The Unredeemable Hate (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri review)

You’ve heard that love conquers all, and that all you need is love. But in a real world, love is not the obvious emotional outpouring, hate is far more common. But I have this interesting theory.

In a time when instant gratification runs rampant, a film that interlaces three character arcs, can accomplish a larger thematic goal.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Caleb Landry Jones
Director: Martin McDonagh
released on blu-ray February 27, 2018
********* 10/10

IMDB: 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Audience Score 87%
The Guardian: *****/*****

Martin McDonagh is a playwright, writer and director. He has dual citizenship in England and Ireland, having spent most of his childhood in London, and is widely regarded as an Irish playwright legend. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is his third turn in the directors chair, but In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths are both amazing films too.

While he has written far more plays then films, McDonagh has admitted that he has always felt connected to film, that it’s something he appreciates on a personal level. And I think that comes through with Three Billboards.

Special thanks to Fox Searchlight Pictures and their IMDB account for the summary.

After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated.

This might just be the greatest performance of Frances McDormand’s career.

The plot is entirely driven by anger – McDormand’s Mildred Hayes is empowered by righteous anger to seek justice against the police for her daughter’s rape and murder, but it never really gets any easier for her. Harrelson’s Chief Willoughby commits suicide to spare his family the pain of watching him succumb to cancer, using violence to demonstrate compassion and love. Rockwell’s second-in-command Officer Dixon then enacts his grief through violence against a billboard salesmen, losing his job in the process, and spiralling towards the bottom of the barrel.

The friendship that Willoughby shows Mildred, despite the public believing they hate each other, is the first major act of love we see.

The second major act of love also comes from Willoughby, this time post-humously, in the form of a letter encouraging Dixon to use love rather then hate to become a detective.

The third comes from Red Welby, the ad man that Dixon had beat within an inch of life in his grief-fueled act of brutality. Welby forgives Dixon and offers him a glass of water when Dixon is recovering from burns; burns Dixon got after Mildred lit the police station on fire in her continuous attack on the police.

The final act of love comes from Dixon himself. He overhears a man bragging to a friend about a women he had raped, a woman who was dying from being lit on fire. He then gets into a brawl with the rapist, scratches the man to get his DNA, and hopes to reveal the man as the Hayes murderer.

When Dixon tells Mildred it wasn’t the guy, she forgives him and appreciates the very-delayed attention from the police, even if Dixon is no longer an officer. But the pair decide to seek justice against the rapist anyway, ending the film as they take a road trip.

Pros: It balances the humour ever so carefully with the drama, and each of the three leads do their part to see the story to it’s unobvious, but completely realistic ending.

ConsOn your first pass it might seem like female aggression is totally acceptable or that racism can be redeemed. Upon subsequent viewings, the layers come through.

Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes

Points of Interest: Frances McDormand won an Academy Award for Best Actress for this film. Woody Harrelson described the movie as Super Troopers meets Seven Psychopaths.

While the narrative of the film is amazing to witness, and gets even better upon subsequent viewings, what I find even more impressive about this film is that it features elements of westerns and intelligent comedy about life in a small town. These are a people in a constant of re-evaluation.

theories Summarized

This drama happens in a fictional town, but the real social issues presented can forgive any fantasy elements being presented. In short Three Billboards is an amazing film and well worth the attention. You should totally watch it.

And if that story didn’t whet your whistle, Mike and I made a really cool video review about the film Nightcrawler. One of my favourite Jake Gyllenhaal movies, and an interesting peek into the world of stringers and documenting violent crime.

So please let me know what you thought of our review, like and share the video, and subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already. With so many more theories coming up in April, you’d have to be a fool not to check out even more great timotheories content.


Never Never Never Surrender (Darkest Hour review)

When your reputation is on the line, what do you do? Stand and fight for what is right, or give into the endless parade of voices telling you that you won’t be successful. Motivational to say the least, essential viewing for our youth.

This, is Darkest Hour.


Darkest Hour (2017)

Cast: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn
Director: Joe Wright
released on blu-ray February 20, 2018
******** 8/10

IMDB: 7.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%, Audience Score 83%
The Guardian: ****/*****

Joe Wright is an English film director. Best known for Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Hanna, Anna Karenina, Pan, and most recently Darkest Hour. As you can see, he generally sticks to British content, which as the old adage says “write what you know.” Fortunately for me, and this review, Darkest Hour is his best rated film to-date, and demonstrably so given that Gary Oldman won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance.

I’ve been known to have a difficult time getting invested into war films, but luckily for us, this is a drama set within war-times. Easily digested and taken with some milk.

