The Walking Dead Recap: Season 5, Episode 2: Happily Ever After…Well Sort of

The Walking Dead Recap
Season 5, Episode 2
**SPOILER ALERT

Last night’s episode was a good scene setter for what I think will be a lot of exciting episodes to come. With The Walking Dead, each season or two seem to centered around a specific place or getting to said location. They have visited the farm, the prison and traveled to and left like a bat out of hell from Terminus. I have always enjoyed Season 1 because they were not trying to get anywhere, they were just trying to survive. In last night’s episode they came upon a church and whether they will stay there or not I am not sure. I really hope that this doesn’t turn into the church season. I really would like to see them hit the road and to find Beth.

Is it just me or does it feel like no one cares that Beth is missing other than Daryl? Hello people  remember the little blonde chick, you know the one that drank moonshine in the woods, the one who had the coolest dad ever and before Tyrese was the best babysitter?

Enough with my ranting, let’s discuss the episode at hand.

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Upcoming Movies I Want to See Because…

Ever since Luke over at Oracle of Film did a post about upcoming movies, it got me thinking about all the new movies I want to see. I just went on a binge and watched a ton of trailers. I thought I would share the ones I am most excited for and the trailers so you could check them out too. Do tell, what movies are you excited for? Which movies just make you geek out with excitement? What movie do you want to see because….? You can be shameless no judgement here!

Movie I want to shamelessly watch because I just need to see Christian Gray’s butt: 50 Shades of Grey

Movie I want to see because I love Jake G. and because he is uber hot and because it actually looks really good too: Nightcrawler

Movie I want to see because Eva Green and girl of the moment Shailene Woodley is in it and looks like a mind bending weird movie: White Bird in a Blizzard

Movie I want to see because I think Miles Teller will finally shine as an actor: Whiplash

Movie I want to see for fun and I don’t care if it totally sucks: Horrible Bosses 2

Movie I want to see because it is one of those coming of age flicks with an indie twist: Very Good Girls

Movie I want to see because I like the name lol: Dear White People

Movie I want to see because we finally get to see Sansa Stark not be her usual GOT character: Another Me

Movie I want to see because it could total be a Shiftfest contender and it is Eric’s worst nightmare: Bad Johnson

Movie I do not want to see because I hate JLO, anyone who calls themselves by 3 letters should just never be allowed to make movies: Boy Next Door

}}Melissa

The Walking Dead Recap: Season Premiere, Season 5, Episode 1: Eat Your Heart Out Terminus

The Walking Dead Recap
Season 5, Episode 1
**SPOILER ALERT

I have been missing doing my recaps since Game of Thrones ended a while ago, but thank goodness The Walking Dead is back and this is a perfect one to get the conversation going again. So what happened last season? Let’s do a quick recap, the gang was last seen in Terminus, that sanctuary that was supposed to be joyful and safe, turned out to be pretty scary and was starting to look like a camp for cannibals instead. Rick and the whole gang  minus Carol, Tyrese and baby Judith, were stuck inside a storage container and locked up from the world. All of the TWD fans have been waiting patiently and seeing so many clips about what was upcoming and the excitement to start the season was intense. The producers and writers of the show are so smart and really know how to build that drama and get the world talking about their show.

Let’s get started and talk about all the fun stuff that went down.

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SDFF 2014: Bad Country (2014)

Bad Country
Directed by Chris Brinker
Written by Jonathan Hirschbein

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**I saw this film on Day 2 of the San Diego Film Festival, after Project-M. It was fun to watch it with my fellow bloggers/writers Ana and Courtney, check them out, they both have great sites. The movie was interesting, but I think I had more fun with them than anything else. Has anyone else seen this? Curious to hear your thoughts!

