Binge Watch Review – Russian Doll (A Netflix Groundhog Day themed series)

red headed actress in russian doll on netflix
The Groundhog Day theme as an entire Netflix show premise. And it’s damn good.

Russian Doll is the latest show to hit Netflix, and it has a great theme crossing the line between Groundhog Day and Happy Death Day…(and the new Happy Death Day 2U), and what’s even better, this is an entire series and not just one episode (or movie) with a repeating time loop. And, in the best tradition, the protagonist is not someone we like as things begin. Nadia, the lead here, is selfish, self-absorbed, and incredibly hedonistic. She’s also funny. It’s a darkly comedic show.

Sometimes with all the new additions to the Netflix platform, it’s hard to decipher what’s worth watching. I’m only an episode in at this time, but this is definitely a show I would invest in. Natasha Lyonne, who also stars in Orange is the New Black as Nicky, plays Nadia in the series. I really enjoy the personality she brings to her characters. I’m not sure how the loop will be broken, but I definitely think a concoction of Oatmeal, the homeless man she recognizes, and the guy she left the party with all have something to do with it.
[ED NOTE: Shani will be adding her reviews twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, to cover all eight episodes from Season 1.  We’ll update this as she adds them!]

Russian Doll Episode Reviews (From Season One)

  • Episode 1 starts out with Nadia at her birthday party. As she goes through the party, we meet some close friends of hers, and learn about her vagabond cat named Oatmeal who hasn’t returned home in a while. She leaves the party with a guy, and she sees a man on the street who she thinks she recognizes. That same night, she sees Oatmeal. As she crosses the street to get him, she gets hit by a taxi and dies. Once she wakes up, she is back at her birthday party and begins again the death and resurrection loop.

  • Episode 2 of Russian dolls starts out with Nadia respawning once again.  She starts to investigate what is in the drugs that her friend gives to her. From her perspective, that’s when things started going awry. She begins to tell others around her that she’s re-lived this day before and she keeps dying. She’s very on edge because she has several moments when she dies by simply walking down the stairs of the apartment. Towards the end, she stops leaving the apartment via stairs. The number of times she dies by walking down the stairs seriously had me questioning her ability to stay alive. We know that she’s in this world where she’s destined to continue dying, but how many times can one person die by doing a simple everyday task. She’s honestly lucky that she has several lives to spare because it would be very tragic for her to die via stairs on her birthday.

 

  • Episode 3 begins with her investigating the building her party was held in. It’s her friend’s apartment, but she also learned that it was a Jewish school at one point and there’s writing above the door. She solicits the help of her ex to visit a synagogue in order to learn more about this. She ends up seeing the homeless man named Horse, who she recognized in the first episode. She learns that he’s sleeping outside because his shoes were stolen at the homeless shelter and he doesn’t feel safe to sleep there anymore. They cuddle together under a blanket that night, and unfortunately, they both freeze to death. When she awakens, she goes on a mission to find Horse and guard his shoes at the homeless shelter, so he doesn’t end up freezing to death by sleeping outside. Upon leaving the shelter, she ends up in an elevator that begins to free-fall. She realizes this is how she dies again and notices there’s someone else in the elevator who isn’t panicked. She learns he also dies all the time.

This was a twist to the story because we learned that Nadia isn’t the only person in this alternate universe. In an earlier episode, something strange happened; though Nadia kept reliving the same day, no one else had any memory that they had previously lived this day. However, at the end of one of the episodes, we see a plant that was once alive is now wilting. I assume it’s because the plant has been continuing in its own dimension and not restarting like everyone else. Maybe everyone is restarting, but Nadia is the only one who remembers.

