Episode 141 iTunes Error Update: 12/3/14

Hi guys!

Due to an unexpected error with our FTP site (the nifty site that transfers our episodes from our website into your iTunes and Stitcher accounts), our most recent episode 130b did not upload to iTunes or Stitcher correctly last night. We have corrected the issue on our end, however, iTunes only pulls new files once a day. Because of this, you may see a partial version of this episode in your inbox today. Rest assured that the fixed episode should be in your iTunes tomorrow. In the meantime, you can always listen here on hellosweetiepodcast.com, as well as on Facebook. Thanks for your patience!

Episode 130b iTunes Error Update: 10/23/14

Hi guys!

Due to an unexpected error with our FTP site (the nifty site that transfers our episodes from our website into your iTunes and Stitcher accounts), our most recent episode 130b did not upload to iTunes or Stitcher correctly last night. We have corrected the issue on our end, however, iTunes only pulls new files once a day. Because of this, you may see a partial version of this episode in your inbox today. Rest assured that the fixed episode should be in your iTunes tomorrow. In the meantime, you can always listen here on hellosweetiepodcast.com, as well as on Facebook. Thanks for your patience!

Cherri Reviews “The Judge”


I may be a little biased when I say this, since it contains three of my all time favorite actors and is in one of my favorite film genre’s, but David Dobkin’s The Judge may be the best dramatic film of the year. It is dripping with Oscar caliber performances, and the writing and directing are nearly flawless. Possible trigger warnings for graphically real depictions of cancer treatment and its side effects… the writers pulled no punches in showing the harrowing nature of life with a deadly disease. But aside from the intense family drama, there is a gripping legal battle being fought against the backdrop of a small town, where honor and loyalty are still the law of the land.

Robert Downey Jr.’s performance can only be described as emphatic; sometimes heartbreaking, always riveting. His cocky attitude and frenetic animation make him simultaneously affable and boorish. He has an uncanny ability to show deep emotion in nearly any role, and he certainly does not disappoint here. Not to take anything away from his stellar performance, but it certainly feels something like what I’d expect to see if Tony Stark went into law instead of billionaire genius playboy philanthropist-ing and Howard Stark was a judge in their shitty hometown.

And speaking of estranged father figures, Robert Duvall delivers a stunning performance on the other side of the love-to-hate-them coin, as Downey Jr’s domineering father, a judge who is in his 42nd year on the bench. The relationship between Robert Downey Jr’s character, Hank, and his tiny Indiana hometown plays almost as large of a role in the film as his relationship with his family, and the addition of Bates Motel’s Vera Formiga as Hank’s long time, long ago lover brings a delicious taste of nostalgia to the whole experience, despite her performance being, I feel, the weakest in the film. The audience is constantly forced to evaluate how they feel about Hank, his family, and his past, all while the same turmoil is played out onscreen. I was so wrapped up in the beautiful groundwork of the story, that I was completely caught off guard at the mid-film appearance of Billy Bob Thorton as Hank’s opposition during the aforementioned legal battle; attorney Dwight Dickham, another performance which does not disappoint. I was pleased to see him return to the screen with the same caliber character portrayal that he executed in Fargo.

The Judge is gripping, brilliantly performed, and beautifully executed, if not slightly predictable at times. For the gut wrenching realism of the cancer story, the near flawless performances, and the touching story about coming back home and the uncovering of things that sometimes can’t stay buried, I give The Judge 4 out of 5 sonic screwdrivers, with deductions made for a couple of less-than-rockstar performances and a bit of predictability. It delivered on everything I expected of it, and even more.

Danielle Reviews Things!!!: A TWOFER! pt 2

As I stated in my previous post, I was lucky enough to screen 2 films this week.

Gone Girl
Directed by David Fincher
Release date: 3 October 2014

gone girlI read Gillian Flynn’s thriller Gone Girl last year.  I had a hard time putting it down, I was so sucked in.  It stirred so many emotions in me and I love it when a novel can do that.  When I learned that David Fincher was adapting the book into a film, with Flynn as the screenwriter, I was so excited. This was *my* most anticipated film of 2014.

On their 5th wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne finds that his wife Amy has gone missing.  This is seriously all you need to know about the storyline.  From here you just have to watch everything unfold.

David Fincher is a master.  His book adaptations are top notch and strive to stay as close to the books as possible, and this is no exception.  Portions of the story is told using Amy’s personal diary and I was worried a bit how this could be translated to film.  Now after seeing it I’m sad I doubted Fincher.  The music, done by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, was beautiful and chilling when it needed to be.  Every actor portrayed their characters how I imagined.  Rosamund Pike (Amy) was especially amazing (pun intended).  I left the theatre supremely satisfied–so much so that when I was asked to provide the studio execs a quote I just babbled about how much I loved it.

