Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews: Crimson Peak (Movie)

banner-Crimson-Peak-crimson-peak-38642932-3648-648

  1. Guillermo Del Toro’s command of cinema is unparalleled. From the opening shot, I’m already giddy.

  2. Who do I have to bribe to be in the Tom Hiddleston/Charlie Hunnam sandwich?

  3. No, that was a serious question. Please tell me.

  4. Allerdale Hall. I wanted to make comparisons to Thornfield Hall, or Manderley. Hell, I half-expected Miss Havisham to come wandering out in her mouldering wedding gown. But truly, Allerdale Hall stands on its own. The red clay (everywhere) adds an element that borders on heavy-handed but lands on evocative.

  5. Jessica Chastain commands the role of Lucille like its her job. Which it is. And she should be getting a raise for this performance. Stole every moment she was on screen.

  6. A+ casting all around. Mia Wacaneverspellherlastname was mesmerizing. Her hair alone deserves an Oscar. Hiddles did a great job playing the divided, tormented lead. And I enjoyed seeing Charlie Hunnam play a rather benign fellow just looking for a little love, dangit.

  7. Touted as horror, but I felt the strong waves of gothic romance. From the lyrical, almost poetic dialogue, to the rotting Victorian England backdrop. Dark, depressing, unrelenting. Right up my alley!

  8. Dammit all to hell. I wish I’d written this book. The lovely dialogue, the delicious, twisted deceptions. Jealous writer syndrome over here.

  9. Speaking of not really horror: there were no “jump out of my seat” moments, but my heart raced the entire film. See next point.

  10. One (of many) things I love about Del Toro is his cinematic insistence that the greatest evil is not the ghosts or monsters outside, but the ones within.

Film Score: A

____________________

I read. I watch original cable shows. I take in a movie from time to time. And most of what I absorb can be described in ten bullet points. Thus, Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews was born. You’ll find no rhyme or reason to what and when I review something. My motivations tend to as random as my reviews. You’re welcome to add your own ten bullets in the comments, if the mood strikes. Enjoy!

Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews- “American Horror Story Hotel: Checking In” (TV)

download (6)

  1. There’s no halfway camp about this season so far. They’re committed, and I love it.
  2. Sarah Paulson’s character intrigues me in the way no character has since the Murder House season.
  3. Denis O’Hare makes a fabulous drag queen.
  4. Lady Gaga knows how to make an entrance. Flawfree queen.
  5. Ditto for Matt Bomer’s ass.
  6. VAMPIRES! WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THERE WOULD BE VAMPIRES?!
  7. Soundtrack: On point.
  8. Did I mention the flawlessness of the goddess Gaga?
  9. Acting and dialogue is so much better this season. I didn’t spend the entire episode trying to rewrite it.
  10. Research the hotel that inspired the Cortez: the Cecil. Crazy stuff.
  11. Almost gave up on AHS after the last two seasons. Hotel is, so far, shaping up to be the loyalty payoff.

Episode Score: B+

____________________

I read. I watch original cable shows. I take in a movie from time to time. And most of what I absorb can be described in ten bullet points. Thus, Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews was born. You’ll find no rhyme or reason to what and when I review something. My motivations tend to as random as my reviews. You’re welcome to add your own ten bullets in the comments, if the mood strikes. Enjoy!

A Completely Biased Review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

battleoffivearmies

 

I know my schtick is 10 Point Reviews, but guess what? I’m so obsessed with Tolkien that my husband vacillates between surprising me with Lord of the Rings swag and considering an intervention. I sometimes break into Elvish in business meetings, and I recently met the COO of one of our partners wearing a Prancing Pony tee. Also, I’m pretty sure my article on the Eagles of Middle Earth is still #4 on Google.

So I gave this review five extra points, because, love.

My review of An Unexpected Journey.

My review of The Desolation of Smaug.

We went to a show on the 16th (night before official release) and saw it in IMAX 3D HFR.

