Movie Review: Swiss Army Man

I went and saw Swiss Army Man starring Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter fame) in the theater this past weekend.

Swiss Army Man

Summary from Goodreads:

A hopeless man stranded in the wilderness befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.

Surreal is a good word for this movie, also disturbing and flatulence.  Honestly, I could leave that one sentence and it would be my nicest review of this movie that I could give, but I guess I’ll put some effort into why I found this movie not exactly up to par with my expectations of humor and heart in a movie about disconnection and death.

Those are elements of humor and heart in this tale, but the reality of the story line grows more and more depressing as I settle into my understanding and emotional take away from it. In the end, there isn’t much to it. A man finds a dead body that he befriends and uses as a way to get back to reality. Sorta. Not really. Maybe? There are some joyous moments as Hank, played by Paul Dano, finally connects to something, in way he has not in his entire life. There are some funny moments as his adventure with a dead body takes him to surreal places. However, those moments do not mask the harsh reality that in the end it is a story about a man whose first real connection in a long time is to a dead body.

That is just depressing.

Plus, it feels as though the writers didn’t really know how they wanted to end it. I wont give away the ending, but I will say this, I expected maybe a sad ending or a weirdly wonderful one, like Seeking a Friend for the End of the World or Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind or countless other quirky and surreal movies that have heart and humor, but Swiss Army Man felt as though the writers wrote a weird ending to just to have a weird ending. Just, what is the weirdest way we can end this …. and yah lets do that weird ending. An unsubstantial ending that I felt derailed the entire journey of Hank.

I was the only one that thought this coming out of the theater. Everyone  in my group agreed it was a weird little movie, but several people loved that the ending was random and weird. However, the more I think about it, the more I feel my initial reaction was correct, that it was a non-ending in a way that was not very meaningful to the characters. And I think an entire movie that revolves around two people, one of them a dead body, should have a meaningful ending for those two people.

Interesting movie, yes. Fun to see the interactions of Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, yes. Fascinating story, yes. Weird, humorous, and maybe worth watching at home some afternoon when your brain is going strange and you need a strange movie to watch alongside your strange brain. Sure. But. .  but. . . don’t expect to have a sense of . . . anything when you have finished watching it.

What it really boils down to is that it is a movie about farting, a dead hairy bottom, and a sad man who cannot connect with reality in any shape or form. Even sadder is that as a viewer I was wholly disconnected from the characters by the writers’ and director’s choice about how the story ends.

Deadpool: A Violent Story about Love

Deadpool was an Amazing Movie

My husband and I went with a friend to see Deadpool last week. I didn’t really know anything about the character or the movie, and I purposely went to the theater without an ounce of knowledge. The only thing I knew was that it was rated R, and for a reason, and I saw all those posts by “Deadpool” not to take your kids to see the movie. Deadpool was an amazing movie, definitely my favorite Ryan Reynolds movie, and perhaps my favorite Marvel movie.

Deadpool (2016) Poster

Summary from IMDB:

A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.

******So, I’ll try not to be spoilery, but if you are reading a review of Deadpool I’m going to assume you want some information before hand or have already seen it and want to discuss what you have seen. *****

Clever and Sad

Deadpool was amazing, it was witty, clever, funny, and sad, horrible, tragic, and basically all the feels. This is my favorite movie I’ve seen Ryan Reynolds in. While I haven’t seen every movie he’s done (I don’t watch horror movies) I have  followed his career (and Nathan Fillion’s) since Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Hut and am a fan. He is hilarious. His comedic timing fits the character to a tee, which makes the character’s tragedy all that more sad and depressing.  His face, oh his face in pain, that is burned in my mind.

Ryan Reynolds is great in this movie because he is able to be both comedic and dramatic. When the two genres intertwine so seamlessly, it is not because it is an easy thing to accomplish, it is because both the writers and the actors have accomplish an incredibly hard task and made it look easy (an even harder thing to do). A really well done performance by Reynolds

The Love Interest

Morena Baccarin (of Firefly and Serenity fame) plays Wade’s (Deadpool) love interest, Vanessa. I have always admired her acting chomps and was delighted by the out of control character she plays in this film.  Wade meets Vanessa, who is a prostitute, and the two of them hit it off immediate. Both of them come from rough backgrounds (though we aren’t quite sure what that means) and are living hard lives. This connection is more than just skin deep, it goes to how deeply they end up caring for each other.

I related to this connection because I too have a hard time finding people who can relate to how I grew up and also where I am now in life. Most of my childhood friends are not in the same place I am in today, and new friends I make do not have the same background that I do. In fact, Chris is the only person who really understands both those parts of me. So I connected emotionally to their particular love story. Their love is the reason Wade makes all of his decisions, maybe not the best decisions, but everything he does ties back to how much he loves Vanessa and what he wants from life for her.

Disconnected from Violence

I did not connect as deeply to the violence. In fact, I spent probably a good five to ten minutes total not even looking at the screen, the violence was that graphic. In fact, I thought some of it was rather gratuitous. I see no reason to have a  human character flung against a billboard and then completely splatter across said board into millions of squashy pieces. Plus, the violence was generally followed by a joke.

