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Movie Review: ‘Sausage Party’

4158_sausage-party_7870Sausage Party Fast Facts

Directors: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Veron
Cast: Seth Rogan, James Franko, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, Conrad Veron, Bill Hader, David Krumholtz, Danny McBride, Nick Kroll, and Craig Rominson
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 88 minutes
Release Date: August 12, 2016 (US)

Sausage Party is the first rated R 3D animated picture to hit US theaters. It’s about a supermarket where all the food is alive, striving to go to the “Great Beyond” and be chosen by their gods (us humans). Frank (Seth Rogan) is a hot dog who wants to be chosen with his bun girlfriend, Brenda (Kristen Wiig). When a container of honey mustard gets returned and tells the other food items the truth about the Great Beyond, it’s up to Frank to find out the truth from the Non Perishables in the alcohol aisle.

The basic concept does sound interesting, if not admittedly a rehash of the terribly animated and written children’s movie Foodfight! which was an advertising version of Toy Story.

When I saw the trailer, I thought “This sounds like it would be better as a short film” and I was right. This 88 minute monstrosity was really hard to sit through.

The animation in the film was well done (though a little grotesque at times), but sadly this is the only nice thing I can say about Sausage Party.

The first trailer for the film showed an entire scene from the film, and honestly that same scene turned out to be the best part of the entire film. The only time I laughed during this film was in the beginning, when a human character working in the store announced with five minutes until close for everyone to get the fuck out. As a person who works retail during closing, I could really relate to this.

My main issue with this film is its execution. Instead of using its R rating to play up a bit of stereotypes with religion and make the film about how everyone might have their own version of a Great Beyond, it instead wastes the R rating on weed jokes, sex jokes, and terrible racist and homophobic stereotypes. I shit you not, the first few minutes of the film is just the food singing and thanking the Gods, hoping that they get chosen. There’s also a part with sauerkraut and other stereotypical German food saying about how they want to “kill the juice”, accompanied by huge Nazi imagery.

Adult animation can be used to make satirical jokes and make light of serious topics, but instead the writers of this film chose to take the “South Park kids writing a movie” approach. It upsets me because I literally sat there for 88 minutes uncomfortable with the gross stereotypes, a few metaphorical rape scenes, a scene where a used condom was talking, and everyone around me was laughing it up. I was so out of the loop in regards to what was supposed to be funny. Going into the film I knew that maybe I wouldn’t get some weed jokes, but I didn’t understand how cutting off a druggie’s head and seeing the decapitated head casually in the background was something everyone in the audience enjoyed.

Ignoring the stereotypes and bad jokes, the universe doesn’t even make sense. All of the food talk, okay, but so does a a condom and a douche (which becomes the villain?). So can food talk or can all inanimate objects talk? Why do some boxes talk, but the contents inside them don’t? The universe is very inconsistent and isn’t built for audience’s to understand outside of the concept of the Great Beyond.

The writing was also  inconsistent and seemed to be written by a child. I understand that adult animation will have “bad” jokes, but this film wasn’t funny, and I would recommend that most people not watch it.

 

 

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Documentary Review: ‘Lo And Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World’

Lo And Behold

Lo And Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World

Release date: August 19, 2016 (USA)
Director: Werner Herzog
Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures
Music composed by: Mark Degli Antoni
Cinematography: Peter Zeitlinger
Producers: Werner Herzog, Rupert Maconick

Synopsis: Filmmaker Werner Herzog examines the past, present and future of the Internet and how it affects human interaction and modern society.

Review:

When scientists who wanted to share data amongst themselves created the Internet their network was limited to trusted colleagues. Security was implied, you are in once you are authorized; having their identities compromised was not a factor. Accountability was assumed amongst the peer group. Fast forward to the world wide web of today and we have an Internet riddled with all the defects you could shake a modem at: cyber warfare, trojan attachments, stolen identities, hackers, deep web black market, gaming addictions, isolationism, artificial intelligence and a potential community of autonomous robots who control humanity in a Jetsons-style future.

