MOVIE REVIEW: MAMA (2013)

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet
Director: Andres Muschietti

The past two years have been very good to Jessica Chastain. She’s starred in many films such as The Tree of Life, The Help, and Lawless, and this year she’s up for Best Actress for her role in Zero Dark Thirty.

I was a bit surprised to see her in a horror film, because usually B listers or up-and-coming actresses are given those roles. Chastain is great in this film, and for the weekend of Jan. 18 – 20 Mama came in at #1 and Zero Dark Thirty was #2 at the box office. Congrats!

Ok, enough Chastain love. Let’s get into this review.

Mama 2013

That’s Mama and little Lily in this poster.

Andres Muschietti directed this feature film, and on Youtube you can find his 2008 short film, also titled Mama. It’s a little over 3 minutes long, which you can watch below. Don’t worry, it’s not a spoiler. Trust me.

Of course, Muschietti had to take those three minutes and turn them into 100 minutes, and I think he did a good job. Mama has the right blend of humor, drama, and horror, and it moved at a quick pace so I never felt like the storyline dragged at any time.

In Mama, a father drags his two young daughters from their suburban home to an abandoned cabin in the woods. It’s 2008 and the financial crisis has just hit, and the father plans to kill his daughters and then commit suicide. There’s a shadowy figure in the cabin, and it saves the young girls from their father. The girls, Victoria and Lily (Charpentier and Nélisse), call the figure ‘Mama’.

The girls are rescued and then sent to live with their uncle, Lucas (Coster-Waldau), and his girlfriend, Annabel (Chastain). Lucas is a slacker and Annabel is a wannabe rocker girl, but they realize they’ll need to grow up if they want to take care of the children. Here’s what they don’t realize: Mama has followed the young girls from the cabin to their uncle’s home. Also, Mama has a jealous streak, and she doesn’t appreciate Annabel taking over the mommy role, so that’s when the trouble starts. The rest of the movie sees Annabel and Lucas trying to figure out who Mama is, and why she’s terrorizing them.

I think the first half of the movie rides on the typical horror film cheap tricks, such as loud bangs and a sudden, unexpected appearance of the children or Mama’s shadow. There’s also the fear of the unknown as the girls interact with Mama, who is often off camera. There’s one scene that is both funny and frightening: Lily is in a bedroom playing tug of war with Mama, who is out of view behind a wall. At the same time, Annabel is heading into that bedroom and might catch her first glimpse of Mama…

Which leads us to the second half, where Mama reveals herself to Annabel and audience, and the action takes off. Now that Annabel knows what she’s dealing with, she stands tall and is ready to do whatever it takes to save the girls from a horrible end.

Despite the really bad wig she’s wearing, Chastain is the driving force in this film and she is missed when she’s not on screen. Her transformation from a reluctant guardian to a protective mother figure is believable, and she’s one of only two characters that are fully developed. The other character is Mama, and we see her backstory through an impressive dream sequence.

Mama delivers plenty of scares, and I definitely recommend it. I don’t think it will be a horror classic, but it’s a must see for any Guillermo del Toro fans. He didn’t direct this film but he did produce it, and those who enjoyed the visual style of Pan’s Labyrinth should appreciate this short movie turned feature film.

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DECEPTION: NOTHING’S FREE, LITTLE GIRL (S1:E2 REVIEW)

Breakfast table, and we hear the Bowers family squabble with each other. Julian and Joanna are not present. Mia is still upset from Vivian’s death, but meanwhile Robert wants to continue the rollout of the new drug. Edward and Sophia don’t like Joanna and they advise against Robert working with her.

Joanna’s hoopty won’t start, and a neighbor named Rayburn comes to help. Apparently he knew her when she was younger and living with the Bowers. Julian offers her a ride.

Will and his co-workers are discussing Remy’s death. One of Will’s coworkers is convinced that Edward killed Remy. Apparently 16 years ago Edward was suspected of raping, drugging, and choking a woman named Kimberly Yeager. Will’s boss gives him and Joanna three days to come up with something regarding the whistleblower at Bowers Pharmaceutical.

