Tag: Shailene Woodley

The Mauritanian

I have had to google this title so many times since I received a screener for it. I cannot have my mind wrapped around The Mauritanian. When I try to type it without looking at the title, my mind goes to The Martian, and that damn The Manchurian Candidate.

Saying it isn’t that bad, while reading it, but then it goes through my brain and out the other. I hope I accidentally type this enough times with the posting of this review so that I will be able to remember the damn movie name.

Mauritanian. Mauritanian. Maurtanian. Mauritanian. Mauritanian. Martanian. Martian. Fuck.

Oh, this intro is rambling, I literally knew nothing about this movie going in to watching it, so let’s get on it with it.


Yeah. Hurry up and shine a light on the movie’s plot. 

Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim) is stuck in (had to google the spelling) Guantanamo Bay. He has been for years, despite no charges being placed against him. Everything they want him to talk about he denies, and he gives them info when he can, but he seemingly is not the high stakes Al-Qaeda member they think he is. 

Damn it. They need people to blame and punish for 9/11, and they are sure he is one of them. 

Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) is a lawyer who has been a defender of the constitution and often goes for clients who no one else  wants to touch. She doesn’t know if she can trust Slahi or if he is innocent. But she does know no one should be contained in a facility, and probably tortured, for any length of time without charges or a chance of a trial. 

So they will have to take on the American government, and George Bush, and the war machine driven by patriotism post 9/11 at the risk of basic freedoms for people who need help the most.

Also starring Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Levi, Corey Johnson, and Denis Ménochet.

“Is that someone breaking the constitution I see?”

The (looks at the top of the review) Mauritanian would pair really well with The Report, which also dealt with finding out information about the torture that was taking place in (looks up earlier in review) Guantanamo Bay. We know it now, and honestly, it still doesn’t feel like a big deal, and that really sucks. In The Report, I walked away thinking that the methods were really gross and uncomfortable and my life didn’t change. After watching The (looks up again) Mauritanian, I am even more disgusted and disturbed and I fear nothing will change.

Like, parts of this movie are going to be extremely triggering for people. We have the standard stuff you might be imagining: Blinking erratic lights, sleep deprivation, food water/scarcity, lack of bed, loud metal music, long periods of standing.  But they did a whole lot more too. We have rape. We have threats of harm to family members. We have threats involving bringing family members to Guantanamo, frail old ones, who will then also be raped, and hurt. Just to get info out of someone who knows nothing. 

Oh, this is a true story by the way. The Guantanamo Diary tells the story of a prisoner’s life for 14 years, of his torture, of his lack of rights and his struggle to just stay alive. Fuck.

The acting from Rahim is top notch in this film, and its saving grace, because everyone else is forgettable. (I did enjoy Cumberbatch’s accent though). He is hard to hate and easy to love, and you hate that this is happening to a person on America’s watch. And we know a lot of this happened, to many people, good or bad. It is disgusting. 

I would say some of the camera work in the flashback scenes are something that almost dropped this movie another rating. But I like the story, and think it is important story worth seeing and experiencing. It is okay going into it knowing eventually he will be freed, but despite that, the struggles are still felt. 

The (damn it) Mauritanian might just be forgotten about over time, like The Report quickly was, and what constantly happens about torture. But for now, it is rough, and worth the watch. 

3 out of 4.



Hey, you hear about that Edward Snowden guy? He leaked a lot of USA secrets, namely what they were doing to the American people. Spying on everyone as part of the NSA.

Yeah! Big crazy stuff. And this patriot is now still living overseas in Russia, granted a temporary asylum. He is willing to come back to the USA if he would get a fair trial, but he knows he won’t and thus, a giant stalemate.

And if you watch the documentary Citizenfour, you will get the inside scoop of how he leaked the data to a few press markets and their plan for getting him out to safety. It is thrilling and great, which is why it was nominated for so many awards. Hell, it won best Documentary.

