saditycents











{August 26, 2016}   Movie Review: Z for Zachariah

Z For Zachariah

Z For Zachariah 
Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine

PLOT: The last three people on earth are struggling to survive; secrets, suspicions and threats are revealed to show true human nature when you are the last humans on earth.

I haven’t read the book, but this film makes me want to read it. I thought it was curious that they changed the title character’s name to “John.” Perhaps as a means of creating greater mystery in the film. I find the ending both intriguing and infuriating. I like that it was an apocalyptic tell full of mystery. There was no definitive cause for the desolation of the population, there isn’t even a clear good and evil. I like films that make you work as the audience. However, this film made me work and didn’t provide equal payoff. Though not every question needed to be answered, I wish some of the burning mysteries of the plot line had answers that were alluded to in a more concrete way. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it would have been nice to have at least an 80% certainty of what happened or at least some kind of moral undertone or message. Instead, you come in with questions and leave with more questions. With that said, I thought the acting and suspense and silent moments were wonderful. I will say, had I not read other reviews I would have never known that this was supposed to be set in America and I don’t think the director should have tried to set the film in America. The scenery clearly wasn’t American and the actors weren’t either. They were so refined in their mannerism that they should have just stayed true to their European roots. Besides, who says that the only surviving people of the Apocalypse will be American? Still, its worth the watch.

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{August 12, 2016}   Movie Review: A Beautiful Belly

I know I haven’t done movie reviews in a long time on this site, but I’m doing this thing where the many blogs and social media sites I’ve shared my opinion on are now all converging on Sadity Cents. It’s just to hard to keep my life segmented like I did before.

Anyway, I probably will only review a few movies, but I plan on reviewing movies that are outside of mainstream. There are enough people discussing the latest block buster. Rather, I want to use this forum to highlight independent films and documentaries that I enjoyed. Things you may not have heard of, just to bring awareness. I will warn you the genre will probably be mostly in the relm of “Christian movies, I don’t find corny.” Because they are so hard to find. But I promise to keep them short and sweet… (mostly) 🙂

A Beautiful Belly

 

Chris Worley

A Beautiful Belly

PLOT: After an unplanned pregnancy and a hasty marriage, an aspiring children’s entertainer and his bar-tending wife are forced to confront difficult choices about their future.

I thought it was realistic. It didn’t have all of the Hollywood stereotypes. There was a dad who actually enjoyed being a dad. Moms who worked non-traditional jobs. Christians who didn’t spin out a Mary Poppins scene. Nor was their Christianity shoved down your throat, or made a mockery of, or relegated to Sunday only. Rather it was integrated into their everyday life without discussion or fanfare. It showed a realistic theme that when things happen fast, adjusting can be hard, and when you neglect your spouse they will seek comfort other places. Neither is right, but sometimes its life. Life isn’t as black and white as Hollywood makes it. Still the film showed that just because you are tempted doesn’t mean you have to give in. I liked the redemptive quality of resisting your initial emotions and doing what is right and honorable.

 



I am so ashamed of myself, yet proud when I get the job done. To be a campaign worker you have to be extremely persistent, not unlike the ultimate sales person. I find it comical because my undergraduate degree is in Communication which is a field of study which opens you up to a lot of sales job offers. I HATE sales, so the fact that in many ways I am in a sales position is just funny to me (funny as in not at all, but you can’t help give wiry laugh at the irony).

I have flash backs to all the great sales movies I’ve seen and I try to summon their determination to hit their quotas. Well, I’m still working on the determination, but I have the pitch down pretty well. To the point that sometimes, I just feel ashamed after a call recruiting a volunteer. Ashamed, yet elated that I nabbed another one… Sure she may never come back, but at least I got one shift. What can I say, its a dirty business and I’m competitive. Don’t judge me!

If I didn’t feel like I am the evil means to a righteous end, I might feel bad. In an effort to reestablish my road to salvation, I took time to reflect on my recently developed character flaws. Instead a decided to create a blog post. Side Note: For all the crazies who feel like they want to respond, this is in jest. For all my campaign workers, you know the deal.

