Friday, March 16, 2018

3 Thoughts on Thoroughbreds

1. As a debut feature - I am stunned that this is a debut feature for writer/director Cory Finley. I wasn't as impressed with the movie as some critics, but for someone's first try??? HOLY MOLY. I can't wait to see what this guy does next. Everything about it was top-notch: the script, the acting, the perfect musical cues and sound design, the pace, and the cinematography. Honestly, if felt like a Sofia Coppola film, but, like, actually good (I want to like her films, I really do!). There was still something a little off about it, that I can't really put my finger on. It's not a film that I think I'll remember in a few years, nor do I want to watch it again. However, it is an extremely well-made film.

2. The leads - If you asked me to list my favorite young female actresses, both Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy would be on it. Olivia Cooke is probably in my Top 5 - she was spectacular in Bates Motel (and not even a touch of her British accent was heard through the entire series), plus she reminds me of a mix between Rachel Leigh Cook (who I adored as a teen in the 90s) and Winona Ryder (one of my all-time favorites). Anya Taylor-Joy was the only reason to watch The VVitch (sorry, that movie was booooooring as fuck), and she stood out against one of the best performances of last year (James McAvoy in Split). She is going to be a star. It was a treat to watch these two actresses in a film together; one that relies heavily on their likeability, but also their coldness (hard combination to perfect). Also, this was Anton Yelchin's last role - he died only 2 weeks after filming this movie. Such a sad loss.

3. True psychopaths - The film touts the description as "Heathers meets American Psycho", and, well they're not wrong. It does definitely have a Heathers feel (especially with Cooke resembling Winona Ryder so much), and these girls could definitely live in Patrick Bateman's psychopathic world view. The creepy scenes of them practicing crying, emotionless tales of killing animals, and ease of lying to others is fascinating to watch. I like that they hatch a plan to kill someone who is supposedly "evil" - but they never really give the audience a reason to root for his death (yes, he's a dick, but he doesn't deserve to die for it). Speaking of, I spent the film trying to figure out how I recognize the step-father, until I could finally look it up when it was over - it's the guy from Waco (that I had just finished watching a few days earlier). Anyone watch it? I thought it was interesting, but also very frustrating. Anyway, I really enjoyed this movie right through the very satisfying ending. Unfortunately, it's a 2017 listed film even though most didn't have access to it until now. I don't think it will make into my updated list, but I think this is going to be like The Lobster with people including it in both years so maybe I'll include it for this year.

Thoughts on 4 New TV Shows

1. Good Girls - I've only watched the Pilot episode so far, but I AM IN. First, I will always watch a tv show with Mae Whitman. Fact. She's terrific in everything she does. Second, out of all the memorable moments in Mad Men, my two absolute favorite moments are with Joan (the "I want to burn this place down" moment in the elevator, and "Surprise! There's an airplane here to see you!"). I'm interested to see Christina Hendricks in a different role, because she was just about perfect as Joan and I can't really picture her as anyone else. Third, the concept is ok. There are going to be a lot of copycat Breaking Bad type shows where the main character is breaking the law, but none are going to do it as well. Fact.

2. A.P. Bio - UGH. I watched this show for Glenn Howerton. I thought this show had to be amazing if there's a chance he might not return to one of the greatest sitcoms of all time (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia). I was extremely mad at first, but then I thought that if Glenn found another show that fulfills him, I should support it. Side-note: I did not watch The Mick for Kaitlin Olson because that show looked like a train wreck (and she never threatened to leave It's Always Sunny). I thought this show looked at least looked cute. It's not. It's also not funny. I thought it was just a rough Pilot episode, but so far I've watched 4 episodes, and by the 4th episode I was so bored that I started cleaning the house. I'm going to cut my losses now, and take the show off of my rotation (aren't you proud of me?!).

3. 9-1-1 - Another Parenthood alumni that I will follow everywhere, the wonderful Peter Krause (and actually he was first a Six Feet Under alumni that I've followed since. NO WAIT...he's actually a Sports Night alumni! Does anyone remember that show? It was so good. One of my all-time favorites). Anyway, I also really like the rest of the cast (Connie Britton, Angela Bassett, Aisha Hinds, and Kenneth Choi). The biggest reason why I was looking forward to this show, though, is because it's a Ryan Murphy/Brad Fulchuck project (let's face it, Krause has done some TERRIBLE shows - most recently, The Catch. *shudders*), but Murphy and Fulchuck have a pretty strong resume. Unfortunately, this show blows. I can't even keep track of how many times I roll my eyes during every episode because of how ridiculous it is. The "emergencies" are so over the top (and they claim they are all based on truth - which is a valid claim, but the fact that all of these INSANE emergencies happen in the same city and the same group of people are the heroes is the ridiculous part). It has a little bit of potential, though. They are doing a good job of character development, which is why I've continued to watch. They just need to tone it down. A lot.