So this Snowden movie, off of its success, is meant to tell his story before the leak and a little bit after it. A regular biopic. But also, Oliver Stone directing, so you know a lot of shenanigans.

Computer shenanigans are some of my least favorite shenanigans.

Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a smart dude, worked for the USA, stole from the USA, and is about to be on the run. The USA didn’t know he stole from them until the leaks began to happen, but he was a paranoid sun of a gun who knew how to keep his tracks hidden and knew how to keep his profile low.

He tried to join the military in his youth, he really did. But he broke something during a drill and got booted out, with knowledge that his foot was frail and had a big potential for more ouchies. So he instead found himself getting a job with the intelligence agencies. Sure, he doesn’t even have a college degree, but he was self taught and really fucking good at computers.

So Corbin O’Brian (Rhys Ifans) gave him a shot. They knew the next wars would be fought with computers, not nukes, and they had to make sure the USA had the biggest and best computers for when it all started.

But what drove Snowden to eventually stealing and spreading out the secrets? Did he get a moral code? Did he get beat up at school? Or was it his very liberal girlfriend (Shailene Woodley)?

Also starring Nicolas Cage, Scott Eastwood, Tom WIlkinson, Timothy Olyphant, Melissa Leo, and Zachary Quinto.

Her color choices make her look like a cartoon compared to Snowden.

Snowden is the most important thing to leave Elizabeth City, NC since the Wright Brothers left it to go to Kitty Hawk and learned to fly. And in a way, Snowden sort of taught us all to fly, didn’t he?

The problem with a biopic after a really good documentary is that it has to be really fucking good or else it won’t stand up to its predecessor. If they really want a biopic, they gotta come out before the documentary if they want a time in the sun. Just ask the movie Nina.

And in this case, this movie goes over so much the documentary does not, but still, it feels shallow in comparison. Honestly, who cares about them before? Unless Snowden also is the reason the spying happens, his life and story before the point are insignificant. The only part that’s that matter is how he got access and why he decided to tell the world.

So don’t see Snowden. Watch Citizenfour, get active in politics, do something. Don’t just continue to watch Oliver Stone movies and move on with your life.

1 out of 4.


The official name for this film is not Allegiant, but The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1, and that is down right terrible for a few reasons.

One, the first movie was called Divergent, not The Divergent Series: Divergent. You knew there would be more movies, you shouldn’t try to change the series names after you have already started.

Two, I didn’t name my review for the second one The Divergent Series: Insurgent, I just did Insurgent like a sane person.

And three, of course they took the third book of a trilogy and split it up. It will make them more money, regardless of how much it hurt the product (see Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2). But they have absolutely no reason to throw “Part 1” at the end of the title. You know why? Well, the title of the fourth movie isn’t even The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 2. It is The Divergent Series: Ascendant. There is no Allegiant – Part 2 officially, even though the fourth and final film is the second half of the Allegiant book.

What a fucking clusterfuck of a titled series.

Group Shot
Thankfully we have teenagers with attitude to save us.

At the end of the first film, I thought out gang was leaving the walled city of Chicago behind, to advance the plot. I was wrong, they just went to the woods outside of Chicago. At the end of the second film, I thought everyone was leaving the walled city of Chicago behind, unified and scared, to advance the plot. I was wrong there too apparently.

Right away, Evelyn (Naomi Watts) now in control, decides it is best for the gates to be sealed and everyone be locked in. Security is ramped up and there to be trials for everyone on the losing side. Mentally at this point, I was about to throw my pen at the screen and walk out. If they don’t ever leave Chicago I will freak out.

Thankfully, I guess, our small crew of characters still wants to break out and see the world. Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller), Christina (Zoë Kravitz), Caleb (Ansel Elgort), and Tori (Maggie Q). This makes them traitors, so Evelyn has Edgar (Jonny Weston, our wannabe Jai Courtney) to hunt them down.

