Lisa’s Week in Review: 3/19/18 — 3/25/18

Happy New Year!  Before Britain and the British colonies officially switched over to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, March 25th was considered to be the first day of the new year!

For me, this past week has been one of adjustment.  Whenever I return from a vacation, I spend about a week alternatively feeling either extremely cranky or else like I’m in a walking dream.  It takes a while to get used to being back home.  All said, I spent most of this week wishing I was in Ardglass.

That said, I still manged to get caught up on all of the TV that I missed while I was gone and I was able to watch a few new movies.  Now, I just have to get caught up with reviewing everything!

Movies I Watched:

  1. All The Vermeers in New York (1990)
  2. Autumn in New York (2000)
  3. Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
  4. Beach Party (1963)
  5. Dominic — Light of the Church (2014)
  6. Easy Rider (1969)
  7. Fool For Love (1985)
  8. The Ghost In The Invisible Bikini (1966)
  9. The Godfather (1972)
  10. The Godfather, Part II (1974)
  11. The Godfather, Part III (1990)
  12. Griffin & Phoenix (2006)
  13. Gymkata (1985)
  14. Haunts of the Very Rich (1972)
  15. It’s A Bikini World (1967)
  16. The Life of David Gale (2003)
  17. The Long Good Friday (1980)
  18. The Misguided (2018)
  19. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  20. Pretty Poison (1968)
  21. Rabid (1977)
  22. Runaway Train (1985)
  23. The Thin Man (1934)
  24. The Third Man (1949)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. 60 Days In
  2. The Alienist
  3. American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace
  4. American Idol
  5. Ash vs Evil Dead
  6. Atlanta
  7. The Bachelor 22
  8. Channel Zero
  9. The Chi
  10. Cleopatra
  11. Crashing
  12. Degrassi
  13. Divorce
  14. Doctor Phil
  15. Forbidden: Dying for Love
  16. Good Girls
  17. Homeland
  18. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
  19. iZombie
  20. Ghost Whisperer
  21. King of the Hill
  22. Krypton
  23. The Magicians
  24. McMafia
  25. O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?
  26. Rise
  27. Robot Chicken
  28. Survivor 36
  29. Undercover High
  30. UnReal
  31. Web of Lies
  32. The X-Files

Books I Read:

  1. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Alison Wonderland
  2. Arcade Fire
  3. Big Sean
  4. Bob Dylan
  5. Britney Spears
  6. Brody Dalle
  7. Calvin Harris
  8. The Chemical Brothers
  9. Echosmith
  10. Garbage
  11. Jack White
  12. Jakalope
  13. Jake Epstein
  14. Jimi Hendrix
  15. Lionrock
  16. Moby
  17. Moonshine Bandits
  18. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  19. Priest
  20. Rainsford
  21. Saint Motel
  22. The Soft Moon
  23. Swedish House Mafia
  24. Taylor Swift
  25. Tess Roby
  26. The Ting Tings
  27. Trippie Red
  28. Twin Shadow
  29. William Control


Links From Last Week:

  1. From SyFy Designs, here are 6 writing tips from me!
  2. Over at my newest site, Sleeping Lisa, I shared a dream about a high school reunion, a dream about Francois Truffaut’s son, and a dream from Abraham Lincoln!
  3. Over on her photography site, Erin shared this picture of a brave squirrel!
  4. The Spice Girls Next Project: An Animated Super Hero Movie!
  5. From Film School Rejects, Everyone Should Strive To Be A Better Film Critic!
  6. For every artist who feels alone, check out Coffee Stained Rejection Slips!

Links From The Site:

  1. Erin shared the first nine covers of Strange Worlds!
  2. Leonard shared the trailer for Deadpool 2!
  3. Gary reviewed Mark of the Vampire, Sunset Boulevard, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Tomb of Ligeia!
  4. Ryan reviewed Let Some Word That Is Heard Be Yours and Creep 2 and shared his weekly reading round-up!
  5. I reviewed Tomb Raider!
  6. Jeff took a look at the music video for Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) and shared with us an exclusive 60 year-old photograph Elvis Presley!

(To see what I watched and read last week, click here!)

Have a great week, everyone!

