June 3, 2019 at 12:20 am #1202921198
“Aladdin” (2019): I enjoyed this film quite a bit, maybe more than I should have. Much of that is fueled on a purely nostalgia basis, as the animated film ranks highly with me for personal reasons. I say this thinking that the recent live-action remakes kick of “Beauty & the Beast” (2017) and “Cinderella” (2015) were both complete wastes of time, and Disney is the devil. I’m not all that enthused about “The Lion King” (2019) either, but I know I’ll end up seeing that one too. The world-building was thrilling to watch, as well as the eye-popping costumes (Michael Wilkinson might be looking at a second Oscar nomination). The music really sold it for me, for the old and the new. The DJ Khaled one is unfortunate, but P&P’s “Speechless” gives the film a nice modern, if slightly anachronistic, jolt for young girls watching that’s needed in this political climate. Inclusion seemed to be at the forefront here, which was nice. Maybe not with Guy Ritchie directing, who couldn’t be more white, but what can you do there lol? Naomi Scott is quite the discovery. I liked more attention being paid to Jasmine’s intelligence than her outer-worldly beauty, and her singing voice is lovely. Mena Massoud was … fine. He didn’t wow me or keep up with Scott in stretches, but there was a charm there with him that worked, I guess. Marwan Kenzari was just the kind of moustache-twirling villain you would want as Jafar. As for Will Smith, I’ll go ahead and give him MVP status. He had the insurmountable task of following Robin Williams’s overwhelming shadow, and knowing that he could never top him, all he could do was be the best Will Smith he could be. It was a broad performance, but lively, updated, and lived-in. “Friend Like Me” was pretty much everything you were waiting for like forty minutes into it, and the audience I was with clapped after the song was over. Surely the best acting work Smith’s brought to the table in many, many years. Not a perfect film, and a tad overlong, but it sold a remake-averse, Disney-hating skeptic like me, so maybe wonders never cease.June 3, 2019 at 1:32 pm #1202922015
Burn After Reading (2008): This was an interesting watch, to say the least. Having heard great things of Pitt’s performance, I felt compelled to watch, in order to properly assess a few of the 2008 performances in my own personal rankings. This film is all over the place, which makes it a little difficult to follow, but the way in which the Coen brothers are able to craft such a bizarre web of eclectic personalities is fascinating. The opening scene, which depicts John Malkovich getting fired from his job at the CIA, due to apparent issues with alcoholism. Malkovich’s flustered retort is fantastic and hilarious, setting the stage for an unfortunate but masterfully conveyed downward spiral. Tilda Swinton, who portrays Malkovich wife, is pursuing a divorce from Malkovich’s character. Although this certainly is not Swinton’s best role, especially considering she had just won the Oscar for Michael Clayton, she is pretty great at being a total bitch, reminiscent of Catherine Keener in Being John Malkovich. Clooney gives one of his better performances as a world-class womanizer, but I will truly never understand the bit about the weird dildo chair. The true gems of the movie, however, are Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and, most importantly, Brad Pitt. Forming a laughable group of gym employees, each adds another layer of comedic value to the picture. Jenkins, the love-deprived boss, is actually able to tug on a few heart strings with his grounded work. His face tells a thousand emotions, as he navigates conversation with McDormand’s character, who refuses to reciprocate the affection he so meekly desires. McDormand, enamored by the notion of fixing herself through plastic surgery, is constantly moving a mile a minute. With rapid deliver of her dialogue and a plethora of unique facial expressions, McDormand displays every emotion under the sun in mostly comedic, but occasionally serious, illustrations of derangement. She is truly an unbearable character, but has so many layers; it is hard not to sympathize with her. Pitt is the true MVP of the picture, embodying the comedy in its most irrational, yet perfectly stated form. He is dumb as a brick, but that’s entirely the purpose of the plot in general: to convey the most ridiculous story in the most ridiculous way, with characters that are so outlandish that it makes zero sense, but all the sense in the world. Pitt nails the gym junkie with a limited IQ, delivering one of the funniest performances of his career. Looking back, I would have probably nominated Pitt in supporting, with the film itself certainly earning nods in Best Original Screenplay over Frozen River, as well as Best Film Editing over Frost/Nixon. It could even have been nominated for its score. This satire of bureaucracy may not compare to the masterpieces of No Country for Old Men or Fargo, but it certainly is an exceptional addition to the filmography of the Coen Brothers.