So what’s on the other side? Well, a lot of desolation. Some war shit happened. Nukes and all. But they are found by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a scary sounding company for sure, who let’s them know that Chicago was an experiment and more secrets about the world. I will let them stay secret. It is led by the director (Jeff Daniels), who is happy for Tris being Divergent, because it means their experiment worked!

Tris is now a hero who will save the world, and maybe save the impending war in Chicago. The remaining crew are working surveillance and security for the BGW while she has all the fun.

Returning actors include Octavia Spencer and Daniel Dae Kim. New people are played by Nadia Hilker, Andy Bean, and Bill Skarsgård.

The future is so weird and full of fucking CGI.

I have a lot of problems with this film and I have to get specific to let you know some of the things that really irked me. So there will be spoilers, arrr. But here is what it has to boil down to: the writers. No, I don’t mean Veronica Roth, the writer of the book. I don’t plan on ever reading them, but I have heard the final book is terrible. So maybe the studio agreed, because they hired three people to write the screen play, Bill Collage, Adam Cooper, and Noah Oppenheim. The first two co-wrote The Transporter Refueled (sigh, with Luc Besson) and Exodus: Gods and Kings among other things, and Oppenheim was one of three people on The Maze Runner.

They do not have the best credentials behind them, but more importantly, none of them worked on the previous two films. So not only did they apparently stray away from the source material of the books, but they collectively just went off the rails with no regard for continuity, characters, or sensibility. This movie is, dare I say, stupid. A childish word not meant for a serious movie review like this one, but the only one that really fits. Scenes are loosely connected by the plot, but with people who seem to not remember the past in any way shape or form.

All of my best actions seem to be about Four and when he gets to the Bureau so let’s just use him. He is put on security, told it will take him a long time to get used to the new future tech before he can go on missions. He figures it all instantly, of course, he was a fantastic fighter dude. He wants to go on the next mission, is told no, but like in a “No, wait don’t do it, no” apathetic way. Literally no one tries to stop him doing anything. Getting on the space ship, interacting with the natives, seeing what they really do with the natives. There was no resistance at any way, as the writers didn’t even know what they were doing.

While on the mission, he is yelled at by a commander who thinks he shouldn’t be here because he is too new and should stay out of trouble. You know who is sitting two seats away from him? Fucking. Christina. Also from Chicago. No way as good of a fighter as Four. But apparently she also did everything in the short amount of time (despite barely acknowledging her once they arrive), can also go on missions, and is given no shit. Hell, she even gets to interact with the natives and let Four know what is up, in front of everyone, and no one still cares. It was terrible to watch as the film was full of these tiny -> big inconsistencies.

But hey, at least the camouflage makes sense for this film!

This happens to be the type of film where 90% of the problems would be solved if the main characters would just actually talk to each other. Of course, lazy writing prevents this, turning it into a lame RomCom, without the Com and very weak Rom.

And really what really boils my corn is the ending. Look back at my description of how the first two films ended. This one ends with everyone ready to leave the walled city of Chicago behind, unified and scared. What makes me so upset about this ending is that it is almost exactly the same ending as the second film. Sure, things happen in this film, but outside of some knowledge gained, every single relevant person is in the exact same position they were a movie ago, totally going to do the things they promised to do this movie. Shit. This film series is like a horrible time warp, making me relive the leave Chicago plot over and over without ever really getting to do so.

I fully expect the final film to begin with everyone collectively breaking their legs, so that they all have to stay in Chicago for the whole film. That is the level of quality of writing I have come to expect from this franchise and next summer cannot come soon enough so that it can finally be over.

0 out of 4.


The Divergent series has the honor of being the next Hunger Games series, movie wise. Even if The Hunger Games still has one more movie yet to come out. You know. Successful trilogy, third one split into two boring as fuck movies to milk more money out of teenagers. Whatever.

I wanted to like Divergent a lot more than I did. But, TL;DR, it wasn’t a completely original dystopian plot line like it made it look like. It was kind of nonsensical at points, left a lot of questions, and it ended up just being a damn high school clique movie, in its most basic form.

