Movie Review | Rabid Dogs (2015)

Director Eric Hannezo takes viewers on a crimson wave of crime, desperation and psychological warfare in this bombastic thriller. A remake of Mario Bava’s 1974 film ‘Cani Arrabiatti’, ‘Rabid Dogs’ is a peculiar film that breaks away from crime drama convention at every turn. You will not find Hollywood’s Robin Hood-romanticism of bandits here. What you will encounter is an up-close and uncomfortably personal encounter with a group of criminals devoid of a moral creed or any emotional pathos. This is ‘Rabid Dogs’ and there is nothing, docile about it. 

Going for the jugular in its opening scene, Hannezo plunges into the chaotic aftermath of a bank heist gone horribly awry for its perpetrators. The four crewmembers (Guillaume Gouix, Francois Arnaud, Franck Gastambide and Laurent Lucas) burst onto the scene, furiously attempting to escape the reckoning of a bloodily, appropriated take. They soon seek out hostages and find their first in a woman (Virginie Ledoyen) walking to her car. When the attempt to flee in her vehicle is thwarted, they take a man (Lambert Wilson) and his daughter captive for transportation. From here a white knuckle journey with terrified hostages and their paranoid captives takes arresting form.

As its high charging story, ebbs and flows with unexpected spurts of violence, ‘Rabid Dogs’ takes on a sense of woozy wonderment at its morally bankrupt thieves and after one has adjusted to the realization that its antagonists are rail thin in the redemption department, the attention shifts to their victims. The movie strokes its audience with enough teasing to believe, like its female protagonist, there is some way to change the course of their fate through an emotional appeal but it cannot.

There is a danger that sinisterly lurks beneath the surface of this particular story that makes it unnerving in a way most English-language films are too timid to attempt. It never lets up on the sense that its hostages are at constant risk and that the tide can turn against them in an instant. Adjusting to its rash nature requires some patience as it risks losing viewers with an opening act that’s madness can overwhelm to the point of disillusion. If you can make it past the rough break of its stormy waves, a rigorous yet compelling venture awaits.

Hidden Remote Links: 'Pretty Little Liars' Prep & Season 7 Premiere Coverage

‘Pretty Little Liars’ is back and all of the critical coverage you need to read to enjoy it all is available below. In the ensuing articles, you will find in-depth looks at PLL’s core characters, including Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse), Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale), Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell), Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson), Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) and Liars’ outsider Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish). Plus, get the Top 5 takeaways from 'Pretty Little Liars' seventh season premiere with a recap that breaks down the essential plot developments that shaped the season opener. 

Included in the firstly mentioned Hidden Remote exclusive is a quick rundown on each character’s history, fun facts regarding that colorful history, their current romantic status, a breakdown of their relationship with each Liar, their personality distinction, worst crime, greatest rival, the theory surrounding their season 7 storyline and their best scene.

The idea behind this piece was a chance to explore characters that have come to mean so much to PLL fans throughout the years and as the series appears primed to say goodbye, or at least end this leg of its journey, it seemed right to not only take a trip down memory lane but also reengage with the characters, regular viewers have not seen since March. Delving into each character, brought a newfound appreciation for this complex series and how truly rich PLL's writing really is. 

There is nothing two-dimensional about its characters and contemplating their differing personas whilst writing these features, brought that home in surprising ways. There are attributes you can appreciate in each of them and even when they are bringing out the absolute best and total worst in each other, they offer a compelling glimpse into the connective tissue of the human experience and particularly, female dynamics. 

Having gained new insight into these vivid characters, it has made the excitement surrounding the new season boundless. So stay tuned to Hidden Remote as coverage continues rolling in and rest assured that if you miss any of it, you will be able to find the links to them here on Eclectic Pop. To read the teased articles, simply click on the titles that peak your interest…

Hidden Remote Links: May-Early June | 'Game of Thrones', 'The Blacklist', 'Bloodline', 'Penny Dreadful', 'Scream' & 'Beauty and the Beast'

As some of you may know, I am now a Staff Writer at (on Twitter @HiddenRemote) – a TV-focused website. In case you have missed any of the content that has been linked to on @EclecticPop’s Twitter or Google+ accounts, here is a chance to catch up. Below you will find the links to all of my pieces for the month of May and the beginning of June. Among the articles below, you will find features on ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘The Blacklist’ and ‘Bloodline’ along with recaps of ‘Penny Dreadful’, ‘Scream’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Simply scroll down to the topic of your choosing and click the title to read it. Remember to bookmark so you can keep up with all of the site’s new content on a daily basis. Happy Reading!