1) I find myself praying for peoples recovery solely so that they can return to the campaign:

2) I have no patience for people who want to talk, but don’t want to volunteer.

3) I find most conversations with people who don’t work 7 days a week / 14 hours a day (so everyone) end remarkably similar to this:

4) I’m finding it extremely hard to be the “nice girl” to people I find apathetic…

5) Its even worse when you refuse to help the campaign, but then want something (like tickets to an event).

My rant for the day. I honestly don’t believe civil engagement should be optional, especially when people seem to have no problem opting into complaining sessions.



1) Revenge

I hate it. I love it. Who are we kidding, I can’t get enough of it. The story line is wrought with twists and turns. I watch every episode wondering what the new cliff hanger is going to be… and yet. Yet, it’s almost too much. You’re telling me that Daddy Dearest was able to anticipate the motives, thoughts, and actions of people twenty years in advance in order to properly prepare his daughter for revenge? Am I to believe that this little pampered girl, spent some time in foster care and juvie and all of sudden is cunning and wily enough to take down all of these sophisticated businessmen, and women, who have made it a way of life to be deceitful. I think not. I think not.

Though I love the storyline, I don’t tune in every week. I HULU (yes, I’ve turned it into a verb) the show about once every other week. I need time to digest the new cliff hanger, and shocking information revealed. I also need time to stomach the over acting. It’s no surprise that many of the lead actors hail from soap operas, teen dramas, and other overacting-type shows (Everwood, Brothers & Sisters,  Roswell, Gossip Girl, etc.) and former models (Gabriel Mann aka Nolan Ross) . In fact, my favorite characters are the most trained, though I didn’t know it when I developed an affinity for them: Madeline Stowe, who plays Victoria Grayson. Madeline Stowe has some training from the University of Southern California in film and cinema. However, she has appeared in a number of episodes and TV movies over the course of a quarter century. I often think that some of the better actors are the ones who have had the opportunity to play a myriad of characters. Stowe is definitely one of those people. This is really the first time she has been a series regular in a television series. I hope she doesn’t get stuck in a rut and basically lose the ability to change with each role (i.e. Tom Cruise — but that’s a different post).

The other character I enjoy is Ashley Davenport played by Ashley Madekwe. It was no surprise to me, when I learned that she was classically trained at the Brit School of Performing Arts (an extremely prestigious performing arts academy, notable alumni are Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, and Kate Nash) and is an alumni of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Iwan Rheon, from Misfits, also studied with LAMDA. I should also note that Josh Bowman is also a British trained actor. While none of the lead male characters are reason enough for me tune in, I think Bowman’s character, Daniel Grayson, is my favorite of the men… go figure.

Side Note:My absolute favorite of the male characters is Courtney B. Vance, but he isn’t a regular nor a lead.

Hence, once again, I continue watching, mostly for the performances of specific actors, or in this case actresses… and the twists. I think I’m waiting to see how ridiculous the show can get.

2) The Vampire Diaries

I’m late on the vampire front. I wasn’t really a Twilight fan (Gasp). I only recently got into Anne Rice, who is the better of all the vampire writers, (recently being 10 years ago when Aaliyah was Queen of the Damned)… Almost 25 years too late. However, I stumbled onto the Vampire Diaries, because I woke up in the middle of the night and caught an episode. I spent almost a week catching up on the season. Once I started I couldn’t stop!

For a teen drama, I find myself not rolling my eyes nearly as much as I thought I would. Some of the initial appeal was Nina Dobrev. I admit it, the Degrassi connection was there. The whole savior of the world story line is a little much and very cliché (Side note: I think it says something about our youth driven liberal culture that seems to reject religion, yet is constantly recreating the Judeo-Christian storyline). Also, the actors are somewhat melodramatic. One thing I enjoyed was the brooding sexual tension between Damon and Elena, come to find out their dating in real life… Oh I get it. That’s just real sexual tension. LOL!