 

  • Episode 4 starts from Alan’s perspective on the same day he met Nadia. He’s keeping count of his deaths, and seems to relive his day the same way each time. He’s taking the fortune-telling perspective by trying to speed through conversations as if he’s already heard them. He’s found out his girlfriend is breaking up with him on the day they were supposed to take a trip. We get to the point when he dies in the elevator with Nadia. Their day begins again with each of them knowing about the other. This realization throws Alan off his usual path. Nadia sets out to find him and meets him at his apartment. His day is skewed and they agree to meet up at her birthday party when they die again. Out of frustration, he throws his ring into the river and dies of electrocution. When he respawns, both the ring and his pet fish (who he feeds everyday) are gone. This leads me to think that the world around them isn’t staying still, just like the flowers at Nadia’s party.

 

More episode summaries will be entered as Shani watches them! Stay tuned. 

Russian Doll is the newest Netflix Addition to the Groundhog Day Loop Theme – and it looks GREAT

Russian Doll Theme Song – Gotta Get Up Video & Lyrics (Netflix Does Groundhog Day)

19 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List

Quotes Quiz – Movies with Groundhogs Day Themes

Movie Review – Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.)

What is Animated versus Live Action in Alita – Battle Angel

battle angle alita movie image
You can never have eyes that are too big. Not even as an animated superhero.

Alita: Battle Angel is one of my most-anticipated films of the year.  However, the trailers have been driving me crazy. My eyes can’t quite comprehend what they’re seeing.  What’s animated and what isn’t? Everything looks real and surreal at the same time, and two or three minute bursts of short clips are too quick to comprehend.  

A little research cleared up my biggest question:  Alita (played by Rosa Salazar) is CG. Christoph Waltz and most of the other actors are live-action.  

Weta did visual effects for the film.  They are famous for their work on Avatar, the Planet of the Apes prequels, and Gollum from Lord of the Rings.  Salazar wore a performance capture suit for Alita. A Weta crew member followed Salazar around with a computer attached to a camera on Salazar’s face.  They made sure the dots on her face were all in the right place, and that they were collecting all the right information for her facial capture. Salazar says of the suit, “I was a piece of technology walking around.”  

Much like her character.

“The way the performance capture process worked,” says producer Jon Landua, “is we had a number of cameras placed around the set that would record markers on the actor’s physical body.  The system would interpret that marker and put it into three dimensional space. [And then] create a skeleton to go inside a CG model to drive that CG model’s performance.” (To see how this works, see the video below.)   

Landau explains the advances Weta made in facial animation.   “What they’ve really worked on is on the inside-out. Working on a system that is not driving the facial performance from the outside, but understanding what the muscles are doing under the skin, and then moving the skin…One of the artists talked to Rosa about all of the idiosyncrasies she does that we’re not supposed to be able to do, this eyebrow will go up but this lip will go down.  No one else does that, but Rosa does it…It was Weta learning and teaching their system from the inside out, which is a brand new thing they’re doing and really pushing the technology.”

Eric Saindon, visual effects supervisor for Weta and two-time Oscar nominee for The Hobbit films, expounds further on this topic.  “We’re now able to work at the level of the facial musculature—so it’s no longer about just moving the surface skin, but moving the underlying muscles.  You can see it in how the movements of Alita’s face look so much like Rosa’s. We spent hundreds of hours just working with Alita’s mouth, because what makes even a big action scene work, is getting the most human expressions, and Rosa has a very expressive face.”    

Instead of using computer graphics, a live set was constructed.   “We’re in a live-action world that has digital characters brought into it,” says Joe Letteri, senior visual effects supervisor for Weta.  

“Rosa’s not performing against a green screen,” says Jon Landau, “We put a 97,000 square foot set on the back lot of Troublemaker Studios, where Keean could go on a bridge in the rain with Rosa right there, and tenderly touch her cheek in a romantic scene that you couldn’t do before.  But Weta pushing the technology is allowing the actors to really do performances with each other.”

Rosa Salazar confirms, “I was given the gift of…existing in a practical environment with practical props and practical people and, with the exception of one day working on a green screen stage, all the other days were in the real true environment of that set.”   

