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The Greatest Showman (2017)
Move over 'la la land', this is how you musical.
Now THIS is how you do a film! What an epic masterpiece! I don't understand the critics criticism of the lack of a story. There was A very clear cut journey of barnum's desire to be accepted and then learning what is really important in life. All the songs were so catchy, and more our importantly, inspirational. They had something to say. Makes me sad to see so many missed the message of this very important movie, just because it was wrapped up in a fun experience. Can't say enough good things about this film. It's just fantastic. Our audience clapped at the end.
Beautiful, fantastical love story.
Had the privilege to see this film at the San Diego filled festival before premieres in theaters. Was very impressed and emotionally moved very early on in the film. Well not quite on the level of ' The theory of everything', movie will definitely tell that your heartstrings and have you crying pretty quickly. Myself being disabled, especially struck a chord for me to see how things used to be for people with disabilities and made me thankful that I was born when I was in that things have progressed so well in the last century. Andrew Garfield gave him moving performance it as robin Cavendish. He better get his Oscar speech ready. I also really enjoyed some aspects of the film that are not addressed another disability films, namely the relationship between the disabled and their children. This film does so it was really devastate you when you get to see that Robin wasn't really able to be there physically as a father to his son another power house is claire foy.plays Robbins wife who is the one who advocates for him and inspires him to keep going. This film also previews you to the horrors disabled people had to live through before Robin and Diane became advocates. While the ending of this film is not as uplifting as 'the theory of everything', for some reason that movie devastates me much more than this one did. I wonder if that had anything to do with who was in charge of the film. This phone was produced by the couple's son Jonathan, who basically made a love letter to his parents. You won't see the trials and tribulations of being disabled as much here, just a beautiful love story between two people. Highly recommend it.
ETA: now that critical reviews of this film have come out, I am highly insulted that critics wanted to see more of robin's struggles than triumphs. i never believed the term 'inspiration porn' but i do now. it disgusts me that people wanted to see the grittier side of robin's illness. our health problems are not for you to exploit. i feel just enough was shown to get the point.
The Upside (2017)
What a fun film!
In a weekend where I had to watch two depressing films about disability this film was a welcome surprise. It was funny, it was charming. It was almost like watching 'me before you' without the depressing ending. Heard this is a remake of the French film so I intend to seek that out and watch it now. Was really great to see a film about disability where it wasn't all doom and gloom.
20 Weeks (2017)
Almost but not quite there
I'd like to see this film at the San Diego phone festival this weekend and as a person with a disability I was excited to see how the subject matter would be handled. To say I was disappointed with what the baby was diagnosed with is an understatement. As a person who is wheelchair-bound, it is ludicrous to me that a couple would contemplate abortion for something so simple. That being said I did empathize with The hard decisions the couple Had to make throughout the movie. It wasn't a happy ending but it was a realistic one and I was grateful for that.
That was not how Jackie talked!
Forgive me if it's superficial but I couldn't get past Natalie's horrible, breathy imitation of Jackie's voice. Plenty of actresses (Katie Holmes, ginnifer Goodwin) have portrayed Jackie Kennedy much better than she is portrayed here. Furthermore, as Jackie says herself, she was just a self indulgent woman. It's a film about a woman who made her husbands death all about her. That's it. Two hour pity party. Yes we know the Kennedy's have bad luck, but pull yourself together woman!
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Good idea, terrible execution.
I'm only giving this movie a 6 because of its fantastic cast, but they're wasted in a messy script. I found Susan's struggle much more interesting and intriguing than the story told in Edwards book. I feel like this film would have benefited better being a relationship drama about the rise and fall of Edward and Susan's relationship, but to add what happens in his book takes you out of it, because it makes him look like a really bad guy. Susan did some crappy things, but if his book is a metaphor for what she did to him, he's totally over dramatic. His actions in the film are just plain petty, especially at the end, and especially given how much time has passed. One could argue that Susan's current empty life is karma, but I definitely felt for her more than him.
Sweet but nothing special.
If anyone's ever curious why films based on real life events have to be dramatized, this film right here is why. It was a sweet film, with quiet understated performances, but not a compelling film to watch. The performances certainly didn't stand out from either Egerton or Negga. Her Oscar nod baffles me, besides the fact that she was in a politically correct film. I can't even think of a ten line movie review, this film was so underwhelming. Of course your heart goes out to the loving's and what they had to go through, but there had to have been a more compelling way to tell the story. It was very hard to keep my attention. My advice is read up on the case and skip the movie. You'll lose less of your life that way.
