Argumentative August #19 – Michael Clayton (2007)

I’m back from vacation with a review of the great legal drama Michael Clayton over on Ten Stars or Less. Enjoy!

Ten Stars or Less

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Argumentative August #19 – Michael Clayton (2007) – movierob.wordpress.com

Rob and I would like to once again welcome you to another review for our Argumentative August Blogathon. This next film, Michael Clayton is being reviewed by Sherise of The Girl Who Loved to Review. Let’s see what she thought of this movie…

Michael Clayton (2007)

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This is my second review for the Argumentative August blogathon. Having watched A Few Good Men just a few days before watching Michael Clayton really affected how I view the film. Examining the two films is a great way to see how the courtroom drama has evolved.

In Michael Clayton, George Clooney plays a lawyer hired to clean up a billion dollar class action lawsuit against a chemical company after the head defense attorney has a mental breakdown.

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Comparing A Few Good Men and Michael Clayton shows that the two films have differing views on what it…

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Argumentative August #22 – A Few Good Men (1992) – The Girl Who Loved to Review

Check out my review of a classic Tom Cruise movie, A Few Good Men over on Movie Rob’s site.

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Ryan and I would like to once again welcome you to another review for our Argumentative August Blogathon.

This next film, A Few Good Men (1992) is being reviewed by Sherise of The Girl Who Loved to Review

Let’s see what Sherise thought of this movie….

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A Few Good Men (1992)

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“It doesn’t matter what I believe, it only matters what I can prove!”

This is one of those films that is always on TV. That means it must be good right? Yet I’ve never seen it until now (And I say I’m a Tom Cruise fan…). Also courtroom drama expert Aaron Sorkin wrote both the screenplay and the play the film is based on. So it HAS to be good. And overall A Few Good Men is a good film. Solid writing paired with even better acting.

This film is a somewhat typical courtroom drama. It is about…

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Sharon Tate

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On August 9, 1969 Sharon Tate died. 46 years on, she remains a fascinating woman. Incredibly beautiful yet insecure she left a mark on Hollywood with her brutal murder. But she is about more than the day she died. She had a beautiful, gentle soul that can still be felt in her few films. This post is to celebrate her short yet vibrant life.

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Sharon is too nice. She doesn’t believe in her beauty. Once when I was very poor in Poland, I had got some beautiful shoes, and I immediately became ashamed of them. All my friends had plain, ordinary shoes, and I was embarrassed to walk in front of them. That’s how Sharon feels about her beauty. She’s as embarrassed by it.

— Roman Polanski

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She was kindness itself to everybody and everything around her — people, animals, everything. She just didn’t have a bad bone in her body. She was a unique person. It’s difficult to describe her character. She was just utterly good, the kindest human being I’ve ever met, with an extreme patience. To live with me was proof of her patience, because to be near me must be an ordeal. She never had a bad temper, she was never moody. She enjoyed being a wife. The press and the public knew of her physical beauty, but she also had a beautiful soul, and this is something that only her friends knew about.

— Roman Polanski

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All of you know how beautiful she was, but few of you know how good she was.

— Roman Polanski

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Blog Awards Round Up And The Mission Everyone Should Accept

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Over the last couple of weeks I’ve managed to get not one, but TWO blogging awards! I’m always amazed to get just one, but two?! Holy guacamole.
The first award, The Creative Blogger award, comes from mlbradford. I love Brad’s site so it’s an honor to get an award from him.
The second award is The Blogger Recognition award courtesy of Elena. Elena has a great site filled with great insight into films and books. Please go check it out.
I’m going to cheat a little and nominate just five bloggers for the Creative Blogger award. The nominees are…
Reel Red Reviews
Back to the Viewer
Assholes Watching Movies
MovieRob
The Movie Review Dude

The (well, my) rules:

