Mommy hits hard but has an unnecessary visual gimmick


‘Mommy’ is a heightened melodrama with subtitles – so that should tell you if you want to see it or not.


Sometimes I feel like all indie movies are the same, with stylized cinematography and lighting, achingly acted scenes of pain, and a final message of “love’s great, but life sucks for the most part for most people.” This is perhaps unfair, but soon I realized that it’s not that all indie movies are the same, but that there’s a certain type where it’s always the same. These films are painful to watch if the acting is well done, because you empathize so strongly with the characters and their pain. Naturally, this is tricky, because it also can be draining and ultimately, repetitively tiresome. So it takes a real gem or unique idea to stand out in the crowd. Does this one? Well . . .

Mommy is a French Canadian movie written and directed by Xavier Dolan that aches with sorrow with a few shining moments of happiness that only serve to make the sad parts worse. Diane (Anne Dorval) is a single mother and widow of a troubled fifteen year old son, Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon). Steve also has issues with ADHD, but the film doesn’t quite seem to understand mental illness all that well. There is an opening splash text that in a fictional alternate version of Canada, legislation has been passed that lets parents easily institutionalize kids for a variety of reasons. This is 100% pointless, because the movie does not really need to be in an alternate world for really anything to work.

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Photo Credit: Roadside Attractions


Why you should skip Fifty Shades of Grey and watch Secretary


With the new film about to premiere based on a book that helped coin the phrase “Mommy Porn,” let’s examine how a thirteen year old film already did it better.


With the new film Fifty Shades of Grey coming out for Valentine’s Day, many couples will be tempted to spend their hard-earned cash to see it. Instead, lets look at why 2002’s Secretary is the smarter alternative.

To start, lets look at story. A young woman meets an older man in a position of power named Mr. Grey, the two become attracted to each other and embark on a BDSM relationship. Yes we just described both films with that one simple sentence. Two movies dealing with intense sexual relationships, focused primarily on BDSM, and having the male leads named Mr. Grey. The films diverge from here and show two very different takes on this lifestyle. Fifty Shades puts all the power into the man’s hands and focuses on the purely sexual side, making the female lead little more than a toy for his amusement. Secretary concerns itself with showing a fairly traditional love story, boy meets girls, boy and girl flirt, something goes wrong, girl tries to get boy back … but dressing such a traditional idea with an untraditional relationship. At it’s core Secretary is still a love story where Fifty Shades is a lust story.

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures


Learn the ABCs of love with Teacher’s Pet this Valentine’s Day


If you don’t feel like going out for Valentine’s Day this year, enjoy a classic romantic comedy such as ‘Teacher’s Pet’ (1958) instead in this week’s Throwback Thursday installment. Starring Clark Gable and Doris Day, sometimes it’s fun to be schooled in the schematics of love and journalism.


Valentine’s Day is once more upon us, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a classic romantic comedy starring the legendary Clark Gable and Doris Day as this week’s Throwback Thursday. Courtesy of the Warner Archive Collection, Teacher’s Pet (1958) is an enjoyable rom-com about Erica Stone (Day), who is an effervescent journalism professor, and James Gannon (Gable), a hardboiled city newspaper editor who doesn’t believe a good journalist needs to be educated in the classroom.

In the grand tradition of all rom-coms that have come before and since, there is a meet-cute (boy and girl meet in a memorable way), followed by boy deceives girl and girl finds out and resents him for it, and then in the end, the two are able to forget about their misunderstanding because they realize they’re crazy about one another. In the case of Teacher’s Pet, the meet-cute occurs when Stone sends a letter to Gannon asking him if he would be a guest speaker in her classroom to inspire her students. Gannon scoffs at the letter and sends a rather scathing reply saying that he doesn’t subscribe to the concept of teaching journalism when individuals who want to be reporters should be knocking about as hangers-on in the newsroom, learning from seasoned veterans such as himself as they go.

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Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures


Power Rangers returns with new thrills, excitement and more ethnic diversity!


The Power Rangers are back with new villains, new powers and – drum roll, please – more ethnic diversity! In this week’s Clacking in Color, the fun column spotlighting diversity on television, writer Jaylen Christie discusses why ‘Power Rangers Dino Charge’ is fresh, fun and long overdue!