  1. Ahh, Middle-Earth. Whether you loved this adaptation or not, there is no disputing the beauty of New Zealand, and the magic of this powerful setting. I posted the hashtag #onelastime in complete earnest. I’m genuinely heartbroken this is our last foray into the setting. (For those who keep pointing out there’s plenty of material left… i.e. The Silmilarillion… the Tolkien Estate has stated unequivocally they will never sell those rights. LotR and Hobbit were sold in Tolkien’s lifetime, and that is the only reason they’ve been adapted to screen).
  2. I’ve seen some people question Galadriel’s power (as in, they think Gandalf should be more powerful than she is). Um, no. She is one of the oldest Noldor, born in freaking VALINOR, daughter of Finarfin. She is a third-gen Eldar. It would have been weirder if she hadn’t gone full badass. In fact, I daresay they toned it down.
  3. Speaking of this, I loved watching the White Council demonstrate their powers. The nerd in me also got uber excited that ALL THREE elven rings of power were present, just inches from Sauron. Galadriel was in possession of Nenya, Gandalf had Narya, and Elrond had Vilya. Boom, Sauron.
  4. Although not necessarily true to the book, I very much enjoyed the partnership of Bard and Bain as they took down Smaug. I normally find “plugged in” children as filler, but the addition of his kids here humanized him, and they were each given unique personalities that made them feel integral. I also appreciated Bard’s character development here, as in the book he is simply an instrument of the story. I can now visualize how someone like Bard could have stepped forward as the leader of these people.
  5. Benedict Cumberbatch was probably the best decision they made regarding this trilogy. I never get tired of watching him emote as Smaug. I was oddly sad when he died.
  6. The Woodland Elven Guard was a little too CGI for my taste, but, unlike Helm’s Deep, it was GOOD CGI. On the other hand, I very much enjoyed their battle formations, as well as Thranduil’s later grief over the sustained losses. I’m glad they paid some attention to this, because all I could think of was: these guys were immortal! And they gave that up for this battle. That has to mean something.
  7. I expected to be more torn up about the losses of Thorin, Fili, and Kili. I’ve grown way more attached to them on screen than I ever did in the book, and that’s thanks to PJ’s attention to giving them more dimensional personalities. But I found myself sadder at the idea of it (of the complete destruction of the heirs of Durin), than it actually happening. That said, I might be the one reviewer who had some genuine feels when Tauriel was grieving over Kili’s body. Such a huge departure from canon, but it was tragic nonetheless.
  8. A+ for Richard Armitage here. Give this man all the awards. He gave Thorin a dynamic and dimensional personality that was absent in the book (book Thorin was a cranky asshole who deserved no one’s help, at any point). We get to see Thorin being curmudgeonly, but decent. Focused, but with humanity. And so when he spirals into his dragon sickness, it’s that much more powerful. Equally so, when his inner will breaks through and he shrugs it off. Very well done.
  9. Shame on Peter Jackson for only giving Beorn a 15 second cameo! I assume the rest of his scenes will be in the EE, but come on.
  10. This film was filled with enjoyable “moments.” The familial concern and light touch of Eldrond as Galadriel spent her power; the shared glances between unlikely allies Bard and Thranduil. And I really about lost it for good when Bilbo invited what remained of the dwarven company to 4 PM tea at Bag End.
  11. I have mentioned many times that I am not put off by either Legolas or Tauriel being in this movie. For Legolas, it would have been silly NOT to include him, as he logically would have been in the Woodland realm at the time of this visit, as the son of the king. And Tauriel’s addition didn’t bother me because it’s a reasonable assumption that there would actually be, I don’t know, guards in the Elven Guard. And I really liked the humanistic touches of how Tauriel helped the dwarves and children escape during Smaug’s fiery carnage. Heck, I didn’t even mind the love story between Kili and Tauriel, as it was one of many ways Jackson attempted to give more personality to dwarves that had none in the books. My only complaint is the amount of screen time given. Bolg should not have been taken out by Legolas. Bloom and Lilly should not be top-billed on the posters (same beef I had with Liv Tyler being front and center at the LotR trilogy).
  12. Related: I may just rename this movie to Legolas Riding Things.
  13. Martin Freeman: I take back what I said about Cumberbatch. Freeman was hands down the best thing about this trilogy. He gave Bilbo heart and humility, and a personality that shined far more than any character in any of the Jackson movies. Every moment on the screen was an important one. He has a fan for life.
  14. Thranduil. Unf.
    hbt_32-trailer-breakdown-for-the-hobbit-the-battle-of-the-five-armies
  15. Perfect ending: the fade from a younger (but much-changed) Bilbo, into the Bilbo we remember at the start of The Fellowship of the Ring. Book readers will know Bilbo embarked on many adventures during those years. My one gripe with the ending was that it didn’t neatly resolve what happens with Erebor for non-readers. And what happens in the years between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to certain members of the company is truly tragic.