HOWEVER. Insurgent can be something completely different. If the ending of Divergent is any indication, Insurgent shouldn’t be a shitty high school clique movie. It should be a smarter sci-fi dystopian action movie. Class warfare shouldn’t be an issue. Just rebels vs the government. Good. This one can be a huge improvement.

Pls don’t let me down. Plsssss.

Food Fight
I was just as surprised as everyone else over the erotic lunch based three way scene.

The last movie ended with our heroes, Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) escaping out of Chicago and heading past the wall into the magical world of the unknown. After all, the wall was put up to protect them from the dangerous outside that had monsters and bad people and shit.

Wait a minute. Sorry. No. They just go into the forests outside of the city? Not outside of the wall? Oh…well then…okay. I guess they are just hiding out from the hippies, trying to figure out what the hell Jeanine (Kate Winslet) wants to do, now that she took out all the working class selfless people. That’s right, only four factions now fuckers. The nerds, the jocks (which are scattered and small), the student government, and the hippies. Because it is still a high school in Chicago. Speaking of those factions, we get to see things from the hippies and the student government finally. The hippies are lead by Johanna (Octavia Spencer) and the SGA is lead by Jack Kang (Daniel Dae Kim, of Lost fame!).

Either way, the plot of this movie is our heroes on the run. Not physically, because apparently it is super easy to hide from almost everyone in Chicago, despite them only using like 5 buildings for most of the population. Their GPS systems must all be out of wack. Also, Jeanine found this mystical box under Tris’ old house that her parents were hiding. That is why she killed them by the way, looking for the box. Didn’t you know that they wanted it from the first movie? (I literally don’t remember it, but it may have been hinted or mentioned). The thing is, this box has a message in it, written by the founders of the caste system. It will let them know how to deal with all these Divergent assfaces. They just need a really strong divergent to open it. Hmm, wonder who that could be…

This movie has a huge number of other people of course. We get the return of Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Stevenson, Maggie Q, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn, and Zoe Kravitz. But we also have new people, like Naomi Watts and Keiynan Lonsdale! Woo~

Oh, and didn’t you hear that this one featured Bieber?*

As soon as I finished this movie, I was immediately asked by people what I thought about it. And I shrugged. I didn’t know. It took me a long time to figure out exactly what I liked, disliked, and how I thought about the film as a whole.

Here is one thing I know for certain: Insurgent is better than Divergent. For sure. I had a lot to complain about Divergent. You might have heard about me doing so in my review of Divergent. But I still thought it was at least okay. So here is another thing I know: Insurgent is not good enough for me to give it a 3 out of 5, the like it category. It is a 2 out of 4 like Divergent, just a better 2 out of 4.

I was able to see this movie in IMAX, only my second movie to do so after Edge of Tomorrow, and it did feel good on the gigantic 3D screen. It had a lot of CGI based special effects going through these tests or whatever they were called and for the most part the looked pretty decent. It had more action than the first film. Real action, not bullshit “dangerous training”.

On the other hand, the plot was pretty basic. It was very predictable, especially when it came to reality versus simulation. The only wild card was Miles teller. We mostly just had teenage angst carrying the rest of the plot, so it was pretty linear. Major plot points seemed like they were added on as an afterthought (read: that box thing that wasn’t mentioned in the first film at all). And of course, this film still doesn’t feature outside Chicago, which to every one that isn’t a book reader, was pretty sure how this one would start. But whatever.

The film also still features a huge amount of confusing plot decisions and material. Maybe reading the books would fill the gaps, maybe they are shitty in the book too. Who knows. I know this is still entertaining enough to warrant a watch, but not enough for me to want to buy any of the series still or read the books. And the last movie being another shitty two parter means the franchise is probably at its high point right now. So sad. Please go back to Spiderman, Shailene.

* – Bieber jokes are still funny, right?

2 out of 4.

