Poem Published: “His Kind”

The first poem from the “Courting Sylvia Plath” series didn’t actually begin with a Sylvia Plath poem. It actually all started with this poem, “His Kind,” which appeared for the first time last month in the desire issue of Rogue Agent. Many thanks to the editor, Jill Khoury, who allowed me to join such good company. I love that I am a part of a journal which asks “where does psychic pain end and visceral pain begin?” I hope “His Kind” is successful at being a reminder of what Rogue Agent articulates as a part of its mission. A reminder that “if our bodies are oppressed by an outside force, we are ‘written over.’ Rogue Agent wants to retaliate. Rogue Agent wants reconciliation. Rogue Agent wants to share your stories about the poem that is the body.” I hope I’ve written through a bit of what has been written over.

And just because she was amazing, here’s an interview with Anne Sexton at home in March 1966, reading poems and being Anne Sexton.

MoviePass Reviews 2015 (T2)

MoviePass Reviews 2015 (T2)


These are my MoviePass Reviews for the second trimester of the year. It was supposed to be by the quarter, but time keeps on slippin’. I’m currently at 57 films seen out of my #100MoviesIn2015. Tonight, I’ll see Hitchcock’s classic Psycho, then Black Mass the day after. I still need to see 42 films more films over the next 13 weeks if I want to hit my goal. That’s almost 4 movies a week. Yikes! Luckily, I have MoviePass—hence, these MoviePass Reviews. What is that you ask?


a few of the tickets

MoviePass is a card that allows you to see unlimited films for $30/month — (http://movi.ps/referral). I love it. As you can tell, I’ve seen loads of movies this year. You can read the first trimester of MoviePass reviews here. I originally started my free two week trial on January 15, 2015. There are other reviews of the service, but I can honestly tell you that it’s the best entertainment decision I’ve made since buying a projector six years ago.


How to Optimize MoviePass


A lot of MoviePass reviews complain that it’s advertised as “unlimited movies” in theaters when it’s only one movie a day. This is a non-issue for me. I usually see about 2-3 movies on a good week. Most of the time I only see one movie on a day, but I just optimize my MoviePass if I don’t have weekend plans. The cool thing about MoviePass is that you can buy tickets in advance. My solution to seeing more than one movie in a day is buying an advanced ticket. I’ll show up on a Wednesday and buy a ticket for Saturday. This means that I can see a movie with that ticket and also check in for another movie if I decide to see something else. The great thing about movie theater folks is they are super nice. I buy advance tickets all of the time. Many times I miss the showings. If that happens, show up with your unused advance ticket. They’ll either give you a re-admit pass or you can use it to get another ticket for a different movie. Voila. So simple. There’s actually a bunch of optimizations. I can write a post on how to use MoviePass for free if enough people comment and ask for it. I’ve been thinking of other MoviePass reviews I can write other than just the films. Maybe the theaters? After tonight, I will have earned back $165 and 70 concession upgrades from AMC theaters alone. I’ve seen over $700 worth of movies this year for just under $75. If you’d like to sign up, do so here: http://movi.ps/referral.


When Not to Sign Up for MoviePass


I have a friend. I’m not going to say his name, but he’s on Twitter @cjpendergraft. You should follow him. He signed up for MoviePass in February and canceled it in May after seeing less than 5 movies. He just wasn’t going to the theater. From June until now, he’s seen more than 10 movies. He says he’s going to sign up again in October. He’s a lil fatheroo. Do not sign up for MoviePass if you aren’t going to theaters. A good way to engage is to start a scrapbook of movie tickets or write short MoviePass reviews. Make a habit of it all.


29 Micro MoviePass Reviews


Dope – 9.5

The only reason this movie doesn’t have a ten is because I think there needs to be some time before something is labeled perfection. This film accomplished everything it set out to. It was a hilarious comedy and the drama was compelling and genuine. Perhaps what really makes this movie so good are its arguments. Malcolm (Shameik Moore)’s final turn and speech on the “slippery slope” was a great moment, but his college essay illustrating what he learned and how that reflects our culture was amazing. The hood was a nice touch of visual rhetoric. The outlandish moments of comedy were handled well. The sophisticated comedic sequences helped balance those moments out. I think Dom (A$AP Rocky) was a little under-utilized, but he was great in the scenes he was in. The soundtrack was amazing. I saw it three times in theaters. Rick Famuyiwa has made his masterpiece, despite what one of the horrid reviewers desecrating Ebert’s name had to say. This movie is nothing short of dope.