One of the main sets is Iron City, a future metropolis which has gone to waste, though Alita sees it as beautiful.  “Since she has no memory, she sees everything in a beautiful way,“ says director Robert Rodriguez. Creating Iron City fell to Steve Joyner and Caylah Eddleblute, production designers who have worked with Rodriguez ever since From DuskTill Dawn.  “We knew going in that Robert is all about depth,“ says Joyner. “We knew he would want a city that seems to go on forever. So we knew we would have to create an intricate network of streets, alleys, and corridors that all interconnect. Ultimately, the sets were so complex there were nooks and crannies even Caylah and I didn’t know were there!”  

A scanning crew would scan every environment, so they would have a 3-D model for every set they shot in.    

Of course, not all of the preparation for the movie has been effects-based.  Salazar started physical training for the demanding role the day after being cast.  “You don’t want to cast someone and then you get two takes out of her, and then she’s exhausted,” she says.“  You want to get your endurance level up for something as physical as this. I went into training the very next morning and I trained for close to five months for a few hours every single day.  I did some muay thai, some kung-fu, staff work, kick boxing.”

If you’re as excited for Alita as I am, you’ll want to stay connected with RunPee.  Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Keep an eye out for our upcoming Alita review, and get the Peetimes for Alita through the RunPee app.  

 

Note:  The quotes used in this article came from the 20th Century Fox panel at New York City Comic Con, and from the production notes.  

Movie Review – Cold Pursuit – Liam Neeson Does Action Right

Movie Review - Cold PursuitIf you like the Coen Brothers, you’ll love Cold Pursuit. This movie runs circles around Liam’s other ‘particular set of skills’ flicks. The well-placed humor that you usually see in the Coen films is refreshing, and sometimes really funny.

Sure, we get plenty of head banging “shooting at point blank range” bloody snow scenes to satisfy our lust for the ‘I’m going to kill you now’ version of  Liam Neeson. However, Snow Plow Neeson is a kinder, more gentle killer who, at times, actually got very tired when beating the life out of someone.

However, Neeson’s interaction with Ryan — the young son of a drug kingpin — sets this movie apart from his other ‘I’m going to kill you now’ work. Watching the two characters interact added another layer to the movie, allowing a rest of sorts between more typical scenes of inept drug lords killing each other.

The cinematography was beautiful, and even though you know it was probably 10 below, you still wanted to be there. Filming this movie for the actors was most likely a nightmare, unless of course the snow was CGI.

(Checking filming locations now…Fortress Mountain, Alberta, Canada. Nope: not CGI. That’s good old fashioned, finger-numbing cold.)

I wholeheartedly recommend Cold Pursuit to all fans of Liam Neeson, and even if you’re not a fan now, you’ll be one after seeing this movie.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This movie had a lot of twists and turns and shootouts making it a little difficult to get 3-4 minutes of down time. The 2 Peetimes are fairly far apart so keep that in mind as the first Peetime approaches.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Cold Pursuit. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for strong violence, drug material, and some language including sexual references
Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller

Quiz – Liam Neeson Movies

Russian Doll Theme Song – Gotta Get Up Video & Lyrics (Netflix Does Groundhog Day)

red headed actress in russian doll on netflix
Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home, and MAYBE not die this time.

Have you binged the new Netflix show Russian Doll? Season One is only eight episodes (a half hour each) long, and I snapped them up like candy all on one night. What makes that even better was I watched it on February 2, that oddball American holiday known as Groundhog Day.

Used to be that this was a day a large rodent would predict the coming of spring, but now Groundhog Day is better known as the time of year to pick a movie or TV episode showcasing a repeating day loop theme.  There’s a big list now, and it keeps growing. To my knowledge, Russian Doll is the first ever TV show to ever base an entire series on the repeating day plot.  It also has the biting wit and birthday shenanigans of similar-themed humor-horror film Happy Death Day.