Descendants 2 (2017)
You don't know what you have until it's gone.
'Descendants' became a guilty pleasure of mine. How could you go wrong, with Kristen chenoweth and Kathy najimy? Well I'll tell you how: 'descendants 2'. Remove acting greats from the equation and you just have another campy Disney channel movie. I'll also admit I'm a hopeless romantic who fell for mal and ben's relationship in the first one. Well, the 2nd takes that away for a while, leaving me to be quite bored. Again, Campy. Not even the music was as good this time around. The films redeeming quality doesn't come until the end. I won't spoil it but let's just all say thank god for Disney channel finally allowing some PDA! Even so, I'll stick to the first one, which at least evoked emotion out of me, including 'if only' which I still can't listen to without crying!
The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)
So I guess Kristen Stewart wasn't the problem?
There's nothing worse than casting top notch talent and underusing them. The only time this film was great was when blunt and Theron were on screen together, and that wasn't much. The plot was confusing and after reading the trivia that it's both a prequel and sequel I understand why. We all know chris hemsworth can carry a film when there is great writing. There was none of that here. If it was to be a film about the huntsman, far more character development and plot was needed. As it was, he was not the most captivating character in the film, falling short because he is the title character.
Pretty in Pink (1986)
better late than never!
I was born in December 1985 so for me to see this movie when it came out was impossible. i finally got around to it though, 31 years later, and was so delighted. it's such a lovely romantic movie, told from a different perspective than we're used to. nowadays, we're used to the 'popular girl meets nerdy girl' cliché, but 'pretty in pink' started it. this probably won't be very feminist of me, but I always feel for the male characters in these films. they're torn between their hearts and who they want to be with (in this case, Blaine and andie) and their heads, whether they have to weigh social status, what friends will say, etc. Everyone keeps saying Ducky is their favorite part of this movie. I disagree. he was an awful, awful friend, clouded by his jealousy. Iona was the truly supportive, helpful one. I was so pleased to read the ending was re-shot, because a) ducky did not deserve andie and B) it gave Blaine a chance to redeem himself. i think what a lot of people forget about this film is that these are teenage characters. their hormones are a mess, and they're impressionable. i can't blame Blaine for worrying about his social status when his prick best friend threatens it. the important thing is he finally stands up for himself in the end, and that shows he has the biggest character growth of everyone. I did have a major issue with the story though-we go from a scene where andie and Blaine are being lovey dove and everything's great, to Blaine ignoring her. obviously, by the end of the film, we understand stef and everyone else got to him, but there's a major flaw in the writing that doesn't show how we got from point A to point B. there was something missing there, so for that alone, i took away a point. overall, the near perfect film for a romantic like me!
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
the most beautiful musical on speed you'll ever see!
I can't count how many times over the years i've mentioned 'moulin rouge' as a favorite movie and people go 'ugh i stopped after 20 minutes'. DO NOT STOP. KEEP GOING. the first 20 minutes are the mountain you must climb to the most beautiful view you'll ever see! Epic doesn't begin to describe this film! it is a spectacular masterpiece! a visual stunner set among a heartbreaking backdrop of love and jealousy and loss. you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll ask yourself what drugs you (and baz luhrman) were on, but you will not do, is ever again doubt the talents of Nicole Kidman and Ewan mcgregor. both deserved Oscars for this visionary film! the true definition of art and what it means to be an artist (an actor) it's easy to make films where you sit and cry (trust me you'll come out of this one doing that) but to sing and dance and be an ENTERTAINING film as well as an impactful one is no easy feat and this film accomplishes just that. (and yes i took off a point for the dizzying camera angles. i'm human too)
A Monster Calls (2016)
grossly underrated and underpromoted!
I really wanted to see this film in the cinema to get the full scope but sadly did not get the chance. i finally got the chance to see this wonderful film today, and it was incredible. this was a true coming of age story with a realistic problem, not like those trivial 'nobody likes me' teenage films. The way the main character has to grow up so quickly to deal with his mother's cancer is heartbreaking and as a disabled person myself, the way he loses himself in fantasy is something i can relate to. The film was visually stunning! although one question (spoiler ahead) did anyone feel like every time 'the monster' told a story, it felt like a scene from 'harry potter and the deathly hallows'? LOL anyway, fabulous performances from Felicity Jones (duh) Sigourney Weaver (double duh) and a wonderful newcomer Lewis McDougall. It's no secret it's an emotional film but one definitely worth watching!
