Tag Archives: Sarah Paulson

Glass

Glass (2019)

*Minor spoilers*

I suspect one of the reasons I’m not that great at reviewing films is that I sometimes can’t see the wood for the trees. Rather than veering toward the difficult to please stance of most purists, I usually lap up most of what I’m given because I have such a bias towards the characters I love. It’s hard for me to be critical sometimes.

I loved Unbreakable (2000) so much. It’s part of my regular catalog of movies that never fail to make me feel something. Often I hear the criticism that it doesn’t have enough oomph but that to me is what makes it perfect. It takes the concept of heroes and villains, and humanises it. It’s my favourite of M. Night‘s canon without question.

Split (2016) was enjoyable, particularly when you consider James McAvoy‘s mind boggling performance(s) but where UB was low-key and moody, Split was turned all the way up to bonkers and seldom lets up. Glass is more of the same and honestly, it’s messy but I liked it.

I may be in the minority. I thought what they did was interesting, threw us more than one curve ball and satisfied me. I didn’t buy all of it and found myself a little irritated by some of the bits that seemed clumsily tacked on but you can’t win ’em all. I’m trying hard not to drop major spoiler here – one of the girls at work dropped a massive clanger in front of my colleague after she’d seen it and I’m still giggling/traumatised by the experience.

Let’s talk about what I did like. I loved coming back to David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and his now grown up son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark). Now co-running their own security company with David moonlighting as The Overseer (to name but a few of his publicly considered nicknames), the two stalk the police radio airwaves for potential trouble.

All this has lead to multiple newspaper articles about the mysterious rain slicker-wearing hero and the feds getting antsy about vigilante justice. Joseph warns his father to keep a low profile for a while but where’s the fun in that?

When he sniffs out a new ‘case’ – a quartet of missing cheerleaders at the hands of a very familiar character – he bites off way more than he can chew.

The trailer is very clear about what happens next so no surprises. Dennis (and friends) join David Dunn and one other blast from the past, the titular “First name: Mister. Last name: Glass” (Samuel L. Jackson) in some sort of institution, where Sarah Paulson‘s Dr. Ellie Staple is on hand to talk each of them out of their superhero delusions.

But nothing’s ever that simple and the result is… well, the more I think about it the more I like it. There’s action, there’s Mr Glass and there are conclusions drawn and connections made.

Anya Taylor-Joy returns as Casey Cook, the sympathetic protagonist from Split and she’s lovely. A somehow calming influence over The Beast and his twenty-plus disciples, she fights his corner and humanises him too. I must say James McEvoy seems to have refined his performance since Split and is the strongest character here. I expected to be blown away at the return of Glass and Dunn, but it’s Dennis & Co who kept me in.

From the sidelines there is strong support too from Joseph and from Mrs. Price (Mister Glass’ ma played by Charlayne Woodard), the trio of secondary characters who actually care about the outcome of our central trio. Which is more than can be said about the crew apparently taking care of them from here. Paulson doesn’t shine quite as much as she usually does and I’m guessing this is because her particular strand is my least favourite (and the flimsiest). I wonder what it might have been like had they been left to their own devices.

I’ve already said too much but I did enjoy the look, the performances and the way it all clicks into place. The institution setting is one of my favourites and the use of colour is eye-catching and effective.

Will there ever be more? Well, it is suggested that this could all go off on a tangent in years to come – I’m not sure I want to be part of it though. (Who the hell am I trying to kid?!).

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

American Horror Story Rewatch: Part 2

Just like that, I am done. I can now dip into Apocalypse with a well-rounded understanding of all the characters, and where they cross-over/feature in each season. It’s so Stephen King!

I have absolutely loved my AHS marathon (which didn’t include Cult because that one is still so recent). Here are my thoughts:

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Freak Show

Freak Show starts strong but seems to drag in the last few episodes. Honestly, it could be cut by a couple of those, and the same could be said for the next two seasons as well. Like, we get it – let us live. As with the first two seasons, there’s a lot going on. The addition of Edward Mordrake is fun and it takes away one of the main villains early on (Twisty), leaving the coast clear for Dandy to step in as main psycho. But there’s so much to keep up with that it made my head spin a bit. I have also started to notice a trend for happier endings (for most of the characters) and it’s nice but also not really what I want. I sometimes want the wicked characters to get their comeuppance.

I also don’t really like Sarah Paulson‘s characters (Bette and Dot) in this (really bad FX) and find the addition of Neil Patrick Harris‘ Chester Creb a bit annoying (although it does bring back in the amazing Jamie Brewer). So it’s fun but could be condensed and therefore stronger as a result.