I enjoyed the holy heck out of it, especially with Natasha Lyonne as the main character. (Remember her, as Nicki from Orange Is The New Black?) Our own RunPee Shani Ogilve is writing up a binge review as I write this. I’ll add the link as it emerges, but here’s a way to get started. Instead of Groundhog Day’s morning song refrain I Got You Babe, Russian Doll begins each “life” with Harry Nilsson’s Gotta Get Up. It’s bouncy, strangely dark, absurdly cheerful, and totally works. It’s also hard to get out of your head, so don’t even try. Enjoy the song and lyrics below:


 Gotta Get Up

(Remastered song by Harry Nilsson)

Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes
What if I’m late, gotta big date, gotta get home before the sun comes up
Up and away, got a big day, sorry can’t stay, I gotta run, run, yeah
Gotta get home, pick up the phone, I gotta let the people know I’m gonna be late

There was a time when we could dance until a quarter to ten,
We never thought it would end then, we never thought it would end
We used to carry on and drink and do the rock and roll
We never thought we’d get older
We never thought it’d grow cold, but now

Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes
What if I’m late, gotta big date, gotta get home before the sun comes up
Up and away, got a big day, sorry can’t stay, I gotta run, run, yeah
Gotta get home, pick up the phone, I gotta let the people know I’m gonna be late

Down by the sea she knew a sailor who had been to war
She never even knew a sailor before, she never even knew his name
He’d come to town and he would pound her for a couple of days
And then he’d sail across the bubbly waves and those were happier days, but now

Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes
What if I’m late, gotta big date, gotta get home before the sun comes up
Up and away, got a big day, sorry can’t stay I gotta run, run, yeah
Gotta get home pick up the phone, I gotta let the people know I’m gonna be late…

(Songwriters: Ted Nilsson. Gotta Get Up lyrics 1971 © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc)


 

Russian Doll is the newest Netflix Addition to the Groundhog Day Loop Theme – and it looks GREAT

19 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List

Movie Review – Happy Death Day – Very Fun, Almost Cute Horror Film

Wake up again and again on Groundhog Day with Sonny and Cher (I Got You Babe lyrics & video)

Run Lola Run – A Rewind Review for a Rewind Loop Film

franka potente in run lola run, a ground hog day movie
Lola Runs. And runs again. And again. Happy Groundhog Day!

Even though I’ve only seen this movie one other time, it’s one of my favorites.  There’s plenty to love about Lola.  The premise is simple: Lola has twenty minutes to raise the money to save her boyfriend Manni’s life.  Each failed attempt causes the clock to reset Groundhog Day-style.  Except Lola doesn’t seem to remember she’s lived these twenty minutes before, as she often turns to the same useless source for help. 

 

What I love about the movie is that it’s a love story.  It’s about the power of love.  Lola resets time and defies nature  — by sheer force of will out of her love for Manni.  The movie has an awesome techno soundtrack (one of my all time favorite movie soundtracks).  Director Tom Tykwer uses animation and split screen, among other techniques, to compress time and give the movie a unique look and feel. 

 

One of the coolest things about the movie is the way it briefly cuts away from Lola to show the audience the future of  background characters via jump cut photographs.  And the way those futures change in the different timelines. 

I can hardly think of another movie where such minor characters get to have their stories told.  I love that the film does this in such a breathless style as well, as if it is in just as much of a hurry as Lola, trying to keep pace with her, not wanting to take its eyes off her for too long. 

 

Franka Potente’s Lola is the badass girlfriend you never had.  With her expressive face and shocking red hair, she’s willing to walk in the fire and do whatever it takes to save the man she loves.  It’s hard not to feel what Lola is feeling.  That sympathy is part of what keeps you on the edge of your seat.

 

Although the movie is a scant eighty minutes, you feel like you’ve been on a journey by the end of it.  Tykwer uses music, sound effects, and editing, to make you feel both the pressure Lola is under, and all the ground she is covering.  It’s very effective.  At one point, I found myself on the couch feeling compelled by the music to do SOMETHING, but not knowing what to do, feeling restless and helpless. 

 

A few things to note:  This is a foreign film, so there are subtitles.  There is also some violence.  I was a little more sensitive to the violence this time than I was the first time I watched it. 

 

I was glad this movie lived up to my memory of it.  I would recommend this to fans of Guy Ritchie, Alfred Hitchcock, and Rod Serling (with his show The Twilight Zone). 

