Indie Gems: Morris From America

And you thought you didn't fit in.

Morris (Markees Christmas) is a 13 year old boy who moves to Germany with his father, Curtis. (Craig Robinson) Morris doesn't have friends yet, the only people he interacts with are his father and his German teacher Inka. (Carla Juri) He finds his solace in hip hop and freestyle rapping. Then he sees Katrin (Lina Keller) and develops a crush, now it's time for him to come out of his shell.

I liked how minimal this movie is. It's not really coming of age, it's more about trying to find your place as you navigate your new home. Morris' relationship with Curtis is strained at times, of course it is. Being a teenager is terrible. (Katrin tells Curtis about how her mom is a bitch and I feel like I probably said those exact words more than once as a teen) 

Robinson's performance is very underrated. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award but I wish more people were talking about what he does here. A lot of it is subtle, but he perfectly portrays the dad who really wants his son to like him, but also bring him up the right way. Christmas also proves to be a very talented lead, giving one of the best young performances I've seen this year.

Another thing I enjoyed was how the film is almost half/half in German and English. That's very true to Germany, most Germans I encountered there did speak quite a bit of English freely. (Especially if you're like me and aren't that great at it)

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "We are not friends." - Morris (Markees Christmas) 


Thursday Movie Picks: Coming Home

The final theme of 2016 from Wandering Through The Shelves is all about coming home. This is another hard one because I know I've used a lot of movies that would fall into this category previously. But I'm going to try to showcase a few wonderful indies that deserve to be seen.

1) Hello I Must Be Going

Amy is going through a divorce and ends up having to move back in with her parents. This features a brilliant performance by Melanie Lynskey. 

2) Martha Marcy May Marlene

Martha goes home to her sister's after spending a few years in a cult. Brilliant performance by Elizabeth Olsen and is so quietly creepy. 

3) King of California

Instead of children going home to their parents, this one is about a father that goes home after being in a psychiatric facility. He then tries to convince his daughter there's gold buried under a Costco. 

Review: Into The Forest

Apocalyptic learning. 

Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) are sisters living with their father (Callum Keith Rennie) in a secluded house. One day the power goes out state wide and doesn't come back. After a freak accident, Nell and Eva are left to live off the land around their house on their own.

Page and Wood are two of my favorite actresses, so I was excited to hear they were in a film together at Sundance last year. Unfortunately this film isn't good enough for them. I never read the book this was based on, but Nell mentions early on that she's studying for her SATs, which threw me off completely because these two do not look like they could pass for teenagers.  Nell and Eva are also not very likable and make so many terrible decisions that it became obvious what's forcing the plot here.

Then things get rapey, because of course they do. To be fair, the film did get the depression part of that right, but it's not enough to make up for the fact that it was unnecessary in the first place. Not only that, but these two talented actresses manage to be nowhere near their usual selves. Page in particular overacts at nearly every turn.

I'm disappointed a promising sounding drama starting two of my favorite actresses could end up like this. 

Recommended: No

Grade: D

Memorable Quote: "It's half mine, right?" - Eva (Evan Rachel Wood)

2017 Blind Spot List + how I did in 2016


Another year is over and I completed my 2016 Blind Spot List! This event has been a great way for me to actually get off my ass and watch so many classics. I'll always be grateful to Ryan for starting it. Before I put up my 2017 List, here's how I did in 2016.

1) Au Revoir Les Enfants (A+)
2) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (A)
3) The Apartment (B)
4) Marnie (B)
5) Funny Face (B-)
6) Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (A)
7) The Passion of Joan of Arc (C)
8) The French Connection (B)
9) JFK (C+)
10) The Miracle Worker (A-)
11) All The President's Men (A)
12) Chinatown (A-)


Au Revoir Les Enfants was easily my favorite of the bunch. The only one I disliked was The Passion of Joan of Arc, even though I didn't want to. For next year, I'm going to get a bit ambitious as I wanted to do the Three Color movies, but had so many others I wanted to throw on here. So I'm going to combine them into one month. here's my 2017 Blindspot List:

1) Sleepers
2) Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
3) Videodrome
4) Paris, Texas
5) Sunset Boulevard
6) Three Colors: Red, White, Blue
7) Jackie Brown
8) Cinema Paradiso
9) Midnight Cowboy
10) Do The Right Thing
11) Boyz in the Hood
12) In The Bedroom

Alternates: The Birds, Suddenly Last Summer, All About Eve

Right now, I'm not finding a place to watch Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, so if nothing turns up, I made a shortlist of replacements. This also might be the "youngest" of all my Blind Spot lists as I have a lot of 80's and 90's films here, which isn't usually what I'm aiming for. What do you think? Have you seen the films on my list? Am I going to hate any of them?