Artificial intelligence. Self-driving cars. Soccer playing robots who plot their own action in a game against opponents. The glee felt from the engineers who give their considerable skills and energy to creating these inventions is contagious. The advances and scope of what can be accomplished with networked machines is impressive. So, eventually my car will drive itself while I use the computer which I see holographically from my eyeglass looking mainframes and access with hand gestures? I can even voice command the car to take me to a drive through, order my lunch, then resume scheduled trip? Amazing.

Werner Herzog addresses this panorama of topics in his particularly deep philosophical manner with concern for the impact of humanity on Earth. This feature length documentary poses the question, “Does the internet dream of itself?” How appropriate for a documentary filmmaker who has delved in to so many facets of life that he is credited with having made a film on every continent. Where hadn’t he yet made a film then? In cyberspace!

The philosophical twists that Herzog applies to the range of social, business and political activity internet users engage in deepens the dramatics. His insistence that subterfuge and fraud are ubiquitous is a premise upheld by the living examples and testimonials of the film’s subjects. The theme stands heavily in the dark side of the world wide web’s characteristics; death and scandal, evil incarnating, potential solar flare annihilation. There are a few criminal aspects of the Internet that Herzog has left out, no doubt in the interest of being economical with the run time of the film. However, more noticeably absent in this narrative is any mention of romance online. Is it wrong of me to want Werner to narrate his views of modern dating culture?

The bleaker aspects of our connected world are patiently and authoritatively explained as a way to ward the viewer off of seeking personal experience. In much the same tone as he had on Grizzly Man, where Herzog warned that the tape of the bear mauling could only be heard by the viewers and never seen, here in Lo and Behold we are given a directive that some “unspeakably horrifying” subjects will not and should not be viewed or delved in to further. Achtung! Gruesomely perpetuated sharing of terror and tragedy is given a heart-wrenching example with the Catsouras family; the patriarch received emailed photos of his daughter’s decapitated head from the car accident site she was discovered at. Who would send a father such pictures? The deceased’s mother had a simple answer: Evil. The Anti-Christ at work online.

Apparently the Internet may potentially be eradicated in one massive solar flare. There is high drama in the World Wide Web. The vulnerability and fragility of this connected world to alteration from disruptions, blackouts, hackers or other human weak links is staggering. “Civilization is four square meals away from utter ruin,” we are warned by Internet law Professor Jonathan Zittrain; he is interviewed along with other academics that postulate the end of the web.

Accountability and security concerns are left up to each one of us as we plug in online; basically people are the weak link mucking up an otherwise astonishing platform of interconnectivity. That message is clear. What is notably missing from Lo And Behold were the aspects of the cyber world that have elevated humanity. The ability to be in touch near instantaneously with loved ones in far away places, the communication tools used correctly have revolutionized our relationships. Modern dating and the perpetual search for love are not topics that gain much traction in this film, depriving us of the potential entertainment value of Werner Herzog’s take on Tinder and the subsequent Wernerisms and Twertzogs that would follow.

Werner Herzog is known for his sweeping landscapes and outsized characters, his ability to zoom in to the particulars of large lives and allow us a view in to the microcosm of an otherwise macro subject. He does just this with the geography of the cyber world, until we are caught in the net ourselves. Will the Internet beget other networks, with underlying behavior and patterns of the original web? Will it have it’s own AI consciousness? Will it in fact “dream of itself”? Are we all destined to evolve away from human companionship and in to our own ego fed narcissistic dream worlds? Or will this all crash in one grand solar event? If nothing else, the transitory nature of existence and continued promise of rapid change are emphasized in the conclusion of this remarkable documentary.

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Movie Review: ‘Lace Crater’

Lace Crater Fast Facts:

Director/Writer: Harrison Atkins
Cast: Lindsay Burdge (A Teacher), Peter Vack (6 Years), Chase Williamson (John Dies at the End), and Keith Poulson (Somebody Up There Likes Me)
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 83 minutes
Release: Opens Theatrically NYC + on VOD (Exclusively on FlixFling) on July 29th; Opens Theatrically LA on August 5th; National Rollout to Follow

Review:

New Bitmap Image
Ruth + Michael = Tru Luv 4eva (Lace Crater)

Lace Crater is a cautionary tale of why kids these days should not do drugs, drink, or have unprotected sex… with ghosts (even if they say they’re a virgin).

