Review: Palm Springs

You may have heard of this.

Seemingly carefree Nyles (Andy Samberg) is at a wedding in Palm Springs. He helps get a flustered Sarah,(Cristin Milioti) out of her maid of honor speech and they strike up a conversation. At the end of the night, strange things begin to happen and when Sarah wakes up the next morning she realizes she's living the same day again. Nyles (get it, he's a bit nihilistic) lets her know that she's stuck in the same infinite time loop he's been in for quite some time.

Even though the trailer looked amusing, I was a tad reluctant to watch this because I'm not big on time travel movies, or movies where they keep repeating the same thing over and over. (like Vantage Point)  But seeing as it was on Hulu and what else am I going to do during a pandemic, I gave it a go.

To the film's credit, it's a very fresh take. Sure, Sarah and Nyles are stuck in the same day, but they spend those days doing a variety of different things so it never feels too repetitive or clunky. I liked where they took this. The characters may not be deep or original but the film doesn't really require them to be. They just have to be enough for us to want to watch them navigate the time loop.

And they are. Milioti especially was my favorite. Meredith Hagner who plays Misty, Nyle's awful girlfriend provided the only legitimate laugh for me. I really loved how she played Misty. That does bring me to the biggest fault - and it's that I just didn't laugh at a lot of this. There were plenty of amusing things happening, but the only time I actually laughed was when Misty and Nyles had a pretty ridiculous altercation. 

Overall, for a film that you can catch on streaming, I liked this. It doesn't fall victim to the tropes I expected it too and the actors are engaging.

Recommedned: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "At least you have each other, nothing is worse than going through this shit alone." - Roy (JK Simmons)

2020 Blind Spot Series - Top Hat/Swing Time

What I knew going in - I've seen clips of all of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' dances together.

I went for something a little ambitious. I knew I wanted to watched some of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' films, but couldn't decide which one to pick, so I went with both.

For Top Hat, Jerry Travers (Astaire) is an American actor who goes to England and falls in love with a woman Dale Tremont (Rogers) that he initially annoyed. In turn, she mistakes him for a famous producer.

The funny thing about Top Hat is how much I felt like I didn't miss once I saw this film in its full context. I had only ever seen the dance numbers, and to be honest I didn't feel like I missed much at all. The film was funny at times, but it  has a solid 20 minutes or so that are insanely boring and I'm surprised a film this sprightly came to a screeching halt like that. Over all, I enjoyed it. Petty side note: I read that Astaire didn't want Rogers to wear that fluffy gown she wore during one of their dances so seeing all those feathers fly off her made me laugh)

Now let's talk about Swing Time. In this one, Astaire plays a performer and gambler named Lucky who goes to New York to earn $25,000 in order to marry his fiance. Her father adds that stipulation when Lucky arrives late to his own wedding. There he meets Penny (Rogers) a dance instructor who - much like Top Hat - he initially annoys, but when he saves her job they start to fall in love with each other. 

The chemistry between them was even better, the dances more elaborate. I loved the snowy scenes they incorporated in there, this was all going so well....and then Fred Astaire ends up in black face. I immediately went online after the fact because surely I'm not the only idiot who didn't know this was coming, and it turns out there's a fair amount of discourse on how this was "okay" because it was a tribute to arguably the greatest tap dancer ever - Bill Robinson. I started thinking about that part in Sicario where Alejandro tells Kate "nothing will make sense to your American ears." This doesn't make sense to my modern eyes either, it's racist. "Good intentions" don't make it right and I'm cringing into oblivion. Imagine dancing that same dance without black face. You could still honor his style. What a concept.

I realize it's my fault for not knowing about that scene to begin with but it really drops the quality of the movie over all. Removing that scene all together, that movie would've been an easy A.

So where did we end up with grades?

Top Hat - B-

Swing Time - C+ 

Memorable Quote: "This was made in the 30's? And you expected what now?" - My husband, who never mustered up a fuck about my tap dancing movies to begin with. 

Thursday Movie Picks: Globetrotting Films

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves are those films that shoot in multiple locations across the world. This has to be an actor's dream right? Getting to work AND see the world? This is what I came up with .

1) Inception

Inception takes us to France, Australia, and several dreams in between. This film is very high up on my favorites list. 

2) Skyfall

Fun fact about me; I don't like James Bond films. Skyfall remains the only one I've watched from start to finish in one sitting...but I did like it. The cinematography was wonderful and of course Bond globe trots in this. 

3) The Rundown

I got a little stuck on my third pick but after browsing through my letterboxd, I landed on this 2003 film starring The Rock and Seann William Scott. I remember appreciating it as a teen for SWS's gratuitous shirtless shot while swimming in an underground river* but I also remember they jumped around a bit in this film too. Starting in the U.S and moving on to the Amazon.  

*I'm not kidding, look at this. Why was this in the film? because the studio said "Teenage girls in the early 2000's, tonight you feast."

Review: Disclosure

Trans rights are human rights

This documentary follows many trans actors, filmmakers, activists and writers as they talk about the history of trans representation in films and the impact it had on them.

There are many voices that are not heard enough in the film industry (any industry really) and trans voices are among them. Having so many talented trans artists in one film talking about movies was an absolute treat. More than that, it was an education.