Will tells Joanna to get closer to Edward. He tells her to get the names of the people on the Bowers research and development team. Apparently her mother found her messing around with Julian and that began the separation between her and the Bowers.

Robert’s been messing around with his secretary, but now he’s having her shipped to Chicago. She’s upset and threatens to tell the police that she knows Robert was out late on the night that Vivian died, and one of his sons kept calling the office looking for him.

Julian meets up with a fling named Cassie at a pool party.

Joanna sneaks into Robert’s office with the intention of looking at his computer files. Edward sees her and asks why she’s in the office. Robert comes around the corner and doesn’t seem concerned.

The Bowers family goes to see Edward’s daughter play at her sports game. Some smart ass sitting in front of Edward keeps making remarks about Edward’s possible connection to Kimberly Yeager. Edward fights the man.

Will’s coworker, Gabe, had guys follow Edward, and they arrest him at the game. Will reveals that he knows Edward said he was home all night when Vivian was killed, but he was actually stopped at a traffic light at one point that night.

Edward comes clean and says he went to spy on his kids and get something to eat. Then he demands to see his lawyer, and Will stops the interrogation.

Sophia is moving Vivian’s clothes and items out of the house, and Mia gets upset.

Flashback: Sophia and Vivian are argue about telling Mia the truth about who her mother is.

Robert’s secretary Hannah tells Sophia that she’s been having an affair with Robert. Sophia doesn’t give a single damn.

Will and his boss are sitting in the dark. The boss demands results in the investigation.

Medical examiner decides to rule Vivian’s death as an accidental overdose. Will asks the ME to wait until the blood results come in.

Joanna talks to Mia and finds out Vivian’s baby’s father is named Ben. Mia also reveals that someone was probably following Vivian.

Julian has moved the pool party to the Bowers place.

Another Bowers breakfast. Robert wants the family to hangout. Mia comes to breakfast with a ‘Who Killed Vivian Bowers’ tee shirt.

Will goes to Hannah’s apartment looking for her. Her brother says she’s not there but he lied. She decides to meet with Will soon, though.

Joanna and Edward talk but she doesn’t get any information. Edward tells her that he wanted to run for office, but after he was suspected of Yeager’s death he had no choice but to work for the family business.

A masked man follows Hannah’s brother to his car, and the man beats the brother with what appears to be a hammer.

Hannah cancels her meeting with Will.

Robert has a stiff drink at the office. He tells Joanna that he feels like he’s losing his family one by one. He shares a story about calling Edward ‘Eddie Spaghetti’ when he was four. Then he leaves and Joanna unlocks the password on his computer screen. Password: spaghetti4

Joanna finds out Ben Preswick is the whistleblower AND Vivian’s baby daddy.

Julian buys Joanna a new Mercedes-Benz convertible. She gets upset for a few minutes and then gets over it.

Turns out that hammer belongs to the neighbor, Rayburn. He used it to attack Hannah’s brother by breaking both of his knees. He tells Robert that he thinks that will keep Hannah quiet.

Ending scene: Edward goes to Ben’s apartment and they have a staring match.


SCANDAL: ONE FOR THE DOG (SEASON 2, EPISODE 10)

We’re back!

This show opens with Langston and her kiss-ass Hollis. He suggest the torture techniques should be intensified since Huck hasn’t confessed or revealed any information.

Then we cut to Huck being tortured and waterboarded. He has bruises on his face and body so he’s already taken several beatings. U.S. District Attorney David Rosen is disgusted, and he reminds the men-in-charge that he represents America and he doesn’t think Huck can take much more.

Verna, Mellie, Olivia, and Cyrus all get together and Verna confesses to ratting out Huck. Verna says Hollis keeps a second phone. She saw it one day and Hollis quickly tried to hide it. At first Olivia and Cyrus dismiss it, until Verna reveals that he spoke to a woman named Becky about a hotel- turns out it was the hotel where the deadly shots came from. Verna suspects Hollis is responsible for the shooting.