  • List 5 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 5 blogs

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Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation
Praise Xenu! Tom Cruise has made another incredibly fun action movie. It’s a blast from start to finish. Is it believable? Hell no, but who cares? I loved Tom as always and his crazy stunts. It really does add something vital to the film knowing that he is actually doing them. But my favorite thing was Rebecca Ferguson. I watched her on The White Queen (I should really finish that show) a few months ago and fell in love with her then. She’s a great, very talented actress. And she’s a surprisingly good action star. It’s great to see more good, well rounded female characters in action films these days (this movie, Fury Road). I really like Ilsa because while she is sexy and beautiful those qualities don’t define her character. And while she and Ethan Hunt have chemistry, the movie never resorts to contriving a romance between them. They seem more like two highly skilled spies that can admire and respect each other. Rogue Nation gets 9 BMWs out of 10.

Genre Grandeur – Pine Barrens (Sopranos episode) – The Girl That Loved to Review

For this month’s Genre Grandeur I chose to relive my favorite episode of The Sopranos. Check it out over at MovieRob’s site!

darkFor this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Dark Comedies, here’s a review of Pine Barrens (Sopranos episode) by Sherise of The Girl That Loved to Review

Thanks again to Reut of Sweet Archives. for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Steven of Past Present Future TV and Film  We will be reviewing our favorite B&W films prior to 1990. Please get me your submissions by the 25th of August by sending them to b&w@movierob.net  Try to think out of the box! Great choice Steven!

Let’s see what Sherise thought of this episode:

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Dark Comedies: The Sopranos, “Pine Barrens”

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I love dark comedies. It’s probably my favorite genre. I could have picked a million different ones to do, but instead the first thing that came to my mind was… a television show. A very specific episode that is branded into the…

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Trainwreck (2015)

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I don’t normally go for comedies. They are almost always disappointing, But something about the combination of Judd Apatow, Bill Hader, and the seemingly more realistic representation of a modern day 20-something woman appealed to me. Trainwreck is directed by Apatow and written by suddenly super popular comedian Amy Schumer.
I’ve met Trainwrecks. Some of my best friends are Trainwrecks. I myself am not one, but I found the story of a commitment phobic young woman still relatable. I really enjoyed the small moments in the film, where the characters are talking about random stuff instead of anything that progresses the plot. Amy is funny in a way that manages to appeal to both men and women. She also turns out to be a pretty good actress, handling both the funny scenes as well as the more emotional ones.

Please go away Lebron, that's enough.
Please go away Lebron, that’s enough.

I laughed until I almost cried at the John Cena moments. He was hilarious and had good comedic timing. Tilda Swinton is great, but severely under utilized. The other big cameo, Lebron James, was nowhere near as successful for me. It was quite evident that Lebron is not an actor. And his scenes seemed to drag on and on (that Cleveland scene was not funny nor was the useless ‘intervention’). Bill Hader did well, but I was disappointed with him more so because of the script. He is a very funny guy, but in this film he has nothing to do. I know it’s Amy’s movie, but more from him would have made it funnier.

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What I really didn’t like about the film was the message it seemed to impart. The message is that women are supposed to get married and have kids and if they don’t they are weird. Which seems strangely divergent from a lot of Amy’s jokes. Amy (it’s quite convenient that her character in the film shares her name) often makes fun of her sister and her perfect family life. But by the end of the film, when Amy changes her ways and becomes a cheerleader for Aaron (Bill Hader) it becomes obvious that motherhood/marriage is the only acceptable path for a woman. My boyfriend said the cheerleader scene is supposed to be about Amy proving she can take risks in order to be with Aaron. And this is true, but I don’t like the implication that because Amy wasn’t focused on pleasing a man and being a mother before that somehow she was a failure and broken. Amy seemed to have it pretty good, a good job and doing whatever she wanted. I think it’s good that the character grows and matures, but I think it is for the wrong reasons.
Trainwreck is better than most comedies, but it’s far from perfect. Trainwreck gets 7 John Cena asses out of 10.