The crime drama Bad Country was directed by Chris Brinker, famously known for producing the Boondock Saints films, who died suddenly when the film was in post-production. He was never able to see the fruits of his labor, but his work was honored last year at the San Diego Film Festival and this year they were able to bring it to the festival as a special showing. They also held a Q&A session moderated by Jeffery Lyons after the film was shown with the producer and one of the stars of the film Tom Berenger. It was heartwarming to hear that his family has kept his legacy alive; they started a charity in his name whereby they give scholarships out to local San Diego students who are interested in pursuing their dreams of becoming film makers. Regardless of whether or not it was a great film, making a film is a feat in of itself, and I am glad that they chose to recognize him and honor his memory by bringing it to audiences.

Set in 1980’s Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Bad Country is about police detective Bud Carter (Willem Defoe), he is a tough, hard-edged guy who is relentless in his pursuit of justice and bringing down the bad guys.

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Carter follows contract killer Jesse Weiland (Matt Dillon) on a string of theft and murders and coerces him into becoming an informant to give up his crime boss, Lutin (Tom Berenger). Weiland at this point really has no option; he just had a newborn baby with his wife (Amy Smart) and despite being a hardened criminal he does want to be there for his family, so he acquiesces.

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Weiland faces a lot of issues with trying to get Lutin captured. Crime bosses can always smell a rat and Lutin definitely begins to question Weiland’s motives.

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The movie has a lot of action packed sequences and shoot-outs, but overall the story fell flat. There were times where I felt a bit bored with what was going on and it may have been that the story was not properly told. The sequences were fun to watch, but overall they did not add any significant, impactful moments to the story.

Dillon and Defoe both did well with what they were given. Those actors can always give spot on performances, but it didn’t really push them in any way or really show us what they were made of in regards to their craft. Defoe had a tiny role in The Grand Budapest Hotel and in it; he shined, so to correlate screen time to a good script is immeasurable.

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The type of story presented was almost reminiscent of Mud and The Paperboy, it had that gritty, back woods kind of feel to it, but it lacked depth to make it more interesting. I believe this film had a lot of potential and maybe some of that was lost due to the unfortunate circumstances that were behind it. Had they been able to polish the story up a bit more and develop the characters in the editing room floor that could have tremendously helped the film.

If you like action movies and you want to sit back and watch a little gun slinging, then you may find this one fun to watch. Honestly, this movie was just not for me. Other than that, I would suggest checking it out when it comes on cable for free.

}}Melissa

SDFF 2014: Project-M (2014)

Project-M
Directed by Eric Piccoli
Written by Eric Piccoli, Julien Deschamps Jolin, Mario J. Ramos

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**I had the pleasure of seeing this on Day 2 of the San Diego Film Festival. I used to love watching foreign films and it has been a while since I seen one, so this one was quite a treat. Check it out and let me know what you think!

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick gave audiences a film like no other, one that breeches the idea that human beings are not alone and in the infinite vastness of the universe, anything is possible. Alonso Cuaron most recently gave us Gravity, a beautiful film that shows majestic nature of the galaxy and space travel, mixed with the harsh realities of being an astronaut. The French-Canadian film, Project-M, gives audiences something that feels like a combination of the two movies I just mentioned, mixed with the feel that we are watching a documentary or newsreel of the incidents that occur in space.

Project-M is directed and co-written by Eric Piccoli, which features four astronauts who are chosen to lead a unique space mission; it encompasses living on board the space station for three years while doing research. Only the best and the brightest are chosen and it is felt that whoever can withstand three years in space and come out successful, will most likely have a bright future ahead of them. The mission has been funded by Quebec in hopes that they will find fresh water on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.

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The President announces it to the world and everyone is excited about this new venture into space. The four chosen astronauts are Vincent Kohler (Jean-Nicolas Verreault), he will command the mission and has notoriety as the second person to stand on Mars, Dr. Andrea Sakedaris (Julie Perreault) who is both the doctor on board and second in command, engineer Justine Roberval (Nadia Essadiqi) and the scientist Jonathan Laforest (Julien Deschamps Jolin).

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Throughout the film, we get both the viewpoints from each astronaut in space, along with news footage and interviews of people who are on Earth and also part of the mission. Each one talking about their role in the process and how they all know each other and have worked hard together to put this mission into place.

