Indie Gems: The Insult

I'm sorry.

Tony (Adel Karam) is a Christian in Beruit who gets into a row with a contractor and Palestinian refugee, Yasser. (Kamel El Basha) When Yasser insults him, Tony takes him to court and the complicated case blows way out of proportion. 

I'm quite ignorant of the conflicts between Palestinian and Lebanon. All of that was new to me and that's one of the things I love about foreign films. You learn new things, even though this is a fictional account.

Karam and El Basha were both wonderful in their roles. You find it easy to be on Yasser's side given the circumstances but Tony isn't a character that you can exactly hate either. They've all gone through things, and had they not been in that fight, or had those prejudices, they would likely get along.

I love courtroom dramas and this one did not disappoint. It's very worthy of the Oscar nomination it received this year. If I had one complaint, I thought the use of flashbacks was kind of sloppy. I'm sure they were going for a disjointed fever dream type presentation but it just felt very jarring with the rest of the film.

Grade: A-

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "Let your daughter speak." - Judge Colette Mansour (Julia Kassar)

2018 Emmy Nominations

The Emmy nominations snuck up on me today. For some reason I thought they were on the 16th. As usual, the Emmys are a weird bunch. Here are the main nominations plus my thoughts. 

The Americans
The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us
It feels like an eternity since Game of Thrones was on the air. This is exactly what I figured the drama nominees would be. It's a good bunch, though I'd personally throw Mr. Robot in there. 

Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
BARRY?! That's a shock to me because I tried to watch it and found it to be incredibly boring. Shows like Atlanta and GLOW are ones that are on my current watch list.

The Alienist
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Genius: Picasso
Patrick Melrose
No Waco is disappointing, but I'm glad to see The Alienist here. 

Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
Keri Russell, “The Americans”
Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”
Claire Foy! This is a strong list of nominees. Moss won last year but I'm hoping Foy takes it this year. It would be the perfect send off for her final season of The Crown. 

Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Sterling K. Brown, “This is Us”
Ed Harris, “Westworld”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Milo Ventimiglia, “This is Us”
Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”
I'm glad to see Wright and Harris here for Westworld. I tried watching Ozark but I never made it past the 6th episode or so. It didn't work for me. I wish Rami Malik would've been nominated for Mr. Robot. 

Jessica Biel, “The Sinner
Laura Dern, “The Tale”
Michele Dockery, “Godless”
Edie Falco, “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers”
Regina King, “Seven Seconds”
Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story”
The only one I've seen here is The Tale and Dern was outstanding in it. I'm in her corner. Really disappointed Dakota Fanning didn't make it in for The Alienist

Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso”
Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Patrick Melrose”
Jeff Daniels, “The Looming Tower”
John Legend, “Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert”
Jesse Plemons, “USS Callister: Black Mirror”
I knew Darren Criss would be here and he'll probably win. Jesse Plemons is a nice surprise as well, but I hate that Daniel Bruhl and Taylor Kitsch missed out. If John Legend wins he'll complete is EGOT which is exciting. I kind of want him to win on that basis alone. 

Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Allison Janney. “Mom”
Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
I don't watch any of these, but Insecure is on my watch list. 

Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Ted Danson, “The Good Place”
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
Bill Hader, “Barry”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, “Game Of Thrones”
Peter Dinklage, “Game Of Thrones”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Matt Smith, “The Crown”
Joseph Fiennes, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
It's about time Nikolasj Coster-Waldau got a nomination. He should've had one for season three of GoT. I'm happy Joseph Fiennes is in here too. If anyone ever wonders why people don't leave abusive relationships, please watch how Fred treats June on The Handmaid's Tale. It's one of the most realistic depictions of an abuser I've ever seen. I wish Noah Schnapp would've gotten in here for Stranger Things. Harbour is great, but Schnapp is so underrated. 

Lena Headey, “Game Of Thrones”
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Vanessa Kirby, “The Crown”
Yvonne Strahovski, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Alexis Bledel, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”
Holy Handmaid's Tale, Batman. I'm so happy Stahovski is in here. She was outstanding this season and it's a huge surprise to see Vanessa Kirby as well. I'm going to miss her on The Crown. I'm always happy to see Lena and Thandie here too. Millie Bobby Brown I still think is massively overrated. 

