Blind Spot Series 2017 Rankings

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So, another year gone, another twelve movies crossed off of my Blind Spot list. For the most part, I had particularly good movies this year. For the most part…

Anyway, as always, I decided to rank them all here.

12. Deliverance (1972)

Well. This. Fuck this movie. I will say it again, fuck this movie. Yep, totally hated it. I am sure you all remember the Shitfest-worthy meltdown I had about this. If you don’t, you are more than welcome to head on back to the review linked above to see how I raged. Ugh…

11. Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

Certainly not an underrated gem as I was led to believe, I was so amped to finally watch this gangster movie and was totally let down by it. What a waste of nearly four hours of my life!

10. Cronos (1993)

While I am always up for Guillermo Del Toro’s Spanish works, this one was not nearly as great as I was hoping it would be. It was not a bad movie by a long shot, but it does not stand equal to The Devil’s Backbone or Pan’s Labyrinth.

9. The Road (2009)

Dark, depressing, apocalyptic, The Road definitely paints a super depressing, far more realistic apocalyptic future than these movies usually portray. Viggo Mortensen is exellent, and Kodi Smit-McPhee also holds his own in the bleak movie. Worth the watch!

8. Say Anything (1989)

So pleased to have seen this –  it is one of those movies that is referenced all over the show, and I have never really known how it all fit in. Man, Lloyd Dobler is absolutely adorable and the boombox over the head scene finally makes sense now. Say Anything is sweet, but not to soppy your stomach churns. Enjoyed this one!

7. The Help (2011)

Okay, so right off the bat, this is not unpredictable, but that doesn’t make it bad. The Help is rather formulaic, and shies away from some of the sick history it is steeped in, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t find other ways to run home the story. There are terribly sad moments, moments that will make you mad, and some great sections with some fantastic humour, and the movie has heart. The cast, too, definitely sold this one.

6. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this, but I really liked this one. I thought it was funny and shot really well and rather strange, but it all worked. I would like to rewatch it and see if it holds up as well. I must admit, this is where I finally understood Tom Hiddleston’s appeal to the world – before he was just a decent actor. After this? Impressed. Plus I liked the humour in this. So deadpan. Swinton and Hiddleston make this a treat.

5. The Orphanage (2007)

Another one of those cult classic type movies I have vowed for years to get to and just never did, 2017 was the year that changed. The Orphanage is haunting, sad, beautiful and creepy, and has a solid story as a strong psychological aspect to it, making it a movie that gets under your skin and lingers long after, not just a typical, generic horror movie at all.

4. JFK (1991)

Conspiracy theories galore! Naturally this was totally going to be my cup of tea, and it totally was. There were some solid performances and I was particularly interested in how Stone would set out his case for JFK’s assassination. While I feel that it was heavy handed in forcing his interpretation of events down the viewer’s throat, if you watch this as a theory and not as the gospel of the answers to JFK’s assassination, you are in for a good time. Great starting point for those not too familiar with the intricacies of the infamous case.

3. City of God (2002)

I can see why this movie is so popular – it is so not an easy watch, but it is engaging, gritty, violent, realistic, and truly gets you thinking. It tells a super solid story and it draws you in, getting you invested in some characters from this nasty slum. It is depressing and yet completely enthralling, something I can see myself revisiting.

2. Rear Window (1954)

James Stewart man, what an actor. The man is amazing, and with Grace Kelly at his side, the duo was bound to impress. Hitchcock, too, weaves a tense one-room story, which is carried and fleshed out completely by a talented cast. The tension is palpable, the story is smart and engaging, and the pacing is just right. Rear Window is a well-crafted movie and definitely worth the time.

1. Atonement (2007)

Ah, Atonement. Where do we even start? My goodness, what a watch. While it is not completely perfect or shocking, and it is predictable in places, it is handled so well and is shot brilliantly – truly, what beautiful shots. James McAvoy is absolutely perfect here, sweeping us all up so completely in Robbie. Keira Knightley, too,  managed to not work on my last nerve. The two work together well, and Atonement tells one hell of a story, a journey I both loved and resented in equal measure. I thought it was told so well, and some details were handled with such aplomb. What a movie, though certainly not a light, easy watch.