Jib (Tony Revolori), Diggy (Kiersey Clemons), and Malcolm (Shameik Moore) are Dope

Jurassic World – 8

Let’s be honest. A Jurassic Park movie is only as good as its raptors. Luckily, Blue and his team didn’t disappoint. We expect wondrous dinosaurs, thrilling chases, suspenseful hiding, and a huge battle at the end. I can honestly say that Jurassic World provided the best of all of these. The only thing that would’ve made it better is if the children were more than props and if the “love story” was meatier. I can’t complain, though. In place of that, it was also able to work in a level of social commentary which I’m sure was unsettling to some. Who goes to see a dinosaur movie and expects to consider how imperialism, capitalism, and white supremacy have poisoned our culture? Let’s just say, I know why Indominous Rex was white. I didn’t walk to see this movie a second time in theaters. I had to “RUN!”


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – 7.5

On first viewing, I enjoyed this film, but not as much as I did the second time. Honestly, I was a little bothered by the depictions of Earl as this magical negro who liked to say “titties.” And of how I wanted to know more of the dying girl’s background. I realized I should probably read the book. I liked how the story of the film never got in the way of itself. The direction was interesting, the cutaways to the animated sequences were well-placed and added a unique charm. Their homage films were great. Rachel (Olivia Cooke) and Greg (Thomas Mann) were the focus of the central relationship throughout the story, but it was Earl (RJ Cyler) who stole the film and held the true emotional core/understanding. I liked the unreliable narrator aspect of it all. It did a good job operating within the young-adult-cancer-romances conventions, but could’ve worked against them a bit more. Nick Offerman, Greg’s dad in the film, was good, as was Molly Shannon. I wanted to know what happened to Earl, but it was Greg’s story, so meh. Would’ve been better as an ensemble, but was still a touching and funny story.


Batman v. Robin – 7.5

Technically, I saw this at Wondercon and not with MoviePass, but it was in a theater and I’m going for #100MoviesIn2015. I didn’t like Son of Batman. It felt really forced. The direction left a little to be desired. This film, though, may be one of the best in the DCAU, and that says a lot. The action sequences are stellar and well-placed throughout. The story’s theme centered on the relationship of trust between Bruce and Damien works well. Not to mention, the group that shows up. Yes. Batman Versus Robin is the best DCAU feature since Under the Red Hood, but not quite as good as The Dark Knight Returns. Because, let’s be honest. When you successfully adapt that story, it’s hard to top.


Dragonball Z: Resurrection of F – 7.5

Yes. Yes. Yes. Toriyama-san is back! Great blend of action and comedy. The theme of the conflict between Goku and Vegeta pushed even further than it was in the series. Frieza’s return was wonderful. The fight scenes—wowsers! Wait, I just realized, is this available to stream yet? I might go watch it again right now.


Straight Outta Compton – 7

This movie started out super intense. The actors were all pretty good, but Ice Cube Jr. killed it. It has a nice wedding of theme and action. The problem happened about two-thirds of the way through this unnecessarily long movie. It stopped telling a story and became fan-fiction. There was no need for Tupac to be in this movie. Snoop, maybe, but he wasn’t even utilized. It was great how they all hugged in the end. I’ll definitely re-watch the first half of this movie again. If nothing else is going on, I’ll play the other half while typing up blogs. F. Gary Gray’s directions was great, tho.


Ant-Man – 7

It was fun, funny, and kinda funky. This is probably the best “first” superhero movie since Iron Man and Batman Begins. Hopefully it doesn’t go the route of Stark because the second and third films in that series were terrible. The characters were all great in this film. The action was decently paced. The fight scenes were phenomenal and funny. I can’t wait for the Wasp to join.


The Visit – 7

I have a weird relationship with this movie. I watched the trailer for it and thought it was going to be M. Night’s comeback. I thought it would be brilliant. Then I saw that it was a Blum House production and lost all faith.  Watching it, I was uncomfortable. Not because of the naked grandma, she actually had a nice butt. Not because of horror-comedy, truth be told it’s one of my favorite genres when done well. Not because of the well-done framing and camera movement which was a perfect balance between “teenage handheld” and directed camera operator. I was uncomfortable because everyone was laughing so hard at the little rapping white boy. This broken non-corporeal representation of what Shyamalan and popular culture see as Blackness distilled into this cooning white kid wearing invisible blackface. Maybe I could’ve shrugged it off if his sister hadn’t called him “ethnically-confused” or if it was played in a context other than a minstrel show. There were boycotts of Get Hard, but the theatrical version of that film actually treated its characters with care. It was aware it was being insensitive and tried to hit broadly, then complicate the characters by implicating the system in which the characters were in. The character of Tyler, who raps and adds “ho” to the end of every verse was created out of ignorance. Back to the film: I didn’t expect it to end how it did—SPOILER FOLLOWS. IF YOU CONTINUE TO READ, YOU WILL KNOW HOW IT ENDS. YOU SHOULD SKIP TO THE NEXT REVIEW IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT—It could’ve been interesting if the grandparents succeeded in killing the kids or somehow got away. It would’ve made for an interesting The Visit 2 with the “grandparents” doing it again with another set of kids somehow, but the audience knowing it wasn’t them the entire time. He only would’ve needed another reason for the kids not to have known the grandparents. But that could’ve been an interesting tension in the movie. The kids could’ve suspected it, and it would’ve been loaded with dramatic irony.


