Lisa’s Week In Review: 9/3/2018 — 9/9/2018


It’s been raining here since Thursday, which kept me from going out as much as I would have liked this weekend but it’s still a nice change from the dry, 100 degree-heat that I was having to deal with just a few weeks ago.

Here’s what I did this week:

Movies I Watched:

  1. The Bad Seed (2018)
  2. Boogie Nights (1997)
  3. Fatherly Obsession (2017)
  4. Her Boyfriend’s Secret (2018)
  5. His Perfect Obsession (2018)
  6. House of Darkness: New Blood (2018)
  7. Island of Grace (2009)
  8. Love Comes Softly (2003)
  9. Love’s Enduring Promise (2004)
  10. Love’s Unending Legacy (2007)
  11. Love’s Unfolding Drema (2007)
  12. A Shriek in the Night (1933)
  13. Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell (2018)
  14. Within Our Gates (1920)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. American Monster
  2. Bachelor in Paradise
  3. Bar Rescue
  4. Better Call Saul
  5. Big Brother 20
  6. Big Brother After Dark
  7. Degrassi
  8. Doctor Phil
  9. Fox 4 News
  10. Home Alone
  11. House Hunters
  12. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
  13. Jack Ryan
  14. King of the Hill
  15. Masterchef
  16. Paranormal State
  17. Parking Wars
  18. The Purge
  19. Saved By The Bell
  20. TMZ
  21. To Play a King
  22. A Very English Scandal
  23. You
  24. Young Sheldon

Books I Read:

  1. 666 (1981) by Jay Anson
  2. The Outsider (2018) by Stephen King

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Arcade Fire
  2. Avicii
  3. Big Data
  4. Coldplay
  5. Crud
  6. DJ Judaa
  7. DJ Snake
  8. Hardwell
  9. Jakalope
  10. LSD
  11. Mac Miller
  12. Moby
  13. Sleigh Bells

Links from Last Week:

  1. From my dream journal: Last Night’s Old Apartmet Building Dream
  2. On my music site, I shared songs from Big Data, Hardwell, LSD, Arcade Fire, Crud, Moby, and Avicii.
  3. From my sister’s photography site: Hotel Lawrence, Fountains, The View From Upstairs, B&W Office Building,  Cross, Federal Drive, and de Leon’s Quest
  4. From Gary’s site: How Burt Reynolds Put Cracked Rearviewer in Facebook Jail!
  5. ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Assassination of Gianni Versace’ Lead Winners on Night 1 of Creative Arts Emmy Awards
  6. Here are two different takes on the Wil Wheaton situation.  First off, from Shoplifting in The Marketplace of Ideas: Not One of Us.
  7. Secondly, from American Dramedy, Don’t Shut Up, Wesley!: When Hypocrisy, Vitriol, and Social Justice Collide.
  8. Judy Garland’s stolen Wizard of Oz ruby slippers found after 13 years
  9. AMPAS Drops the Popular Film Category (For 91st Oscars) and Gives More Info on Changes
  10. As Leslie Moonves Negotiates His Exit from CBS, Women Raise New Assault and Harassment Claims
  11. Rapper Mac Miller dies at 26.

Links From The Site:

  1. My sister profiled Ken Barr and shared the following artwork: Labor of Love, Encore, The Strange Trio, Forbidden Pleasures, A World Divided, Twilight Girls, and the Third Way!
  2. Case Wright reviewed the first season of Jack Ryan!
  3. With a little help from me, Doc Bowman wished everyone a Happy Labor Day!
  4. Gary reviewed The Warriors and the Longest Yard.  He also paid tribute to Burt Reynolds, Angelique Pettyjohn, and three talented ladies.
  5. Jeff reviewed Gangster Land, Cop Land, Freeway, and Chuck.  He shared music videos from Dire Straits, Alice Cooper, Paul Hardcastle, Megadeth, and REO Speedwagon.  He also wrote about Burt Reynolds and shared his weekly trailer round-up!
  6. I reviewed His Perfect Obsession, House of Darkness: New Blood, Her Boyfriend’s Secret, and Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell.  I also shared my September Oscar predictions and music videos from DJ Snake and Avicii.
  7. Patrick reviewed My Pet Dinosaur!
  8. Ryan reviewed Penguins, Bastard, and Border Town, along with sharing his weekly reading round-up!
  9. Arleigh reviewed Predator, highlighted Predator’s jungle shootout, and shared the trailer for Halloween!