No, really!

When Ruth (Lindsay Burdge) and her 20-something year old hipster friends go on a weekend getaway to a pal’s family vacation home in the Hamptons (ooh la la!) they pop pills, down a couple of cold ones, and hang out in the hot tub, sharing secrets and telling ghost stories. While this sounds like the making of a stereotypical horror movie (see my review for The Levenger Tapes), things get really unique (i.e. weird) when Ruth returns to her room and stumbles upon Michael (Peter Vack), a ghost who “haunts” the house.

The two engage in awkward conversation that a middle schooler might call “flirting,” partake in drawn-out face touching that is supposed to be “foreplay,” and have a roll in the hay (or should I say… lilies on a casket). That’s right: Ruth and Michael have a magical night of Woman/Apparition sex as illustrated through dramatic zoom ins of burlap sacks and shaky cam shots of nipples. Alas, the next morning he doesn’t even make her eggs (we learn ghosts don’t eat or defecate), and she doesn’t even leave a note that she’ll text him sometime. Instead, Ruth goes back to the city with her friends.

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My dramatic re-enactment of a real Lace Crater scene

Sadly, what happens in the haunted house in the Hamptons doesn’t stay in the haunted house in the Hamptons: Ruth is quickly plagued with vomiting, hallucinations, bouts of strange ooze, and other disgusting symptoms that will make you swear celibacy. What’s worse is that she’s quickly slut shamed by all of her friends, her doctor is a joke (literally), and she has no idea what to do. The rest of the story is her plight to get answers and figure out what’s going on with her. Unfortunately, as Michael says, sometimes there are no answers and we just have to stop looking. So is the case with this film.

I have to admit, the plot to this story is so out there, that when I read the initial synopsis, I told myself, “NO WAY! I MUST WATCH THAT!” Unfortunately, the delivery of the film suffers for exactly that reason.

It’s just too weird for its own good.

I felt like it was trying way too hard to be whimsical and quirky, to the extent that a lot of the intended charm came off forced. For instance, I believe the dialogue was supposed to be realistic and relatable, but hearing all the awkward pauses and stutters were agonizing! Also, for a film that was relatively short (it clocks in at just 83 minutes), it felt unbearably long due to the choppy editing and haphazard pacing. I had mixed feelings on the aesthetics of the movie. Visually, it looks stunning: gorgeous colors, detailed sets, stylish wardrobes, unconventionally beautiful actors, etc. Any one shot would make a lovely photograph. However, everything appeared to be filmed via a handheld camera, so the cinematography was jarring, and, quite frankly, rather nauseating.

I was also very unhappy with the audio quality. Some parts were very quiet, almost inaudible, while others were booming. I began to wonder if the speakers were haunted, too! I feel like the film team should have invested in a dolly and an additional boom mic before starting production.

Though Lace Crater had an original plot and appealing visuals, it was literally and figuratively painful to watch, so unless you have the patience of a saint (or a ghost) I just can’t recommend it to you, GeekGirl World.

For a closer look at Lace Crater, check out the teaser trailer below:

What did YOU think GeekGirl World? Let us know in the comments section!

You can catch Lace Crater when it opens in NYC or on VOD (Exclusively on FlixFling) on July 29th, or catch it when it comes to theaters in LA August 5th.

Want more movie madness, darling cinephiles? Be sure to check out our other film reviews here!

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San Diego Comic-Con: Day 1 Recap

San Diego Comic-Con is officially a wrap! There has been too much news to wrap our heads around in the wake of the convention, so first, let’s take a deep breath, pace ourselves, and take a good look at all the goodies that came out of day 1 of the 4 day mega geek event!

Disney’s Moana will not feature a love interest

Disney’s newest “princess” will be an independent woman who don’t need no man!

