Double Feature: Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (2017) & Equals (2015)

Time for the next double feature! I’m aiming for a double feature every week now! Exciting stuff, right? Yay to organization! As usual, these are quite alphabetical randomness. Deidra and Laney Rob a Train seemed like a fun movie and Equals seems like a more dramatic romantic thing. I’ve been having this desire to bring some justice to figuring out whether Bella is a bad character or whether its Kristen Stewart. You might see a few more of her movies popping up here as I try to find more of her movies depending on what Netflix has to offer obviously.

Let’s check it out!

Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (2017)

deidra and laney rob a train

Director: Sydney Freeland

Cast: Ashleigh Murray, Rachel Crow, Myko Olivier, Tim Blake Nelson, Danielle Nicolet, David Sullivan, Sasheer Zamata

After their mother ends up in jail, two sisters turn to train robbery in order to support their family. –IMDB

Heist, coming of age and a rag tag family brings together Deidra & Laney Rob a Train. Its about sisterhood and high schools as much as surviving and sustaining their living conditions. In many ways, Deidra and Laney Rob a Train was a pleasant surprise. While it had some flaws, the film was a lot of fun to watch. Their inexperience and how their youth brings in some interesting choices for their props and such in their robberies. At the same time, their family consists of a mom who breaks down at the beginning. Their dad turns out to be this bad influence full of bad records which poses as a bad father figure and can lead to why they are pushed into a rather extreme way to try to keep up with their expenses for the sisters. At the same time, the sisters here also show maybe not enough of their sister relationship but does give each of them their own space for the characters to grow as Deidra prepares to head to college and Laney tries to find the confidence she needs to see herself in a different way and not get trampled on and looked over.

At the same time, being a heist/crime film, these girls’ train robbing days are interrupted by the appearance of a train investigator (or whatever his title is) Truman who starts sniffing around to figure out who the perpetrators are as he hunts around. While Truman is somewhat of a goofball, his appearance only emphasizes how we’ve bonded with Deidra and Laney and start feeling a sense of anxiety for whether Truman will catch up with them and what will happen when and if he does.

With a fair share of fun and ambition, along with some coming of age plots and family, Deidra and Laney Rob a Train is a nice Netflix Originals to catch. It definitely exceeded my expectations and hits a lot of the feel-good moments with some of the humor here which works pretty well. All in all, a very worthy movie to check out.

Equals (2015)


Director: Drake Doremus

Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, David Selby, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver, Kate Lyn Sheil

In an emotionless utopia, two people fall in love when they regain their feelings from a mysterious disease, causing tensions between them and their society. – IMDB

It seems that my connection to both Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart performances are very one toned love stories, Warm Bodies and Twilight respectively. With that said, the story told here is something of a Romeo and Juliet forbidden love sort of scenario. The futuristic world achieves peace through eliminating emotions and feelings which are thought to be engineered between conception and birth so when someone has this, they have Switched-On Syndrome (aka SOS). Not surprisingly, Silas (Nicholas Hoult) and Nia (Kristen Stewart) both end up having different stages of SOS and are attracted to each other but need to hide it away. There’s a lot to like about Equals. The futuristic world and the idea of it works to a certain extent, the color palette in the scenes also complement to the mood a lot and then there’s the soundtrack that also works well, particularly in the scenes where Nia and Silas spend time together and embrace their feelings in secret.

However, there was a shred of weird sense as I watched Equals that something didn’t work and yet I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart was decent. They worked for the material provided to them. Although, there was a few scenes that Nicholas Hoult’s character felt odd in the beginning but did seem to grow on me as the movie moved along. Perhaps a portion of oddity had to do with the fact that this future had a lot of ignorance to make what seemed incredibly obvious between Silas and Nia especially as their feelings grew stronger and it feels slightly contrived. At the same time, the futuristic Romeo and Juliet does work except the ending felt like it wanted to be different but actually might have made it more predictable. Although, there is a supporting role with Guy Pearce and  personally like him a lot although his roles are usually not enough to show off his acting. Either way, I appreciated his role here.

Overall, Equals is an alright film. I have mixed feelings about it. Technically, cinematography, soundtrack and world building, it does such a great job but when it comes to the story, it is more generic which makes the characters and their acting also be reduced to more generic qualities. However, in the grand scheme of looking at Kristen Stewart works, this one is alright.