May Blind Spot Review: To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

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to kill a mockingbird poster

“I don’t know if it will help saying this to you… some men in this world are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us… your father is one of them.”
– Miss Maudie Atkinson

SYNOPSIS: Atticus Finch is a lawyer in a racially divided Alabama town in the 1930s. He agrees to defend a young black man who is accused of raping a white woman. Many of the townspeople try to get Atticus to pull out of the trial, but he decides to go ahead. How will the trial turn out – and will it change any of the racial tension in the town ? – via IMDB

To Kill a Mockingbird

GRADE 8I really loved the book, we all know this. I thought it was beautiful and I can understand why it is such a revered classic. I didn’t watch this movie ever because I wanted to read the book first, and I thought that it was a damn fine choice for my Blind Spot movies this year seeing as I read the book last year only. Well, let me tell you, I was impressed with the adaption. Really. There is a lot that is wonderful about it, and it was mostly loyal for the most part. By this I mean it was mostly loyal to the parts that were actually used in the film. There were quite a few scenes that I simply adored from the book and the journey of Jem and Scout that were just not here, and much was underplayed. I missed the inner dialogue of Scout, who really painted a vivid picture of the times for us. Her dialogue gave the events more context and meaning, and with it not being present in the movie in any way, the finer nuances that made this story beautiful were missed. It was still a rich and fulfilling film for me because I have read the book and could fill in what was not there, and I still think that this movie will have an impact even if you haven’t read the book. However, looking at this film for what it was, it took the major issues from the novel and dealt with them. We know that race was a big issue in this book, and societal position and the Depression, but I think that the race dynamic could have been explored in more detail, as well as Atticus’s position in society. It was very sad to see the injustice, to see the performance Brock Peters gave as Tom Robinson, and just to see how the entire situation affected different people. I wish the film had worked more on Jem growing up a bit, the family ties between Atticus and his extended family and how even they didn’t really stand by what he was doing, as well as Scout having a real problem reconciling that she was a girl, though she was perfectly fine running around with the boys rather than having tea and scones. I adore Boo Radley, and the relationship he had with the kids, and really wish that more focus had been placed there, but alas, it is not so. Still, it was a wonderful thing for me to actually see Boo Radley, and Robert Duvall was understated but perfect in the role. Gregory Peck was phenomenal as Atticus Finch, and is pretty much exactly what I had expected of the character. I was a fan of his work and his performance, and it does surely deserve praise. To Kill A Mockingbird was shot very well, and looks lovely. It carried itself well, and the pacing was good. Phillip Alford and Mary Badham were wonderfully cast to play Jem and Scout, and I enjoyed their performances all round. The score was also suited and didn’t jar you from the experience with silly sounds and unnecessary and ill-timed music. This is a good movie adaption of a fine novel, though ultimately I am still a far bigger fan of the book (Hush! Could you just imagine?!) as there was just so much more detail, so many small things that made this story unforgettable for me, and that I would have loved to have seen on screen. Oh well, the world is not a wish granting factory. If you have not seen To Kill A Mockingbird, I would highly recommend it. It is a great story that is entertaining and fascinating throughout.

Rapid Review: The Judge (2014)

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the judge poster

“The law is the only thing capable of making people equal.”
– Dwight Dickham

SYNOPSIS: Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family. – via IMDB

the judge

GRADE 7So when The Judge came, I saw a lot of reviews calling it bland and boring, so I didn’t rush out to see it, though I was quite interested in seeing it from the off. I am glad that I finally did check it out, at the behest of my neighbour and my mother. I thoroughly enjoyed this. It didn’t feel very long and it was engrossing. Typically, Robert Downey Jr played a cocky, smart-mouthed, sharp and overly-sarcastic lawyer, but the role worked for him. I was interested in seeing Duvall in here, seeing as whenever I think of him I think of his consigliere role of Tom Hagen in The Godfather, and this is a total change. Duvall is still a great watch, and I loved the way he and RDJ worked off of one another. The relationship between father and son was so strained, and the numerous glimpses you got as a viewer to see how totally different Judge Palmer is from the image you are given by Hank was so rewarding. The arguments between the two were sometimes extremely painful. The supporting cast was really good, and I thought that Jeremy Strong delivered a heartfelt performance as the slower Dale, Vince D’Onofrio was a great Glen, obviously I am a fan of Vera Farmiga and she again worked wonders here. Billy Bob Thornton was relatively underused, but he rocked his suits and gave off the air of a man out for blood. Everyone pulled their weight and it was nice to see. Granted, many may feel that they  have seen this before and complain about the length, but I think that the drama was handled very well, and I lost time watching this seeing as it was so engrossing. Not only that, the execution was so well done that it doesn’t matter if the father/son bitter pool has been overplayed, and we all know that the family must heal and all that. It is a nice thing to watch and experience with them, plus there are quite a few laughs laced throughout it, and the sad moments sprinkled between, too. I was not a big fan of how the big argument in court plays  out because, well… courtooms aren’t treated like that, and questioning/cross-examination doesn’t play out like that and I know that. However, to add the drama and hit you in the feels they went with it, so it is just something to get over. But even after all is said and done, The Judge is a generic movie, but good. It breaks no boundaries, takes no bold leaps, and gives us nothing we haven’t seen before, and while the performances are strong, each and every one of these actors has given us better. Director David Dobkin really played it very safe with this.