Brian Tyree Henry, “Atlanta”
Henry Winkler, “Barry”
Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live”
Kenan Thompson, “Saturday Night Live”
Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Kenan Thompson is not a name I'd expect to see here. Good for him!

Zazie Beetz, “Atlanta”
Laurie Metcalf, “Roseanne”
Aidy Bryant, “Saturday Night Live”
Leslie Jones, “Saturday Night Live”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live
Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace”

Jeff Daniels, “Godless”
Brandon Victor Dixon, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert”
Ricky Martin, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Edgar Ramírez, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Finn Wittrock, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Michael Stuhlbarg, “The Looming Tower”
John Leguizamo, “Waco”
I'm not sure which is the bigger joke here. Ricky Martin for Versace, where he did jack shit. Or Leguizamo for Waco where he did jack shit? I don't see how voters landed on him out of all the other Waco nominees. Rory Culkin and Paul Sparks had far more to do than he did. 

Adina Porter, “American Horror Story: Cult”
Letitia Wright, “Black Museum (Black Mirror)”
Merritt Wever, “Godless”
Sara Bareilles, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert”
Penélope Cruz, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Judith Light, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Letitia Wright! She's my favorite nominee here. I'm surprised Judith Light went in supporting instead of guest.

F. Murray Abraham, “Homeland”
Cameron Britton, “Mindhunter”
Matthew Goode, “The Crown”
Ron Cephas Jones, “This Is Us”
Gerald McRaney, “This Is Us”
Jimmi Simpson, “Westworld”
Jimmi! I love him. So happy he got a nomination here. I'm also happy for Matthew Goode. He was great in The Crown. 

Diana Rigg, “Game Of Thrones”
Cicely Tyson, “How To Get Away With Murder”
Viola Davis, “Scandal”
Kelly Jenrette, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Cherry Jones, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Samira Wiley, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Diana Rigg should win for saying the line "Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me." alone, but it's absolute bullshit Karin Konoval was looked over for her guest episode in The X-Files. Say what you want about the quality of this season but she was outstanding in it. Aside from Samira, those Handmaid Tale guest nominations are really strange. 

Wanda Sykes, “black-ish”
Tina Fey, “Saturday Night Live”
Tiffany Haddish, “Saturday Night Live”
Maya Rudolph, “The Good Place”
Jane Lynch, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Molly Shannon, “Will & Grace”

Katt Williams, “Atlanta”
Sterling K. Brown, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Bryan Cranston, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”2
Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Donald Glover, “Saturday Night Live”
Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”

“Fahrenheit 451” (HBO)
“Flint” (Lifetime)
“Paterno” (HBO)
“The Tale” (HBO)
“USS Callister (Black Mirror)” (HBO)
It's still so weird to me that Black Mirror gets submitted as individual movies and not as a limited series. It just feels off. 

Thursday Movie Picks: Characters Magically Aging Up or Down

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is all about magically aging. It's too bad this isn't a TV pick so we could add all the times someone replaced a baby with a toddler and acted like no one noticed. Since this category is very specific, there wasn't a lot to choose from. I had to cheat a bit

1) 13 Going on 30

I haven't seen this in years but I remember thinking it was pretty cute after initially writing it off. Jennifer Garner really shined.

2) Freaky Friday

Yes, I'm talking about the 2003 version. I haven't seen the original. Tess and Anna switch bodies so mother becomes daughter and vice versa. Ahh man, remember when Lindsay Lohan had it? I actually jammed out to Ultimate quite a bit. (The song she sings at the end)

3) Orphan

This one is a bit of a cheat as there's no magic involved, but really. That twist with Esther..did you see that coming?

Review: Incredibles 2

Who's watching Jack-Jack?

With Superheros still being illegal, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) is given a chance to make a case for their abilities by a rich brother/sister duo Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) who add a camera into her suit to capture all the good moments. Mr. Incredible (Craig T Nelson) meanwhile is left behind to be a stay at home dad.

The first film was released nearly 14 years ago, but fans have still been thirsty for that sequel. Personally, I was never head over heels with The Incredibles. I liked it, but it wasn't one of my favorite Pixar films. I went in with an open mind but I landed about the same place I was before.