Grade: B+June 3, 2019 at 1:35 pm #1202922022
I have very rarely ever quit watching a film … the other day i quit watching Cold Pursuit … so bad
Check out my online store 🙂June 4, 2019 at 6:46 am #1202923104
I recently watched/re-watched the Best Picture Nominees from the following years. Here’s my ratings and personal rankings,
- One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – 5/5
- Jaws – 5/5
- Dog Day Afternoon – 5/5 (I rank it 2nd when it comes to voting)
- Barry Lyndon – 5/5
- Nashville – 4/5
- Network – 5/5
- Taxi Driver – 5/5
- All the President’s Men – 5/5
- Rocky – 5/5
- Bound for Glory – 3/5
June 4, 2019 at 6:30 pm #1202923810
- Annie Hall – 5/5
- Star Wars – 5/5
- Julia – 4/5
- The Turning Point – 4/5
- The Goodbye Girl – 3/5
I just rewatched “Unstoppable” with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. Also watched “The Work and The Glory III”.June 22, 2019 at 11:10 pm #1202948393
“The Hate U Give” (2018): Topical yet difficult film to watch. I liked the ensemble the most, starting with Amandla Stenberg, who was exceptional here and brought a refreshing realness to a difficult code-shifting role that isn’t shown all that much. I remember commenting on what a standout she was as Rue in “The Hunger Games” a couple years ago, so I’m glad she’s grown into such a standout young actress. I compare here a lot (and sadly mistook her for awhile) with Zendaya, and after just seeing how awful the “Euphoria” pilot was, I can’t help but think about Stenberg playing the main character instead (incidentally also named Rue). The film itself gets very preachy in stretches and way too long. I think at least a half hour could have been shaved. Russell Hornsby and Regina Hall were strong as Starr’s parents. I’m also convinced between this and “Support the Girls” that Hall will be an Oscar winner someday with the right stsr vehicle. I doubt many thought that Regina King would be an Oscar winner a few years ago, and look what happened. The exact same thing could happen with Hall, and they’re only over a month apart in age. Common, Issa Rae, and Anthony Mackie also have some standout scenes. One to look out for is Algee Smith as Khalil, who sets in motion the events of the entire film. He’s been in a lot of things lately, and also has a prominent role in “Euphoria” (poor him lol). He has star quality and charisma regardless. I’d still watch this despite the tough subject matter of police brutality and how a community rallies in the aftermath of that.June 23, 2019 at 12:31 am #1202948421
Werk ohne Autor [Never Look Away] (2018) – best movie I have seen since Arrival (10/10)
Cop (1988) – not what I expected, let down by the ending (7/10)
The Wife (2018) – quite slow, sometimes powerful, but left a bit to be desired. Not uninteresting though (7/10)
The Incredibles 2 (2018) – lots and lots of fun (9/10)
Heat Lightning (1934) – Ann Dvorak, Aline MacMahon and Glenda Farrell in a tight Warner Bros pre-code? Why haven’t I heard of it before? This was a great picture! (8/10)June 23, 2019 at 6:55 am #1202948580
Late Night (2019) contains a superb performance by Emma Thompson that deserves awards recognition throughout the awards season next year. The film is wonderful, not great cinema, but an enjoyable, entertaining fun film. Mindy Kaling and John Lithgow give excellent performances. It is crisply directed and written and a joy to watch! (:June 23, 2019 at 7:34 am #1202948591
Atonement: What a gut punch. Before I delve into the film itself, it must be said that Dario Marianelli’s score is one of the best scores of any film. The incorporation of miscellaneous non-instruments, such as the typewriter in the opening song and the soldiers singing on the battlefield, was mesmerizing and masterfully done. Every interlude elicits emotions of pure joy or absolute devastation. The cinematography is gorgeous and the costume design is spectacular. It easily should have bested There Will Be Blood and Elizabeth: The Golden Age in each of those categories, respectively. Although the plot gets somewhat disjointed at times with the interpolation of flashbacks, the final scene and its revelation left quite an impression on me. I can honestly say that I have continued to think about this film in the days following my viewing of it, which speaks to how powerful the story truly is. In terms of the acting, everyone essentially knocks it out of the park. James McAvoy is the best, with some of the greatest dramatic scenes of the picture. His breakdowns are shattering and his quiet moments display an immense amount of nuance. Keira Knightley delivers one of her strongest turns. She actively avoids playing Cecilia with child-like flourishes, which better fits the character and emphasizes the dichotomy of Knightley’s older sister and Saoirse Ronan’s Briony. Ronan gives one of the best child performance, forcing you to despise her within minutes of her first appearance on the screen. Her witnessing of Cecilia and Robbie in the library is perhaps the best emotional reaction I have seen a child actor give. Romola Garai does a great job of embodying the now regretful and troubled young adult that Briony has become. However, the Briony I was most infatuated by was Vanessa Redgrave, who nails every mannerism. Every sense of contrition she is attempting to reconcile is palpable. In all honesty, I wish Redgrave had scored a nomination for this, as she effectively steals the show with so little screen time. McAvoy was a strong contender as well that I still strongly to determine if he makes my final five or not. Knightley is a close runner-up, but she gives a career best in one of the most tragically beautiful movies I have ever seen. Overall, this film is devastatingly amazing and worthy of the high praise.