Evan Peters and Jessica Lange are spectacular as per and I really enjoy my attraction to Paul the Illustrated Seal. Frances Conroy and Emma Roberts are a bit wasted though – I prefer Emma when she’s being bitchy.

I did appreciate the tie in to Asylum as we meet Pepper again and then follow her journey to Briarcliffe. It’s sweet and sad but it’s nice to get a little bit of background on this character, who is played wonderfully by Naomi Grossman. We also enjoy a flash of Asylum’s Nazi doctor (James Cromwell) who is directly involved in a very macabre story line featuring Elsa Mars. This says a lot about me but I love the snuff stuff, it’s so horrible and that after all, is why we are here.

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Hotel

Hotel is majestic tbh and maybe my second fave. It is the first AHS without Queen Lange however, but Gaga does a mighty job as The Countess. Highlights here are Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare) and Kathy Bates’ downtrodden Iris, especially when they team up against The Countess for some messy, bloody revenge. Again, this could be cut down a bit but when the setting is as wonderful and The Shining-esque as the Hotel Cortez, who’s really complaining? Evan Peters’ James Marsh is a little OTT but the Devil’s Night episode is magnificent. Lily Rabe is perfect as Aileen Wuornos.

Things that don’t work for me so well are Chloë Sevigny as Alex (she’s so amazing, why can’t AHS use her appropriately?) and I don’t give a damn about the Children of the Corn kids or frankly, serial killer (surprise!) John Lowe. What a dull family! See also: Rudolph Valentino and wife. Zzzzzz.

It is awesome to have Sarah Paulson back as Murder House‘s underused Billie Dean Howard though.

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Roanoke

This one is good because it really plays with structure and tries something new with the reenactment concept. It is also over long and very messy in places. For a time, in the second part when the real life characters and the actors who played them are trapped in the house, I lost the will to live for a while. There are good elements, don’t get me wrong but I didn’t really understand a lot of it – like Gaga’s character Scáthach – who never really comes to fruition and then just sort of peters out.

I still like it though and I particularly love the horrible Polk Family. Adina Porter enters the AHS franchise as the real Lee Harris and I bloody love her. She was amazing in Cult and she’s in the new one too, so yey for that! Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates both deserve to be strung up for their accents though, there’s no excuse.

Until Apocalypse, bitches.

American Horror Story Rewatch

The last three/four months of the year are always my favourite. From late September to January I love reading ghost stories and watching horror from the comfort of my warm flat. These dark stories, they light up the long nights and I love them even more then. So my treat to myself this year is to revisit American Horror Story from the start (thank you Netflix).

Well, call me committed because I started two weeks ago (early, sue me) and I’m just about to finish Freak Show. My relationship with this show has been complicated in the past – when it first burst forth with its demented artistry – I loved it.

I gobbled up Murder House, Asylum and Coven without a second thought. But I ran out of steam when if came to Season 4 (Freak Show). I experienced the same with Hotel and Roanoke, and I’m not even sure why. I was enjoying myself and then, I must have got distracted.

I finished Cult though and I’m gagging to get into the new season, Apocalypse but not before I’ve re-watched everything from the beginning. And I am loving it so far!

Here are my thoughts on the first three seasons. *Minor spoilers*

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Murder House

The original but not the best in my eyes. Thoroughly enjoyable though – not least because it reintroduced us to the old school magic of Jessica Lange – who is the undoubted Queen of AHS. MH is a bit of a mess in the sense that it crams a hell of a lot into it – so many murders occur in that house it’s hard to keep up – but I really appreciate the set up.

The cast is great – Evan Peters, Lange, Frances Conroy, Connie Britton, Taissa Farmiga – and I really love some of the story threads. Including; Violet and Tate (love’s fucked-up dream), Moira O’Hara the maid trapped in perpetual purgatory, Dr. Charles Montgomery (illegal home abortionist and part-time Frankenstein), The Black Dahlia (#obsessed) and neighbour Constance Langdon’s own horrible arc.

I’m especially fond of Interior Designer Chad (Zachary Quinto) and his lover Patrick, cut down in the middle of a blazing row – and trapped together in the Murder House for all eternity.

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Asylum

Same criticism as above but more so with Asylum. So much going on and a lot of it doesn’t quite come to fruition – Nazi doctor story line, I am looking at you. But it is horrible and darker somehow (yes, even darker than gimp rape).