5 out of 5

Danielle Reviews Things!!!: A TWOFER! pt 1

This week I was lucky enough to get to screen two very different films.
First up: Annabelle
Directed by John R. Leonetti
Release date 3 October, 2014

annabelleI am a huge fan of horror films.  I love them; I can discuss them for hours.  I also really love creepy stuff.  Serial killers, unsolved murders, mysterious abandoned towns, etc.  So when I learned about the Lorraine and Ed Warren I was really interested.  A couple who traveled around collecting cursed artifacts, saving families from scary dolls, and maybe ghosts?  Yes please!

The real Annabelle is an average looking Raggedy Ann doll but she is far more sinister.  The owners alleged that she would move on her own, write them messages, and she was even known to attack one of their friends.  They called the Warrens for help.  They investigated the doll and decided it’d be best for everyone if she were locked up in a glass case in their museum of oddities.

The film version of Annabelle was introduced in James Wan’s film The Conjuring and completely unrecognizable next to the original–the red yarn hair was traded for blonde braids, she was given a dark and twisted grin, wide eyes, deep dimples and rosy red cheeks.  She was completely unsettling to look at.  She was given only a few minutes of screen time but that seemed enough to get her her own movie.

Annabelle is a prequel, explaining how the doll came to be possessed.  The film is set about two years before The Conjuring.   The story begins with a beautiful young couple in a perfect suburb.  It’s kinda gross how cute and perfect they are.  He is finishing up his residency and she is 8 months pregnant with their first child and collects dolls, which isn’t weird at all.  She has a room full of them.  It’s actually really weird.  She receives the Annabelle doll as a gift from her husband, completing her set of equally ugly dolls.  When they are attacked by members of a satanic cult, their lives are turned upside down.

The story is quite lacking and the ending leaves much to be desired, but the film has a lot of scary atmosphere.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared most of the time.  The longer the doll is possessed, the more terrifying she gets.  There are some cheap jump scares, but I didn’t find it to be as annoying as I normally would.  The second half of the movie feels very inspired by Rosemary’s Baby (which is a VERY good movie and a good book).  This movie was fun to see once but if I want more scares from this universe, I’m sticking with The Conjuring.  

2.5 out of 5 stars.

Danielle Reviews Things!

this time:  Lazarus vol. 1
Written by: Greg Rucka
Artist: Michael Lark
Colorist: Santi Arcas
Publisher: Image Comics

Splash Page Comic Art & Comic Asylum Retailer Variant of Lazarus Issue 1Image Comics is seriously an unstoppable force in the comics industry. They are constantly putting out new and exciting indie titles in all kinds of genres–fantasy, western, spy thriller, horror, comedy, etc., etc.  They are a force to be reckoned with.

I picked up Lazarus from our fine sponsor Dr. Volts Comic Connection not knowing what to expect from the story. Every review I had seen was positive so I decided it was time to nab it.  It did not disappoint.

The comic is set in the future where there are a handful of families who completely control the wealth, power, and resources.  There are people allowed to work for the families and everyone else are Waste, left to be exploited and fighting for survival in the territories.

Each family has one member who serves as their protector. This protector has received all kinds of training and scientific and technological advantages. They are faster, stronger, and are able to regenerate after being injured. They are called Lazarus. Forever is the Lazarus for the Family Carlyle and she is amazing. The story begins after Forever is attacked on her family compound and things begin to escalate from there.

The story is an incredibly intense and action-packed sci-fi thriller. The inclusion of the “Family: Prelude”, which was a 4-page short that was originally only available online, was really good and gave some more background to the Forever and her place in the Carlyle Family. My only problem with this first volume was that it wasn’t long enough–the trade only includes the first 4 issues of the series. I’m really looking forward to picking up the second trade and continuing this story.

4.5 stars out of 5

Review: What If?

What-If-Movie-Poster

What If, starring Daniel “Pocket Prince” Radcliffe is not unlike most indie romantic comedies. It takes one man and forces him to conquer some obstacle to get his whimsical lady. Critics are calling it this year’s (500) Days of Summer, which I totally get. (500) Days of Summer was one of those movies that you either loved or hated, and it depends upon which character you related to most. I hated that movie, so I was hesitant to consider the possibility that I might enjoy What If.

Surprisingly, it’s adorable. Radcliffe plays Wallace (another indicator of indie-ness, weird names), a med school dropout who meets Chantry (played by Zoe Kazan, seriously with these names) and is immediately smitten with her. Unfortunately, she has a long-term boyfriend that she lives with. They agree to be “just friends” and the rest of the film is a tale of how one man battles against the dreaded “friendzone”. It’s a frustrating concept to put into film, and depending on where you sit on the subject of the “friendzone” will determine how you feel about What If. I, as the journalist I am, was able to set aside my bias and enjoy the movie for what it was–a romantic comedy. It’s charming. Radcliffe is charming and definitely coming into his own as a post-franchise actor. The characters are unrealistic, with their witty spitfire inspirationalisms and brashness, but the relationships make the movie whole. It’s a film about relationships, why not make all of them, friends and lovers alike, believable and relatable? The refreshing aspect to their unbelievability is how honest and straightforward each character is with one another. The one instance in the film where no one is straightforward leads to the climax of the film, and actually fits well into the overall plot and character theme. It’s a cute movie, just don’t expect it to be realistic.