Paul Wesley, plays Stefan Salvatore, I like him well enough but he lacks facial expressions. For someone who got his start in soap opera’s (Guiding Light) he hasn’t really mastered non-verbal acting. I mean sure he has the intense brooding stare down, but you can even switch that up. If I wasn’t listening to the dialogue I would have no clue about what is happening with him and that is a shame. To be honest it  kind of bugs me. Most of his intense stares in the beginning just came off as stalker-ish and creepy. I’m not sure a girl like Elena would have fallen for a guy who so obviously wears eyeliner. Overall, I don’t have any deep criticisms of the show mostly because it doesn’t try to be anything but what it is. A teen drama. Really, it made the list because I have some continuity questions and questions bug me (… that and my pure shame at enjoying such an obvious teen drama compels me to put it on the list to save face).

a) If vampires can hear so well how come simple things like stepping outside or turning on a blender can interfere with their bat sonar hearing?  On the same note, why are they still surprised by people who come around the corner or ease drop on them from behind a wall or in another room? They can’t hear  them breathing?

b) Why was Elijah (Episode Title: Rose)  able to tell that Elena was the doppelgänger by sniffing her and realizing that she was human? Why were the Salvatore brothers unable to smell that Katherine wasn’t human and therefore, was not Elena?

c) Also related to Kathrine, why didn’t anyone notice the hair change? Curls like that take time, you just saw her a few minutes ago, wouldn’t you notice different hair? Also, why didn’t anyone set up a code word, how hard would that have been?

d) Why are all the witches Black? Are the writers trying to say something? I get many have been related to Bonny, and the writers didn’t have enough imagination to think that a Black witch could have White relatives, especially when her lineage intertwines with the American Slave Era  (two words: Thomas Jefferson or Sally Hemming… It happens).

e) Why was Caroline’s transition to a vampire so quick when everyone else seemed to evolve slowly overtime? I mean she woke up craving blood… Who does that?

f) When Katherine was in the tomb, how come it took both Damon and Stefan to move the rock that covered the entryway, when Caroline was able to open it without much struggle by herself, when Elena went to see Katherine? If they are older and stronger shouldn’t it have only take one of them?

There are more continuity questions, but those are the one’s that really bugged me.

Overall though, I keep coming back for the cliff hangers. I love them. It’s funny, when CW cut The Game for more teeny boppy shows I was through with the network. Seriously, I didn’t watch the channel for almost two years, but now they are my guilty pleasure… ssshhh… don’t tell anyone.



1) Body of Proof –

From the very first episode I got the impression that this show was going to be one of those series that featured a arrogant, cocky, personality who has no realistic reason for being cocky and yet never finds redemption. I am into episode 20 and I have not seen evidence to the contrary. First, the lead character Megan Hunt, killed a patient while performing neurosurgery with a nerve condition that caused her hand to shake. Her husband left her and took full custody of their daughter. This didn’t even make sense. What judge in their right mind would take custody away from a parent for medical malpractice? If it was that serious she would have been facing criminal charges and jail time. Rarely, if ever is a person’s professional mistakes used as a determinate in custody matters, especially if it’s the mother in question (hard fact, there is a different standard for women in custody cases). However, even with the loss of a relationship with her daughter she never shows remorse and she never even considers the fact that she is wrong.

Beyond my disdain for the main character, the writing takes awkward turns. It’s only a matter of time before the show goes under because there is nothing in the writing that makes you want to connect with the characters. The only show that has ever been able to successfully pull off a profession-focused storyline without involving the personal lives of the characters is the Law and Order series and this AIN’T that series. No where close. This show fluctuates between focusing the story on the in office relationships and shining a spotlight on the personal lives. It doesn’t work. Because of the schizophrenic storyline focus the audience doesn’t have a chance to become attached to any portion of the characters’ lives. At the beginning of the season they came close to creating a bond by showing the home life of Megan’s daughter, Lacy, with the ex-husband. Yet the writers removed him with a random job offer in California that he eventually didn’t take anyways. Yet somehow Megan still took custody of Lacey.