We get it, everyone has super powers and is a badass physically. Thanks for all the blood and goodnight.  You can take my brain to sleep and deal with the nightmares.

But I was particularly disturb that the horror of the graphic violence was usually countered by a joke . To me, that is a way to disconnect from the violence rather than understand it.However, my husband and our male friend did not appear at all disturbed by the violence and it’s disconnection from emotion. In fact, I will say that no one else in the theater was having as much trouble with it as I was, I know this because I was watching the people and not the screen. So, take from that what you will.

Nudity Gone Wild?

You want to know about the nudity? Well, there is full on female nudity in two scenes and Ryan Reynolds’ very nicely toned butt is shown several times. (Technically there is a scene where Deadpool is completely naked, but is blurry and you really cannot see anything.) The two female nudity scenes make sense story wise and I was OK with them. Generally, I handle nudity much better than violence. I felt that it was appropriate to the story line and actually connected to the overall plot.

Witty Writing

When I went to see Deadpool, I was not expecting anything, except hoping for a good time. By the end of the film, I was blown away by the witty  and clever writing, and how perfectly Ryan Reynolds encapsulated that with his acting. Kudos to everyone involved in an excellent movie. Clever writing, great acting, and a love that thrives in the middle of a violent story, make for a great piece of art.

Movie Review: Hail, Caesar!

Last night my husband and I went out with some peeps to catch the latest Coen brothers movie, Hail, Caesar! It was everything I was hoping for, but I’ll readily admit my bias toward liking a Coen brothers movie. Their quirky, witty, intelligent films are a reliable source of entertainment. Just the other night my husband and I watched The Ladykillers on Netflix without knowing who wrote it, and by a third of the way into the movie I remarking to Chris, “Wow, this really is similar to a Coen brothers movie.” Low and behold, that was because it is. In spite of my readily admitted bias, I think many people will enjoy Hail, Caesar!

Hail, Caesar! (2016) Poster

 Summary from IMBD:

Hail Caesar! Follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer for Capital Pictures in the 1950s, who cleans up and solves problems for big names and stars in the industry. But when studio star Baird Whitlock disappears, Mannix has to deal with more than just the fix.

First of all, the cast of characters and the casting of the actors in this particular film is perfection. Everyone, from go-to-Coen-actress Frances McDormand, as film editor C. C. Calhoun, to Ralph Fiennes as director Laurence Laurentz, and a galore of other Hollywood A-listers make an appearance in this film. Josh Brolin carries the story as his character, Eddie Mannix, works his way through several messes all while dealing with twin reporters played by Tilda Swinton.

There was so much to love about this movie, but I’ll pick my five bright spots of the film.

  • Alden Ehrenreich’s rope tricks. Ehrenreich plays Hobie Doyle a western movie star who gets set up to be in a drama movie which is outside of his comfort zone. His character is both a hoot and a hero. His boyish charms endear the character to the audience, even through some awkward scenes, and his smile is just so sweet. Plus, I loved all of his rope tricks!

  • Tilda Swinton’s twins. Tilda Swinton plays twins who are journalists that compete with each other. It was amazing. I loved all of her outfits and admired Mannix’s ability to tell the two women apart. I sure couldn’t.😉

  • Scarlett Johansson’s accent. Scarlett plays DeeAnna Moran, a synchronized swimmer/actress from Brooklyn. DeeAnn’s sweet swimmer demeanor is in sharp contrast to her harsh accented  rough around the edges character and the misnomer of sweetness is played to perfection by Scarlett.

Click to view full size image

  • Channing Tatum’s dance number. Channing plays tap dancer/actor/singer Burt Gurney who is not as nice as his sweet smiling face would lead everyone to believe. I loved the dance number soooo much! It was such a great throw back to movies from the 50’s that I have enjoyed, and the homoerotic subtext was such a great little piece of commentary that it had me giggling in appreciation.

channing tatum

  • Veronica Osorio’s pretty face. Veronic Osorio plays actress/dancer Carlotta Valdez and steals the show in her scenes with Alden Ehrenreich. Definitely an up and coming star to watch, I’ve already developed a girl crush on Veronica and plan to see what other things she has been in that I can track down.

More than just a fun film about the industry in the 50s, Hail, Caesar! is also a social commentary on Hollywood film making while using that same industry as its medium for the examination.  This commentary is made in both subtle and not so subtle ways, with characters actions showing what the Coen brothers are remarking on and soliloquies by other characters expounding on those observations about Hollywood in a more forthright way. While full of a cast of bright characters, each plays a special part in showing what goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood centered around one man who tries to fix all the problems that other people make.

Nodds & Nends: Mario Console, Beards, and Minions

Check out this custom Super Mario World console by DeviantArtist Zoki64. That is some great detailed geeky work there. [via Global Geek News]

custom Super Mario World SNES by Zoki64

Don’t you just love beard and mustache competitions? I do. Well, I enjoyed the video of hairy highlights that Jezebel posted for this year’s competition.

