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Amari-Sali

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550 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A beloved princess discovers the world she thought was her oyster, was never meant for people like her., 12 October 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Trigger Warning(s): Uncomfortable scene dealing with clothes being ripped off and a physical exam

When the episode begins, honestly I thought this was going to be another sci-fi/ fantasy anime which cares more about showing off a 16 year old girl's body over story and depth. However, with time, it does get better. Now, whether it gets good enough for you to stick with it, look below.

Characters & Story

Ange is a well-loved princess. One who seemingly is a model for department store ads, is a star sports player, and is idolized by all who know of her or meet her. However, Ange's life is sort of a lie. You see, she is amongst the minority of the population unable to use what is known as "The Light of Mana," an evolutionary trait which allows humans to use some form of magic. And with the discovery that she is a Norma, a viciously hated population who cannot use magic, she is taken away from luxury and seemingly will be placed into a life of not just being a soldier, but perhaps also someone's play thing.

Overall: Stick Around

When the episode begins, we are presented with something very shallow. A girl fighting dragons and then us learning she is a princess who plans to exterminate Normas, even if they are babies. So with the discovery she is a Norma herself, we begin to see the show is going to offer some sort of complexity. Especially when you include her would-be brother Julio's role in her being exposed. For with him exposing her comes death, a slight political uprising, and the show certainly letting you know that while there will be a lot of ecchi moments, that isn't the sole thing it has to offer.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
While not much is revealed in terms of Sam's murder, we are a few steps closer to finding out who killed Lila., 12 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mikayla is the featured player this episode and her story more so focuses on her fiancée Aiden messing around with Connor, in the past, more than us getting to know her. But while her feature is squandered on mellow drama, we get a new murder case, as well as the murder of Lila starting to get investigated into a bit. And with Griffin being Middleton's star quarterback, and Keating being the top murder lawyer around, she is asked to take up the case. Now, whether she wishes to be involved with a murder she thinks her husband was part of, well that is talked about below.

Topic 1: This Week's Case – Elena/ Paula (Ana Ortiz) & Keating

Commentary

While it is always nice to see a familiar face when it comes to one episode stint actors, I must say this perhaps was the most disappointing trial thus far. It lacked the mystery and twists of past cases, and while the whole "be careful who you marry" lesson ties in well with what is happening in Mikayla and Keating's life, at the same time the case on its own was weak. Plus, sooner or later, we are going to see Keating lose, and a part of me can't wait to see her reaction to being defeated. For after last week's smug smile, and with the kids damn near always bailing her out by them getting their hands dirty while hers remain clean, I want to see her get beaten. Especially since I want to see who she blames. Will she look at it as her skills and case not being good, or will she look at her staff and students and blame them? After all, as time goes by, I feel like Keating takes advantage of this constantly changing cycle of students and uses them, past giving them experience, to approach her cases. Though with me not knowing how being a lawyer is, maybe this is just what goes on.

Topic 2: You Can't Lie To Me – Mikayla & Keating

Commentary

I find Mikayla's attitude toward Aiden's sexuality sort of annoying, but at the same time I don't associate happy Black couples and the name Shonda Rhimes. Interracial couples? Yeah that will likely always be on the agenda, but two Black people happy with one another? HA! We are lucky Nate and Keating had something going on. Which does lead to the question: Did Nate lie to Keating just so that she would maybe leave him alone? I mean, being that Nate is sort of a disgraced officer amongst the precinct, it could very well be he wants this case to himself and for Keating not to interfere. After all, she has used their interactions with each other against him in the past. Though with news that technically

Topic 3: Murder Was The Case That They Gave Me – Mikayla & Keating

Commentary

I really have nothing to say on who killed Sam outside of how Connor is increasingly looking guilty. Outside of that, the only thing I find interesting is how mother & son like Keating and Wes are. For while you could cite the possibility of blackmail as her reason for looking out for him, I think between him being Black, as well as her not getting to have a kid, that is why she has become so close to him, as well as why she really goes out of her way to challenge and help him.

"Cristela" (2014)
10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
A young woman is in pursuit of becoming a lawyer and overcoming all of life's challenges. Which sadly includes racism and, sometimes, an unsupportive family., 11 October 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With ABC really trying to show diversity means more than having different colored faces, and a random homosexual here or there, comes Cristela. A show which deals with various aspects of both Mexican and Texas culture. Whether it is Cristela's mom being from a small village and immigrating to America; gender norms; racism in the modern day; or various other topics; Cristela is much more than another young woman in pursuit of a dream. No, she is a Brown girl who is proud of her heritage, and is looking to not have said heritage be something which holds her back, but be part of what makes her flourish.