On board the space station, there are moments of revelry as when one of the crew sneaks in a bottle of champagne, they get a little drunk and let loose. We also start to find out who each person is and what kind of life they left behind, which are depicted with flashbacks of their life on Earth. On the mission, their lives seem so separated and far removed from what they used to be, they left behind relationships, both broken and good with family members and significant others and they left the pleasures of life to forge new territories in space.

900 days into the mission, suddenly the screens on board the station start to stream live footage of Earth being pummeled with bombs. From their viewpoint, Earth is lighting up like a Christmas tree all over the world. Their connections are being lost and they have no insight into what is going on and if the people they love are still alive.

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From here the entire movie feels almost like a reality show, we are watching how they react to this problem, both mentally and physically how it takes its toll on them. There are a limited number of supplies on board and how the astronauts choose to handle situations is enlightening.

The movie feels fresh in a sea of films that always seem to reiterate the same ideas and perspectives. Throughout the film, the scientist Jonathan plays his piano on board the station; the classical music gives the film an almost haunting feeling. Being up in space can feel perilous and daunting and the music chosen works perfectly to produce those feelings.

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A lot of the shots make Earth look far away, distant, like a world that they have not ever encompassed or know anything about since they are so far removed from it now. I like that it was shown in that way and the special effects worked well and didn’t feel cheesy or fake.

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The space station looked beautiful and the lighting that was chosen for different parts of the station made sense in conveying the nature of where they were and their feelings. The control station was darker with muted undertones, considering they had the reflection of dark space outside of the window, in other areas like the medical room and in some hallways; it was bright and stark and showed the sterility and orderliness of being in an enclosed vessel.

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Not only is this film a look at being an astronaut and scientist in space, it is also a postcard for humanity. How do humans react to one another when they know their lives are on the line? How do they feel when they realize that they are not alone in the world and they are only a speck of oxygen in the vastness of the world? And are they alone in space? These questions are posed and we see the scientists try to answer them and come to terms with themselves and their lives.

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Not having ever seen any of the actors before, helped me in not having any preconceived notions about them. I think they all did great in the film and I would love to see more of them in American films, so they could be shown to a larger audience. One of my faves had to be Jolin, he was able to present emotion on a deep level and convey that without being too heavy handed. By the way he also co-wrote the film, so bravo to him for being able to pull both feats off.

I wouldn’t say this movie is absolutely perfect, in no way shape or form, but it is unique and that is one of the reasons I enjoyed watching it. At points, it has lulls in the pacing and it felt a bit slow, but I think those moments can be overlooked.

I would love to see this movie again and maybe even dig deeper into what I saw. This one may be harder to come by, but if you get the chance and can find it I would suggest watching it. Especially if you like sci-fi and anything related to space travel, then I think you would enjoy it. What do you guys think of the premise of this film? Does it interest you and would you want to go to space for 3 years?!

imagesEQY5NYVZ  (Just another day in space)

}}Melissa

SDFF 2014: Laggies (2014)

Laggies
Directed by Lynn Shelton
Written by Andrea Seigel

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**I had the pleasure of seeing this movie on Day 2 of the San Diego Film Festival. It was so much and I had a blast watching it with my fellow blogger friend James. Be sure to follow him guys, he is a riot! I wish I could have more movie nights with my bloggers, I am sure it would be entertaining to say the least. Enjoy!

The idea of being a female twenty-something, a millennial living in society today, has become a recent hot topic. Think of HBO’s Girls and the film Obvious Child, growing up is hard and the way our mother’s and grandmother’s grew up is a lot different than it is today. Women have choices now, they don’t have to get married at 21 and they can choose to follow their dream jobs without being scoffed. With all the choices out there and the pressure at the same time to conform to the norms of marriage and childbirth, young women today are having an even harder time to figure out what to do with their lives.

