Netflix A-Z: Zipper (2015)

Its the last movie of Round 2 of Netflix A-Z!

Our Z selection is Zipper! My husband got to choose between the few choices, most notably Zipper and Z for Zachariah and he chose this one. I think both weren’t quite so appealing  but this one maybe seemed to have more of an edge.  I don’t know is mindset behind it. Mostly I don’t even give that much thought to my Netflix A-Z! Its the point that I’m exploring movies that had intrigued me and ended up on my list and the random times its not, its just giving a chance to something new. Why not, right?

Enough rambling, let’s check this out! 🙂

Zipper (2015)

Zipper 2015

Director (and co-writer): More Stephens

Cast: Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey, Ray Winstone, Richard Dreyfuss, John Cho, Dianna Agron

A family man has it all until he risks losing everything due to his inability to fight off his obsessive temptation for other women.-IMDB

A few things to address before we begin.  IMDB’s summary is kind of part right.  We’re looking at a family man but also a man striving for some political power with a lot of potential of success, currently as a federal prosecutor. This is a political (sexual/erotic?) thriller. Now that we know what we’re meant to be seeing, let’s continue.

Its not hard to say that Zipper has one very fantastic pro and that is its cast. Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey, Richard Dreyfuss, Ray Winstone, John Cho and  Dianna Agron, even though she gets on the cover of the poster (not the one I chose here) but has a very small role: they are all decent actors and actresses and make up for the depth the characters should carry.

This is also where I start talking about cons.  First of all, don’t go and believe that this is anything like Gone Girl or that its a thriller.  Its neither of those things even if it tries to be the latter. I’m a huge fan of Gone Girl so maybe my love might skew how I feel towards that statement but without any comparison, since I never thought to compare the two, Zipper lacks a story or maybe it lacks simply a good pacing for the story it wants to tell or even feels like it might have lost direction of where it wanted to go with all this.


Thing is, I’m not bothered by sexual content or anything like that.  The deal is with Zipper is that in the first 20 minutes (maybe shorter, I didn’t check the time), there was a lot of watching Patrick Wilson’s character Sam Ellis masturbate. Like, you know, the back of him of course because we need to have some class here.  This isn’t pornographic material especially with the cast, although we do  some naked ladies like Lena Headey and some of the escorts he encounters. It would be nice to know what the movie was trying to get.  Because the ending is even worse especially when Sam Ellis himself doesn’t know why he did all that stuff but I guess it refers back to a speech he has during the movie about finding yourself because you can never change who you are or something like that. What makes me a little more frustrated is that there are some complex characters here.  There is a hint of its existence but the story is not put together well enough to give it time to be more.


While I’m not a fan of political thrillers, the political portion of this wasn’t actually a lot other than the fact that Sam Ellis tried really hard to live in this alternate reality as Bob Fisher who was paying all these escorts but hoping he wouldn’t be noticed.  I think that is ridiculous personally but I can accept what they were trying to do and understand it. The political portion was really dealing with people and trying to avoid people caught up.  Once the second part of the movie starts off with investigations of the escort agency he was a client of and all that bit, it picks up a decent pace but doesn’t last long enough for it to have an impact.  Its where I feel the movie could have spent more time on and chopped a bunch of the beginning away since it didn’t make me connect with his character more but rather just felt dragged out.


Overall, Zipper was a disappointment especially with the cast that it had.  The cast did fine in their roles as limited as the story was. The standout most probably will have to go to Patrick Wilson. The story could’ve been structured a little differently with focuses more on the second half than the first’s pacing and it might have been better.

End of Round 2 of Netflix A-Z!
A little break while I construct the next round which may possibly be indie themed!
Do you have any other suggestions or recommendations on Netflix?

Netflix A-Z: The Purge (2013)

We’re at our P selection! I just realized that I had picked back to back 2013 horror films.  Oh well, that’s okay.  The Halloween marathon will be a lot more scattered in the choices.  Different horror subgenres and different years that it was released.  A lot of 2013 horrors got mixed reviews and they were rather lukewarm in many cases.  I guess that was what had me interested in checking our last selection, Oculus.  Honestly, The Purge wasn’t much of an intriguing option, not because its premise wasn’t good but that we don’t particularly like masked home invasions culprits. We may be the minority but The Strangers really turned us off on that however You’re Next did regain a bit of that so I was ready to give this a go especially since it did get a sequel. It must have some redeeming qualities 😉

Let’s check it out!