Special thanks to IMDB user Nick Riganas for the synopsis.

With Europe on the threshold of World War II as Hitler’s armies rampage across the continent’s once proud nations, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup), is forced to resign, appointing Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) as his replacement. But even in his early days as the country’s leader, Churchill is under pressure to commence peace negotiations with the German dictator or to fight head-on the seemingly invincible Nazi regime, whatever the cost. However difficult and dangerous his decision may be, Winston Churchill has no choice, but to shine in his darkest hour.

I can say with absolute certainty that this film benefits greatly from it’s first act, in which major players are established, and we become invested in the relationship between Clemmie Churchill, deftly played by Kristin Scott Thomas, and Winston. And this is crucial because without his wife humanizing his behaviour, Churchill is hardly a man at all, merely a brute trapping about in “a state of nature.”

It’s a dense story, with lots of oration, conversations behind closed doors, and tense speeches that appeal to our sense of reason. It is well established with Oldman at the helm, but there are definitely moments that I wish could have been cut, to make it feel quite literally set at a brisk pace, rather then eluded to with video and audio editing.

Pros: As I mentioned already Oldman is magnetic, but it’s the dynamic between Thomas and him that really sets the story on fire. And Lily James plays her role perfectly.

ConsDespite all of the stirring speeches, somehow a great political figure has been simplified to the point where you wonder if he’ll pull it all off, making the actor great, but the film a little dull. And Ben Mendelsohn is featured far too little.

The first few weeks of Churchill’s ministry included subterfuge amongst his political peers, navigating the disaster of Dunkirk, and rousing a nation into action. Nothing less then spectacular when you think about it. There is no denying it, Gary Oldman is Churchill personified under that makeup, which is why the film works so well.

Runtime: 2 hours 5 minutes

Points of Interest:  While Winston Churchill did regularly speak with the public on their opinion of the war efforts, there is no official record of him taking a train and quizzing it’s passengers. The entire movie takes place during May 1940, around the time of Operation Dynamo at Dunkirk.

This is a story which has been told and retold a few times over, and yet, somehow it has been made fresh for a new generation, with a distinct perspective from competing entries Their Finest, and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkrik. And it’s more interesting then both of them.

theories Summarized

If you can forgive the film itself of a few flaws, there is a lot to glean from the performances of this stories leads. And yes, I recommend watching it at least once, I myself have seen it twice now, and I can say with confidence that while it may have been Britain’s Darkest Hour, there is a fair amount of light in this story.

And speaking of war, violence and strong character stories. You should definitely check out this Watch Culture video review on 2015’s Sicario. Mike helmed this video on his lonesome, and there are a ton of great anecdotes to pull from his review. So watch it, watch it, watch it, watch it!

I’d love to hear what you think of Mike’s review and of course tell us if you plan on checking out Darkest Hour. I know you’ll get something out of both flicks, but either way… Check it out! And remember… Like! Comment! Subscribe!


Passion Project (The Florida Project review)

Not everyone gets a fairytale, but if you will it you can absolutely have a happy ending. And this movie will have you pondering those ideas over and over again.


The Florida Project (2017)

Cast: Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe
Director: Sean Baker
released on blu-ray February 20, 2018
********* 9/10

IMDB: 7.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%, Audience Score 79%
The Guardian: *****/*****

Sean Baker makes movies about topics that he wants to see on the screen. Movies about the lives of illegal immigrants with gambling debts, street hustlers, intergenerational friendships, and trans sex workers. People who are very real, but who have less then glamorous stories to tell.

An American director, cinematographer, producer, writer and editor, Baker’s best known for making independent films about the aforementioned subjects. Notably Starlet, the iPhone filmed Tangerine, and most recently The Florida Project. Fun fact, supporting actor Willem Dafoe has been nominated for an Academy Award in his portrayal of Bobby Hicks. But what’s it about?

Special thanks to IMDB user Huggo for the synopsis.