How could you ever find this face offensive, Kevin?

Spy – 7

I was expecting this movie to be terrible. I had already planned on walking out, falling asleep, or sneaking into another movie if it was too ridiculous and broad. This is probably the best film that isn’t St. Vincent that Melissa McCarthy has been in. The writing for Jason Statham’s character may have been over the top at times, but everyone had a great chemistry. The story was competently written and legitimately funny. Rose Byrne was definitely a standout.


Mad Max: Fury Road – 7

The truth is I’m actually torn on whether I’d watch this again, but I’m leaning toward “yes.” It was a wild chase movie. It was wholly entertaining the first time through. It had a strong cast. I just don’t know if it mattered or was suspenseful enough that I’d enjoy it a second time. I think I’ll watch it again out of curiosity, but not desire.


Ricki and the Flash – 6.5

Diablo Cody likes to start with unlikable characters and use the script’s major dramatic question to argue for how that character is a decent human being. That’s one of the reasons I like her scripts. She’s also witty and isn’t afraid to take it “there.” This film just felt safe. Meryl Streep was great, of course. It was just surprisingly quiet. I did love the mother-daughter relationship and the mother-stepmother tension, though.


Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation – 6.5

The first half of this movie was so boring. It was all setup. The payoffs weren’t even that good. The twists were fairly expected. The second half was thrilling. It was fast-paced, the villainy was nice. And the ending? Enjoyable.


Cinderella – 6

This was a mildly entertaining live-action retelling of the classic fairy tale. When adapting a much-adapted piece, the best films try something bold and new or add an interesting twist. This adaptation did not. It was sufficient. Cate Blanchett was a rotten stepmother, not quite evil enough for me, though. And the writing didn’t allow enough room for motivation, but Lilly James was really charming. The best moment in the entire movie was, “I forgive you.” That was a nice touch.


Pitch Perfect 2 – 6

I never saw the first Pitch Perfect. Honestly, I didn’t even see every minute of this one. It was funny. Friendship, yay! Competition, yay! I was surprised at the politically incorrect tone of the humor, but it was refreshing. This genre is usually stale. Nice to see this decent example.


Paper Towns – 6

Such a promising story! Such a great lesson. The characters were also fairly well-developed … but …  the ending. It ran out of steam near the third act. I’m sorry, John Greene, but Jesse Andrews wins this summer.


Inside Out – 5.5

I remember very little about this movie. The external world of Riley was much more interesting than the world in her head. It seemed more like an exploration of how the brain works for kids instead of an entertaining story for kids. Good concept, boring execution. It was shiny, though.


Trainwreck – 5

I love Amy Schumer. She just doesn’t know how to write long-form stories yet. The story was very generic, but the bit jokes were funny. It had its moments, but this was just a less-than-generic rom-com with a gender swap. Schumer’s name did a lot to promote this movie. It has prompted me to re-watch older Apatow movies because I thought he was a better director than this. The scene which was supposed to be homage to Woody Allen’s Manhattan was ridiculously sloppy. It made me aware of how poorly shot the whole film was. I wonder if his writing hid the bad direction or if he’s just incompetent with someone else’s work.


Amy (Amy Schumer) and Aaron (Bill Hader) during this Trainwreck

Ted 2 – 5

The jokes were really funny in this movie. The story was absurd and barely existed. The difference between this and say Trainwreck is there was no real intention to tell a story. There was a bit so funny in this movie that I missed half of the next scene because everyone in the theater was laughing too hard.