If you enjoyed this, you can find more movie reviews on this blog.  And, of course, remember to get Peetimes from the RunPee app the next time you go to the movies.

18 Groundhog Day Type Movies – the Ultimate Repeating Day List

Movie Review – Happy Death Day

Movie Review – Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.)

Movie Review – Before I Fall

Virgin Review – Source Code

Movie Review – Looper

Happy Death Day – Every “Day” We Watch, and Rewatch (Spoilers)

happy death day 2 U is a horror sequel
Live to die another day. Wait, isn’t that also from a James Bond film?

In the movie Happy Death Day, Tree is murdered on her birthday.  Instead of dying, she wakes up and has to relive the day all over again.  Tree relives the same day (and gets murdered) seventeen times. (We only see eleven of the murders because a montage is used to compress time.  We only get bits and pieces of those days.)

Here is a summary of all seventeen days and eleven murders (okay, technically one’s a suicide):

 

Tree wakes up hungover in Carter’s dorm room.  

 

During the walk of shame back to her sorority house, Tree is confronted by creepy stalker Tim.

 

When Tree gets to her room, she changes clothes and grabs her book for the class she’s running late for.  Her roommate Lori gives her a cupcake with a birthday candle in it.  Tree blows out the candle and trashes the cupcake.  “Too many carbs.”  

 

After class, Tree goes to the hospital to see the doctor she’s having an affair with.  She runs into Lori who is working a double shift as a nurse and who tries to warn her about the consequences of her actions. 

 

At the sorority meeting at lunch, Danielle and Tree embarass Becky for bringing a huge tray of food.  Carter accidentally bumps into Becky, sloshing chocolate milk all over Tree.  He further embarrasses Tree by giving her back her bracelet, confirming he’s the boy she “slept with” last night.  

 

Tree and Gregory (the sexy doctor) are almost caught when his wife makes a surprise visit to his office. 

 

That night, Tree watches TV and paints her toes while Danielle quizzes here on when she’s coming to the party.  

 

On her way to the party, Tree gets distracted by a birthday music box.  It’s a trap set by a killer wearing the school mascot mask (a creepy baby) who chases her and stabs her. 

 

Tree wakes up and is confused to be in Carter’s room again.  She does the walk of shame again.  When Tim pops out this time, she asks him what day it is.  

 

Tree leaves Lori’s cupcake on the dresser this time, the breeze from the closing door blowing the candle out. 

 

At lunch, Tree is too lost in thought to pile on Becky.  She is distracted by the spooky mascot masks for sale nearby.  Catching on that everything is repeating, Tree tries to warn Becky to look out but it’s too late.  Tree ends up covered in chocolate milk again.  This time, Carter forgets he has the bracelet and Tree has to prompt him to give it to her. 

 

At the hospital, Tree locks the door to Gregory’s office.  She tries to tell him what’s happening to her.  He starts kissing her instead.  And his wife interrupts on cue.  “Thank God you locked the door,” Gregory says.

 

That night, Tree avoids the music box and takes another path.  When she gets to the frat house, the party is a surprise party for her.  She goes to Nick’s room where he plays loud music in a dumb frat boy attempt at seduction.  While Tree’s distracted on her phone, the killer kills Nick behind her.  After a struggle with the killer, Tree is stabbed with a bong shard.  

 

Tree wakes up screaming.  She does a run of shame.  She confesses to Lori she thinks she’s going crazy.  She has already lived through this day twice.  And someone is going to kill her.  Lori convinces her to skip class and relax.  

 

That night, Tree barricades the windows and the door to her room.  Danielle’s conversation with her is from the other side of the door this time instead of face to face.  

 

Tree looks for the TV remote and finds a creepy birthday card instead.  When she looks up the TV is off.  She turns it back on.  It turns off again.  The killer sneaks up on her and stabs her.  

 

Tree wakes up screaming again.  She runs out the door.  The world is a confusing blur.  Carter comes out to give her the things she left behind, she clings to him for dear life.  