With that relationship scenario destroyed, the writers created a romance between Megan’s partner, Peter, and driver for the medical examiner’s office named Dani. That relationship showed potential to ignite the show and create an investment. Yet Dani died in a random epidemic that took up two episodes and was completely unrealistic. Megan, the neurosurgeon, all of a sudden became a pathologist and outdid the most skilled pathologists in the country because she did a pathology internship once upon a time. Let me tell you that alone is unrealistic. The amount of time it takes to garner medical credentials and specialties of any sort takes an entire career. Yet in this show Dr. Hunt not only is a neurosurgeon she also has above average knowledge in other specialties that would rarely overlap with neurology. Those two episodes were probably intended to boost ratings but they were a nail in the coffin for me. The magnitude of the epidemic that they supposedly suppressed would have changed the title wave of the country and yet afterwards it’s business as usual.

So why do I keep watching? Honestly they have actors I enjoy so I keep watching hoping the show will find it’s groove. But I can tell there is no chemistry on set.

Just yesterday I was catching up on my Bones. Talk about a show that has jumped the shark during it’s time. But I keep watching. Why? Because they took the time  to develop the characters and make me invested in them. There is also a clear chemistry on the set. How many shows have it’s original core cast after all these years? I mean yes, the interns have switched so many times the shear inconsistency has become apart of the storyline, but the characters we care about remain. Even Dr. Soroyan. She’s not an original, but she has become a fixture (by the way, I think they could have done so much more with her character). Even she has an established place on the show. Body of Proof missed these vital steps in it’s first season. There is too much movement in the line up and not enough depth in the characters. Maybe I’ll finish the season out, just to see if they can get their footing 😉

2) Tracy Ullman’s State of the Union – It’s not that I actually can’t stand this show, it’s just that I don’t think it achieved what it was supposed to achieve. Now some may think this is a mute point because it isn’t even on the air anymore, but the entire series is on HULU, which is becoming a primary source of entertainment media for people, so it deserves mentioning.

The humor is British in many ways, meaning it vacillates between slapstick and dry humor, yet the topics are American. The show probably would have been more effective had an American comedienne been at the helm because no one likes being laughed at by an outsider. The writing wasn’t always great, but it’s never awful which is an amazing feat for a comedy sketch show. It’s extremely difficult to be funny ALL of the time.

That being said, I am in love with Tracy Ullman. She is officially on my list of unsung artists. At this very moment I can’t think of another comedic artist with a comparable combination of wit, talent, and range. I didn’t laugh out loud with every joke (actually with most of the jokes), but I watched in awe the entire first season. I was simply impressed with Ullman. How she could take on the persona of so many varied personalities and celebrities and actually do them justice just amazed me. That woman is extremely talented! She went from Arianna Huffington to David Beckum to Black TSA employee (my favorite) and portrayed them all with poise. They were all entertaining. I’m not going to lie, I appreciated the sistah girl character. I thought she was funny without being offensive and that is rare breed when white people mimick/emmulate black people.

Also her satire is also poignant. The writing raises questions about America’s value system and how we represent ourselves to the world. That alone is reason enough to watch her show.

3) Secret Life of the American Teenager

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before by I have graduate level training in media and communication, thus my fascination. When I watched the first few episodes of Secret Life I recognized immediately that it was entertainment education programming. What that means is that the intent of the show is to convey a specific message on a specific topic week after week. In the case of this show, sexual health. So the first season was filled with PSA -type monologues and diatribes about abstinence and safe sex. In order for the show to be officially deemed entertainment education it has to hit certain facts and warnings, it can’t just mention a topic and move on. Thus, I forgave the sometimes corny storyline, because there was a point.

I would say after season 2 the show can no longer truly count as entertainment education, but now is just a teenage soap opera. However, the story lines and the acting, believe it or not have actually gotten worse. Every week, I am in awe that I actually watch this dribble. To the show’s credit they are using real teenagers to portray the roles, but this is no Degrassi. It’s apparent that they hired a bunch of models to act, which just doesn’t work. The story lines are pathetic, I am pretty sure they have undid almost every lesson they tried to instill during the first season. I blame the executives!

