‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Recap Episode 12: Who is the baddest of them all?

American Horror Story: Coven
Episode 12
** Spoiler Alert

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As I was saying in one of my last posts, I have been slacking on my reviews and recaps. I haven’t done a recap for AHS for the past two episodes, so to fill in the gap to yesterday’s episode, this is what has happened thus far. Think of it like that really fast recap they do on Glee at the beginning of the show.

Stevie Nicks did a cameo, Madison threw Misty in a coffin, Marie’s demon coke-snorting magic man Papa Legba has been coming to collect his debts for immortality, Fiona and Marie drowned Nan in the bathtub and managed to throw the Delphi group of witch hunters over the financial cliff and kill them off with the help of the Axeman. Cordelia cut out her eyes and did not regain her powers. Madame LaLaurie has reverted back to her old ways of killing and torturing people, ewww gross. Queenie came back from being shot in the face. Zoe and Kyle ran away to be lovers.

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Phew…that was a lot, makes sense though because we are coming close to the end, next week is the season finale, so everything is opening up like a can of worms at the coven.

This week’s episode, “The Seven Wonders,” started out with a silent movie about the Salem witches performing the Seven Wonders test to see who is a real supreme. I liked how they captured the sensibility and idea of a silent picture, while demonstrating to the audience how each of the powers work. This definitely could have been worked in earlier in the season to give us an idea of what the witches are capable of doing.

In the last episode, Madame LaLaurie chopped up Marie Laveau, her voice is still heard, but there is no body. Queenie calls upon Papa Legba and has a little tea party with him to discuss the details and tells him she is now in breach of her contract with him. Since she cannot deliver a new soul next year, she will have to pay penance for her crimes.

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She finds Madame LaLaurie and stabs her in the heart, apparently this is the way to kill an immortal soul. Papa shows Queenie that everyone has their own version of hell, Queenie’s was when she worked at the chicken shack and now Marie and Madame LaLaurie will be stuck together forever. They are banished to the time period when LaLaurie’s daughters were killed in front of her eyes by Marie. They both have to reenact that scene for the rest of their so-called lives in hell.

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Zoe and Kyle return to help out the coven when Zoe realizes she cannot escape her fate and destiny as a witch.

Fiona gives Cordelia a necklace that belonged to her grandmother. With this necklace she can now foresee the future. She gets a glimpse of all the witches being killed by Fiona, who in turn then has her powers back and intends to run away. With these powers she is also able to find Misty. Who is then unearthed and comes back to the coven to kick Madison in her hot pants.

Cordelia pays the Axeman a visit and tells him of Fiona’s plan. When he realizes that Cordelia was right he kills Fiona and goes into the coven and is killed and stabbed to death by the witches. They definitely do not need a man to take care of them.

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Now with Fiona gone, who is the next Supreme? Cordelia tells the girls that they will have to perform the Seven Wonders test to find out who will reign next. I cannot wait to see who will be the next super witch-bitch.

I have a feeling that it is Zoe, she has been sort of lingering in the background all season and it is time to see her shine. Who will it be?

}}Melissa

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Movie Review: Rush (2013)

Rush (2013)
Directed by Ron Howard
Written by Peter Morgan

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Over the weekend I saw Rush, the Ron Howard epic flick about two race car driving legends, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. First off, wow, this was an amazing movie and I was kicking myself for not having seen it on the big screen in a theater versus my TV. The movie showcases the rivalry and their legendary race of 1976 at the Nuremburg Grand Prix. It focuses on these two dynamic individuals and the whirlwind of excitement that followed both of their lives.

James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) is the charismatic playboy, with a thrill for excitement and the wild child of the Formula One racing circuit. Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) is the serious and smart driver who not only took risks, but had the aptitude to figure out how to make his cars drive faster. They were a natural rivalry from the start, polar opposites of one another, yet they had very similar paths that brought them to the same juncture in life.