Characters & Story

When we meet Cristela (Cristela Alonzo) it seems she and sister Daniela (Maria Canals Barrera) are living under their mother Natalia's (Terri Hoyos) roof. Truth is however, they are living in Daniela's husband's house and because Natalia is unable to live by herself, and because Cristela doesn't have a job, they both live with him and his family. Which, as you can imagine, causes issues. But with Natalia not sticking her nose in Felix's (Carlos Ponce) business, but Cristela often butting heads with her brother-in-law, pretty much Cristela is the sole one who has any issue with the living arrangement. To the point that often Daniela has to defend her because of the things she says and does. But, despite Cristela's antics, at the end of the day they all are family and, while it has been 6 years in the making, they all support Cristela's dreams to become a lawyer, in their own unique ways.

Praise

I don't want to say this show is refreshing, but at the same time it is hard to deny how interesting this show is because Cristela, and her family, don't treat being Mexican as something to be swept under the rug nor treat it as the elephant in the room. Ceistela's culture, and heritage, is on full display by Spanish be spoken throughout the episode; her mother Natalia speaking about the life she had before immigrating; and with the general sense that we are going to get a less heavy-handed approach than Black-Ish when it comes to Cristela's culture, it is hard to not want to learn as much as Cristela, and her family, is willing to give.

Especially when it comes to the issues presented in the pilot. Take for example her niece Isabella wanting to do soccer over cheer-leading and this causing issues due to gender norms, or the situation at Cristela's job where racism is so casually thrown around it is flabbergasting. Which I honestly liked seeing for how often are these problems, both inside the home and outside, are addressed? I mean, Switched at Birth touches on similar topics to a point, but it barely has gone into Regina's culture, so seeing Cristela make a full dive is exciting.

Criticism

One thing which maybe an issue for the show is its use of racism, stereotypes, and prejudice for jokes. For while some of the things said are funny, I must admit I am worried about a joke one day going too far. Especially since the jokes are not just between Cristela and members of her family, but also by Trent (Sam McMurray) and Maddie Culpepper (Justine Lupe) who are two white Texans. And just to give you an idea of the jokes done: there is not only the maid joke we saw in the trailer, but Trent talks about calling immigration on Cristela if she doesn't do a good job, instead of simply firing her. Which I believe was a joke, but I can imagine those who are a bit more sensitive to jokes dealing with race/ ethnic backgrounds being a bit uncomfortable.

Other than that, I wished they included subtitles for when the casts speaks Spanish. For while it isn't done for a long period of time on the show, perhaps just a sentence or two, still I would like to know what is being said.

Overall: Watch It

What I like about this series, in comparison to Black-Ish, is that it is less in your face about the culture presented. Simply put, Cristela and her family are Mexican and they are presenting just some ways Mexican people act and what they deal with. Whether it is the mom's constant guilt over how easy she made life for her kids, the issues of gender norms within the Brown community [1], or what Cristela deals with at work, yes maybe the personalities are exaggerated to a point, but something about this show still feels very authentic. Hence the Watch It label for it is funny, has many touching moments throughout the pilot, and Cristela really does present herself as not just the girl you generally want to root for, but someone who I think presents another case for why representation matters. For really, what other actress do you see that looks, acts, and has the same background as her?

What appears to be a slightly ecchi shounen harem, about a former military teen who gets the chance live some semblance of a normal life, has more than what meets the eye., 11 October 2014
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Since anime doesn't come with commercials, and generally aren't advertised through traditional media, I have been getting most of my animation previews from Animeultima, which has episodes descriptions and premiere dates, and the links I get from the Tokyo Ghoul fan page on Facebook. Which lead me to this series which, from the start, seemed like your usual harem anime. However, low and behold, it has depth!