Abby breaks into Hollis’ office and finds the secret phone. She writes down a phone number that appears multiple times in the phone. Olivia tells Harrison to hold onto the number, and don’t call it.

Olivia is at home and Edison comes over. She asks him if he found out where the suspect (Huck) is but he wasn’t able to find out. They start kissing until an official government letter is strangely delivered to Edison at Olivia’s home. Edison takes the letter and then starts whining about their stalled sex life. He reveals the letter is from President Fitz to reinstate his presidential powers. Olivia runs to the hospital, thinking he’s awake.

She arrives at his hospital room and finds he is still in a coma, and Mellie forged the document in an effort to start driving Langston (and mostly Hollis) out of office. Langston learns about the letter and calls Mellie. She asks to speak to Fitz, but Mellie says he’s asleep and quickly hangs up.

Back at the office Abby and Quinn are thinking about calling the phone number or contacting the authorities. Harrison tells them that there’s a whole different layer to the Fitz situation and it’s best to let Olivia handle it.

Hollis and Langston are talking, AGAIN. They leak the forged letter. As a response, Olivia, her team, and Cyrus start enlisting people to leak information to the press about Fitz’ ‘miraculous’ recovery. They make it seem like he’s up and moving and on his way back to the office.

Cyrus and James are still having problems because the baby hasn’t arrived, and James is doing online research regarding brain injuries and he doesn’t seem to believe Cyrus’ claims that Fitz is recovering rapidly.

Huck’s beatings have resumed, and his face is completely bloodied and misshaped. He says he’ll talk if David Rosen is in the room. He warns that Fitz is still in danger if he is alive. He gets beat again.

Edison keeps calling Olivia but she doesn’t respond. She does respond when David comes to her office and reveals where Huck is located. With this new information she scores a meeting with Langston, where she successfully asks to have Huck released. David picks up Huck and has him dropped off to Olivia.

Olivia and Cyrus have Mellie sign a form to have Fitz moved to Camp David.

Edison is trying to waltz into Fitz’s hospital room but he’s stopped by Harrison. Olivia walks up and Edison confronts her. He says he refuses to leave until he sees Fitz and she tells him that will never happen. Edison gets to the point: he will prosecute Olivia if it’s determined that Fitz is still unconscious and the letter was forged. Olivia looks at him and says ‘Goodbye Edison.”

Hollis and Langston meet up yet again, and he does not like the Camp David move. Hollis says he’ll take care of it aka he’s going to call Becky and have her shoot the president again, and hopefully kill him.

Becky hides on a rooftop and gets her gun out. Huck sneaks up behind her and holds a gun on her. They exchange a few words and then the feds surround them and takes Huck and Becky into custody.

Langston delivers a speech to the nation, and says Fitz’ alleged shooter is in custody. After her speech she meets with Mellie, and demands that Mellie withdraw the letter. Otherwise Langston will take her down.

Cyrus confesses that Fitz’s recovery story was a fake. James reveals that he has quit his job. They agree to pick up their baby, but on the way out they are interrupted by a phone call. In turn, Cyrus calls Olivia and tells her someone wants to speak with her.

It’s Fitz! He’s awake, and he says ‘hello’ to Olivia.

THE END


AND THE 2013 OSCAR NOMINEES ARE…

Yay, it’s my favorite time of the year! It’s time to make a mad dash to the movie theaters (or Redbox, etc) to watch the films that I haven’t seen yet: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, and The Sessions. I think I’ve done a good job this past year of staying on top of the major movie releases.

Oh yes, go here and download your ballot!

My immediate thoughts:

1) I’d like to see DiCaprio nominated, but I guess it wouldn’t help to have him go head to head with Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained.

2) Anne Hathaway wins. Robert DeNiro wins. Christoph Waltz wins… again. Daniel Day-Lewis wins…again.

3) Uh. Where’s Affleck’s nomination for Best Director?

4) I didn’t expect a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Jacki Weaver, but how cool! She earned it. Sadly, she’s going to lose, see #3.