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What I enjoyed about the film is that we get to see the character development of both figures, not just a singular viewpoint of how each one lived their life and the struggles that they faced in order to achieve what they did in their careers. There was witty and to a point comical banter between the two rivals, but the movie makes it obvious that they had profound respect for one another despite their differences.

The story is shown from the beginning on the day of the fateful race and then moves backward chronologically in time to build up to that exact moment when their lives changed for the worst and the best.

This movie to me was from a cinematographic viewpoint absolutely beautiful. The colors are saturated and vibrant and have a rich hue to them. As I said before, this is the type of movie that was made for the big screen; every inch of the screen has something worth watching on it. Just like they say on Top Chef, don’t put something on the plate that is inedible, this movie is the equivalent of that, everything is absolutely delicious and worth every bite.

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Throughout the entire movie, the viewer feels they are part of the race, either as the driver, part of the pit crew or as a spectator. We get POV shots as a driver, with a mask that is filled with raindrops or condensation and what it must appear like to be in the driver seat. At some points, everything is almost a blur because they are driving so fast, which makes complete sense when the movie is essentially about having the ability to race and drive faster than the average person ever will in their life. We also see what it felt like to be in the stands watching these two men achieve exceeding speeds and risking their lives on the track.

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The attention to detail is meticulous, from the fashion of the seventies to the way that the race tracks and cars looked. Although of course there are special effects, the little details throughout the film make the entire movie come together into one spectacular, sexy joyride.

Hemsworth and Bruhl both deliver great performances as the race car drivers. Bruhl was a new face to me and he did a great job in capturing the spirit of Lauda. It was also great to see Hemsworth in something other than a superhero role, not to mention the fact that he is incredibly great and gorgeous to watch.

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By the way, I was just wondering if it had been nominated for any awards because it was so great and it totally got passed up. That is very disappointing considering what a feat of a movie this must have been to make and Ron Howard deserves some type of respect for this film. Regardless, this is definitely worth checking out and it was an A+ in my book.

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}}Melissa

Quick Update

I am seriously lagging on all things movies and TV as of lately. I feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I have been busy at work and honestly not getting a good amount of sleep. I have been staying up late watching Big Love. I am seriously addicted and if I didn’t have a job I would probably already be done with the show.
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I keep thinking of that episode of Portlandia, where they are sitting on the couch binge watching Battlestar Gallactica and they don’t move for days. They don’t shower, they lose their jobs and in the end they keep saying, “just one more episode.”

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Right now I have a DVR full of shows to watch, I have the new season of Episodes, Shameless, new HBO show True Detective, Girls, Top Chef, etc. I also want to review Hunger Games 2, Pain and Gain, Don Juan, but here I am sitting here doing nothing of the sort when it comes to writing.

Does anyone ever get those moments where you can’t stop writing and then other days where you can’t formulate a sentence to save your life?

Tomorrow is my birthday, another year older and it makes me just want to contemplate, I mean get depressed about life. LOL. I am going to Disneyland this weekend, doing something different this year. So not the crazy fun nights of my 20’s, well last year I did go to Vegas, but I wanted something low key. Then in 2 weeks I go to Hawaii for work. I am super excited about that, but it is work so it will be half fun, half working. I am though looking forward to relaxing and enjoying a much needed mai tai on the beach.

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I want to inject personal life with my movie/TV reviews, I always wonder though do people care to read these boring type posts? I know when I read blogs, I want to know about the person writing and who they are and what their life is about, but that is just me I am nosy person.

Ok, my writing block needs to loosen up, I wish there was some Mucinex for brain fog!

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}}Melissa

Movie Review: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Written and Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
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Anyone that knows me well knows that I was obsessed with wanting to see this movie. My sister was asking me why I was so obsessed with this particular film, well I think I figured out why. I have this fascination with the beatnik era, I started my thesis on it actually, didn’t finish it, but I put in a semester’s work on it, so I feel like I have a good understanding. I love reading about that era, learning about the people who were involved, and how those starving artists became people whose writings, music and art still live today.

