Tag Archives: film review

Winter’s Tale: A Flawed Fairy Tale

winter's tale

I took myself off on impulse to see Winter’s Tale this weekend, and it was both better and worse than I expected, in, as I said on Twitter, Brown-Findlay and Farrell have some of the best onscreen chemistry I’ve ever seen, but the otherwordly plot was entirely nonsensical.

Slashfilm’s Angie Han wrote my favorite review –

“Winter’s Tale doesn’t lack for sincerity. It’s genuinely invested in the idea of eternal love, and the notion that everything happens for a reason, and the possibility that miracles are happening around us every day, and it tries its very hardest to sell us on these pleasant beliefs. What Winter’s Tale lacks is sense.” RT

HitFix’s Drew McWeeny also wrote a fantastic review, and though it’s (deservedly) negative this part was my favorite –

“Jessica Findley Brown plays Beverly, and speaking as someone who has never seen “Downton Abbey,” I think the film makes a strong case for her as an actor directors are rightfully going to freak out for and who will make about a dozen movies in the next two years. She’s great. The camera positively loves her, and she is almost able to make this threadbare character idea genuinely charming and vulnerable. Farrell treats her in all of their scenes together like a bear who is afraid of spooking a baby deer. She brings out this very tender Farrell, and if this film works at all for audiences, it will be because these two have great energy together.”  RT

Caffeinated Links: Best TV Episodes of 2013, Guide to Terminator Time Travel


The Atlantic posts its list of The Best Television Episodes of 2013, and it is chockfull of brilliant pop culture analysis. “To kill the very people avenging the similarly ignoble, unforeseen, and earned-by-impracticality death of the figure who had initially seemed like the hero of the show? To do it with a raft of perfectly anguished performances—a hopeless scream, a resigned goodbye to a parent, a callous kiss-off to a sacrificed hostage? That’s a landmark feat of storytelling, an example of how to illuminate the human condition by shocking the conscience.” RT

Almost as if in companion, the AV Club picks the worst films of 2015. On the chopping block: A Good Day to Die Hard, Man of Steel, The Big Wedding, and more. I couldn’t agree more about Gangster Squad, though I did think they missed the point of Austenland a little. RT

The Latino Review has an extensive guide to the convoluted world of Terminator time travel RT

And, The New York Times takes a Literary Look Back at 2013. “The best literary news of 2013 is that, as Evan Hughes reported in The New Republic, books have not succumbed to the downward-spiraling revenue trend: Sales of books in all formats actually grew by almost $2 billion in the last five years, and e-books have turned out to complement printed books without replacing them. It’s easy to see why writers should be happy — they can continue to get paid for their work — but this is equally good news for readers, who still need publishers to find, foster and distribute good writing.”  RT

Caffeinated Links: YA Dystopia, David Mitchell on Autism, and The Counselor is a Very Bad Film



Joan Aiken‘s website is surely one of the most gorgeously designed author websites I’ve ever seen. Like stepping straight into a fantasy land.

Celeste Ng at The Millions highlights 5 Series You Probably Missed as a Kid (But Should Read as an Adult). I’ve read half of these and HIGHLY recommend them, especially Half Magic, and am adding the other half to my to-read list.  RT

Gorgeous, heartbreaking. David Mitchell on translating an autistic Japanese teen’s memoir, and his own son’s autism. “The conclusion is that both emotional poverty and an aversion to company are not symptoms of autism but consequences of autism – its harsh lockdown on self-expression and society’s near-pristine ignorance about what’s happening inside autistic heads.” RT

The ‘verse has been ablaze with the ending of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series (which is a great series, by the way. Veronica Roth speaks out. I think she made a brave choice. But I would have hated her for it had I found out only upon reading the book. RT

More The Millions’ goodness, making me want to re-read Colm Toibin’s The Master, which I read prior to reading Henry James. “He feels love profoundly, for women and men alike, but he can’t act on it in any way that might compromise his freedom as an artist, and instead he pours out his love for them in his novels after they’re dead. That, in this case, his love for Minny Temple gave us The Portrait of a Lady may be enough for some. It isn’t for me. As much as I care about books, I think people matter more in the end.” RT