Lange’s Sister Jude grapples with her own personal guilt as she runs the show at Briarcliff, a home for the mentally incapacitated. She’s not a good woman and she’s delicious. Working alongside lovely Sister Mary Eunice (AHS regular Lily Rabe) and staff doctor (with an iffy past) Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell), she tends to her patients with an iron first. Her wards include wrongly accused lady murderer Kit Walker (Peters) and lesbian journalist being kept against her will, Lana Winters (Paulson).

On staff also is kind Dr. Oliver Thredson (Quinto) who may or may not harbor a dark secret of his own – but don’t we all?

Asylum features some one-off story lines that kind of muddy the water for me. For instance Arthur Arden, like Charles Montgomery before him, is something of an experimental surgeon but I don’t feel as though they see that through. It fades out in favour of giving more minor characters their screen time. Plus, when he’s accused of being a Nazi doctor by Anne Frank (just go with it), I wanted that to come to something (although there is a passing reference to him in Freak Show).

Plus, there’s the UFO story running through the heart of Asylum that doesn’t really float my boat – though it works better than I thought it did the first time round. Maybe I’m just more tolerant in my old(er) age.

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Coven

Definitely my favourite to date and you could argue that the format has tightened up for the third story. It definitely flows better – and for me, the witches of Salem make the very best subject matter. Plus, Stevie Nicks!

Emma Roberts, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates and Gabourey Sidibe join the cast and add another bitchy layer to proceedings. They’re all magnificent and the young witches, including Taissa Farmiga and Jamie Brewer as Nan are dreamy. Especially when Stevie Nicks loving necromancer Misty Day (Lily Rabe) joins them from the swamp.

Set in New Orleans and focused around Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, run by headmistress Cordelia Foxx (Paulson) we enjoy the company of witch hunters, axe-murderers, voodoo queens and ancient (racist) aristocracy.

As for Lange, I think this is her best work. She nails The Supreme Fiona Goode to the floor. As she goes against the long time truce made way back when with Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau (Bassett), she struggles with her own mortality and will stop at nothing to hold onto her crown. As for her life-long rival, Myrtle Snow (France Conroy), I know whose style I’m going to channel in 30 years time.

On Wednesdays we wear black, bitches.

~

Thoughts on Freak Show, Hotel and Roanoke to follow.

What are you watching?

Ocean’s 8

Ocean’s 8 (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.

Oh YEAH.

A female-ccentric heist movie with all the glamorous trimmings and then some, this movie is a blast from start to finish. And while I was always living for the cast and the fact boys were pissed off about yet another all female-remake, I’m happy that it’s also genuinely a good movie.

Obviously I can’t pick a favourite from the cast because that would be impossible but I can say that each of Debbie Ocean’s crew get enough screen time to make you love them and that is no mean feat. Where Ocean’s 11 and it’s sequels were slick and enjoyable, Ocean’s 8 dials it down a little bit and just focuses on the fabulousness.

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It is a lot of fun and is stunning to look at with a wardrobe across the board to die for. The chemistry too makes it even better, though some (male) film critics have criticised the lack of it. I do not see their point at all.

The plot is not too taxing and while some of it is a little far-fetched, I don’t think any of us are here for that anyway, so who cares? What we care about is fit women getting one up on ex-boyfriends, ride or die friendship and the fulfillment of destiny, even if that destiny is just to be a really, really good criminal.

I’m in love with all eight women and I’d watch this movie again and again, if only to study the way Cate Blanchett wears her fringe because it is sublime. I also really enjoyed seeing Anne Hathaway in a sassier role, she’s a very sexy lady.

Damn, it every single one of them is hotter than Hell.

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My Rating

4.5/5.

Halloween Digest #2

What I’m digging this fine Halloween week…

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Pumpkin Spice Everything

The Basic Bitch Autumn Essential. Bring on anything pumpkin spice flavoured or scented.

I’m also hankering for a trip to our nearest pumpkin patch before the month is out because my Instagram deserves it…

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This Mustard Coat

I’m sure I look like Big Bird in it, but I like it. Mustard is THE colour of the autumn.

I can’t wait for it to get colder, yo.

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American Horror Story: Cult

I have a hit-or-miss success rate with AHS. The first three seasons were great and I devoured them, particularly Coven which remains my favourite. But after that, I started each and every one, got a few episodes in and ditched it.

I’m not quite sure why but it became our way until Cult came along. I’m absolutely hooked on the 7th season and I can’t tell if it’s because it so far seems to be weighted more in reality, or whether it’s just better all round. All I know is, Sarah Paulson is a Queen and I’m with her to the bitter end.

