November 2014

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Wikipedia link]

PEOPLE: Directed by… Martin Scorsese ?!?! I never see his movies! I’ve only seen The Aviator and Gangs Of New York, and both barely held my interest, were rated 6/10 and 7/10 respectively, and were utterly un-rememberable for me. So this is his first huge success for me, personally. And it is also his most commercially successful movie ever, so I must not be alone in my opinion. Of course, I haven’t seen most of his movies, and most are before the period of time that I prefer to watch movies from.

Screenplay by Laeta Kologridis, who co-wrote the Russian fantasy film Night Watch, as well as 3 eps of the passable-but-forgettable WB live-action superhero series Birds Of Prey. She was also an executive producer, as well as e.p. for Avatar, and polished the script of Scream 3. The book it is based on is by the same writer (Dennis Lehane) that wrote the book that the movie Mystic River was based on. Odd.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley (Prince Of Persia:Sands Of Time, War, Inc., The Wackness, A.I., Species, Schindler’s List), Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, 13 Going On 30, Where The Wild Things Are, 54), Ted Levine (THe Hills Have Eyes, Fast And The Furious, FLUBBER haha).

With Emily Mortimer (who reminds me of someone) (Scream 3), Patricia Clarkson (Six Feet Under–I thought she was the grandma but she was her sister, derp, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Jumanji, 5 eps of Frasier), Max von Sydow (the priest in the Excorcist!), and Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek, But I’m A Cheerleader, Dick).

PLOT SUMMARY: (from IMDB) “Set in 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding nearby.” But really, this movie is much deeper than that plot summary makes it out to be. “Shutter Island” is an anagram of both “Truths and Lies” and “Truths / Denials”. IMDB marks this fact as a spoiler, but I don’t see how it really spoils anything.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Taxpayer money wasted trying to prevent lobotomy of murderer.

QUIRKS: Based on a book, like many good movies. This is a psychological thriller — a drama/mystery/thriller, if you will. Things are not what they seem. An entire island is a prison island — like Escape From New York, but with ultra-order instead of ultra-chaos and ultra-violence.

VISUALS: It’s certainly a striking setting, but this movie is more psychological than visual.

MORALS/POLITICS: Very interesting how in 1954, actually talking to a patient and/or giving him drugs — were considered controversial medical treatments.

BAD STUFF: A minority of people found it “too obvious”, i.e. the twist is obvious, but I know that such people are rarely fooled by anything, and I tend to blame that flaw on the viewer. If endings are too easy to predict, do something to slow your brain down (drugs? meditation?), stop thinking about it, hop on the ride and enjoy it instead of analyzing it to death. Because it seems viewers of this movie had one of 2 exact opinions: Completely awesome, or flawed by being too obvious. It’s the same movie either way.

GOOD STUFF/CONCLUSION: The movie is not what it seems. It pulls you in, and then everything changes. “In order to exceed your audience’s expectations, you must betray them.” And they do that. More than once. I didn’t really even catch on to the ending (i.e the meaning of the last spoken lines) until I read about it, though Carolyn said it was plainly obvious. For me, it just meant that I ended up liking it even more than I did when the movie ended, because it was actually better than what I thought the ending was :)

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.0/10, Netflix: 3.8/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.9/5 stars, which is in fact too low).

RECOMMENDATION: Definitely worth seeing. It’s one of those movies that’s better than it sounds, and is actually worthy of its box office success.

SIMILAR MOVIES: People say it’s “like” Inception, but I think that’s misleading. It’s an easy comparison to make because they both came out around the same time, both star Leonardo DiCaprio, and both have surreal elements including him dealing with fallout from his wife’s death. But Inception is frankly more of a fantasy than Shutter Island is. Shutter Island reminds me of the paranoia from A Scanner Darkly at times. It’s not the same thing as Inception.

Admittedly, Netflix says it recommended this to me based on me liking Inception, Vanilla Sky, and The Fourth Kind. So the comparison might not be as bad as I’m making it.


Chuck Aule: All I know is it’s a mental hospital.
Teddy Daniels: …for the criminally insane.
[queue up Criminally Insane by Slayer]

Nurse Marino: This is mental institution, Marshall, for the criminally insane. Usual isn’t a big part of our day.
[queue up Criminally Insane by Slayer]


My parents said it was really good. Mom: “Liked it a lot–far more than I expected. The obvious “twist” didn’t blow me away, but what about the more subtle psychological twist? Good movie.”

