Sometimes the films I chose for the Movie Of The week can be totally random like this week’s film or planned from the start like last week’s film. Nonetheless, I have grown to become a huge fan of independent films due to the creative and artistic freedom that they possess. I had heard a lot of buzz surrounding this week’s film Ingrid Goes West and the fact that it starred Aubrey Plaza (Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates) made it easier to choose. Ingrid Thorburn (Plaza) is not your normal everyday girl who does your normal everyday stuff. You see she has a problem and that is as soon as someone likes or responds to her on Instagram, she becomes instantly obsessed with that person. In fact after a Instagram star (Elizabeth Olsen) responded to her, Ingrid packed up and moved west, but will the Instagram star figure it out or will Ingrid be able to slide right in to her friends list? The film also stars O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton) as Dan Pinto, Wyatt Russell (Everybody Wants Some!!) as Ezra, Billy Magnussen (The Big Short) as Nicky, Pom Klementieff (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2) as Harley Chung, Meredith Hagner (Veep) as Charlotte, Hannah Pearl Utt (Eat Prey) as Nicole, and the film was directed by Matt Spicer (It’s Not You It’s Me).
Ingrid Goes West is able to take the classic obsession genre of films like Single White Female and it’s able to make it current with the social media aspect. While I believe that everyone in the film did a wonderful job as far as the acting was concerned, I feel that Aubrey Plaza stepped it up big time in this film. She was able to play this vulnerable woman who just wants to be accepted, but can’t help that there is something seriously wrong with her. O’Shea Jackson Jr. is another actor in the film that definitely deserves some props as he went from playing the rough and tough Ice Cube role in Straight Outta Compton to playing this lovable, cool dude who just happens to be obsessed with Batman. It was definitely a role flip for him and I love that because he challenged himself. The film features a bright young cast that could be giving us a preview of the future, maybe? Even if it doesn’t mean that, you still should check out this film because it has so much to offer from the black comedy aspects to the cinematography which is pretty good as well. I thought the ending was going to be pretty dark as it seemed like it was going to end on such a horrific note very reminiscent to what happens today, but luckily we get some sort of a happy ending. The film could be considered to be social commentary on the way things are today and maybe we should look at social media differently. Anyways, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
One of the biggest stories out of the summer and into the later stages of fall was whether or not DC Comics and Warner Brothers could follow the success of this past summers Wonder Woman with their own superhero team up movie Justice League. The one thing the company wanted to avoid was another mishap like Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, but I decided to check out the film and present it as this week’s Movie Of The Week. The film seems to take place a year or so after the events of BVS with the world mourning the death of their beloved Superman (Henry Cavill). The world will soon be under distress once again when mysterious madman Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) comes to Earth to try and collect three boxes that will surely usher the end of the world. Batman (Ben Affleck) has to find a way to unite all these interesting beings that Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) had unveiled to try and fight against Steppenwolf before it’s too late. The film also stars Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa (Game Of Thrones) as Aquaman, Ezra Miller (Trainwreck) as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Amy Adams (Nocturnal Animals) as Lois Lane, Jeremy Irons (The Lion King) as Alfred, Connie Nielsen (Wonder Woman) as Queen Hippolyta, J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man) as Commissioner Gordon, Amber Heard (Pineapple Express) as Mera, and the film was directed by Zack Snyder (300).
I have over the last week or so have heard some mixed emotions about the film itself and whether it lives up to the billing or not and while some of it may be frustrating to you at least hear me out. I had a couple of concerns heading into the film with one being how are they going to work all of them together in one film and what was the overall feel of the film going to be. Is this the greatest film in the whole DC Universe? While in the end I truly believe now that BVS was good, this was a better film than that, but not better than Wonder Woman. I thought the way they presented all of the characters certainly worked for them because it felt sort of natural to me. The film in my opinion had the right amount of humor to go along with what DC’s overall look is and the chemistry feel natural to me as well. The action scenes were great and I even loved some of the sets they visit like Atlantis, etc. The one thing I sort of had an issue with was some of the CGI in the film because some of it was kind of cheesy at times. Other than that, it was a fun film to go in and watch without trying to be to analytical and judgmental. I was just super excited because my favorite superhero finally made an onscreen appearance in Aquaman. You don’t have to take my word for it, but I would at least give it a watch or two especially if you love some of these characters as I do. I am going to give Justice League an B+ for a final grade.