Memorable Moments: Beatrix and Bill

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The Kill Bill movies were my first introduction to Quentin Tarantino films when I was a relatively young girl. They still stand out as some of my favorite films from QT. Beatrix Kiddo is an amazing creation, the perfect female heroine. She is strong, both physically and mentally, she’s resilient, and she’s determined in her need for revenge. But she is very much human. She has moments where she doubts herself and her abilities. And every victory she has she really has to earn. She’s truly admirable and kick ass.

I love Kill Bill volume 2, especially the ending. I know a lot of people prefer the first film, it’s faster, more action driven. But I prefer the more emotional second film. Because it’s a little different than QT’s usual fare. There are still shocking, bloody scenes and terrific dialogue. But it’s all driven by the love/hate dynamic between Beatrix and Bill. I love the moments between Beatrix, Bill, and their daughter. They are sweet, tender, almost normal moments. There is a minimal use of music/score and nearly no action. The dialogue and the emotional power struggle of the characters dominates these scenes. I love how layered Bill and Beatrix’s interactions are. There’s this extreme hate, but also a lot of love, admiration, and respect between the two. This is largely because if the great script, but also Uma Thurman and David Carradine deliver amazing performances. The scenes feel so tense because the characters could kill each other at any moment. It’s edge of your seat film making created by dialogue instead of by action and score (as most films do).

Ray Donovan: Season 3, Episodes 1 and 2; The Kalamazoo and Ding

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Congrats to Liev on his first Emmy nomination for Ray Donovan!

The first episode of this season worried me a bit, so I was waiting to post anything until the second episode, when I got a better feel for where the show is going this season.
I’m a little worried because I think Ann Biderman, the show’s creator, did a great job as showrunner for the first two seasons. She had a distinct vision and certain things about Ray, LA, and the Catholic Church molestation scandal that she wanted to explore. But apparently she went over budget both seasons, so Showtime fired her and brought on a new showrunner for season 3. I’m worried that as a result the show is becoming boring and mediocre as there is now a severe lack of creative energy that drove the first two seasons.
The worst thing about The Kalamazoo (episode 1) is that it is boring! What a terrible sin for a television show to commit. I’m a huge Ray Donovan fan and it really hurts me to say that. But I could anticipate all the beats of the episode before it even aired. Ezra dies. Ray’s separated from Abby. Ray hates Avi. It was all so predictable. Other than Abby rescuing that beautiful dog, that was somewhat surprising. Ray has virtually nothing to do, but look morose. And Ian McShane and Katie Holmes also had nothing to do. A very lackluster season opener.

Surprisingly my favorite moment so far.
Surprisingly my favorite moment so far.

Episode 2, Ding, was a mild improvement. The episode is largely about the characters enjoying punishment, self-inflicted or otherwise. Ray gets beat up, Terry gets stabbed, Bunchy gets verbally abused. Bunchy and his budding, abusive relationship with the Luchadora is very funny. I don’t know how believable it is, but it’s a nice twist for the character. Paige (Katie Holmes) and her duplicity was also a nice twist. As much as I love this show, the female characters have always been a major problem. They’re all bitchy and unlikeable. Paige is both these things, but I think there’s potential for her to be a great character. So far Katie Holmes is doing a great job. Superficial critique, but OMG I was shocked by how terrible her teeth look. Fix that shit Katie!
These two episodes of Ray Donovan get a 6/10.

Eddie Marsan as Terry Donovan.
Eddie Marsan as Terry Donovan.

Tidbits:
• Mickey is a hero/pimp. Sounds about right.
• Terry in jail. How long can he survive?
• Andrew Finney (Ian McShane): “Kafka said in man’s struggle with the world, bet on the world. Do you agree?”
Ray: “No.”
Finney: “People like us, you bet on the man.”