(Want to see what I did last week?  Click here!)

Have a great and safe week, everyone!  Hopefully, I’ll be a little bit more caught up on my movies and my reviews by this time next week!

At least it’s almost October…

Halloween City by Karl Pfieffer

Jack Ryan (Season 1) Review by Case Wright


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There are two types of streaming television series: Get a sitter and watch in rapt silence with your SO and friends and Elliptical and/or Hangover Television.  Jack Ryan is in the latter category.  It’s a solid: NOT BAD.   Ok, it was a little weird seeing Jack Ryan (John Krasinski) put Osama Bin Laden’s AK-47 in a Jello Mold, but I thought it was a nice call back.  JK!

Jack Ryan has been a staple for nerds who like action for decades.  Jack Ryan is a data analyst badass who defeats terrorism and rogue commies, in other words, fictional.  He’s been in countless books, films, and video games.  The only other character that gets this much media has to use The Force.  In this iteration, Carlton Cuse of “Lost” fame takes a crack the characters.

Jack Ryan is a young Marine Vet turned CIA officer with PTSD.  He is teamed up with Greer who in the books and previous iterations was a tough talking Admiral with shitty dialogue; whereas, in this version, Greer’s a down and out muslim CIA officer whose career is in decline after killing a Pakistani asset.  They are on the hunt for the big bad: Sulieman.

Sulieman is the product of the American intervention in the Lebanese civil war in 1986, which…checks out.  He is hell bent on causing all kinds of mayhem in America and abroad.  They make a big show about how he was treated badly throughout his life-  Boo hoo.  I guess it was supposed to make him more human. I thought it made him really really whiny.  So what, you didn’t get your dream job that gives you the right to blow everybody up?!

The big question most of my readers have: Did John Krasinski – Jim- have a passable performance as a super spy?????  KINDA. He was pretty close at times, but was he held back by some purposely slowed down plot points.  I will get to the derpy derp moments later, but really the season should’ve been 6 episodes instead of 8 because there were too many contrivances, which inhibited John’s performance.  I have to write that he was in fact believable.   I did not know what to expect, but he delivered a good performance.

What they got right:

Sleepless nights with PTSD and drinking too much.  They portrayed that spot on.  I thought, I’ve had those late nights.  Ok, Pass!

The SEAL/Ranger team: I’ve known many Special Operators over the years and they are all real salt of the Earth types.  They played those matter of fact tough guys perfectly. Ok, Pass!

The inherent turpitude of civilian government officials: Very good, they’re all presumptive Dirtbaggus Americanus.  Ok, Pass!

The director building suspense? Yep, the direction was done quite well.  No complaints.

What was so very dumb?  NO F#@#!NG Way!!! NFW!!!! NFW!!!

1.  They portrayed Jack Ryan as dealing PTSD, giving him pause to shoot his weapon.  I get that, BUT he’s still a Marine.  There’s a scene where he makes the decision to shoot and misses by a mile just so they could have fight scene later.  This is just dumb.  Marines are ALL crackshots.  If you are in a Marine’s line of fire and he’s got a clear shot, you’re dust.  When you see it, you’ll roll your eyes.

2.  There’s a terrorist strike by Sulieman and he claims responsibility.  They show his face being plastered on all television networks. He’s on tv more than Anderson Cooper. Then, with no face disguise, he’s NEVER recognized.  We’re not talking just one time, but FIVE times at least.  His face would’ve been burned in everyone’s memory.  It was just dumb,  lazy, and contrived to keep the villain the in the action.