The Minions get an honest trailer, because, well, Minions. Also, as always, the Screen Junkies peeps make some really good points. Spoilers of course. [via Nerd Bastards]

Check out this awesome website Nerds Of Color for some great reading material. I stumbled across it on the WordPress’s new Discover (their featured posts) link. I particularly liked the article How to Fall In Love with Your Writing by drupkins ( author Dennis R. Upkins Jr).

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I’m Looking Forward To or Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I Still Need To Watch

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme by The Broke and the Bookish where fellow book bloggers, and anyone who wants, can contribute to a themed top ten list. This weeks discussion centers around Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I’m Looking Forward To or Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I Still Need To Watch. (I’ve not stuck strictly with movie adaptations, sorry.) These are in no particular order, unless you count that they are in the order I thought of them.

1.The Magicians by Lev Grossman will be adapted into a TV series on the SyFy channel. Love The Magicians, read my review, and I can’t wait for this show. You can see a sneak peek here.

2. Mocking Jay Part 2: I love Katniss, and while the movies may not be exactly like the books, I still love them. So very much.

3. Paper Towns by John Green. First I need to read this book and then I can watch the movie. I’ve avoided John Green even though I know he is an excellent writer because I avoid sad endings, and from what I hear that is all his stories. But this trailer entices me to delve into that abyss.

4. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. My husband is not a fan of the adaptation of The Hobbit. And I get it, they added a lot of unnecessary things to make it a three movie money maker, but I still really want to see it.

5. Supposedly Matched by Ally Condie is in the works to become adapted into a movie. I always thought it was written rather like a screen play than a novel at times, and if done properly, would be a really pretty movie.

6. Cinder. This book has only been optioned, but I really really really hope this becomes a movie and I can watch it and fall in love with the universe the Marissa Meyer created allover again.

7. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, also only optioned, but I am crossing my fingers and toes real hard and I hope this becomes a movie some day!

8. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. Why or oh why are these books not been made into movies! Ugh. I want to see them. Please?

9. Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Apparently this one has made it to the writing stages. This might be a hard adaptation, considering that the people can hear each others thoughts, but it would be interesting, and I would definitely go and see it.

10. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. While this was not my favorite adaptation of a classic piece of literature, I do think this will be a fun movie. Also, Matt Smith is in it? Yes please.

The Little Prince Official Trailer (2015)

Honestly, need I say more than the title of this post? This looks magical. I love how they took the story of The Little Prince and created a story around that. Amazing. One of my favorite adaptations of The Little Prince was a theater production I saw that had not only amazing acting, but amazing acrobatics. Here is a link to my review of that production. You can read more about the 2015 animated movie production here and watch the trailer below!

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Mockingjay Part 1 is the continuing story of Katniss Everdeen based on the popular young adult novels by Suzanne Collins. Katniss Everdeen is played by Jennifer Lawrence and also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, her two romantic interests, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks, as Katniss’ mentors, and Julianne Moore and Donald Sutherland, as two opposing politician types.

mockingjaySummary from Wikipedia

The story continues to follow Katniss Everdeen; having twice survived the Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself in District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion, a mockingjay, against the Capitol and fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.

I give Jennifer Lawrence all due credit for this being an excellent film. Also, the writers, they deserve a huge round of applause. I found the story engaging and the characters believable. This was not the case for the book Mockingjay. I thought the book was the poorest installment in the series and only finished it because I wanted to know what the writer thought happened, but it was not what I expected from a book that followed the Hunger Games.

With Jennifer Lawrence as their paintbrush, the writers paint a picture of a bewildered young woman trying to take care of the people she love, trying to rise to the occasion, and trying to handle all the of the responsibilities that have been thrust upon her while remaining true to who she is as a person. Katniss is a great heroine, because she isn’t perfect, she has her faults, but she tries, she grows, and she succeeds. That is amazing, and Lawrence took the character by the throat and pushed her to new levels as a role model. (Can you tell, I have a small crush on Jennifer Lawrence?)


I really wish there had been more of Peeta in this first part, that was the only thing I was disappointed about. I wish there had been less Gale. Such a whiny character who busy so readily into the dogma of a military regime. Ugh. I didn’t like him in the books and I still don’t like him in the movie rendition of the story. But Peeta, I rooted for him in the books, and I love him in the movie version. So, I wish there had been a bit more about him.

Another brilliant piece of casting was Elizabeth Banks as Effie. She added warmth, spirit, and depth to a character that had very little of those qualities. Plus, she pulled off some amazingly outrageous costumes. I love how Banks is able to take on and slip into a role instead of turning the role into a version of herself. So, maybe I have a little girl crush on her as well.


Effie by Pseudolirium on DeviantArt

While I am still a little sore that they decided to take a rather unremarkable book and elongate it into two movies (for the sake of extra coins in the pocket I can only assume), but I ended up quite enjoying the film, more than I thought I would. And I swear it had nothing to do with the several cocktails I consumed. Ok, maybe a little. The movie was well paced, well written, and excellently acted. My only other complaint is that the ending was a little rushed, and my sister turned away from the screen for a few minutes to pay her bill and missed a crucial piece that just kind of flew by at the end. However, I’m looking forward to part 2 and then a Hunger Games marathon some time in the future when I can sit down and watch all four movies and revel in my girl crushes.