Vacation – 5

Most people hate this movie. It’s actually not that bad. The problem is that it’s made in the style of a ridiculous 80’s American farce. They aren’t particularly good. Neither is this movie, but if you watch it on its own terms it has some funny moments. Those moments are mostly when there’s a little dramatic irony. The vomiting was dumb. The language was cringe-worthy and useless sometimes. We never care about the characters. Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo weren’t really utilized for comedy. That wingman hut tub scene, though, ha! If you do like it, you’d probably like We’re the Millers (2013). It also features Ed Sudeikis, but is funnier American farce.


Avengers: Age of Ultron – 5

I’m not sure what I could say that hasn’t already been said about this movie. It would’ve been better if it was thirty minutes shorter, there wasn’t an out of place “love story,” and it had a better villain. Ultron wasn’t a powerful villain. Each of his sentinels were easily dispatched. They weren’t a real threat. Do you know who would’ve been a real threat to the Avengers and force them to change the way they fight? The Vision. He was wasted. He should’ve been under the thrall of Ultron as Queen of the big bad and maneuvered against the Avengers until the second to last sequence. Ah well. We got to see Hulk vs. Hulkbuster Iron Man.


San Andreas – 5

Things blew up and fell apart. Dwayne Johnson saved folks. There was a story. The character motivations, everything really, felt expected. I did enjoy it while it was on. That girl’s stepdad was a jerk, haha.


Welcome to Me – 4.5

This could’ve been good. Kristen Wiig was great. The premise was interesting. It just meandered on screen. It is a completely forgettable film.


Hot Pursuit – 4

It was simple, basic, and barely entertaining. But Sofía Vergara was lovely, Reese Witherspoon was adorable, and they have great chemistry. It would have been better if they only had a script with fewer clichés and interesting plotting.


True Story – 3.5

There was a lot of sitting together and uninteresting discussion in this movie. If I was at this movie alone, I would’ve walked out.


Fantastic Four – 3

There was very little conflict in this movie until the third act when an all-powerful Doctor Doom started exploding the heads of everyone he encountered and then tried to blow up the world. The normal chemistry between Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller was absent. Kate Mara was competent and cute. There wasn’t enough written for Jamie Bell. This script failed because it began as a small coming of age story at the beginning with a theme that revolved around friendship (yay, Chronicle), but it ended as a generic superhero movie circa 1999.


Age of Adaline – 3

Another example of what happens when you don’t have any conflict in a story until the third act. It was super melodramatic and ultimately pointless. I’m sure it works better as a book because it allows more interiority. As a film, meh. The reveal in the third act would’ve been better revealed closer to the midpoint and explored through the rest of the movie.


The Gift – 2

Wow. I like revenge stories. I really like suspenseful thrillers and mysteries. It’s too bad that this had no suspense, wasn’t at all thrilling, and the only two mysteries weren’t teased well. I liked Edgerton’s earlier film with his brother, The Square. He was also good as Tom in The Great Gatsby. This movie was sloppy. It might’ve been played better as a comedy with unreliable characters. It was melodramatic and boring. Nice reveal at the end, though. I guess that’s why others like it so much.


Not every gift is welcome

Tomorrowland – 1.5

Directionless. Pointless. The character motivations were so constructed and phony. The visuals were only mildly interesting. George Clooney’s charm was even muted. Raffey Cassidy did well. I have a feeling this script was more Lindelof than Brad Bird.


Aloha – *

I don’t think it would be fair for me to rate this movie. The first two sequences were so bad that I walked out of the theater. I had very little idea of what the direction of the movie was going to be or why I should care about any of the random gibberish spewing from the characters’ mouths. I bet that’s why it didn’t do well. I really like Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone. I wish they were in a better movie together.




1-3: Horrible. I regret subjecting myself to this

4-5: Just below average, but not a complete waste of time

6: I didn’t waste my time, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again

7-8: Accomplished what it set out to do and I’d watch it again

9-10: Nearly perfect. Highly recommend it as art


MoviePass Reviews 2015 Second Trimester Conclusion


I’m excited because the award season is coming along with the San Diego film festival. I really want an opportunity to see Tangerine. I think it’ll be really good. One of the things I may do is a list of Top 10 Upcoming Films and predicted MoviePass Reviews. I’ll also review the app soon, but only if you comment and share your thoughts. Thank you for reading. What have been your favorite movies this year so far?


Poems from Courting Sylvia Plath


I’ve had about half of the poems from my series on Sylvia Plath, “Courting Sylvia Plath” published over in the literary journal Menacing Hedge. To celebrate, I’ve posted recordings of three of the poems to Soundcloud. You can listen to “At a Euro Cafe in East Village,” “An Affair on Hampstead Heath,” and “Fragments” from “Courting Sylvia Plath” below and follow along in the lit journal after reading a preface to the work.