Characters & Story

Kazami is introduced as a young man who has spent most of his life under the tutelage of his female master who trained him to be some type of soldier. However, after living most of his life training and doing missions, now it seems he wishes for some semblance of normalcy. So, in order to provide this, he is sent to a special high school of which there are only around 6 students, including him. Said students include: Kominoe , the class rep; Makina, who seemingly is the youngest at Mihama Academy; Suou, who comes off like Makina's older sister; Michiru, who seems a bit out of her mind, and sometimes is animated to show she is definitely different from everyone else; and then there is Sakaki, who doesn't seem to like Kazami at all. In fact, she tries to cut him.

And while most of the girls seem fairly normal, it is hinted by the end of the episode that these girls are anything but normal. For with Kominoe working on making a bomb; Amane seeming like she has devious plans for Kazami; and us really not learning much about the girls' past, never mind knowing why Kazami has a sniper rifle, needless to say what is presented on the cover does not represent the anime as a whole.

Praise

What I currently like about this show, based off the first episode, is that everyone has a distinct enough personality that I feel, even with the names being unique to my American mind, I can clearly know who is who. And I especially feel, once everyone's past is revealed, it would be nearly impossible to get anyone mixed up. For truly it seems like from Kazami to all the girls, we are going to be presented with some dark and interesting tales. Now, what maybe in those stories? I don't know, I didn't read the manga or play the game this is based on. However, with just a glimpse of these girls coming off sugar sweet, and sort of innocent, to then behind doors closed doors seeming a bit wicked, it is hard to not get excited about what is to come.

Criticism

My only issue with this show is the unnecessary panty shots and then Amane being in Kazami's room nude. For while I have a good idea why she went into his room, at the same time I feel like the panty shots and nudity sort of cheapen the product. Mostly because it seems done solely to tantalize.

Overall: Watch It

I'm following this series to the end. If just because everyone seems so weird and through anime I get to see the type of characters and stories I wish American Horror Story would have. So, I hope you'll join me for future installments on the blog!

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The lives of one seriously messed up family, and one washed up actress, are explored as mental illness, and a bad attitude, ruins their careers., 5 October 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I cannot fully remember how I found out about this movie, so I can only assume I saw the name of it on IndieWire. With that said, there are a lot of recognizable faces amongst the cast, such as Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikoska, and John Cusack, who all perform their very eccentric characters in such a way that is perplexing to say the least. Now, as for whether their performances lead you to believe the film is worth your time or not, look below.

Characters & Story

The three main story lines are: Havana Segrand's (Julianne Moore) which deals with an actress who desperately wants to be in the remake of her mother's biggest film, perhaps in pursuit of closure; one young woman named Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), trying to make amends with Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack), Havana's reiki therapist; and one child star named Benjie (Evan Bird) who feels this new kid Roy (Sean Robertson), is stealing his spotlight.

But what the overall film is about is the two actors, Havana and Benjie, making a comeback. For with Havana seemingly losing the roles she wants to due her age, and perhaps her personality too, she finds herself losing her mind to the point she is seeing her mother Clarice (Sarah Gadon), and is forced to face that maybe what she thought happened in the past didn't. As for Benjie, he too is haunted by ghosts from his past. For as the stress of staying sober meets the stress of a life seemingly forced on him by his parents Cristina (Olivia Williams) and Stafford, we see a girl he met, Cammy (Kiara Glasco), haunt him. Then, on top of all that, a face he wasn't expecting to see again reappears who brings up bad memories.

Praise

When it comes to this film, I feel you must praise Moore and Bird for they play utterly unlikable characters, due to how much they fit many people's idea of the stereotypical celebrity, and yet they don't make their characters a pain to watch. This is accomplished through them having some form of mastery over their depiction of having schizophrenia, as well as Moore's depiction of Havana possibly having depression and issues which may have stemmed from sexual abuse. For while mental illness depictions in movies can either lead to over the top performances, or depressing comedies, arguably Havana is performed with just enough human qualities to make it seem like Moore wanted her to be someone who struggled with mental disorders vs. someone so wholly consumed that Havana could only be seen a caricature.

Then, when it comes to Bird as Benjie, while his character is much more difficult to like, in comparison to Havana, through his interactions with Agatha and Cammy, as well as noting his relationship with his parents, there is this sense that as despicable as he seems, he may more so be coping than acting out because he can. After all, it seems his family's wealth might have came from his success. So imagine the pressure he is under so his mom has work and his dad's career, as some sort of motivational speaker, outside of him being a reiki therapist, isn't tainted by his son collapsing under the pressure he's under.

