The Resident Bitch's Movie Log

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Another MV review where I agree with the words but would still rate it lower. Considering the words you wrote, I'm surprised that you rated it as highly as you did.
Well, like I said, it was decent enough for a single viewing. I didn't get bored and was invested in some of its characters.

I initially rated it 3.5-, but lowered it a little.

Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)

Date Watched: 4/07/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I've been wanting to see it since I first heard about it
Rewatch: No

Possible Spoilers Ahead

It would be too easy to turn a story like this – about a woman who was abducted, imprisoned, and raped for seven years – into some sort of uninspired horror film or a cheesy Lifetime-esque tale of a woman triumphing over adversity and being lovingly embraced by her family once rescued. Instead what we get is a portrait of the strength of maternal love and of the psychological damages of isolation and torture.

Brie Larson stars as Ma, a woman imprisoned in a 10 x 10 foot, sound proofed shed. There are no windows. The door can only be opened with a secret code – known only to her captor, who she calls Old Nick. The only natural light comes from a skylight, which she often stares at in quiet desperation. There is a bed, a wardrobe, a lamp, a toilet, a sink, a bathtub, a refrigerator and a toaster oven. There is also a rug – still marked with the stain from when Ma gave birth to Jack, her five year old son by Old Nick.

The novel on which this film is based tells the story from Jack’s perspective and in his own words, but such a limited view doesn’t really work for film. So instead we get it from Ma’s perspective. She does everything she can to make life as normal as possible for her son, who grows increasingly frustrated with the stark contrast between what he sees on television and what is available in Room – the euphemistic name Ma has given to the shed.

The central performances of the film, Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, are both excellent – as they need to be since we see almost no one else for a significant portion of the film. Room has garnered a lot of praise (and awards) for these performances, but the thing I liked most about the film was how it treated their transition from Room to World. It’s not a fairy book happily ever after. Ma – whose real name is Joy – enacts a plan that results in her rescue and she is reunited with her parents and returns with Jack to her childhood home. There she must face the reality of her parents’ divorce, her mother's new relationship, her father’s refusal to accept or even so much as look at her son, and the prying and victim-blaming of the media. Jack – who has known no one but Ma and who has seen so little – must learn how to be a normal kid. Both struggle to cope, but find strength in each other.

Room is not an easy watch, but it a very powerful experience and one I highly recommend.

This Means War (McG, 2012)

Date Watched: 4/08/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Tom Hardy
Rewatch: No

Possible Spoilers Ahead

There once was a time when I considered myself a fan of Rom Coms, so I'm quite familiar with the absurdity that is par for the course within the genre. However, when done well, that absurdity is balanced out by charm and chemistry. This Means War lacks both.

Reese Witherspoon's Lauren is as vapid and one dimensional as any character I've seen. I'm not exactly a feminist but damn this woman hasn't got a brain cell in her head to point of being borderline misogynistic and offensive even for me. Granted Rom Coms aren't known for any kind of deep insights into, well, anything but to say she was poorly written would almost be a compliment. Her ultimate choice between the two suitors only cemented her empty-headedness for me (though I do understand why the filmmakers chose to go this route). Throughout the movie I kept getting this nagging feeling that Lauren would've been better suited for some truly vacous crap like Charlie's Angels than for anything that even pretended to evoke real emotion. It was only after I finished watching the movie and had a look at its IMDb page that I discovered just why I couldn't shake that feeling.

As to the men, their antics are obnoxiously juvenile and threaten to trespass beyond the limits of absurdity set by the Rom Coms that I've seen before. Worse still, I felt something akin to nausea anytime Chris Pine was on the screen. Not only was his character extremely irritating but I don't find Pine attractive in the slightest.

The only real praise I can give this film is that Tom Hardy looked damn good and for that bit of eye candy alone do I give it a higher rating than that other McG film I've seen.


Master of My Domain
I watched This Means War on a plane (to be frank, I have no idea why, my film taste seems to become drastically poor when I'm up in the air). Sat through the first 30 minutes with a frown, then fell asleep. When I woke up the film was still playing, so I turned it off.
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I really liked This Means War. I thought it was pretty funny.
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Glad you liked Room, I thought it was a very good film. Have you read the book?

I've always thought This Means War looked utterly stupid, but I'm almost tempted to watch it, just to see how stupid.

I agree with pretty much everything you said about This Means War. It was such a disappointing film. Even for a romcom.

Sweet Sixteen (Ken Loach, 2002)

Date Watched: 4/15/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: It's one of Camo's favorites
Rewatch: No

Possible Spoilers Ahead

I didn't really know what to expect from this film going in, but one thing I most certainly didn't anticipate was how emotionally engaged with it I would be. I couldn't relate to Liam's struggles. I've never been there. Drugs, poverty, and violence have never been part of my reality, but I felt for him just the same. Even though I knew this film wouldn't give me a happily ever after ending, I rooted for Liam to succeed.