MoviePass Review 2015 (T1)

MoviePass Review 2015


This is my MoviePass Review 2015 (of the first trimester).  It’s a milestone! I’ve seen 25 movies (actually 28) with MoviePass. MoviePass is a card that allows you to see unlimited films for $30/month — (http://movi.ps/referral). I love it. I’ve seen loads of movies this year. I originally started my free two week trial on January 15, 2015. It’s been three months. You can read other reviews of the service, but it’s the best entertainment decision I’ve made since buying a projector six years ago.

moviepass review 2015

The well-worn card I used for my MoviePass Review 2015

The Financial Benefits of MoviePass


I was charged after my first full month of MoviePass on March 3, 2015. Since I live in the large metro area of San Diego, my bill was $35 not the usual $30. San Diego has 20 theaters within 30 miles of my house that support MoviePass. This includes all of the AMC, Regal and Edwards theaters, United Artist theaters, all but one of the Readings Cinemas, and three independent theaters. Two of the supported theaters even host many of the films of a few of San Diego’s annual festivals including the San Diego Film Festival, San Diego Latino Film Festival, and San Diego Black Film Festival.


My MoviePass Review 2015 has to include a financial breakdown on my way to #100MoviesIn2015. Three payments of $35 is $105. But I enticed two of my friends to become MoviePass members. MoviePass has an incentive, and you receive a $10 credit for each new member you recommend. I received a $20 credit. That brings the total paid down to $85. Twenty-eight movies for $85 isn’t bad (approx. $3/movie), but I did better. I joined AMC’s Stubs reward program. They credit you $10 for every $100 you spend in tickets or concessions. I saw 21 of the 28 movies in AMC theaters for this very reason. Tickets at the two theaters are $12.79 each. That’s about $268 in ticket prices alone. When you include the movies that I saw with one or both of my friends and scanned my reward card with their purchases, I’ve gotten back $40 in rewards. I’ve used it on additional tickets for people accompanying me. The $40 rewards return ends it at $45 for 28 movies or $1.60 per movie. If you’d like to sign up, do so here: http://movi.ps/referral.


28 Micro Reviews


This MoviePass Review 2015 wouldn’t be complete without a list of the movies I’ve seen along with micro-reviews and ratings. I planned on getting MoviePass at the end of the previous year, so a few of the films are from 2014.


The Imitation Game – 9

Compelling story. Great acting.  A story that reminds or teaches us, “Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”


Selma – 8

Interesting story. Oleyowo brings new dimension to how MLK Jr. has been portrayed in mainstream media. Ava DuVernay & Paul Webb created a film that complicated a story that I felt like I knew.


Inherent Vice – 7.5

I’m still not completely sure of all that I watched. Funny and unsettling, PTA delivers in this Pynchon adaptation with Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, and Katherine Waterston dazzling.


Big Eyes – 7.5

Who would have thought that if Tim Burton directed a film by the writers of Problem Child (1990) and Man on the Moon (1999) it would be so exciting? It’s visually stunning and interesting.


Furious 7 – 7.5

Fast & Furious 6 (2013) was a sequel-prequel-reboot that elevated the already growing B Movie franchise to art. The art in this film is recklessness, and it has a tender heart. Exciting.


While We’re Young – 7.5

The only other film written by Baumbach that I like is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), but this film is funny and presents an interesting debate about success and commentary on millennials.


Danny Collins – 7

Dan Fogelman’s directing debut. Pacino’s chemistry with everyone is great, especially Bening. What begins as a story on choice of an artistic path becomes a wonderful Father/Son tale of redemption.


Theory of Everything – 7

Redmayne’s Oscar was well-deserved. I’m not positive I’d ever seek this film out to ever watch it again. It’s an interesting and informational film biography whereas Imitation Game (2014) was a story.


Top Five – 7

Loose, funny, and romantic. Chris Rock has found a way to tell a story well and hits his stride as a writer/director/actor. I wish the title was riffed on for another dimension, but I can’t complain.


Get Hard – 7

It was a hilariously crude social satire filled with dramatic irony that allowed the dynamic comedic chemistry of Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell to exist together. Let’s hope these two work together again.


Focus – 7

It worked the turns well. Will Smith was in top movie star form. This romantic comedy hidden in a heist/con-artist movie was fun and occasionally thrilling.


Kingsman – 7

Samuel L. Jackson’s villain was hilarious. The silliness, including the conclusion to the climax, fit well in this very Matthew Vaughn film. The surrogate father/son story gave it heart.


