Movie Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)

Can people just stop being cockwaffles? Not saying that you reading this specifically are one, but this movie did remind me that true cockwaffles exist, and I don’t like that.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”.

When she is caught getting intimate with another girl, high school student Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) gets sent to a gay conversion therapy center to “get fixed”. So then we follow her as she tries to get through each day while also befriending some of the other youths who live at the center. And I kinda loved the plot here. It’s a nuanced and well written story of someone coming to terms with who she is while others try to change her because she’s different. But what really surprised me about the plot here is just how restrained it ends up being. It doesn’t show the center as this hellhole like some other pieces of media might. It’s shown in a way that takes a stance, while not portraying any of the people working there as absolute monsters. It kinda makes it feels a bit more realistic and nuanced in a way. And it really helped in making this quite an engaging plot.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, interesting, and fairly realistic. Chloë Grace Moretz plays Cameron, the titular girl who gets sent to this center. And what I like about her performance is that she is kind of conflicted in the movie. She does believe that she did nothing wrong, but the councilors at the center also do kind of get a bit to her, making her question herself a bit, and it makes for some interesting character development. And Moretz is great in the role. Next we have Sasha Lane as Jane, another girl at the center that Cameron starts to befriend. She’s more of the rebellious type who bides her time at the center, but secretly smokes pot and is very much against the center. And she’s quite an interesting part of the cast for some of that. And Lane is great in the role. Next we have John Gallagher Jr. as Rick, one of the councilors at the center trying to convert these kids. And like I said in the plot section, he’s not exactly portrayed as evil, per se. Yes, the whole gay conversion thing is fucking dumb, but he’s portrayed more as this kind-hearted and charming guy who just wants what’s best for these kids, and he’s just an interesting contrast to the many “BEING GAY IS NOT GOOD!” characters we’ve seen over the years. And Gallagher is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Dalton Harrod, Emily Skeggs, Quinn Shepherd, Forrest Goodluck, Marin Ireland, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Julian Wass, and I thought it was pretty great. It uses a fair bit of synth, but does also dip in with the occasional stringed instrument. It has a way of sounding dreamlike while also kind of real and grounded. I don’t know how to fully explain it really, it just works incredibly well for the movie. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout the movie, and they work well in their respective scenes.

Based on a novel by Emily M. Danforth, the movie was writen by Desiree Akhavan & Cecilia Frugiuele. And it was also directed by Akhavan, who I think did a great job with it. From a visual standpoint the movie is fairly standard, but the control that Akhavan has over each scene, guiding us through every moment with a very confident yet delicate hand.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 69/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” deals with a lot of sensitive themes, and handles them beautifully. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is a 9,71/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is now completed.

Just to remind y’all… don’t be a homophobic cockwaffle.

Movie Review: Hope Springs (2012)

Marriage. A bond between a man and a woman. Or a man and a man. Or a woman and a woman. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s a bond, connecting to people (sometimes out of love, sometimes because of horrible shit) in a more powerful way. But even the happiest of marriages can show cracks, especially after a really long time. Let’s explore that.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hope Springs”.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for a long time. And while they have a nice and easy daily routine, Kay feels like their marriage has gotten a bit stale. So she books tickets for them to go to intensive couples therapy to see if she can’t fix their situation a bit. Stories about sexless marriages isn’t anything new, and the plot here doesn’t do anything new or totally unpredictable. Overall I’d call it… fine. It’s breezy and enjoyable enough, with only a few moments of melodrama that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. It’s a harmless enough plot that I’d call fine.

The characters in this aren’t the deepest, but I also don’t hate them. They’re fine. Meryl Streep plays Kay, the one of the two who gets the plot started, the one that feels like something’s off about the marriage. She loves her husband, but she wants things to be less… dry. She easily gets emotional, and it’s a bit hit or miss for me throughout. But I can safely say that Meryl Streep is great. Tommy Lee Jones plays Arnold, the Tommy Lee Jones-ian grouch who seems to be perfectly fine with the dry and sexless marriage that he’s part of. And it’s interesting to see him get some decent character development here. And Jones is really good in the role. Then we have Steve Carell as Doctor Feld, the therapist that Kay and Arnold see during their little vacation. You can tell that he’s actually interested in what’s going on, and he seems like he genuinely likes helping people. He mainly serves as a plot device to get the Kay’s and Arnold’s plot moving forward, but he’s also an enjoyable presence. And Carell is really good in the role.