I can personally say as a thirty-something, who doesn’t have kids, that living for yourself, and by that I mean doing whatever is that you want to do, whether it be travelling the world to write or to work at a bank or to be a stay at home mom, sometimes get in the way of what other people want for you. In the film Laggies, directed by Lynn Shelton, 28 year old Megan (Keira Knightly), has a post-quarter life crisis, feeling pressured from everyone around her to be who they want her to be, she decides to basically take a sabbatical from her life and retreat from the ones she loves.

When she touches the nipples of a Buddha statue at her friend Allison’s (Ellie Kemper) bachelorette party, they look at her with disdain and tell her she really needs to get her crap together and stop being so childish. Megan lies to her friends about her job at her father’s (Jeff Garlin) tax company, she makes herself sound more successful, but really she is just a sign spinner for his business.

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Her boyfriend Anthony (Mark Webber) who she has dated since high school wants to get married and wants her to figure out what to do with her life. He proposes to her and she suggests going on a personal retreat to get her life together and when she returns she promises they will get married.

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On her way home from her friend’s wedding, distraught and confused from all the decisions she must make, she meets a group of teenagers, Annika (Chloe Grace Mertz) the boldest of them, comes up to her and pleads with her to buy them alcohol. Most adults would probably say no, but instead Megan complies and not only buys them booze, but decides to stick around and hang out and drink with them. Hanging out with them seems a lot easier, than making big life decisions.

Instead of going to the retreat, Megan decides to spend a week hiding out at Annika’s house. Her father, Craig (Sam Rockwell) is a divorcee, when he meets Megan he is equally confused as to why this older chick is hanging out with his 16 year old daughter and sleeping over. She makes up a story and he allows her to stay there while she gets her apartment, supposedly figured out. What ensues from there is a whirlwind story of learning how to make hard decisions in life and maturing in the process.

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I really enjoyed this movie, it was funny and light-hearted, yet it had its moments where the story was deeper than what was shown at the surface level. I am so used to seeing Knightly as a serious actress, nine times out of ten she is wearing a period costume to top it off, so to see her looking like an average girl was refreshing. I feel like I always expect Knightly to be equally smart in her films and in this one, she really is not, she is the opposite type of person that she normally plays.

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Rockwell was probably my favorite out of the whole cast. The character of the father was not only funny, but he brings to it his own sensibility and dead pan humor.

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Mertz was also good, she is able to play against established actors with ease and she brings a lot of depth to a teenage character. Although she has her moments, where she acts like a typical teenager who laughs about nonsense, she can hit the deep notes to create a profound moment. Garlin is always fun to watch on screen and he is compassionate and heartwarming in his role as the father.

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I think a lot of people could relate to the characters in the film and can say they have probably felt like one of them at some point in their life. This is definitely a fun movie that is worth watching and is perfect for a date or a night out with girlfriends.

tumblr_mznithgfPA1rhtm94o1_500  (They’re pretty dang adorable!)

}}Melissa

SDFF 2014: Movie Review: Wild (2014)

Wild
Directed by John-Marc Vallée
Written by Nick Hornby
Based on the novel by Cheryl Strayed

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**This was the opening night movie for the San Diego Film Festival 2014. The crowd was pumped and excited to kick it off. Jeffrey Lyons opened it up and if Mr. Lyons is excited to watch this, then hell I am too! Check out my review and let me know your thoughts and if this sounds like something you would be interested in checking out.

If one was to tell the story of their mothers, their relationship to them and attachments, what kind of story would be told? The answers would be varied, different and completely unique to each individual. In the film Wild, Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) tells her narrative and the journey she took in order to come to terms with herself and her life. Based on Strayed’s autobiographical novel Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, the first person-memoir that details the hike she ventured on, the people she met along the way and the journey that took her over 15 years to tell.