4. The Resident - As you can tell, I'm extremely influenced to watch a show if it has an actor that I like - and Matt Czuchry is just ADORABLE. I loved him on The Good Wife, and of all the terrible boys that Rory dated on Gilmore Girls, Logan was clearly the best of the worst. Czuchry is one of those actors that just exudes charm - you can't help but love him. I thought the pairing of him, and another fantastic television actress, Emily VanCamp, was a great idea (although they kind of look like siblings to me). The show, as a whole, is a little cheesy and predictable. I don't think they've done anything new with the medical drama genre. It has potential to grow, though. I do enjoy the intrigue surrounding the other doctor's suspicious Cancer clinic. I hope the build-up is worth it, otherwise I am going to get really frustrated.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Cloverfield Paradox - First, let's talk about Netflix. As I quickly touched on in my Mudbound thoughts, I really appreciate the direction that Netflix is going. I think it was absolutely genius to surprise "drop" a movie on a platform that is easily accessible for millions of people. I was wondering how J.J. was going to surprise us, considering how the previous Cloverfield films were released in such a surprising way. It's getting harder and harder to keep an audience guessing and to be innovative, and J.J. still managed to nail it. Second, as a film fan, I can understand the negative aspects of releasing a film on Netflix. We are losing the theater experience; there is no denying that. I saw both of the previous Cloverfield films in a theater and it proved to be a very intense, claustrophobic experience. It's impossible to get this same experience at home. However, I have been so frustrated at the cinema because the audiences have been so disrespectful and inconsiderate, it's not even worth the frustration. The fact that I can now watch new releases at home, IN PEACE, is a relief. Now, let's talk about this movie because, man, is it a rough one. Both Cloverfied and 10 Cloverfield Lane were in my Top 10 films for their respective years. I'm pretty sure this one might end up in the bottom of my 2018 list. It's so unexpectedly unoriginal. Everything about it is so obvious (*spoiler* of course her children are alive in the other dimension. DUH!). The cast is great, but no-one really stands out. I don't even have anything else to say about it. The end was alright, I guess...

2. It - Maybe I just don't get it, but I thought this movie was so dumb. I've never really understood that whole scary clown thing to begin with, and I don't even remember the original mini-series (I watched it when I was a kid and I wasn't scared one bit). I also think it's almost identical to Stranger Things just with a clown (which, yes, I realize is heavily inspired by Stephen King stories). However, it's not nearly as funny or entertaining as Stranger Things. This film felt forced - the humor, the camaraderie, the story, just everything about it. After I first watched it, I thought it was decent, but the more I think about it, the more I dislike it. However, I am slightly excited for the second one - featuring the adult versions of these characters. The casting is going to be key (and I've heard that Jessica Chastain is the current front-runner for Beverly thanks? She's much too good for this. Amy Adams is more appropriate. That seems like a diss, but I adore Amy Adams. I think she's actually more versatile than Chastain.). Also, after reading a few reviews, I've realized that I don't think I've read the book. My New Year's resolution this year was to read more, so I think I'll add this to the list.

3. Thor: Ragnarok - Well, it's certainly funny. If that's what they were going for, then I guess it's successful. I just don't think the full-on comedic approach for the MCU is appropriate. It is about a million times better than the previous Thor movies (both Thor movies are at the very bottom of my MCU ranking. At least this one is in the middle somewhere. Maybe I should do an official ranking? That seems like such a daunting task.). One thing is for sure, I would love a Valkyrie stand-alone movie, and that's the first time I've said that about ANY of the female characters (Black Widow is so boring. Sorry, not sorry.). The story seems a little pointless in the grand scheme of things, but ultimately I was entertained so I'm not complaining. The effects seemed a little cheap to me, which is weird because I've seen people raving about how great the film looks. It's odd how people see things so differently. Anyway, on a side-note: Chris Hemsworth looks a thousand times better with short hair (as most men do). Like, I actually think he's hot now. Still boring, but at least he's much hotter now.