Halley (Bria Vinaite) lives with her six year old daughter Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) in a budget motel along one of the commercial strips catering to the Walt Disney World tourist clientele outside Orlando, Florida. Halley, who survives largely on welfare, has little respect for people, especially those who cross her, it an attitude that she has passed down to Moonee, who curses and gives the finger like her mother. Although the motel’s policy is not to allow long term rentals, Bobby (Willem Dafoe), the motel manager, has made arrangements for people like Halley to live there while not undermining the policy as he realizes that many such tenants have no place to go otherwise. Halley, Moonee and Moonee’s friends, who live in the motel or others like it along the strip and who she often drags into her disruptive pranks, are often the bane of Bobby’s existence, but while dealing with whatever problem arises, Bobby has a soft spot especially for the children and thus, by association, their parents, as he knows that Moonee and others like her are just children acting like a children under whatever guidance they have, Moonee who has less guidance than most. Although there are some lines which he will not tolerate to be crossed, Bobby lets most of the disruptive things that they do go, largely as long as it does not affect the bread and butter of the motel, namely the tourist trade. The summer in this collective is presented, when Moonee and her friends, such as Scooty, are out of school and are left largely to their own devices while self-absorbed Halley does whatever she wants, often just staying in the room watching TV. Halley is supposed to look after Scooty, the son of Halley’s friend Ashley, they who live in the unit immediately underneath Halley and Moonee’s, while Ashley is at work at a local diner. In turn, Ashley pilfers cooked meals from the diner to feed Halley, Moonee and Scooty. Over the course of the summer, Halley systematically begins to alienate one by one the people who are her unofficial support by responding with that disrespect to anything she feels is against her. As such, Halley begins to take more and more extreme measures to maintain the life she leads with Moonee.

I think the director himself said it best when he described the experience he wanted to create in making this film. So many people are concerned with seeing a story in three parts. Setup, confrontation, and resolution. But this is story about summer vacation. It so happens that the summer vacation is set in ghetto motel right beside Disney World, but it is a summer vacation nonetheless. Not everyone has two parents, a house, and food on the table.

And while the subject alone should be enough to hold your interest, what makes it even better is the sheer weight Baker holds up by documenting, studying and paying attention to the details of these peoples lives. Halley is on a road to ruin, and Moonee is likely headed in the same direction, but just right now, for this moment, we get to see her and her friends having fun in the environment they live in.

Pros: There is so much to reflect upon in the way that the movie opens, over a simple act of rebellion, later ending on the same sour notes. There is no bowtie with which we can neatly resolve this story, but where a movie like The Place Beyond The Pines relies heavily on obvious drama to drive home the point of the family ties that bind, The Florida Project is that much wiser in it’s presentation.

ConsIt’s difficult to believe that Halley is so devoid of feeling that she is incapable of wrestling with personal demons. In an era of social media darlings, Bria Vinaite has quite literally been shopped from Instagram.

I know in my hearts of hearts why Willem Dafoe was given a best supporting actor nod, but I can’t help but be enamoured with the characterizations between newcomers Bria Vinaite and her would-be daughter Brooklynn Prince. Perhaps it’s the raw nature of their performances, and perhaps it’s that it reminds me a lot of my favourite director Richard Linklater (and how I wish he had made this movie instead of Last Flag Flying), but either way The Florida Project has captured a moment in time, and quietly asked us to observe the forgotten poor outside a magic kingdom.

Runtime: 1 hour 51 minutes

Points of Interest: The Florida Project was an early production pet name for Disney World. The motels filmed are true-to-life locations and many of the people seen during the film were actual residents and staff of the buildings. The final scene was shot on an iPhone as Disney World has strict rules about filming without park consent.

I can’t help but vote for a film shot by a guerilla director, and one which sheds light on a group of people often ignored by the greater population. While they live in great poverty, the joy they find in life is encouraging.

theories Summarized

I think I may have found a new hot director to watch, keep your guard up Linklater, the new kid on the block just might supplant you sooner or later. And I’m not sure if it’s obvious you should watch this movie yet, but please do yourself a favour and check it out.

And if you want to see another timotheories cast member who’s super excited to share a film review, just take a look-see at one Chris Murphy. He has a solid Watch Culture video review on Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman, which I can almost assure you will convince even the most stubborn to give it a shot.

What do you think though? Is The Florida Project worthwhile? Did we miss the mark on our Wonder Woman review? Hopefully you have good things to say, but either way… Check it out! And remember… Like! Comment! Subscribe!


Your Recommended Derry Intake (It (2017) Review)

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the things you expect to flop sometimes show up on your doorstep with a balloon and a wax-coated paper ship and demand your attention. You’ll float too, they scream. You’ll float too.

Well dammit all to hell, if they weren’t right about this Stephen King adaptation.


It (2017)

Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgard, Nicholas Hamilton
Director: Andy Muschietti
released on blu-ray January 9, 2018
********* 9/10

IMDB: 7.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%, Audience Score 85%
The Guardian: ****/*****

Andy Muschietti is an Argentine director and writer, who has now directed two feature-length films – Mama and It. With a sequel to It, titled It: Chapter Two, currently in the works for release in 2019. Muschietti first garnered attention with his short film version of Mama, enough so that Guillermo del Toro took notice and became the executive producer for the version we have today. Muschietti has also been known to collaborate with his sister Barbara Muschietti, who took on a producer role in both Maman and It.