Halloween is long behind us so I figured it was time to reintroduce the Movie Of The Week post while we wait on a decision for the future. There are a lot of great movies on the horizon and I want to cover them for this blog. This week’s film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one of those films that peaked my interest for it’s unique title and for the caliber of the cast contained within the film. Frances McDormand (Fargo) plays Mildred, a mother who is not happy whatsoever with the local authorities for not solving her daughters murder case. So to get on their case and get them moving, she decides to take out ads on three billboards outside her town that will challenge the law to get off their behinds and solve case. The film also stars Woody Harrelson (No Country For Old Men) as Chief Willoughby, Sam Rockwell (The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy) as Dixon, Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out) as Red Wellby, Kerry Condon (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Pamela, Darrell Britt-Gibson (Keanu) as Jerome, Abbie Cornish (Sucker Punch) as Anne, Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea) as Robbie, Zeljko Ivanek (Argo) as Cedric, Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones) as James, Brendan Sexton III (Empire Records) as Crop-Haired Guy, and the film was directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges).
This was an excellent film that just had so many emotions to it and just had so many talking points. First of all, the acting was absolutely superb from way too many people to list in this blog, but you already know that you get amazing performances from McDormand, Harrelson, Rockwell, and Dinklage to name a few. Frances McDormand had the uneasy task of balancing out a character who is tough and a bad ass, but she is also vulnerable because all she wants is for them to solve the case. Sam Rockwell does a terrific job playing your typical backwater cop from a small southern-esque town who doesn’t know any better until something (I can’t tell you what) shows him the way. The second thing that was amazing about the film was the writing because this story kicked ass. You think that it’s going the way you would want it to go until it throws you a curve ball that takes the story in a darker place. There were so many glimmers of hope in the film that were just taken to a completely different place that I was amazed that it worked. The third thing that I loved about the film were the dynamic of the characters and the overall themes because each one was so unique to the story in how it progressed into a moral of no matter how dark things get, sometimes the people you are going against can turn out to be the ones you need. That was the constant theme of the film was redemption because it’s a learning experience for sure. The last thing is the cinematography which was just masterful from shot to shot. This is definitely a film worth checking out if you are a fan of great stories, actors, etc. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
I am doing something new as I am reviewing all of the reviews that I did for the 365 Movies in 365 Days Challenge. There are some reviews that I look back on and I say to myself, what in the hell was I thinking? So, I am doing a segment on here called I’m Taking It Back which means I re-review the film and take my grade back. Before we get into why I am taking my grade I gave the film back, here is the synopsis of the film. After the death of Superman, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has been trying to sell the government on the idea of project X. The idea of project x is to take the worst of the worst, give them an incentive, and have them do the missions no one else will do to protect the world. After Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) betrays Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) the government, the team now known as the Suicide Squad is commissioned and sent on a mission to save the world from the terror she brings. The Suicide Squad is made up of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Deadshot (Will Smith), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and Katana (Karen Fukuhara). The film also stars Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) as The Joker, Adam Beach (Flags Of Our Fathers) as Slipknot, Ben Affleck (The Town) as Batman, Scott Eastwood (Fury) as Lieutenant GQ Edwards, Alain Chanoine (Immortals) as Incubus, Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors) as Griggs, David Harbour (Black Mass) as Dexter Tolliver, and the film was directed by David Ayer (Fury).
So, I looked back at the film and then looked at my review and thought what in the hell was I thinking when I wrote that. I didn’t hate Suicide Squad by any means because I left the theater happy with it, but looking back on it how great was the film really? The film really did end up being the Will Smith show for the most part as he put no effort literally into his portrayal of Deadshot. I was OK with it at the time because I loved Will Smith, but looking back, he just made the film about him. Jared Leto was a pretty decent Joker as he tried to do what many before him did with their versions of the iconic character. I think the fact that David Ayer cut so much of his performance back really hurt his perception to the audience. The Joker is not a nice guy who is fun and loving, he is abusive to Harley and very sadistic and David Ayer screwed it all up by cutting out important moments out of the film. Now again, I thought this was a pretty decent film, but then Wonder Woman came out and made this look like amateur night. I also went back and rewatched BVS (Batman V Superman) and my opinion on rankings have changed as well. The best film so far is Wonder Woman, Man Of Steel, BVS, and then Suicide Squad last. I still love all of the action in the film and a lot of the characters, but let’s be honest here. In the end, I am going to give this film an B- for a final grade
Before I get into the film that I chose for this week’s Movie Of The Week, I do want to remind people that just because it says movie of the week does not mean that I loved the film. I like to think that I am an amateur film critic who is going to be critical of films that I do watch. With that being said, it’s now time to get down to business because this week was an interesting week in the theaters after last week’s record breaking numbers for IT. This week we are checking out a film from award winning director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) called Mother!. After his house burns down, Him (Javier Bardem) is looking to rebuild his life with his new wife Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) and he is trying to write a new book, but the inspiration is just not there until a couple (Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris) come by and stir things up which provide him with the all the inspiration that he needs. The only problem is how is Mother going to handle all this chaos that has now come into her life? The film also stars Domhnall Gleeson (The Revenant) as Oldest son, Brian Gleeson (Snow White and The Huntsman) as youngest son, and Stephen McHattie (Watchmen) as Zealot.
