian throws a tantrum when he finds out Anastasia is going to visit her mother in Georgia, then while she’s there, he texts her and says he’s going to dinner with a friend. “Mrs. Robinson?” Anastasia asks. “Don’t worry about it,” replies Christian. Christian calls her, she doesn’t pick up (God, I love pulling that cold shoulder shit). Christian thinks, “Oh shit! Now I have to go all the way to Georgia and take her flying so she won’t leave me.” There’s a part in the film when Anastasia, confused and frustrated as any woman would be, boldly asks, “What do you want?” Mind games, I’m telling you, that’s all this is.

The story itself isn’t the only problem I have with this movie. It’s boring. I can only imagine what the women who hadn’t read the book were expecting when they knew this alleged kinky story was being made into a film, only to find out it’s hardly kinky at all, unless you count the awkward conversations about anal fisting and genital clamps as such. The two leads also didn’t seem to have much chemistry going on. Dornan is a dull boy, even when he’s at play.


I’ve read plenty of reviews stating that this wasn’t as bad as expected. Well, that’s mainly because Johnson holds this film up on her shoulders by herself like a champ, plus there isn’t much for the film to live up to, with the horribly written source material and all. It’s not really much of a compliment, believe me.

I’ve also seen people complain about the end. Well, the end is the best part if you ask me. I don’t want to go into spoiler territory, but let me just say I wish sequels didn’t exist because that’s where it should’ve ended for good. But now we get to watch Ana be an idiot later on, so that should be fun, or at least, rant-worthy on my part.

I really hate sounding like a crazed feminist (but I know I do), and I hate it when people try to find sexism in literally everything, but I’m sick of these terrible stories. I swear, they are ruining the psyche of women. I know for a fact there’s women out there who believe that behavior like Christian’s is acceptable because he’s “damaged,” and there are women out there who believe they can change someone, or that they’ll be the exception when it comes to a man who treats everyone badly. Come to your senses! Real men don’t act like this, this isn’t romantic, this is shit. Fuck this movie. I’d rather watch Colin Firth beat the living crap out of people while wearing a perfectly tailored suit than ever watch this trash again.

P.S. Sorry to anyone who actually read this whole thing. I’ll probably regret this review in the morning.


2015 Oscar Nominations & Predictions


Well it’s almost that time of year again, where a panel of snobs tell us which movie is worthy of carrying the title “Best Picture of the Year.” Sometimes we agree with the Academy, and sometimes we don’t, but that hardly matters. We get to be entertained watching rich and famous people congratulate each other on their achievements through tears, laughter, and plenty of praises to God. I’m not being cynical, I love the Oscars and will be the first person to admit that, but they aren’t the deciding factor of whether or not I should love a movie I’ve seen or didn’t see. Nope, the best part of it all for me is seeing how many predictions I actually get right. So I’ve broken all the categories down and have named who I think the Academy will pick to win, who I personally think should win, and who I believe was snubbed. Once the Oscars air tomorrow night, I’ll be updating this post with the actual winners, and tallying up how many I actually managed to guess correctly. Fun stuff, right? Let’s do it.

*UPDATED* with the winners. After all is said and done, I was 16 for 24 in my predictions.


American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – *WINNER*
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Who Will Win: Boyhood
Who Should Win: Whiplash or Birdman
Who Was Snubbed: Gone Girl

Boyhood seemed like a shoo-in for much of the year, but now some people are predicting Birdman could take home the big prize. They are pretty much neck and neck at this point, but my money is still on Boyhood. It’s not a movie I loved, personally, but that matters little. If I were to choose, I’d give it to Whiplash, but seeing as how that would never happen in a billion years, Birdman would be my second choice. Also, Gone Girl should’ve at least been nominated, it’s loads better than films like American Sniper. What nonsense.


Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – *WINNER*
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Who Will Win: Richard Linklater
Who Should Win: Richard Linklater
Who Was Snubbed: David Fincher (Gone Girl), Ava DuVernay (Selma) and Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)

Again, Birdman and Boyhood are at the head of the race, here. Even though I liked Birdman better as a whole, I have to give credit to Richard Linklater for what he did with Boyhood. It’s possible that Iñárritu could win this one, but I’m still betting on Linklater. He took home the Golden Globe, and he’s been getting nothing but praise during the whole 2014 year. I’m surprised DuVernay was not nominated, and I think she or Fincher should’ve taken the spot of Bennett Miller. They didn’t even nominate Foxcatcher for Best Picture, and yet Miller is taking up a directing spot, unbelievable.


Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything – *WINNER*

Who Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Who Should Win: Michael Keaton
Who Was Snubbed: Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) and David Oyelowo (Selma)

This is a close one between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton. I think I had mentioned at one point that Redmayne deserves this one, but after having rewatched both Birdman and The Theory of Everything, Keaton stood out for me more. I still think the Academy will pick Redmayne, though, because they love it when actors play real people with diseases and disabilities (sorry, but it’s true). I won’t be mad, he was still impressive. Gyllenhaal and Oyelowo were totally overlooked, though.


Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice – *WINNER*
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Who Will Win: Julianne Moore
Who Should Win: Rosamund Pike
Who Was Snubbed: Amy Adams (Big Eyes)

Julianne Moore seems like the obvious choice. She was great in Still Alice, and she rarely ever gives a bad performance in anything, but I loved Rosamund Pike more. She was chilling as Amy Dunne in Gone Girl, and her performance stuck with me longer. Amy Adams is amazing in everything she’s in, and it seemed odd when she took home a Golden Globe but wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. But it’s not a huge snub, because every lady in this category I think deserves to be here.


Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash – *WINNER*

Who Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Who Should Win: J.K. Simmons
Who Was Snubbed: Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice)

J.K. Simmons was my absolute favorite of the bunch here, and I am fairly sure he will be taking home the Oscar tomorrow night. It’s well deserved. Edward Norton would be my second choice, and probably the Academy’s too. Josh Brolin I think was snubbed because he gave what was probably the best performance in the convoluted mess of a film that was Inherent Vice. I would’ve picked him over Ethan Hawke, but most likely because I just hated Hawke’s “cool but absent dad” role in Boyhood.


Patricia Arquette, Boyhood – *WINNER*
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Who Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Who Should Win: Patricia Arquette
Who Was Snubbed: Renee Russo (Nightcrawler) and Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer)

Patricia Arquette is the best part about Boyhood. She’s the most real, relatable character of the bunch, and her performance is heartbreaking at times, especially towards the end when she realizes her kids are grown up and leaving her behind. She deserves the Oscar, and I think she’ll get it. I’ve got to say, I love Laura Dern, but her role in Wild is probably the least deserving of a nomination, she was barely even in the friggin’ movie. And Meryl Streep? Alright, I love her, but come on! Rene Russo or Tilda Swinton for her crazy, unrecognizable role in Snowpiercer should’ve been nominated.


Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – *WINNER*
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler

Who Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Win: Nightcrawler
Who Was Snubbed: J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year)

I can see Wes Anderson taking home this one, and if he does, I won’t even be mad about it. I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel and I think the screenplay was great. Nightcrawler was just a personal favorite of mine, and I loved how the character of Lou Bloom was written, with all that crazy, manipulative dialogue. If either Anderson or Gilroy took home the Oscar, I’d be happy. J.C. Chandor and his film A Most Violent Year were definitely overlooked, that story could’ve easily gone down the cliché route, becoming a typical gangster movie, but it didn’t, and instead was a unique twist about a man trying to keep his business clean in a dirty and corrupt industry. Worthy of some recognition, I think.


Jason Hall, American Sniper
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game – *WINNER*
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

Who Will Win: The Imitation Game
Who Should Win: Whiplash
Who Was Snubbed: Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)

First of all, Whiplash shouldn’t even be in the “Adapted Screenplay” category, it should be in “Original Screenplay,” but I guess I won’t nitpick too much. I can definitely see The Imitation Game winning this one. I enjoyed it, but I think Gone Girl, which was one of the most insulting snubs of the year to me, should’ve won. But since it wasn’t nominated, I’m going with my favorite film of the year, Whiplash as my “should win” choice. But let’s be honest, it probably won’t win.


Big Hero 6 – *WINNER*
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Who Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Who Should Win: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Who Was Snubbed: The Lego Movie

I liked How to Train Your Dragon 2, but it’s probably one of the least deserving in this category to win. I actually hope I’m wrong about the Academy, and they go with The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, which is way more deserving and my personal pick. Or even Big Hero 6, I’d be okay with that choice as well. I’ll admit, I didn’t see Song of the Sea so I can’t judge it fairly. Also, The Lego Movie, one of the most positively reviewed movies to have come out last year, being left out–that was a huge surprise.


Citizenfour – *WINNER*
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth

Who Will Win: Citizenfour
Who Should Win: Citizenfour
Who Was Snubbed: Life Itself

Out of these five documentaries, I’ve only seen Citizenfour and Finding Vivian Maier. I liked both, but I’m surprised Life Itself wasn’t nominated. I probably would’ve picked that one. But out of the two I’ve seen, I liked Citizenfour best, and I have a feeling it will be the Academy’s choice as well. We’ll see!


Ida (Poland), Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski – *WINNER*
Leviathan (Russia), Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
Tangerines (Estonia), Directed by Zaza Urushadze
Timbuktu (Mauritania), Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako
Wild Tales (Argentina), Directed by Damián Szifron

Who Will Win: Ida
Who Should Win: Ida
Who Was Snubbed: Two Days, One Night (Belgium) and Force Majeure (Sweden)

Again, I’ve only seen two out of five here, so I almost feel bad including these categories, but I’m still going to guess. Ida would be my pick for what I think will win and should win. It’s a beautiful film story wise and visually. Two Days, One Night and Force Majeure were my two favorite foreign films from last year, though. I think they both should’ve been contenders.


Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) -*WINNER*
Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Who Will Win: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Who Should Win: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Who Was Snubbed: Hoyte Van Hoytema (Interstellar)

Birdman gets my vote for the continuous-shot filming style. It’s something you don’t see often, and it really helped make the film what it is. Ida would be a close second. I also think Interstellar should’ve been included here.


Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration), The Grand Budapest Hotel – *WINNER*
Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration), The Imitation Game
Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Gary Fettis (Set Decoration), Interstellar
Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration), Into the Woods
Suzie Davies (Production Design); Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration), Mr. Turner

Who Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Was Snubbed: Ondrej Nekvasil (Production Design); Beatrice Brentnerova (Set Decoration), (Snowpiercer)

The Grand Budapest Hotel, hands down. Loved the production design in that film, although if Snowpiercer was actually nominated, that probably would’ve been my personal pick.


Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, American Sniper
Sandra Adair, Boyhood
Barney Pilling, The Grand Budapest Hotel
William Goldenberg, The Imitation Game
Tom Cross, Whiplash – *WINNER*

Who Will Win: Boyhood
Who Should Win: Whiplash
Who Was Snubbed: Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione (Birdman)

Boyhood could definitely win this one, but I’m hoping Whiplash will instead. It’s really a toss up between the two for who I think the Academy will pick, but I’m leaning towards Boyhood. I also think Birdman should’ve been nominated simply because you can’t see the edits, which I guess would mean that’s pretty good editing, no?


Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel – *WINNER*
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner
Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything

Who Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Win: Interstellar
Who Was Snubbed: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Gone Girl) and Mica Levi (Under the Skin)

The Grand Budapest Hotel is what I think the Academy will choose, although Interstellar I found to be more impressive score-wise. Gone Girl and Under the Skin should’ve been in this category, though. Both had hauntingly beautiful, mood-setting scores which deserved more recognition.


Shawn Patterson, “Everything is Awesome” (The Lego Movie)
John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn, “Glory” (Selma) – *WINNER*
Diane Warren, “Grateful” (Beyond the Lights)
Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me)
Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois, “Lost Stars” (Begin Again)

Who Will Win: “Glory” (Selma)
Who Should Win: “Glory” (Selma)
Who Was Snubbed: Lana Del Rey and Dan Heath, “Big Eyes” (Big Eyes) and Lorde and Joel Little, “Yellow Flicker Beat” (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1)

I’m going with “Glory” on this one for both. “Everything is Awesome” is a fun, catchy one, but I doubt it’ll be picked. I also personally liked “Big Eyes” and “Yellow Flicker Beat.” They aren’t spectacular songs, but are any of these really that great?


Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel – *WINNER*
Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice
Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods
Anna B. Sheppard, Maleficent
Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner

Who Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Was Snubbed: Hmmmmmm, nope. Can’t think of anything.

The Grand Budapest Hotel for the awesome purple hotel staff uniforms, among other things. Into the Woods and Inherent Vice would probably follow close behind for me.


Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard, Foxcatcher
Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, The Grand Budapest Hotel – *WINNER*
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, Guardians of the Galaxy

Who Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy
Who Was Snubbed: Into the Woods

Going with The Grand Budapest Hotel, mainly for the old woman make-up on Tilda Swinton, and I think the Academy is more likely to pick this. But Guardians of the Galaxy had way more fun make-up and hairstyling, and it deserves to win at least one category, although it probably won’t.


Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould, Guardians of the Galaxy
Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher, Interstellar – *WINNER*
Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer, X-Men: Days of Future Past

Who Will Win: Interstellar
Who Should Win: Interstellar
Who Was Snubbed: Godzilla

Interstellar will most likely win, and it would be my choice also, although Dawn of the Planet of the Apes would follow close behind due to the effects with motion capture and the fact that the apes’ expressions looked very human. The rest of the nominees are worthy as well, but I also think Godzilla should’ve been credited for the colossal awesome looking monster.


Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, American Sniper – *WINNER*
Martin Hernández and Aaron Glascock, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Brent Burge and Jason Canovas, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Richard King, Interstellar
Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro, Unbroken

Who Will Win: American Sniper
Who Should Win: Interstellar
Who Was Snubbed: Uhhh, I’m going to go with…no one?

American Sniper probably because…war, bullets and all that. Interstellar deserves it though for its collaborative visuals and sound making me feel like I was being sucked into black holes and such.


John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin, American Sniper
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten, Interstellar
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee, Unbroken
Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley, Whiplash – *WINNER*

Who Will Win: American Sniper
Who Should Win: Whiplash
Who Was Snubbed: No opinion.

American Sniper again for the reasons I stated above. But Whiplash because it deserves to win everything (bad reasoning? Don’t care).


The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Who Will Win: Feast

Feast is the only animated short I actually saw, and that’s because it played before Big Hero 6 in theaters, so I’m going to guess this one.


Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 – *WINNER*
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Who Will Win: Joanna

Never saw a single one of these, so Joanna is just a wild guess.


Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
The Phone Call – *WINNER*

Who Will Win: Parvaneh

Another wild guess, because I haven’t seen any of these. But I’m sure they’re all lovely.

Well there’s all the categories broken down by yours truly. A lot of them are just guesses, others are based on winners of other awards shows, etc. Can’t wait to see how many I actually guessed right! Who do you all think is going to take home the Oscar in the big categories? Opinions on possible winners and snubs? Feel free to discuss. And Happy Oscar Sunday, everyone!

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)


Espionage transformed into a crazy, self-aware bloodfest? Yes, please. When I first started seeing previews for Kingsman: The Secret Service, before I knew it was a Matthew Vaughn film, I thought it was going to be a clichéd kids’ movie about a troubled teenager who is turned into an unlikely hero. But between the frequent F-bombs and blood flying across the screen, I realized this is no kids’ movie. This is my kind of movie. The kind for the action lovers who get a little too much enjoyment out of a fireworks display of people’s heads getting blown off their bodies. Beyond that, it’s a love letter from Matthew Vaughn to all spy movies, and what a wonderful letter it is.

Vaughn has done for spy movies what he did for superhero movies through Kick-Ass (both adapted from Mark Millar comics). He took an overdone genre that has been taking itself way too seriously, and he breathed new life into it. Kingsman is an ode to classic James Bond movies, with the fancy gadgets and nice suits, a crazy villain with an elaborate evil plan, and a femme fatale, among other things. He took these clichés and made them original and fun, and what we got here is a movie featuring Samuel L. Jackson as a villain with a lisp who can’t stand the sight of blood, proper British gentlemen knifing people in the eye, a femme fatale who cuts people in half with her bladed prosthetic legs, and at the center of it all, a young chav with a chip on his shoulder training to become a proper British gentleman who can knife people in the eye.


Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin (Taron Egerton) is a troubled young man whose father died when he was little, and his mother has a penchant for dating abusive losers. When a run-in with a group of thugs lands him in jail, secret agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) answers his call for help. Harry, who was once the mentor of Eggsy’s father, feels responsible for his father’s death, and believes he owes Eggsy the opportunity to train for a spot in the Kingsmen that was left open after fellow agent “Lancelot” (Jack Davenport) was recently killed. Eggsy’s skills and ability to follow direction are tested as he competes with other hopefuls. Meanwhile, Harry is on a mission to find out what tech savvy billionaire, Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is up to when he announces his plan to give away free SIM cards that will allow people to make calls and access the internet for free.

Taron Edgerton is a welcome new talent. He’s great at being a smart-ass, and somehow still remaining a likable character. He manages to keep the spotlight amongst a cast of people who could’ve easily out-shined him. He’s convincing in the action scenes, although he doesn’t have anything as crazy to pull off as Colin Firth does.


Colin Firth, the man who most people have come to love in various rom-coms and British dramas and thrillers where he almost always portrays the proper, dapper gentleman will be surprised to see how well he does playing that same gentleman with an ultra violent twist. He’s 54-years-old and single-handedly beating the living piss out groups of people in this film. It’s insane, funny, and most of all, awesome. The church scene he’s in is probably my favorite in the movie, and not just because he turns to a homophobic, racist woman and says something along the lines of, “I’m a Catholic whore who needs to visit my black, Jewish boyfriend who works in an abortion clinic. Hail Satan.”

Samuel L. Jackson is hilarious as Valentine. It’s hard to take him seriously with that lisp. The fact that his character can’t stand the sight of blood really plays on the cliché that super villains never do their dirty work. He has Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) for that, the henchwoman with legs that make break dancing deadlier than walking into a giant blender.


Let’s not forget the rest of the supporting cast, who aid in making this movie as awesome as it is. Michael Caine is Arthur, he’s somewhat of a leader in the Kingsmen, and Merlin (Mark Strong), is the man in charge of training new recruits. Sophie Cookson is Roxy, one of the other recruits competing with Eggsy for the spot, the best part about her is that she doesn’t become the typical “love interest,” although the story could’ve easily gone there. Mark Hamill, who I didn’t even recognize at first, is a professor who is kidnapped for one reason or another, but he disappears pretty quickly.

The action is balls to the wall sort of fun. Sometimes it’s more suspenseful than anything, like when Eggsy and the other recruits jump from a plane only to be told that one of them doesn’t have a parachute, but no one knows who, or when their bunks start filling up with water while they’re sleeping. Other times it’s just amusing, like when Eggsy steals a car and does a bunch of donuts in front of its owner, leading to a car chase between him and the police.


But the violence in this movie is something else entirely. It’s incredibly over-the-top, almost cartoonish at times, like when Gazelle cuts a man clean in half and when the heads of rich men and politicians explode like fireworks. At times, it’s downright gratuitous, like in a scene where Harry massacres hate-spewing rednecks in a church while Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” plays in the background. Is any of this a bad thing? Some people who saw this and don’t take too well to Christians (even the horrible ones) being violently killed might think so. Me? I friggin’ loved it. It’s Colin Firth, for Christ’s sake! Was it necessary? No. Is it offensive? Most likely. But who cares! If you haven’t thought about how it might be sort of funny if those Westboro Baptist Church assholes got the punch in the face (not a hole in the head, I’m not that hateful, f**k) they deserve, then you must be Mother Teresa. It was hilarious, and going in to a movie like this expecting it to be serious and tasteful, especially if you’ve already seen Kick-Ass, is in the wrong state of mind. Sorry, but it’s true. A lot of people will say that Kingsman can only be enjoyed if you’re an immature teenage boy. Well, I’m neither a teenager nor a boy (but maybe a tad immature), and I enjoyed this immensely.

So to anyone wondering whether or not you should see Kingsman: The Secret Service, I would say, if you don’t mind gratuitous violence and you love Colin Firth enough to see him execute one of the craziest action sequences I’ve ever seen, if you loved Kick-Ass and you’d be interested to see a satirical twist on spy movies, and if you just simply love action movies, you should absolutely check this out. It’s not without flaws, but it’s the best time I’ve had at the theater so far this year.


Netflix: Expiring Soon (February 2015)


Below you will find lists of titles expiring on Netflix during this month (February) in the US, Canada, and the UK. For anyone wanting to know what has been added this month, you can find that list here. I try to keep it as updated as possible.

As usual, if anyone comes across any expiration dates that are not on this list, leave the title in the comments and I will add it. Enjoy!

Note: Unless any of these titles are renewed, the dates below represent the date of the last day these titles will be available for you to watch.