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
It hurts me to write this.
'beauty and the beast' was my favorite Disney film and i cried at every single trailer they ever played. to say i was excited was an understatement. The movie was perfectly cast-FOR THE ORIGINAL. it's legitimately a line in the cartoon-'if it's not broke, don't fix it'. so why did we need to fix a perfect cartoon and make it a Politically correct family friendly movie? half of the beauty and charm of the cartoon original is that it really isn't for kids, at all. from Gaston's chauvisnistic (but hysterical) lines, to an actual terrifying Beast, toning it down was a major mistake. However, that may be casting's fault so let's break it down. Emma Watson was the perfect Belle. I was a little worried when they said they were making her a pro-active princess, as she was already kick ass enough in the original and even more might make her obnoxious, but thankfully the changes were subtle. Luke Evans was a deliciously evil Gaston. Imagine how much more perfect he would have been had he would have been allowed to do what Gaston did in the original? and Josh Gad. a PERFECT Lefou, but let's be real. when you hear Josh Gad has been cast as Lefou, you look forward to two years down the line when he has to stand outside in the snow dressed like a snowman. erasing any trace of snow and rewriting LeFou's comedy was a HUGE mistake, as funny as he still was.
now, the mistakes. Dan Stevens was miscast as the Beast, unless he was intentionally supposed to be a softie. Robbie Benson's powerful voice in the original frightens you to death, while Stevens' portrayal makes you roll your eyes. maybe that was the point, i don't know, but i do know that by making both gaston and beast softer characters, it's not as much a competition for Belle. The rest of the cast was fine. you really can't go wrong with anyone and no one did anything to really make themselves stand out either.
Now, i will admit, this film still made me emotional. I cried from 'evermore' (A+ decision to add that song) until the end of the film, but i was still expecting more. when i watch the cartoon, i'm a mess from the moment the music starts. which brings me to the music. You can't go wrong with it in this film, and I noticed something a lot of others are pointing out: it is so NICE to have actors who ENUNCIATE and to finally know what the lyrics to the song are. i'm 31 and i found out i'm singing the songs wrong because the animation isn't as clear. LOL as for the changes made to the songs, again PC decisions. the new lyrics were fine, and funny, but like i said, much more for kids. we can show two guys dancing but we need to cut out 'and every last inch of me is covered in hair?'. AND ON THAT NOTE, the director was such an idiot for opening his mouth about that 'gay moment'. it was a point second of Lefou dancing with a man, something not common in those days. WHY EVEN SAY ANYTHING?
Overall, I still enjoyed the film, I just can't give it the 10/10 i give the animation.
like watching a really good trainwreck.
there are those films, like 'Schindler's list', that as magnificent as they are, only one viewing is all you can handle. this film is so brilliantly and subtly done, I can sit through it over and over. it is emotionally exhausting, yes, but also SO rewarding. everyone in this film brings their A game to this film, particularly Jacob Tremblay, whose acting ability and vulnerability makes the movie especially Beautiful. Academy Award Winner Brie Larson is exquisite as Ma/Joy, a complex, complicated, nurturing mother but also brutally traumatized kidnap victim and sexual assault survivor. At first I wondered what people were talking about when they said Ma was 'such a good mom' to Jack, as she has her bitchy moments almost from the start of the film, but then i stepped back and realized I'd be that way too. To expect the character to come away unscathed is just unrealistic, but for the years she's in Room, she does a great job sheltering her son from the realities of life until its unbearable. To the people that say Jacob was robbed of an Oscar nomination at least, i would agree, but i would also remind them that doesn't mean Brie's win was not deserved. Her character was MUCH more complex. It's easy to play a kid unaware of a situation, its much harder to play a character that has to deal with the trauma of an event once they're free, and they've got other people watching their kid, so they can just fall apart. I know a lot of people worry about this film and what you see, but as its from the son's perspective, you don't have to worry about anything gratuitous. A Gem of a film I wish everyone would see!
Hidden Figures (2016)
don't get the hype.
even this great cast couldn't make this film a perfect 10. there were so many aspects of it that were unnecessary, mostly its length. (something a lot of films have suffered from this movie season, to be honest) how many times did we need to see a character go to and from the bathroom to get the point they were segregated? they treated the audience like we were stupid, showing a montage of the same scene over and over. I'm glad to hear of the plight of these behind the scenes women, who were such a contribution to math and finally go their dues, but even that couldn't make this film any better than something like 'fences' (a truly gripping film and the only one this holiday season i didn't keep looking at my watch to see when it was over.)