El Incidente – 7

This frustratingly intriguing sci-fi film is Isaac Ezban’s first feature film. It proves him an exciting director, sharp writer, and has a concept that will fold your brain over.


Ex Machina – 7

This is how you tell a story around a thought experiment. Thrilling soundtrack. Visually intriguing. Contained and bubbling over the edges. Very well-acted and a surprisingly funny, fresh film.


Project Almanac – 6

The premise is wasted a little and the first act is too long, but it’s a fun, youthful movie. Sofia Black D’Elia was the stand out. The whole cast had chemistry. I wrote a longer review of the film here.


American Sniper – 5.5

Not Eastwood’s best. It’s never actually thrilling. Cooper works well as the unapologetically patriotic Kyle. It’s a relief when it’s over, but there are some sequences in the film which work well.


Unfriended – 5.5

The concept and ingenuity put it past many of the teen “horror” films. It’s not scary and the death scenes are silly, but commitment to the concept and anti-bullying stance make it interesting.


The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies – 5.5

This trilogy would’ve been much better as a single movie or maybe two movies. Fantasy action was nice. I assume there was character development. It was visually interesting, though.


Home – 5

This was a charming children’s adventure tale. It wasn’t much more than that, but it accomplishes precisely what it wants to and brings a few laughs along the way.


The Lazarus Effect – 5

This seemed more like a two-part beginning of a television series than a film. It was interesting to watch, but ultimately didn’t end up going anywhere. The cast did a good job, though.


Hunger Games: Mockingjay, pt. 1 – 5

There was a lot of whining. Katniss wasn’t the strong symbol she’s been in the past. It wasn’t exciting, but it advanced the story. I imagine it would’ve benefited from not being a two-part finale.


50 Shades of Grey – 5

I was curious. I knew that I’d never read the book. Surprisingly competent film. The ending didn’t exist, but I’ll see the next installment since I have MoviePass.


Into the Woods – 4.5

he first half of this story is really good. The second half is super sloppy. The actors all do such a wonderful job while it’s happening, though, that it only bothered me just a bit.


The Duff – 4

Ultimately forgettable. Robbie Amell and Mae Whitman were charming. It didn’t really argue its message that well and felt like a hundred other high school movies about discovering self.


Run all Night – 4

I barely remember this sloppy story. If it had spent more time developing the characters, this could’ve been a decent movie.


Chappie – 3.5

This Die Antwoord advertisement has a talking robot and a bunch of nitwits in it. It feigns intelligence and attempts to use the soundtrack to push it forward. A bore.


It Follows – 3

This movie is piss drizzle in the pants. You keep watching it, thinking that it’ll end better than it started. It doesn’t. It never does. Boring waste of a good concept. Check out longer review here.


Jupiter Ascending – 2

I don’t know what made this film so bad. The poor story? The unexplained absence of anyone else with rocket boots? The convoluted action? The bad motivations of the characters? Disappointed.


The Boy Next Door – 0

This is the worst movie I’ve seen in a long time. It wasn’t suspenseful. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t even sexy. It was a poor attempt to turn a tired genre on its head with bad writing and acting.


1-3: Horrible. I regret subjecting myself to this

4-5: Just below average, but not a complete waste of time

6: I didn’t waste my time, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again

7-8: Accomplished what it set out to do and I’d watch it again

9-10: Nearly perfect. Highly recommend it as art


MoviePass Review 2015 Conclusion


I saw a lot of movies that I normally wouldn’t have considered. There were times when I would show up and see what was playing next. I have the goal of seeing #100MoviesIn2015 in theaters. MoviePass will definitely help save money and motivate me. I want to do it to help me understand the art form better. My MoviePass Review 2015 (so far) has been great, and I’m sure it will get even better.


A blog coming soon reviewing the second trimester of films.

Unsolicited Review – It Follows

It follows indeed. I now have Movie Pass (a card that allows you to see unlimited movies for $30/month – http://movi.ps/referral). I love it. I’ve seen loads of movies this year. It Follows is the most recent. These micro reviews of the films’ storytelling are a way to catalog what I’ve seen and what I think about story. I dash them off. If you want to talk about the film, feel free to comment.