I saw the actor who plays Jake in a guest role on another show and I was floored by how much I did NOT hate him. On the Secret Life, I cringe every time opens his mouth. I can’t stand that kid as an actor. Now after realizing that he may not be as bad as I thought (he’s still not good though), I have refocused my blame to the directors and writers of the show. They are clueless on the conversations of teenagers and they make the parents look like idiots. I mean really, what kind of derilects do you have running this town? No wonder the kids are getting pregnant.

My biggest issue with the show is that they make pregnancy seem like the worst thing out there. I mean it is awful, but sex has so many other consequences like, I don’t know, AIDS. I think it sends the wrong message to teens. They may be on the lookout to protect themselves from pregnancy, and never consider that they could get a life changing disease. I mean, teenagers, even logically thinking teenagers, think that they are invincible. Pregnancy almost seems romantic, so it’s not that scary. But a disease, now that should be warned about, because teens are convinced it won’t happen to them.



{February 9, 2012}   Misfits – end of Series 3

I watched the last episode of Misfits series 3 last night. I could tell Howard Overman wrote it without ever looking at the credits. He has writing style that entertains me at a visceral level. With him I laugh out loud, while the other writers typically produce an eyebrow raise in acknowledgement of their comedic efforts, sometimes they conjure a chuckle or two. But Howard, I feel close to his characters so we might as well be on a first name basis, he really is genius. It makes me sad that Antonia (Thomas – she’s the homey too. LOL) won’t be returning. I think she is smart though. You can tell that she had serious concerns about being type cast in a sexualized role. The last season, as a viewer, I felt that I could tell her heart wasn’t in it. I just hope it doesn’t backfire. It must have been very hard to stand up for herself so early in her career. Rheon (his first name is Iwan, but I like his last name better), I think he was smart, while he too is leaving the show, he is able to embrace the sensualization of his character, Simon. Rheon, is going to ride out the sexualization of his character… using it as platform for his music. My how things are different for men and women. I’m not sure Rheon’s route is a possibility for Antonia. She was recently in a Cold Play video playing a character not-unlike her Misfits character, but more importantly, playing the “pretty”girl. As woman, I think it will be harder for people to get past her beauty and the sensuality of her Misfits character. I think her next few role offers will be filled with unnecessary nudity and sex that have nothing to do with the storyline.*People don’t get the artistic nature of sex in film history, especially in the day and age. They see a pretty girl and they just want to see her naked. Thus, many pubescent-like writers and directors will offer her parts with no thought nor direction for the sexualized role just the goal of stick it in (no pun intended) where ever it will fit.

 

* I don’t feel that way about her character on Misfits. Beyond the obvious reason for her sensuality, considering that her characters power was turning people into lustful fiends at her touch, there was a consistency and art to the sex scenes in Misfits. However… (return to original paragraph)



{September 13, 2011}   Misfits

I’ve left Netflix behind. This isn’t a new phenomena, I’m just finally writing about it. I have had a Netflix account for about a year and half. I don’t have cable so I have literally watched just about everything I would want to watch on the website. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t upload new material fast enough to keep up with my demand for good writing and fine acting.  Thus, I’ve moved on to Hulu.com.

While on Hulu for about a month ago, I discovered a show called “Misfits.” I LOVE this show. I have watched the first two seasons three times, just waiting for the third season to be released in 2012. I cannot wait. I am dying over here! The writing is sharp and witty. The creator and writer Howard Overman has a talent for some key techniques. Any one of them would make me appreciate his work. Having them all makes me adore it…

1) He stands on the shoulders of giants. I love old movies and movies that highlight historical moments or threads in entertainment history. Overman, a sci-fi writer, makes a point to highlight some of the classic science fiction films and television shows that have inspired his work. Anyone who is avid in entertainment can easily spot lines, plots, and scenes that emulate or down right copy some of the greatest moments in film. Sometimes a writer will discuss these similarities and homages in interviews. Overman, acknowledges them upfront by having the main character Simon state the similarity outright. It has become apart of Simon’s character to serve as the footnote to most film references int he script.