Netflix US

Jem and the Holograms (1985-’88) (TV)
Moving Midway (2007)
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (2010-’13) (TV)
Broken Roads (2012)
For Ellen (2012)
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011)
Hollow (2013)
The Mooring (2012)
Trigun Badlands (2010)
Antardwand (2010)
Serving Life (2011)
A Haunted House (2013)
Post Mortem (2010)
Happy Happy (2010)
Semper Fi: Always Faithful (2011)
Dredd (2012)
Charlotte Rampling: The Look (2011)
Bindlestiffs (2012)
Kickin’ It (2011-’13) (TV)
The Runway (2010)
Spice and Wolf (2009)
Seven Days in Utopia (2011)
Monkey Trouble (1994)
Panic Room (2002)
1:1 Thierry Henry (2011)
2 Months, $2 Million – 1 Season (2009) (TV)
3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998)
3 Ninjas: Kick Back (1994)
3 Ninjas: Knuckle Up (1995)
3 Pigs and a Baby (2008)
1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
Adios, Sabata (1971)
Adventures in Zambezia (2012)
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989)
The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989)
Ali (2001)
All the Pretty Horses (2000)
Almost Famous (2000)
Anaconda (1997)
Arachnophobia (1990)
Arang and the Magistrate – 1 Season (2012) (TV)
Assassination Games (2011)
The Babysitters Club (1995)
Bingo (1991)
Black Eagle (2012)
Black Rain (1989)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Blood and Bone (2009)
The Blue Lagoon (1980)
Bo on the Go (2007)
Bobby Z (2007)
Bridalplasty – 1 Season (2010) (TV)
Brokedown Palace (1999)
The Caller (2011)
Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation (1986)
Cheech and Chong’s Nice Dreams (1981)
Cheongdam-dong Alice – 1 Season (2012) (TV)
Cool Runnings (1993)
Das Boot: Director’s Cut (1981)
Death Warrant (1990)
The Dentist 2: Brace Yourself (1998)
Desperado (1995)
Detention (2011)
Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
Dr. Jin – 1 Season (2012) (TV)
Dread (2009)
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Edison Force (2005)
The Elephant Man (1980)
Emma (1996)
Evita (1996)
The Experiment (2010)
Fido (2006)
The Final (2010)
Five Fingers – 1 Season (2012) (TV)
Franny’s Feet – 1 Season (2003) (TV)
Freaky Friday (2003)
Fright Night (1985)
A Gentleman’s Dignity – 1 Season (2012) (TV)
The Glass House (2001)
Glengarry GlenRoss (1992)
The Graduate (1967)
The Graves (2010)
The Great Doctor – 1 Season (2012) (TV)
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
The Hamiltons (2006)
Hard Rain (1998)
Hatari! (1962)
The Hit List (2010)
Hondo (1953)
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
Hoodwinked (2005)
A Hundred Years Inheritance – 1 Season (2013 (TV)
Ice Castles (2010)
The Ice Storm (1997)
Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (2013)
It Could Happen to You (1994)
Jackass Number Two (2006)
Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise (2006)
Jesse Stone: Night Passage (2006)
Jesse Stone: No Remorse (2010)
Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (2009)
Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002)
Kell on Earth – 1 Season (2010) (TV)
Kill Theory (2009)
The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
The Long, Hot Summer (1958)
Lords of Dogtown (2005)
Multiplicity (1996)
Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown (2011)
The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988)
Nightmare Man (2006)
Old Yeller (1957)
Ordinary People (1980)
Penny Dreadful (2006)
The People That Time Forgot (1977)
Possession (2012)
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy – 4 Seasons (2003) (TV)
Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)
Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
RoboCop 2 (1990)
RoboCop 3 (1993)
Rooftop Prince – 1 Season (2012) (TV)
The Ropes – 1 Season (2012) (TV)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Seven (1995)
Saving Silverman (2001)
See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)
Short Circuit 2 (1988)
Small Apartments (2012)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004)
Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008)
Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)
The Sweetest Thing (2002)
Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
Thief (1981)
This Property Is Condemned (1966)
To the Beautiful You – 1 Season (2012) (TV)
Troop Beverly Hills (1989)
Two Can Play That Game (2001)
Unrest (2006)
Winged Migration (2001)
Workout – 3 Seasons (2006-’08) (TV)


Netflix Canada

Cargo (2011)
For Ellen (2012)
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011)
Trigun Badlands (2010)
Hyenas (2010)
Mandrake (2010)
Mongolian Death Worm (2010)
Red Hill (2010)
I Am Love (2009)
Mein Kampf (2009)
Legion (2010)
Spice and Wolf – 13 episodes (2008) (TV)
Baghead (2008)
The A-Team (2010)
Biutiful (2010)
Courage Under Fire (1996)
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Hop (2011)
The Hustler (1961)
Nell (1994)
The Phantoms (2012)
Pretty in Pink (1986)
The Raven (2012)
Regarding Henry (1991)
Runaway Bride (1999)
Thunderstruck (2012)
Trouble with the Curve (2012)
The Verdict (1982)
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Higanjima (2009)


Netflix UK

Kronk’s New Groove (2005)
Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Superbad (2007)
The Last Stand (2013)
Stardust (2007)
Year of the Dog (2007)
Glory Road (2006)
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Campus Confidential (2005)
Charlie’s Angels (2000)
Debra – 1 Season (2011) (TV)
Houseguest (1995)
Life with Mikey (1993)
Open Graves (2009)
Revenge of the Bridesmaids (2010)
The Ropes – 1 Season (2012) (TV)
Son – 1 Season (2012) (TV)

Spider-Man Swings Home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe


Written by: Pat & Justine

“Sony Pictures Entertainment Brings Marvel Studios Into The Amazing World Of Spider-Man. New Spider-Man Will Appear First in an Upcoming Marvel Film Within Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.” (

It was the stroke of midnight, February 10, 2015. A new day, a new beginning. A character loved by the masses, with a fanbase spanning over 50 years of storytelling, suddenly had been granted a future brighter than what most ever thought could be possible. The announcement heard around the world: Spider-Man was coming home.

In an era where comic book film success has reached unforeseeable heights, no studio has been capable of contesting the critical acclaim of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Where most attest Marvel’s success to fan loyalty and unrivaled attention to detail, the source material from the collective talents of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko have stood the test of time, and should be given credit. Though some argue that DC Comics’ seniority grants them superior comic book heroes, it’s Marvel’s grounded, relatable characters balancing extraordinary abilities with everyday life that gives them the upper hand.