Game of Thrones

The Blacklist


Q&A - 'Bloodline' Star Justin Kusclain Dishes on Season 2

Top 10 Most-Read Posts of May 2016

Another month has come and gone on Eclectic Pop, which means it is time to look back at May’s most popular content. So what were the top trends among readers? Let's find out. The TV Rundown and movie reviews tied with 3 spots each. The new Q&A-inspired feature Entertainment Inquiry landed on the list twice. The column discussing the movies on Netflix came in at #2, while the Inquiry covering the streaming giant’s TV options landed in the #8 spot.

Despite being published at the very end of May, the movie review for 2015’s phenomenal ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ charged its way onto the month’s most-read with a #9 finish. New to Netflix streaming in May was ‘The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun’ starring ‘White Queen’ actress Freya Mavor and a review of it came in at #7. Giving new life to readers' interest in 2014’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ came courtesy of the recent release of ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’. Stay tuned to Eclectic Pop because a full review of ‘Apocalypse’ is on its way.

As for the TV Rundown; interest in The CW's 'Reign', HBO's flagship series 'Game of Thrones' and the fourth season of A&E's sensational 'Bates Motel' drew strong enthusiasm among readers. The Rundown specifically addressing the return of the first two mentioned series and the 7th episode of 'Bates', claimed the #3 slot. While the Rundown reacting to the highly anticipated, resuscitation of 'Game of Thrones' character Jon Snow (Kit Harington), came in at #6.

How did music, movies and TV compare in terms of categorical popularity? Movie and TV-centric posts each accounted for 40% of the list, therefore tying in reader interest. Last month’s Most-Read Recap landed in the #5 position. The only musically inclined post of the month, the playlist for #RKC’s presentation of Eclectic Selection #10, claimed the top spot. To discover all of the posts that made the Top 10, scroll down and click the titles to read them.

Entertainment Inquiry #4 | Answers to Pop Culture's Big Questions - including 'A Bigger Splash', 'DWTS' & more

Since there is only so much time in the day to read 750+word reviews, it seemed right to boil down all of the sentiments expressed on Eclectic Pop into a simple question and answer format; getting to the point in a concise and clear manner that transforms those broader analyses into a bite-size read. 

If there is an entertainment topic you want a quick answer to, the Entertainment Inquiry aims to give it to you. These questions have been self-generated by taking into account current hot topics and the entertainment interests you already come to Eclectic Pop for coverage on. From alternatives to recent blockbusters to what is worth watching on Netflix, here are the answers…

TV Rundown: 'Reign' Special Edition | Reviewing Episodes 14 & 15 of Season 3

‘Reign’ returns for its final 3 episodes of the season: Monday, June 6 at 8/7c on The CW. So the TV Rundown is here to catch you up on what happened during the last two episodes, before its brief break with this double feature. 

Season 3, Episode 14: ‘To the Death’ 

Micro Synopsis:
Mary (Adelaide Kane) prepares to make her return to Scotland. Elizabeth (Rachel Skarsten) recruits Lola (Anna Popplewell) for a personal mission of revenge. Greer (Celina Sinden) finally realizes where her only path to happiness, truly lies.

The Rundown: 
While Bash’s sudden profession of love to Mary was certainly surprising, it was Greer who took the spotlight in ‘To the Death’. With time running out for her to figure out how to manage her impending motherhood, it finally dawned on her that her husband, the outstanding Castleroy (Michael Therriault) was the answer to her prayers. Upon hearing this, Mary arranged for the long imprisoned, former nobleman to be set free so he could reunite with her best friend.