Moana directors John Musker and Ron Clements (The Little Mermaid) told San Diego Comic-Con panel-goers that the film’s protagonist, Moana, will not be looking for love in her debut film, but rather herself.

The CG-animated featured film takes place 2000 years ago in the Pacific Ocean. It stars Moana, an adventurous teenager who, with the help of the demigod Maui (voiced by The Rock), sails out on a daring mission to save her people.

Moana hits theaters November 23.

Marvel reveals Luke Cage debut trailer

Jessica Jones’ unbreakable love interest is getting his own series, and now we have the trailer for it!

Netflix’s Marvel series are notorious for their slow releases, but Mike Colter (who plays Luke Cage) confirmed during the Luke Cage panel that the series will be coming to Netflix on September 30.

…& a first look at Iron Fist

Loras Tyrell may have gotten the short end of the stick during Season 6 of Game of Thrones, but the actor who played him, Finn Jones, is doing just fine.

Jones will star in Netflix’s latest Marvel series as Danny Rand (aka Iron Fist), a close friend of Luke Cage, a member of The Defenders, and an incognito martial-arts guru (to sum it up extremely vaguely).

No official release date has been released for the series.

…& the first teaser for The Defenders

All those Marvel and Netflix trailers have been leading up to one thing: The Defenders.

This new Avengers style series will star Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. Plus some of the subcharacters we know and love from our heroes respective series.

No release date has been announced, but the heroes will be uniting in 2017.

Daredevil is getting a third season

In addition to these trailers, Marvel also confirmed that Daredevil season 3 will indeed be happening (thanks Joe Quesada!), but a release date has yet to be announced.

Snowden trailer revealed

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Edward Snowden in Snowden, a theatrical representation of the real story of the CIA’s most infamous whistleblower.

Shailene Woodley co-stars alongside Gordon-Levitt, with Oliver Stone directing.

Snowden hits theater September 16, 2016.

First look at Justice League Action

Featuring over 150 DC characters, Cartoon Network’s upcoming animated series is poised be one of the expansive representations of the DC Universe to date. Each episode of Justice League Action will include two 11-minute standalone series featuring varying characters from DC’s gallery of rogues and heroes.

Cartoon Network has not yet announced an official release date for the series.

MacGyver is coming back to CBS

…Though probably not in the way you imagined.

CBS shared brand new footage of their rebooted, modernized take of the classic 80’s show during the CBS panel.

Lucas Till plays MacGyver, with George Eads starring as his sidekick, Jack Dalton.

The pilot episode will be directed by James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring, Furious 7), so expect this series to be action packed!

Macgyver airs this fall on CBS.

Teen Wolf to conclude after season 6

Sorry, Teen Wolf fans… MTV confirmed during SDCC that their popular series will conclude after season 6. To brighten the mood, here is the official teaser trailer for the latest season:

Stay tuned for more SDCC goodies!

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‘Game of Thrones’: Will Jon Snow be Legitimized?

Jon Snow has been declared King in the North, but that doesn’t mean all the Northern houses will accept a so-called bastard’s claim to Winterfell and its surrounding lands.

For Jon Snow to truly rule the North and Winterfell without opposition, he must first be legitimized as a Stark. Unfortunately for Jon, this isn’t an easy feat to accomplish.

Only a king or queen has the power to legitimize a bastard, a notable past example of this being when King Tommen legitimized Ramsay Bolton at Roose Bolton’s request. Stannis Baratheon once offered to legitimize Jon in return for his aid, but because of that stubborn, stubborn Stark honor, Jon declined his offer. Both Tommen and Stannis are now dead, so as it currently stands, only two people in the realms have the power to legitimize Jon: Cersei and Daenerys.

But don’t hold your breath.

Based on the Lannister’s tumultuous and bloody history with the Starks, it is highly unlikely that Mad Queen Cersei will be legitimizing Jon Snow anytime soon. And as for Daenerys, the woman with a million titles believes that the entirety of Westeros is hers by birthright, so she has no reason to legitimize a man that she will surely view as a political rival.