Criticism

I want to note that this is the type of film which, based off the first ten to twenty minutes, you think is going to be awful. This is mostly due to no character really being presented as likable, Wasikowska as Agatha being a bit of a bore, at first, and Benjie being the type of kid you want so badly to get smacked by somebody, anybody, just because the way he acts is like how people often talk about Justin Bieber. Though perhaps my real problem with this movie is that I am not completely sure what writer Bruce Wagner was trying to say with this film. Is he trying to show the worse possible ways people can deal with their own issues, which usually includes taking out their anger, pain, and frustration on others? Is this supposed to be a serious parody, if such a sub-genre exists, on celebrity culture? Or is the point of the film simply to show what happens to a person when they are exploited, or disregarded, to the point where desperation sinks in?

Either way, I feel as interesting of a take the film has on mental illness, I'm unsure, if you want to be politically correct, if we are supposed to take the character's various issues seriously or not. Especially Cristina's since, outside of it being established she is a Benjie's mother and manager, I feel we don't get to learn hardly a thing at all about her. Making it where when we see her crying hysterically, or watch her final scene in the film, none of it makes sense.

Overall: TV Viewing

I see some talk about Moore getting nominated for major awards for this movie, and honestly if she does I guess she will get nominated for the same reason Cate Blanchett was for Blue Jasmine. More so because of her body of work than the film itself. And while I did note Wasikowska was a bit of a bore at first, truly her character can be considered a stimulant for the film. Especially for Benjie for with her revealing a few things she knows about his parents, as well as how she got her burns, it sets his story in motion. As for Havana, I think what Agatha does for Havana is remind us she was possibly normal once. Something which greatly helps the character become more than a selfish, and childish, prick.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
As Jordie's lies are exposed, we see Emma and Leo's relationship develop as well as Kara and Nurse Jackson's., 4 October 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As the weeks pass on Red Band Society, I'm starting to think little things tidbits maybe slipping by us. For while the kids all have a major focus, and developed story lines, Kenji mentions in the episode the dream life Nurse Jackson gave up to be a nurse. Leading me to wondering how many times something was said, and sort of went under the radar because it wasn't made a big deal out of? Which I'm not saying is a bad thing when it comes to the show. If anything, I like the idea that these aren't simply likable and complex characters attached to compelling stories, but there is some sense of realness in which not everything said is meant to lead to some huge reveal, flashback, or a storyline. Instead, it is simply said because these characters knew each other long before we came around so, naturally, there are subjects which are seldom mentioned, much less explored.

Topic 1: I've Had Just About Enough Of You – Kara & Nurse Jackson

Needless to say, as much as Kara got humanized, partially, by us meeting her mother in the last episode, it is hard to feel consistent pity for someone who tries your patience. However, Nurse Jackson is so badly trying to figure out a way to like Kara, feel sorry for her, or just simply not develop feelings of indifference. For truly between Kara trying to buy drugs from some shady character, steal drugs from a kid who likely isn't even 9, and all that combined with her attitude, it seems Nurse Jackson is all but ready to turn a blind eye to Kara for she seems to be a lost cause. However, with a clean urine test she feels pleasantly surprised by the girl. Though as soon as she gives Kara some semblance of praise, and her own form of an apology for throwing pills at her face, Kara ends up popping a pill she picked up.

Topic 2: Liar, Liar Pants on Fire – Dash, Leo, and Jordie

Eva (Catalina Sandino Moreno) comes to the hospital upon learning her son, Jordie, is there. Something which is great information to know for Dash since, with Jordie getting so much of everyone's attention, he is feeling a bit left out. You see, Leo is doting all his time and worrying about how Jordie is doing, Emma is focusing on Jordie since it seems she may like him, and meanwhile Dash is starting to find himself damn near like Kara with only perhaps the staff to talk to. So, with him learning Jordie's mom is alive, he begins a campaign to taint Jordie's name. Something Leo sort of joins as Emma and he seem a bit rocky and he wants to take down his competition.

However, what they don't know is how complicated Eva and Jordie's relationship is. You see, Eva had Jordie around 19 and seemingly while Eva loved her son, she wasn't the best mother. Gambling is how she made her money, with Jordie helping her cheat to win, and with burritos often being dinner, ones which Jordie had to put in the microwave himself, she seemingly was just able to provide a roof over his head and maybe some fun times. But, while they may have had fun times, Jordie does feel abandoned and really would prefer her to just sign the papers he needs her to and then for her to leave. Something she isn't for at all for he is her baby, whether he likes it or not, and she wants to be there for him. So, to resolve things as they used to, they gamble. The game is poker and Dash is taking bets, Jordie has a full house in his hands and seems ready to kick his mom out of his life, but then he folds. A decision seemingly done for he knows, despite having Emma and the uneasy friendships of Leo and Dash, he is going to need his mom to be in his corner.