The score for the movie was composed by Theodore Shapiro and it was fine… I think. I almost never really noticed it. I could at times kind of hear it, but those tracks felt more like fodder rather than any actual mood-setter. Then there’s also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout and I have mixed feelings. While the songs themselves were pretty good, the way they were used was a bit… sledgehammer-y. Like they used songs “appropriate to the situation”, meaning lyrics exactly explaining what was going on with the characters, things we could’ve picked up on without the “YOU HEAR THIS SHIT, WE SO CLEVER!” use of music. So the music in this movie overall is… fine.

This movie was directed by David Frankel, and he did a pretty good job. Like I said about the plot, it’s quite fun and breezy, and there’s no shot that lingers too long. And the camerawork in general is fine. There are also some jokes here that are fine. I never laughed out loud, but there were a bunch of chuckles throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

While “Hope Springs” is far from a great movie, it’s still an enjoyable enough little romcom. It has an okay plot, okay characters, really good performances, okay music, good directing, and okay comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hope Springs” is a 6,23/10. While very flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Hope Springs” is now completed.

Seen better, seen worse.

Series Review: Sneaky Pete – Season 2 (2018)

In early 2017 we saw the premiere of “Sneaky Pete”, a new Amazon series. I watched it, and I gave it a very positive review. So now season 2 has been out for a few days and I’ve watched it all. So let’s talk about it and see if it’s any good.

Ladies and gents… “Sneaky Pete”.

When we last saw Marius (Giovanni Ribisi), he found himself in a bit of a pickle. Two intimidating enforcers (Desmond Harrington & Joseph Lyle Taylor) thinking he was another man asked where “his” mother was. Why would they care about someone’s mother? Because she had gotten hold of eleven million dollars that their boss wanted. So we follow Marius as he tries to find this woman and her supposed eleven million. But we also follow the family that he’s snuck his way into as their lives start spiraling out of control as well. So now we have our plot. And while I think the first season had a somewhat more engaging plot, I still think that this season has a really interesting, suspenseful, and fun plot. It has a lot of twists and turns, and they all work quite well for the plot, keeping it all fun, fresh, and fairly unpredictable.

The characters in this are all quite colorful, unique, and interesting. Giovanni Ribisi is back as Marius/Pete, the con man posing as his former cellmate to get in with the cellmate’s estranged family. He’s an incredibly clever, quick-thinking, man who always tries to be one step ahead of everyone. In season 1 he was more of a no-good shyster who was only out for himself, but here in season 2 we see that he’s evolved a bit, like he actually cares for this family. He’s quite an engaging character, and he has a really solid arc this season. And Ribisi is great in the role. Marin Ireland plays Julia, the “cousin” of our main character. She works in a bail bonds office, and has (much due to Marius) gotten herself into some shit. And it’s interesting to see her go through that stuff and see what she does about it. Ireland is damn good in the role. Then we have Margo Martindale as Audrey, the “grandmother” of our main character, and the matriarch of the Bernhardt family. She’s tough, but she’s also a nice old grandmother. And she has one of the most interesting character arcs this season. And Martindale is of course fantastic in the role. Then we have Peter Gerety, Libe Barer, and Shane McRae as three more members of the family. They’ve all great characters with good arcs, but I’m lumping them together because I don’t wanna make this part too long. But I can at least say that they’re all great in the role. We also get a lot more of Ethan Embry as the real Pete this season, and he’s a fun and interesting character to follow. And yeah, Embry is really good in the role. Then you get supporting performances from people like Jacob Pitts, Jay O. Sanders, Justine Cotsonas, Alison Wright, Jennifer Ferrin, Jospeh Lyle Taylor, Desmond Harrington, Jasmine Carmichael, Jane Adams, and many more. And they’re all great.

The score for the show was composed by Nathan Barr, and I think he did a good job. His score isn’t the most standout thing ever, but it gets the job done. It helps create tension, it adds a little extra emotion, and it’s just overall well composed. There are also a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the season, and thye work very well within their respective scenes. And I just wanna add that the show’s theme song, “Harder Out Here” by The Bight Light Social Hour, is such an awesome song.