Indie Gems: Captain Fantastic

Who needs social skills?

Ben (Viggo Mortensen) raises his 6 children off the grid. They live in the woods, live off the land, he homeschools them. When we meet the family, we learn Ben's wife is away at a mental hospital, then we learn she kills herself and her father (Frank Langella) will not let Ben and his family attend the funeral. But they are very much in the "fuck the man!" mindset so off they go, even though Ben is missing some queues from his children during this truly upsetting time.

Ben's children are little geniuses but they completely lack social skills with people who aren't living off the grid. That's apparent when the oldest son Bo (George MacKay) has these most awkward encounter with a girl and her mother in the history of movies. (at least that's how it feels) Bo also harbors a secret about wanting to go to real college, so you can tell throughout he's just waiting for the perfect moment to spring that on his dad.

Mortensen and MacKay are the standouts, both give spectacular performances. All the kids were perfectly cast, especially in the scenes where they're grieving, I found them completely believable. It's also littered with amazingly awkward moments and humor despite the heavy premise. I hope this film gets a bit of Golden Globes love, I don't think it stands a chance at the Oscars, but it fits nicely in the comedy section there.

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "If it doesn't come from a book, I don't know shit." - Bo (George MacKay)

Thursday Movie Picks: Parties

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is movies about parties. I think I kind of screwed myself during college week back in September. Luckily, there's still a few movies that I haven't used throughout the year that fall into the party category.

1) Superbad

The party: An almost end of school party where our protagonists attempt to buy booze and chat up the girls they have crushes on. This is one of my all time favorite comedies. A lot of the kids in this film reminded me of a few I went to high school with. 

2) American Pie

The party: An after prom party where our main boys all want to lose their virginity. I always call American Pie "my" high school movie even though it came out when I was in junior high. It was one that everyone saw, but never told our parents we watched it. It still holds up.

3) This Is The End

The party: James Franco throwing one because fuck you that's why. I love this movie. You have to love it when actors don't take themselves too seriously. 

Review: Rogue One

Stardust.

Rogue One tells us the story of how our heroes in A New Hope got their hands on the Death Star plans. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is rescued from an Imperial prison to assist the Rebels. Her father, Galen (Mads Mikkelson) is responsible for designing the Death Star and he's sent a defected pilot, Bodhi (Riz Ahmed) to deliver a message. Jyn goes along with Captain Cassian (Diego Luna) in a risky attempt to help reveal the weak spot her father built in the Death Star.

One of the best parts of this movie are the Easter eggs. There's so many and it just makes me so happy to be a Star Wars fan. Seeing Gold and Red Leader, hearing "General Syndulla report to briefing" over the intercom (yay Star Wars Rebels) and seeing old favorites like Bail Organa and Darth Vader again.

The visual effects team created something truly incredible with bring Grand Moff Tarkin back. When I heard they were adding him digitally, I expected it to be one quick scene, but he's in more than one and has a decent amount of dialogue. I wonder if people watching who don't know the actor is dead realize they're not looking at a real person? 

If there's one flaw this movie has, it's the character development. I don't think it's a spoiler saying this if you've watched other Star Wars films -  but I feel like the writers felt they didn't need to spend so much time on them since they're all going to die anyways. While I liked our new group, especially droid K-2SO, I feel an immediate intrigue like I did with Rey, Finn, and Kylo with the new trilogy.

Rogue One is fun as hell. The battle scenes are a visual pleasure and Darth Vader has a spectacular badass moment that makes me wish I could watch an entire film of him doing just that. ci

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable quote: "Did you know that wasn't me?" - K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk)

Review: Manchester By the Sea

Manchester by the zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) works as a janitor in Boston and mostly keeps to himself. He doesn't do small talk, he spends a decent amount of time drinking. When his older brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies, he finds himself made the legal guardian of his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges) but he's not ready to commit to something that big. 

When you go into a movie that you know is going to be a downer, you expect to at least be blown away by the acting and the story. Manchester by the Sea crawls in a perfectly straight line. No ups or down. There's no gigantic epiphany for Lee. He doesn't change in a big way at the end of the film, he simple exists in his sadness. That's what this is. Sometimes terrible things happen, and sometimes you don't get the help to cope. 