3.  A CIA Officer meets Sulieman’s wife and he just lets her walk away the same day as a major terror attack: NFW! Anyone who said that they knew an Osama equivalent would be sequestered and interrogated immediately, but it was obvious that they needed to pad the plot to squeeze three unnecessary episodes for story arc.

4.  There’s a duo who are drone pilots that are just sort of shoehorned into the story for no reason at all.  I couldn’t even figure out the message if drones were supposed to be good or bad.  I left thinking… Man, drones work really well.  Then, one of the drone pilots gets all guilty about a mistargeting incident and flies to Syria because ya know Active Duty Soldiers just get to go anywhere they like on leave…. NFW!!!!!!! Just think about it…we shouldn’t just get to go wherever we like.  It’s dangerous for us and could lead to a Soldier getting compromised.  NFW!

5.  There’s a plot point where a doctor becomes aware of a biological threat and just sends an email.  WHAAAA?!  She would be calling everyone and their brother to report that because she’s supposed to be smart.

Is it worth watching?

Yes, yes it is.  It’s got real problems in terms of story holes, but my hope is that Carlton Cuse learns from this.  He can DM me if he likes.  I’ll consult or script doctor for a very reasonable rate.  Jack Ryan is great for watching on the Elliptical at the gym or if you’re hungover or something.  It is NOT at this time get a babysitter and everyone be quiet television, but it is …. fun.

 

What Lisa Watched Last Night #194: Her Boyfriend’s Secret (dir by Lisa France)


Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime movie premiere, Her Boyfriend’s Secret!

Why Was I Watching It?

With a title like that, how couldn’t I watch it!?  Seriously, whenever one of my friends gets a new boyfriend, I immediately start digging up all of their secrets.  I’m like the sassy best friend in a Lifetime movie except for the fact that I don’t get murdered right before the fifth commercial break.

What Was It About?

Melissa (Kelly Sullivan) and Travis (Jordan James Smith) have both built successful careers as home renovators.  In fact, everyone assumes that they must be a couple!  But no, they’re just friends and business colleagues.

In fact, Melissa may have met the one.  His name is John Anderson (Mark Famiglietti) and he’s handsome and charming and he owns a really big house.  Of course, it does seem strange that John is constantly taking business trips.  He claims that he spends his time flying from London to Paris to Geneva but he’s always kind of vague about what he actually does in any of those cities.

And then there’s Carrie (Maiara Walsh), the woman who approaches Melissa one day and informs her that 1) John is actually named Phillip and 2) Phillip/John has a history of stalking his ex-girlfriends!

That’s a lot of secrets but, believe it or not, there’s even more yet to be discovered!

What Worked?

I really liked this one.  Not only was it well-acted but it featured some really nice houses!  As any longtime fan can tell you, a good Lifetime film also features a combination of big melodrama and big houses!  The film’s central mystery was intriguing and Mark Famiglietti brought a convincing mix of creepiness and charm to the role of John.

Though I won’t spoil the nature of her role, Anne Leighton also gave a very good performance.  She’s doesn’t have a lot of screen time but she makes the most of it.

This film also played with the standard Lifetime stalker formula by casting a guy as the nosy best friend.  That actually added a whole new dynamic to all of the expected scenes of Travis digging into John’s background.  Was Travis right to be concerned or was he motivated by something more than just friendship?  The film did a good job of keeping you guessing.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked.  This was an entertaining Lifetime melodrama.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Again, as with all Lifetime films, I related to all of the skeptical and nosy best friends.  If only people would listen to them for once!

Lessons Learned

Just because someone has a big house, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should trust him.

Weekly Trailer Round-Up: The Favourite, Wildlife, At Eternity’s Gate, Anna and the Apocalypse, House of Cards


The biggest trailer that was released this week was the trailer for the latest Halloween reboot.

Here’s the best of the rest:

From the director of The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite is a satirical portrait of intrigue and betrayal in the 18th century court of Queen Anne.  The Favourite will be released in the U.S. on November 23rd and in the UK on January 1st.