The show was created by David Shore & Bryan Cranston, but Graham Yost stands as the showrunner. And it was written/directed by a whole bunch of different people. And this is a very well directed show. The direction here is fast-paced and fun, but never to the point of losing and seriousness/tension, because when a scene has to be serious and suspenseful, it fucking nails it. And at times it also has some fun humor in it. It’s not a comedy, but it does implement humor at various points throughout, and it works quite well.

This season/show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10.

While I still prefer the first season, season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” is still a great season of crime television. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” is a 9,75/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Sneaky Pete” season 2 is now completed.

Trust in me…

Series Review: Sneaky Pete – Season 1 (2017)

sneaky-pete-giovanni-ribisi-amazon

Netflix, HBO, Hulu… Amazon. Services that let you stream tons of shows, both licensed and original. All of whom are doing very well. And today we will be taking a look at a show from such a service, specifically… Amazon.

Ladies and gents… “Sneaky Pete”!

Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) is a con man who’s just been released from prison. Problem is that there’s a ruthless gangster (Bryan Cranston) out there who wants to get hold of Marius. So to try to get away from this shit, Marius takes on the identity of his former cellmate Pete (Ethan Embry) and moves in with Pete’s estranged family. And with this we follow Marius as he lives with this family, starts working with them, and gets dragged into some serious fucking trouble… on top of the trouble he already kind of was in. And all this makes for a surprisingly engaging, suspenseful, and clever crime series that kept my interest through all ten episodes. The situations we see Marius/Pete go through are all very entertaining and at times even tense and I loved that. It was a fairly unpredictable plot that had a few good twists throughout. Sure, there were a few convenient moments throughout the show where someone was about to find out about Marius’ actual identity and then they got interrupted before it happened, but they didn’t really annoy me, just thought it would be fair to mention. But the plot overall I thought was great!

The characters in this show are all interesting, surprisingly layered, and very entertaining. Giovanni Ribisi was great as Marius/Pete (Mete? Parius? Mate?), playing him with a special kind of charm that I thought was endlessly entertaining. Also, I have a thing for con men characters… not sure why, I just enjoy them. Then we have Marin Ireland as Julia, the estranged cousin of Pete, and she did a great job. Shane McRae was great as Taylor, the slightly jerk-ish cousin of Pete. Peter Gerety was great as Pete’s grandpa. Margo Martindale, an actress I was already a fan of BTW, was fantastic as Audrey, the grandmother of Pete. And of course, I have to mention Bryan Cranston as Vince, the ruthless gangster who wants to get Marius… yeah, he was fucking great. Then we also got some great supporting performances from a lot of people, including Michael Drayer, Victor Williams, Karolina Wydra, Jacob Pitts, Virginia Kull, and Brad William Henke. Let me just put it like this: There’s a shit-ton of great actors in this show.

The score for “Sneaky Pete” was compsoed by Nathan Barr and I think he did a great job with that. The score is perfect for this sort of sneaky (hehe!) crime drama. It often helped elevate some of the tension and drama throughout. There were also plenty of licensed tracks used throughout, mostly various types of rock songs, and they all worked very well within the show.

The show was created by David Shore and Bryan Cranston (Say what?). Yeah, great actors can co-create TV shows apparently. What’s also interesting is that Shore left the series at some point in 2016, and was replaced with Graham Yost. Not sure why Shore left, but I am also not complaining because yost created my favorite show, “Justified”. Now, I also want to mention that “Sneaky Pete” is a very well directed show. Not only because of some shots looking good, but because the directing is genuinely tense and well handled throughout. It’s not an action show, but it’s also not a slowly burning show. It’s just a very well paced crime caper/family dramedy.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% (Holy shit) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,5/10.

“Sneaky Pete” is another solid show from Amazon studios. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Sneaks envelope form someone’s pocket*. My final score for “Sneaky Pete” season 1 is a 9,88/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Sneaky Pete” season 1 is now completed.

Without really spoiling anything, the final episode sets up the plot for season 2 very well… so I’m glad that Amazon greenlit a second season!