If you’re on the side of “these bitches and their friendzone bullshit” you maybe won’t enjoy this movie. But isn’t that what all romantic comedies are? Movies about people who make terrible life choices and somehow find love in the middle of it all? Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s what life is too.

Rebecca Frost

Review: Wish I Was Here

wish_i_was_here

 

When I was in high school, Garden State was my everything. The soundtrack to my life, the theme to my moods, the dream I aspired to achieve. I lived my life as an indie flick, staring blankly at an invisible camera and taking long, dramatic pauses in my thought patterns. I idolized Zach Braff and everything he did. Cut to nine years later and I was still giddy with excitement when I heard Braff was writing, directing, and starring in a new film. I avidly watched his Kickstarter video and waited patiently for this new release. I am acutely aware of Braff’s style and the attitude that surrounds him. He is painfully artistic and self-aware and aims to be the filmmaker of his time. Some people dig it, some people hate it. I happen to adore it.

Wish I Was Here stars Braff as a middle-aged father who lacks direction. He is an out of work actor, an alright father, an alright husband, an alright son and brother. Supremely average. His wife, played by Kate Hudson, does wife-things and works. Her character is difficult, she is cursed with the “hot wife” role and doesn’t contribute much else. She is, unfortunately, misused. His children (one played by the creepy kid from Looper) attend Hebrew school and struggle with differences most siblings face. The daughter, so passionate about her heritage and faith and the son, rambunctious and playful. They steal the show. Josh Gad, who plays Braff’s brother, is extremely underused and is given the most poignant parts of the film. Braff’s father, played by Mandy Patinkin, becomes the central plot as the family deals with his cancer and how it will soon kill him.

Going in, I was expecting the usual Braff-flair. Deep, moody, long shots set to an incredible indie soundtrack. The soundtrack doesn’t disappoint (So. Much. Indie.), and his direction and script turns your predisposed belief on its head. The film overall, much like the lead character, lacks direction. For each moving and serious moment, there is an equal and opposite wacky one. A rabbi on a segway, comic con cosplays and colorful wigs. Wish I Was Here takes a common, daily struggle most of us face (impending demise of a family member, financial and marital struggles) and tries to remove the mundane aspects of it and help you realize to appreciate even the mundane. We often forget about simple filmmaking and storytelling. There are no outlandish plots or incredible characters or miraculous outcomes in this movie. Everyone has a struggle, let Braff show you this particular one and help you sort out your own.

-Rebecca

Danielle Reviews Things!!!: The Purge: Anarchy

The Purge series aren’t the first horror films to mix politics and terror.  The best examples are George A. Romero’s films.  They’re chock full of underlying political commentary on different things, such as capitalism (Dawn of the Dead), racism (Night of the Living Dead), or chemical warfare (The Crazies).  Unlike George A. Romero, James DeMonaco–the writer/director of The Purge films–has never heard of subtlety.

Anarchy begins the same as it’s predecessor.  It is the near future and the US is run by the New Founding Fathers.  The NFF have enacted a 12 hour period once a year called the Purge where citizens are allowed to do anything they want without any repercussions.  Citizens use this time period to “release the beast” and break any laws they want, including murder.  There are some basic rules about weapons that aren’t allowed and stuff, but really, anything goes.  Since this was put in place, the country is stronger than ever before.  Crime has basically been eradicated, the middle class is strong and thriving, the unemployment rates and the poverty line are exceptionally low.  But the real reason that the NFF enacted this is far more diabolical.  The Purge is an easy way to control the lower class and homeless population.

The film differs from the first in ways that actually make it better.  Unlike the original, there are now three main storylines that are brought together by the annual Purge:  a skinny version of Manu Bennett who is hellbent on revenge; a single mother and her teenage anti-Purge activist daughter; and a young couple on the verge of separation.  (There is also a group of militant activists, lead by the incredible Michael K. Williams, who are beginning a war against the NFF and the 1% purgers–disgustingly rich folks who can afford to BUY poor people so that they can purge from the comfort and safety of their homes.)

The message of the film is very heavy-handed but it is an interesting one.  There are plenty of stomach-churning moments.  There are also a couple of laughs (probably unintentional, but what can you do?).  The ending is very open-ended, there will totally be a sequel.  I do feel like this movie did more for the actual Purge law storyline than its predecessor.

2 3/4 stars, because I did really enjoy myself for the most part but it was still insanely dumb and cheesy.