So short of a full blown political revolution, is there any hope that Jon Snow will be legitimized as Jon Stark/Targaryen?

As it turns out, he may already be legitimized.

In A Storm of Swords, the then King in the North, Robb Stark, makes it known to Catelyn Stark that he wants Jon Snow to succeed him as King in the North and Lord of Winterfell should he perish. Although Catelyn was very vocal against this plan, Robb remained adamant in his decision, declaring that he will legitimize Jon Snow and make him a proper Stark.  Robb was killed during the Red Wedding shortly after this conversation, so we don’t know if he went through with this plan and drafted a royal decree.

If he did, then there’s a good chance that a mysterious Stark ally may hold the key to legitimizing Jon Snow: Howland Reed.

As fans of the HBO series and book series will remember, Howland Reed is the Lord of Greywater Watch and a fierce Stark ally. It was Howland Reed who (in the HBO series) saved Ned Stark from Ser Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy. Howland kept the events of that day secret, therefore helping to protect Jon Snow from certain death at the hands of Robert Baratheon. If ever there was an ally the Starks could entrust sensitive intel to, it’s Howland Reed.

Howland is also the father of Meera Reed, and now that his daughter and Bran are heading back over the wall, the elusive Greywater Watch is sure to be a key stop before Bran heads to Winterfell to reunite with his remaining siblings.

Oh the copious amounts of information that mysterious man must know!

All will hopefully be revealed when Game of Thrones returns next summer, or when The Winds of Winter is finally released later this year. Let’s hope for the latter.

Do you think Robb Stark successfully legitimized Jon? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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Movie Review: ‘Our Kind of Traitor’

Synopsis & Info:

A money launderer (Stellan Skarsgård) for Russian gangsters asks a couple vacationing in Marrakech, Morocco, to deliver incriminating evidence to an MI6 agent (Damian Lewis).
Release date: July 1, 2016 (USA)
Director: Susanna White
Screenplay: Hossein Amini
Story by: John le Carré
Producers: Stephen Cornwell, Simon Cornwell
Our Kind Of Traitor
Our Kind Of Traitor

Review:

Our Kind of Traitor revolves around the idea of things not being what they should, carrying the viewer through a fast paced tale of intrigue that centers around one man’s inability to deviate from his principles. The attractive British couple seem the marriage of opposites. Perry (Ewan McGregor) is a professor of poetics, what we would call a romantic, married to a successful barrister wife, Gail (Naomie Harris), who is the yang to his yin. On a holiday in Marrakech to rekindle romance, the relationship politics make it tough for Perry to fan the flames. What sparks off instead is a chance invite Perry receives from flamboyant Russian Dima, whose apparent wealth and excessive lifestyle dazzles Perry. In short order, Perry is drawn in to Dima’s personal circle and shone a kind of attention and affection otherwise missing from his life. Dima’s circle becomes a noose that slowly tightens around Perry’s neck.

While Gail is juggling her professional responsibilities during the couple’s holiday in Marrakech, Perry is now fully absorbed by charismatic Dima’s invitations. From the first night Perry meets Dima he is drawn in to a Russian party, a bacchanal in which Perry naively attempts to defend a woman from a heavily tattooed man. Dima laughs as Perry’s gentlemanly chivalry supersedes his common sense, the tattooed man a criminal with jailhouse mementos covering his skin would not be a smart opponent for a scrawny British professor. Dima takes Perry in to his confidence quickly, with typical bravado.

As Perry believes that all is as it appears to be, he is not terribly reluctant to help Dima, whose plea is to save not only himself but his family which includes two orphaned girls and Dima’s three children. Perry doesn’t think it a terrible risk to travel a USB memory stick back to the UK and deliver it to M16 at Heathrow as Dima implores him to. Perry accepts all of Dima’s invites without consulting his wife Gail, whose legal mind most likely would have shut down any such activity immediately. The further strain to the couple’s marriage shows, but now the events are set in motion and Gail is propelled in to Dima’s schemes through no fault of her own.