White Bird In A Blizzard

If I was a White Bird, I would stay far away from blizzards.

Correction, if I was any color bird, I would stay away from all forms of snow. Fuck that. Birds and snow don’t go together. I am also under the impression that penguins are secretly fish. I don’t think my bird body could deal with snow, let alone lots of it.

So sure, a White Bird In A Blizzard may be impossible to see, but if you are any bird in a blizzard, you are probably fucked regardless, right?

Maybe the moral of this movie, that I haven’t watched yet, is that you are fucked either way, but sometimes you are fucked and invisible.

What? This shit isn’t even a metaphor? She is literally in a blizzard people, wearing white, and being white!

First off, get your time machines ready, this movie takes place in the past. Namely, the late 80’s and very early 90’s. So not too distant, but also before some of you were born.

No cell phones, no GPS, no facebooks, so when Kat’s (Shailene Woodley) mom, Eve (Eva Green), goes missing, there is not a lot they can do to find her. She vanished with no trace and no sign of fowl play. Kat’s dad, Brock (Christopher Meloni), is terribly shook up. Brock is a beta bitch, a pushover, and really doesn’t know how to live comfortably after this news. It seems Eve just grew a bit crazy, being a housewife, not getting to be as wild as she used to be, having to make dinner and stay at home all day. So she just bailed, especially when Brock didn’t really fulfill her sexually.

And who could fulfill her sexually, based on her movie history? And based on his TV history.

Either way, all of this has messed up Kat’s social life a bit. She is blossoming into a flower and doesn’t want to be like her mom, so she has sex when she wants and with who she wants. Usually her neighbor/boyfriend (Shiloh Fernandez). But maybe older men who she shouldn’t be messing with. Maybe.

Oh well. Life sucks. Kat feels lost. And she has to rely on her relationships, her friends (Mark Indelicato, Gabourey Sidibe) and the Detective (Thomas Jane) to help her get by unscathed without being too messed up.

A strong independent black woman and a gay male, the best of best friends represented.

Whoa. This movie dealt with some serious issues. Let’s compare them to Miss Woodley’s other work!

Divergent didn’t really deal with anything serious, as it was clearly just an intense high school film. She didn’t make it into the final cut of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie, so no issues at all. The Fault In Our Stars was about death and life at a young age, so we are getting closer. And The Spectacular Now also had a lot of serious issues.

But the issues in this movie are definitely the most serious. And most shocking, given her status as a younger franchise leading woman now. Because this movie deals with a lot of sex, and because of that, sex happens, and yeah, I can see why maybe the Divergent producers maybe wanted to hide this movie from the general public. They might not want their young star being in movies all naked and having sex with older men. Might ruin imaging.

This might be why White Bird In A Blizzard didn’t get a super wide or public release. It kind of just snuck out of nowhere on my radar. It is based on a book, but who cares.

Or or or or hey. Or maybe. Just maybe. It didn’t get a wide release because it wasn’t the best film?

I mean, it had some nice moments. But it also had a lot of dull ones. I don’t think it fell into too many cliches, it just didn’t really seem like a movie that would never stick with me too long after watching it. I won’t forget about the entire movie in a month, just most of it.

2 out of 4.

The Fault In Our Stars

If there is one thing that has been made abundantly clear over the last few years, it is that teenage based romance novels turned into movies make a lot of money. Why? Fan girls, mostly. But as long as it is teenage and romance, then it will make money. Most of them have seemed to do well, assuming they actually have a big following, unlike random shit like Vampire Academy.

Which is why it should come to no surprise that The Fault In Our Stars was breaking presale records.

Even if the movie ended up being shitty, I can’t get mad at it being made. Because after it gets made, then it is done and over. This is not a trilogy that will have the third book getting broken up into ten parts. Just one complete story, no cliff hangers, no bull shit. And really, that makes this feel a little bit more special for me.

Hilary Rodham Clinton
I can see they are also showcasing the Hillary Rodham Clinton look in this movie.