Even more surprising is that the film is carried squarely on the shoulders of a teenager who'd never acted before. Martin Compston is absolutely astounding as Liam, bringing a feel of authenticity and a great deal of emotional depth to his first ever acting role. But the other performances hold up as well and I particularly enjoyed the scenes where Liam interacts with his sister and nephew.

I will say though that I'd have been completely lost without subtitles. Even with them I didn't quite understand what was being said at times. There are a few (relatively minor) scenes that weren't subtitled and the dialogue contained a bit of slang that is foreign to me. Still, that didn't detract at all from the impact of the film and this is one that I may revisit in the future.


Glad you liked Room, I thought it was a very good film. Have you read the book?
I totally missed this question before. Sorry about that.

I've not read the book, though I'm interested in giving it a go. The thing is though, I'm not much of a reader. I seem to average maybe one book a year and it's usually a biography or autobiography rather than a novel. I also have a bad habit of starting books and never finishing them. Maybe some day.

First of all glad you like Room; just noticed your review for it now. I did too. Didn't expect much going in but i think it would be in my top ten from last year and Brie is becoming one of my favourite acresses atm.

So pleased you liked Sweet Sixteen . I really didn't expect that as you know; i think this proves i don't have a clue what you'll think. Totally agree about Compston; he actually came to my school to talk to us about gangs must have been two years after Sweet Sixteen. He was briefly a professional football player before auditioning for Sweet Sixteen, he was basically just talking about growing up in a rough area surrounded by gangs, drugs, violence, etc, and how he managed to avoid it and make a good life for himself. Really nice guy but i must admit i haven't liked him much in anything since.

Being John Malkovich will definitely be getting watched soon now

Good review of Room MV. Just noticed it. I didn't love it as much as you, but I liked it a lot and agree with everything you said. It would have been a 4.5 or 5 from me if the second half would have matched the first. The first half was as good as anything I saw in a movie last year.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Wow, MV paying a visit to the filmmaking shores of Scotland. I've not actually seen Sweet Sixteen but I'm surprised you got so much out of it. Not surprised by your subtitles admission though.

Irrational Man (Woody Allen, 2015)

Date Watched: 1/14/16
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Originally watched for Phoenix, just got the blu ray
Rewatch: Yes

This is the third Allen film I've seen (or at least the third one I've seen all the way through) and I can't say I'm a fan of his work. I am, however, a fan of this tale of a depressed, alcoholic philosophy professor named Abe Lucas (played by Joaquin Phoenix) who finds his will to live in an unexpected way. And no, that will to live is not found in his affair with his lovestruck student, played by Emma Stone. He finds it in his plan and execution of the perfect crime, reveling in the thrill and danger of it all.

I normally find narration and voiceovers irritating, but in this film it works perfectly as the audience watches Lucas's world spiral out of control while his mind races with absurdly excited thoughts. And the deeper in he gets the more comical it becomes.

It's been asked of me if I think I would have enjoyed this movie as much had the lead been played by someone else and that's a question I can't answer. In all likelihood, I'd never have watched it had it starred another actor. I can say though that I loved everything about Phoenix's character and performance. I really enjoyed Emma Stone as well.

This sounds really interesting...adding it to my watchlist

Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)

Date Watched: 4/26/16
Cinema or Home: At work on my portable DVD player
Reason For Watching: I needed a Phoenix fix.
Rewatch: Yes

At its most basic, this is the story of a man who falls in love with an operating system. But what it's really about is loneliness and the struggle to connect. I think a lot of us find it hard to forge real, healthy relationships with other people. We let our anxieties and insecurities stand in our way. We're desperate to find friendship, love, and understanding but don't really know how to make those things happen. I know I've felt that way and I find a really strong emotional connection with this film.

Of course that connection could never happen without a truly great central performance and who better to take on that role than Joaquin Phoenix. As Theodore Twomley - one of Her's few characters - Phoenix carries the entire film on his shoulders and he does it with a grace, sensitivity, and humanity that few actors can accomplish. I feel every emotion that Theodore feels. It's very raw, very real, and very believable. To me, it is truly the greatest performance of his career and probably my favorite performance of anyone in any movie.

Which is not to say that the other performances in the film are lacking. Scarlett Johansson's husky, sensual voice is perfect as Samantha and she infuses her performance with a curiosity, confidence, enthusiasm and sexuality that is palpable even though we cannot see her. And the smaller roles, too, are very well done. Amy Adams does well in her quiet role as Theodore's friend and confidante. Chris Pratt is awkwardly endearing as Theodore's colleague and admirer of his work. And Kristen Wiig turns in a brief but outrageous voice performance as SexyKitten - in a bizarre scene that I'll leave for the uninitiated to discover on their own.

But as great as these performances are, they would be nothing without an exceptional director and (Oscar winning) screenplay behind them. Jonze has created something truly special. He's crafted a very human love story that isn't even about two humans. As with any Jonze film, it has its quirks, but if you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and forget your notions of Siri, look past the high-waisted pants and the bushy mustache and let yourself fall in love with Her.

oh, wow, Her is amazing one of the very best films this century; i disagree with you a lot but Her is amazing
You know, Spike Jonze directed this other really amazing movie that you should check out...