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• Ray’s coping method (screwing random chicks) hasn’t changed.
• Mickey is babysitter to bratty, Shirley Temple wannabe, Audrey (the daughter of a prostitute).
• In Terry’s absence, Bunchy is now manager of the gym. WTF, Bunchy can’t even hold down a job, now we’re supposed to believe he’s managing a business?
• Bridget is very upset that Ray isn’t around and blames her mother. Both Ray and Abby are being really shitty parents.
• Creepy Priest is creepy. He’s spying on the Donovans, trying to figure out what happened to the dead priest.
• Episode 1 ends unoriginally with the song “Hotel California.”
• SNAP meetings are taking place at the gym?! Bunchy is leading them?! WTF is going on here????????
• Ray: “I don’t call cops, Abbs, that’s your thing.” BURN!
• Avi has started his own business, wants Lena to be his partner.
• WTF WAS CONOR DOING?! FUCKING HIS BED?! WTF?!?!
• Damn, I like this Luchadora, she has a wicked attitude.

• Abby feeds her dog off of Ray’s diner plate. That simple action speaks volumes.

Childhood Films Blogathon

Me and my dog, Hunter.
Me and my dog, Hunter.

Let’s Go to the Movies has a great blogathon celebrating the films we loved when we were kids. I’m a 90’s kid, so my list is heavily influenced by that time and the Disney renaissance. Films were very important to me when I was a kid. I am an only child, so when I was very young I spent A LOT of time alone. Movies, and the characters within them, were essential to my childhood. When I think back on that time, I realize that movies were integral to developing my imagination and instilling in me resilience. The three films that influenced me the most are:

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Don’t ask me why, but for some reason Sarabi was my favorite character (do you even know which character that is?!).

1) The Lion King

This was, and still is, my favorite Disney film. I grew up surrounded by animals, particularly cats, so of course the movie with lions would be my favorite. The sequel, Simba’s Pride, is also surprisingly good and I loved it as well. I remember running around pretending to be a lion. The animation of The Lion King is brilliant, it still looks great to this day (yes, I saw it in 3D a few years ago). I’ve always loved music and the soundtrack to this film is also amazing. I still listen to the music on my iPod. And yes, I cry every time Mufasa dies. I remember the day in high school English when my teacher dropped the bomb that The Lion King is basically Hamlet. It was earth shattering news for a class of 90’s kids.

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2) Aladdin

I grew up in the 90’s, a great time for Disney studios, so it isn’t surprising that two of their films are on my list. As a little girl, I had a lot of Barbie dolls and Sailor Moon dolls. I also had a Jasmine doll that came with a great Rajah stuffy (cats again). So I had all these girl dolls and the only male one I had was Aladdin. So he was a huge part of the soap opera-esque stories I would invent as a kid. He was frustrating though because his head would always fall off. Pop, and it would come off. He was a strangely jointed doll. The story of Aladdin appealed to me because I found the locale of India to be beautiful and very different from anything I knew. Again, the music in this Disney film is great. And Jafar has always been my favorite Disney villain, he is so delightfully evil.

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3) The Land Before Time

My last influential film is surprisingly not from Disney. I don’t actual know what studio it’s from. But anyways this movie, and its sequels, was HUGE for me.
One of my earliest memories is sitting on our old fold-out couch when I was sick one night and watching it with my parents. My parents broke up when I was four so it’s pretty much the only memory I have of all of us together. I loved dinosaurs so much as a kid and The Land Before Time is why. It had a huge influence on my imagination. I had a huge amount of dinosaur toys that I used to parade around in a herd. Every toy had a name and a distinct personality. I remember even using an old dinosaur slipper as a toy (I only ever had one slipper for some reason).

When I look back it’s amazing for me to see the impact movies have had on me from very early on in my life. They fed my imagination when I had no other stimulation. I guess it isn’t so surprising that I’m a movie blogger now. What are your favorite childhood movies?