Topic 3: The Girl of My Dreams – Emma, Jordie, & Leo

Leaving us with the love triangle which is honestly barely a love triangle. For, you see, Emma has shown signs that she may have feelings for Jordie, or at the very least sympathy, of which Leo isn't comfortable with. The reason being, he sees his and Emma's relationship over solely because he broke up with her for he thought one of the surgeries he was to have would kill him. So, to not leave her with the burden of having a dead boyfriend, he broke up with her. Truth is though, she wasn't that happy in the relationship and it seems she was more invested than him. Hence why she never pursued getting back together.

As for what is going on now? Well, Leo tries to stake claim to Emma in a conversation with Jordie and Jordie seems to understand. However, unlike in most love triangles, it seems Emma isn't going to do some sort of back and forth with Leo. She wants to be friends and while some feelings may linger, it doesn't seem like she is willing to reevaluate things. She is ready to move on and with Jordie surely enjoying the attention, and his mom liking Emma, I doubt he is going to stop Emma from being nice to him because of Leo, especially since Emma made him some rice crispy treats.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
As Olivia's return becomes a fact and not a rumor, she gets dragged back into working for the White House., 4 October 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I must admit I am a bit disappointed that whole, senator tried to rape me story got dropped. If just because, while I like seeing a different case every episode, I feel the only stable thing on this show shouldn't be the idea that Olivia and Fitz will eventually end up back together. For truly, while Harrison won't be replaced, I feel there is a need to find a worthy character to fill the screen time and charisma Columbus Short left behind. Something which is hardly seen for while Abbie steps it up a bit, and Mellie does well to a point, everyone else feels same old, same old. Really pushing the idea that the show needs someone new to really inject some interest. For, to me, Lizzy sure ain't cutting it.

Topic 1: Blackmail – David, Olivia, and Cyrus

To begin, with Cyrus not having a strong faith in Abbie's abilities, he outsources a job to Olivia to make sure James & Lisa Elliott, two prominent figures in the gun control movement, end up at the State of the Union address. Thing is, Olivia is done working for the White House, does not want to work for the White House, but has no choice but to work for the White House. Which in the past the reason would have been due to Fitz, however this time Cyrus blackmails her by having it where the government gives her quite a bit of money, and he uses said money to threatening the IRS on her. So, being that Olivia really doesn't want trouble, and seemingly isn't on good enough terms with her dad to sick him on Cyrus, she just goes along with what Cyrus wants.

As for David, as he pursues becoming Attorney General, he is having a few troubles. For one, there is the fact he is considered a Democrat and Lizzy seems ready to start a civil war in the Republican party to stop, if not slow down, Fitz having a more integrated cabinet; then comes his investigation into the election fraud; him quitting his job to be a high school teacher; and lastly, the Olivia Pope made up scandal of David being an abuser. Something Lizzy dug up in a last ditch effort to stop David. Thing is, being that David learned a few things between dating Abbie and working for Liv, he knows how to blackmail now. So, to push along his nomination, Senator Watson, a prominent member of the senate hearing, gets blackmailed by David using some of the B6-13 files. Though, I should note, with Olivia nearly screwing him out of the position, it seems she is back to being on his list of people to expose when all is said and done.

Topic 2: Proving My Worth – Abbie & Mellie

As mentioned, Cyrus doesn't have much faith in Abbie. In fact, it seems she is considered just a last minute replacement who, because she worked with Olivia, is better than going through the process of dealing with someone new and having to hide all the dirty laundry. Thing is though, Abbie is no Olivia. Abbie is more forward, if not blunt at times, and can be rash. Something which sort of gets her in trouble when the press start questioning the way Mellie is grieving. Though it isn't helping that internally, meaning inside the White House, Mellie just lounges all day and has the attitude that this is Fitz's white house and his reputation. She has no investment in it, and has no real prominent place in it, so why should she put in the effort for a performance she doesn't even like to do? Well, Abbie reminds her, despite her feelings about being first lady, she does have a job. Is it convenient, what Mellie deserves, or wants? No. However, she has been given the liberty to grieve much longer than most people can and if Jackie Kennedy can go from her husband being shot right next to her to being part of LBJ getting sworn in two hours later, then Mellie can gather the strength to be seen.