Patriots Day (2016)
maybe it was too soon?
I saw this film tonight because there's a lot of great movies out there But I'm not good with violence, so i was told this was the least violent of the three. (other choices were 'silence' and 'hacksaw ridge') I was very impressed by what I saw. I don't know all the facts, but i do know liberties were taken as Mark Wahlberg's character is an amalgamation of a bunch of people, so how much else of this movie is true, I'm not sure. I'm also not sure why this film hasn't been a bigger hit. interestingly enough, i just so happened to have dinner plans with my friend after this film, who is a boston native. she she says she believes the film hasn't done well because it's too soon, that she or no one she knows will go see it yet because it's too emotional. I can see that because the film WAS very emotional, striking a good balance between action and heartfelt drama. you feel a lump in your throat the whole time at all the devastation. Personally, I thought it was a very good film, and highly recommended.
La La Land (2016)
A near perfect film!
I really wanted to love 'la la land'. And I REALLY REALLY liked it. But I didn't love it. It was a beautiful film, but left a lot to be desired in the writing department. As a screenwriter myself, the cliché way Sebastian and Mia meet and banter left a lot to be desired. They don't actually get together until what feels like Halfway through the movie. I'm sure there's a lot of people out there who love 'the journey'. I'm not one of them. Even my friend next to me said 'just kiss ALREADY!'. I can't say the rest of my problems with the film without spoiling it so I'll just say the dinner scene made NO SENSE. Thankfully for Damian, the dancing and singing was just enough to distract from plot holes. The musical numbers were fantastic and ultimately this kind of escapist film is just what we need in this day and age. It definitely lives up to its hype, even if the ending doesn't leave you as uplifted as you expected to asking in. On the bright side, the 'audition' song is a beautifully moving one that leaves you in tears. If it's not performed and doesn't win an Oscar, it will be a major upset.
Beyond the Lights (2014)
Everybody loves me, my life is so hard, wah wah wah
I resent the people who think this is a chick flick. Maybe it is but I'm a 30 year old woman and was not impressed. I really wanted to like this film having heard such great things about but it was so boring. One cliché after another. Kid who wants to be a star? Check. Over bearing stage mom? Check. Mental breakdown? Check. Guy who comes to save the day? Check. Nothing original about this film. You've seen it many times before. All the attempts to Make us think fame is not as great as it seems fall super flat and the main character just comes off ungrateful. There's really only one incident in the whole film that makes you feel sorry for her. I don't know what else to say about this film. Forgettable. The one stand out is Minnie driver who i didn't know could play such a bitch. Well done! (Also backstory would have been nice. Was dad black? Was she adopted? That also really bugged me the whole film)
Not for the youngings
So much about this movie was delightful, I don't even know where to begin. I've had the pleasure of meeting Eddie redmayne and he was perfectly cast as the kind, gentlemanly newt. His chemistry with his co stars flowed so well and everyone was well cast, although I will say I hope we get to see more of queenie in the sequels. She was so sweet and felt quite neglected. On to my title of this review, I am a 30 year old woman who grew up with Harry Potter and am used to JK venturing into dark places. (The actor who played young tom In 'half blood prince' was especially creepy) but the extraordinary casting (and acting) of Ezra miller made me downright terrified. That whole family was disturbing but his twist (along with Colin Ferrell's) was just jaw dropping and bone chilling! I rate this film excellent for a reason- JK gave it equal measures light, whimsical and fun, and dark and scary all at once! Definitely a film made for the potter generation but IMO too dark for anyone younger.
You've seen this movie before.
Every movie is a variation of another one so I'm not expecting total creativity when it comes to movies anymore, but it does puzzle me when a story told a million times suddenly gets so much attention. Ingenue cop who learns things she didn't want to know? Check. Cop you think is on a revenge binge but is just as crooked as the rest of them? Check. There's nothing original or interesting about this film at all. In fact, I spent most of my time on Wikipedia trying to follow the story it was so confusing. Only reason I'm rating so high is the great cast (and even benicio del toro needs to get a new job besides drug trafficking movies) as the child of a Mexican mother, this film to me is just way of life where my mom is from (Sinaloa) nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
The Light Between Oceans (2016)
the light between michael fassbender's eyes.