Inside Llewyn Davis, delivers just that apathetic, artistically inclined, drunk guy story that I was looking to watch. Perhaps part of me identifies with the people of this era, I have always wanted to be a writer and work in the art field, I tried and I tried and I have been rejected and tossed around so much that I know how difficult it is to want something, to want a “dream job,” but to find it impossible to achieve.

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He fits in perfectly with William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and the Charles Bukowski’s of that era. The type of singer, writer that says what is on his mind, even if it tends to piss a lot of people off. In reference to the term beatnik, Jack Kerouac said they were “beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction,” and Llewyn in this film embodies that sprit and sense of counter culture perfectly.

Llewyn Davis (Oscar Issac) is a struggling musician, a folk singer, one who lives from couch to couch in New York City. His family doesn’t think much of him, his friends are annoyed with his incessant asking of favors and everything he touches seems to turn into crap. A cluster of issues always ensues when he is involved.

The film opens with him leaving Mitch Gorfein’s (Ethan Phillips) apartment, his professor pseudo-intellectual friend and accidently lets out their cat. He ends up having to drag the cat around with him and even takes it to his friends house, where of course it escapes. Not only does he ask his friend, Jean, (Carey Mulligan) to stay on her couch or floor, but he asks to bring the cat.

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In a sense, the cat turns out to be like a monkey on his back through the entire movie, almost like his own ghost or shadow following him around.

Jean is annoyed with him and his presence to say the least, her and Jim (Justin Timberlake) also perform and they ask him to come to their usual haunt to play, the Gaslight. Everyone loves Jean and Jim, but Llewyn, he is received with minimal claps. This is another hint at how his life always plays out, he is never the fan favorite in anyone’s eyes.

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What makes this movie great, is that the audience deeply connects to and wants to on every level root for Llewyn. He is the epitome of the underdog, the “loser,” although at times he makes us want to hate him.

This movie follows the usual darkness that is quintessential of a Coen brothers flick. The story is focused on seeing this one character evolve through the film and understand the actions that he takes.

The entire movie feels like a POV style of looking at the film. As if we were in the head of Llewyn. The decisions he makes aren’t always right, but I believe anyone can relate to feeling like that, things don’t always go as planned or as we had hoped and the decisions we make don’t always result in happy, “perfect” outcomes.

The film is dark, yet soft in focus, highly stylized to resemble the cover of a Bob Dylan album and the cinematography almost has a dream-like quality to it. All of these factors added together, create a movie that is both dynamic and original in nature and one that brings us closer to the sentiments of the 1960’s.

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The characters struggle with the idea of becoming a “square,” meaning move out of Greenwich Village to the suburbs, have a house and a family or pursue their artistic desires. I enjoyed the fact that this idea was brought into the film and that it showed that not everyone has a glistening, shiny story about how they made it big.

Issac does a fantastic job as Llewyn. He is the type of actor that makes us connect to and draw us into a character that is highly refined in the ability to be a nobody, another face in the crowd. Yet he brings us into his world and his mind and makes the audience connect with him on a deeper level.

John Goodman also does a great job in bringing in some levity to the film. As I have eluded to in my review, the movie has a sense of despondency that hangs over it, and Goodman adds in a touch of humor and brings us up when we start to feel a bit down like Llewyn. Although he is in a sense funny, the character that Goodman portrays, Roland Turner, shows the dark side of being a starving artist.

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The experimental drug induced era of the 60’s was just starting up and the story captures the sense of sadness and hopelessness that hangs over artists.  In a sense maybe Turner is shown this way to illustrate that Llewyn could one day be that person or where his life could be headed.

The music in the film is produced by T-Bone Burnett is also fantastic, this is sure to win some awards soon. The soundtrack is phenomenal and that alone is one of the aspects that makes this movie great. The music moves the movie and helps to convey the sentiments of that time.