For many reasons this particular plot, left a slightly sour taste. First of all, Castleroy should have been set free, eons before Greer’s plea. Secondly, Greer has had no problem being unfaithful to Castleroy, while he has rotted away in prison and then when he did not immediately agree to help her raise a baby that resulted from her philandering, she threw a tantrum.

Movie Review | Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)

Movie romance is not dead. At least not if director Thomas Vinterberg’s sumptuous adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s beloved novel has anything to say about it. Only when you see something done so right, can you see how so many others have gotten it so wrong. Romantic, realistic, wistful and surprisingly suspenseful, 'Far from the Madding Crowd' easily earns the title of 2015’s best film.

One of the aspects that make its story so striking is that an adaptation of a novel published in 1874, has a better handle on modern day, male-female dynamics than anything based or written in the recent past or present. There are no trite clich├ęs or characters weakened for plot. This is a refreshing tale where the heroine is flawed, the hero truly noble and the outcome unpredictable.

'Far from the Madding Crowd' follows Bathsheba Everdeen (Carey Mulligan), a farm girl with a restless spirit, big ambitions and an immature heart. Over the course of a season spent working on her aunt’s property she develops a friendship with a neighboring shepherd, Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts). Readily besotted by the lively Miss Everdeen, he quickly proposes marriage and in her first bad decision, she turns him down and not in the softest way possible. 

She explains her desire to not be caged by marriage and especially not to a man she does not believe can “tame” her. He withstands her rejection, calm yet wounded. Then a reversal of fortune changes their lives overnight; resetting the two on different societal footing when a new day dawns. Oak, having suffered a severe financial setback, moves on to parts unknown and Bathsheba, now an heiress, sets off to run her uncle’s farm.

Movie Review | How I Live Now (2013)

A devastating piece of overlooked cinema, 2013’s ‘How I Live Now’ stars Saoirse Ronan as a teen with a flair for punk rock fashion and a bad attitude. Daisy (Ronan) is a 15-year-old with a loud internal voice, whose father has pretty much abandoned her into the care of her English aunt, despite the world being on the verge of all-out war. Because of this, you can readily sympathize with her jaded disposition, though she takes it out on all of the wrong people. When she arrives in England, she is greeted by her precocious cousin Isaac (Tom Holland), who later introduces her to his siblings, Piper (Harley Bird) and Eddie (George Mackay).

This is where things take a bit of a strange turn. Daisy is immediately taken with Eddie…her eldest cousin; but more on that later. Un-chaperoned, the kids are pretty much left to their own devices. Which means the house is a mess and they spend most of their time playing outdoors. Then one day, their idyllically settled into existence is forever shattered when World War III breaks out; stealing their innocence and plunging them into a desperate bid for survival. 

Over the course of the last 5 years, audiences have been hit over the head with the theme of young people struggling to survive a dystopian aftermath. Many times, the results have been flooded in a deluge of dreamy, high tech futurism. In this adaptation of Meg Rossoff’s novel of the same name, you will find none of that. ‘How I Live Now’ is an unvarnished, sad and searing film, that leaves a haunting heaviness in its wake. How this movie slipped beneath the radar in 2013 is anyone’s guess. It is raw and unseemly, violent and emotionally exhausting. It is also magnificently impactful in how it unromantically displays the horrendous toll of war and the horror of a child having to experience it firsthand.

Movie Review | The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (2015)

David Lynch meets the French New Wave in this French-Belgian 2015 remake of the 1970 movie of the same name. Set in 1960’s France, director Joann Sfar unravels the tale of Dany Dormeus (Freya Mavor), an eager secretary, who is whisked away by her boss (Benjamin Biolay) to type up important work papers at his home. Having arrived at his palatial estate, she is reintroduced to his wife and her onetime friend/enemy (Stacy Martin). It is a meeting with ominous undertones that invariably leads nowhere. Invited to stay overnight so she can complete the task at hand, she settles into the swanky manor, blissfully unaware that a string of puzzling events and accusations will soon come to plague her.