Muschietti received the directorial role for It after the departure of Cary Fukunga from the set, and luckily for us, he never looked back.

Taken from Wikipedia and modified…

In October ’88, stuttering teenager Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) gives his seven-year-old brother, Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), a paper sailboat, but it falls down a storm drain. As he attempts to retrieve it Georgie sees a clown (Bill Skarsgard) in the sewer, who introduces himself as “Pennywise the Dancing Clown”. The clown entices Georgie to come closer, then severs his arm and drags him into the sewer.

The following summer, Bill and friends (Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Stan (Wyatt Oleff)) run afoul of bully Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) and his gang. Bill, still haunted by Georgie’s disappearance and neglect from his grief-stricken parents, discovers that his brother’s body may have washed up in the Barrens. He recruits his friends to check it out.

“New kid” Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) learns that the town has been plagued by unexplained tragedies and child disappearances for centuries. Targeted by Bowers’ gang for being fat, he flees into the Barrens and meets Bill’s group. They find the sneaker of a missing girl, while a member of the pursuing Bowers Gang, is killed by Pennywise while searching the sewers for Ben.

Beverly (Sophia Lillis), a girl ostracized over rumors of promiscuity, also joins the group; both Bill and Ben develop feelings for her. Later, the group befriends homeschool student Mike (Chosen Jacobs) after defending him from Bowers. All the while each member of the group has encountered terrifying phenomena in various forms; these include a menacing clown, a headless boy, a fountain of blood, a diseased and rotting man, a creepy painting come to life, Mike’s parents burning alive, and a phantom Georgie.

Now calling themselves “The Losers Club”, they realize they are all being terrorized by the same entity. After an attack by Pennywise, the group ventures to a house with a well that all the towns sewers connect to, only to be separated and terrorized. Eddie breaks his arm, while Pennywise gloats to Bill about Georgie. As they regroup, Beverly impales Pennywise through the head, forcing the clown to retreat. However, after the encounter the group argues, with only Bill and Beverly resolute in fighting It.

Weeks later, after Beverly confronts her sexually abusive father, but is abducted by Pennywise. The Losers Club reassembles to rescue her. Bowers, who has killed his father after being compelled into madness by It, attacks the group. Mike fights back and pushes Bowers down the well. The Losers descend into the sewers and find It’s underground lair, where the bodies of missing children float in mid-air. Beverly, now catatonic after being exposed to It’s true form, is restored to consciousness as Ben kisses her. Pennywise attacks the group and takes Bill hostage, offering to spare the others if they let It keep Bill. After a brutal battle they defeat Pennywise and he retreats, with Bill declaring that It will starve during its hibernation.

As summer ends, Beverly informs the group of a vision she had while catatonic, where she saw them fighting the creature as adults. The Losers swear a blood oath that they will return to Derry as adults if It returns and destroy the creature once and for all. Stanley, Eddie, Richie, Mike, and Ben make their goodbyes as the group disperses. Beverly tells Bill she is leaving the next day to live with her aunt in Portland. Before she leaves, Bill reveals his feelings and they kiss.

It is an unpretentious character and this adaptation is an unpretentious film. Somehow Muschietti has taken a very dense novel and made it infinitely more digestible, and I’m hoping that he is able to book end the story the same way he started it. Or should I say It? I found it very refreshing to watch a story I loved as a teenager come to the big screen and do it better then the miniseries we all accepted for 27 years.

Pros: The acting of all of these youngsters is excellent, and the supporting adults do their part to keep the attention where it should be, on Pennywise and the Losers Club.

Cons: While the references to 1980s horror classics are strong throughout this film, and the tone of the film embraces The Goonies, Stand By Me, and other coming of age ensemble dramas, it never quite feels super scary. The stakes only raise so high. Which could be a symptom of a story told in two parts.

Runtime: 2 hours 15 minutes

Points of Interest: This was more of a fun fact for me then your average movie goer,  but this adaptation arrived almost exactly 27 years after the original was made. Much of the dialogue between the actors was improvised and Jack Dylan Grazer helped write Finn Wolfhard’s jokes. This movie currently holds the box office record for largest opening weekend for a horror film.