It Follows Review

It Follows was absolutely boring and a complete waste of a wonderful concept. There’s so little actual conflict. There is a lot of driving away. How terrifying is a monster that you can hop on a plane and fly away from? There’s no escalation of the stakes because there’s no logical plan to stop “the entity” because the entity is vaguely setup and few “rules” are ever established for how it functions. Sure, it follows you and it kills you. Is it punishment for sleeping with the wrong mate? Maybe. The first victim’s leg is broken and her neck snapped. The guy who gives it to Jay (protagonist) says “don’t let it touch you.” Yet, it grabs Jay no less than three times and she is fine. The second guy, Greg, was incestuously raped to death. It follows you only by walking. Maybe it can even walk into the water or over an ocean. Who knows? At the climax of It Follows, we learn that the entity is sentient and can form plans. Yes, that’s correct; we learn a critical ability of the man antagonist only near the end. The rest of the film it mindlessly shuffles. Oh, and it throws rocks in windows when it can’t open a door. Sometimes it takes on the appearance of people you know or love. Note: There is absolutely no emotional resonance for the appearance it takes during the climax. Why? We hadn’t learned anything previously about that person. That’s poor storytelling.


Never enter a place with one exit

Interpreting It Follows

What if it wasn’t about the entity, and what follows is supposed to serve as a larger metaphor. Well, it’s a poorly articulated metaphor. Sex Follows: Don’t have casual sex because it follows you everywhere you go. Eventually it destroys you. It will destroy your sexual partners along the way. Poor Decisions Follow: Don’t make decisions in the moment. Important decisions will follow you your entire life. They will hurt people along the way. Maybe it’s just social commentary: In our culture, decisions are made too casually. These decisions, like sex, have implications beyond the present. We also hurt the ones closest to us. I would get into the possible romantic metaphors, but I’ll leave that to a Red Pill / Alpha Male blogger. I wouldn’t bet money on any of those interpretations because of the fatalistic ending. Most reviewers stretch the vague rhetorical implications of the film to fit their own agenda or lens.


We’ve never seen a woman punished for her sexual choices before in film, so that was a great twist

Learning from It Follows

I don’t want this to be merely a rant of why I didn’t like It Follows. It could’ve improved by crafting sequences that actually had conflict. One solution is to take away driving or biking away as an option. It was fine for that to happen the first time, but you want conflict to escalate. Imagine if the car had broken down. Then Jay would’ve been stuck running, which is way more dream-like. It also would’ve forced her to come up with more creative ways to stop the entity. I’m sorry, but trying to shoot it? On three separate occasions?!?! It didn’t work the first time! It’s not going to work the second or third times!! Insanity. Also, running upstairs to escape is never a good idea. Another thing that would’ve improved the story is clear rules for the entity. Let’s go back to the car issue. This is a trickster ghoul. It’s intelligent enough to appear as people you may know. It knows not to fall for the idiotic trap they set at the climax. It can break through windows and attack people that don’t see it. Apparently, it’s not smart enough to flatten tires. Imagine Jay getting into a car and trying to drive off, but the tires are flat, so she has to slowly drive in car on flat tires while it follows in the rearview. There weren’t enough well-crafted obstacles in the film. Imagine a policeman pulling Jay over. The entity approaches as she talks to the officer. She freaks out. He can’t see it. He handcuffs her to restrain her and it is approaching during this entire sequence. It’s nerve-wracking! Why? because she has two antagonists agitating the scene from two different worlds. There’s an immediate threat and a larger one more present. This story only dealt with the larger threat and gave easy outs. There’s nothing suspenseful about being able to drive away from your threat. You could even bike away, or run, or jog, or skip. The first victim we see die, died only because she gave up. I suppose I should say something nice about it. Coming of age is important It was wise to use characters at the end of their teenage years. It was interesting visually. The rig used in Jay’s introduction was good. The 360 spin in the school and the choice to use lots of wide shots was a good one. The naked man standing on the roof scene was also creepy. The attempt to set the film in an indiscriminate era was good, but it just looked like the early 1990’s with cheap eReaders to me. The color grading was a good choice, though. I hope Unfriended doesn’t disappoint me as much as It Follows.

This film has become a sort of critical indie horror darling. It’s praised for its originality and intelligence. I guess the horror genre is so piss poor these days that most people are easily impressed, especially when Dostoyevsky and T.S. Eliot are referenced. I wish Roger Ebert was still alive.


Wouldn’t locking the doors of the car and explaining the rules to her have sufficed?

It Follows Rating: 2.5 out of 10


1-3: Horrible. I regret subjecting myself to this

4-5: Just below average, but not a complete waste of time

6: I didn’t waste my time, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again

7-8: Accomplished what it set out to do and I’d watch it again

9-10: Nearly perfect. Highly recommend it as art

Unsolicited Review – Project Almanac

I now have Movie Pass (a card that allows you to see unlimited movies for $30/month – http://movi.ps/referral). I love it. I’ve seen loads of movies in the last month. Project Almanac is the most recent. These micro reviews of the films’ storytelling are a way to catalog what I’ve seen and think about story. I dash them off. If you want to talk about the film, feel free to comment.