 

Tree tells Carter what’s happening.  He tells her to make a list of suspects and use her unlimited number of lives to narrow them down.  

 

This leads to a montage.

 

Tree stalks Tim for a change.  She stands outside his window and sees him watching gay porn.  Then she gets stabbed by the killer.

 

Tree wakes up and throws her phone in the trash can.  

 

Tree experiments with some pink highlights.  

 

Tree spies on Gregory’s wife from a fountain with a pair of night vision goggles.  

The killer drowns Tree in the fountain.   

 

Tree wakes up and spits out water.  

 

Tree finds the incriminating birthday card from day 3 in Danielle’s things when a passerby knocks her books out of her hands.  Tree grabs Danielle’s hair and starts a catfight.  The two girls end up in the street and a bus runs them over Final Destination style.   

 

Tree wakes up screaming.  

  

Tree does the walk of shame shameless and naked.  

 

Tree accidentally hits Becky with a bat instead of the killer.  The killer hits Tree with the bat when she leans down to check on Becky.

 

Tree wakes up in a lot of pain and has trouble standing.  She passes out before she can get out the door this time.  

 

At the hospital, Gregory tells her she should be dead from the amount of injury she’s sustained.  

 

Tree steals Gregory’s car keys, outruns the killer in the garage, and drives away.  Until she’s stopped by the police for speeding.  Thinking she’ll be safe in jail, she tells the cop she’s drunk and high so he’ll lock her up.  When she’s cuffed and trapped in the back of the cruiser, another car speeds past, killing the policeman.  Guess who’s driving?  The cop car is leaking gasoline.  The killer drops a single candle to set off an explosion.  

 

Tree takes an entire bottle of Tylenol. 

 

Carter follows her on the walk of shame and she does the Groundhog Day thing where she calls everything right before it happens.  

 

A news story about a murderer named Tombs comes on the TV while Carter and Tree are at a restaurant.  He’s at the same hospital where Gregory works.  

 

Tree rushes to the hospital.  Tombs has already killed the security guard and has a gun.  Tombs ends up cornering Tree and has her at point blank range.  Until Carter tackles him.  Tombs breaks Carter’s neck then chases Tree.  She has a chance to kill him, but then Carter will be dead forever.  So she hangs herself and resets the day one last time.  

 

Redemption Day

Tree greets Carter with a big hug. 

She borrows his pillow to cushion the fall of the frat boy who passes out from hazing every morning. 

She finally signs the petition to stop global warming.  

She tells Tim it’s okay to be gay. 

She waves back to the girl in front of the sorority house.  

She apologizes to Lori for not being a good roommate. 

She dumps Gregory. 

She brings a huge tray of food to lunch too.  And pours chocolate milk on Danielle for being a bully.  

She kisses Carter and asks him out.  

She has lunch with her father who she has stood up for the entire movie. 

 

That night at the hospital, Tree holds a knife to the throat of the guard outside Tomb’s room in order to take his gun.  

 

“This is a really bad idea,” he tells her.

 

” So is dying for the sixteenth time.”

 

Tree shoots Tombs.  

 

Then she finally eats Lori’s cupcake with Carter.  

 

Tree is distraught to find herself stuck in the same day again. 

 

Tree starts packing her things.  She’s going as far away as possible.  When Lori offers her the cupcake, Tree realizes it’s poisoned.  She died in her sleep.  Lori had access to Tombs and he was the perfect scapegoat.  Lori reveals she’s been killing Tree out of jealousy over Gregory.  

 

Tree forces the cupcake in Lori’s mouth and pushes her out the window. 

 

Carter fakes Tree out and makes her think it’s the same day again.  

 

It is Tuesday the 19th.  She made it!

 

Happy Death Day is one of my favorite recent horror films.  It’s a movie that has a lot of fun with its concept. And it rewards repeat viewings.  The scenes with Lori are a lot of fun when you know what’s going on beneath the surface.  Happy Death Day 2 U will be wicked fun with the whole cast vulnerable this time, not just Tree.  Remember to check this blog for a movie review when it comes out. And use the RunPee app to get Peetimes! 