The Prince personifies the somber and aggressive culture of the Vory, or Russian mafia. The new Prince is consolidating his inner circle and weeding out the old guard, his father’s people, a list that includes Dima. The mortal danger that Dima has placed Perry and Gail in by drawing them in to his world bubbles beneath the surface as the British couple continues to follow Dima’s plot. However, now that M16 is involved the intrigue widens considerably. London is a key player in the schemes that the Prince has for his new version of the Vory.

The slow motion opening shot of the film is a visual poetry of ballet that is superimposed against the snow dusted Russian countryside. Our Kind of Traitor travels through cold Russia to steamy Morocco, to the gray asphalt and grandiose architecture of London and Paris to the sweeping green beauty of the Alps. A journey of contradictions in both the characters and the settings occurs, where there is so much beauty there is also so much danger and corruption.

Perry carries the honor and burden of particularly British scruples, he is decidedly moral even while descending further in to the underworld of Dima’s reality. The decision Perry makes to help Dima is born not just from his belief system but also from the desire to leap out of the rut that his life and marriage have got stuck in. That leap of faith that Perry makes leads ultimately to the salvation of the characters involved in this story, who we would generically label as “the good guys”.

Our Kind of Traitor is based on the hit John le Carré novel, adapted for the screen by the writer of Drive Hossein Amini and directed superbly by the well experienced and acclaimed Sussana White. The cinematography of Anthony Dod Mantle and the music score by Marcelo Zarvos lend the story the visual and acoustic dynamics necessary to fully immerse the audience in the world of Perry, Gail, Dima, the Vory and the M16. Once past the gripping opening scene, the film has a hook in and doesn’t let go. As effective as Dima is in recruiting Perry for his needs, so the story captures the viewer to go along for the journey.

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Movie Review: ‘The Levenger Tapes’

The Levenger Tapes
Studio: Lionsgate
Cast: Johanna Braddy (Amanda: the hottie with a heart of gold), Lili Mirojnick (Kim: the tough, sarcastic BFF ), and Morgan Krantz (Chase: the puppy dog)
Genre: Found footage, horror, thriller
Rating: R for Terror, Some Bloody Images and Language
Runtime: 92 minutes
Release: July 5, 2016 via DVD, Digital HD and On Demand
DVD SRP: $19.98

Review:

The plot of The Levenger Tapes plays out like a How to Write a Horror Movie For Dummies book. With 90% “found footage,” 10% “tired cops who don’t get paid enough watching tapes at 3:00 am,” the film features horny co-eds partying during semester break in a secluded cabin in the woods who find bloody clothes belonging to a missing girl (spoiler alert: it’s Katie Levenger, the film’s namesake). They cross an Old Indian Burial Ground (SERIOUSLY!), are attacked by creepy The Hills Have Eyes-esque people lurking in the trees, before ultimately solving a local mystery a la Scooby Doo. Only with more blood, screaming, and camera shaking (naturally).

shoppingBased on my summary of the plot, you’d probably think this was a trite and cliche horror movie worth skipping, but not necessarily.

The relatable friendship between Amanda and Kim and the sub-plot of a small town’s investment in finding a local girl gave each facet of the film something thrilling and enjoyable. I really did like Amanda and Kim! I felt like their inside jokes, loyalty to one another, and even their bickering were relatable. Hearing the two lament about how they could have been spending their break on a beautiful beach resort versus running through the dark and scary woods was actually pretty funny. Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly enjoy (i.e. I HATED) the role of Chase, who bobbed back and forth between being the scared wimp and the machete-wielding hero. The performer’s acting chops also wavered. The only thing that was consistent about him was that he was 100% annoying, 100% of the time. As mentioned, I also liked the sub-plot of the missing girl, but that might be because I’m a sucker for true-crime stories, detective work, and investigations. I kind of wish there could be a “Katie Levenger” cut of this film, where they only show the parts featuring her. Sure, it would be short, but it would also be intriguing!