Film Review: The Misguided (dir by Shannon Alexander)

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”

— Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1878)

“Me and him are totally different.”

— Leo (Caleb Galati), brother of Wendel (Steven J. Mihaljevich), in The Misguided (2018)

Oh, poor Leo.

From the first minute that he appears on screen, Leo is a familiar type.  He’s handsome He’s friendly, though there are always hints that he has secrets that he’s hiding.  He’s ambitious but he’s not particularly driven.  He seems like the type who is more likely to have a good plan than to understand how to actually pull it off.  We’ve all known someone like Leo.  Leo has just dropped out of college and he’s also just been kicked out of the place where he was staying.

What’s Leo to do?  Sleep on the streets or maybe spend a few weeks living with his brother, Wendel?  Looking at Wendel, it’s hard not to feel that you’ve stepped into a time portal and caught a glimpse of who Leo is going to be in another few years.  When Wendel isn’t using drugs, he’s dealing them.  Wendel is friendly, except for when he’s going out of his way to be menacing.  Wendel is charismatic and even people who should know better are drawn to Wendel.  And yet, it’s also hard not to suspect that Wendel might be a sociopath.  Like Leo, Wendel will be a familiar character to most viewers.  We’ve all known a Wendel.Along with having a place to stay, Wendel also has a car.  The only problem is that it’s not actually his car.  The car belongs to Wendel’s ex-girlfriend, Sanja (Jasmine Nibali).  When Sanja and her sister, Vesna (Katherine Langford, who viewers may recognize from 13 Reasons Why) come by to get the car, they meet Leo.  And soon, Sanja and Leo are a couple.

Of course, not everyone is happy about the idea of Sanja and Leo being together.  Vesna is convinced that Leo is just as bad as his brother.  Sanja’s father (Athan Bellos) is almost violently protective and is not happy to come home and find Leo relaxing in the family’s swimming pool.  As for Wendel, he claims not to care but you get the feeling that he’s lying.  That’s actually a feeling that you get a lot with Wendel.  But Sanja doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.  Soon, she and Leo are even talking about leaving Perth and moving to Melbourne together.  It sounds like a nice plan but will Leo be able to escape from his older brother’s destructive influence?

At times, it feels as if The Misguided is a plotless film but that feeling is just as deceptive as one of Wendel’s stories.  The film’s story plays out at a pace that is almost leisurely but always steady.  Whether we’re watching Wendel’s passive aggressive interaction with his brother or the genuinely sweet scenes of Leo and Sanja exploring Perth, we’re always aware that Leo is ultimately going to have to choose whether to escape his brother or to remain forever in Wendel’s shadow.  Shannon Alexander’s direction emphasizes gritty realism with a few stylistic flourishes.  Occasionally, the film speeds up.  A few scenes end with a freeze frame.  At one point, the image flickers as if Wendel’s drug-addled consciousness has infected the film itself.  In the style of early Godard, all of this suggests that we’re watching a world that has become unbalanced.

It’s also a well-acted movie.  The characters all seem real and, as a result, you care about them even if they sometimes seem to be incapable of doing the right thing.  Caleb Galati and Jasmine Nibali have a really nice chemistry.  They’re a cute couple and you can’t help but hope that things work out well for them.  The sibling relationship between Sanja and Vesna, with its mix of jealousy and sincere concern, felt real as well.  I’m the youngest of four sisters.  I could definitely relate.  I also particularly liked the performance of Athan Bellos, who is so intense and overprotective as Sanja and Vesna’s father that he’s actually a bit scary at times.

And then there’s Steven J. Mihaljevich, who is force of destructive nature in the role of Wendel.  Mihaljevich plays Wendel as the type of person who will smile even as he tells you absolutely the worst thing that he possibly could.  At the same time, Mihaljevich is also charismatic enough that you believe that Sanja could have actually been attracted to him before meeting Leo.  As played by Mihaljevich, Wendel is the bad influence that we’ve all known at some point in our life.  Whenever Wendel talks to anyone, you’re never quite sure whether he’s going to laugh and kill them but you’re always intrigued enough to want to find out.

The Misguided will soon be available on Amazon, Google, Vimeo and iTunes.