Happy Death Day – All the Clues to the Killer (SPOILERS)

Movie Review – Happy Death Day

James McAvoy Quiz – One Huge Personality…or is it Many Different Personalities?

 


James McAvoy is today’s hottest star. Let’s pay tribute to him by taking this short quiz. I’ll give you the plot — you give me the movie.

James McAvoy

Thanks for stopping by and taking my quiz. Here’s a great idea…share it with the person closest to you.  Unless you’re on a bus, and then maybe that wouldn’t be such a great idea after all. 😉

Movie Review – Glass

Quiz – M. Night Shyamalan Movies

Quiz – Classic and New Bruce Willis Movies

Quiz – Samuel L. Jackson and his Mother “Frakking” Movies

Movie Review – Serenity

 

Movie Review - SerenitySerenity is one of those movies that you’ll either love, or really hate, or maybe a little bit of both.

Not everyone will get this movie, so I’ll follow that statement up with this: you need to pay attention to the screen. There are visual clues and verbal clues, but they all have a purpose for the plot.

What was the plot of this movie? A drunken fishing boat captain has his life turned upside down by a visit from his ex-wife, while, what he really wants to be doing is going all Moby Dick on a giant tuna.

That’s the plot – or is it?

I did like Serenity very much. Didn’t love it, but definitely didn’t hate it either. Since this was an almost a one-man show – I think McConaughey was in almost every scene — I’ll talk about his role in the movie. In a nutshell, he was awesome! Maybe because he was channeling his inner person — a beach bum.

Some critics have put Serenity in the ‘film noir’ category, and I agree that it had all the earmarks of said category: pessimism, fatalism, and menace. With that said, I’m not sure how to assess Anne Hathaway’s role. She ‘tried’ to come off as a sultry, sensuous femme fatale, but all she did was a parody of Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential. Was this what Steven Knight was shooting for?

The pacing was well done, and I can find no fault in the directing although — if I had not known who directed this movie — I would have guessed M. Knight Shyamalan, because the flick bore some resemblance to The Sixth Sense. (The don’t believe everything you see or hear kind of resemblance.)

So basically, if you enjoyed The Sixth Sense and didn’t feel totally stupid when you found out the big reveal, I think you might enjoy Serenity.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: This isn’t a particularly fast paced movie, leaving me with several good opportunities for Peetimes.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Serenity. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) or language throughout, sexual content, and some bloody images
Genres: Drama, Thriller

Quiz – Matthew McConaughey – The Sexiest Man Alive

Happy Death Day – All the Clues to the Killer (SPOILERS)

happy death day 2 U is a horror sequel
Who’s the masked killer? I don’t care — just stop wearing that hideous thing…

On first viewing, the twist in Happy Death Day seems to come from nowhere.  But the filmmakers have played fair all along.  If you watch it a second time, all the clues are there for an observant audience member to piece together what’s happening.

(I’ve said it in the the title and this should be clear by now, but be aware this article contains spoilers for Happy Death Day 1.)

1.  The Killer:  There are two big moments in the movie that hint at who the killer is. 

 

On day 4, Carter tries to help Tree narrow down the list of suspects.  He asks her who knows it’s her birthday.  Thinking of the surprise party later that night, she says the whole campus.  But the only person who’s made a big deal about her birthday is Lori. 

 

Later, the killer uses a candle (or is it the whole cupcake?) to light the fire that blows up the cop car Tree is trapped in.  The only person we’ve seen in the entire movie with a birthday candle is Lori. There wasn’t even cake at Tree’s party.

2. The Motive

Lori tries to warn Tree away from Gregory when she visits him the first time.  She tells Tree her affair with the married doctor is bound to have “some pretty serious consequences.” 

 

At the surprise party, Danielle tells Tree Lori’s “boning” some mystery guy. 

 

Later, when Tree apologizes to Lori for being a bad roommate, she says she wants to hear about Lori’s mystery guy. 