Double Feature: Lockout (2012) & Ender’s Game (2013)

This last weekend, my boyfriend and I went through quite a bit of indecision as we sat around trying to figure out what to watch.

First choice went to Lockout and the second one went to a movie in my unwatched pile of movies, Ender’s Game, both have one similarity: they both have a lead by an actor that I love.

LOCKOUT (2012)

lockout 2012

Director: James Mather & Stephen St. Leger

Cast: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Lennie James, Peter Stormare

Set in the future, ex-CIA operative Snow (Guy Pearce) is wrongfully convicted of turning on his operation.  However, when maximum security prison in space, MS1 has a rogue prisoner break loose and lets out the 500 convicts while taking the facility’s personnel and also, the president’s daughter, Emilie who happened to be there conducting an interview on the stasis procedure there, Snow is asked as to go in to save Emilie and send her back home safely.

lockout 2012

Lockout is nothing great.  There’s crap CGI that doesn’t match up to what is capable of modern technology of computer graphics.  In fact, at the a certain point, it felt like I was looking at a video game cut scene or whatnot, lacking a feeling of being realistic.  But,  I love Guy Pearce and he can make a movie really good.  That man is fantastic and when you put him in the whole Netflix description suggesting that if you were looking for an entertaining movie full of one-liners. Well, I’m down.  So, with that said, one-liners also means that there is going to usually be a whole lot of cheese.

guy pearce

Before I say whether I liked this or not, you need to take into consideration that I slept about 3 hours the night before because of a late girl’s night in and then woke up at 5:30 for a sunrise shooting session with my friend.  Continuing with my first thought up there, Lockout is nothing great.  Put CGI aside now, the story is ever so flawed.  The prisoners at MS1 are a little weird because its just a bunch of them sitting around socializing while the main group is threatening the government.  Put that aside, I realized how much I am not a fan of this Emilie character because she is a pain in the ass. And some of these characters are painfully stupid, I mean, just so very frustratingly stupid. But, somehow, through all those downfalls, every time Guy Pearce was on screen, I was excited to see what happened next or just how he’d react.

No, I won’t recommend this but you know what, Guy Pearce is still an amazing presence in this one.



Director: Gavin Hood

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld

Ender Wiggin is recruited to be part of the International Military to be trained with other chosen kids who have the ability to help fight in the war against an alien population known of Formics. The Formics nearly destroyed the human race in their last invasion however thanks to a hero leader, they survived.  Now they are preparing for the next battle that is inching closer day by day.  Will Ender become the leader that the human race needs to survive before its too late?

ender's game

 I’m a huge fan of Asa Butterfield, especially after seeing Hugo.  This kid can achieve some great things and he is amazing.  Ender’s Game is right up my alley of what I like to watch: adventure being the main thing.  I’m not so much a sci-fi person although I’m starting to think I kind of am.  Anyways, before I wanted to seeing this in theatres, I picked up the book, hoping to finish it before I went to see it, but the slow beginning made me skip through that.  I can’t believe that was a year ago, as I looked through my review again.

Ender’s Game is based on character development of Ender as he’s thrown head first into Battle School and as he learns from the mock battles he has there.  What is wildly abundant in the book is his advanced strategy because he can plan out towards the end results he needs to not let things happen again. In that sense, he can make some pretty drastic choices.  These choices shape who he becomes and the struggles he has to endure. The  movie adaptation does a good job of showing his struggles except it moves forward pretty quickly (or I wonder if I fell asleep for 10 minutes in between because I was really tired). Regardless, the movie had me pulled in from the start, which is a lot more than I could say for the book.  Maybe sci-fi for me works better adapted in movies than in books.  I don’t read enough of that genre to know. The only thing that taking a slower time to build character as in the book, gives the character a more focused thoughtfulness to it.  It gives it more growth.

ender's game

Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld: all very well-casted for their respective roles.  What I loved most was how the transposed the description of the Battle School sequences from the army battles in that zero gravity zone especially.  The design and graphics of it was absolutely beautiful to watch.  The technology that they can use for this is done perfectly to show that its set in a future that we don’t have now.  The battles set in their simulation is all touch screen and fast-paced.  Everything feels like its just so real and its full of action as Ender bounces from one training group to another.