The sets were standard but fitting: a tacky family home with way too many floral adornments, a dusty abandoned house with vintage pictures on the wall, and a dark forest with tree limbs that reach out like hands in the dark. I also found the camera work to be suitable: shots with “night vision” were appropriate for the scene, and the movement wasn’t so jarring that it gave me motion sickness. The lack of score was typical for a found footage film, with music sprinkled in when the characters were listening to the stereo.

Unfortunately, my biggest complaint about this movie is that it wasn’t particularly scary.

I am often teased for being the biggest “scaredy cat” around, but this film did little to send shivers down my spine or make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. In fact, during many of the so-called “scary parts,” I tapped my fingers on the table, willing the scene to be over out of boredom— not fear. To be honest, GeekGirl World, this is the kind of movie you watch if it’s raining and Netflix is broken and you’re waiting for your cake to finish baking. Not great, not horrible, just kind of inbetween. In a word, The Levenger Tapes is “Meh.”

For a closer look at The Levenger Tapes, check out the official trailer below:

What did YOU think GeekGirl World? Let us know in the comments section!

Be sure to catch The Levenger Tapes on DVD, Digital HD and On Demand beginning July 5, 2016— if you dare!

Want more movie madness, darling cinephiles? Be sure to check out our other film reviews here!

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Documentary Film Review: ‘Misconception’

MISCONCEPTION_27x40_FINISH_Original_Bleed_200px

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jessica Yu’s Misconception offers another take on the question of over population, a fresh look at forces that really drive both familial and environmental destruction, and allows the viewer the opportunity to delve in to one of the most poignant questions for modern humanity: What is the value of one human life? Who decides that? Why?

If the temperature of Russian culture were taken, it would run hot with the need to breed. If you give birth on Russia Day, you may win a luxury SUV. Conversely, the way to win a car in a part of Rajasthan is to be voluntarily sterilized – a program that targets women. The population pressure versus the statistics of a male to female ratio skewed by China’s “One-Child Policy” leads to the first act of this film, aptly titled “Lonely Emperor Seeks Wife”. The 25-year-old Chinese policy led to a severe gender imbalance and was ended this year. The consequences are staggering.

Using elegant visual poetry alongside the investigative documentary format and some reality style videography, Misconception takes us inside three far-flung cultures to review the main topics from very diverse angles. We are invited into the world of a 29-year-old bachelor in Beijing who is searching for love, a Canadian pro-life activist setting off to speak at the United Nations, and a Ugandan journalist with a missing children column in the local news who searches the streets for those who have been abandoned by their largely underage and uneducated mothers.

This intimate look at the myriad of issues surround the larger topic of reproductive health and family planning widens the scope and reveals the heights and depths of the global impact on a vulnerable group: women. This film reinforces the universal truth that what unites humanity is stronger than what divides it. Namely, we are all united in our beginnings as infants who need care, who need stable mothers, parents and community.

The premise suggests that the threat of overpopulation is a myth to be debunked. Statistician/ professor/ academic/ TED talker Hans Rosling of Sweden uses plain talk to explain that humanity has already decelerated global birth rates. Women with access to family planning and reproductive health options have chosen career pathways ahead of pregnancy, while still being sexually active. Now fairly 80% of the planet settles on a two child per couple household; only the poorest 20% are left with the five child statistics of the past. Global birthrates are affected by international policy from the United Nations, government programs, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and not-for-profits (NPO). When the financing of special interest groups drives the latter two, the use of one culture’s agenda is propagated on to a foreign culture. There is a remarkably huge disconnect between religious morals or societal ideals and what people need to survive.

The “Misconception” is that global population may continue to skyrocket. Evidence clearly presented by Hans Rosling guides a conclusion that the global population is rebalancing. For this we can thank women. The assertion is that women’s civil rights movements, the access to contraceptives which curtails unwanted pregnancy, and the ability to gain higher education and access to career choices have all helped contribute to a slowdown of population growth. The high birthrates of the past only occur where education and development for women has not. The film ends by reinforcing that the imbalance of resource usage is the main threat to this planet, that the wealthiest countries are restricting access of resources to the poorest.

The true interconnectivity of all life is what is asserted finally, that we need to switch our focus away from fear and “Misconception” and on to a greater compassion for humanity. The answer to the question of “What is the value of one human life?” should be: priceless.