 

All of Lori’s scenes are either in the dorm room or at the hospital.  And the only hot guy at the hospital is Gregory.

 

Lori’s affair with Gregory is all but spelled out.  The filmmakers make sure to bring up the “mystery guy” the second time because it’s close to the end.  That way we’ll make the connection when Gregory’s named is dropped at the climax. 

3. The Weapon

So it was Lori in the dorm room with the cupcake all along!  (And my money was on Colonel Mustard in the study with the lead pipe.  Drats!) 

 

Tree throws the cupcake away on day 1, sets it aside on day 2 without even blowing the candle out, and unwraps it on day 3 but sets it down to look for the remote.  (In a deleted scene, she drops it when she gets startled during the blackout before she has a chance to eat it.)  It’s only on Tree’s next-to-last day in that Sixteen Candles tribute scene that she finally eats the poisoned cupcake.  Who doesn’t eat a cupcake the moment it’s presented to them? A careful observer would catch on that something suspect is going on with the cupcake.

 

Happy Death Day is one of my favorite recent horror films and I love analyzing it and seeing how they put it together with a horror spin on the Groundhogs Day theme.  Stay tuned to this blog for a review of Happy Death Day 2 U, coming out on Valentine’s Day this year.  Remember to get the Peetimes for it from the RunPee app!

Movie Review – Happy Death Day

18 Groundhog Day Type Movies – the Ultimate Repeating Day List

The Bourne Identity Song by Moby – Extreme Ways Lyrics and Video

matt damon in the bourne identity with extreme ways by moby
You gotta admit: the man does know some extreme ways to kill people.

Extreme Ways is one of the first songs I really noticed at the end of a film that I felt a need to go home and look up  — it was that good, and that arresting. It haunted me the whole drive home after viewing The Bourne Identity and I became a big fan of Moby after that.

On my research, I was pleased to note a Moby song was also a major component of one of my all-time favorite episodes of The X-Files:  All Things. Again with the lyrical haunting sound. I was Moby-hooked. (The Wikipedia states: The episode makes heavy use of The Sky Is Broken, a song from Moby‘s 1999 album Play, as well as a gong. The episode has been analyzed for its themes of pragmatism and feminist philosophy.)

Here’s the video of the end credit segment of The Bourne Identity, followed below by Moby’s lyrics to Extreme Ways.  It’s got a really good beat, too. Enjoy!


Lyrics for Extreme Ways

(Song by Moby)

Extreme ways are back again
Extreme places I didn’t know
I broke everything new again
Everything that I’d owned
I threw it out the windows, came along
Extreme ways I know move apart

The colors of my sea
Perfect color me

Extreme ways that help me
That help me out late at night
Extreme places I had gone
But never seen any light
Dirty basements, dirty noise
Dirty places coming through
Extreme worlds alone
Did you ever like it then

I would stand in line for this
There’s always room in life for this

Oh baby, oh baby
Then it fell apart, it fell apart
Oh baby, oh baby
Then it fell apart, it fell apart

Extreme songs that told me
They helped me down every night
I didn’t have much to say
I didn’t get above the light
I closed my eyes and closed myself
And closed my world and never opened
Up to anything
That could get me along

I had to close down everything
I had to close down my mind
Too many things to cover me
Too much can make me blind
I’ve seen so much in so many places
So many heartaches, so many faces
So many dirty things
You couldn’t even believe

I would stand in line for this
It’s always good in life for this

Oh baby, oh baby
Then it fell apart, it fell apart
All day, all day
Then it fell apart, it fell apart
(Falling apart)
It’s a Monday morning, it’s everywhere
Oh no I can’t

All day, all day
Then it fell apart, it fell apart
All day, all day
Then it fell apart, it fell apart
All day, all day
Then it fell apart, it fell apart
All day, all day
Like it always does, always does…

(Songwriters: Richard Melville Hall
Extreme Ways lyrics, 2002 © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Warner/Chappell Music, Inc)