I'm obviously coming from a privileged point being a cis white woman, and I was even more aware of it watching this. I had never considered a character like Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs trans representation, and yet that was one of the biggest cultural references of it at one point. Breakfast on Pluto is one of my favorite movies, and I never thought about anyone other than Cillian Murphy playing the lead role. A wide variety of films are touched up on here and I can only hope that we start to see more representation as we move forward in the film industry.

The only negative thing I have to say about this is that I wish it was longer. I feel like this could've been an entire series instead of a 90 minute film. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "The fact that we study and teach DW Griffith without saying a word about the representation.." - Yance Ford (honestly the entire point he made about this was perfect)

Review: Hamilton

Not giving away my shot.

Captured live on Broadway in 2016, this play follows one of America's founding fathers Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda) re-imagined with a blend of hip-hop, jazz and show tunes.

I feel like you'd have to be living under a rock to have never heard of Hamilton at this point. It premiered to what felt like unanimous acclaim, tickets were almost impossible to come by  (even when they started touring with a new cast) and it was nominated for 16 Tony's and won 11. Disney announced they would be bringing this to theaters in 2021, only to bless us with it early on Disney+ during the pandemic.

I really wanted to see Hamilton, but alas, no tickets. I avoided the soundtrack as best as I could because I wanted to see it *with* the show. I'm glad I did that. Hearing the majority of the songs for the first time while seeing the stage play was the right way to go, and I've had them stuck in my head since.

This show is so high energy and the cast is exceptional. I was already a huge fan of Daveed Diggs from his work in Blindspotting and he was outstanding here. Easily my favorite performance. Other actors I was familiar with like Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr, Anthony Ramos, Christopher Jackson and Jonathan Groff were wonderful too, as were all the new faces I was introduced to. 

The second act is a tad slower than the first, but it's final song is so beautiful that it brings the quality right back up to where it was in act one. This is something I can see myself watching over and over again. Even the fact that my dumb ass started watching it at 9:00 pm without thinking "Hey, this is three hours long" could dampen my excitement. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Oh, can I show you what I'm proudest of?"  - Eliza (Phillipa Soo)

What I Watched on TV in June

I actually slowed down on TV this month since it's finally summer and I can be outside, even if I still can't go anywhere else. Here's what's been keeping me busy on the small screen.

Insecure - For the first time, I didn't love an Insecure episode, and that was the finale. But it is making me look forward to the next season so it's not a complete loss. A lot of people predicted a pregnancy, I wasn't one of them but it happened. I have high hopes for next season. I hope Issa and Molly work it out, and I hope Issa and Lawrence just go their separate ways. I think that would be for the best. I also hope there's more Kelli because god she's a comedic gem.

I Know This Much Is True - It's like the TV Gods looked at me and said "Oh, you thought Six Feet Under was depressing?" This was such a heavy show. I never read the book, as I mentioned before so I don't have that to compare it to, but I thought it was a strong mini series overall. Mark Ruffalo is amazing. I thought Hugh Jackman would be a shoo in for Best Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie at the Emmys for Bad Education but Ruffalo not winning this would be an absolute joke. This is probably his best work. I also hope Philip Ettinger isn't left out of the Emmy conversation either. He played the younger version of Ruffalo's character and he was spot on.

Space Force - I wasn't expecting much from this show to begin with but man what a dud. The only two characters I like are Angela and Chan, them and my curiosity about why Maggie was in prison (which they never answer) was what kept me watching. The biggest laugh I got from the entire series was Anglea's first words when she landed on the moon. The most atrociously written character is Erin, who plays Steve Carrell's teenager daughter. She is for some reason a high school student even though the show flip flops back and forth about treating her as one. She exists only to be a snarky bitch. Diana Silvers deserves better than that.

Snowpiercer - I tried getting into this, I really like the cast but it just wasn't something I wanted to go back for. Airing on an already crowded for me Sunday didn't help. I think I might attempt to binge this again later.

I May Destroy You - I LOVE Michaela Cole and I'm glad she has an HBO show. This is another heavy watch, but it's also littered with so many wonderful moments between Arabella and her friends. 

Inuyasha: The Final Act - I rewatched this with my son. It's my all time favorite anime but I forgot just how fast they blew through about 20 volumes of manga to make these episodes. Now there's news of a sequel and I'm kind of terrified to see what they come up with. I also had to laugh. Exposition is rarely a thing I complain about in movies and after re-watching all of Inuyasha, I think I know why. This show was nothing but exposition. I've just been so used to it all this time.

Thursday Movie Picks: Seven Deadly Sins - Wrath

It's another Seven Deadly Sins editions from Wandering Through The Shelves and this week I'm not going to complain about it being hard! This one was actually quite easy, I thought of these films right away.

1) Raging Bull

Boxer and maximum strength douche-canoe Jake LaMotta takes his wrath out on well, everyone. I didn't care for this. I recognize what's "good" about it but it was not pleasant to watch.

2) Prisoners

Good ol' Keller takes all his wrath out on dim witted Alex when he thinks he's responsible for kidnapping his daughter. I go back and forth on whether or not this or Sicario is my favorite Denis Villeneuve movie. I love it. 

3) Oldboy

Dae-su was kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years before being mysteriously released and going on a well-earned revenge mission. If you haven't seen this,  all the good things you've heard about it are true.

Bonus Should've Ended in Wrath Pick!

The Hunt -  Mads Mikkelson's character should've burned his entire village to the ground at the end of this movie.