If you do not know anything about the film other than what you see in the trailer then you are in for a night of confusion because I went in thinking that this was going to be a Rosemary’s Baby kind of film and boy was I wrong. I left the theater so confused because I did not know at the time what I had just viewed. The whole time I was trying to figure out where the horror was and what in the hell was the point of all these people continuously showing up. The more people showed up, the more chaos that ensued in the film. Now there are two ways that you can look at this film and I chose one of them because it made more sense to me. So, I am going to give you the spoiler alert warning so turn around and leave if you do not want to know anymore. Javier Bardem is an author or poet so he is known as the creator and his home represents the garden of Eden. He hasn’t been able to write a book in a while so the first one is known as the old testament and this new one that he has unleashed on to the world is the new testament. I believe Jennifer Lawrence plays Mary where she is very fragile, virtuous while Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris play Adam & Eve and the Gleesons play Kane & Able. You see the Zealot who plays mankind that in Aronofsky’s opinion has taken the word of Him and has spun it to his control over the people. The baby that the couple have represents Jesus who Him gives away to the people only to have them kill his only son.
Does this all sound a little familiar to you now? Well after hearing this, I finally understood what the film represented and you have to love the directors use of semiotics. This film was the perfect example of that, but shame on me for not realizing this in the theaters. As I said above, I was expecting Rosemary’s Baby, but instead I got a study in anti-religious semantics. That was definitely not what I was looking for in the film. One of my biggest complaints of the film was the camera work only because it bothered the hell out of me when it followed and copied her every movement as the camera shook up and down as she walked. I loved the look of the film because it had that earthy, grainy kind of look to it especially with the colors and the tones (reminded me of The Witch). Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer were absolutely awesome in the film as well as Bardem and Lawrence, but they were the highlight because as soon as they showed up that is when all chaos ensues. As far as my overall opinion of the film goes, I am not a huge fan of the agendas of directors so I feel as though that I was mislead by the trailer, but I have to give him credit for stumping me. Besides the camera work, the film was done very well and his use of semantics was on point in this film. That is why I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
This week’s choice for a film was kind of an obvious one considering that if you didn’t notice during the challenge that I am a huge horror fan. So, when I first heard that a remake of Stephen King’s It was going to be made, I just couldn’t wait for the next edition of Eddie’s 31 Days Of Halloween to see it. So I chose to watch the film It for this week’s Movie Of The Week which means we are all traveling back to the town of Derry, Maine for another horrifying experience. It’s the late 80’s and something weird is happening in the town of Derry as kids are disappearing, but that’s nothing new for this old town. Unfortunately for Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), the loss of his brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) has left him wanting answers. Bill soon finds out that his new band of buddies dubbed The Losers Club have also noticed some strange things going on like the appearance of a clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). So, they band together to battle this evil clown before he claims anymore victims. The film also stars Sophia Lillis (37) as Beverly Marsh, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) as Ritchie Tozier, Chosen Jacobs (Hawaii Five-O) as Mike Hanlon, Jack Dylan Grazer (Tales Of Halloween) as Eddie, Wyatt Oleff (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Stanley, Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ant-Man) as Ben Hanscom, Nicholas Hamilton (The Dark Tower) as Harry Bower, and the film was directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama).
Spoiler Alert: There is going to be some information leaked in this article that could give away some details or all the details in the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. I am going to have to go back and rewatch the original film just to compare it, but what I remember from it was that it was very choppy because it was a made for TV thing when It came out. This one is not choppy at all and they go above and beyond just to try and scare the living crap out of you. I think another element that you can capitalize on is the fact that technology is a lot better today then it was then and it’s a Rated R film which means you can do more. I have to be honest in saying that while Tim Curry played an excellent Pennywise, they turned it up a notch in my opinion with this one. He was super creepy and some of the scenes were pretty intense from the basement scene with Georgie to the scene where the photos keep changing. They pretty much gave the actor a full license to just be super creepy and I loved it. All of the kids did an amazing job in the film at being who their characters are and even the kid who played Henry Bower was intense. He was so sadistic and insane that he made the original 1990’s Henry Bower (played by Jarred Blancard) look like a complete wimp.