However, what makes the book intriguing was the heavy constant focus on giving little bits of how the management level of the International Military functions and then seeing their plans play out on Ender and how he reacts.  Thats less obscure but still the ending packs a punch in the same way.  This is the first time, I felt the need to compare the source material and the movie adaptation.  I don’t really know why.  Maybe its because as much as I liked the book, I didn’t love it because it wasn’t really for me but I could see how great it would be for a movie.  And it didn’t let me down one bit.  It could’ve been better in capturing the development of Ender as a child who is thrown into an adult’s world as the responsibility of saving your race is on your back but its well worth the viewing just for the beauty of the setting itself.

These supposedly shorter reviews are getting long so here it is:

Bottomline: Lockout is going to be a forgettable action thriller with a well enough performance from Guy Pearce who tries his absolute best with he’s given.  While, Ender’s Game is visually stunning and has an outstanding cast that may not quite have the character development that the book has but it is entertaining and thrilling to watch all the same.

Now why couldn’t I have just wrote that and not said so much, right? 😉

Halloween Marathon: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)

I feel a bit conned at this current moment by this movie.  The DVD cover said Guillermo Del Toro presents so I thought he was the director.  Obviously, I learned that I should read the box because he’s just the writer.  However, I do admire Del Toro quite a bit so I picked up this DVD from the bargain bin.  Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark seems to have a decent cast at the very least, which is something I don’t often encounter much in horror movies.  Let’s check it out!

don`t be afraid of the dark posterDirector: Troy Nixey

Cast: Bailee Madison, Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Jack Thompson, Julia Blake, Garry McDonald

Sally (Bailee Madison) is given by her mother to her father, Alex (Guy Pearce) and taken to a 19th century mansion owned many years ago by a famous artist Emerson Blackwood (Garry McDonald) who happens to have disappeared and that he’s restoring with his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) to resell.  As she tries to deal with the new family situation, she discovers a hidden basement of the house and starts hearing voices calling out to her to be her friend and to go play with them.  Eventually, she realizes that these hidden creatures are the reason of the mysterious disappearance of Blackwood and that they are now trying to take her away also.

don`t be afraid of the dark 4

Don’t Afraid of the Dark has many elements that are similar to Pan’s Labyrinth (one of my all time faves).  Apparently this is a remake but with certain characters swapped around, I can’t make a comparison as I’ve never heard of it before.  So, why do I say its similar? One, our main character is a young girl, and only that but she also moves into a big creepy mansion with another significant other of a parent.  Two, they also have hidden areas, labyrinth like and gardens,etc. You get the idea, right? Three, there are strange creatures around that want something from her and try to manipulate her.

don`t be afraid of the dark 2

Am I saying the similarities are a bad thing? Not necessarily.  The movie is shot quite well, with a few parts that made me laugh quietly.  It slowly builds the mood.  The movie takes place pretty much in one sole location being the mansion that is being restored and it has this eerie and creepy atmosphere, especially in the dim scenes.  Of course, it also has a magical luring effect especially when entering the source of where the creatures hide out.

don`t be afraid of the dark 3

The characters themselves aren’t all bad. I have a feeling its the script and not the actors themselves that are causing their roles to be irritating and annoying.  Guy Pearce was this ridiculous overly realistic father that I wanted to punch him in the face at certain parts.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of him.  I mean how can I not be after Memento (another one of my all time faves).  And they all make these stupid decisions which lead to bad consequences of course.  Bailee Madison who plays our lead here, as young Sally, is pretty good.  I mean, her character is a bit frustrating also because she does dumb things also.  The creatures are all her fault and then she doesn’t really do much to stop whatever is happening until the end when Katie Holmes’ character Kim, somewhat helps her out (in a way).  I actually was impressed with the creatures.  As much as they were in the dark a lot, when they did show up, it wasn’t wimpy stupid creatures, it actually was done really well.  I actually wouldn’t expect any less with Guillermo Del Torro attached to this.

don`t be afraid of the dark 1

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is not completely a horror as its more creepy thriller.  I did tell you, I’d be going into thrillers now, right? Its a good change in pace. The story was fairly good, and I enjoyed this one a fair amount.  Its not Pan’s Labyrinth of course but I guess, if you have seen the original, maybe you’d feel different.  I wouldn’t know because I don’t have the comparison.  The character’s and their scripts are a bit fluky to me but its not the fault of the cast themselves.  Impressive creatures and a good atmosphere really brings this movie into the good horror thriller area.  I’d say that its worth your time to check it out :).