Affleck is good, but he has two emotions. Drunkingly hyper in his flashbacks, zombie in his present. I kept waiting for a moment where he breaks down and displays some dramatic sorrow but that never happens. He cries for a second with his head down once. Michelle William's gets one of those moments. Actually, she's the only one breathing feeling into this otherwise cold movie. I felt for Randi. She's Lee's ex wife and (you guessed it) terrible things happened to them. Hedges also is allotted a single moment of dramatic acting display, otherwise he's a normal, horny, sarcastic teenager, though some of this quips were welcomed during the film's two hour run time which really felt like four. 

I wish I could've loved this movie the way the critics seem to. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C-

Memorable Quote: "Sharks don't swim in schools!" - Young Patrick (Ben O'Brien) 

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD, TWD + more

A little late, but I saw so many great movies this week I just didn't have time to talk about TV..

Agents of SHIELD

I really don't know how I feel about the winter finale. On one had, this episode had some really great moments with Fitzsimmons, Mack, and Coulson. But there was some cringeworthy stuff too. 

Daisy Sue being the face of SHIELD? The fact that Coulson even suggests that shows what's wrong with this show. Daisy shouldn't be the focus. She's an uninteresting Mary Sue who can barely act. This show is likely going to be cancelled this season, and on one hand I'll be sad as I've grown to love some of the characters on this show, but on the other hand, I'll be happy never to see Daisy again. Her presence on the show actually annoys me more then the fact that AoS makes it completely unbelievable that no one would call the Avengers.

Ghost Rider had a pretty anti climatic finish, but I don't think that's the last of him we'll see this season.

AIDA going rogue did surprise me, so wtf is she doing with May? And can she kill Daisy instead?

Hairspray Live!

I love Hairspray. It's easily one of my favorite musicals and I prefer those versions to the original 1988 movie. This was fun. It was a bit shaky at times, but most of the cast was excellent.

The Good:

Dove Cameron who played Amber was a gem. This is my first time seeing her in something, though someone pointed out to me on Twitter that she's kind of a big deal on the Disney Channel right now. It was nice to hear "Cooties" again after the 2007 version left it out.

Maddie Baillio was a good Tracy, though it seems like her nerves got to her a few times.

Seeing Broadway legends Kristin Chenoweth and Harvey Fierstein were also a absolute joy. 

Jennifer Hudson and Ephraim Sykes were great at Maybelle and Seaweed. Hudson brought down the house, but prefer Queen Latifah and Elijah Kelley from the film.

Martin Short and Rosie O'Donnell also cracked me up in their small roles.

The Bad

Ariana Grande's stunt casting. What were they thinking? I'm not sure what annoyed me more, the fact that they didn't make her take out her extensions (anyone else catch that mouthful of pigtail she got during Momma I'm a Big Girl Now?) Or the fact that she still sings and moves like a popstar. She's constantly throwing her hands up and trying to belt over the other singers. Acting wise she was fine, but I never thought I'd see the day where I preferred Amanda Bynes as Penny. 

Derek Hough, while charismatic and a wonderful dancer should not be given singing parts. (same goes for his sister) His notes were flat, and it's impossible not to compare him to James Marsden who was perfect as Corny Collins in the 2007 movie.

Speaking of charisma. Garrett Clayton had zero. I'll take Zac Efron back, please. 

The Walking Dead


You know, I should be happy that the group is (mostly) back together. That there was a great moment between Rick and Michonne, that Daryl escaped. But I'm just over this show at this point, and I know I won't stop watching it because I watch it with my family. 

The mid season finale gave us two more deaths...Alexandria redshirts Spencer and Olivia. Negan also took Eugene as a hostage because he's predictable. 

We finally saw Carol and Morgan again, but I'm so over Gimple's forced isolation of her. It's hard to completely enjoy a happy family reunion when he won't let her be part of it. 

To quote Rick Grimes himself...I'm tired, son. 

Rambling TV is a series where I ramble semi coherently about the things I've watched on television. This week is brought to you by being completely done...

Review: Hacksaw Ridge

Put some of it back together.

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) enlists in the army during WWII. He wants to be a medic after falling in love with a nurse, Dorothy. (Teresa Palmer) But he doesn't want to carry a weapon. He states he's there to save life, not take it. What he ends up doing is saving over 75 people in combat in Japan, without ever firing a gun.

The trailers for this film did nothing for me. But alas, I'm an Oscar junkie and when this film kept popping up on lists, I knew I had to see it. I'm glad to say it was a lot better than I gave it credit for. (And my husband is making sure to rub it in)

Hacksaw Ridge isn't perfect. In fact, it's almost as if you're watching two separate films. The first half is the cheesiest love/underdog story you've ever seen, and the back half is like Mel Gibson watched Saving Private Ryan then did a line of coke. It's ultra-violent and intense. 