It was a time Marvel’s ambitions to break out into the film industry vastly outweighed its financial resources. Advances in special effects technology had been progressing at a rapid rate and Spider-Man was ready for his shot at the big screen. Negotiations with Sony Pictures were struck for indefinite exclusivity rights to produce any and all of the wall-crawlers cinematic adventures. Fast forward to May 3, 2002, Sony releases Marvel’s first box office smash in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, starring Toby Maguire as Peter Parker. For the time, the film was unlike anything we’d seen before and had come to expect from a conventional super hero. Naturally, a trilogy was put forth, reaching both critical highs and lows. With the monumental success of these major motion pictures, in addition to Fox’s X-Men properties, Marvel now had the prowess, as well as the funding, to branch out and form its very own Marvel Studios.

Enter The Amazing Spider-Man, July 3, 2012. It was proven Spider-Man had still been a very profitable character for Sony, and an idea for a reboot of the franchise made for the best possible way to keep things fresh. Opinions of the first two installments of Amazing were very much mixed. While some appreciated the loyalty to the comics of the same title, others felt it may have been too drastic of a deviation. A major accomplishment of the rebooted series, was to successfully tug at the heart strings of audiences. The on-screen chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone was truly organic, which easily overshadowed that of the original trilogy. Overall, the combined earnings of the movies had not met projected revenue and fan criticism received was primarily negative.

As Marvel Studios began fully coming into its own with its ever-expanding shared universe of characters, the most common question asked by fans was, “When will Spider-Man join the Avengers?” What felt most frustrating, however, was Sony seemed to be electing to prevent this from happening by green-lighting some very unusual projects. It seemed to become more about the profits for the once-thriving company than the fan service to the character. Countless requests had been made to both parties, with Sony ignoring the matter at every possible turn. Marvel, however, remained hopefully optimistic. It was only after the unfortunate Sony hacks of 2014, that an abundance of data was leaked suggesting such negotiations for a collaborative effort had been underway.

Last night, it was announced that these negotiations have come to an official agreement. Sony will continue to finance and distribute the Spider-Man films, but the character will now become a part of the MCU, with Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige working with Amy Pascal to take Spider-Man in a new creative direction, one that fits in with the already established universe.

So what does this mean for Spidey? Well, for one, Andrew Garfield will not be reprising the role. It has also been speculated by many and recently reported by The Wall Street Journal that the new Spider-Man will be making an appearance in Captain America: Civil War, which is set to hit theaters in 2016. This is ideal, seeing as how Spider-Man had such a huge role in Civil War in the comics. However, we are not yet sure where Spider-Man will be in his life when this event takes place. How long before Civil War would he have been bitten? He is also not getting another solo film until 2017, so how exactly will he fit into the story while having not yet been established in the MCU with a solo film? Naturally, these are all questions we are now dying to know.

This also raises questions of who will be cast to play Spider-Man next. If he’s being introduced as an already established superhero who has his powers, then we can assume we will be bypassing the origin/high school storyline we’ve already seen too many times before. But they could choose to cast a young actor and start his story off in his early 20’s, or they can choose to cast him a little older, starting him off in his years as a college professor. Either way, this opens a window for male actors in the 20-30 range who can take up the reigns as the beloved web-slinging hero.

All speculations aside, there’s no doubt that Marvel fans everywhere are beaming at this incredible news. For years, we’ve wanted to see Spider-Man alongside the Avengers, where he was always meant to be. Some of us thought it would never be possible, but to our surprise, Sony and Marvel have given the fans what they wanted, and all we can say is thank you. Thank you for bringing Spider-Man home.

How do you all feel about this new Sony/Marvel deal? Are you excited to see Spider-Man finally become a part of the MCU, or are you not thrilled about the loss of Andrew Garfield? Who do you think should play Spider-Man next? Let us know in the comments!

Trailer Analysis (Summer ’15)

Hello, everyone! I’m Pat, the new contributor to Justine’s Movie Blog, and I’m going to present a brand new segment where I break down 2015’s most talked about trailers for the upcoming summer movie season.

Furious 7

If we’ve learned anything from six previous outings, it’s that the Fast & Furious franchise is an unstoppable force of action and entertainment. Furious 7 looks to kick off this year’s summer movie season with a massive, high-stakes adventure that has as much heart as it does explosions. In an interesting turn of events, this entry brings us to present day, immediately following the untimely death of Han. We discover this apparent tragedy is planned by a new character, played by Jason Statham, who so happens to be the older brother of our last antagonist, Owen Shaw. In a last ditch effort for enacting the ultimate revenge, we find the famed Toretto residence blown to pieces, allowing our cast motivation for another plot’s worth of (doubtfully) “One last ride.” With the combined ingenuity of Dwayne Johnson wielding a turret, Paul Walker running atop a hurdling cliff-side bus, and Vin Diesel crashing cars through Middle-Eastern skyscrapers, the stunts of this film appear to be at a mind numbing level of extremity. Regrettably, this installment also serves to pay homage to Walker, as it will be his last. His passing had been widely reported, causing a lengthly halt in production. One can only hope his send off will be done tastefully. Furious 7 hits theaters April 3, 2015.