The Purge (2013)

The Purge

Director and writer: James DeMonaco

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield

In the future, a wealthy family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.-IMDB

 The futuristic world of The Purge is set in America 2022 and while it is a good world such as low unemployment rate and low crime rate, it gives the citizens a day to release their urge for violence.  That is assuming that our future world is full of suppressed anger. I would think that is a frightful thought that everyone needs to fulfill the urge to kill except in reality The Purge is really just a 12 hour time to “cleanse” the society which means most of the poor will be the victims.  I guess the concept does work in a twisted way and has some sort of socio-economic message being brought up.  It also does show that every society no matter how good does have a balance.  With that said, the ones who benefit from The Purge and usually are the crazies out killing would be the rich and feel it is their right to do it, making them above the poor.  I guess a theme of the vision of being wealthy is in there somewhere.

The Purge

Does The Purge work? I think that in terms of messages it does.  Also, the acting and cast are rather talented along with the atmosphere and build-up of the events.  Of course, I think its a little ridiculous of how this all started.  I’m not saying I won’t help a beat-up man but considering the circumstances of the society they live in, it shows that someone has to stand up and do something about what doesn’t seem right.  Is it believable that a boy would do it? I guess it does since maybe its the naivety of kids that can see the discomfort of having a day that illegal acts are waived of their consequences. And that humans are equal no matter how rich or poor, their status and all deserve the right to live out their lives.

The Purge

I’m a huge fan of Ethan Hawke.  I haven’t seen a lot of movies by him but whatever I’ve seen is rather impressive.  Even with the underwhelming Taking Lives that I saw ages ago and probably should revisit to see how I feel about it now.  Either way, Ethan Hawke seems like he fell off the scene for a while and now he’s back with a lot of horror.  Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey are great leads along with the main villain here, which is a crazy young guy played by Rhys Wakefield. The masked accomplices were pretty creepy with their actions and pretending to be innocence for the ladies and then they would just turn.  I found the daughter slightly annoying and the son incredibly perceptive.  Somehow, I started connecting with the characters without even knowing it especially when certain dangerous events approached and I could feel myself tense up a little and even yelped and startled a few times.

The Purge

That’s not to say that there were faults to The Purge.  While the concept is fresh about the futuristic world and it wants to be a home invasion movie, it does make some decisions that causes it to lose a little intensity.  For one, the intensity and dread of the group threatening to invade the house loses a bit of steam after they find reinforcements to come in.  Is that a spoiler? I mean, its home invasion so you know they will invade.  There were some parts that you knew would happen of how they’d enter and whatnot.  I didn’t really understand why they didn’t just bust through the front door and go in instead of everyone using multiple entry points.  Is it to cover more ground? Its not exactly a fault but you do expect some of the kills and it does turn much into a thriller that does lose steam.  We all know now that all horrors nowadays have a twist and The Purge is no different. Except it feels like the twist was a little expected and kind of destroys it in the end.  It feels so overused. I won’t talk about what the twist is because if you saw it, you’d know what I’m talking about. Its just so meaningless…

I feel like I’m nitpicking now.  The Purge is a decent thriller. At least between some good and bad, I enjoyed it.  It had a little tension and some jump scares.  I yelped a few times and liked some of the characters without even knowing about it.  There were moments I was at the edge of my seat and during this review, I started thinking a lot about the whole concept of right and wrong and the ethics and morals of the whole situation of a society in 2022 like in The Purge.  Its not great but definitely watchable and I’d probably watch it again 🙂 I guess what I’m saying is that lukewarm is where I’m at with this one.

Have you seen The Purge? What did you think about it?

**A few weeks break and Netflix A-Z resumes in November! Meanwhile enjoy the upcoming Halloween marathon!!**

Triple Feature: As Tears Go By, Stop-Loss & Tell Tale

I rarely do triple features but Netflix has been driving me nuts on movie expiration on January 1st. I’m literally racing with time and its hard to decide if I should be watching TV series or movies.  The movies that make the cut are the ones that I find intriguing or that I haven’t seen in the bargain bin because I’ll just eventually get around to buying it if thats the case.

Between watching Numb3rs (which I know I can’t get another 5 seasons done in 4 days because that would be insane), I managed to get these 3 movies in. Word to the wise, in order to enjoy happy holidays you really shouldn’t watch dramatic movies (aka As Tears Go By).