5) If Jennifer Lawrence wins Best Actress, Silver Linings Playbook will be the best movie she’ll ever do.

6) I think Wreck It Ralph is a fan favorite but Brave will probably win.

7) Wouldn’t it be nice to see Adele sing ‘Skyfall’ at the Oscars?

Over the next few weeks leading up to the Feb. 24 broadcast I’ll watch the movies I haven’t seen it, write the reviews, and then write individual posts for my predictions for the major awards: Best Picture, Director, Actress, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and a few more if time permits.

Here are the nominees:

Best Picture:

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

“Lincoln”

“Les Miserables”

“Life of Pi”

“Amour”

“Django Unchained”

“Argo”

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Alan Arkin, “Argo”

Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Sally Field, “Lincoln”

Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”

Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

Amy Adams, “The Master”

 

Best Director:

David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

Michael Haneke, “Amour”

Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

 

Best Actor:

Daniel Day Lewis, “Lincoln”

Denzel Washington, “Flight”

Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”

Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

 

Best Actress:

Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

 

Best Original Screenplay:

“Zero Dark Thirty”

“Django Unchained”

“Moonrise Kingdom”

“Amour”

“Flight”

 

Best Adapted Screenplay:

“Lincoln”

“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Argo”

“Life of Pi”

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

 

Best Animated Feature:

“Frankenweenie”

“The Pirates! Band of Misfits”

“Wreck-It Ralph”

“Paranorman”

“Brave”

 

Best Foreign Feature:

“Amour”

“A Royal Affair”

“Kon-Tiki”

“No”

“War Witch”

 

Best Visual Effects:

“Life of Pi”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

“The Avengers”

“Prometheus”

“Snow White and the Huntsman”

 

Best Cinematography:

“Skyfall”

“Anna Karenina”

“Django Unchained”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

 

Best Costume Design:

“Anna Karenina”

“Les Miserables”

“Lincoln”

“Mirror Mirror”

“Snow White and the Huntsman”

 

Best Documentary Feature:

“Searching for Sugar Man”

“How to Survive a Plague”

“The Gatekeepers”

“5 Broken Cameras”

“The Invisible War”

 

Best Documentary Short:

“Open Heart”

“Inocente”

“Redemption”

“Kings Point”

“Mondays at Racine”

“Snow White and the Huntsman”

 

Best Film Editing:

“Lincoln”

“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Life of Pi”

“Argo”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

“Hitchcock”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

“Les Miserables”

 

Best Music (Original Score):

“Anna Karenina”

“Argo”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

“Skyfall”

 

Best Music (Original Song):

“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice”

“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted”

“Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi”

“Skyfall” from “Skyfall”

“Suddenly” from “Les Misérables”

 

Best Production Design:

“Anna Karenina”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

“Les Misérables”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

 

Best Short Film, Animated:

“Adam and Dog”

“Fresh Guacamole”

“Head over Heels”

“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare'”

“Paperman”

 

Best Short Film, Live Action:

“Asad”

“Buzkashi Boys”

“Curfew”

“Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)”

“Henry”

 

Best Sound Editing:

“Argo”

“Django Unchained”

“Life of Pi”

“Skyfall”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

 

Best Sound Mixing:

“Argo”

“Les Misérables”

“Life of Pi”

“Lincoln”

“Skyfall”


TV REVIEW: SEASON 2 EPISODE 11 OF AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM

The Jan. 9th episode is titled “Spilt Milk”, and we see a few characters leave Briarcliff under different circumstances. Kit sees someone from his past, and Lana’s plan for revenge gets into motion. Things get worse for Jude.

Watch my review, or read it below. Here we go!

It’s Johnny, the son of Bloody Face! He’s a druggie. A woman named Pandora comes into his home. She’s been saving her breast milk for him. He pays her and then sucks her breasts. YUCK, you FREAK

*burp* I'm full.

*burp* I’m full.

Kit is passed out in a room. Dr. Thredson arrives to take him to see his child in the common area.