There is one big but in there and that is because there are some things that might tick you off. So, I am going to give you a few examples to better explain what I mean. Number one and most important is that the film takes place in the 1980’s and not the late 1950’s. That is your reason for number two which is that Ritchie’s character is not as charming verbally as the original Seth Green (even he was a little too much at times). The film is long at 150 minutes, but it honestly did not feel like that to me when I was watching it. This may end up being one of the best horror films of the year as long as you can get over the fact that they changed some dialogue to update it to the 1980’s. They also have admitted to not using every detail that the 1000 plus page book has given us because some are just not OK to show on the silver screen. They did stay true however with certain symbols that you should look out for in the film like a turtle because they are symbolic of what’s to come in part 2. Now we just have to wait for the next film to finish the story, but I definitely think that this is one that you shouldn’t ignore. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
We are closely approaching a major decision here that I will be sure to make sure that all of you know when it becomes official. For now, we are continuing right along with our next movie of the week and this week’s is one that I have been dying to see for a little while now. There are two things that you can count on from me and that is one I am a huge fan of films that are based on true stories and the second is that I am a huge fan of the sport of boxing. When you combine those two things then I have to watch which is the case with this week’s film Hands Of Stone. The film follows the journey of not just legendary lightweight boxer Roberto Durán (played by Edgar Ramírez) and his rise from poverty in Panama to world champion, but it also follows that of his legendary trainer Ray Arcel (played by Robert De Niro) and his return to the sport he loved and had to let go of for a while. Watch as their journey for respect goes through it’s trials and tribulations. The film also stars Usher Raymond (The Faculty) as Sugar Ray Leonard, Ana de Armas (War Dogs) as Felicidad Iglesias, Pedro Perez as Plomo, Rubén Blades (Predator 2) as Carlos Eleta, Óscar Jaenada (The Shallows) as Chaflan, and the film was directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz.
One of my favorite things about the film was definitely the acting from De Niro, Ramírez, and even Usher Raymond. They did an amazing job of painting who Sugar Ray Leonard was back in the day and they fear they had of his boxing style which by the way is not a fear of whether he’ll hurt you or not. However they do portray Roberto as this immature punk kid who has never been disciplined in his life because of how amazing of a boxer he was. They portray him at times to be the uneducated idiot with gloves who couldn’t see the bigger picture. What they do eventually show is his maturity and accent into manhood later in the film. They do a pretty good job with the fight choreography which you have to give kudos to as they try to cut an hour fight into mere minutes and that is difficult because you have to choose the best moments. One of the other things about the film that I loved was the beautiful Ana de Armas who plays Roberto’s wife the film because she was not only great, but she had some amazing scenes in the film (see pic below). Other than that, it was a pretty decent film and it had some amazing cinematography to boot especially the scenes in Panama. The film does at times show how easy it is for a child to grow to hate America just on what he went through and saw in his life. You’ll understand what I am talking about throughout the film. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
The challenge may be long gone and in the rear view mirror, but that doesn’t mean that us cinema fanatics cannot enjoy some movies in the meantime. While we debate doing a second challenge, I decided to do the Movie Of The Week where we view a new film and for this week we have chosen The Lost City Of Z. I have always been a fan of films that are based off of true stories and this one definitely peaked my interest, but it didn’t last very long in my local theater. The film follows a British soldier by the name of Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) who is fighting every day to restore the family name that was put in limbo by his father. While on a mapping expedition in the Amazon, Percy makes a huge discovery that there may have been a civilization in the Amazon that predates everyone. The only problem is that the journey is not an easy one and he faces many obstacles on his journey to try and discover the lost city he calls Z. The film also stars Sienna Miller (Factory Girl) as Nina Fawcett, Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) as Jack Fawcett, Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga) as Henry Costin, Edward Ashley (In The Heart Of The Sea) as Arthur Manley, Angus Macfadyen (We Bought A Zoo) as James Murray, Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars: Episode VI-Return Of The Jedi) as Sir George Goldie, and the film was directed by James Gray (We Own The Night).
What was surprising about the film wasn’t necessarily the story itself or the way the presented it, but the acting in my opinion is the highlight. Robert Pattinson in particular was a highlight for me as the mysterious, drunk, but loyal Mr. Costin who had accompanied Fawcett on some of the journeys. The actors did such an amazing job of conveying the torture they had been going through on the journey with the sicknesses and the lack of provisions. They did an amazing job as portraying how difficult the Amazon itself was and how things were drastically different there then where they had been. The movie isn’t perfect in any way shape or form, but it’s kind of a cool adventure to be on for the two plus hours that you’re watching. I liked Charlie Hunnam’s performance, but I think too many people stole the show on him on too many occasions. Whether it be Pattinson or Angus Macfayden who plays someone who is not what they are expected to be. I thought the sets and costumes were amazing as it felt like you were really there in the Amazon in 1912 or so. The ending of the film definitely tries it’s best to not speculate on what exactly happened to Fawcett and his son despite all the different theories that there are out there. It’s sad to read online that his other son was never interested in the truth, but rather the revenue over the speculation of his death. Check out the film for yourself, I am going to give it an B+ for a final grade.