Archives for posts with tag: Bates Motel

Continuing to keep tabs on the films I watch (so much downtime in Peace Corps) and share my thoughts for those interested.


Beautifully adapted by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena, is based on the true story of Philomena Lee, an elderly Irish woman who with the help of Martin Sixsmith, a journalist and recently fired government press advisor, tracks down the son taken from her.  That summary doesn’t do it justice – check out the trailer.

The two characters come very different places and social classes, yet so many times despite her seeming small town ignorance, Philomena shows herself to be more worldly than Martin would expect.  Despite his growing respect for her, however, Martin continues to return to her religion, disturbed by what he feels is blind adherence to an organization that has abused her trust.  There’s one particular scene that I enjoyed where Philomena asks Martin to take her to a church so she can confess.  He pokes at her and her religion saying “It’s the Catholic church that should go to confession, not you…”

Philomena – “I just hope God isn’t listening to you.”
Martin – “Well I don’t believe in God. Look. No thunderbolt.”
P – “What are you trying to prove?”
M – “Nothing. That you don’t need religion to live a happy and balanced life.
P – “You’re happy and balanced are you?”
M – “I’m a journalist, Philomena. We ask questions. We don’t believe something because we’re told it’s the truth. What does the Bible say, ‘Happy are those who do not see and believe’ Hooray for blind faith and ignorance.”
P – “And what do you believe in? Picking holes in everyone else? Being a smart aleck?”

The film sparked some serious controversy, and while the Roman Catholic church in Ireland comes under scrutiny, it is not religion to which Philomena turns, but her faith. Faith gives her the strength to love, to live a life without judgement of others, and most importantly, to forgive.

Dallas Buyers Club

It was good, not great, and the ending fell flat.

In Their Skin

So, I’ve been really wanting to watch a good horror film where the antagonist either so completely owns the situation that the brutality is almost godlike (a la Funny Games) or has the rug pulled right out from under him and quickly find himself the hapless victim (a la You’re Next – so I’ve heard. I still haven’t seen it.).  In Their Skin, was neither and was as flat as its monochromatic color palette.

The film starts off well – a man panicked and running before headlights until he can go no further is brutally executed by a figure who emerges off camera.  We then cut to the brooding, affluent Hughes family heading to their vacation home in a secluded mountain area, after the tragic loss of their daughter.  Up to now it’s a classic set up, with Josh Close and Selma Blair as the estranged couple and parents to surviving child Brendon (the only one seemingly unaffected by the death). Close and Blair do a great job of creating characters who are still shell-shocked and on edge, and it’s best apparent when the strange Sakowskis (led by James D’Arcy) show up.  The Sakowskis are a family un-used to riches trying a little to hard to ingratiate themselves and it creates a wonderful creepiness with tensions on both sides, which peaks in a moment when Mark (Close) suddenly yanks Bobby (D’Arcy) off the steps with barely restrained violence.

From this I felt led to believe that there’s more to Hughes than we know and I’m titillated by the prospects which never actualize.  From here the film goes bland.  The Sakowskis get violent and take the Hughes hostage with standard horror film panache.  James D’Arcy I enjoyed in his role as a crazy person, but there are awkward situations, especially towards the end which felt out of character, or just lazy.  In the meantime the viewer is left with a “twist” that lacks real drama, and I’m left still wanting a good horror film.


I struggle with Madonna’s much maligned movie.  There are fragments of the film that I enjoy, but overall feel it deserves the criticism for the vision it attempts and fails to attain.  The story shifts back and forth between Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) the famous American who had the indecency to love and be loved by the heir to the British crown, Edward VIII (James D’Arcy), and Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) a woman enthralled by the aforementioned celebrity romance who is struggling in the cage of her own disastrous fairytale.

Stylistically it is a beautiful film and D’Arcy and Riseborough are wonderful.  Polished and glossy, it visually jumps off the screen like a fashion magazine.  Sets, props and costumes are so well placed in their perfection that it is distracting.  And therein lies my main problem with W.E..  It is so perfectly smooth but at the same time fragmented and disjointed with many small elements jarringly pulling you out of the moment, taking away from the overall story.  For example Abel Korzeniowski’s score, stunning as it is, is far too reminiscent of his composition for A Single Man, with some sections feeling directly lifted.  Then during a party scene, which in itself felt unnecessary, guests go wild to the tune of the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant”, which would be interesting if the anachronism had served a purpose other than being “cool”.

The story is expansive, and Madonna and co-writer Alex Keshishian use the juxtaposition of the two relationships to bringing a new perspective to the Wallis and Edward,  focusing not just on the romance but the sacrifices that Simpson made.  This might have worked, if both women’s stories were equally interesting and dynamic, but the modern tale is banal. The Wallis and Edward story is rich enough without adding an unnecessary and distracting storyline

In fact, it may have been too rich and too big for Madonna’s sophomore foray into directing.

Excited about…

Zero Theorum

Return of Hannibal and Bates Motel


If you have been following, this blog you will be familiar with the tale of a random cat giving birth to kittens in the dead of night in my underwear drawer. How overtime I grudgingly became a cat person, and most recently how that affection was betrayed overnight by the treachery of Cat.

Now the final chapter in this Cat saga.

The facts as I interpret and remember them are these.  Shortly after giving birth Cat left with the kittens, and despite my small attempts to stop her, she was determined.  There had been a few break-ins, other cats jumping in through the window, and the skirmishes must have left her squeamish. I never would have thought that of Cat.  She seemed the fighter, however, she left.

But then she came back with all three kittens.  Oh what a happy moment that was, because let’s face it, they were adorable.  Oh fickle and changeable creature, because a week later she left again.

A week went by, and the hellcat came back to the house to feed.  I wanted to deny her, but then had to remind myself that I was going to get rid of the kittens once they were of age and it is Cat’s prerogative to do what she wills and I still had a bag of cat food that needed doing with, so…I fed her.

Then she left one day and came back with one of the kittens, by now about 6 weeks – 8 weeks old (I have no idea what the particulars are regarding the other two. One can assume but it’s better not to know).  Eventually I called him Norman, and soon I will explain why.  Norman and Cat lived in the house for a few weeks, and against better judgment, I started to get attached to Norman because he was the best kitty you could ever imagine. When he played he didn’t use his claws, he hardly meowed, and was rarely annoying.  Only once did he poop on something he shouldn’t have, which is more than I can say of most people I know.

And then Cat took him away…but then brought him back to the roof top, where I climbed to feed him. Then she took him away again.  This seemed to be some cruel game and while I was its intended target, it was Norman who really got hurt.  She turned possessive and cruel and when clearly he wanted to end the ruse and settle in with me, she pulled a Norma Bates and twisted him up inside.  Poor fellow.  He never stood a chance.  The last I saw Norman, we were separated by an abyss of rooftops, too far away for me to bring him in when he called out. Heaven knows Cat was probably watching, laughing, somewhere in the shadows.  The bitch.


I still see her. She passes through the patio though never coming in.  One time I tried to pet her and the trollop took a swipe at me.

I never wanted Cat and yet she weaseled her way into my home.  Over a year I came to care for her and wasted my time, regard and affection on a heartless guttersnipe.  Was I being used the whole, time? Was there ever affection on the part of Cat? What was the past year? I thought once, during a golden moment in our coexistence, “Maybe this is it?  To find someone with whom you can feel happy and comfortable.” As simple as that.  Now I think it was all a lie and I was fooling myself from the beginning.

I will never let a cat into my life again.