Excellent support from Alison Pill, Billie Lourd and Adina Porter.

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Friday the 13th (1980)

Because apparently there isn’t another Friday the 13th again until 2023.

What are you digging?

Blue Jay (Film) Review

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I had a One That Got Away for years. In my more retrospective moments, I would think about what had happened to him, and what life would have been like if we had acted on our desires and gotten it on (We both had partners, alas. Mine was a raging fuck head).

Luckily for me, fate decided to throw me a bone and we found each other again (thank you Facebook). Now I spend my days with the One Who Came Back and I couldn’t be happier. I think what I’m trying to get at is, sometimes love and happiness has everything to do with timing, and had we got together back then, I doubt we would have what we have now, which is Heaven in two and a half rooms (thank you Chicago).

This film is about love and loss and closure and second chances and very bad rapping onto cassettes. It’s not film noir, nor is it a Christmas movie. It is hopeful and sentimental though, with a leading lady you can’t take your eyes off, so I think this pick more than holds up the ideals of this month’s theme.

*Spoilers*

Blue Jay (2016)

Director: Alex Lehmann (Written by Mark Duplass)
Stars: Sarah Paulson, Mark Duplass

IMDB Synopsis:

Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past.

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“This hat just really makes me happy, what of it?”

My Review

Jim (Duplass) and Amanda (Paulson) were childhood sweethearts. As with many relationships of this ilk (I never had one), the couple eventually grew up, grew apart and moved on with their lives separately. A chance meeting in a supermarket in their hometown, however, brings the former lovers back together and churns up all sorts of historic emotion.

Amanda, it seems, has it all together. She’s happily married now with two step sons and an idyllic life. Jim, not so much. He’s having a hard time as he explains to Amanda, once the initial awkwardness of their meeting has subsided. He’s just lost his mum and is between jobs and places. He’s considering moving back to their tiny Californian hometown, maybe moving into his Mum’s house once he’s renovated it.

This woman is criminally hot

This woman is criminally hot

The two stop for coffee, which leads to a mini-walk down memory lane. Which leads to something much deeper – a wistful look back at the memorabilia of their old life together. At songs they loved, long discarded love letters and recorded tapes containing all their desires and dreams, a hint at what could have been and what they let go of.

When Amanda opens up about her own woes and reveals her doubts about life, it evens the playing field a little, though who’s keeping count? The question here seems to be: Are the wounds of this lost love deeper than they (and we) originally thought? Can Jim and Amanda simply go back to their lives now or is there more to be said between them?

This might be the shortest review I’ve ever posted in the Collab series but that’s because I’m being respectful of the movie. I want you to watch it.

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Too cute

My Thoughts

To say this is an action packed thrill-fest would be a blatant untruth. It’s beautiful looking and very much a ‘talking’ movie with nuanced performances from two of the most current and talented actors around.

Duplass is the King of Mumblecore let us not forget and wasn’t about to crack open anything out of the ordinary for this tale. That’s not a criticism, this is Duplass at his best. The dialogue is intimate and sweet, both characters are lovely. I can’t tell you how you’ll feel about them but I flip-flopped between wanting closure for them and wanting them (Amanda) to risk it all to get back together.

What does become apparent as the film progresses is that the grown up life the lovers pictured for themselves (as teenagers they loved to pretend to be old marrieds with kids in college) became too real, too quickly and neither were ready.

Love is hard, isn’t it? It’s difficult to still love somebody but know you have to walk away. Is there ever a good enough reason to give up on the one you’re in love with? I used to think the answer was no, but sometimes you have to put other things ahead of that, even yourself.

Sometimes you make mistakes, or the wrong decision. Sometimes you say things that can never be taken back, or fail to act in the only moment that matters.

Is it too late? In the end I feel like we’re left to make up our own minds about what happens next and I still don’t know what’s best for them. I just know what I want.

Ps. The last thing I saw Duplass in was Creep (for the second time), and I thought I might never be able to watch him in anything ever again. I was wrong, he’s adorable.

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This is how I look at beards too

My Rating: 4.5/5. Dreamy. Sad though and it might make you think about past relationships (this is not a problem for me as I haven’t got any really great ones to ruminate upon, just car crashes). It will most likely also make you really want to be best friends with the smiliest woman on the planet, Ms Paulson. Seriously, she’s perfect.

What did Wifey think? Did she think it was as whack as Amanda’s white girl rhymes, or as lustrous as Jim’s beard? Find out here. ❤