Double Feature: Violet & Daisy (2011) & The Gift (2015)

Welcome to another Double Feature!

Before we start, I’d like to apologize if things are and will be sporadic, they probably will still be for the next week. Real life work that pays the bills is taking a front seat right now and I foresee lots of overtime this week. However, if all goes as planned, there should be an unboxing this week some time and probably some reviews or TV Binge. The material is there, its just finding time and energy to write it up.

Today’s double feature is for Violet and Daisy & The Gift. Thrillers and a little odd. Probably The Gift deserves its own post but its a thriller and I don’t want to spoil it so just keeping it to myself although I’m fairly certain at this point, a ton of you have already seen it since a ton of people praised it when it was first released. Anyways, I finally got around to watching it. Violet and Daisy however is way overdue as I watched that on the train to Toronto for ComiCon so its over a month that I’ve seen it at this point.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

Violet & Daisy (2011)

violet & daisy

Director (and writer): Geoffrey Fletcher

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel, James Gandolfini, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Danny Trejo

Two teenage assassins accept what they think will be a quick-and-easy job, until an unexpected target throws them off their plan. – IMDB

Violet & Daisy is one odd and quirky movie. The reason for my choosing this movie is completely because I love Alexis Bledel (because of The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants and recently Gilmore Girls) and even more so, Saoirse Ronan who has never disappointed me even if the movie itself is not fascinating. Violet & Daisy may seem disjointed and way too weird for its own good but somehow it works and it has to do with the small but charming cast. Violet & Daisy are young teenage assassins out on a mission. They are each other’s best friends and have each other’s back especially as they fangirl and look forward to the newest fashion line by their favorite designer. It feels like they are everyday teenage girls except when a mission is given, they can also be incredibly brutal and efficient to get rid of their target. Their next mission is sent to kill a man who surprisingly seems like he wants to die and has someone else on his tail. This man who we never learn the name of is played by James Gandolfini and he delivered a wonderful performance as he changes what typically happens in these assassinations situation and in turn, open up Violet & Daisy and as we learn more about his story, we also learn more about Violet and Daisy’s which also puts their friendship or partnership in a dilemma.

Surprises and a pretty clever script gives these characters a lot of life. Even if it is weird and odd at times, there are some great moments and character development here that work really well. Not to mention, some really convincing performances in general. I liked this one a lot.

The Gift (2015)

the gift

Director (and writer): Joel Edgerton

Cast: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Allison Tolman

A young married couple’s lives are thrown into a harrowing tailspin when an acquaintance from the husband’s past brings mysterious gifts and a horrifying secret to light after more than 20 years. – IMDB

The Gift is a tense thriller however, perhaps the best part of it is the way it builds its characters up and fleshes them through with their secrets as the finale unfolds and leaves us cleverly wondering what it all means. The Gift is smart. And yet, because it is best seen with the least amount of knowledge possible, it is very hard to write about.

I can say that The Gift is pretty great. Its a little slow at parts and really dives into building the tension with a lot of quiet moments as we suspect about this suspicious high school friend and re-enters their life and slowly reveals the true nature of these characters and why they are there and how certain things happen for whatever reason. Jason Bateman pulls off a fantastic performance, probably one of my faves. Joel Edgerton does a great role as well.

Its well-planned and executed effectively with some great character development and a finale that will kind of blow your mind and make you think about what it all means.

That’s it for the double feature!
Sorry for the delay!
I’d say to expect this for this week mostly because I don’t have the time I usually would to put these together. 
Things will be back to normal next week!

Have you seen these two movies before?

Valentine Marathon: Enough Said (2013)

Finally, we’re back with the next Valentine Marathon review! I’m falling behind with my originally planned schedule.  It was a little ambitious to say the very least but thats okay.  I’m still choosing romance/rom-com choices that I’ve been really wanting to check out.  Its a little weird that this year’s list is full of a lot of pretty seemingly sophisticated choices and with a lot of actors and actresses that I’m pretty unfamiliar with.  Thats exactly where my next choice, Enough Said, falls.  I didn’t have cable when I was younger so The Sopranos never exactly caught on for me and well, even if I did have cable, most likely my parents wouldn’t let me watch it.  Still, I’ve seen James Gandolfini in a few movies before this one, never romance though. Honestly, I’m a little intrigued by how he would do. Plus, this is about divorced middle-aged so I’m not exactly the target audience either.  Regardless, I’m not too picky so here we go!



Director & Writer: Nicole Holofcener

Cast: Julie Louis-Dreyfuss, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Tracey Fairaway, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone

Eva (Julie Louis-Dreyfuss) is a divorced masseuse living with her daughter (Tracey Faraway) who is about to leave for college.  While she struggles to find another man that interests her, she finds it in another divorced individual, Albert (James Gandolfini). Albert brings her lots of happiness and they quickly embark into a relationship however much to her surprise, she realizes that her new client and becoming best friend, Marianne (Catherine Keener) turns out to be Albert’s ex-wife.

enough said

Enough Said breaks out from the romantic comedy to be a sophisticated and charming one.  Most more middle-aged ones feature a lot of falling back into love with your divorced half or whatnot and just having silly situations and whatnot.  This one is different.  Enough Said is very grown up but also extremely fun to watch because our characters Eva and Albert are absolutely lovable.  They are humorous naturally with just the way they say things and having the respect of each other and their situations.  Enough Said brings a maturity to a genre that really hasn’t been really excelling in that and it mostly have to do with how they bring forth some more serious issues but use such charming and well-written characters.

enough said

Enough Said has a lot to thank for the fine acting and irresistible chemistry between Julie Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini playing Eva and Albert respectively.  Their characters radiate with this sweet romance of falling in love a second time and finding this happiness and joy that they didn’t when both their marriages ended.  Both are in similar life situations and they understand and need similar things to each other.  It also hits the second thing that in a second relationship there are other issues that they need to deal with and it has a lot to do with being able to let yourself become vulnerable again in this love.  As much as the amusing part is seeing Eva and Albert’s love grow, there’s also the issue of how her opinions could be influenced because of her own insecurities. This is where the character of Marianne becomes slightly crucial to this story because she becomes that person that you know is offering a skewed third person’s opinion that starts making you question your own beliefs and its knowing when to put a stop to this, which Eva doesn’t do and finds excuses to keep her friendship with Marianne regardless of how it could potentially hurt this great relationship that she’s in, turning this love story somewhat bittersweet in its own way.

