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.