I recommend watching this film, if you haven’t already done so, it is definitely worth it.

imagesHWXNIP21 (Elvis Costello, T Bone Burnett and Oscar Issac performing songs from the film)

{{Melissa

Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave (2013)
Directed by Steve McQueen
Written by John Ridley
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12 Years a Slave is the harrowing true story, of an African American man who was once free, but was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

What makes this different from other stories about slavery is that this one gives us the viewpoint of someone who has tasted freedom. Whereas the slaves born into slavery seem to go along with life as they know it, never making waves or putting their selves in harm’s way. In a sense, they know better, they have learned perhaps through the trials and tribulations of life not to say anything that will draw attention on to them.

Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) was from Saratoga, New York, he walked the streets proudly and held his head up high with his family. His wife, daughter and son, grew up in a house with music, with bedtimes, there was a sense of normalcy in their way of living.

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He was a respectable member of society, yes he was African-American, but he wasn’t treated badly or shunned from the rest. He was a learned man, educated, someone who held a good job, and had the money to take care of his family. Most importantly above all he was a musician, a violinist, a fiddler, one that people revered.

In one sense, this was something that made him known in society and what made some people disdain him in a way.

The movie works out the story through flashbacks and montages of his former life, coupled with that of his current plot. He is tricked and sold to a slaver and is told that he is a runaway slave named Platt. He is nothing of the sort, but no one believes him. Why should they believe him? He has no papers and nothing to distinguish himself.

Platt quickly differentiates himself from the other slaves, something is different about him. At one point when they are trying to move lumber he talks to his first slave owner Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) and tells him an idea to get the wood across the canal. He uses engineer-like terms, words that no slave would know or understand and his plan works. That alone sets him up as someone to be tamed.

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He is then sold off to another slave owner, Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), he is ruthless, god fearing and a drunk. His unethical treatment of his slaves is heartbreaking and difficult to watch to say the least, but in a sense this needed to be in the movie to show the realities of what occurred.

Throughout the film, we get a lot of moments where there is just silence. The silence coupled with the sounds of the South, crickets, the bayou, are what bring this film’s most sincere, depressing moments. Solomon is alone in a world where no one knows his real name, no one cares who he was or that he is educated, instead his ability to read and write is silenced and in his alone moments is when he thinks about his family and the plight that has fallen upon him.

The film also uses a lot of close ups to portray the sadness and pain that Solomon feels, there isn’t a moment where we don’t feel like we can see what he is thinking. He is angry about where he is, but he is also tired, and there is a sense of desolation and despair in his eyes.

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From Epps we get close ups that show his evilness come through, yet there is a sense that he knows what he is doing is wrong and that God is watching him in dismay. He drinks the days away to forget those feelings, as the one former slave owner says in the film, it is difficult for the overseer as well to deal with the pain that they inflict and for one not to feel anything they are either truly evil or they numb the feelings away.

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The story is well told and the performances from Ejiofor and Fassbender stand out. Two characters who are on the opposite end of the spectrum, but both act out their side brilliantly. The film moves along as I mentioned with flashbacks, but this makes sense and adds succinctness to the movement of the story.

I would definitely recommend this movie and I believe this has Golden Globes/Oscars written all over it.

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}}Melissa

Movie Review: 360 (2011)

360 (2011)
Directed by Fernando Meirelles

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My husband randomly bought this movie because it was on sale for 5 dollars, so we wondered why it was in the sale bin, but we are always open to trying out and seeing different movies. This was a pretty good movie and the day after all I could do was think about the movie and replay it in my mind.

Whenever I keep thinking about a movie the next day, I know it had to have some element of it that made it interesting and thought worthy.

360 stars an ensemble cast including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ben Foster and other new faces that brought an eclectic element to the film. The movie takes place literally all over the world, when in the beginning one decision made by Michael Daly (Jude Law) sets a domino effect of changes around the world and alters the destiny of all.

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He is faced with the decision of whether or not he should cheat on his wife with a prostitute. Does he or doesn’t he? He knows he shouldn’t, but she is there beautiful and sexy, and to her this is just her job, and he just another client.

Every single story or vignette introduces different characters and places, slowly, but surely they all become intrinsically linked to one another.