Topic 3: You'll Always Be My Baby – Olivia & Fitz

Of which she does. But when it comes to the Elliotts, things are a tad more difficult since while they were in love when James was the star for being a war veteran who lived through Taliban torture, once Lisa became a celebrity in her own way too, as well as paralyzed, it seems their relationship hit a rough patch and is now at its end. Though, to make things worse, Lisa goes beyond arguments. I mean, she uses a wine opener to stab James. However, despite this drama, Olivia gets them to the State of the Union and tells them she will help manage their divorce so neither looks like the villain in the situation.

Leading to the topic of Fitz. As we have seen countless times before, when it comes to Fitz's speeches he most values Olivia's opinion on them. For who knows how to really talk to people than her? So, in a move which had me rolling my eyes at first, he clears a room for just them and asks her to look over his speech. A good idea for it really led to one of the best speeches he ever presented. I mean, often I don't see Fitz as a good president because of his personal life, but for once it seems his personal life was actually an asset to him as president.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Just as you think you have all the information you need to know who is guilty or innocent, new evidence, and suspects, arrive., 4 October 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With this show, I feel just as much as Professor Keating is prepping her students to be lawyers, she is setting us up to not be sure who is innocent, guilty, and who is walking that grey line like it is a tight rope. For as soon as you pin someone as the culprit in a murder, someone new pops up or there is new information given which throws you off. Making it so, ultimately, while the cast are learning to be a lawyer, you are trying to become a better detective.

Topic 1: Life Father, Like Daughter – Keating, Connor & Laurel

In this week's case, one Max Saint Vincent is accused of killing his wife with a hunter's knife. A murder which seems he may very likely have done for like Colin Sweeney, on The Good Wife, Max is off putting in ways he is a little too comfortable with. For example, he reenacts the would-be murder, at the murder scene, with Connor in front of Keating and her students with panache. Leading to the point of this case which is that Keating does not care if the client is guilty, she cares about doing her job and winning. Something Laurel and Connor significantly help her with due to Oliver (Conrad Ricamora), the IT guy, helping Keating discredit a few witnesses, and then Laurel helping to plant doubt by taking note of not only how the current wife was killed, but using the evidence against Max when it comes to killing his first wife to prove he didn't kill his second.

Leading to a real twist and turn case which really has me thinking Peter Nowalk, the writer of this episode, needs to be committed to more episodes. For with the final reveal being that Eloise, Max's daughter, murdered Max's wife in hopes of getting him a guilty verdict as payback for killing her mom, honestly I felt there was just enough drama to make me happy.

Topic 2: Your Lying, Cheating Heart – Keating & Sam

While, like many, I was quick to damn Keating for her affair with Nate, it seems she wasn't the one to stab her marriage and watch it bleed first. I say this because, like Frank, Sam seemingly has a thing for college students. Of which Lila was one of them, and while it seemed perhaps Keating could have killed her in the first episode, we are now led to believe that perhaps Sam was involved. However, just thinking about the Saint Vincent case makes me wonder if we are being setup. For as much as Keating has doubts due to going through Sam's phone, knowing he messed around with his students before, and him maybe not going to Yale on the night of the murder, she doesn't have unquestionable proof. Much less, though she seems like the victim in all this, it seems her specialty is handling murder cases. So, riddle me this, why wouldn't the woman who usually comes out on top for murder cases, not use what has gotten people off to kill her husband's mistress?

Topic 3: I Will Always Protect You – Wes & Rebecca

Leaving us with the murder of Sam in which most of the scenes are repeated, but we see things from Wes' point of view. Making you wonder if for most of the season that is what is going to happen? The same general scenes repeated over and over, but just from a different person's point of view.

Either way, as the news about Lila spreads around, the cops begin to work their magic and the first person taken down is Lila's boyfriend Griffin. Now, as for how Rebecca comes into this, well she begins to allow Wes to get close to her, or else become a good alibi, by possibly stashing a phone in his apartment, and using his shower and being naked, if just for a few moments, in front of him. Which I don't want to say is her seducing him, but certainly she is manipulating him in some way surely.