Surprisingly, according to this roundup of reviews for it via Entertainment Weekly, it appears that the star-laden The Counselor was a very bad film. RT

Caffeinated Links: Franco, Tolstoy, “Her”


Nothing I love  better than a blistering review. Jason Diamond of Flavorwire offers this one – “Franco’s book is exactly what you’d imagine, except maybe a little worse (think: concussed David Foster Wallace fanboy mixes booze and cough syrup before trying to write a novel about how difficult it is to be an actor).” RT

On the other hand, I also love positive, brilliantly written reviews, of which this, of the Joaquin Phoenix film Her -is one – “When Theo asks Amy if he’s a freak for falling into love with Samantha, her response is perfect: “I think anyone who falls in love is a freak. It’s a crazy thing to do. It’s like a socially acceptable form of insanity.” One half of the relationship at the center of Her may lack a physical form, but it is nonetheless a film about the universality of romance: its longing, its intensity, and its transformative power — for the best, and the worst. The outcome of this highly unconventional relationship is warm and funny and tragic, all at once. And so is this very lovely film.” RT

If you had a chance to proofread unreleased Tolstoy works – would you? You know that you would quit your day job. This story from the New Yorker is the stuff of literary daydreams. “That was when they hit on the idea of crowdsourcing, Tolstaya said. “It’s according to Leo Tolstoy’s ideas, to do it with the help of all people around the world—vsem mirom—even the world’s hardest task can be done with the help of everyone.” RT 

…and, we’re back to Franco. As much as it pains me to put the man anywhere within rubbing distance of Tolstoy. “Franco offers up less material in that regard than you might think. Hard to make pseudo-intellectual jokes at the expense of a guy who cheerfully made Your Highness. Hard to make dumb-stoner jokes at the expense of a guy who spends so much time pursuing advanced degrees.” RT

Caffeinated Links: Colin Firth, Ken Follet, Breaking Bad


One must always share the trailer for a new Colin Firth film. Methinks forgiveness and hatred and suffering and revenge and love are all a part of this and all for the better. Also – great cast. RT

Did you know that there was more than one miniseries adaptation of Ken Follet‘s books? I did not. Adding World without End to my watchlist asap. (Also – Ben Chaplin!)

How the Bard would end Breaking Bad

“In Shakespeare’s works, each of us has a certain destiny. We can try to thwart it or challenge it, but ultimately we must align ourselves with it. The consequences of doing otherwise depend on the world in question. If the world is benign, you get slapped around a bit and fall in line. If the world has a malignity or malice toward you, you’re going to get slapped around and die. What can you do about it? Nothing. In either case, once Shakespeare’s characters discover who they really are, the world harmonizes; it falls into place.”  RT The Atlantic

North America is so woefully behind the times transit-wise. New study shows living near convenient transit increases your happiness.  “Well-planned transit can be more than a ride — it can be a positive emotional force.”  RT The Atlantic

A damning Steven Lloyd Wilson film review is one of my favorite things.  “I’m at a loss to say what the director was even aspiring to do. Whatever it was, he failed. Catastrophically.” RT Pajiba

Dramabeans is having a meetup in Seattle September 21st. If Korean dramas are your thing (and they should be) go to this. RT Dramabeans



SOCIAL scientists believe that the empathetic, nurturing behaviors of sisters rub off on their brothers. For example, studies led by the psychologist Alice Eagly at Northwestern University demonstrate that women tend to do more giving and helping in close relationships than men. It might also be that boys feel the impulse — by nature and nurture — to protect their sisters. Indeed, Professor Eagly finds that men are significantly more likely to help women than to help men.” –Why Men Need Women, RT The New York Times

The women plays sounding boards, while the men basically exist for the same reason that women exist in most of these other films: As sexual tools. That’s brazen, and interesting, and if The To Do List were funnier, it’d be easier to forgive the rest of the film’s weaknesses: It’s lack of emotion, the clumsy writing, the Farrelly-esque gags that occasionally veer into Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer territory. – The To Do List Review: Daring, Challenging, And Not Very Good, RT Pajiba

What happens when someone repents of their sins on their deathbed, and they don’t get to live out a life of repentance, take communion, be baptized, or attempt to walk out their days in holiness? What happens to that person? – Salvation in Your Final Hour, RT The Resurgence

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