Speaking of being special, Hazel (Shailene Woodley) is a girl who had cancer when she was thirteen, got over it, then had some lung issues. Now she has problems breathing, has one of those oxygen tanks by her at all times, going into her nose. Kind of hard to be a normal teenage girl like that! She can’t make friends, or even a boyfriend.

Until she goes to a support group. There she meets Isaac (Nat Wolff), a guy going blind from his eye cancer. But he isn’t important. His friend, Augusts Waters (Ansel Elgort), who is there to support Isaac is the important one. He had some cancer stuff, lost half of his leg, but now he has survived and wants to live life to the fullest. No worries. No problems. And he wants to do it all with Hazel.

Hazel is of course unsure of this boy. How could anyone like her? She has plastic in her nose!

Well, after finding out he is also pretty smart, willing to read the same book she likes and discuss death in a nice way, then yeah, she kind of likes him.

They have some goals. Like figuring out a way to go to Amsterdam, not for debauchery, but to see a recluse author (Willem Dafoe) and his assistant (Lotte Verbeek) to figure out what happened to the characters after the book ends and to talk about life and death. Augustus wants to be remembered when eventually goes away. Hazel just wants to be loved before she goes away even earlier.

Also starring Sam Trammell and Laura Dern as her very optimistic parents.

It is good to see Dr. Ellie Sattler still getting work. Even if it is awkward.

The first half of this movie, I was sitting in the theater wondering what is the point? It felt extremely basic, and almost a shitty non realistic love story. Bordering on disliking the film entirely.

Then the second half happened.

If there is one thing you hear about this book/movie ahead of time, it is probably that it is sad and to bring Kleenex. Well, that seems to be absolutely true. I can’t actually point out the number of times I cried, just that it happened on multiple occasions, sometimes for scenes that were pretty long. They just kept happening, both from being sad and beautiful/sweet.

And that literally is most of the reason I have to talk about this movie. Very touching and sad and beautiful. A first half that drags, and a second half that is a tear jerker. Does that mean it is great? On its own, it just means it knows how to tug on our emotional strings. Yet at the same time, I loved it for doing so.

I didn’t think the acting was anything special. I hated a few of the plot points. But at the same time, I think this is the type of movie I could watch multiple times and still feel an emotional connection with it, knowing what happens or not. That is a solid enough reason for this rating, in my eyes.

3 out of 4.


Divergent, or as I like to call it, the next fucking recent young adult sci-fi/fantasy series to have taken off, has been turned into a movie. Weeee.

A lot of these lately have been terrible. Did you see The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones? I did, it was ghastly. So was Vampire Academy. The only recent successful one of these was The Hunger Games, which had a dystopian aspect, just like Divergent, and just like this random other movie The Maze Runner later this year.

So, will it actually be a nice parallel of society? Or will it just be made to make teens feel special? That’s the important question with these adaptions.

And here is the main characters ass as promotional material.

Beatrice (Shailene Woodley) is an Abnegation tribe member. What? Okay. This story takes place in Chicago in the future, after a big war, they have built a big wall around the city. They have split members into big tribes, each having a trait. Abnegation people are selfless, run the government, wear grey, simple lives. The Amity are peaceful, hippies, farmers. Not really talked about in this movie. Candor wear white, are honest, and just say whats on their mind. Yeah, another kind of pointless tribe I guess. Erudite are the smart people, doing smart stuff and wearing blue, the smart colors. Dauntless wear black and leather, the brave, the cities police force and protectors.

Well, Beatrice is about to go to her choosing ceremony, where she picks her faction she will live in from then on. Her parents (Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn) are big in Abnegation, and want her and her brother (Ansel Elgort) to stay in their area. Well, during her test to see who she actually fits in with most, her results are inconclusive, equally selfless, brave, and smart. It is called being Divergent, and it should be secretive, because people don’t like free thinkers?