Overman is no stranger to doing it in his other work, although often less overtly. Even in interviews, Overman cites old sci-fi movies and shows, I think it’s just apart of his dialogue and I love that about him! It serves as validation for an entertainment nut like myself, when I spot a clone of a line, scene or plot and then it is acknowledged. Its as if a bell has just rung declaring, “You are the WINNER!”… I’m easily delighted with cheap thrills, I know.

Here are some of my favorite references:

Nathan: “Well they did it in the Godfather”

Simon: “They put a horses head in the bed.”

Nathan: “Well have you got a horses head?”

“It’s like in Superman II, when Superman gives up his powers so he could be with Lois Lane… General Zod took over the world!”– Simon

2) Consistency! You have no idea how hard it is to achieve consistency on an ongoing basis. Like I said, I am an entertainment nut, so I remember inconsistencies, even small ones that don’t seem to matter to others. For example, I never could get over how in “Saved by the Bell,” Kelly went through the entire series as the eldest of a household full of boys and then for one episode, and one episode only, she had a sister who vied for Zach’s attention. It literally tainted the entire show for me because it was never explained, no one knows where that sister came from nor where she went to after that episode.

Not to mention the inconsistencies of the Huxtable family timeline.I could go on for days about how in one episode Claire was a freshman and Cliff was a senior in high school. How Cliff went into the Navy and then to medical school all before Claire went to law school and then worked the years necessary to become a partner. How Rudy was six years old when Claire had her fortieth birthday. How that didn’t make since with Sandra’s age, because Claire and Cliff didn’t marry until after Claire graduated from college. How according to a story Claire told, Sandra and Denise were in diapers when she was in law school …  again not enough time for Claire to realistically make partner, especially since she didn’t start law school until Cliff was in his residency………………………………………. I could go on  and on about it. While “the Cosby Show” is still one of my all time favorite shows, every time I watch several episodes in a row the inconsistencies haunt me (EEk EEK EEk — Hitchcock scary movie sound, if you didn’t get it).

Like I said, they an inconsistent story line bothers me to the point of obsession. However, with Misfits, right down to small details like a scar received by a character  in one episode is still visible, without any verbal script acknowledgment, in another. I love it. I don’t have to create a background story line to resolve any gaps or oversights.

3) The show is mature without being pointlessly erotic. I’m sure I will go into how I believe nudity and cursing are acceptable in films (art imitating life). However; I find it annoying and distasteful when actors (more often actresses) are nude for no reason that I can see beyond the fact that the director wanted an excuse to get her naked. i.e. Halle Berry is Swordfish, that was the most pointless topless scene I have ever scene, it was so out of place with the character and the storyline that it was distracting. Sure, it got the media’s attention. Everyone was talking about the topless scene (don’t even get me started on Monster Ball), but as one who really loves the art of film. It didn’t make sense. I think that is why I often prefer foreign movies and European television shows. American made shows are so saturated with advertisement and concern for media coverage that the art is overshadowed. There are very few American films, that I think are a complete home run. When I do find one I like, it typically is an unheard of independent film. My new love right now is Ryan Gossling and Michelle Williams, in Blue Valentine… but that is a different post.



{September 6, 2011}   Intro

I know that this is just supposed to be a blog about deals and steals, but honestly, I don’t have the time to manage blogs on each new topic I want to create. Plus, I feel like Sadity Cents describes me we in all aspects of my life.

I’ve added a new category, that will focus on my love for media and entertainment. So much is my love that my studies are focused in communication, intellectual property and entertainment. Whenever, I talk about a new show or artist that I have discovered that is where my passion comes alive. In addition to great deals, I love critiquing media. So this category will be dedicated to that.



et cetera