Did you like Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark? Have you seen the original? Are you a fan of Guillermo Del Toro?

Iron Man 3 (2013)

The month of May summer blockbusters are intense for me.  The first to come was Iron Man 3.  I’ve been generally looking at the scores that other movie review blogs have given but not read the context much.  If you saw that I liked yours, I will be back to check it out right after this is posted 🙂 Honestly, as much as I was extremely excited to see this movie, I was worried it wouldn’t do as well because I really did not enjoy the 2nd one a lot.  Still, we managed to go last night (Wednesday) and the theatre was pretty much packed except for the few rows right in front of the screen and after watching 30 minutes of ads then another 20 minutes of previews (almost all superhero movies previews), Iron Man 3 started with the narration from Tony Stark 🙂

ironman 3 posterDirector: Shane Black

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Jon Favreau, Rebecca Hall, William Sadler

A insomniac and anxious Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) after the events of last year’s The Avengers in New York is bothered constantly by the sudden possibility of danger hitting him and the people he loves, especially his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwneyth Paltrow). When the terrorist The Mandarin starts decreeing that he will take steps to teach the President (William Sadler) some lessons by causing explosions and destruction and it ends up injuring his friend and bodyguard, Happy (Jon Favreau), he issues a threat to The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).  Little to his knowledge does he know that the Mandarin will end up destroying his home and turning it into rubbles causing him to have to scrabble to piece together his life again.  With this fall, he needs to find ways to work with what he has left and try to have his revenge and save the day!

The first Marvel movie to arrive after The Avengers was certainly entertaining! I loved it a lot.  This one was action-packed, fast-paced and still had a lot of Tony Stark’s witty remarks.

ironman 3 tony

Tony Stark is definitely a great hero in this franchise.  This one brings in more of a personal struggle to find himself.  It was not only a struggle against keeping the ones he love safe but also digging deep into who he is amongst all the humor that he lashes out with whoever he is interacting with.  He seeks to find who he is at the base whether he’s really just a hero because of the suit or whether just himself as an individual, he can still be as great an individual.  Packaging that into a lot of action and introducing Don Cheadle’s Rhodey and his version of Iron Man but called Iron Patriot definitely gave this an extra push also.

ironman 3 pepper

I also enjoyed the sub characters.  Although Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts got a lot more screen time in this one which was for the better.  Her character has become one that I love and enjoy.  She’s tough and smart and just perfect for the uncontrollable Tony Stark.  I really love the little screen time at Jon Favreau’s Happy had also.  He’s just a hilarious man.  Don Cheadle’s character starts bringing in the political side of the equation as he tries to protect his country in general.  On the more business and science side, we have the great scientist here, Aldrich Killian played by Guy Pearce.  Ever since Memento, this guy has been on my radar and its nice to see him in this role 🙂

ironman 3 overload

Whats a superhero movie without its villain, right? Super hero movies are straight forward and a lot has to do with finding that perfect villain to make the hero look awesome.  In this one, we have The Mandarin and his deadly explosions and taking over the wavelengths to broadcast his plans to terrorize the president and his country.  I’m a big fan of Ben Kingsley.  If you’ve seen this, then you’ll understand when I say that he was so awesome! Its not a normal role that I’ve seen him in but man, he was so good at doing this!

ironman 3 the mandarin


Iron Man 3 may not be as great as the first one but definitely is superior and worthy as a sequel, especially after a very unsatisfying 2nd.  The runtime was relatively average at a bit more over 2 hours ( I believe) but the time rolled by relatively quickly as the plot moves forward quickly, the action never stops (or at least it felt that way) and there’s always a lot of humour and snarky remarks (a la Stark style) to keep the audience entertained!  I can’t ask for more! I loved it and its definitely a great addition to the Marvel movies 🙂 I look forward to grabbing a copy of this when it gets released on Blu-ray!

Are you pumped up for the other summer blockbusters coming out? I know I am! Two more to go this month (at least)!