The Savages: Witty, heart-breaking, and endearing. Those descriptive words are fitting for both the picture itself and the performances of the three central actors: Hoffman, Linney, and Bosco. Linney is captivating as the daughter of Bosco’s character, attempting to cope as she spirals through a mid-life crisis. Hoffman is just as strong, as he masterfully begins to unveil his own personal turmoils. The scene following the interview at the more prestigious rehabilitation center is Hoffman’s sheer talent exploding into view. Bosco is hilarious with his comedic flare, but him lashing out at his children as they try to make the best of his new situation brings the picture even further in its approach to realism. This movie encapsulates loss and hopelessness in the most human way. All three actors deserved nominations and Tamara Jenkins would have been a worthy winner for Best Original Screenplay. Easily one of the best films of 2007.June 23, 2019 at 11:31 am #1202948781
Dark Phoenix: one of the worst films of the year for sure.
Men in Black International: some funny moments, but it ended up being very unnecessary. Tessa Thompson was a little miscast.
Always be my Maybe: not the best actors to carry a whole film. The film needed to be much funnier.
The Blues Brothers: hadn’t seen it ever. Really. Very fun.
Whats Love Got to do with it: I need to watch The Piano again just to make sure this isn’t one of the biggest robberies in Oscar history. I know it’s not, I just need to watch Hunter again to be sure…again. (Not a big fan of Bassett’s performance once Tina leaves Ike. She immediately turned into typical Bassett when that moment came).June 23, 2019 at 12:09 pm #1202948806
Everybody Knows (2018) directed by Asghar Farhadi. Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem star in this Spanish film about a kidnapping of a teenaged girl and it’s effects on a family and a community in a wine-growing region of Spain. Lots of twists and turns, suspenseful and beautifully photographed. Definitely worth watching and so much better than I had been led to believe based on reviews I had read last year.June 23, 2019 at 1:09 pm #1202948858
The Secret Life of Pets 2, is my most current movie I’ve seen.June 23, 2019 at 2:53 pm #1202948909
“Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid” (1969): I avoided watching this film for the longest time when I shouldn’t have. Westerns are probably one of my least-favorite genres, give or take horror. All of this was amazing, and it reads surprisingly modern for a Western. I can I see why it was such a huge box office sensation of its time (#1 film of 1969) and helped revitalize the genre. It’s certainly not your grandfather’s Western, and for that, I’m grateful. There’s usual screen chemistry, and then there’s what Paul Newman and Robert Redford accomplished here, working together as this singular unit, completely in-sync yet wholly distinctive as separate entities. Conrad Hall was a genius. The cinematography was absolutely superb. With William Goldman’s recent passing, I wondered about his Oscar win and how someone who penned the Screenplay for “All the President’s Men” could also do this. It manages to be many things at once: a buddy comedy, a neo-Western, a heist film, a romance narrative, and a road trip movie lol. Katharine Ross was also very good in a key supporting role as the love interest. I read that George Roy Hill was a difficult director to work with, but I guess this wasn’t an issue for Newman or Redford, as both men willingly worked with him again in the Best Picture winner “The Sting.” This film also contains the Oscar-winning song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” an oddball and dopey song that clearly stood the test of time in pop culture, but is jarringly placed here (and not a drop of rain in sight lol). Regardless, I loved this film and will likely watch it many times more.June 25, 2019 at 3:04 pm #1202951629
John Wick: Parabellum – 8 out of 10
The choreography of the action sequences is SUBLIME! Never seen anything like it since….The Matrix. The 3rd installment is better then the 2nd one
Dark Phoenix – 5 out of 10.
I was going to see this in theatres anyway, and was surprised that the movie was not garbage
Widows – 6.5 out of 10.
I had high hopes for this one. The movie is too long! Great acting with Elizabeth Debicki being the standout. I got more and more invested in her story
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