Well, Beatrice, now Tris, chooses Dauntless, as she always liked them. Now she has new friends (Zoe Kravitz), and has found out that just because she chose Dauntless doesn’t mean they have picked her. Of the recruiting class of like 40-50 students, half will be cut after weeks of training based on physical skill, and then another half will be cut after emotional/mental training. So only like, 10 or so people will actually make it. Yep. This movie is mostly a training movie. Ha ha! Fooled you guys!

This gives us characters like Four (Theo James), her main trainer and probably love interest. Or Eric (Jai Courtney) a much meaner training guy. Kate Winslet is a mean smart woman, Miles Teller is a mean new Dauntless recruit, and Ray Stevenson is a mean Abnegation leader.

And shit, this movie has ninjas too!

So I felt like again, if I had read the book, parts of this movie would make a lot more sense. Just like every other damn young adult adaption. Here are brief thoughts about my ramblings, that as far as I can tell didn’t get answered in the movie. Some are just world building questions that would have been very helpful.

How often does this choosing ceremony take place? Multiple times a year? How old are you when it happens? I guess the main character and her brother are not twins, but born close enough that they have to choose the same year? Does every faction have a long ass training process for when people join? I wonder how strict it is to train to be a hippie. Why did Tris not learn about what a Divergent is until her test, and only because she was one, but as soon as she does, it seems to be common knowledge for every other person what it is? With all the cuts the Dauntless people made, they literally only gained like what, ten recruits? How the fuck is that helpful? Did the plot really need to wait for the ten new recruits for something other than training to start taking place?

If the point of the faction system is to keep people in their place and get rid of human nature, why even let them choose what faction they live in after some random age? It seems like it’d be better to have the false notion of a choice, but in general, make everyone stay where they came from. Honestly, how does early life in other factions like Dauntless even work? Are there any parent type people there at all? It seems very messy to have people trained in a faction type for blah many years, and switch to a different faction, giving them awkward skill sets, that clearly they never lose after switching factions.

Really, this movie is literally just a high school movie, put into a Sci-Fi setting. We have cliques: jocks, nerds, hippies, normal people, and I guess gossipers or something. We have a high school girl, Tris, who feels like she doesn’t fit in with just the normal people, so she tries sports. She tries to also be smart. So she is a nonconformists, and all the conformists want to get her for being different. Or something like that. That is what the movie boils down to.

It was a cool concept, but I also feel like the writer has no idea what the fuck she is doing. Just making an interesting story and hoping it works out. There is a good chance the second movie is better, given that it will take place outside of Chicago. Wait, why is Chicago now bad? They beat the main bad guys? It should be easy to fix now? Eh, whatever.

I guess I should also note the trailer is pretty misleading. It makes it look like because she is Divergent, she joins some group of underground fighters who train her and then they attack the government or something. Nah. Well, she gets trained, but the Divergent-ness seems to be mostly pretty pointless overall.

2 out of 4.

The Spectacular Now

I only saw the trailer for The Spectacular Now once, but I knew immediately I just had to see it. So many reasons really, but I could tell ahead of time it might be something that I would enjoy.

Damn it, now my bias is showing. I am so embarrassed.

Not as embarrassed as these two when they realize that car is rolling down hill.

Teenage romance. A typical film plot line, but maybe not so typical in this film.

We have Sutter (Miles Teller), life of the party, everyone’s favorite joker, he lives in the NOW. Oh hey, movie title. He could apply to college, but that can happen later. Not like college is anything special. His girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson) was one of a kind, and everyone loved them and they loved each other. Until his easy goingness got him in trouble and she dumped his ass, this time for good.

So Sutter does what Sutter does best. He drinks away his problems, and has the night of his life, maybe. He passed out, waking up on a lawn thanks to Aimee (Shailene Woodley) with his car no where in sight. Also, who the fuck is Aimee?