It could be the update from 1950s to the 1980s or the higher production value placed upon bringing Pennywise and all his iterations to life, but something about this film feels a lot more considered and genuinely authentic in it’s approach to telling the collective story of the Loser’s Club. It might have also helped that cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon helmed the camera and maintains wider view of this world then the claustrophobic one from the 1990 miniseries.

theories Summarized

In short, this movie is a highlight of 2017 film without a doubt, even if it isn’t genuinely horrifying to watch. By trading humour for scares, the story comes to life in a satisfying way – It is a very creepy adaptation and Bill Skarsgard deserves a place on the horror shelf for his rendition as the clown. Go find a copy of It and watch when you get a chance; you’ll float too.

And on a much lighter balloon… we’ve got an excellent Watch Culture video review up for your viewing pleasure! Featuring the talents of my Cross Talk co-host Chris Murphy, it’s time to dive into the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer!

Which also recently got a retread, with a couple of Netflix exclusive shows – Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. Chris unabashedly loves this movie, and I think after you hear some of his thoughts, you’ll want to check it out for yourself.


A Thousand Suns (timotheories January 2018)

January is supposed to be a month of promise, renewed hope, vigour for whatever we care about. And yet, I haven’t stopped running since August of 2017, so I’m not feeling the temporary January endorphins this year.

Which might actually be a good thing dear readers. Yes, I bought a house, and yes I got engaged, and yes I planned on getting married before this years end. But in the time that I took a forced hiatus from timotheories, I didn’t stop thinking about timotheories. I can’t stop. I won’t stop.

You see creative cuties, thinking is one of the things I do best in this world. And you give me the space to think, and man will I ever think. So I thought about things like the name timotheories, and I thought about the types of posts I write, and I thought about the different media channels I use to bring in traffic, and the people I interview to give you perspective on how to be creative, I thought about theories, and wisdom, and logos, and pretty much everything.

And that’s how I know I won’t stop. Because I still have a million and one ideas of content to share with you. And so I’m going to make a list of goals this month, and share it with you next month. Then I’m going to start to implement them. It’s an evolution of the campfire theories theme I chose last year…

The fire of a thousand suns.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – January

Professional Theorems – (01/07) Brendon Greene interview, (01/14) Cross Talk Ep. 30, (01/21) Cross Talk Ep. 31, (01/28) Matthew Ankerstein preview interview
Sound Culture – (01/02) The Rolling Stones, (01/08) Miguel, (01/15) Sinistro, (01/22) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, (01/29) First Aid Kit
Watch Culture – (01/01) Dunkirk, (01/03) Brawl in Cell Block 99, (01/09) American Made (01/16) IT (01/23) Blade Runner 2049 (01/30) The Killing of a Sacred Deer
School of Thoughts – (01/10) Art Stars (Mentors), (01/17) Gaining Wisdom, (01/24) Diet, (01/31) By The Book (Education)(Reading)
Art House – (01/04) timotheories January, (01/11) House, (01/18) Engagement, (01/25) Wedding

You’re right, I did rename the weekly headings folks. Too smart for me, I could never pull a fast one over you lot. I did this because I was tired of trying to get posts in exactly on the day that I envisioned them for, and I quickly realized that a lot of you are in different time zones, and the ones that aren’t wouldn’t be reading my posts until the following morning anyway, and now I’m on brand with what I’m doing over on YouTube… so bonus! Which means that I’ll need to slowly go back in time and edit any mention of the old themes.

Point number two, I’m introducing a new monthly post called Art Stars (under the old Wisdom Wednesday heading), so that I can share some of my favourite creative professionals with you regularly. Wisdom often comes from having mentors, and these are mine. Additionally, I am rebranding the book of the month post to By The Book – clever right?

As it stands, I’ll be wrapping up the Brendon Greene interview I didn’t get to finish editing in the summer, and I’ll also give you a teaser of next month’s guest… Matthew Ankerstein! Matt is a podcaster and influencer, with a ton of energy. He’ll bring some great ideas to the table.

Lots of great Watch Culture posts and vids too, of course. And maybe if you’re lucky I’ll get some Sound Culture videos published on top of the blog posts? And last, but not least, I’ll give you some personal insights into my world with Art House (formerly Timely Thursdays) which I think you’ll enjoy.

theories Summarized

Yeah there are some changes coming, but I hope that the taste I’ve given above helps reframe the tone of this website, and all related media channels. timotheories is about digital curating at hear, that means cultivating good art; whether it’s film, music, fine art or something else.

I want to hear some feedback on what you think of this years theme, and the changes I’ll be implementing. And of course, any new theories I run across. Please like, comment and subscribe so I know you’re there!