As Tears Go By (1989)

as tears go by

Director: Kar Wai Wong

Cast: Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Jacky Cheung, Man Chi Leung

Mid-level gangster Wah falls in love with his beautiful cousin, but must also continue to protect his volatile partner-in-crime and friend, Fly.-IMDB

I’m going to confess right now that I’m not a huge fan of Kar Wai Wong (or maybe its just because I really didn’t enjoy 2046).  He makes some really complex movies.  I’m not saying I don’t like complex movies either because I like really messed up movies but his are just way too much for me.  I didn’t even know As Tears Go By  was his directorial debut until I was doing some research for this one. Before you start telling me, what about In the Mood For Love? I’m going to just tell you right now that I haven’t seen it yet so I really can’t tell you.  Its not for lack of trying to find it either.  I’m working on it.

as tears go by

Either way, As Tears Go By is actually pretty good.  It has the last 80s-early 90s kind of Hong Kong film style of making triad/gangsters lifestyle and mixing it with the whole romance angle.  I can remember a few of those when I was a kid.  Andy Lau was at his peak during those times (and he is still talented as ever if not more).  Maggie Cheung has proven herself to be a great actress over the years.  There is no doubt the performances are fantastic.  As Tears Go By is a pretty intense movie to watch.  There was one part where it was really brutally violent (well, two parts) and I had to look away because it was just too much.  The connection and chemistry of the love story was good.

Apparently this is based on Mean Streets by Martin Scorsese but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t seen it.  The story is a little cliche but the style  for a directorial debut is there, along with the awesome performances, it is one of the more enjoyable Kar Wai Wong movies I’ve seen. Then, the next few directorial efforts: Chungking Express and Ashes of Time was pretty epic also.

Have you seen As Tears Go By? Thoughts on Kar Wai Wong? Any comments on Mean Streets?

Stop-Loss (2008)


Director: Kimberly Pierce

Cast: Ryan Philippe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, Rob Brown

A veteran soldier returns from his completed tour of duty in Iraq, only to find his life turned upside down when he is arbitrarily ordered to return to field duty by the Army. –IMDB

I’m not very saavy about military terms but being stop-lossed is what it means to be ordered to return back to field duty.

Stop-Loss is a good drama.  I’m not one to like war movies but this is more of the impact of soldiers and how it affects their life afterwards.  Its an emotional and psychological toll more than its a physical one.  Sometimes, its enough and they want to return but circumstances are brought upon them differently and they have to go back to the field and thats exactly what happened here for the lead, Brandon King (Ryan Philippe).


Watching Stop-Loss was pretty intense (and I watched it the day after As Tears Go By).  There’s a huge test here.  There is no way to escape being stop-lossed and if you do, its against orders so either way there is really no way out.  Its a complex issue in itself. Brandon King tries to run from it and the story makes us see his own struggles and just how much him and his team has gone through, the friendship its built and how its affected his brothers in the army with him.  It brings on a burden to his family and in the end he has to make the choice of whether to run away or to go back.  The story is the winner in this one.  It does try to cover Brandon King but also carries a little more with adding in a focus on Channing Tatum’s character and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, which was also two very good performances.

Stop-Loss is a little heart-breaking to watch.  Its a lot to take in but the movie is honest and sincere and it really does bring up some complex issues that will make you think a little about it all.

Have you seen Stop-Loss? 

Tell Tale (2010)

tell tale

Director: Michael Cuesta

Cast: Josh Lucas, Lena Headey, Brian Cox

A man’s newly transplanted heart leads him on a dangerous journey to find out who murdered its donor. –IMDB

Tell Tale is supposedly based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, which I haven’t read.

Okay, so how do I start this one? Lets say that I’m a little confused with how I feel about this.  On one hand, I thought it wasn’t all that great.  I predicted a part of the ending twist like halfway through.  Then, I’m trying to really understand the whole concept of how a donated organ, like the heart is what is compelling its recipient to act without control in avenging the donor’s death, in a way. Its a little far-fetched, but then I thought about The Eye and figured if I could accept that movie, why not this one?

tell tale

On the other hand, I really liked the performances.  Josh Lucas was great with what he had and Lena Headey was also fantastic.  My only issue was that it felt a little one dimensional.  Goodness, I never knew I’d actually know how to use this word related to movies.  The story itself is so slow, uneventful, predictable and just seemed like it wasn’t going anywhere.  I feel like I’m being harsh but this could’ve been better especially with the extraordinary cast they had on hand.  Everything that happened was really predictable even if there were moments, I kind of wondered what the whole deal was until it kind of started to make sense about the same time that I figured out that ending twist.

Tell Tale kind of put me to sleep a little especially when I really wanted to like this because it sounded interesting.  I just couldn’t get into it. Plus, its not a long movie, okay? So feeling boring and dragged out shouldn’t happen and it unfortunately did.

What did you think of Tell Tale? 