If there was ever a venerable children’s franchise that refused to die, Power Rangers may just be the one. What started in 1993 has now spawned a two decade long authorization of fun television programming, movies, video games, and countless action figures – and I have been with them every single step of the way. It’s been several months since I’ve penned an editorial for CliqueClack, but having Power Rangers back on my flat screen has rather reinvigorated me.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen … I’m back.

Power Rangers Dino Charge premiered on Nickelodeon on Saturday afternoon though if you’re a fan like me, chances are you probably watched the premiere episode one week early on Nick.com. At any rate, the first installment really set the tone for Dino Charge and based upon what was shown, fans and casual viewers are in for a ride. Instead of the typical totalitarian villain bent on conquering the planet, Power Rangers Dino Charge concerns Sledge, a vile intergalactic bounty hunter on the hunt for the Energems. Who could blame him? All powerful gems with endless energies aren’t exactly available on EBay or Amazon.com. However, there to oppose him are the Power Rangers, who in this series harness the dynamisms and strengths of the ancient dinosaurs.

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Photo Credit: Saban Entertainment


Is Backstrom the next House?

what a dick

Treading on all too familiar ground, ‘Backstrom’ is a mean spirited and uninspired take on the likable sociopath model.


Over the past few decades one thing has become abundantly clear — television audiences love sociopaths. Whether it’s Scrubs‘ Dr. Cox, or the titular characters of Dexter, Sherlock, and House, America seems to love emotionally distant yet brilliant characters. Sometimes they push into psychopathic territory but they still end up fan favorites, sometimes they’re the hero, other times a mentor, and other times villains we love to hate.

Fox is betting on that affection for the new show Backstrom, they even gave it the tagline “Brilliant detective, total dick.” Unfortunately Backstrom comes up lacking in the brilliant department and very heavy on the dick. As of this article, there have been three episodes of the show so far, all three have been painfully uninspired and lacking any real charm. The only real stars in the show are Dennis Haysbert, of 24 and Allstate commercial fame among countless other projects, along with Six Feet Under and The Office star Rainn Wilson as Backstrom. The rest of the cast is made up of fairly unknown actors. There are some pretty faces in the supporting cast but no one really stands out as particularly memorable or special. No one sticks out as particularly bad either, just forgettable.

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Photo Credit: Fox


Seventh Son is mediocre, but entertaining, medieval fantasy fare


When Spook John Gregory yearns to retire, training a suitable replacement is anything but an easy task. Does young Thomas Ward have what it takes in ‘Seventh Son?’


Mankind has long held a fascination with eerie things that go bump in the night and the mysterious fraternal orders that are bound by duty to keep us safe from such creatures. In Universal Pictures’ latest offering Seventh Son, we’re introduced to The Wardstone Chronicles (UK)/The Last Apprentice (US), a young-adult series written by author Joseph Delaney. This book series follows the supernatural adventures of Thomas “Tom” Ward (Ben Barnes), who is the seventh son of a seventh son, and therefore the apprentice of Spook John Gregory (Jeff Bridges). In this fictional world, a Spook is the title given to a knight who is bound by duty to fight against supernatural evil.

Only the seventh son of a seventh son is strong enough to fight against a gaggle of ghosts, ghasts, witches, boggarts and the like.

Only the seventh son of a seventh son is deemed strong enough to fight the good fight against a gaggle of ghosts, ghasts, witches, boggarts and the like. It seems this is a dying breed, as Gregory is the last of the Spook Masters. All of his apprentices have ultimately failed, having been killed by dark forces during their extensive training process. This is all bad enough for Gregory to contend with, but when you throw in the fact that the blood red moon is rising – an event that only happens once a century – and Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) is once more free and gathering her evil minions to take over humanity, well it becomes a dire situation not for the faint of heart indeed. Mother Malkin is the evil queen of the witches. She is very powerful and dangerous with bloodthirsty, vengeful feelings for the Spook. She will stop at nothing to see that the Spook and his young apprentice fail their quest to undermine her uprising.