I'm gonna retitle this film 'the light between michael fassbender's eyes-my fist'. I can't remember the last time a character filled me with so much blind rage. It is two hours of ripping your heart out and stomping on it, and it's mostly his and Rachel Weisz's fault. I knew men were stupid but GOOD GOD. i can't say much about this film without spoiling it, but if my husband did this to me, we'd be divorced so fast, his head would spin. the absolute betrayal his character delivers on alicia vikander is unforgivable, and i don't care if that makes me a bad person.
The Big Short (2015)
overly simplistic black comedy fun!
My mother is a loan officer and last night we were flipping through Netflix for a movie to watch. I was happy to see this film there (Netflix takes forever with some films) and was glad to see it with my mom because for once, if i didn't understand a film, she could explain it to me instead of vice versa. Thankfully it was a simple enough narrative i didn't need to ask too many questions. She felt the film was mostly accurate but a bit one sided. too much emphasis is put on the 'big bad banks' and not enough on the irresponsibility of the average joe in that time. two scenes in particular explain this: (SPOILERS) the scene with the stripper where she explains she has about eight houses, all bought with loans, and the scene in Florida where they to go to collect from that guy, only to find out it's his landlord in trouble who has fled. those are probably two of the biggest reasons we got in such deep crap. People buying things with the money they do not have. It is not the greed of banks, it is the greed and manipulation of the system BY THE PEOPLE. My mother is Mexican, and speaks fluent Spanish, so she would get all the 'problematic loans'. what does that mean? she'd get the loans from immigrant people who claimed to have no money. Only, once she started to investigate, she'd find they were paid in cash, under the table, sent that money home, claimed they were poor and qualified for everything social under the son. even the wife of OUR GARDENER said she was single so her kids would qualify for wellbabies and whatever else insurance and perks her kids got at school. so while I applaud the filmmakers for taking such a serious subject and turning it into something more people wanna watch (because this film SHOULD be watched) I wish they hadn't taken such a left approach and been more neutral. a lot to ask from Hollywood, i guess. other than that, fun fantastic cast that gave the film a great energy, the element of breaking the 4th wall always brings in the laughs among the other black comedy in the film. a generally enjoyable film, even if i eventually felt it ran too long.
vanilla sky meets limitless
I admit the plot of this film isn't entirely new. over the years we've have variations of this type of subject matter of freezing your body, or dealing with cryogenics, and the like. what i think was new and fresh about this film was a few things: a) legitimate reason for the switch and b) an actual emotional story about second chances. I'll be the first to admit I think Claire was a huge brat for treating her father the way she did, but maybe that's just makes me superficial. either way, without that that treatment, he wouldn't have gone on to want a second chance and we wouldn't have gotten a beautiful love story about family, which is something else that i think sets this film apart from other films like it. does it finish with a clichéd redemption? of course, but this ride was a much more enjoyable one than other films of this genre i can think of.
I'm a girl, so it's not surprise this isn't my kind of film. I only saw it because it was constantly playing on my movie channel and because it has a stellar cast. depending on which commercial you've seen, you know the catalyst that sets this film in motion. that's no surprise. what IS a surprise is how emotional this film ends up being, and and a great deal of that belongs to the IMPECCABLE performance of the actress playing the young daughter, Oona Laurence. yes, you feel Billy's pain and heartbreak and I've got to give Jake G his chops as I've never seen him this raw and emotional ('brokeback mountain' was a bore, so don't even cite that to me) but it's Laurence that absolutely destroys you in this film. I have no shame in saying this film made me cry multiple times. A BOXING FILM MADE ME CRY. WTF? anyway, near perfect film. only took away points because the violence was a bit much but i should have expected that from a boxing movie.
Secret in Their Eyes (2015)
Prefer the English version to be honest
First let me preface by saying I have a BA in cinema my mother is from Mexico my father is from Costa Rica my mother's ex-boyfriend is Chilean, my father lives and I lived many years in Venezuela. I am very enriched in Latin culture and then includes film. That being said I saw the original many years ago and I'm still traumatized by the sexuality and violence of it. I don't like to think of myself as a prude but our culture tends to go to far for shock value. I really liked the changes to the film and the dynamic from a husband and wife to a mother and daughter. I like that we didn't have to see what happened to her daughter ( always thought that was unnecessary in the original ) for me what is most important about this film working is keeping the shocking ending and they do and even take it a step further. Saw this film tonight with my mother and aunt and they all agreed it was better than the original. It was much classier, with wonderful performances from dependable actors. Definitely recommended must see!