Overall Score: A-

____________________
 
I read. I watch original cable shows. I take in a movie from time to time. And most of what I absorb can be described in ten bullet points. Thus, Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews was born. You’ll find no rhyme or reason to what and when I review something. My motivations tend to as random as my reviews. You’re welcome to add your own ten bullets in the comments, if the mood strikes. Enjoy!

Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews- “Boardwalk Empire Series Finale: Eldorado” (TV)

boardwalk-empire

  1. I will miss, most of all, the sweeping, evocative cinematography. There’s never been anything else quite like it on TV, and I say this as a girl who was obsessed with shows like Rome and Spartacus.
  2. The little girls singing before pedophiliac Commodore took the creepiness factor to twelve.
  3. Capone, on the eve of his downfall: “You think Marlene Dietrich is a dyke?” Never change, Al.
  4. Luciano’s expressions alone deserve an award. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the evolution of this character over the series, and ending with the christening of the syndicate was a great stopping point.
  5. Ahhhh, how I adore sassy, intelligent, resourceful Margaret! The sequence with Kennedy was fantastic. “Here’s an experiment for you. Think about the things you want in life, then picture yourself in a dress.” My only regret is getting cheated out of a whole season of her with Rothstein.
  6. Speaking of Margaret, her final scene with Nucky was exactly as I would have wanted it, illustrative of the subtle sentiment and care they maintained for one another, and an acknowledgement that neither were innocent in all that transpired.
  7. Serious kudos to Stephen Graham for the range he brought to Capone over the series. From the tenderness of fatherhood to the erratic showmanship which defined him publicly. Perfectly captured.
  8. Everyone kept saying that kid was Tommy Darmody and I kept saying, “nope.” Alright, then. I suppose I can accept a bit of retcon to age him another 5 years in order to make this feasible.
  9. The tragedy of Gillian and Nucky is laced together so perfectly in the final sequances. There’s nothing I could say to do it the proper justice. Just… perfection. The alpha, and the omega. *Slow, tearful clap*
  10. As a writer, I can fully appreciate the care that went into the storytelling for this season. This will go down as one of my favorite series finales of all time (also on the list: Six Feet Under, Spartacus).


    Overall Score: A+
    Season Score: A-
    Series Score: B

____________________
 
I read. I watch original cable shows. I take in a movie from time to time. And most of what I absorb can be described in ten bullet points. Thus, Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews was born. You’ll find no rhyme or reason to what and when I review something. My motivations tend to as random as my reviews. You’re welcome to add your own ten bullets in the comments, if the mood strikes. Enjoy!

Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews- “Boardwalk Empire Episode 55: Friendless Child” (TV)

boardwalk-empire

  1. Before even starting this episode, I’m aware I’m still in deep mourning for Chalky (also still in mourning for Omar, The Wire fans. Michael K Williams is a nonstop boss). Also already missing Van Alden’s reminding us WHY MUST IT ALWAYS BE PANDEMONIUM?
  2. “Ive played chess and I’ve never had an opponent try to kill me.”
  3. I’m in the minority of viewers who enjoys the way they’ve woven in the Nucky Origin Flashbacks. It was always fairly obvious what they were building to, but as they inch toward the finish, the effect grows more and more chilling.
  4. Gillian was always a tragic character, but this is the first time my heart physically ached for her. The first time I could look past her myriad sins. Bonus points for the effect the dual haircuts of her youth and middle age had.
  5. Young Nucky, Eli, Gillian are so scarily spot-on, that I could be convinced they were part of a genetic cloning program.
  6. Really enjoying watching the way the crime syndicate was formed. It was an effective background story, to watch them rise, but I find myself wishing Terence Winter would do a spin-off featuring Lansky, Luciano, and Siegel.
  7. I never in a million years expected to say this, but: I’m going to miss Mickey Doyle.
  8. It speaks to the power of the storytelling of this show that I am able to both loathe Nucky and still want to see him come out on top.
  9. I’m still banking on Nucky’s fate being decided by Gillian’s revenge, rather than a rogue execution by Luciano & Co. Which would be an excellent way to bring the series, and Nucky’s rise and fall, full circle as it concludes.
  10. Is this really the penultimate episode? I’m still in denial. Then again, they’ve killed off everyone I ever loved, so I suppose it’s time.