4. War for the Planet of the Apes - WAIT...this is only the third movie?? I feel like I've been watching these films for YEARS. I thought it was the fifth installment, at least. So, is this the final one? It still felt a little bit open, but I don't really think there is much more to say. I didn't really enjoy this one like I did the first two (really? only two? SO WEIRD.). This one was a little bit boring and even though there are some really nice moments, it didn't feel as Blockbuster-ish as the first two. War is never the interesting part; it's what leads to the wars that I find interesting. I did like the symbolism of the little girl as the savior - it feels very relevant to our world and children being forced to rise up and do what's right.

5. Brawl in Cell Block 99 - I read a really good review about this movie from a movie buff that I usually trust, which is the only reason I moved this movie up my long, long list. I am extremely disappointed. It's really bad. Like, really, really bad. After I watched this, I read some more reviews, and it's so odd that they are mostly complimentary, especially of the violence. I'm sort of stunned, because NOTHING HAPPENS for the first hour and 50 minutes (yes, the whole length of a movie), and then when this so-called brutal violence occurs, it looks extremely fake. It's not realistic in any way. The acting is probably the only thing I would say is okay (mediocre at best), but I might be biased because I love Jennifer Carpenter. I don't usually update my worst list from previous years, but if I did, this would surely be on it.

Friday, February 23, 2018

3 Thoughts on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

1. Compared to McDonagh's previous films - While In Bruges was one of my favorite films of 2008, Seven Psychopaths is one of my favorite films EVER. I seem to be in the minority of people who think it's as good as it is. In fact, I know many people who hated it. It's because of this loathing, that I didn't really listen to the criticism of Three Billboards - most citing the film as racist (just as they described Seven Psychopaths as sexist). Just because a film showcases racism, sexism, etc. doesn't mean it is racist, sexist, etc. In this regards, I disagree with the people who find the film "problematic". It features several racist characters, none of whom are really shown in any sort of good light. I don't think there is this so-called "redemption" at the end, instead, I think it just shows a story of a man more complicated than just being a "racist". However, I was HIGHLY disappointed with the film, itself. It's....boring. While McDonagh's previous two films were fast-paced, hilarious, layered, and improved by multiple viewings, this one falls flat. I will never have the urge to watch this movie again. It's not a bad movie - I like the story, the acting is phenomenal, and there are a few funny parts. It's just....blah, comparatively.

2. Compared to the other Oscar contenders - This movie won't even make it into my Top 10 from last year. It's SO WEIRD that this movie is a front-runner, when McDonagh's previous films were a thousand times better. And compared to films like Dunkirk??? Really? How is this even a competition? I doesn't make a bit of sense.

3. Compared to other Rockwell performances - *sighs* aaaaah Sam Rockwell. I just adore him. He has a knack for making horrible characters sympathetic. This is why people have a problem with the film. Because the audience doesn't want to like him, but they do - because Rockwell can give depth to a simple man. Similarly, he is wonderful as an adorable PSYCHOPATHIC MURDERER in Seven Psychopaths. You just want to give him a big hug and tell him everything is going to be okay. this isn't his best performance, but I will be so happy if he wins the Oscar (which is likely), because he's deserved it for several under-rated performances (my favorite is from The Way Way Back).

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Manifesto - One of the worst movies I've ever had to sit through. It's almost worth it, if only for Cate Blanchett's (literally) transformative performance. She's just stunning. This is a total vanity project - as it's just her in every scene portraying different characters (13 total), and every performance is flawless. The plot (???) is just a bunch of vignettes with famous manifestos spoken via voice-over while a short scene plays out visually. The two things don't really seem to connect that much in many of the vignettes. Maybe they do if you really pay attention to it, but I just found it too boring. It wasn't inspiring or interesting enough to get my cerebral juices flowing. The only scene that sparked any interest for me is the scene with the school teacher and the children. I watched it a little over a month ago and that's literally the only thing I really remember. The whole thing was just really monotonous and pretentious.

2. Wind River - I heard really great things about this movie. I enjoy a good slow-burn story if it's done well, and this one is done just about perfectly. The story is strong, the performances are wonderful, and the ending blew me away. I loved how intricate and subtle the entire movie is, right up until it becomes explosive. I was not expecting it to turn so suddenly, but it really made me happy (I don't know if "happy" is necessarily the right word to describe a movie about a rape and murder, but I just really appreciate that it did something a little unexpected). Jeremy Renner is fabulous in this role, and this is EXACTLY the type of role that he is perfect for. I think if the whole Weinstein thing never happened, he would be in awards conversations, but I think this movie got unnecessarily swept under the rug. I really like Elizabeth Olsen's character because I can identify with her in a lot of ways. She's an FBI agent, which is a much higher position of power than I will ever experience, however, every time I am at work and someone asks for a manager, and then I appear, they look at me exactly how everyone looks at her when she arrives on the scene. It's a combination of being tiny, being female, and people assuming that I'm a lot younger than I am. It's always so depressing to look at their shock, or look of disappointment. Olsen is great at still trying to take command of the situation, but also show her vulnerabilities. I really like her and Renner's non-relationship in this movie - there is energy and chemistry there, but it's never acted on. While I was really invested in the story, I do wish there was more about the epidemic of missing Native American women - which is really why the whole case is passed off to someone so inexperienced to begin with. I don't think most people watching the movie know about this (because it's not a priority), so it would have been really effective to shine a light on the situation. I was bothered by one major plot-point - *MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD* I think it's really problematic that Renner's character's daughter was murdered 3 years before and that she was close friends with the new murder victim. I feel like he would have divulged this information RIGHT AWAY in case the murders were related. And I feel like the murders should have been related. We're supposed to feel vindicated that he made this girl's murderer suffer, but the person who murdered his own daughter is still free? How is that vindication? I don't really need closure, but I feel like we are supposed to feel that with this ending, and that, to me, just doesn't sit well with me.

3. Snatched - So much potential just wasted away. I was thrilled to hear that Amy Schumer was able to get the legend, Goldie Hawn, back on the big screen, because I adore her. I mean, just one of my favorite actresses of all time. Comedic actresses never get as much credit as they should, because a lot of them end up in really shitty movies (like, Goldie's daughter - Kate Hudson), but all of Hawn's movies are hilarious (my favorite is Overboard, which is TOTALLY offensive and it always has been, but it's FUNNY. Can we talk about how there is a remake with the genders switched - because then apparently the concept would be ok?! LOL. Can we also talk about how the 2017 box-office featured both Hawn and Kurt Russell? I love both of them soooo much.). Anyway, Schumer is not my favorite. I actually thought Trainwreck had some good stuff, but it certainly wasn't funny. I don't really think she's funny, at all, and this movie just proved my point even more (I still like her, though. She's honest, seems kind, and doesn't take herself too seriously). This movie, though, is just absolutely horrendous. The concept seemed horrendous - like how can they make a movie about two women being kidnapped funny? And why is she so embarrassed to hang out with her mom? I hang out with my mom all the time (and I am super cool, so....). It just seems really immature for someone who is my age. I did scream out loud when I saw that she had a Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie!) poster in her room because I totally had that poster! That's when I realized that we are the same age.

4. The Foreigner - First of all, Pierce Brosnan's accent is so terrible, I could barely get through it without laughing. How does someone who is originally from Ireland, fuck up the accent that poorly? The real question is how does he still get cast if he can't do the accent? It was such a distraction to the movie. Second, there is way too much exposition. This is one of those films that thinks its audience is stupid and it treats them as such. There was actually some depth to these characters, and a few great subplots that tied together very nicely, but it was all shoved in your face several times to ensure that you "get it". Third, it did not have nearly enough Jackie Chan fight scenes. That's pretty much the only reason that anyone is watching this movie, so it's a mistake not to capitalize on that. Fourth, Brosnan and Chan are so old now, it makes me want to cry.

5. Mudbound - I knew nothing about this movie until the Golden Globes. I heard no one talking about it at all, and then after the GGs, I heard several people absolutely raving about it. SO WEIRD. I love that it's a Netflix production. I am a die hard Netflix junkie. I see the articles claiming Netflix is ruining movies and the cinema experience (uh, no, it's the inconsiderate assholes that are ruining my cinema experience) and I ignore them. Netflix was my savior way back in the early 2000s (I'm pretty sure I've had Netflix since the year 2000 exactly), back when I was in college that had no convenient Blockbuster, nor did I have the time to travel to one. The idea of having movies delivered to your home changed my whole life. I love that they continue to be innovative, and are not only creating their own films, but now films are being released "straight to Netflix" (more on this when I write my thoughts about The Cloverfield Paradox). Mudbound is not something to rave about, in my opinion. It's a good film, there's some fantastic acting - specifically from Jason Mitchell (from Straight Outta Compton). The rest of the cast, including Mary J. Blige, Carey Mulligan, Mike from Breaking Bad (always and forever), and Garret Hedlund, are all really strong. Mulligan continues with her "I'm on the verge of tears" acting, but she sure can do an American accent with perfect ease (although her character is insufferable - surprise, surprise...). I didn't know who Dee Rees was until I saw that she previously directed Pariah, which is a movie that really stuck with me. I don't think Mudbound will stick with me, but I guess I won't know for sure until some time has passed. I was mostly bored with this story, until the end. It was really effective to end with "love". Very powerful message - I just wish the whole movie was as powerful.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Oscar Nominations: The Good, The Bad, and The Snubbed

The Good: 

-My favorite film of last year remains Dunkirk and I don't really see that changing even though there are still plenty of films that I haven't seen yet. It's visually stunning, memorable, and a technical masterpiece. I am thrilled that Nolan is being recognized as one of the greats.

-While Dunkirk used sound and silence as part of its storytelling, Baby Driver blew me away with its use of music, and sound. I'm not normally very passionate about technical categories but both of these films did something different that impacted the final outcome of the films, and that should be awarded.

-Logan got an Adapted Screenplay nomination?! Did anyone predict that? I was certainly not expecting that, but I AM HERE FOR IT. I would love to see it win but I think that's the one win that Call Me By Your Name will receive.

-Obviously, genius cinematographer Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049 (for the fucking win, please!)

-Both Lady Bird and Get Out are in my top 10; they are both wonderful movies but I honestly hope they don't win the big award. Saoirse should get Best Actress and I can see Peele getting Original Screenplay but please, let that be it.

The Bad: 

-Another year gone by with me having seen barely any nominated movies. It's just too hard to get to an independent theater. And when I have the time, I usually prefer to just stay home and watch a movie. Which is why I'm a big fan of the Netflix model. While I didn't think Mudbound was as good as I had read; I am happy that Netflix films are being taken seriously.

-Considering I haven't seen a majority of the movies, I guess I'll keep my mouth shut about some nominations that I find more than a little hard to believe, but...The Boss Baby?....really??

The Snubbed: 

-By far the biggest (and most expected) snub of the year is James McAvoy for Split. It's a damn near perfect performance.

-Denis Villeneuve should have received recognition for directing Blade Runner 2049

-I know that mother! caused a lot of division among critics, but it blows my mind that anyone would put it at the worst of the year (and that Jennifer Lawrence would receive a Razzie! That's just ridiculous). I think Aronofsky could have easily been nominated (love it or hate it, it's a very well-made movie), and I've NEVER though Lawrence was award-worthy UNTIL this movie. How ironic.

-While it was a mess of a movie, Valerian could easily be nominated for some of the technical awards. And for Costume Design.

Friday, January 26, 2018

3 Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

1. The expectations - I, like most people, had really high expectations for this next Star Wars installment because of how great The Force Awakens was. It really expanded the story to these wonderful characters, and created a "new" Star Wars for an entirely new generation. Plus, I really love Rian Johnson. I don't really think his extremely limited filmography provides enough qualifications for such a big blockbuster type movie like this. However, I have loved him since Brick, and he directed two of the best episodes of Breaking Bad (Ozymandias and Fly), so I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. And personally, my expectations were met. I think The Last Jedi was fun, it built on the Star Wars themes and world-building, and there are some really solid performances.

2. The surprises - I haven't really read about the backlash from fans. I've seen many people arguing, and most are very passionate about the Star Wars universe. Most of the arguing was done before I saw the film, so I avoided it to avoid spoilers, but now I just have no interest. So, my guess is that people have problems with Luke. And I can understand that. He definitely was not the Luke that fans have grown to know and love. This was probably the biggest surprise for me, but I don't necessarily think it was bad. It worked for the story, and overall, his character was still treated with love and respect. Another surprise for me is that Adam Driver fucking blew me away. I really liked him in The Force Awakens, but this was another level. It's odd to go from completely hating an actor (Ugh, he is a huge part of why I couldn't make it past season 1 of Girls. Him combined with Lena Dunham was what I imagine Hell to be like) to recognizing the same actor as giving one of the best performances of last year. I also think it was BRILLIANT to keep Rey as a separate entity; unrelated to other characters that we know about because it keeps her story open and interesting. I was really surprised that they didn't go more of an expected (i.e cliched) route.

3. The disappointments - I'm not sure if this was part of the backlash, but I actually hated that they didn't give Leia closure. I don't really care that she can magically float across space after an explosion (um....what?!), but I do care that they will continue Leia's story without her. It doesn't really make sense....right? I also feel like they really went out of their way to make Poe into an asshole. I guess they are trying to make him into the Han Solo character, but it did not work for me at all. I also thought that the whole "failure" aspect was a bit dark. I appreciate dark, untidy endings...usually. But in the case of Star Wars, I think optimism goes a long way, and is ultimately essential. The whole "we failed, so it's up to the next generation" is honestly just too depressing for me, so I just focused on the fun scenes.  I think the more I think about it, though, the more I will dislike the movie. So....moving on!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

4 Thoughts on the Golden Globes

1. The Host - I like Seth Meyers as a comedian, but I don't really think he has the energy or charisma for hosting big awards shows. The Golden Globes are better for him than say The Oscars, because there are no big numbers or productions - it's literally just jokes and then presenting the awards. And in this case, he did a great job. Some of his jokes hit low, but I think that was necessary. It was a tough year for Hollywood, and it's the first big event since the Harvey news broke and the whole #metoo campaign went into full-force, so I'm sure it was pretty stressful to get the tone right. And in my opinion, he did. It was funny, but also serious. My favorite joke was the dig at Kevin Spacey ("I hope he can do a Southern accent because Kevin Spacey sure couldn't").

2. The Show - My favorite part of the show was watching it with my boyfriend who has never watched an awards show before, and has no interest in pop culture whatsoever. I, myself, am an awards show junkie, but I've gotten much better in recent years. I really only watch "the big 3": The Golden Globes, The Emmys, and The Oscars. I just assume that everyone follows entertainment news, but then my bf asked questions like "are they really dating?" about Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel (they've been married for like 6 years! How did he not know that???), "she has 17 kids?" after one of the E! hosts joked about Angelina Jolie arriving (he knew that she adopted a lot of kids, at least, but found it totally believable that she was up to 17), and my personal favorite "what the Hell does 'woke' mean?" (which has nothing to do with the entertainment industry, but they sure do use the word a lot). He also could not stop laughing at the name "Armie Hammer". You may think he lives in a bubble, but he can tell you exactly how far along the cure for Cancer is, the newest developing technological advances, and he can build a radio from scratch, so I am the one who is clearly in the bubble (and I prefer it that way). Watching movies, tv shows, following entertainment social sites, watching awards shows, etc. all help my sanity, it helps drown out the real world. Unfortunately, with the show focusing on "real world" issues, I couldn't stay in my preferred bubble. I'm sort of conflicted about the whole thing. I do think people in positions of visibility should use their power to highlight a cause they care about, but I don't think a dumb awards show is necessarily the best place for this to happen. I also do think that the whole "Time's Up" initiative is at an awkward stage right now, where there is a lot of support from people who are actually part of the problem. It's a bit hypocritical to wear a "Time's Up" pin if you've recently worked with Woody Allen, or if you're Gary Oldman (who has not only been accused of domestic abuse, but has also always prided himself in NOT being politically correct, using offensive language, and is now suddenly calling for a "change"...UM WHAT?). That being said, there were some powerful moments - let's start with Oprah. It's so easy to make fun of Oprah. My mom and I have a bit that we do anytime someone says anything about bread, we scream in unison "I LOVE BREAD". However, on a serious note (extremely serious, you guys), Oprah has had a very strong impact on my mom's life, and therefore my life. Back in the mid 80s, my mom was in a very abusive relationship and she didn't even know that what she was experiencing wasn't normal. Oprah was just sort of coming into her own with her new talk show, and she used her visibility of being invited into the homes of women to talk about serious issues, and one of her episodes was about domestic abuse and how it effects children, but more importantly it gave resources and tips on how to get out of these relationships. To put it simply, Oprah saved my mom's life. I often think about this, and also how my mom might have figured it out without Oprah's help (my mom is super smart), but the facts....are the facts. Oprah's speech was perfect in recognizing the power that film and television do, in fact, have. I also found Natalie Portman's retort of the "all male" directing category to be a memorable moment - it's not really fair to blame this on the Golden Globes, though, and I think it made the directors that were nominated feel bad about something that's not their fault. The real problem is that there AREN'T that many female directors, and just because they direct a film doesn't necessarily mean they should be nominated if they aren't worthy. My picks for best director this year are all men - Aronofsky, Villeneuve, Nolan, Wright, and Peele (and I haven't even seen The Post, The Shape of Water, or Three Billboards). The problem is systemic, and maybe that's changing, but I still applaud Natalie for pointing out the hypocrisy. The absolute worst part of the show is that Tonya Harding was not only there, but she was celebrated. I don't fucking understand! A show that was focused on women supporting other women is going to celebrate a woman who assisted in the violent attack of her competitor??? I haven't seen I, Tonya, and I actually look forward to it, and as I admitted previously, I have sympathy for Harding (as a victim of abuse), but she does not deserve praise in ANY form. I'm actually disgusted.

3. The Winners - The show was filled with so many "moments" that I don't actually remember who won. It sort of doesn't really matter. The Globes have never really predicted future Oscar winners, nor has it had any real impact on anyone's career. I think the only thing it has done lately, is pick fantastic new television. I emphasize the word "new" because the Globes have, for the past 3 years, chosen a "new" show over a "best" show. I haven't seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and I'm sure it's good, but it's weird that Master of None has been consistently called the best television comedy of last year, and it lost to a show that no-one has watched. Also, HOW is the new Will & Grace nominated? I was a big fan back in the day, but the new season is almost unbearable to watch. There are a dozen other comedies that could have been nominated. I don't really have any issues with anyone else who won except maybe Elizabeth Moss, but then again, I haven't watched The Handmaid's Tale yet. I think she's a terrible actress, but I would love to be proven wrong.

4. The Fashion - One part of the whole "Time's Up" initiative that I whole heartily do not agree with is the "wear black" thing. First, it's a disservice to fashion designers. Awards shows are a big deal for fashion designers (and fashion is just as much of an art as entertainment is), and as much as women might not like to be asked "who are you wearing", it's part of the red carpet process. Obviously, the people behind this initiative see the importance of fashion, which is why they are using it to "take a stand", so again, it's hypocritical to shun the importance of "who are you wearing". Second, I found the whole thing to be a bit bullying. If someone didn't wear black they were singled out, as if they don't support women. Third, it's dumb. I can't even comment on the fashion because it was just a sea of boring black dresses. Yes, there are more important things in the world, but if you really feel like sending a message then maybe boycott the whole thing and volunteer at a women's shelter instead? Or, um, maybe wear dresses made by women designers?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Fate of the Furious - *spoilers ahead* This is the first movie of the series that I found really disappointing. I don't expect these movies to be great, but I do expect a fun, action-packed ride with ridiculous (but hilarious) dialogue. This one was quite dull, and for the most part, very predictable. I did really like the opening sequence because it was filmed in Cuba (the first since the embargo has been lifted, which is pretty interesting!). I was not surprised at all that Vin had to go "bad" to save his previously unknown of baby (that was foreshadowed like crazy with the talk about having kids right in the beginning), but I was surprised by the appearance of the mother, Elena, because, um....who's that? Apparently, I wasn't alone in forgetting her character existed because I read a ton of reviews that asked the same question. Charlize is awesome as a "bad guy" (as seen in Snow White and the Huntsman), but there is something really wrong with her face in this movie. I think it's her eyebrows? I don't know, I can't figure it out, but it was very distracting. Anyway, I'm not sure I will remember anything about this one other than Charlize's insane hair and Helen Mirren being a great sport (I mean, she's obviously better than these movies).

2. Free Fire - While I haven't loved every Ben Wheatley movie, I think they are all "must see" movies (except maybe A Field in England, I just couldn't get into that one at all). There's always something interesting in his films, though. Whether it's the characters or the juxtaposition of scenes, I always feel like I've watched something new. The cast for this movie is definitely a highlight - Brie Larson and Cillian Murphy are personal favorites. Armie Hammer has a cult following that I can't quite understand (which is weird because he's totally my type), but I did read that controversial Buzzfeed article and it was very rude and unnecessary. Sharlto Copley isn't a great actor, which is a shame, because he started out so strong with District 9, but it's been all downhill from there. The only thing I know Sam Riley from is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and he was terrible in that, but I'm willing to give him another chance. Even with the strong cast, none of the characters seemed all that interesting which is definitely a huge flaw. The concept is good, but I got bored very quickly because I couldn't care less about any character. Some of the kills were interesting and done very well, like the head being rolled over by the truck (*cringe*), but overall I didn't find it as fun as people suggested it was, and it's definitely one of Wheatley's weaker films.

