Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Nurse, or: No Cure for Bad Acting

Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab continues! Check out Christa’s review on her blog!

The Film:


Where to Watch:


The Premise:

A nurse who targets cheaters for murder becomes obsessed with a new young nurse at the hospital.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Our film tells the story of Abby Russell, nurse by day, serial killer by night. She picks up cheating scumbags and kills them.

All of Abby’s plans are temporarily put on hold when she becomes obsessed with the nurse she’s training, Danni. Danni is totally oblivious to Abby’s scheming, as she’s young, naïve, and dating Corbin Bleu (who, to be honest, is looking really pretty). Their relationship is a little rocky as he wants Danni to move in, but she is reluctant to take the next step.

Even though Danni is officially a nurse now, she is unprepared when her first critically injured patients come in after being involved in a car accident. The shadiest asshole doctor yells at her to “get in the game,” which I’m 99% sure is a reference to High School Musical.

A man in a beanie talks to two people standing in a graveyard, one of whom is a character played by High School Musical actor Corbin Bleu.
What are you talking about? I haven’t seen all of the High School Musical movies, and it’s ridiculous to imply otherwise.

After her freeze-up, Danni vents to Abby in the locker room. Danni also discovers her stepfather, a psychiatrist, is having an affair. Abby invites Danni out for drinks, which basically turns into an evening of debauchery. Danni hooks up with both Abby and a stranger they meet at the club after Abby drugs her. Abby is sure to get photo documentation that she can use later as blackmail. At this point, I’ve already lost count of the number of times Abby has gotten naked.

A naked woman smiles at a woman who has been drugged.
Exhibit A.

The next morning, Danni just wants to forget everything that happened, but Abby is not about to let that happen. Later, she picks up the stepfather and kills him. When Danni comes to her apartment that night, Abby slips up a bit, and Danni realizes Abby’s role in her stepfather’s death.

Meanwhile, the hospital hires an incredibly perky HR director, Rachel, who gives smiley face stickers to everyone. Rachel comments that Abby looks just like her neighbor Sarah, who was institutionalized at age 8. As it turns out, Abby’s sad story is that, as a child, she and her mother walked in on her father’s affair with a nurse. When her father attacked her mother, Sarah/Abby killed him. Abby decides now is an opportune time for her to invite Rachel out for drinks. This is not going to end well for you, Rachel.

Abby makes Danni believe that she’s killed Rachel, so Danni just looks insane when she calls the police. According to Abby, Danni is the one obsessed with her and may have been involved in the death of her stepfather.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I’m going to wrap this up because (a) I have a cold or terrible allergies or both and (b) I found this movie pretty tedious.

Suffice it to say there are a LOT of murders towards the end of this movie and even more shots of Paz de la Huerta wearing little to no clothing.

A woman with an unconscious man on a table in a lab wears nothing except for a bra and throws her head back in laughter.
Exhibit X, Y, or Z. I’ve lost count.

The Critique:

I was frequently distracted by the terrible acting in this movie, basically on all fronts. I felt like Paz de la Huerta was pretty much doing an impression of Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. Memorable lines she deadpanned: “Call me whatever the fuck you want” and “Are you a no-good cheating son of a bitch?”

The plot was also not original at all, and was more about Paz de la Huerta getting naked than development of interesting plot/characters. Abby’s motivations seemed weak at best, and fuck you, men, if you say she was insane or unbalanced. I’m just really tired of women being dismissed as crazy in worlds both fictional and real.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 2/5 Pink Panther Heads

I wanted this movie to be much more empowering than it was, but it just felt like an 11-year-old boy’s fantasy.

See what Christa thought here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Ravenous, or: Battle of the Beards

Another Monday, another blog collab!  Check out Christa’s review here!

The Film:


Where to Watch:


The Premise:

CANNIBALISM. Nineteenth-century California. I have nothing else to add; you’re either into it or you aren’t.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

So Guy Pearce is getting a medal for his brave service in the Mexican-American War and attending a nice dinner with a bunch of military dudes. Basically, it’s good to be Guy Pearce…for about 3 minutes. He’s really grossed out by everyone’s eating sounds/the bloody steak, which is giving him really bad war flashbacks. When he goes outside and throws up, I guess it’s the last straw for the general (or whatever his rank is?) because he suddenly decides Guy is heading to a remote fort in California.

When he gets to the fort, Guy realizes this is essentially high school; we’ve got the leader, the religious dude, the drunk guy, the extreme army man, the quiet one, and the stoners.

A Native American figure stands with a dog in the middle of a snowy, mountainous landscape.
I’m not even going to pretend I could afford to live anywhere in CA, wendigo or no.