Grace is in the common area with the baby. Pepper serves as bodyguard and keeps the other patients away. She tells Dr. Thredson that she’s onto him and his schemes, and he better stay away. He sends Pepper to the hydrotherapy room.

Pepper is not having it!

Pepper is not having it!

Grace tells Kit that the aliens are not cruel, and they gave her a baby. She saw Alma’s dead body.

Kit is overwhelmed and he proposes to Grace. She accepts, and they both laugh and giggle like this is all normal stuff.

Monsignor Timothy arrives with a lady from the Home of Lost Children, and she takes the baby away from Grace.

Mother Claudia offers to help Lana get out of Briarcliff. She gives Lana her file with all of the horrible things that happened to her since she arrived. Mother Claudia also wants the asylum to be shut down, and she tells Lana that a cab is waiting for her.

Lana makes a pit stop at Jude, who is still fried. She thanks Jude for getting her out.

Dr. Thredson tells Kit to give up the tapes or Kit and Grace will never see their child again. As the two men are talking, Lana is coming down the stairs. She’s all dressed up and she has the tapes in her purse. Kit distracts Dr. Thredson long enough for Lana to walk out of Briarcliff. He follows her outside though, and as Lana’s cab drives away she presses the tapes against the cab window and gives Thredson the finger!!

I win again, bitch.

I win again, bitch.

Dr. Thredson runs home and finds Lana sitting in the dark. She’s pointing a gun at him and she tells him the police already have the tapes and they’re on their way.

Cut to Johnny and his milk-drinking activities. He finishes, and Pandora asks him about his mommy issues.

Cut back to Thredson and Lana. She wants to know about Wendy’s body, and he tells Lana that he had sex with it. He also says that Wendy’s body is cut up and spread out in the lonely waters.

Cut to Johnny, and he’s knocking over tables and screaming about what his mother did to him. He starts choking Pandora.

Back to Thredson and Lana. The cops have arrived but Thredson is not worried. He reaches for a gun that he stashed and Lana shoots him in the back of the head and kills him.

I’m not sure how much time has passed, but now Lana has a place in some building where she can visit Wendy’s ashes (well, she hopes it’s her ashes). Lana tells her friends that she has a few things to tidy up and then she’ll move to New York.

Jude is acting up in the common area. Everyone is lining up to take their pills, and Jude knocks the pills to the floor. “They turn your brains to mush!”, she yells.

Monsignor Timothy is reading all of the articles resulting from Lana’s breaking story about Bloody Face and the horrible conditions of Briarcliff. Then he meets Jude in the common area. She asks him how it feels to lose his virtue to the devil instead of losing it to a loving woman (her). Jude reveals how she is disgusted by him, because he has not rescued her from Briarcliff even though she would have done anything for him.

Kit is in his room when he is presented with release papers. Lana’s story helped set him free. He asks to see the Monsignor.

Kit demands that Monsignor Timothy free Grace and return their child to them. He says Grace has a death certificate, so she can leave and live a new life. Timothy succumbs to Kit’s demands, and Kit, Grace, and their baby Thomas leave Briarcliff and go to Kit’s old home with Alma. The threesome walks inside and Kit hears a noise from one of the bedrooms. He goes to investigate and finds Alma sitting on a bed with a baby in her arms!!

WTF??!

WTF??!

Lana meets with some doctor lady, and says that she cannot have the baby. Lana prepares to have an abortion in the woman’s bedroom but she stops at the last second. She says ‘no more death.’

Lana is worried about the patients who have mysteriously disappeared from the asylum. She asks the detectives to get her inside Briarcliff but they are very flippant with her. One detective remarks ‘You’re one tough cookie, you know that?” And she replies, “I am tough. But I’m no cookie.” Yes, Lana, yes!

Lana gets into Briarcliff with the detectives, and they speak to Timothy. She wants to see Jude, but he tells her that Jude hung herself and she has died. Lana doesn’t believe him, and she believes his actions lead to her death.