Enough Said

I really have no words to describe how great Enough Said is.  It really took me by surprise mostly because I didn’t really know what to expect.  I didn’t expect to connect with it as well as I did.  Just goes to say that love is universal and it really doesn’t have an age limit.  The key is that to get back into anything, you need to have the courage to stand up for what you believe and who you believe in.  There was a conversation about protecting relationships and ourselves that I really loved among many things.  Plus, there was the backdrop with Eva and her daughter’s relationship and that was a pretty well done as well. Its a great story with well written characters that carries a ton of charm and chuckles.  I totally recommend it 🙂

Have you seen Enough Said? What are your thoughts on it? 

Where The Wild Things Are (2009)

Based a popular children’s storybook, Where the Wild Things are, this movie had me wondering if it would be good.  A part of me had a bit of doubts on the turnout and I ended up hearing a lot of mixed reviews, but I managed to get on Blu-ray at a bargain price. This gave me the opportunity to pick it up.  Plus, its adaptation from a book and I love to check out those flicks all the time!

where the wild things are posterDirector: Spike Jonze

Cast: Max Records, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Catherine O`Hara, Paul Dano, Forest Whitaker, Chris Cooper, Lauren Ambrose

Max (Max Records) is a little boy who has a wild imagination.  He builds things and creates worlds for himself.  After being bullied by his sister Claire and her friends, and then being scolded by his mother (Catherine Keener) for a tantrum he pulled due to her paying more attention to her boyfriend, he runs away from home.  As he runs away in his wolf costume, his imagination takes him across the ocean to another land where there resides Wild Things. As he spies on them in the distance, one of the Wild Things Carol (James Gandolfini) was pulling a tantrum and destroying his family’s living spaces because he thought that KW (Lauren Ambrose) had left him.  When Max reveals himself, he eventually convinces them to not eat him because he had magical powers that could help them shield away sadness and keep everyone together, and they in turn make him their king.  However, as he leads them to build Carol’s dream home, he realizes that there are deeper issues between the Wild Things: Judith (Catherine O’Hara), Ira (Forest Whitaker), Alexander (Paul Dano), Douglas (Chris Cooper), The Bull (Michael Berry Jr.).  Sometimes, there are things that he can’t settle with just doing wild and rash decisions.

where the wild things are

Right off, this movie confused me a bit.  It was set in a really dark tone.  There seemed to be a lot of random things going on and seeing as I don’t remember much about the original story book it was based on, I sat there look at Max doing his wild thing in his wolf creature and for a good part of the beginning, I started getting really depressed.  However, now that I think about it, I really think thats what it was trying to achieve because Max felt like one day he was going to fade away, his energy would fade away and he feared being left alone.   So he would pull his tantrums to try to remind his mom and his sister of his existence.  It was the way he chose to express himself. Running into the imaginary world was still a whole lot of dark tones visually everywhere, but there was a sense of freedom that was there.  Maybe freedom is not the right word, its more like this world brought him hope as he brought hope to the Wild Things.  At the same time, he got the care and attention that he wanted but at the same time, he learned that it wasn’t always fair, there was always going to be people who cared but didn’t always show it equally to everyone around them.  There are lessons that Max had to learn and in his little excursion to this imaginary world created in his mind, he sorted out those problems and he learned a little bit more.

Where-the-Wild-Things-Are king

This movie was a mix of human characters and the one focus was Max who is a real boy, but it matched it with puppeteers (from what I read).  The Wild Things creatures were super weird but yet they were done really well.  The characters were created in a way that as the movie moved on, the characters developed, especially Max and Carol and I grew to be attached to them.  For me, it was a very subconscious thing.  All I remember was thinking this was a super weird movie and just crazy depressing but by the end of the movie, I knew that I had laughed with them and the characters had touched my heart because in any imaginary world, we need to leave it eventually.  When Max had to leave to face his real life, I was crying pretty damn hard. I hadn’t realized I had gotten so drawn in until then.

where the wild things are maxI have never wanted to read a bedtime story book more after watching this.  I went searching up to see if I could find an ebook version but there wasn’t.  As much as this source material was meant for children, I’m not exactly sure this one is.  This one hits the dark and heavy area.  Its as much an adventure as it is a path to growing up.  Max comes to realizations through the characters that he’s imagined. This world and Wild Things was where he could be innocent and not worry about his problems.

where the wild things are 1

However, I love movies with dark tones and this was adapted in a unique way, even though at parts it was depressing, it also was done beautifully.  A story where Max wanders into his imagination as a child and walks out of it grown up, simply by understanding it a little bit more, and that in itself is somewhat bittersweet.  It tugs at our heartstrings and brings in some beautiful and fun moments but also mixes in some heartbreaks.  Thats what it feels like to have to let your childhood innocence fade away a little.  I recommend this movie however with huge warning that you really have to be ready to accept that its not a children’s movie and you have to appreciate the dark tone that they use.