Their delicate social hierarchy is thrown into chaos with the arrival of a severely injured Robert Carlyle (so you KNOW shit’s about to go down). It’s going to be battle of the beards b/c extravagant facial hair was a legal requirement for all serious-minded 19th-century dudes. Not sure what this says about me at the moment, but I kinda dig that every dude in this move seems to be going for the Jesus look.

RC tells his sad story, which is essentially a condensed version of the Donner Party. After they got stuck in a cave, the pioneers all started to eat each other. RC started to feel stronger and in general manlier after consuming human flesh, but he also developed an intense craving for it. George, the Native American guy who likes to get high with David Arquette (seriously), warns everyone about wendigos, but no one is particularly concerned.

Most of the men at the fort form a search party because when RC ditched his group, he left the only lady alone with the insane captain who led them down the path of cannibalism. Perhaps unsurprisingly, shit goes down almost immediately. One of the men falls halfway down the mountain they’re scaling, and all the other dudes secretly breathe a sigh of relief b/c least competent member of the group has already been decided. The injured guy wakes up in the night to find RC licking his wound (not a euphemism), so RC asks the others to tie him up. He starts freaking out as the group approaches the cave, and Guy + super soldier go in to investigate.

Pretty quickly, they realize this is a trap; there are 5 skeletons hanging in the cave, making RC the only survivor in their party of 6…aka the MURDERER/CANNIBAL/WENDIGO.

Actor Robert Carlyle wears period clothing, long hair, and a beard. He is smiling with blood visible at the corners of this mouth.
Please, PLEASE quit OUAT and make more movies about cannibalism.

At the moment of their realization, RC digs up a knife he’s buried in the woods and kills everyone in the group to a very lively bluegrass song. Well, everyone except Guy Pearce. Guy shoots him, but RC is pretty much immune to death. To escape, Guy jumps off a cliff and rolls with the dead super soldier, who comes back to life and tries to kill Guy. Bonus points for this unexpectedly becoming a zombie movie.

Guy eventually makes his way back to the fort, where the military higher-ups don’t believe his story. Since the colonel is dead, the fort is in need of leadership in the form of…Robert Carlyle. Of course. He makes Guy look extra crazy by “proving” he’s not the same man as he is totally free of injury.

When Guy confronts him, RC tries to get him to come over to the dark side. This might be Interview with the Vampire minus Kirsten Dunst?

Somebody else turns up dead, and Guy, who already seems suspicious, is locked up in preparation for a military prison. Also the colonel is alive again b/c he’s a wendigo now. He and RC convince Guy to eat human flesh stew in order to stay alive.

Shortly thereafter, the colonel starts losing it. He lets Guy go, and in exchange, Guy puts him out of his misery.

Then Guy goes after RC while wearing a really comfortable looking sweater.

A man with a well-groomed beard and a blue knitted sweater stands in an old fort.
Don’t ever make assumptions about people with comfy sweaters.

Three possibilities here: one dies, both die, neither dies. Mostly because I can’t think of an interesting way to describe the extended fight scene that is also rife with sexual tension, I’m going to leave you with that.

A man with a bloody nose and mouth stares intensely at another man who is covered in blood.
Seriously, please tell me whether Guy is making a sexy face or a murder face.  Inability to differentiate between the two is the number one reason I have misgivings about relationships.

Also because I’m on a power trip.

The Critique:

I don’t know, I suppose what I really wanted of this movie was more cannibalism. Is that a strange criticism? I don’t care; IT’S VALID. It wasn’t quite as creepy as I wanted it to be, but that’s really the eternal problem, right? Also I wanted Guy Pearce to have less of a moral compass. I don’t understand how killing people AND hanging out with Robert Carlyle could be anything but a win-win situation.

However, I did really appreciate all shots of Guy Pearce looking like a moody Jesus (and there were A LOT).

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5 Pink Panther Heads

I’m not sure I totally understood this movie, but it gets a star for cannibalism, Guy Pearce, and Robert Carlyle, respectively.

Find out what Christa thought here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, a Heartwarming Story about Sticking It to the Man

Yet another edition of Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab!  This week’s film is Christa’s pick, which I wholeheartedly endorse, Lizzie Borden Took an AxCheck out Christa’s review on her blog.

The Film:

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax

Where to Watch:


The Premise:

Lizzie Borden, played by Christina Ricci, is on trial for the ax murders of her father and stepmother.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

One of the first outfits we see Lizzie wearing is essentially something Christina Ricci wears in Penelope. So basically I expected this movie to be Penelope but with murder, and I was not disappointed.