Overall Score: A- 

____________________
 
I read. I watch original cable shows. I take in a movie from time to time. And most of what I absorb can be described in ten bullet points. Thus, Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews was born. You’ll find no rhyme or reason to what and when I review something. My motivations tend to as random as my reviews. You’re welcome to add your own ten bullets in the comments, if the mood strikes. Enjoy!

Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews- “Homeland S4 Ep 4: Iron in the Fire” (TV)

carrie-on-homeland

  1. Apparently Carrie’s latest target is Dave Grohl’s Pakistani brother.
  2. Even though they’ve been telegraphing it for a while, I really hope they aren’t trying to sell a Quinn/Carrie union. Quinn deserves better!
  3. The role reversal with Saul and Carrie is complicated. Not sure what to make of it yet. As ever, he is like reading a rock.
  4. Fara is the moral compass of the CIA. If she gets killed in the line of duty, I will nerd rage. Which means that is probably exactly what will happen.
  5. As frustrating as Carrie is to watch, I never cease to be amazed at how fast the hamsters in her brain work to calculate the next move.
  6. Carrie’s foil is a total tool. No, he’s the entire toolshed. Even this civilian knows you can’t succeed with dissension in the ranks.
  7. Saul’s subtle Grizzly Adams charm manages to work in entirely inexplicable ways.
  8. That seemed like genuine empathy from Carrie, when the kid came to see her distraught. Then again, she is always playing long game.
  9. Dear Ambassador’s Husband: IT’S A TRAP!
  10. The real terrorist of Homeland is Carrie’s vagina. Damn girl.

Overall Score: B

____________________
 
I read. I watch original cable shows. I take in a movie from time to time. And most of what I absorb can be described in ten bullet points. Thus, Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews was born. You’ll find no rhyme or reason to what and when I review something. My motivations tend to as random as my reviews. You’re welcome to add your own ten bullets in the comments, if the mood strikes. Enjoy!

Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews- “Byzantium” (Movie)

byzantium-5202bea205235

  1. Neil Jordan knows how to set a tone, amirite? If you’re keeping score, this is the second vampire adaptation he’s nailed.
  2. Everyone on this screen seems fundamentally broken in some way. I love it.
  3. Gemma Arteton always chews the scenery. In a good way.
  4. I always assumed Saoirse Ronan was wearing contacts, but no. Her eyes are truly that soul-eating.
  5. Movies like this make me forget Johnny Lee Miller used to be cute.
  6. This is what is meant by the setting being a character on its own. The entire set, while probably lovely in another context, is positioned in a way that screams: “this is where hope comes to die.”
  7. Finally, someone offers something somewhat original in the vampire realm! It was so refreshing I could even forgive that no explanation on the vampire brotherhood was offered other than: “Here’s a map. Go to this cave. If you have a phobia of bats, this might not be your thing.”
  8. More than a little pleased to find no sparkling.
  9. Note to self: if a child ever brings me an essay outlining their history as a vampire, just smile and nod. By all means, do not confront the mother.
  10. My friend tells me this story is based on an Irish play, but she can’t seem to track it down. Internet, you have a job to do.

Overall Score: B+

____________________
 
I read. I watch original cable shows. I take in a movie from time to time. And most of what I absorb can be described in ten bullet points. Thus, Sarah’s 10 Point Reviews was born. You’ll find no rhyme or reason to what and when I review something. My motivations tend to as random as my reviews. You’re welcome to add your own ten bullets in the comments, if the mood strikes.

Enjoy!