One of the most touching scenes centers around John (Anthony Hopkins) and Laura (Maria Flor), two strangers who meet on a plane. Laura distraught and having just broken up with her boyfriend downs wine by the gulp full to ease her broken heart and the man sitting next to her John lends a caring ear and also tells her about his daughter who is missing. He has been searching for her and keeps getting led to various morgues to identify her body.

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Both are on a journey that is heart breaking and painful, but they have a vibrant spirit and willingness to remain happy. Laura offers to him a smile and tells him that in life you “only get one chance.” This sticks to him and makes him realize all the sorrows he has placed on himself by not giving up and accepting that his daughter is probably dead and gone forever.

At one point in the airport they are delayed and Laura meets Tyler (Ben Foster). He is an ex con, serial child rapist, and is trying to get out and stay clean.

Foster plays that character perfectly as he does so well in a neurotic, chilling way. Laura doesn’t see the bad in him and just wants to befriend him, but he is beyond fixing as he is a little loony. The scene between the two is suspenseful and it makes you feel for both characters.

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Overall the movie was a good watch, I think the tying of all the stories made sense and had a definite conclusion. I liked that they did not leave it open with loose ends and I felt that the story was ultimately fulfilled.

What the movie lacks is more depth. I feel like the story was told, but it needed more substance. A lot of the vignettes were there to tie some of the stories together, but they did not delve deeper than a mere surface incident. I would have liked to have seen what came of some of these people.

I wanted a deeper purpose to everything that occurred and to feel that what I watched had a a more significant rationale. On another hand, maybe it was made that way to show us that this is life. Things happen beyond our control and sometimes a larger explanation or reasoning cannot be given, they just happen for the sake of keeping the wheels of life in motion.

Similar to the title of the movie, 360, is circular in its action and there is a perpetual movement of the things that occur in life, even the bad parts of it. Prostitution has been around for ages, it’s a bad part of society, but it keeps revolving, when one girl leaves, a new one can easily take her place. This notion hangs over the movie like a dark, ominous cloud.

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Overall, I would say definitely check it out on one of those nights where you have nothing to watch and want to do a little soul searching of your own. As I mentioned in the beginning, it does make you think and it is interesting.

Is it the best movie out there? Not really, but it is worth a DVD night in and one you could watch with a date. You could totally impress her and make her look like you are one of those deep, intellectual types.

}}Melissa

Quick Update & Happy New Years!

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!

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Hello everyone out there, just wanted to say hi and give a quick update on what has been going on. The holidays really do have a way of bringing down all of your motivation, right?!

I have literally been at home doing not much of anything and of no significance. I have been super sick and finally feeling a little better. I stayed in on New Year’s Eve and started the show Big Love.

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Currently on Season 2 right now and so far it is pretty good. I don’t think it is super exciting, but it is definitely an interesting topic and one that makes you wonder if you have any Fundamentalists living on your block. Hmmm…

Also, Aaron Paul has a small part in Season 2, OMG he looks like a total nerd. It’s great!

I actually went to the movies twice so far in the past week and I plan on going on Saturday to go see 12 Years a Slave. My local independent theater is finally playing something worth watching. I saw Inside Llewyn Davis yesterday, I had been dying to see this movie and last weekend I saw Hunger Games 2. Look out for upcoming reviews on those flicks.

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After not having gone to the movie theater in ages, I forgot how much I loved going to the theater to see movies on the big screen. Lately, I have been feeling that going to the movies is not only expensive, but it’s always crowded and annoying. That is literally what bugs the crap out of me. When I was younger, I used to go to the movies alone and go randomly during the day when it was empty. Ah… that was awesome. Now my schedule doesn’t really allow me that freedom, so I am condemned to go with all the crowds on the weekends and at night.

I saw Inside Llewyn Davis at a little theater in town and it was not packed at all, I need to go back there more often.

Any who, back to work and back to life. Happy New Years! I am so happy I started this blog, it may not be much and my goal for this year is to make it a better one, but it has been great to talk with other movie/TV lovers out there!

Did anyone see any good movies over the holidays?

rfefasd (Greetings from Jesse Pinkman)

}}Melissa