Turns out Lana was right to not believe Timothy, because Jude is hidden away in a super secret back room. She looks like she hasn’t showered in months. Gross.

Sorry, girlie.

Sorry, girlie.

Lana gives birth and she doesn’t want to touch the baby. The baby is allergic to formula and a nurse begs Lana to breastfeed- she reluctantly does so.


DECEPTION: PILOT (SEASON 1, EPISODE 1 RECAP)

Deception stars Meagan Good as Detective Joanna Lacosto, a cop who goes undercover to learn more about the death of her best friend, socialite Vivian Bowers. Laz Alonso stars as FBI agent Will Moreno, who is helping Joanna crack the case.

Here are my initial thoughts: the pilot episode is okay. Good and Alonso have zero chemistry so it’s hard to take their budding relationship seriously. There’s also a ton of stereotypes within the Bowers family and it also has a campy feel to it: the boozy, youth obsessed mother, Sophia; the hard working, shady father Robert; the sassy, defiant teenager Mia; snobby, intimidating brother Edward; and the handsome playboy Julian. I felt like I was watching a cheesy soap opera at times.

I really wanted to like this episode, and it definitely has some good points, like the scenes between Julian and Joanna, and Edward seems like he has a big ass closet of secrets that he’s hiding. However, I was a little disappointed with the overacting from all of the characters (except Joanna) and I’m also hoping the show will stop rushing through certain plotlines. It’s not enough for a character to say ‘Hey this is important.’ The audience needs to feel that it’s important.

Ready for the review? Here we go!

A young blond woman is walking alone, at night, down a dark alley towards her car. She notices someone is quickly approaching her from behind, and he/she is wearing a dark hoodie. She jumps into her car and the person comes up to her window. She recognizes him/her and says “Get in, where are we going?” The next morning she is found dead in a hotel room. Her rich family members are contacted, and told she died from an overdose.

Insert Detective Joanna Locasto. FBI Agent Will Moreno tells her about Vivian’s death and how he believes it’s a homicide. Since Joanna and Vivian were best friends, Will convinces Joanna to infiltrate the family and find the truth about the death. He also suggests that she wear a wire at the funeral. He mentions the FBI has been investigating the Bowers family for stock manipulation and also Edward Bowers specifically for the death(?) of a young woman.

Joanna attends Vivian’s funeral and embraces Julian. Apparently these two had a sexual relationship in their younger years. After the services she meets with Vivian’s father, Robert. They reminisce together and she’s invited to dinner. During dinner she says she’s planning to move to New York and find a place to stay. Robert invites her to stay in the Bowers’ home, and she gets the stink eye from Edward and Mia.

Joanna overhears a late night argument between Edward and his estranged wife Samantha. She wants a divorce and custody of the kids.

Joanna starts digging through the home and appears to find a usb drive. She also speaks to Mia and learns Vivian was going to AA meetings and trying to get clean.

Joanna meets with Will. She remembers a time when Vivian was attempting to drive away from the Bowers home while drunk, and Vivian kept screaming that she needed to get out of there. It’s also revealed that Joanna and Will were partners for four years and decided to date, but shortly after Will left for the FBI.

Sophia, the drunken cold-hearted bitch of a mother, tells Joanna that since Vivian’s death everyone is pretending she’s a saint.

Joanna finds Vivian’s personal videos on the usb drive, and one of the videos show Vivian talking about her pregnancy. It seems to be a very recent video.

Joanna walks outside of the home and finds someone in the trees taking photographs. She believes that he’s a paparazzo and chases after him when he runs. They tumble to the ground and her shirt is ripped, and he sees that she’s wearing a wire.

The guy’s name is Remy, and he was contacted by Vivian shortly before her death. She knew that the family business, Bowers Pharmaceuticals, was about to release a drug that killed 27 people in Thailand. Julian created the drug and allegedly the family got rid of her once they realized she was about to blow the whistle on the new drug.