Avengers: Age of Ultron

In what some may consider the follow-up to one of the most well-received films of our generation, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron proves to have some weighty ambitions to oust its predecessor. The Marvel Cinematic Universe thrives on, at the peak of what it’s carefully established, thus far. The fall out from our favorite team/time bomb’s staggering shifts in momentum with “Phase 2” (Infinity Stones, Clean Slate Protocol, the demise of S.H.I.E.L.D.) will reach full realization with it’s finale. We begin with what appears to be a celebratory “assembling” in the newly revamped Avengers Tower, only to discover Stark’s been quite busy, sans arc reactor. The horror-stricken team’s introduction to our titular villain sends chills tingling through viewers, assuredly thanks to James Spader’s expertly delivered dialogue. Plot ensues, forcing the Armored Avenger to suit up once more with his pals to take responsibility for his horrendous creation. We’re graced with some fantastic reveals, including meeting the twins, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, after their brief, Hydra centric origins. With teases of how these new heroes’ abilities may shake the team’s foundation, a much sought after look into Widow’s cringe-worthy past, and, perhaps, the most epic, Hulkbusting battle between the Science Bros we may EVER see, Age of Ultron looks to be sheer, non-stop entertainment on a global level. Written and directed once more by Joss Whedon, the film looks to be in the best of possible hands. What’s both admirable, as well as notable, is that Marvel’s kept large portions of the plot under wraps, including, most excitedly so, the reveal of Paul Bettany’s (J.A.R.V.I.S) Vision. The excruciatingly long wait draws closer each day. Can ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ take down their greatest threat to date? Avengers: Age of Ultron opens May 1, 2015.


Jurassic World

With roughly 14 years separating us from the last chapter in this beloved film series, Jurassic World places Hollywood’s latest go-to guy, Chris Pratt, in its leading role. Pratt’s new-found star power stems, deservedly so, from last summer’s smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy. Our first look at the movie grants us shots of Jurassic World open for business, attracting thousands of tourists to the wonder and discovery of these pre-historic creatures. We’re met with the revelation that park scientists have been busy, yet again, with genetic experimentation on dinosaur DNA. Owen, notably a reptilian wrangler of sorts, expresses his immediate distaste for the unorthodox creation of the Indominus Rex, whose physical appearance remains shrouded in mystery entirely. It becomes quite apparent this beast’s out for blood and a full-scale evacuation of the park takes place. It’s here the familiar ominous tones, suspenseful chases, and children fearing for their lives all materialize. With long time fans of the series theorizing, in detail, about just what makes this “D-Rex” so threatening, retractable wings, camouflage abilities, and human gene splicing all seem to have surfaced. Will they be able to take down the Indominus Rex, and is there more to its creation than we’re led to believe? We’ll find out June 12, 2015.


Terminator: Genisys

Cue the iconic overture known by fans of the Science-Fiction genre everywhere. This could only mean one thing, another installment to the long-running Terminator franchise is upon us. At the center of this pseudo soft reboot, is the always incredible Emilia Clarke, of Game of Thrones fame, starring as Sarah Connor. Amusingly so, the timeline of this film looks to include elements of different events previously established canonically, with a bit of a modern twist. Dialogue exchanged between well-known characters, John Connor and Kyle Reese, discuss familiar moments from the original, when John’s mother Sarah still needs saving and the future needs altering. It’s to the viewers surprise, when Kyle is met by a far more empowered, self-aware version of his future lover, where it’s she who delivers the renowned “Come with me, if you want to live!” quote. Furthermore, we’re shown and older version of the T-800, again played by Schwarzenegger, destroying his younger counterpart upon his initial arrival. The mission at hand has changed, and the motivations behind this are left, somewhat intentionally, unclear. There’s no telling the repercussions to be had for the future once the credits roll. Terminator: Genisys “Will be back” July 1, 2015.



If there’s anything Marvel Studios has proven time and time again, it’s that they’ve never been afraid to take risks. It’s hard to imagine that seven years ago marked the beginning of what would be the most successful, cohesive cinematic universe the film industry had ever seen before. Marvel’s approach, from the start, had always been carefully calculated and formulaic in nature. Each “Phase” would be segmented yearly into at least one well-known property, as well as an entirely new property. With Avengers: Age of Ultron sure to account for all of 2015’s required revenue, Ant-Man’s wasting no time at all laying the ground work for Marvel’s Phase 3. So who is Ant-Man? Though his title may suggest otherwise, Ant-Man possesses the fascinating ability to manipulate his molecular structure, by means of Pym particles. Which leads to our story: Scott Lang, played ambitiously by Paul Rudd, is depicted as an ex-criminal searching for any means of redemption. What exactly transpires to place Lang in this position is unknown, however, it’s when his path crosses with Dr. Henry Pym that everything changes. We’re offered discussion between the two, suggesting Pym needs Lang to take up the mantle of Ant-Man, demonstrating we may meet our first generational hero. What’s fantastic about this, is there are countless possibilities for ties between Pym and, perhaps, Agent Peggy Carter or Howard Stark, both very recognizable, previously established characters. We’re offered glimpses of Lang’s assumed first transformation, his trainer/love interest Hope Van Dyne, and other stunning visuals. What’s honorable in what we’ve seen, is that Ant-Man seems to really own what it is, embracing humor when possible. But, “Is it too late to change the name?” Ant-Man opens July 17, 2015.


Going Through Changes – 100th Post

For my 100th blog post (man, I suck), I figured it’s time to announce a couple of addtions/changes to this wonderful movie blog of mine.