Lizzie lives with her sister, stepmother, and overbearing, borderline obsessive-compulsive father. At one point she’s humming to herself while ironing, and he reminds her “I’ve asked you not to make noise while I’m in this room.” Way to be an 1800s dick, Mr. Borden (there are a lot of those in this movie).

It seems Lizzie’s main hobbies are watching dudes, making crazy eyes at everyone, and shoplifting.

“I’ve always wanted more,” Lizzie says as she checks herself out with a new dress in front of a mirror. All essential elements of a Lifetime movie are officially present.

A woman in a dress shop holds up a silky purple dress in the mirror.

Lizzie’s already considering all angles, as she tells her friend about the shady dudes her father refuses to pay for their sub-par labor. Maybe something terrible will happen at the house, like murder, though obviously not committed by me, Lizzie Borden, LOL.

After Lizzie’s father discovers she has stolen a mirror from the dress shop, he forbids her from attending a party that night. Don’t worry, Lizzie, you SHALL go to the ball, aka den of sin.

A note about the music of this film: it’s so hilariously anachronistic, but it completely works in the way it does for Moulin Rouge. Lizzie’s breakin’ all the rules, so she always gets rebellious rock ‘n roll to accompany everything she does.

Overnight, there is a robbery at the Borden residence: their pet(?) pigeons are dead, and some of the stepmother’s jewelry is missing. Prime suspect? Lizzie. Always Lizzie.

This leads to a big fight between Lizzie and her father; essentially, she’s ungrateful, he’s a Nazi.

The next day, Lizzie is acting super sketchy and messing around with shit in the basement. She tells the maid that her stepmother left to visit a sick friend. Later, Lizzie screams as she discovers her father dead with his face bashed in.

A man with his face bashed in lies on the floor.
Photos are always 1000x creepier in black and white.

When questioned, Lizzie says she was in the barn looking for her fishing tackle at the time, then ate three pears (all of this, of course, while making crazy eyes). There is a stain on her dress, which Lizzie explains is an old stain from stew.

The other dude whose job I don’t really understand, blonde 1800s asshole, is suspicious.

Cut to Lizzie and her sister, Emma, attending the funeral (with this gospel/jazzy song that is kind of close to being a dance track). The funeral is interrupted as the bodies are exhumed for the investigation.

The police/lawyers/1800s people whose job descriptions I don’t understand question Lizzie, asking her to bring in the dress for further examination. So, of course, she burns it.

The blonde 1800s asshole is convinced Lizzie did it and points out “Insane asylums are full of insane women.” FUCK YOU TOO, 1800S DUDE.

When Lizzie is interrogated, she snaps a little bit and reveals she didn’t think of her stepmother as a mother.

Shortly after, Lizzie is formally charged with murder and arrested.

There are several pieces of evidence against Lizzie, though none of them make a whole lot of sense: Lizzie never gave her father gifts, she went in to the drug store/apothecary a few days before and asked about rat poison, and skulls! In court! Just because!

On the other hand, Emma claims she told Lizzie to burn the dress because it was old, and there were also those sketchy dudes who were disgruntled that Mr. Borden never paid them.

In the end, Lizzie is found not guilty, and she makes crazy eyes at the 1800s blonde dude to triumphant rock music.

A woman walks by a crowd of men, glaring off into the distance.
The signature “fuck you, motherfucker” crazy stare.

At this celebratory party, Lizzie is getting super affectionate with one of her lady friends, so IDK if Lifetime is implying Lizzie Borden was a lesbian. I’m going with a yes because it explains why Emma freaks out about Lizzie’s life of sin/invitation of attention/lack of real friends. In response, Lizzie tells Emma that she did, in fact, commit the murders. Emma leaves, NEVER TO RETURN.

Then they go for a bit of Psycho ending here because we get skulls/Lizzie’s bloody face complete with crazy eye stare.


The Critique:

You guys, if 1. I had cable and 2. I didn’t have to work, I would almost certainly stay at home watching Lifetime movies all day. I just don’t get tired of movies about women getting fed up with your bullshit, men, and snapping.

I loved this particular LMN offering because at times it felt like watching the angry feminist Drunk History, so it was kind of perfect.  Next dude I see is getting punched.

Also a million Pink Panther Heads for Christina Ricci making crazy/sexy eyes all the fucking time while wandering around in a nightgown.

A young woman sits at a dining table, looking intensely at a teacup.
I will fuck you UP, teacup.

Christa is prob tired of me saying this, but it was like my childhood dream of seeing Wednesday Addams grow up and commit unspeakable crimes was fulfilled.

Apparently the spin-off TV series, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles started airing on April 5th. Why am I currently doing anything that isn’t watching that show?

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I LOVED the beginning, but I do admit the second half, which focused on the trial, started to drag. Less talking, more ax-murdering.  IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY.