It really annoys me when films make dads look completely incompetent at parenting for comic relief. It's such an overdone trope and unfortunately we get a dose of that here. On top of that, Violet and Dash, even though they get to save the day at one point really get shafted character-wise. Violet gets another overdone trope, the emotional teenager eating ice cream because of boy problems and Dash is completely obnoxious from start to finish.

That's not to say it's all bad. Most of the comedic heavy lifting is from Jack-Jack, the baby who just discovered he has several powers. Thankfully they do so much with that that it keeps it interesting throughout. Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) also makes a few appearances to keep things lively. 

The big "twist" you can see coming from a mile away but this is still a fun family film that's on par with the original.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "That is freaky." - Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson)

Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Do you just put "quantum" in front of everything?

Two years after the events of Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is still under house arrest. He's been building elaborate forts for his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) learning magic tricks, and trying to start up a security business with his friends. When he has a strange dream about Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer) he notifies Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank (Michael Douglas) and they reluctantly take him out on another mission.

It's still hard for me to believe that I almost didn't go see the original Ant-Man in theaters. I just wasn't hyped for it. It wasn't until they started advertising Falcon's cameo in it that I decided to give it a go. Is there really another Marvel property that makes you feel the love quite like Ant-Man? Scott's love for his daughter is abundant. His relationship with his ex wife and her new husband is kind of adorable. And then there's his trio of friends. Scott's just got a ton of love to go around and that's what makes these properties so much fun. 

Marvel seems to have been taking the "villains suck in super hero movies" critique seriously because this time, Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen has a very good motive. She's not really a villain. Antagonist for sure but can you really blame her? I also love how the film fleshed out Hope. I wasn't crazy about her character the first time around but I liked her so much more here and she and Scott make a great team. 

I know the stinger has been getting a lot of well deserved complaints about a huge tonal shift, but it didn't bother me at all. I like how all the MCU films tie into each other and this didn't ruin anything for me, it only enhanced it.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "You dad went to Germany to draw on the wall with Captain America." - Jimmy Woo (Randall Park)

Rambling TV: The Alienist

Last week I talked about another mini series I watched this year that I adored in Waco, and today we're talking the captivating series The Alienist

TNT aired this during the winter. It follows an Alienist Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl) a police secretary Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning) and a newspaper illustrator John Moore (Luke Evans) as they attempt to assist police in catching a serial killer that is murdering young boys.

I never read the book in which this is based, and it took a lot for me not to Google spoilers while watching this. I was so impatient! I wish I could've binged this show all at once because waiting week after week was torture. I loved how the series used fictional characters but wove them in with real ones like Theodore Roosevelt. (Brian Geraghty) We got to see them talk about early psychology and see things we take for granted now like taking a match of a finger print. The entire series was fascinating.

Bruhl is an actor that might give Kitsch in Waco a run for his money in Emmy season. It was refreshing to see him play someone that isn't a villain or a massive asshole, though Lazlo is a bit of an asshole in this. Fanning was wonderful as well as Sara Howard. A woman who is sick of being treated as a second class citizen. You can see how done she is with a good majority of the men in this series at times.

If it has one fault, I really wanted a bit more out of its ending, but it did end the same way the novel did apparently, and I can handle that. There was a sequel written, so the jury is still out on whether or not this gets a second season, but I will definitely watch it if it does.

Indie Gems: The Death of Stalin

Who's going to replace him?

When dictator Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) passes away, his cabinet members  (including Steve Buscemi and Jeffrey Tambor) scramble to replace him amid chaos, arguments, and his pestering children. (Andrea Riseborough and Rupert Friend)

My theater had this film for about a week this past winter and I wasn't able to see it. It's yet to hit Netflix either, so I was pleased when this was a choice on a recent flight I took.

The first thing I need to do is publicly apologize to Rupert Friend for referring to him as "poor man's Orlando Bloom" for years. He was hysterical in this movie. I laughed so loud at one point people turned and looked at me. (whoops) His character is just so over the top and ridiculous. It's glorious.

I really liked the cast in general. Of course this film doesn't take itself seriously at all so everyone is speaking in their normal accents and it absolutely works. It kind of loses direction in a few places and a few jokes don't land, but it always gets back on course. This is one of the better dark comedies I've seen in ages.

Grade: B

Watched on: Delta Studios

Memorable Quote: "Sit the fuck down. Don't worry, no one is getting murdered." - Andreyev (Paddy Considine)