So I have a cousin, who is more like a brother than a cousin, and his name is Pat. We’ve been movie buddies since we came out of the womb, and coincidentally, he writes just as well–if not better–than I do (stealing my thunder, obviously). Well this loyal movie blog supporter of mine has come to me on numerous occasions and suggested many different things I should feature on here, and I haven’t done a single one. Seeing as how this isn’t a full-time job and my slow writing can barely keep up with writing the reviews for all the new things I see, my natural response was, “You do it!” So I’ve made him an author/contributor on here, and he’s going to help me with new stuff like trailer analyses, movie news, and whatever the hell else he feels like writing. Maybe if we’re feeling motivated we’ll collaborate on some cool features. He’s completely new to the WordPress community, so I hope you’ll join me in welcoming him to the wonderful world of movie blogging. Welcome, you bearded bastard.

Hopefully this will help me in continuing to grow the blog and its content, and allow me to post things more frequently. I’ve said this before, but if anyone ever has any collaborative ideas on articles and wants to write with me, let me know.

On a separate note, I’ve decided the time is coming soon for me to change the blog name, because let’s face it, “Justine’s Movie Blog” is the most painfully generic, boring name there ever was. I can’t promise that whatever I’ll come up with will be terribly creative (I’m awful with names and titles), but it has to be done. It was only ever meant to be temporary, but it has lasted now for 10 long months, and every time I read the title I want to whack myself in the head until the creativity locked away in the far recesses of my mind finally spills out of my thick skull. Hell, maybe I’ll even do something wilder and change the theme!

Thanks to everyone who continues to read all my movie drivel, despite the horrible name (*cries*). Now you can read some of Pat’s movie drivel as well, woohoo!

Also, if anyone has a letterboxd account, you should totally follow me! ( I just made it like last week and I’m always a little late in discovering the next new social media thing. While you’re at it, you can follow me on the Twitters, too (@justine_baron), and Pat (@paldo624).

Have a marvelous day!

Jupiter Ascending (2015)


You know those types of movies that are sometimes “guilty pleasures,” the ones that are so bad they’re good? This isn’t that. Jupiter Ascending is just plain bad, and this is coming from someone who can find positives in almost anything. Okay, so the production design and the visual effects are cool, but everything else is a jumbled mess. The Wachowskis really outdid themselves here, and not in a good way. I have nothing against them, I loved The Matrix and it’s still one of my favorite movies ever (although the sequels aren’t so good), I never got around to watching Speed Racer or Cloud Atlas, but it seems they both are very polarizing. Jupiter Ascending, though, wow.

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is a poor immigrant who cleans the toilets of rich people for a living until one day she finds out she is the reincarnation (or something) of a member of a royal intergalactic family called Abrasax, who own various planets throughout the galaxy. She eventually finds out that she is the rightful heir to the planet Earth, which is worth more than most planets for whatever reason I don’t know, but Balem (Eddie Redmayne), who wants Earth for himself (to harvest for a youth serum or something) has plans to kill Jupiter so he can gain the rights to his deceased mother’s fortune.


The basic story has potential, but it never really goes anywhere interesting. The characters are awful and boring, Jupiter is probably the worst heroine I’ve seen on screen next to Bella from Twilight, and the acting is atrocious. Eddie Redmayne, who is Oscar nominated for an incredible performance as Stephen Hawking, gives what will probably go down as his worst performance ever here. Aside from the parts when he would try to be scary by shouting, I couldn’t even understand what he was saying 95% of the time because he whispered and mumbled all of his lines. The amount of ridiculous over-acting he did in this movie was laughable, as in the all of five people who were in my theater watching this laughed whenever he was on screen, not because he was actually funny, but because what we were all watching was so ridiculous that it was almost hard to believe.

The dialogue was horrible, especially that between Jupiter (“Please, call me Jupe”) and Caine (Channing Tatum). It was like watching a spoof of the corniest on screen romance ever. Caine, who is some kind of a space werewolf (really? I thought he was an elf), is hired by Titus (Douglas Booth)–d-bag Balem’s d-bag brother–to bring Jupiter to him. But, (surprise!) they fall in love, and it’s just so romantic because Jupiter just has a thing for falling for guys who don’t fall for her (sure, in what galaxy?) and all that generic nonsense. Well now she’s hit the jackpot because she has Magic Mike’s lycan brother (who also takes his shirt off and has smooth moves on his flying boots) saving her at every turn. He’s probably the most useful character in the movie, not just because he’s a seemingly invincible white knight and is always in the right place at the right time, but because he delivers all the horrible exposition we need to make sense of everything that doesn’t make sense on its own.


Sean Bean plays Stinger, some guy who lives in a house with a lot of bees. He might be part bee, I really don’t even know to be honest. He’s a pretty useless character, unless you consider delivering some more horrible dialogue as being useful. As much as I love Sean Bean, I just didn’t find him to be particularly memorable. There’s actually a lot of inconsequential characters in this movie, including Tuppence Middleton in terrible old woman make-up playing Kalique, the sister in the Abrasax family. Other minor characters include large talking lizards with wings, robot people who look like the thing from Ex Machina, Asians with horrible wigs, women with gigantic mouse ears, Terry Gilliam (wtf?), oh yeah, and Jupiter’s weird Russian family including a cousin who tries to get her to sell her ovary eggs for money so he can buy himself a big TV.

The Wachowskis greatly missed the mark with Jupiter Ascending. It’s ambitious, but it’s badly executed. Some of the visuals were very pretty, but it wasn’t enough to make up for everything else. You can’t mask a piece of poo by wrapping it in a pretty box. The 3D was also unnecessary and horribly under utilized. I would give this movie more credit if it was just dumb fun, but it was too dumb and not enough fun. Terrible characters, acting, story and dialogue overshadow the few fun moments in some of the overlong action scenes. I just can’t get behind this movie, but if you see it and actually enjoy it, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones.