Friday, July 13, 2018

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

The Good 

- Could this be the year that The Americans finally has some presence at the Emmy awards? While it's received some nominations in the past, it's never been nominated for Series (which is shocking). I think it might pull an upset and win this year! I'm really pulling for Keri Russell (especially since her main competition was NOT nominated...). Although I didn't realize that Tatiana Maslany was still in the running - It seems like Orphan Black ended years ago!

- Other shows that seem like their seasons were more than a year ago - GLOW and Better Things (both would have been included in my Best of TV post but I didn't realize they qualified for this year). GLOW was great - fun, heartwarming, easy to binge, and well-written. I'm happy that Betty Gilpin was recognized. Better Things is one of my favorite shows! The second season was even better than the first, and that final episode with the dance number made my heart soar. Pamela Adlon deserves every award ever.

- YAY for Netflix! 112 nominations! That's so crazy. I'm a big fan of whatever Netflix does.

- I wasn't in love with season 2 of Atlanta as much as I was with the first season, but two episodes really stood out (and no, it wasn't "Teddy Perkins" for me). "Woods" and "FUBU" are just about perfect. Brian Tyree Henry is so good in "Woods", I almost cried. How were these episodes not nominated for writing??? (although "FUBU" was nominated for directing, which is well-deserved). I'm also happy that Zazie Beets was nominated - she's my favorite on the show.

-Yay for Darren Criss!! He's so good as Andrew Cunanan. I think he might actually win?? His competition isn't very strong - although awards shows do love to shower Benedict Cumberbatch with awards. UGH.

- Of course I'm happy for The Crown, Westworld, This is Us, Stranger Things, but those were all 'expected' nominations.

The Bad 

- I'm sorry, The Sinner was a "good" show (not great, and not award-worthy), but Jessica Biel is one of the worst actresses of my generation. She wasn't awful here, but a freakin' Emmy nomination??? For real?

- Why the fuck would Ozark show up on any awards show list? That show had some great moments, but overall is very mediocre compared to the competition. I'm ok with Bateman getting a nomination (although I would have chosen J.K. Simmons in Counterpart over him), but the show received TWO, I repeat TWO, directing nominations. FOR WHAT EXACTLY? I don't understand.

- I know everyone suddenly hates Modern Family now, but I don't. It's still consistently funny and that's hard to do after so many seasons. After 8 consecutive nominations and 5 wins, it's finally fallen and it makes me sad.

- How SNL is receiving so much love is beyond me. I haven't enjoyed it since the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler days. I don't know anyone who watches it. When I told my boyfriend that Kenan Thompson was nominated for an Emmy, he replied "The guy from Kenan and Kel?" Because that's how he's still known, even though he's been on SNL for 15 years.

The Snubbed 

- How is Killing Eve not nominated? Even more shocking - Jodie Comer isn't nominated??? I thought I was reading it wrong when I went through the list. I assumed she would be as Lead Actress in a Drama, but then when her name was missing, I thought maybe she submitted herself as Supporting Actress in a Drama, then I figured maybe the show decided to call themselves a "mini-series" or something. But her name is NOWHERE on the nomination list. It's the best performance of the year. HANDS DOWN.

- I'v recently watched the show Counterpart (which is why you haven't seen me rave about it before bc now I will be going on and on about it for months). It's soooooo good. And it's J.K. Simmons in two versions of the same person! I know it's not really on anyone's radar, so I wasn't expecting nominations, but the question is why? There are just too many shows. And too many good ones. If this show came out even just 5 years ago, it would be all anyone talked about.

- Nothing for Brooklyn Nine-Nine? I know the competition is tough but take away the nominations for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (which I like) and give them to Brooklyn Nine-Nine  - it is far superior.

- While Netflix dominated, the one show I expected to show up more was Mindhunter! I thought Holt McCallany would definitely be nominated, along with some writing or directing nods? (But sure, let's nominate Ozark lol).

- Alison Brie is what made GLOW great. What a fuck up. Seriously.

- I know no-one talks about it, but I would have loved for Dan Levy to get a nomination for Schitt's Creek. It's my favorite comedic performance of last year (and yes, that includes Andre Braugher from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, who is usually my favorite).

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Annihilation - I don't know...I'm a bit disappointed. It was just hyped so much, and overall I wasn't impressed. It has some really beautiful moments and the cast is great, but the story is predictable and it felt very repetitive. After watching it, I thought that maybe it would be one of those films that stuck with me; that maybe after thinking on it, it would improve. That's not the case, at all. It's spectacularly unmemorable. I watched it over a month ago now, and I'm struggling to remember it enough to write about it. There was a tense scene with a bear....maybe? I do remember how beautiful every scene looked - so colorful, dense, and detailed. And I also remember how great the cast is, especially Tessa Thompson and Jennifer Jason Leigh because they are awesome. I'm super curious about the book, though. I know someone who thinks the book is awesome and someone else who calls the book "the worst book I've ever read" (and I trust both of them). I'm adding it to my reading list. I've been reading a lot more this year, which is why I've had even less time for movies. I realized at the end of 2017 that I only read 4 books and that is disgraceful! So this year I have a goal of at least 25 (I'm on #13 right now so right on track!).

2. American Made - I wasn't really expecting too much from this movie. Just Tom Cruise charming his way out of some drug smuggling situations. I'm a big fan of the Netflix show Narcos (oooooh Narcos! How did I forget about this show when I was writing my previous post about the best shows from this past season??? It should totally be on there.), and they briefly mention this American pilot who smuggled drugs for Escobar. It's a crazy interesting story, but this movie doesn't really capture anything interesting. It also gets really repetitive towards the end. Cruise is perfect for the role, but I think they seriously underutilized the supporting actors (did Lola Kirke even have any lines?). They spent too much time trying to make us like this guy (which was obvious the second they cast Cruise in the role), but to me, it just made the whole thing boring. We get it, it's Tom Cruise - we already like him, just get on with the story!

3. Phantom Thread - Interesting story about toxic relationships, which is not what I thought this movie was about. I guess I didn't really know what this movie was about because I never saw the trailer - I only knew that Daniel Day Lewis is in it and it's directed by PTA (sold!). I appreciate certain aspects of the movie - the biggest is PTA's directing/writing style. The story is layered, subtle, and unexpected. It can be interpreted several ways. I've read a few articles about the film's "meaning" out of curiosity, and it's fascinating how contradictory everyone's interpretations are. Is it a film about toxic masculinity? The fragility of the male ego? Is it a film about feminism? The struggle for women to take up more space in a "man's world"? Is it a love story? I don't have the answers for you. For me, it's a film about a narcissistic asshole and this stubborn woman who thinks she can change him. They are both abusive in their own way and they need each-other. And I think that can be true of many modern relationships (I wouldn't call that "love" though). While the themes are all fascinating, my problem with the movie is that it is booooooorrrrriiiiing. And, man, those dresses are ugly.

4. The Disaster Artist - NOPE. I don't get it. I didn't think I would, considering that I haven't seen The Room, but from what I've read and seen about it and of Tommy Wiseau, I could tell it wasn't going to be my thing. The Disaster Artist is a well-made film, don't get me wrong, and James Franco is superb, but I just can't get into a story about an arrogant, self-absorbed, delusional, obnoxious asshole treating people like garbage in order to "follow his dream" and then everyone having a big laugh about it. It's actually fucking disgusting. There's a big difference between not caring what people think about you, and being so self-involved that you think it's ok to ruin the experience that other people are having. I'm talking specifically about the scene in the diner where they start loudly reciting their lines - the fucking nerve - people are trying to enjoy a meal with their friends/family, shut the fuck up! Tommy's point is that you shouldn't care if people are looking at you and judging you (true), but that doesn't give you permission to be rude. Anyway, even though the whole movie pissed me off, James Franco deserved the Oscar nomination (and maybe even the win) - the controversy hurt his chances, which is a necessary result BUT then Gary Oldman won, um....so....that's awkward.

5. Red Sparrow - Not nearly as bad as I was expecting - I actually kind of liked it? I think people were expecting something more action-packed and fun - and in that way, it would definitely be disappointing. But I liked that it is dark (like really fucking dark), and it's more about the harrowing abuse that these Red Sparrows had to suffer in order to serve their country. It's really interesting to think about in the context of other famous Russian spy characters (Elizabeth from The Americans comes to mind - because she is fucking ruthless and I LOVE it, but a character like this probably suffered the realities depicted in this movie). I don't think Jennifer Lawrence was right for this role - first, that accent was ROUGH - she was focused on the accent so much that her face did not move for the entirety of the movie; second, she seems so much older than she is, so when Joely Richardson is her mother and Matthias Shoenaerts is her uncle - it seems weird. The ending was twisty, but all sort of obvious (and I don't think it would actually make sense if I watched it again and put the pieces together). I do think it's an interesting concept, and an interesting start to something, it just never quite gets there, though.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Best Films of 2017 ***Updated***

It's that time of year again! Time for me to update my Best Films list, now that I've actually seen a majority of the movies that I wanted to see from last year. Like I predicted, my top 6 did not change. There are still a few movies that I didn't get the chance to see yet (the big one is last year's Oscar winning best picture, The Shape of Water), but a lot of the movies that I expected to add to my list didn't make the cut anyway (*ahem* Call Me by Your Name. What a snooze-fest). Anyway, here it is: 

1. Dunkirk
2. mother!
3. Baby Driver
4. Logan
5. Blade Runner 2049
6. Get Out
7. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
8. Colossal 
9. Lady Bird 
10. I, Tonya 
10.5. Wind River 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The 10 Best TV Shows of the 2017-2018 Season

1. Killing Eve - It's only been on for one season (with only 8 episodes), but I am declaring this the best show currently on television (now that The Americans is officially over). I know that's a bit hasty, and I've been hasty - and wrong- before, like with Mr. Robot (phenomenal first season, mediocre second season, slightly better third season - and noticeably missing from my list because of this decline in quality). Killing Eve is a really special show though, because I honestly have no idea what the show is even about - I'm talking "big picture". The last episode is so far from the first episode, and getting there was just so much fun. It's daring in its storylines, it has very bold, very dark humor, and moments so unexpected that I actually rewound a few scenes and watched again. The music is also superb. I've been a fan of Sandra Oh - I still watch Grey's Anatomy and she is sorely missed, but it's really Jodie Comer who steals the show. If she doesn't get an Emmy for this performance, I will be shocked. The show is part Alias, part Luther, but with more humor and more violence.

2. Schitt's Creek - I just adore this show - and it just keeps getting better. The beginning was a little rough because these characters were so vapid and arrogant, but they've grown so much and now I just want to hug them. David and Patrick are probably my favorite couple on television right now - and that serenade of "Simply the Best" was just so sweet. I love that it came full circle with David singing it to Patrick a few episodes later. I love that the show is created by Eugene Levy and his son (Dan Levy), because the show feels really personal. Plus, Catherine O'Hara is glorious.

3. The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale - FUCKING YES I LOVE NETFLIX SO MUCH. The Soup was one of the few shows that I could put on that would always make me laugh and I miss it so much. This is about as close as you can get and I love it. I binged most of the first season in one day and my cheeks actually hurt from smiling so much.

4. The Expanse - Honestly, my heart sank when it was announced that SyFy cancelled this series. It has so much story left to tell! The third season has been its best yet, in terms of storytelling and characters - but also just in terms of beautiful shots (and very, very gory shots). These worlds, and wars, between the different planets, "The Belters", and the people caught in the middle of it all is so detailed and believable. I was going to wait to read the books until after the series was finished, but I just couldn't wait. So I read "Caliban's War", and am happy to report that the series definitely does the books justice. The books are written very well, and are very easy to read. The third season was also able to attract some superb talent - Elizabeth Mitchell, David Strathairn, on top of an already superb cast.

5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The funniest show on television at the moment. I was resistant to watching it because I'm not really a fan of Andy Samberg, but he's great in this. The other cast members, though, are sheer perfection. Andre Braugher kills me with every episode. I don't think dry wit has ever been done better and he should have like at least 5 Emmys for it. Terry Crews is HILARIOUS. The show gets lauded for its diversity, which is great (it is NYC - so if it wasn't diverse, it wouldn't be very realistic), but I think the reason it works so well is because it doesn't feel forced. I read an interview with Stephanie Beatriz and she talked about her audition for the show and how she heard that Melissa Fumero was cast on the show so she assumed that she didn't get the part because there is no way they would hire two Latina women. It's not really surprising, but it made me sad that we still live in a world where someone's race is a factor in getting a job.

6. The Goldbergs - I recently binge-watched this show, and boy, am I glad that I did. It just made my day so much better to sit and watch such a sweet, funny, wholesome show. I love everything about it. I love that they play with the timeline of the 80s. I mean, none of the storylines make any kind of linear sense, but that kind of sets the tone for the series. I love that each episode is based on some part of Adam Goldberg's childhood and the little clips at the end almost make me cry EVERY SINGLE TIME. I love that they spend an entire episode being annoyed at their "Smother" but then end the episode realizing how incredibly lucky they are. These kids seriously had the best childhood EVER. And finally, I LOVE Barry Goldberg. One of my favorite characters in television history. Seriously.

7. Mindhunter - I already wrote down my thoughts on this show here: https://michelle-alwaysacritic.blogspot.com/2017/11/thoughts-on-5-new-tv-shows.html . It's definitely among the best of the season, and I'm hoping that it won't be overlooked for awards season because it feels like it came out a lifetime ago. (also, how funny is it that out of the 5 shows in my post, only 1 is still airing. Actually I don't think Ghosted was officially cancelled yet, but I'm sure it will be any day now. I used to be good at picking tv shows! What happened?!)

8. The Crown - The first season of The Crown was great, but the second season was just spectacular. I'm a little sad that Claire Foy will not continue in the role because she is just perfect, BUT Olivia Colman is one of my favorite actresses ever, so I can't complain. They did a really good job of casting Matt Smith, because I can't fucking stand him but he somehow works (we're not supposed to like Phillip...right?! I mean, we're not supposed to "like" any of them, but he is just the worst). Also, I literally screamed out loud when Michael C. Hall showed up as JFK. What an odd casting choice!

9. The Americans - I'm so sad that this show is over, but also glad that it's ending on a high note (and it never really dropped in quality. All six season were fantastic - although I would say season 5 is my least favorite). I still have three more episodes left to watch because I've been savoring it. I know the final episode is going to devastate me. There is just no possibility for any sort of "happy" ending. It's unfathomable that Keri Russell hasn't won ALL of the awards for her portrayal of this character. I'm hoping that this year will be her year (but she's up against some tough competitors - Jodie Comer, specifically). The most brilliant thing the show has done, aside from having an FBI agent living across the street, is turning Paige into her mother. I never expected that they would go down that route, but they did and it's perfect.

10. American Crime Story - Not as good as season 1 (The People v. O.J. Simpson), but I don't think anyone expected it to be. I also don't think people expected Darren Criss to be so fucking creepy! I'm really impressed with his performance - it's charming, psychotic, vulnerable, funny, and dark, all at once. It's no coincidence that my two favorite performances this year are from former Glee actors - it's no denying those kids are talented. I just hope Lea Michele gets something as challenging to show her range. I'm also surprised that Penelope Cruz was the weak link of the show - her accent mixed with the weird lisp that Donatella has is hard to imitate (realistically), so maybe focus on other aspects of her personality? I just couldn't get past how difficult it seemed for Cruz to pronounce every word. I think the coolest part of the show was that it told the story backwards - it really kept my interest and added a new layer with every episode.


Friday, June 8, 2018

3 Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War


**Spoilers**

1. "Oh, we're using our made up names. Um...I'm Spider-Man, then" - Even after all of the mostly positive reviews, I honestly thought this movie was going to be an absolute mess. There's just too many characters. Just look at that poster! There are more than a dozen characters featured! But I admit, they did a fantastic job making it all cohesive. I think it works so much because they put the right characters together. They obviously had to break everyone up and tell separate storylines, and that's where I thought it would feel too jumbled and rushed. But the characters really make it work. I love all the character introductions to each other, the little jabs at each other, the slight distrust among them. Also, it was necessary for a few characters to be missing - but cutting out Hawkeye? Really? That hurts.

2. "Only if I die" - If you told me that Thor was the highlight of an Avengers movie, I would laugh in your face. And yet, here we are. This movie definitely helps make Thor: Ragnarok fit into the universe - it felt so different than the previous Thor movies, but definitely in the same atmosphere as the Guardians movies. So, it's fitting that their storylines converge. And it's also WONDERFUL. Chris Hemsworth has come a loooong way. I actually liked Thor in this. His lines didn't come across as cheesy as the previous efforts and (again) he looks a million times better with short hair (as ALL men do). The only thing I didn't like is that they turned Star-Lord into a complete dick. He was always a bit of a dick, but a lovable one. The way he gets all jealous and territorial, though, is really unnecessary. It doesn't help that he is also responsible for killing off half the universe. LOL.

3. "I don't feel so good" - So Marvel has been teasing us with death since the beginning. It was all leading to this. I expected someone big to die; someone that I actually care about. I managed to stay away from spoilers but I knew that Hawkeye was not featured in any promotion for the film, but his death was already teased in Age of Ultron and it didn't happen so I figured they wouldn't try that again. I also saw a ton of people saying that they were sad (some literally cried. Can you even imagine?) over the death(s) in this movie, which led me to believe it would be Captain America and/or Bucky (good fucking riddance..right?). I also saw the "I don't feel so good" memes but I didn't even realize they were Avengers related (I am so out of the loop with where memes come from, I thought it was just something else I didn't understand). The scene in which Iron Man is presumably killed is quite shocking. When it happened I honestly did get a bit choked up for a millisecond and then thought "wow they actually had the balls to kill Iron Man??! No fucking way! Go Marvel". Then OF COURSE it doesn't happen. Everything is completely wiped out by Doctor Strange saving him and then saying "it's the only way". MEANING it's the only way for all of humanity to survive. MEANING that all of the deaths in the end aren't really true. MEANING the whole movie is a waste of my fucking time. It's all going to be undone in the next one, so really what's the point? And why are people so upset about it? They aren't going to really kill off that many characters - they are making too much money on them. Let's be real.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Summer TV Preview: 4 New Shows to Watch

1. Take Two (ABC) - HELLO RACHEL BILSON!! It was a complete joke that her last show, Hart of Dixie lasted so long (76 episodes! Really? That's insane.). I just adore her so much that I will always support her new efforts (I think I lasted a full 7 episodes of Dixie). I don't really know anything about this show other than it's her and Eddie Cibrian and they solve crimes together (I think?).

2. American Woman (Paramount) - I still quote Clueless on a daily basis. Alicia Silverstone is a goddess, and I've missed her so much. The plot synopsis is that a "single woman struggles to raise her two daughters on her own", which is already a strong premise. I am interested in Paramount as a television network (they took over for Spike). I really liked their mini-series Waco (extremely problematic, but also very cinematic) that aired earlier this year.

3. Castle Rock (Hulu) - Stephen King. J.J. Abrams. Do I need to say anything else??? That's not even considering the cast: Sissy Spacek, Jane Levy, Terry O'Quinn. This is my most anticipated show of the summer.

4. Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan (Amazon) - I think I've said this before, but I've actually read several of the Jack Ryan stories. My grandmother was a huge Tom Clancy fan, so I would read at least one every summer. I enjoyed them. I enjoyed the movies that have been made based on the character (for the most part). I'm really excited for the tv show for one reason, though: John Krasinski.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. I, Tonya - I was really interested to see how they were going to pull this off, especially with Tonya Harding involved in the process. They did it brilliantly. At this point, it is unlikely that we will ever get "the truth" of Harding's involvement - however, she did plead GUILTY to hindering the investigation, and in their own investigation, the Figure Skating Association deemed that she knew about the attack before it happened. Harding claims that she is a victim of abuse - both from her mother and her now ex-husband, which I believe. The film depicts this abuse, but it also plays with the truth - giving a voice to both her husband and her mother. Personally, I think they are all lying and the truth is somewhere in the middle. Her mother was probably verbally abusive, but also pushed Tonya into becoming one of the greatest American figure skaters of all-time. Her husband was probably controlling, and probably threatened her into lying about what really happened, and, yes, I am sympathetic towards that. The film brilliantly pulls at the sympathy, but never claims to be the truth. I'm not sympathetic to the whole class issue, though. Yes, she had to work harder than other figure skaters, and yes, I believe that the judges didn't like her because of her background, but to use that as an excuse is pitiful. I wish they would have included a scene or two featuring Kerrigan (as a victim, she should have a voice as well - I'm guessing she didn't want to be involved). Margot Robbie is extraordinary in this role. As much as I love Frances McDormand (winner of Best Actress last year), there is just no comparison to the complexity of this role.

2. Detroit - Where I, Tonya shines in playing with the truth, Detroit fails miserably. This film depicts an event as "truth" while blatantly ignoring facts or other perspectives. The film is described as a "fictional account" of what happened at the Algiers Motel during the famous riots in Detroit, which is a great story to tell especially with the continued tension and violence between black communities and police officers. However, instead of just guessing what happened, why not just tell the story from one perspective? I feel like this story is just too important to not get right. Apparently, the real Melvin was a consultant on the film, and claims its truthfulness, so why not just make the whole film from his point of view? He has a very interesting story arc; it would have made the film so much better. Instead, this film is very cut and dry - there is not depth to any character, no underlying reasons for their actions. It's just plot. I'm starting to question whether John Boyega can act. I like him, but he hasn't been good in multiple movies. I LOVE Hannah Murray though (she was my favorite on Skins). I couldn't really take Will Poulter seriously (which is obviously problematic for this movie). I think I'm most disappointed by Kathryn Bigelow, though. She has some extraordinary films under her belt, and this one is mediocre, at best.

3. Colossal - I'm in love. This is one of those films that I enjoyed watching, but then after watching it I just can't stop thinking about all of the brilliant little moments. It's so original in its genre mixing, but also in its story-telling - the audience has no idea what kind of movie they are watching until it's over.*spoilers ahead* It starts off as a cliched romantic comedy where the girl is seen as a "mess" so she moves back home and reconnects with her childhood friend. You are led to believe that this will end in a typical fashion of reconnected love - but it ends up being a brilliant tale of revenge. It's just absolutely fascinating to watch it unfold. Plus, it's a monster movie! With a bit of sci-fi thrown in! There is also some brilliant commentary on our narcissistic human nature, as well as an underlying story of men's entitlement and their reactions when they don't get what they want. Hathaway is perfect. I've always liked her - but I've also felt she was grating in a few roles, so I understand why people don't like her. However, I always think it's weird when people are surprised that she can act. She's done a variety of roles, and often excels in them. Surely this movie will be among my Top 10 of last year.

4. The Killing of a Sacred Deer - And this is another one that will likely make it to my updated Top 10 list of last year. While it's not as brilliant as The Lobster, it still has its moments of utter brilliance. It's heavily influenced by Greek mythology (and therefore I automatically swoon for it). If you're interested, Vulture does a fantastic job of breaking it all down here: https://bit.ly/2sndgmu . The film is very surreal (maybe a bit too surreal for its own good), and in no way is shaped by any reality (what happens at the end? Wouldn't there be an investigation? etc.). Also, the most logical thing in this situation would be to kill your wife - done and done. You always protect your children (I don't even have kids and that's the obvious choice even to me). It is super chilling, though, when she states that he should kill the youngest kid because they could always have another (which is even MORE of a reason to kill her). Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman are wonderful, but the standout performance is clearly Barry Keoghan (he was also the standout in Dunkirk, dude had a great 2017). Also, Alicia Silverstone is in it for a hot minute and I screamed! I miss her so much (and am happy to report that she is on a new tv show, American Woman, and I will most definitely be watching).

5. Black Panther - Um...ok. I don't understand the hype at all. It felt like every other recent Marvel movie. It's certainly not the best, or even one that I will remember a few months from now (I would put it at equal quality with Doctor Strange and Ant-Man). The most disappointing part, though, is Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger. The role is great - an actual villain with a point other than destroying the world. Jordan, however, is absolutely terrible in the role - and I say this as a HUGE fan. I've loved him since Parenthood (and of course The Wire and Friday Night Lights, but I saw Parenthood first). I don't know what went wrong, and I seem to be a minority (although when I told my co-worker my thoughts he happily agreed with me and said he's been quiet about it because everyone else raved about his performance). Anyway, the movie, to me, is rather underwhelming, but I can understand the cultural significance and how important representation in movies is. This movie means the world to so many people, so I'm not going to waste negative energy criticizing it. On a positive note - I loved Letitia Wright - she's adorable! It took me a while to figure out how I recognize her but it's from Humans. I'm excited to see her career grow. And Angela Bassett is a Queen. Someone please save her from that awful tv show 9-1-1. It is so beneath her talent.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Personal Shopper - I had high hopes that this movie would disrupt my current Top 10 list from last year. I saw it on many critics/people I trust lists, and some of the production stills are stunning looking. Unfortunately, I just couldn't connect with it. It is very beautiful, and a well-made film, but the plot is extremely stupid. I thought it was about a Personal Shopper (which it was), but it was really about a woman who thinks she can connect with dead people - more specifically, her dead brother. The second she starts to receive texts from a stranger - and answers them - it just lost me completely. Who in their right mind answers texts from a stranger??? I mean, really, WHO? I figured it would lead to something, anything, interesting but nothing happens for about an hour and 15 minutes. Then, exactly what you expect to happen, happens. Then, I guess to be "artsy" or innovative, it ends in a really confusing way, where you really have no idea what the point to any of it is. There is also a really awful amateurish fade out scene that I actually thought was an error in my DVD. I will admit that this is a great vehicle for Kristen Stewart, but she seems to just be continuing the same role from Clouds of Sils Maria (which she was great in).

2. Patriots Day - Pretty much exactly what I was expecting. I can't believe this movie is from 2016. I try to only write my thoughts on movies that I see that are from the previous year or newer, but I'm so behind on movies now. I also think it's really weird to make a movie about the Boston Marathon bombing so soon after it happened. There is such a thing as "too soon", in my opinion. It was interesting, though. I think most of the events of capturing the bombers happened at night so I just read recaps of the aftermath, but it must have been so terrifying living there - having it all unfold like right outside your house. I think the movie does a disservice to the actual people who lived through this event by introducing too many characters. I didn't really get to know anyone - it was just like this is A, B, and C, and this is their part in this tragic event. It just felt really unfocused. The cast is great, but I wish Michelle Monaghan had a bigger role. Same for Rachel Brosnahan. Oh and I didn't even recognize Supergirl until the end! Talk about diversifying your roles! Also, as expected, the ending with the real people, fucking destroyed me.

3. Good Time - I have been a fan of Robert Pattinson post the Twilight movies. Dudes been pretty great (if you don't believe me then watch Cosmopolis, The Rover, Maps to the Stars). He's great in this. However, the movie is not nearly as good as I was led to believe. There's some great stuff mixed in, but overall, I was bored. There are some questionable plot points - like ***spoiler*** how he didn't recognize that guy was clearly not his brother - they have completely different builds, and how he tries to seduce a 16 year old. I know we're not supposed to like him exactly, but aren't we supposed to root for him in some way? Once that happened, I was done. I did like that it had this Go vibe to it (which is one of my very favorite movies from the 90s). I also really enjoyed that it was a modern re-telling of Of Mice and Men (which I assume was intentional?). And the ending is perfect.

4. Fifty Shades Darker - Oh man, the torture (unintentional pun). I thought the first one was dumb and dull - not controversial, not sexy or hot, just fucking dull. I could get angry about a lot of the plot points of this sequel (as I could with the first one) - like the whole "Christian was abused as a child so we should feel sympathy for him" angle, or how when he tries to win back Anastasia (how do I not remember her having that name?) he says "I don't want strangers gawking at you", or how he becomes "heroic" by saving her from getting raped by her boss (because he is LITERALLY the same person as her boss), but I just don't take these movies seriously enough to get angry. I still maintain that Christian is a serial killer, so I was a bit disappointed that her male bff is still alive (didn't he disappear in the first one?). The guy who plays Christian (nope, still don't know his name, but he was great in The Killing and he is so fucking hot), is so bored in this role - he looks like he hates every second of his screen-time and every line of his dialogue. The two nice things I can say about this movie is that at least this one has a lot more sex in it (the first one was surprisingly tame), and it's not really dull - there are like 10 subplots. None of them make any sense, but at least they tried?

5. Game Night - Much better than it has any right to be. I actually remember reading surprisingly good reviews when it came out in theaters, but then it was cricket sounds from the box office, so I assumed it was dumb. I was highly entertained for all of it. Rachel McAdams is terrific - and I don't say that often because she is usually miscast, but she is GREAT in comedic roles like this. The movie is consistently funny, the cast have a great chemistry (kicked up a notch by Lamorne Morris' uncanny Denzel Washington impression), and it's very stylishly made (super cool tracking shots galore). The plot is crazy - and the ending twist does not make an ounce of sense, but it doesn't even matter. Although, without the "twist", the movie probably would have been even better (like if they just skipped that part and continued with the original plot). The *killer* cameo at the end is perfect - I had no idea he was in this. I could totally see a sequel (although I don't know how that would even work, but I would love to see more from these characters). It's a shame that it didn't do well, but maybe more people will watch it on home release and realize how funny it is.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Summer Movie Preview: 17 Movies That I'm Excited For

1. Overboard (5.4) - The original Overboard is one of my favorite comedies of all time. I know it doesn't really fly in modern times, but even as a child I didn't really think the message was "ok", but it was a COMEDY not to be taken seriously. I'm not one to claim that remakes ruin the original, or my childhood, or my life (some people are sooooo dramatic), but I am a little upset that they are switching the gender roles as if that makes the plot ok (or "modern")??? However, the reason I am still on board (accidental pun) is for one major reason: I adore Anna Faris - she is my generation's Goldie Hawn (I mean, Goldie Hawn is irreplaceable, but Faris is the next best thing). I recently read her book, which was a tad disappointing because it wasn't as funny as I was expecting, but I also really enjoyed the honesty of it (plus, Faris is clearly not a writer, which she openly admits. It was a little inspirational because she writes in a very stream of consciousness kind of way and it's bad, but if she can have a book then maybe so can I one day???).

2. Tully (5.4) - I'm hearing amazing things about this movie and it has all the right things in place - Directed by Jason Reitman (I haven't been a fan of his last two outings but I'm ready for him to be back on form with this), written by Diablo Cody, starring Charlize Theron and someone I've recently become a BIG fan of - Mackenzie Davis. She started out rough on Halt and Catch Fire, but by the end of the series she was giving one of my favorite television performances of all time.

3. Terminal (5.11) - Big fan of Margot Robbie - she is the modern day "Hitchcock Blonde" (like, if they ever have the gall to remake The Birds or Vertigo - they would have no choice but to cast her or I WILL RIOT). Anyway, she's the only reason I want to see this. I don't need to know anything else about it.

4. The Seagull (5.11) - A film version of Chekhov's masterpiece? I am there. Casting Annette Bening and Saoirse Ronan?? Can we say "Oscar"? 

5. Deadpool 2 (5.18) - I loved Deadpool - it's one of my favorite recent comic book movies. I laughed my ass off, it has an interesting story, great characters, and is easily re-watchable. I don't even like Ryan Reynolds, but he absolutely nails this character. The trailers haven't been as funny as I was hoping for - but I did die laughing at "from the studio that brought you 27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada".

6. How to Talk to Girls at Parties (5.25) - Um...I just have to see this movie based on the production stills of Nicole Kidman in that ridiculous outfit/hair/makeup.

7. Action Point (6.1) - I'm actually really fascinated by this movie because it's based on the famous NJ water park, Action Park. I used to go there when I was a kid in the late 80s and it was absolutely terrifying. There were like no safety regulations in place and people got hurt all the time. I vividly remember standing in a pool of another kid's blood because he split his head open at the bottom of the river raft ride. It's kind of awkward to make a movie about it, considering people died there. But on the other hand, it totally makes sense for Johnny Knoxville to make a movie that he describes as "if Jackass had it's own theme park".

8. Hotel Artemis (6.8) - I have a huge crush on Sterling K. Brown. He's just so perfect on This is Us. I fall more in love with every episode. I want him to be a gigantic movie star. This movie is just the beginning.

9. Ocean's 8 (6.8) - This is the movie that I have been anxiously waiting for ever since I heard it announced. Ocean's Eleven is one of my favorite movies of all-time (definitely in my Top 50). Sandra Bullock is my favorite person (in celebrity terms). Cate Blanchett my favorite actress. The rest of the cast is INSANE. I really, really, really wish Steven Soderbergh was directing because I have doubts that this will "feel" the same (there is just something about Soderbergh's films that are so unique), but otherwise it looks just about perfect.

10. Hereditary (6.8) - The trailer for this played before Thoroughbreds, and it looks really scary. And I don't say that very often.

11. Tag (6.15) - Jeremy Renner in a raunchy comedy??? HELL YES.

12. Under the Silver Lake (6.22) - The premise seems interesting, and I really liked It Follows, even though I think people hyped it way too much. Also, Andrew Garfield is a really good actor.

13. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (6.22) - I don't care - I enjoyed the hell out of Jurassic World. It was fun, brought some of the nostalgia of the original back, and had a decent story. I'm looking forward to where the story goes next. I kind of wish it didn't involve Bryce Dallas Howard again, but oh well. But the most exciting news - Jeff Goldblum is back!!! Fucking YES!!!

14. Ant-Man and The Wasp (7.6) - I really liked Ant-Man, but honestly, I don't really remember anything about it (the same can be said for Doctor Strange). I think that's the problem that I've been running into with all of the Marvel movies. I enjoy them while I'm watching them, but they are mostly forgettable. There are just soooo many of them, and it seems to be never-ending. I wish they slowed it down a little bit. Anyway, I will continue to keep watching because I need to (completest).

15. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot (7.13) - First, the title is great. Second, Gus Van Sant is love or hate for me (Love = Good Will Hunting; Hate = To Die For). Third, Jonah Hill has TWO Oscar nominations and that's no accident. He's great. Fourth, Joaquin Phoenix.

16. The Spy Who Dumped Me (8.3) - It's probably going to be dumb, but I can't NOT watch a "buddy action comedy" with Mila Kunis. And there is no "stereotypical romantic arc" according to Entertainment Weekly, and that's pretty rare for comedies starring two women.

17. Crazy Rich Asians (8.17) - There's a lot of hype for this movie, and I heard a lot of good things about the book so I guess we'll see.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Girls Trip - Expectations were super high for a few reasons: 1. The great reviews. 2. Tiffany Haddish seems to be the new "It girl". 3. I'm always up for a Set it Off reunion. However, even with the line "Come on Bitches, Let's set it off!" followed by a moment between Queen Latifah and Jada, the rest of the movie was actually kind of...painful. I didn't find it funny at all. It was definitely raunchy, but I didn't laugh at all. It was surprisingly cheesy and boring...and predictable. However, I will always love Queen Latifah, and Regina Hall, and Lorenz Tate!!! Where has he been? I don't think I've seen him in anything since Rescue Me. You know who else I haven't seen in YEARS? MASE (or is it still Ma$e?)! I think that was the only moment of the movie that peaked my interest - and not because I love Mase or anything, it was just so surprising. Also, do women really think Puff Daddy is hot?!? I'm so confused. He will always be the dorky guy in the background of Biggy videos calling out "yeah....uh huh...yeah" and taking credit for everyone else's talent, to me. Anyway, back to the movie. I guess I'm not exactly the target audience, but I just didn't find this funny or interesting in any way. It could have easily been a lifetime movie if it didn't have the vulgarity. And to be really fucking nit-picky, how did Jada fit into her friend's dress? She's like half of her size. I am about Jada's size and I can never borrow my friend's clothes.

2. Shut In - What a dumb fucking movie. I was intrigued by the cast (Naomi Watts and Jacob Tremblay). I like psychological horror movies - What Lies Beneath comes to mind (part horror, part mind-fuck), but this movie just didn't make any sense. I won't go into plot details, just in case you would like to torture yourself and watch it, but let's just say that the most obvious thing happens even though it seems so impossible because it's just SO OBVIOUS. The biggest mistake is that Tremblay is barely in it. That kid is destined to be a star, and I'm not one to praise child actors (I think it's mostly luck when they are that young), but he really blew me away in Room. He really has nothing to do in this movie but act terrified (and he did it well). Aside from the horrible premise, nothing really happens until the end. The only big scares were some night terrors and a raccoon. Then the big dramatic ending sequence happens where the "final girl" is running for her life and she literally does everything wrong. Everything. It's extremely frustrating.

3. Logan Lucky - I'm clearly not on top of my movie game lately (not enough time in the day; too much television to watch, etc.) because I had no idea that this was directed by Steven Soderbergh (and didn't he retire?!). I wasn't paying much attention to the beginning credits, and then about 1/4 way through the movie I thought "this feels like a white trash version of Ocean's Eleven", not even realizing the connection between them (sorry if it's offensive to use the term "white trash" but I grew up as white trash, so I feel like I'm aloud to call it out when I see it). I'm a big fan of the Ocean's films and the new one with the magnificent Sandi B is literally the only movie I'm looking forward to this year. I liked the pace of this movie a lot - it felt like Soderbergh, and I honestly feel so dumb that I didn't know it was him. The film was a lot smarter than I thought it was going to be - every detail connected together. I feel like there are probably a ton of plot holes if I watched it again, or it might be air-tight (I'll probably never know. I rarely have time for first-time watch movies, let alone repeat viewings). Almost all of the actors are fantastic, but man, Hillary Swank is stunningly terrible. I don't know if it was just a mis-cast or what was going on, but she stuck out like a sore thumb. I did really like Riley Keough. I've heard her name a lot, but this is the first time I've taken notice of her, and she was definitely the highlight of the film. I also learned that she's Elvis' granddaughter! That's pretty cool!

4. Justice League - I know, I know. Just like everyone said, it is a terrible movie. I don't always trust people, because sometimes the consensus is bad and I end up finding something worth watching. And even though this movie is terrible and an editing nightmare, there are still some stunning shots and and um...that's all I got. I'm not really sure why people hate on Zach Snyder the way that they do. He seems like a stand-up guy, and he's super talented and passionate about his movies. I think if a third party editing team put the film together more cohesively it could have been something special. I also think the casting is off. Gal Gadot is the exception (obvi!), and I liked Ben Affleck as Batman in the previous movie (he's another one that everyone seems to gang up on lately. I don't get it.), but I don't feel like his heart was in this one. Cavill still bores me. Ezra Miller was awful as The Flash. It's tough because Grant Gustin does it so well on the tv show; it's hard to top. But, Ezra is just a super creepy guy. He's not charming, funny, or loveable, and he can't pretend to be (he's fucking perfect in creepy/angsty roles, though. Stay in your lane, dude.). Jason Mamoa is decent, I guess, but I would have no interest in a stand-alone film. And there's another dude....right? I have no idea who he is or what he does. I was so happy about Amber Heard joining the DCU, but she was barely in this movie. Did her scenes get cut? Anyway, none of them really had good chemistry, and that's the biggest reason the film fails. Also, who was the bad guy? Because it's only been like a week ago since I watched it and I already forgot. Half of the movie was a lead up to reviving Superman, as if the audience doesn't know that is definitely going to happen. So dumb.

5. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - So much cuter than I was expecting. I have absolutely no attachment to the original. It's probably one of my least favorite Robin William movies. I think it was more to do with my age - I imagine that 14 year old me thought I was "too cool" for it. I should probably revisit at some point. Anyway, I was expecting a dumb action blockbuster type movie, but this was more family friendly than I was expecting. The cast really worked well together. I like that they updated it to video games, plus the whole body switching element made for some really funny situations. I LOVE Karen Gillan. It's crazy that she's in this (which made a shitload of $$$) and the Guardians movies, and yet no-one (in America) knows her by name. Soon, Karen, soon. I think this is the perfect role for The Rock. He's quite charming, and funny. I think the movie overall could have been even funnier. Since they had such a great script, story structure, and cast - I see so much more potential. Overall, though, I was fully entertained with this movie.