I could be wrong though for, like Keating, you can't be fully sure if she is well played by the actress or truly innocent. Especially in terms of the murder of Sam. For while Lila's murder is pointing fingers in many directions, it seems, for now, Rebecca may have killed Sam in self-defense. Though, again, be it the show and Nowalk's writing, or just me having bad detective skills, you can't say for sure who is innocent or guilty.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
An ensemble drama dealing with overbearing parents, porn addiction, marital issues, and abandonment., 4 October 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When it comes to comedians like Adam Sandler, as I mentioned in the Hateship, Loveship review, often their dramatic roles, especially after they have peaked, are far superior to their comedic roles. If just because most comedians have one sole shtick and they pretty much beat that into the ground until all that is left is the person behind the clown makeup. But, while I like Adam Sandler in dramatic roles, honestly he was not the draw here. More so it was Ansel Elgort, from The Fault In Our Stars & Divergent, as well as Kaitlyn Dever, who is in one of my favorite movies: Short Term 12. Also, though only in a voice over role, the film has Emma Thompson and despite The Love Punch, I still am very much in love with her work. Now, as for whether you should see this film, look below.

Characters & Story

There are four families which are the focus of the film: The Truby family: featuring Don (Adam Sandler), Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt), and Chris (Travis Tope), in which there is a loveless marriage and porn addiction issues; The Clint family, Joan (Judy Greer) and Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia), which has the main issue of how Joan is guiding her daughter's dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress; The Beltmeyer family: which is composed of Patricia (Jennifer Garner) and Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever), and an irrelevant dad, who are dealing with Patricia being a severely overbearing parent, to the point of putting a tracker on Brandy's phone, getting transcripts of every text sent, and requiring all of Brandy's passwords; and lastly there are the Mooneys: Tim (Ansel Elgort) & Kent (Dean Norris), who are dealing with Tim's mother, and Kent's wife, leaving for another man, on top of Tim quitting football.

Praise

Like most ensemble dramas, there are the stories which were either good, you wished were given more focus, or had potential unrealized. Something which can be said for nearly every family in this film. Such as the Truby family issues. For, focusing specifically on Don and Rachel's marriage, it felt like it deserved to be a movie within itself. For with their marriage losing its spark, and then them seeking people outside the marriage, you see enough drama there for a totally separate movie.

Leading to the idea that the film should have solely focused on the Mooney and Beltmeyer family. If just because Dever and Elgort both had enough meat as individuals, and came off as such a cute couple, that I think between exploring the effects of Tim's mom leaving, combined with why Patricia was so obsessively protective over Brandy, we could have gotten a really good movie which could have given us excellent dramatic performances. If just because enough time and depth could have been dedicated to the characters involved.

And before I forget, also the character Allison (Elena Kampouris) had a really good storyline dealing with her eating disorder and her crush on this guy named Brandon (Will Peltz). Which, to me, felt like an odd storyline to include in the film, but is good enough to warrant either an indie film or maybe even a TV show. One which could utilize the Clint family, with Hannah as a villain.

Criticism

When it comes to criticism, first off I felt that the Truby and Clint families wasted valuable time. For one, The Truby family felt out of place in a film which largely focused on the relationships between parents and children since Don barely interacts with Chris, and I can't remember if Rachel spoke to Chris once. Then, when it comes to the Clint family, I found it so weird that Donna would put her daughter through the same issues she went through when she tried to be an actress. Much less, I was unsure why she was unable to see she was basically photographing her daughter and then making a soft- core pornography site.

Leaving Emma Thompson role. She is simply a narrator for the film, and honestly I am unsure what the point of her narration is. For, with all the overlays of what people are doing on their phone, I think we get the point about how communication between people is breaking down and how, in Chris' case, too much porn has made having sex with a real woman difficult. After all, most of what she talks about you can put together yourself. Making her narration, especially when it comes to these parts when we are looking at a satellite and she is talking about its history, completely unnecessary.

Overall: TV Viewing

Recognizing Men, Women & Children is based off a book, I'm inclined to say they should have focused on only the Beltmeyer and Mooney families and called it a day. Maybe add in Donna for a love interest so Kent could move on from his wife, and maybe replace Hannah with Allison for her daughter. For truly, in my opinion, Hannah, the Truby family, and the role Emma Thompson plays in the film, that should have been cut from the film, or not even considered in the planning stages. However, since it is there, I'm labeling this as TV Viewing. For with there being too many stories, of which a handful seem they deserve their own film or show about, and then the terribly weak story of the Clint family, Men, Women & Children feels a bit lopsided to the point I find it hard to recommend to watch this for 2 hours in a likely uncomfortable movie theater seat.

Horns (2013)
2 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
With the death of one town's little angel comes the rise of a demon, one who exposes everyone's inner most sinful thoughts., 4 October 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Trigger Warning(s): Rape scene

Between the ever versatile Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple who is just in the strangest of movies, and even Sabrina Carpenter from Girl Meets World, you are given a rather odd movie. One which has love and lust; murder and revenge; and has so many weird moments that you may constantly say to yourself: "what the ----?" But as for whether this is worth seeing, look below.

Characters & Story

After a drunken night, Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) learns his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple) is dead and he is considered the likely culprit. Luckily for him though, his best friend Lee (Max Minghella) is a lawyer and keeps him out of jail. However, with most of the town thinking Ig is undoubtedly guilty, you are led to wonder if maybe he did kill Merrin.

Leading to us watching Ig investigate what happened the night before Merrin was killed, as well as us see their younger counterparts fall in love. Focusing on the investigation though, as Ig, for reasons unexplained, grows horns on his head, he finds himself getting the truth out of people in its rawest form. Thus leading to them revealing their feelings about Ig, Merrin, themselves, and sometimes acting out these feelings.

Praise

While in the criticism I will note the problems with this, I must admit the story and characters certainly kept you glued to the screen. If just because the things characters in this film say and do are sometimes so outrageous that I would say they ultimately are unintentionally funny. For, you see, with Ig's horns forcing people to say the truth, and giving them the ability to act on it, a lot of weird things happen. Which didn't make me laugh, since I was just so dumbfounded, but it could make someone laugh. I mean, in the film Ig's mom disowns him in such a way where I wasn't sure if I should laugh, feel bad for Ig, or wonder if his mom was sharing drugs with his brother?

That aside, what I liked the most about this movie was the makeup on Radcliffe, as well as Radcliffe's performance which helped give some sort of structure amongst all of the film's madness. For while Temple wasn't that bad as the adult Merrin, and I loved seeing Carpenter as a young Merrin, with Merrin as a whole being a very limited role, it is hard to really give her praise when Radcliffe was doing most of the heavy lifting. Especially since, for the majority of the movie, she isn't there. Thus leaving Radcliffe to try to balance us wondering if he murdered Merrin or not, dealing with the townspeople who think he did, and presenting what happened between him and Merrin before she died. During which Radcliffe performs with the type of motive in which you can clearly see that an Oscar, BAFTA, and etc., is surely destined for his future.

Criticism

However, he will not win any awards for this film. To begin, the film has a run time of two hours and you can feel the length of the movie as you watch. Partly because the story sort of feels aimless in its pursuit of the truth, and with very few characters really getting established, you pretty much figure out who truly murdered Merrin way before it is revealed.

But really what makes the film difficult to like is the weirdness of it. For while certainly someone may find what happens in this film funny, I won't to note the awkward moments in this film aren't like a Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill comedy. More so, and realize I have seen very few movies done by him, I'd say the humor of this film is off- putting like perhaps a PG-13 John Waters movie or maybe a bit like The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

And just to give you an idea of what I mean by this: Ig goes to Father Mould (Jay Brazeau) about his horns and how to get rid of them. The Feather replies that he has rope in a shed and he can string him up, though he feels like the more decent thing to do would be to let Ig do it himself. Meanwhile, as this is all being said, Brazeau has the most inappropriate smile for the situation that it makes it hard to know whether you should laugh or just be uncomfortable. Though, while there are moments like that one which may laugh, there are also moments which seem overacted like when Veronica (Heather Graham) acts so loopy it is like Graham is auditioning to play Harley Quinn in the next Batman movie.

Overall: TV Viewing

A part of me wants to say to skip this in all honestly, however I do really like the relationship between Merrin and Ig, both as kids and adults, and Radcliffe does do his best to save the movie from itself. Which, as noted, is an uphill battle. But I think you'll find Radcliffe to be one of those rare actors who can make a bad movie tolerable. Something he certainly did for this movie, hence the TV Viewing label.


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