Tim & Tracy said it was really good, weren’t sure why it got such mixed reviews, and is a must see.

McGani said it RULED.

Sister Decadence ‘quite enjoyed’ it (as did all but 1 of her friends who commented on her saying this).

Heather A N: “LOVED this movie…couldn’t shut up about it for days. I didn’t get the last part either until I talked to my mom and sister. They said I was an idiot, but I would agree that I liked it all the more for it.”

Christina G: “Enjoyed the movie and I’m generally not a Scorcese fan.”

Nate O: “I thought it was great. The music was a bit oppressive, but did it’s job.”

Ian B… not so much. Seems based on his review, and comments on that review, that watching the trailer (and to a greater or lesser extent, the movie itself) really ruins this movie.

Side rant:

Personally, I think it best to devote as few brain cycles as possible to anticipating the plot; it only makes things less enjoyable. And as such, outside of movie theatres, I only watch a trailer to something I haven’t seen every few years. I think it’s far more satisfying to watch a trailer AFTER the movie.

A rare negative review from my own circle of people, iDRMRSR, who rarely agrees with me anyway, being my parents’ age and mostly liking older movies that I would never watch in a million years, and thus already exposed to most plots from past movies: “This movie, unfortunately, was basically just The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari remade into a bigtime CGI thrillar. I felt completely cheated by the too obvias ending. I was actually jumping up and down and swearing that Scorsese couldn’t come up with a moar inventive twist on the old Insane Asylum genre here. By means of comparisan, I think this is why I liked Inceptian so much…that movie had a real good ending…and not oanly that there was JUST enuff questian at the end to make it ambiguas.”

I’d never consider it a “cgi thriller”, it’s barely a visual movie. a CGI thriller would be Avatar, or something mostly in CGI (i.e. animated films).

OTHER REVIEWS: Outlaw Vern’s review. (more…)

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I'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Not available on Netflix, losers!] Not to be confused with Going Postal (1998) or Postal:The Movie (2007).

QUIRKS: Fantasy comedy based on a book. Yet another movie based on Terry Pratchett‘s Discworld series. His fantasy worlds are very detailed, yet very much based on today’s world, if it were to take place in the past. Discworld is full of tiny bits of satire. Fantasy stories littered with absurd and ridiculous comedy — which makes them easier to swallow, because things are never TOO serious. These are lighthearted stories.

PEOPLE: Starring Richard Coyle (Prince Of Persia:Sands Of Time, Coupling) as Moist Von Lipwig. David Suchet as Gilt (Wing Commander, Greystoke:The Legend Of Tarzan). The lovely Claire Foy as the somewhat gothy Adora Belle Dearheart. More of her, please! She’d be perfect for Tim Burton movies! She could take roles that Helena Bonham-Carter is now too old for :)

I totally recognized Manuel from Fawlty Towers, Andrew Sachs, as Groat. Which is pretty amazing, as it’s been 30 years, he now has white hair, and was talking with his real-life English accent instead of his fake Barcelona accent from Fawlty Towers. But his shortness, and some of his bodily mannerisms made me realize it was him. And it was. Glad to see his career is still going.

Lord Vetinari was played by Charles Dance (Claus from For Your Eyes Only).

Also, someone who played “Eric’s Drums” in 1 episode of Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job — Steve Pemberton — is in this. He played Drumknott. What gives? Does he always play roles related to drums? Nope, actually, most of his roles are not drum related. He was Mr. Prosser and additional Vogon voices in the 2005 Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy movie.

And anyone who watched Black Books, or paid close attention to Shaun of The Dead, would recognize Tamsin Greig in this. (Not us!)

Mr. Pump’s voice was Nicholas Farrell (Torchwood, Pearl Harbor, Greystoke:The Legend Of Tarzan, Chariots Of Fire). All I could think of the entire time was that his voice would be PERFECT for Marvin The Robot (or whatever his name is) from Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

PLOT SUMMARY: Con-man who ruined lives and was about to be hung is given a second chance as postmaster general. But the job is daunting. Not only do they have to compete with the clacks (think: internet email run via semaphor), but there are ghosts, and mountains of unsent mail to deal with.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Con-Man escapes justice, gets victim’s daughter to fall in love with him, defeats local technology startup.

VISUALS: A rich fantasy world that is not too different from our own.