Some girl in his grade, he doesn’t really know her, but she knows him. Life of the party. Well, Sutter is on the rebound, and thinks he is a nice guy, so he starts to hang out with her and invite her to things. But that dang alcohol keeps going down into his stomach, so next thing you know, he has kissed her and invited her to prom. Did I mention he still kind of likes Cassidy still? Yeah, he is a jerk.

Broken homes, broken dreams, Sutter has a lot of growing up to do. He is going to be eighteen soon, and his life needs to change for the better before it is too late.

His family is played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, mother, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, older sister, and Kyle Chandler, missing father. Shit, even Bob Odenkirk is in this movie, but just a little bit.

Huh, I wonder if she made her prom dress out of the same material of that shirt? Or I guess she really likes yellow.

Ughhh. Fucking movies these days going for realism. A different amount of realism than they were back in the day. Back in the day, actors might have mumbled their lines, or messed up their words, and they would keep them in the take, because that shit is natural. That doesn’t happen as much anymore.

No, this is realism in a different way. I am sure each take took multiple times, but more ad libbing or something is now allowable for these actors. There is no way a lot of these dialogue scenes were read word for word, it just can’t be true. They flow really well and they all seem like things people of that age would say. I know its hard to understand, but it is hard to explain. I smiled throughout the film, due to the realism of the characters and the dialogue.

The film shows drinking in a negative light, but they also explain why the drinking happens, and you don’t hate the main character, you feel sorry for him, and you understand. Until he is a dick to Aimee, no, then you hate him again. So much rage.

The film doesn’t follow the standard path films of this description tend to take. There are some obvious moments, but there are other moments that come out of no where, like a bus from Mean Girls. The acting by our leads was fantastic, and I was also impressed with Kyle Chandler in his smaller role. Shit. It had a lot of stuff going for it. I am worried I might start thinking Miles Teller is a real actor now.

4 out of 4.

The Descendants

Hooray for movies nominated for academy awards!

That is what I would say if I was snobbish. But would a snobby person care about The Descendants, since the only thing it did was win best adapted screenplay? No one cares about that, unless you are the Dean from Community.

So lets just open this up in my normal way, and not a fake snobby way.

Hooray for movies with George Clooney!

Hooray for them not being political in nature!

The movie begins with a woman water skiing getting fucked up. Or at least her happiness right before the fucking up occurs. Then we get GC narrating. Ah, his wife is now in a coma, brain damage. That sucks. Their marriage has been drifting apart, sure. But this is not something he wanted to happen, or ever considered happening. She raised the children, while he was the breadwinner. While being a lawyer himself, he was also the sole trust member of the thousands of acres of land his family owned.

Why? Because he is related to King Kamehameha, and it has been passed down through the generations.

Due to some law, in a few years he will lose the land, so his family is looking to him to sell it to many potential buyers who would like to use it for tourist sites, ruining the natural beauty. He has all the power, but damn it, his wife is about to die! Both of his children are acting up, who he has never really had to raise or look after on his own before. Amara Miller is the younger daughter, living at home with him, and Shailene Woodley is away at boarding school.

The movie is about his character having to make such a great decision, while also dealing with the loss of his wife. Loss? Yeah, in her will she said she didn’t want to be supported on a machine with no hope of coming back, so the plug has to be pulled. He also has to tell all of her friends and relatives of the decision. Including one man he didn’t know existed, the man who his wife was cheating on him with.

Matthew Lillard plays that man, and Judy Greer his wife. The friend of the older daughter, Nick Krause, is also in this movie, as a jack ass who speaks what everyone is secretly thinking.

Punch in the face
He also might get punched in the face pretty often.

So why is this movie good? You know why, George Clooney. He is an awesome character. Super relatable, minus the whole rich thing. I did bust out laughing at more than one occasion, but part of it was because the lines Clooney said wee so good. Id like to think I would say the exact same things as him, but I am not as cool.

Everyone else does a good job too, making the movie seem real, which was exciting. The Hawaiian feel didn’t hurt either.

The film was nominated because it was an all around good movie, and its not even artsy.

3 out of 4.