See what Christa thinks here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Housebound, or: Punching Ectoplasm

Another round of Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab!  This week is horror-comedy from New Zealand because of course it is!  Check out Christa’s review here to see what she thinks!

The Film:


Where to Watch:


The Premise:

A woman under house arrest must live with her mother and some not-so-nice residents of the supernatural variety.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Our film revolves around the rebellious and incredibly unwise Kylie, now under house arrest in her childhood home after an incident with an ATM. There were explosions.

A woman sitting on a couch glares angrily at
Kylie, master of resting bitch face.

When Kylie returns home to live with her mother and stepfather for the next 8 months, she makes it clear this is her particular version of hell. Her mother, either the queen of snark or the most clueless optimist remarks on Kylie’s ankle monitor, “Aren’t you lucky having all that fancy technology on your foot?” Other people checking up on Kylie include Amos, parole officer, and Dennis, counselor.

A woman sits with a cup of tea while wearing a very busy knitted sweater.
Kylie’s mother.  That sweater.

In spite of evidence to the contrary, Kylie refuses to believe her mother’s superstition that the house is haunted. This is probably because Kylie has the emotional maturity of a 13-year-old even though she must be approaching 30. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I had way more sympathy for her mom (though I do appreciate a good eye roll). Kylie eats the entire fucking meatloaf her mother made for dinner and won’t let her watch Coronation Street in the evening. If I can deal with NCIS, you can put up with Coronation Street, Kylie.

Basically, I was really glad when something grabs Kylie in the basement, which brings both her mother and Amos to investigate. Kylie tries and fails to explain the presence she felt without admitting it could have been a ghost. When Amos hears of the supernatural possibilities, he pulls out a mini recorder and asks the spirit about its business here. Though he gets no response, he decides to set up some equipment to monitor any paranormal activity.

A man in a dimly lit basement speaks into a handheld recorder as a woman in the background looks on.
All I want to do now is watch Ghost Hunters.

Kylie is still super sarcastic about the whole situation, saying she would punch a ghost in the face if it bothered her. Amos responds “You can’t punch ectoplasm.” A possessed teddy bear quickly convinces Kylie to change her tune.

As it turns out, the house was not a cozy bed and breakfast as Kylie’s mother claimed, but rather a home for the criminally insane. Kylie suspects the ghost is that of a girl stabbed to death in her room with a meat fork. When she tries to explain her theory, no one believes her, and her counselor ends up in the hospital after suffering a ghost attack (I feel there must be some better ghost hunter-y terminology for that, but it’s not coming to me). Prime suspect in attack: Kylie.

Now it’s imperative for Kylie to find out who and why the girl was murdered. Could the crazy neighbor who seems to collect roadkill be responsible? After a really gross attempt to steal his dental plate, Kylie and Amos learn about a kid named Eugene who stayed with him briefly. Eugene liked taking things apart and putting them back together…including animals! A year after he disappeared, the girl was dead.

Oh, also, Kylie’s stepdad is attacked and hospitalized. Then a crazy-looking bearded guy who is apparently living in the walls of the house attacks Kylie herself. Once again, Kylie tries to explain her theory, and no one believes her. In fact, the counselor suggests she needs to be medicated and institutionalized.

A man with wild hair and eyes looks out in surprise from a cupboard he's sitting in.
Crazy wall-inhabiting dude, just for fun.

Suspicion shifts to the counselor, who, as it turns out, worked at the house while the girl was institutionalized there. She, in fact, attacked and beat the shit out of him, causing him endless shame. Or at least enough shame for him to MURDER HER.

Kylie discovers all of this while her mother distracts the counselor/gossips him to death.

A man tensely grips the arms of the chair he's seated in
“You look pretty nervous…”

All of this leads to an intense action-packed sequence involving a knife, a toy xylophone, and a laundry hamper. Also an attempt to use hairspray and a lighter as a weapon.

Okay, I tried to explain the rest of the movie in a way that doesn’t completely ruin everything, but I was becoming so vague that I’d better just stop.


And we get this memorable line from the evil counselor: “You have no idea what it’s like to try to help someone when all they want to do is throw it back in your face!”


The Critique:

In retrospect, the plot was basically Brave but with more ghosts and fewer bears.

This film is a New Zealand production, so there are some delightful accents. I recommend watching based on that alone.

In addition, the humor is actually pretty great, and I especially loved everything Kylie’s mom said.

My only complaint is I wish the movie had been a little creepier.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I think I would almost say 3.75/5 b/c I enjoyed it slightly less than Grabbers and Ginger Snaps, but I’m possibly the only one here who cares about .25 of a Pink Panther head.

Read Christa’s review here!