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‘Suicide Squad’ Character Posters are Here!

It appears that Warner Bros. has been throwing all their pennies into a wishing well for Suicide Squad. 

The company’s advertising strategy for their latest flick has been simple: keep Suicide Squad as tonally different from the widely panned Batman V Superman as humanly possible.

Now, in what appears to be an overachievement of this goal, the company has released not one, but two sets of character posters for the film.

And boy, these posters could not be any more different. Check them out below!

Edition #1: Standard and “Sweet”

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Edition #2: Comic Book Mayhem

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Someone clearly went a little too crazy with the Photoshop brushes in the second set, but whatever – we like them all the same.

Suicide Squad hits theaters August 5.

Which poster set was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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‘Orange is the New Black’ Review: Power Suit

Summary: 

The newcomers stir up ethnic and domestic conflicts, but Maria sees an opportunity. Judy’s special treatments raises eyebrows.”

Review:

The main plot points this episode are with Ruiz, the race issues that are brewing in the prison since the Latin population is growing, Caputo trying to deal with the sizing issue, Piper trying to still act tough with the help of Red, and Judy King making her stay at Litchfield.

I’m very glad how they are developing Ruiz as a character. It was nice to see her background and more about the father of her child. It helped us see that it’s in his nature to be quiet, she understands that, and they do have love for each other. With this flashback, you also see her father, who is El Leon, and why she isn’t really trying to take sides in the race wars. I liked that we got to see how tough Ruiz is, and the ending where she and Blanca are kind of joining forces brings some promise of what might be coming in future episodes.

Caputo dealing with the sizing issues is a nightmare to watch. It was hard to feel sympathy for him because any time he’s trying to help the cause, it seems like he’s making it worse. On what planet does he really think that port-a-potties and ear plugs are a good solution for being one hundred plus people over capacity? The only good thing to come from this was the mention that they should hire retired veterans as COs, especially disabled ones. Their reasoning for it is really shitty, but if this were to happen, maybe Bennett would be coming back. I hope this happens because Daya needs that closure.

Piper is still acting tough and “gangsta”, and it’s still annoying. I do love that she tries to act tough in front of Red, who responds by immediately shutting that stuff down. I wasn’t really a big fan of how she tried to get her roommate to be her “secret service”. It was really embarrassing to watch, and it made me kind of cringe since it shows how much she’s the writer’s favorite.

Judy King is probably my favorite person at Litchfield right now. The fact that she’s just taking advantage of the fact that she’s getting special treatment is pretty funny since it seems like she’s asking for it. She does mention that she doesn’t want anyone that would be a threat or problem as her roommate, which ultimately leads to Yoga Jones being her roomie. It will be interesting to see if she will stick to her guns about not wanting to fully be immersed in the special treatment that comes with that room.

There’s a few little roommate wars that are mentioned in this episode, such as the issues between Cindy/Tova and Alison and the issue between Red and Dwight. There’s also small mentions with Daya and her mother about Ceasar that I’m not going to get too much into, but their relationship is pretty toxic.

The one between Tova and Alison, who isn’t named until later (I had to find her name while rounding the Internet) is definitely supposed to show a religious war, which I feel is not necessary for this story. I understand that religious scuffles do happen, and are happening right now in countries worldwide, but it’s unnecessary for one the main plots in OITNB.

When it comes to Red and Dwight, I can definitely understand how snoring can get annoying. The whole situation between the two was funny, but I hope that this does put a slight end to it. This short plot serves only as comedic relief in an overall serious episode.

Finally, I was hurt and bothered when Maritza and Flacca made fun of Pennsatucky when she asked about the ducks. The ducks were a grooming technique and a good indicator if a guard is going after inmates or just Pennsatucky. It killed me the way that they made fun of her since she showed a lot of strength asking about it. This whole rape plot with Pennsatucky is a strain on me. Every time she tries to get better, something is pushing her back, It’s hard to heal from that.

How did you guys like the episode? Let me know in the comments!

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