My Second Liebster Award/Ray Donovan is Tonight!!! AKA I’ve Been Slacking on My Blog Lately, But Someone Still Thinks I’m Awesome

The clip up there is one of my favorite moments on televison. Anyways, Drew over at Drew’s Movie Reviews recently gave me my second Liebster award! Thanks so much Drew, it still amazes that people actually read and enjoy my blog. Drew has a great blog filled with movie reviews and weekly movie quotes.
So here are my answers to Drew’s questions:
1) Can you wiggle your ears? I just tried and the answer is no, I cannot.
2) Do you watch any web series? If so, what’s your favorite one? No, but shout out to my favorite Youtube channel CineFix which is about, you guessed it, movies.
3) What is the first movie you remember watching in the theaters? I’m not sure, I think it was possibly Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. But my most memorable experience was years later when I saw LOTR: The Return of the King with my mother. She’s not a big fan of the trilogy, but she likes the costumes and Liv Tyler. So we’re watching the movie, I’m loving it, she’s not, and then halfway through the power goes out. We sit there for half an hour in the dark. My mom’s bitching, saying she’s not gonna come back and sit through the movie all over again. The theater people are starting to hand out free tickets to see the movie another time when, bam! The lights come back on and we get to watch the rest of the movie. I was thrilled, my mom was not.
4) Do you prefer 3D or 2D movies or are you indifferent? Don’t really care, but I haven’t ever seen a 3D movie that wowed me or where the 3D seemed essential.
5) Do/Did you play any sports? Which ones? Nope, but I would love to play more tennis (someone be my partner!)
6) What is your favorite card game? Desert Rummy! My boyfriend and I played that a lot last summer.
7) What is your favorite board game? Monopoly, especially on my Disney themed board.
8) What is your favorite video game? Ooooh, really tough question. Batman: Arkham Asylum has my favorite video game story, really excellent. But I love the Tomb Raider games, I love playing as Lara Croft. These days I’m playing GTA V which is really excellent, great story and game play.
9) If you had a time machine and could go back in time without consequence of messing up the future, where and when would you visit and why? It’s really hard for me to choose, but I would go France prior to the French Revolution, when Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI (is that 16?) ruled. The opulence, the dresses, I love all of it. It would be great to see Versailles during that time.
10) Do you have a motto or mantra? No, but I like “Kindness is magic” from Ricky Gervais’s show, Derek. It’s probably something I should practice a little more.
11) What is your favorite thing about blogging or being a blogger? Simply feeling heard. I don’t really get to discuss my love of movies much in my day to day life, so here I can unleash all that passion with people who understand.

That’s it for my Liebster post, you can go check out my post from May to see who I nominated then and some random facts about me. It just seems too soon for me to nominate more people right now.
Ray Donovan Season 1 Half-assed Review
The third season of Ray Donovan premieres tonight!!!!! I am so excited to see what Ray and new addition, Ian Mcshane get up to this season.
So I managed to re-watch the first season recently. Admittedly the show starts off a little faulty; so many characters to introduce at lightning speed. But around episode 9 the show goes from pretty good to amazing, edge of your seat tension. I love the dramatic action that occurs near the end of the season. In part because it has some surprising twists and turns. But I really love that the action serves to further show the audience who these characters actually are. Because that’s the real strength of the show: the acting and the characters. It’s an amazing ensemble cast that works best when they can bounce off each other, for instance in a locked up gym with three brothers and a pedophile priest. My favorite episode, possibly of the whole show, is episode 11 “Bucky Fuckin’ Dent.” The other great thing about the show is that there are real consequences for everything that happens. That’s what Season 2 is all about, the consequences of all the characters’ actions at the end of Season 1. Here’s a post I did last year that sums up the end of Season 2: https://furiousreviews.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/ray-donovan-season-2-episode-12-the-captain/
Liev and Jon Voight are two of the best actors around and their confrontations are incredibly compelling, especially when the audience finally learns why Ray hates his father so much. I love the show because I love Live, but I also love Ray and can somewhat relate to him. His troubled relationship with his father, as well as his struggle to be the best man he can be are very relatable issues.

Tune in to Showtime for Ray Donovan Season 3 starting tonight!