MORALS: Personal redemption.

POLITICS: Corporate greed.

GOOD STUFF: The whole “postal mail vs. the clacks” subplot is pretty much mirroring how email has hurt the postal service in real life. People would even get me when “The clacks are down” — it very much felt like the internet was down. This movie also used the concept of a computer virus, despite the fact that there are no computers in this movie. THAT IS A FIRST, AND IT WAS AWESOME. I’d explain it more, but it would ruin the fun.

Nice and long. I’ve always contended that you need three full hours to properly convert any book to a movie. It’s why the Peter Jackson Lord Of The Rings movies are so good — they almost cover everything (almost… Tom Bombadil, where are you?!?). It’s why the Harry Potter movies are so much better if you manage to find a fan-edit version that restores all the deleted scenes and makes them three hours. It’s why we like previous Terry Pratchett movies like The Colour Of Magic and The Hogfather.

BAD STUFF: It’s made for TV. But I gotta say — of all the made for TV movies we’ve seen recently, this one showed it the least. No bad special effects here.

CONCLUSION: A fun fantasy romp with a great deal of comedy, with even subtle commentary about both corporate malfeasance, and about the internet reducing the delivery of paper-based correspondence. Three hour live-action Discworld-based movies are quite fun if you can find the time, and this is the 3rd one that’s been made in the UK. Good luck finding these in America, though.

Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.8/10 (same as Clint’s rating!).

RECOMMENDATION: If you like 3-hour Terry Pratchett fantasy movies made for UK TV — then here’s another one!

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Hogfather and The Colour Of Magic are the other 2 3-hour made-for-TV live action Terry Pratchett movies — so check those out.

And I also couldn’t help but be reminded of Kevin Costner’s The Postman. The only two movies I’ve ever seen about re-starting postal service :)


“It was the most wonderful kiss I never had.”

“Has anyone ever told you, how beautiful you look, when considering violence?” (more…)

Inspired by the Facebook meme to “stop negativity by posting flowers”:

“Ignoring or rejecting the negative always of life is a certain pathway to ruin. Anybody with a solid grasp of philosophy whether it be religious or secular should recognize the importance of reflecting on the harm and trouble that may have been avoided. I’m no fan of this cultural movement to sugarcoat things. Adversity is the best teacher that I ever had, and were it not for many hard lessons and much reflection on my own responsibilities for the outcomes that caused me and others to suffer, I don’t believe I would be a person that many would welcome into their lives. The ugliness we expose here is medicine for those who have willfully failed to recognize their own responsibility and have not effectively corrected for their errors. This is necessary and important and we should lose no momentum in our struggle to represent the values that we need to better the balance of society in our nation. Flowers are nice, but not as nice as being able to trust those sworn to protect us to do so with expert judgement and compassion for the innocent.”

-Jess Byrd (more…)

POLITICS: The Top 25 Most Censored Stories of 2013-2014

The single most important link for you to read this year.

The single most informative link for the year of 2014 in terms of telling you news you SHOULD know, but don’t.

I was surprised by some of this, actually.


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [It’s Raining Two And A Half Men fake fan-site run by character in movie]

PEOPLE: From the director of The Hangover, Starsky & Hutch, and Old School (Todd Phillips). The two writers co-wrote 15 eps of King Of The Hill, 1 ep of Kid Notorious, and 1 ep of American Dad.

Starring Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galafianakis. That right there should pretty much sell the movie to anyone.

QUIRKS: Road-trip adventure comedy.

GOOD STUFF: Zach/”Ethan” = Kipp. lol. Perm! “Only douchebags get perms!” hahaha

BAD STUFF: If you don’t like comedy based on someone being really fucking annoying, you might just get annoyed instead.

CONCLUSION: The most comedic chemistry of a pair of people forced to road trip together that I’ve seen since Midnight Run (which I just re-watched with Carolyn). This is to be filed under “ridiculous and unrealistic comedy”. It kind of reminds me of Midnight Run, but focusing more on the comedy.

Clint: Netflix: 4.4/5 stars. IMDB: 8.4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8.6/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.8/10, Netflix: 3.8/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.2/5 stars).

MOVIE QUOTE: “Ethan Tremblay: I got 90 friends on Facebook… 12 of them are pending, but I got 90 friends.”

RECOMMENDATION: Definitely worth seeing!

SIMILAR MOVIES: Midnight Run. (more…)