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Miss Sloane – ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ DVD Review

Miss Sloane

Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is a powerful, workaholic D.C. lobbyist who uses every trick in the book to achieve her goals.  But her impressive success record, is on the line when she switches sides and leaves one agency to work for another. She fights for the causes she believes in, and the causes she believes she can win for.  Originally she and her team were selected by her boss (Sam Waterston) to fight for gun activists and prevent a bill from being passed, but she is approached by the owner of a smaller, far less prestigious agency (Mark Strong) to fight against her former firm and fight for the gun control bill.  Bringing some of her team with her and joining her new team the lies, deceit, back room dealings and shenanigans of lobbying and political intrigue unfold brilliantly on the screen before us.

Wow, this was an incredible film.  It clearly had a great ensemble cast but Jessica Chastain stood out and was simply fantastic.  She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance, but sadly overlooked at the Oscars.  I’d say that her performance here was every bit as good and as worthy as her previous Oscar nominations for The Help and Zero Dark Thirty.  At first I was a little leery of the film’s runtime of 2 hours 10 minutes, but it was paced perfectly and there wasn’t a wasted minute or slow scene on the screen.  There were twists and turns as you would expect, but just when I though I had Miss Sloane figured out, she bobbed and weaved away from my expectations with tremendous results.  The climax of the film was definitely something I did not see coming, and I really do love that about this film, and films in general.  I love to be surprised when I watch movies, which hasn’t happened a whole lot lately, so Miss Sloane was a special treat.

Bottom Line: A very interesting look at the complex system that is lobbying in the United States.  The film isn’t really as pro gun or anti gun as you might think, rather it’s all about the corruption and dishonesty of politics.  The film could have been arguing about the MacGuffin bill or Johnson rods and been just as effective.

Cooties – ★ ★ ★ ½ DVD Review

Product Details3.5 Stars

From the co-creators of Glee (Ian Brennan) and Saw (Leigh Whannell) comes Cooties, a horror comedy that is full of dark humour.  This certainly won’t be for everyone, but I’m an awful person and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Clint (Elijah Wood) has come back from New York City to his hometown of Ft. Chicken, Illinois to work on his horror novel but has taken a job as a substitute summer school teacher for some extra money.  On his first day at the school, he meets an eternally optimistic old friend (Alison Pill) and her boyfriend (Rainn Wilson) the Phys Ed teacher.  Through a series of events explained over the opening credits, we see a “zombie apocalypse” unfold.  I actually really liked this, because in almost all the zombie films that I’ve seen, you never really find out what started everything. As we see the children of his school turn in to savage, mindless killers; Clint and the surviving teachers have to battle their way to safety through the halls and across a playground of terror.

Now, the biggest problem that Cooties has is that it really is very, very dark humour and subject matter.  It is hard to make a film that contains so much violence against children (and get away with it), even though they made them fairly unlikable and fairly threatening.  The violence and gore at times was over the top, but only to stress the absurdity of the situations.  The film was full of clever dialogue and a great deal of improv from the ensemble cast helped to balance out the darkness of killing zombie children.  Cooties also recognizes and certainly applauds the difficult job that teachers have, though the regular run of the mill ones really don’t have to deal with zombies…

Well acted; a clever twist on the zombie and the horror-comedy genres; and very funny at times, Cooties is certainly a film you have to be in the right mood and mind frame to watch, but if you are, it’s a great way to pass an evening.

Bottom Line: The opening credits will probably turn you off of chicken nuggets for a while….

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