3. A Ghost Story - This is definitely a movie in which the more I think about, the higher I movie it on my "Best of 2017" list. It originally started at #12, but after a week thinking about it I moved it up to #10, and now I'm considering moving it up another notch. I didn't really know much about it before watching it, but I did hear about the "pie scene". It's fascinating that people focused on this aspect of the movie more so than the sublime ending. The "pie scene" is actually very well done, but it is definitely awkward to sit through (there's about 10 solid minutes of silence as she eats a pie), but it's very effective. I appreciate the commitment and restraint to portray the reaction of loss by utilizing real time and a real action - sometimes it's just about stuffing your face until you throw up. The movie contains some wonderful shots, it moved rather quickly for such a slow burn type story, and Rooney Mara is excellent. Up until the last 20 minutes, I found it to be a strong 3 star movie about love and loss, and ultimately about living (he is stuck as a ghost unable to participate in life), but THEN. Oh, but becomes something else entirely. Something so wonderful, I can't even properly describe it in words, but I can say that I sat for about 15 minutes after it was over in silence just trying to absorb everything I had just witnessed. I have a ton of questions (like wouldn't other ghosts exist in the house?), and I've spent a lot of time thinking about it, which is something I always look for in films.

4. mother! - And speaking of a film that makes me think....this one is in the exact same category. The divide among critics with this movie is so interesting, and I can actually see it both ways. On the surface, maybe, it's sort of batshit crazy, and if you look at it from the metaphor perspective, it's very obvious - therefore, I believe some see that as a failure. However, from my view, it's a masterpiece. I don't even know where to begin. First, Aronofsky has made two other masterpieces with Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain, with the former being in my top 10 favorite films ever. Black Swan is also very strong. Even his movies that aren't high on my list, like The Wrestler and Noah are extremely well-made and well-written films. I couldn't imagine hating this movie. Second, his films all deal with religion in some way - some are way more obvious than others, but knowing that this movie was a biblical metaphor doesn't put me off (even as someone who isn't religious). Third, in the beginning of the movie there is a shot where Jennifer Lawrence backs into the camera and then spins around that is done so well, I gasped and was instantly hooked for the remainder. The story is not subtle in any way, however, I think if you really analyze it, there is a lot more than just the surface. While it's an obvious allegorical tale of Mother Earth and the Bible, it's also a tale of womanhood. The expectations placed on women to be kind, generous caretakers; to entertain, not complain; to not question men, to be complacent; to be the backbone of a relationship while your partner receives the praise and attention. It's also about the idolization we apply to certain artists, and the cults that form around them; the pressure we apply on men to be successful; the outcry and entitlement to "own" a piece of this success. So, while I understand the critiques of it being "obvious", I also think that there is a lot of depth to it. I also think Jennifer Lawrence is incredible in this, and I'm not always a fan. The real highlight for me, acting-wise, though, is Michelle Pfeiffer. Her stone-cold stares are haunting. Also, Kristen Wiig, because it was so unexpected for her to appear. I never thought I would see her in a movie like this. It's so-close to my favorite movie of last year, but Dunkirk edges it out every so slightly. I've held off reading too much about it so that I could really analyze my own thoughts, but I can't wait to dive into reading every article I can find.

5. Fences - Some stories are best for the stage and this is definitely one of them. I found the film very stiff, lifeless, and "stagey". However, some of the dialogue is brilliant. It's so rhythmic in its tone - it moves from baseball to drinking to death so smoothly. It's remarkable that not only can Denzel memorize ALL that dialogue, but he can spew it out with such ease. I'm sure it helps that he's so familiar with the material, but it's still an amazing feat. I realized while watching this that I've actually never read an August Wilson play. I was a Drama Studies major for Christ's sake! How was he not part of the curriculum? Anyway, I think this movie is okay. It could have used some tighter editing, but I did like how dark it gets. I was not expecting to end up hating our protagonist. He turns into a villain very slowly, but very effectively. It's not a movie I will remember, and I don't think it's deserving of any awards (except, of course, for the writing, which it's already an award winning play), but I think if I saw it on stage I would have appreciated it more.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Best and Worst Films of 2017


1. Dunkirk
2. mother!
3. Baby Driver
4. Logan
5. Blade Runner 2049
6. Get Out 
7. Lady Bird
8. Split
9. Wonder Woman
10. A Ghost Story 
10.5 T2 Trainspotting 

I am very happy with my list this year, but there are still a lot of movies I need to see. I think my Top 6 will remain, but the rest could change when I update in July. 


1. 3 Generations
2. The Circle
3. Baywatch
4. Song to Song 
5. Manifesto
6. Ghost in the Shell