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At the heart of the story is her connection to her mother Bobbi (Laura Dern), the bond they formed over the years and what she saw her mother go through with her father and her mother’s unbreakable kind spirit. Her mother was a different type of person, she started college when Cheryl was in college, she remained upbeat and happy despite being continuously beat down and penniless, as long as she had her kids and her horse, she was a happy woman. Not until Cheryl takes the journey does she realize that her mother had an influence in on her life and that inside of her she would always carry her mother’s spark and essence inside of her.

Directed by John-Marc Vallée, who has just come off the heels of his success with Dallas Buyers Club, he was able to aptly convey the emotions and feelings of the book by soliciting a performance from Witherspoon that was outstanding and powerful. Not only did he show the emotional and physical anguish that Strayed had to endure, but the overwhelming vastness that is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). To hike the PCT, which extends from the border of US and Mexico all the way to Washington, was accurately depicted as both difficult to tame, yet equally majestic.

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Cheryl makes the decision after a series of impactful events, which have lead her down a road of self-destruction and loathing, to hike 1,100 miles across the PCT to find and make amends with herself. The journey combined with the backdrop of the trail was breathtaking and emotionally exhilarating.

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Upon hearing of its release I wondered how such a story would be told in a movie format, considering the story in the memoir is told in a pretty straight-forward manner. Instead Vallée takes the ideas and stories, plays with them by mixing and matching them to fit into the story that he is trying to tell, while at the same time keeping the essence of the story intact. He utilizes flashbacks and rapid cuts to bring Cheryl back to points in her life, both happy moments and the ones most people want to forget like meaningless sex with strangers and drug use.

All of these moments and flashbacks always bring her back to the present, the hiking of the trail, filled with days where heat exhaustion feels imminent and others where the snow is so deep she can barely walk. Everything she has faced in her past is what pushes her to keep going, to endure what not many people, let alone other woman would be prompted to do all alone.

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Despite the deep nature of the movie, there are times where humor is interjected and it helped to lift the mood. One of the funniest moments is when she is asked if she is a hobo due to her disheveled nature, a reporter is adamant in believing she is one, so much that he hands her a can of beer and chips to help her on the road.

The entire movie is told through the perspective of Cheryl, her highs and lows, intense hunger pangs and thirst for Snapple, vulnerability and smugness are all told through her eyes. For this movie to work, I believe it had to be told this way. To get other characters’ feelings involved and their own biasness towards particular incidents, only would have been a disservice to truly understanding her growth and maturation throughout the film.

The use of symbols also moves the film narrative, the tattoo on her arm, the one she shared with her ex Paul (Thomas Sadoski), the fox in the woods and the black feather in her backpack, the marks on her body. All of these symbols mean something grander in the scheme of her life and they were all coping mechanisms for times when she was going through pain.

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I would have liked to have seen more exploration of the characters she meets along the road. Such as her relationship with the hiker Greg (Kevin Rankin), sexy Grateful Dead loving dude Jonathan (Michiel Huisman) and the three buddies who bond with her on the trail. These characters play a much more significant role in the book, but in the film they were highly understated and vaguely told. Perhaps this was done in order to build and highlight Cheryl’s story alone.

Witherspoon was fantastic, her acting was raw and different, I have never seen her in this light. We feel her emotions, her frustrations with life and the trail; at times all we hear are her grunts and sighs, as she exudes the feeling that she is all alone. The only voice and noise she can hear is the slight rustle of the leaves and her breath. As an actress, she had to convey all that without saying any words or resting upon a heavy written script. She could definitely be in the running for a best actress nod come award season.

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Another heavy hitter and who stood out to me was Dern. She was heartwarming and endearing and with her eyes conveyed a lot of the sensibility and sadness that lurked deep within her soul. Dern pops out on screen and I think she was a perfect choice to play the mother.

Overall, I think this was a great movie, it has a bit of an artistic edge to it and doesn’t feel as big and Hollywood-like as I thought it might end up. The soundtrack was also equally great and really went well with the film. If you like stories that dig deep, then this may the movie for you.

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tumblr_mq5dmjgoKB1r6xvfko1_1280 (The author aka OG Trail Killa’)

}}Melissa