Joanna tries to go back into the house but she’s stopped by Julian, who asks her to share a bottle of wine with him on the dock. Julian flirts with her and she plays along a little bit. She leaves to go to bed. On her way to her bedroom she is stopped by Edward, and he tells her he doesn’t trust her, and he doesn’t know why she is now coming back to the Bowers after being away for 17 years. How old is Joanna??

The next day she’s stopped by Robert who asks her if she would like to be his assistant at work. Turns out Julian came up with the idea to help her get settled in New York.

Remy calls Joanna and tells her that he has something to share with her. He tells her to meet him. Before Joanna arrives, a car with a mysterious driver appears behind Remy’s parked car and rams into his car until it flies into a nearby body of water.

Will decides to pull Joanna off the case. She goes back to his place and he cooks dinner for her, and then they make out.

Joanna finds out the next day that Vivian had her child in 1997, and matches the birth date to Mia’s birthday.

Julian is alone at a lake, and he’s crying. He pulls out a men’s ring that has three diamonds on it, and the shape of the diamonds match the shape of a bruise that was found on Vivian’s cheek. He drops the ring into the water.

At work Will still recommends pulling Joanna from the case, but her boss (?) says she needs to stay since Julian likes her. She tells Will that she will take the job as Robert’s assistant.

Then the episode ends.


MOVIE REVIEW: SAVAGES (2012)

Running time: 2 hours, 11 minutes
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Blake Lively, John Travolta, Benicio del Toro, Salma Hayek
Director: Oliver Stone

When I heard the name ‘Oliver Stone’ and the words ‘ensemble cast’ I was pretty excited. Then I noticed the movie stars Taylor Kitsch, who wasn’t having a good year at the box office with his flops John Carter and Battleship. Then I noticed Blake Lively, who hasn’t done anything spectacular in her career, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson whose biggest role to date was the titular character in Kick-Ass. The veteran actors (Travolta, del Toro, Hayek) have supporting roles and I wonder if that was a mistake.

Savages 2012

In Savages, Ben (Taylor-Johnson) and Chon (Kitsch) live a lavish lifestyle thanks to the awesome weed that they grow. They share a live-in girlfriend named O (Lively) which I found to be bizarre and it doesn’t have any sort of impact on the storyline. It does allow Lively to film two sex scenes at the beginning of the movie though.

Life is going well until Ben and Chon are approached by a Mexican cartel, and the twosome are offered a partnership deal. Actually, the cartel wasn’t asking to be partners- they were making a demand. Lado (del Toro) is a cartel enforcer and he’s in charge of doing whatever it takes to ‘convince’ the guys to take the deal. Hayek plays ‘Elena’, the cartel leader, and Travolta appears as ‘Dennis’, a corrupt DEA agent who tells the boys that taking the deal will keep them (and O) alive.

My thoughts: this movie is all over the place and the three main stars are so underwhelming that they become boring. Meanwhile, it seemed del Toro, Hayek and Travolta lit up the screen every time they appeared. They brought a lot of energy and intensity to the movie even though Travolta occasionally seemed too enthusiastic in his role. Also, I assume Stone wanted to do something different by having a female cartel leader, but at times Elena seemed so emotional and so weak that I couldn’t understand how she kept her power over the cartel.

I wish the threesome angle wasn’t in this movie, because having Lively play a damsel in distress was boring and typical. I think the movie would’ve been much more interesting if Chon were in distress, and then Ben and Dennis team up to save him. That would’ve allowed Travolta to be on screen more and give the movie a lift.

I’m not sure what this says for Kitsch’s career, which seemed to be a hot topic throughout 2012. As I mentioned earlier, he already had two flops under his belt before Savages was released, and I think going forward he might want to be more selective (if he can afford to do so). Yes, a lot of actors would love to work with Stone, but a young actor can’t string together a series of bad movies and still have a successful career with main roles.

If you’re in the mood for a good action movie you won’t find it here. Savages keeps attempting to build momentum and give you some knock-out moments, but this movie is like watching someone bike up a steep hill but they can’t quite get over the hump so they start rolling backwards. How disappointing!