Project Almanac Review

Aside from a rocky beginning with a ridiculously long first act, Project Almanac was successful. More laughs in the beginning of the 2nd act would’ve made the fun and games more exciting. There was also barely any conflict for the majority of the movie. I would’ve liked to see more shaved from the first act and more time spent in Project Almanac’s rich area of potential conflict. The third act was rushed and barely existed. The ending was well done, though. Project Almanac will inevitably draw comparisons to earlier MTV Films teen sci-fi film Chronicle. But Chronicle gave its actors a stronger script that focused on conflict, so the drama was more compelling. Project Almanac could’ve easily had that drama, but it might’ve pandered too much to its teenage crowd. Oh, and that Microsoft product placement. I assume we will see more of that in the future. Overall, I’d recommend the film as a teen sci-fi popcorn flick for those who just want to have fun. There is a particularly touching scene in the third act.


Why did they…

  • Choose found footage as the way to tell this story? It might’ve worked better and avoided some of the comparisons without that choice.
  • Not use the father/son element as a way to drive the protagonist’s goal?
  • Not explore the title “Project Almanac” more in the film? It’s the title of the project, but “second chances” wasn’t enough to make sense.
  • Avoid ALL conflict for the first two-thirds of the film? Would’ve been stronger if “the rule” was broken earlier with smaller consequences building.


Project Almanac Rating: 6 out of 10


1-3: Horrible. I regret subjecting myself to this

4-5: Just below average, but not a complete waste of time

6: I didn’t waste my time, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again

7-8: Accomplished what it set out to do and I’d watch it again

9-10: Nearly perfect. Highly recommend it as art



Cast of Project Almanac


Free Crunchyroll Guest Pass

Remember: first come, first serve.

January: http://www.crunchyroll.com/guest_pass?code=3MXGJ8RY3HW

February: http://www.crunchyroll.com/guest_pass?code=D7RECEDDB4R

It’s a free Crunchyroll guest pass. You can watch licensed anime (legally) for free. Enjoy!

I’d highly recommend Kids on the Slope, Attack on Titan, and Skip Beat.

I super recommend Kids on the Slope if you like Jazz music or Murakami’s Norwegian Wood.

If you claim the code, please comment so people know that it’s taken. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter @parteverything.

(Note: I update the above link each time I get a free crunchyroll guest pass. This usually occurs every 30 days, but sometimes I get multiple passes. In which case, I post one here and share the other via my Twitter: @parteverything. Again, I highly recommend Kids on the Slope. It’s so understated and great!)

free crunchyroll guest pass

free crunchyroll guest pass

One Art | Elizabeth Bishop

One Art | Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

I think it’s fitting that I post this on Mother’s Day. Loss is the most universal, prevalent, primal feeling human’s experience. Some might say it is love, but I would argue that we’re keenly aware when we lose something and may not be aware when we love something (or someone). Combine that with a masterful, seamless poetic display in one of the most difficult verse forms to master in English (that isn’t redundant game-playing– I’m looking at you sestina) and you will have what I might consider the best poem I’ve ever read, Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.” It’s so unassuming, so simple, yet so complex. Hearing this poem read aloud for the first time in a Forms of Poetry classroom read wonderfully by Poet/Professor Michael White changed my life. Not in one of those hyperbolic, 21st century teenager ways either. Before that class I was more interested in poetry as expression, poetry as philosophy, and, mostly, poetry as performance. I wanted to cry after he finished reading it. It was a release. Later, re-reading it, I did cry. I became obsessed with Bishop afterwards; I fell in love with the dead lesbian who shook me into wanting to become the poet that I want to be. I devoured everything: her poems, prose, biography, art, and letters. I saved bits of each, so that I might one day discover something “new.” So I may be a bit bias. To the point, “One Art” is a villanelle. If you think about Bishop’s biography, then this poem is usually connected to her time abroad in Brazil, her mother’s insanity and later death, her return to America from Brazil, an ex-lover’s (Lota de Macedo Soares’) suicide, and an estrangement from a young lover, Alice Methfessel. I believe the poem is about all of these things and none of them. It’s a writing through, universal sort of poem that requires no context, but becomes even richer once you have it. “One Art” is from Bishop’s final collection, Geography III.