Three reviews! I expected to make them a little shorter so I apologize if it was extremely long. Netflix is just killing me here.  So, after some late night movie watching and spending some much needed quality time with my boyfriend after a busy holidays running around having fun with family and friends, we sat down and binged through a few movies so guess what? Another triple feature tomorrow but I promise, it’ll be shorter 😉 At least I’ll try.

300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

I FINALLY made it to the theatres! Its taken me a bit more than 2 months to get to a movie but I did! 🙂 I promise a few more coming up since I’m really determined to go see a few of the ones coming up.

My boyfriend and I are HUGE fans of 300.  He loves it for the action, the patriotism, the Spartans, the blood and gore and the story and the beautiful cinematography.  For me, other than chiselled men, I love the story and memorable quotes and just the honor and bravery behind the whole thing and of course, also the beautiful shots.  I will save this for a full-on review but this is the main motivation to go see this one 🙂

300 rise of an empire posterDirector: Noam Murro

Cast: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, David Wenham

Told through the view of Leonidas’ widow, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) after the events of 300, she tells the story of Themistokles, the Greek general who killed the Persian king, King Darius which enfuriates his son Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) who become a dark god through the manipulation of Artemisia (Eva Green) and lives to destroy Greece entirely.  However, Artemisia’s anger stems even deeper despite her Greek blood and she leads the Persian navy to conquer Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and his army.

Just a curious question before I start my little write-up. If you did go see 300: Rise of an Empire (or even before going to see it), how many of you expected a good movie? Personally, I didn’t have high hopes of its storyline.  I was sure that the graphics and cinematography would probably compare to 300 and there would still be buff guys fighting, blood and gore and all that to look at.  I went in completely blind.  I didn’t even read up on what this one was about and only watched a teaser trailer months ago.


300 Rise of an Empire is not really a completely a sequel but regardless, it tries to tie itself to the original 300 story.  In the end, 300 was more of a move that used their martyrdom to help Themistokles great plan of uniting the Greek cities.  The story itself is not the best.  Its attempt is not bad but definitely not as strong as 300 was.  300 was a tale of bravery and patriotism and honor all enveloped in one with memorable quotes and strong characters packed with lots of style and gore.  Rise of an Empire hold that style and gore and the atmosphere they set, effects and whatnot are all the plus of this movie.  The downside of it is in its characters and its story, both are not as strong. I’ll get to the characters in a little bit but for the story, it takes a while to take off in the beginning and honestly, within the first 30 minutes, I found myself almost falling asleep and desperately stuffing Fuzzy Peaches in my mouth to get a sugar rush to keep myself awake.  However, it does get better gradually as the narration tapers off and we start getting actual dialogue and the story moves along.


Talking about the characters, the first one is Themistokles.  I’m not saying the man is not good but he’s not Gerard Butler and not Leonidas. I think the best word to describe what he lacks is the charisma.  Still, he deliver some good action. Moving on to Eva Green who plays the Persian naval commander, for most, I think she will be the attraction.  She has an evilness but you’ll only see her in action at the very end making a lot of what she does just words, except when she has some aggressive sex with Themistokles and she shows off her breasts.  Eva Green is a good looking woman and she takes over the villainous role and puts Xerxes in the backseat.  My boyfriend didn’t quite like her role in it but I actually think it was effective enough. Those are the two leads that take up most of the movie and they aren’t quite as impressive as the original 300 cast but who am I kidding? Were we really here to get all deep and carefully plotted characters?


Before I go into a movie, I decide how I want to treat it.  For me, I went in with the mindset I have of watching any bloody, gory action movie.  Its for the entertainment of it.  Its going to have great fight scenes, memorable dialogues, nice set up of events and just offers a great time.  This one being a sequel also had to justify why this had to be made (other than just for racking in money because it can). For me, Rise of an Empire did that. It gave me reason enough to believe that this one was necessary and even reason enough for it to have another one. Plus, I was impressed with all the fights especially since now, they were all on the water.  Its gives it a different feeling from the first one: new strategies, new skills and between both of these, it kept some actors for characters in the previous movie (even stronger link) and kept some nice scenes and effects. As much as I didn’t like the beginning narration by Queen Gorgo, however she was a much needed addition to connect to the first part.

I didn’t expect much and I’m well aware of the flaws this one has but when the credits started rolling, I knew that I had a good time.  Nothing as great as 300 but I appreciated the effort.  I think thats what matters.  If you were a fan of the first one, I’d say you probably might end up enjoying this one as well 🙂

Have you seen 300 Rise of an Empire? What did you think of it? Did you think the story connected with the previous one in a good way