Actor Paul Dano makes his directorial debut with Wildlife.  This drama, which is based on a novel by Richard Ford, stars Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal and will be released on October 19th.

From director Julian Schnabel, At Eternity’s Gate features Willem DaFoe as the tragic and celebrated painter, Vincent Van Gogh.  At Eternity’s Gate will be released on November 16th.

Anna and the Apocalypse is a music holiday comedy about zombies.  Of course, it is.  Anna and the Apocalypse will be released on November 30th.

Finally, in this trailer for the sixth and final season of Netflix’s House of Cards, Claire Underwood says goodbye to Frank while the show says goodbye to Kevin Spacey.  The season drops on November 2nd.

Film Review: Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell (dir by Don Michael Paul)


The Graboids are back!

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, the Graboids are the giant, ravenous sandworms that were first introduced in the 1990 film, Tremors.  Graboids are always on the hunt for food and, over the course of the original film, four sequels, and one prequel, they’ve attacked and devoured a countless number of communities, all while helping to spread all sorts of comedic mayhem.  For whatever reason, the mere presence of a Grabboid tends to lead to human beings getting very quippy.

This year, the Graboids return for a sixth time with Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell.  This time, the Graboids are up in Canada and they’re eating a bunch of scientists.  Normally, Canada would be too cold for a Graboid infestation but apparently, climate change has altered the rules of the game.  That’s one good thing about climate change.  It can be used to explain away just about anything.  Why does Northern Canada look so sunny and warm?  Climate change!  Why are the Graboids no longer limited to the desert?  Climate Change!

Anyway, this is pretty much a typical Tremors sequel.  A bunch of people end up getting trapped in one location and are then picked off by the Graboids.  There’s some sinister scientists and bio-weapon subplot but those are mostly afterthoughts.  The film promises Graboids and, eventually, it delivers them.  Especially when compared to some of the other films in the franchise, A Cold Day In Hell is rather slowly paced and the CGI isn’t always as convincing as you might want it to be.  On the one hand, the film delivers pretty much what you would expect it to deliver.  On the other hand, it’s also rather bland.

Oh well.  At least Burt Gummer is back!

As any fan of the franchise can tell you, the Graboids are pretty much secondary to the presence of Burt Gummer.  Brilliantly played by Michael Gross, Burt is the only character to have appeared in not only every Tremors film but also the TV series as well.  (Okay, technically, the fourth film featured Burt’s great-grandfather but Hiram Gummer might as well have been Burt Gummer.)  Burt is a heavily armed doomsday prepper who lives out in the middle of the desert and who hates the government.  Though the IRS may just view him as someone who refuses to pay his taxes, fans of the franchise know that Burt is the world’s greatest Graboid hunter.

What is Burt’s appeal?  Well, some of it has to do with the fact that Burt is always honest and consistent.  It’s been 28 years since Burt was first introduced and, in that time, he has always loved guns and hated the government.  He doesn’t hold back on his views and he makes absolutely no apologies and that’s exactly the type of guy who you want by your side when you’re dealing with a bunch of killer sandworms.

In the end, though, Burt’s greatest appeal is that he’s a thowback.  If Tremors had been produced in the 21st Century, there’s no way that a character like Burt would have survived the movie.  His anti-government stance would have been viewed as being unpatriotic during the Bush and Obama years and his love of guns would have gotten the movie picketed by Shannon Watts and denounced on twitter by the writers at Slate and Vox.  The AV Club would declare the character to be problematic and Michael Gross would have to go on Colbert and personally apologize to everyone who was hurt by his performance.  But since the first Tremors was made way back in the 90s, Burt is allowed to thrive in all of his anti-PC glory.  At a time in which monster movies are dominated by grimly-written heroes and overly rational scientists, Burt is a reminder that films like this should, at the very least, attempt to be fun.

As for Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell, it was released on Netflix earlier this year and it premiered on SyFy last night.  It’s forgettable but at least Burt’s back.