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures


Jupiter Ascending is a mess but still manages to entertain

Jupiter Ascending 04

After the tour de force of ‘Cloud Atlas,’ The Wachowskis are back with the visually amazing but story-challenged ‘Jupiter Ascending.’


The Wachowski’s have had a varied and checkered career, bursting onto the cinema landscape with the groundbreaking The Matrix and then nearly crashing and burning with two Matrix sequels and Speed Racer. The siblings redeemed themselves (or not) with the outstanding Cloud Atlas, and now they are back with another stunning piece of work, Jupiter Ascending.

The question is, are viewers going to be stunned in a good or bad way? The film is definitely taking its hits already from critics and advance screening audiences, but I’m not going to be quite as harsh on the film as many people are.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures


Wicked, Wicked: The perfect vehicle for curing your insomnia

Wicked Wicked

The only thing wicked about this Throwback Thursday offering from 1973 is the title. It does manage to make many of the Z-rated groaners out there seem high-falutin’ by comparison, however.


You have what you think is a pretty good gimmick. And a horror/slasher story to showcase it in. So you make a film to exploit the gimmick with the intent of capitalizing on it.

Wouldn’t you think the film you make be a reasonably decent one, one with legs to stand on? At least a little bit?

That’s not what writer/director/producer Richard L. Bare and executive producer William T. Orr decided to do. They took a budget of $1.5 million, set up camp for 48 days at the Hotel Del Coronado across the bay from San Diego and proceeded to shoot a film with the ploy of “Duo-Vision” (better known as split-screen) and churned out a piece of schlock that’s barely watchable. Actually, calling it schlock is giving it more credit than its due; this is 90+ minutes of drivel. (Note: They actually came in under budget on the film. I doubt utilizing the entire amount would have made it any better.) Continue reading 'Wicked, Wicked: The perfect vehicle for curing your insomnia' »

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.


You can thank Jay Black for ION’s Meet My Valentine

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CliqueClack’s own Jay Black wrote and starred in ION’s upcoming valentine’s day special, ‘Meet My Valentine’, and I got a chance to see it. And now I don’t know if I know Jay anymore.


Some of you may remember Jay Black from the old days of TV Squad, or maybe from the PodClack and Hungry Trolls podcasts he did for us, along with a brilliant post thrown in here and there. Or maybe you just know him as stand-up comedian Jay Black, showing up in a town near you, or even Vegas (baby)! I’ve even caught his act a couple of times, when he’s been in my neck of the woods — he’s damn funny! I love him! He’s gotten funnier every time!

And then there’s Meet My Valentine.

Airing on the ION Network Friday, February 6th — a week before Valentine’s Day — Meet My Valentine stars Scott Wolf (V, Party of Five) as artist Tom Bishop, Courtney Ford (Revenge, True Blood) as his wife, chef Valentine Bishop, and, of course, Jay Black as Tom’s best friend, stand-up comedian Mac Brown.

Now, you’re thinking, “Hey, this title sounds like it’ll be a great date movie; perfect for Valentine’s Day! I’ll cozy on up by the fire with my lady/man/cat friend and have a swell ol’ time. I mean, hey, it was written by — and stars — a comedian! What joy!” I wouldn’t blame you one bit for thinking that. Deb and I sure thought something along those lines, minus the fire part, because we’re lazy and the fireplace has books stacked in front of it.

But we’re all DEAD WRONG!

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Photo Credit: ION Network


Win passes to see Seventh Son in Baltimore, DC or Virginia Beach

Be the first to see the new fantasy film ‘Seventh Son’ in Baltimore, DC or Virginia Beach. Read on to find out how to get your passes.



CliqueClack has partnered with Universal Pictures to offer readers in Baltimore, DC and Virginia Beach an opportunity to attend an advance screening of the new fantasy film Seventh Son starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue with Djimon Hounsou and Julianne Moore.

In a time of enchantments when legends and magic collide, the sole remaining warrior of a mystical order (Bridges) travels to find a prophesied hero born with incredible powers, the last Seventh Son (Barnes). Torn from his quiet life as a farmhand, the unlikely young hero embarks on a daring adventure with his battle-hardened mentor to vanquish a dark queen (Moore) and the army of supernatural assassins she has dispatched against their kingdom. Based on the book series The Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney.

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
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