Movie Review – The Ballad of Lefty Brown

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The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017)
Written & Directed by Jared Moshe

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Lefty Brown is a simple-minded ranchhand whose glory days are far behind him. He’s about to bid farewell to his longtime friend, Ed Johnson who has been elected senator of Montana. However, tragedy strikes and Ed will never make it to D.C. Old friends Tom Harrah and Governor Jame Bierce arrive to comfort Ed’s widow while his affairs are put in order. Lefty takes off to hunt down the killers and is joined by Tom who is trying to bring the old man back home. Instead, they pick up a young kid enamored with the mythology of the West, and whom quickly learns the stories he has heard are not as fantastic and pretty as he thinks. A conspiracy is uncovered behind Ed’s murder that connects to his election as a senator and leaves Lefty as a suspect fighting to redeem his name and avenge his friend.

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Hypothetical Movie Marathon – Haunted Places

It’s October, so that means audiences seek out stories of horror both old and new. One common trope is the haunted place, typically a house but it can be any location where someone has died in an extremely violent or tragic manner. Here is a selection of films (and one tv series) that I think present hauntings in an exciting and sometimes very different way.

The Innocents (1961)
Written by William Archibald, Truman Capote, and John Mortimer
Directed by Jack Clayton

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Based on the novella by Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, this adaptation tells the story of Miss Giddens, a governess who has just arrived at a remote estate in the countryside to care for a wealthy bachelor’s orphaned niece and nephew. The children’s behavior is extremely questionable, and Giddens finds herself attempting to uncover what is driving them to such bizarre extremes. Eventually, she learns of dark events that took place before her arrival between members of the staff and the specters that remain as a result. There are some deep psychological levels to this story beyond the ghosts and this masterfully written, and directed film will linger with you for a long time after viewing it.

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Movie Review – Magic Mike

Magic Mike (2012)
Written by Reid Carolin
Directed by Steven Soderbergh

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Adam is a college dropout living on his sister, Brooke’s couch. After a day of work on a roofing crew that ends with Adam fired he meets Mike, a jack of all trades making money through construction, furniture design and, as Adam quickly learns, stripping. Mike is the star of Xquisite, a strip club featuring male performers. The owner, Dallas has plans to expand to a larger venue in Miami, and the success of his club in Tampa appears to be an omen of good luck. Adam takes to this lifestyle quickly despite the reservations of Brooke. Mike assures her this is a good thing while experiencing impediments in his journey to improve his life. As his days in Tampa dwindle, Mike begins to question the path he thought was clear of troubles.

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Movie Review – The Ides of March

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The Ides of March (2011)
Written by George Clooney, Beau Willimon, and Grant Heslov
Directed by George Clooney

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The Democratic presidential primary has reached Ohio with sights on North Carolina afterward. Governor Mike Morris is neck in neck with his rival Ted Pullman, senator from Arkansas. Stephen Meyers is the junior campaign manager working to help Morris pull ahead and secure the win. He is invited to an informal meeting with the opponent’s campaign manager, Tom Duffy. Meyers weighs what to do, thinking about informing Morris’ senior campaign manager, then deciding against it and going in secret. At the same time, Meyers starts up with a relationship with Molly, an intern with the campaign. Through his involvement with Molly, he learns about a secret that his candidate has been keeping. Meyers is faced with the struggle of pushing forward for a candidate he believes will bring the change that is needed or adhering to his principles and bringing light to these secrets.

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PopCult Watches: Flowers Season 1, Episode 6

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Flowers Season 1, Episode 6 (2016)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe

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There is no fade to black happy ending moment with depression. You keep carrying on, hoping things get better, but with no guarantees. Shun’s story about discovering The Grubbs Family books reflects the one thing that can bolster a person suffering in seemingly unending depression: This is how the world can be, and there are others who feel like you, you are not alone. All we can do in the end is be there for each other, making sure that even someone a million miles away knows you are there for them and you feel the way do as well.

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Comic Book Review – Uncanny Avengers Volumes 1 & 2

Uncanny Avengers Volume 1: The Red Shadow (2014)
Uncanny Avengers Volume 2: The Apocalypse Twins (2014)
Written by Rick Remender (with Gerry Duggan)
Art by John Cassaday, Olivier Coipel, Daniel Acuna, and Adam Kubert

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In the devastating wake of Cyclops’ insurrection, the public perception of mutantkind has plummeted. To remedy this a joint group bringing together the Avengers and the X-Men has been formed. This Unity Squad is composed of Captain America, Wolverine, Rogue, Thor, Scarlet Witch, and led by Havok. They are thrown right into the fire when The Red Skull rears his head, having spliced the newly deceased Charles Xavier’s brain tissue with his own. Possessing the mental abilities of Xavier, Red Skull can force the population to descend into violence and brutality to further his supremacist agenda. However, the Skull is only one danger, with something even worse looming on the horizon. The Skull’s actions ripple into the future bringing the arrival of the Apocalypse Twins and the potential end of Earth.

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PopCult Watches: Flowers Season 1, Episode 5

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Flowers Season 1, Episode 5 (2016)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe

Flowers

Sadness is a painful emotion to express the full experience of to others. Each of our encounters with deep sadness and depression is profoundly personal that it inhibits us from letting others know. These emotions seem to exist outside known language which is what leads to people sound intelligible or merely sobbing, their only avenue of release. Series creator Will Sharpe understands the immutable incoherence of sadness and manages to express his understandings on this state of being with honest humor. In this penultimate episode, characters either reach an explosive pinnacle or find themselves strangled by their condition and unable to speak. Sharpe has stated that Flowers is “comedy with mental illness,” a description that at first may sound merely witty but after you view the series is the very core of everything that happens.

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