Acting wise, Garfield is good and he and Palmer have great chemistry, but it's Vince Vaughn as his Sargent who is the standout. The war scenes are something else. I can't imagine how much work went into staging all of that. From the SFX team, to the actors and the set designers. I can't help but be in awe of that. They're likely going to win a few Sound Oscars as well, or at the very least be nominated for them. This is one of those movies where the sound editing and mixing really stands out. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+ (that may seem weird but God, the first half of this movie..)

Memorable Quote: "There's no shame in it, son. " - Sgt Howell (Vince Vaughn)

Indie Gems: Sing Street

Girl problems? Start a band.

When Conor's (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) family runs into money troubles in 1980's Ireland, they send him to a new school. He's bullied the first day by another student, and by a priest who gets after him for the color of his shoes. Then as he's leaving he sees a girl, Raphina (Lucy Boynton) standing outside the school. She says she's a model, so to impress her, Conor offers her a part in his band's music video. Then he goes off to start said band.

I kind of boycotted this movie when it first came out. I loved director John Carney's other films, Once and Begin Again. Then he went on this tirade about how Keira Knightley wasn't a good actress or singer in Begin Again and he was completely wrong about it so I decided not to give that dick some theatrical money. He apologized, I got over it, and now Sing Street is on Netflix Instant.

It really is a wonderful little gem with catchy songs that I hope get some attention in the Best Original Song category at the Oscars. Walsh-Peelo has a wonderful voice and carries the film well. Jack Reynor also gives an excellent performance as Conor's older brother whom he looks up to. Beyond those two and Boynton, the film doesn't really try to develop any of the other characters, which does end up being its weakness.

Carney's ending are usually split in two. Some love them, others hate them because he tends to not put his couples together. This one is different, and it makes you wonder what's going to happen next.

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "You're the youngest, and you get to follow the path that I macheted through the jungle that is our mad family." Brendan (Jack Reynor) 


Thursday Movie Picks: Video/Arcade/Board Game Movies

Last week we had toys, now we move to video games! Wandering Through The Shelves asks us to chose three movies based on arcade and/or board games. This was kind of hard, because I can't say that I like many of these movies. So I decided to go with one good, one so bad it's good, and the other flat out terrible. Here we go. Semper fi, motherfuckers. 

1) Silent Hill

Let's start with the Good. Silent Hill got off to a bad start for me (the little girl screaming 'SILENT HILL!' was awful) but it quickly picked up the pace to become one of the creepiest things I've ever seen. 

2) Mortal Kombat

I thought this movie was pretty awesome as a kid, but really it's so bad. But I'd say it falls under the category of "so bad it's good." It's been years since I've seen it though.

3) House of the Dead

Okay, so that's not a gif from the movie. But watching paint dry would be more interesting.  If there was ever a film I should've walked out of but didn't, it was this one. I can't believe I sat through this entire thing. I'm getting a headache just thinking about it now. 

Honorable mention: Jumanji, which I expect to see a lot so I didn't go with it. Loved that film as a kid. 

2017 Screen Actors Guild Nominations



Man, these snuck up on me. I completely forgot they were being announced this morning so I'm a few hours late. I think a lot of people are re-evaulating their Oscar predictions after reading this. There were some nice surprises, some shocking ones, and a few big snubs. 

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Captain Fantastic
Fences
Hidden Figures
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight
First off, if you think La La Land is being snubbed, you're wrong. That film is about a duo. Secondly, holy shit, Captain Fantastic! That's amazing and a complete surprise. Actually, come to think of it, everything but Moonlight is a surprise to me. I didn't think Hidden Figures would gain enough traction and I didn't think Machester By The Sea was being sold as an ensemble movie either. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Amy Adams - Arrival
Emily Blunt, - The Girl on the Train
Emma Stone - La La Land
Meryl Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins
Natalie Portman - Jackie
Emily Blunt is flat out shocking. She was great in that movie, but the movie itself was far from it. I'm bummed not to see Ruth Negga here, and surprised that Isabelle Huppert isn't either. 


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck - Manchester By the Sea
Andrew Garfield - Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling - La La Land
Viggo Mortensen - Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington - Fences
Viggo is a surprise again, but a welcomed one. Washington is now gaining some steam for Fences.  I'd say the first three are Oscar locks. 


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis - Fences
Naomie Harris - Moonlight
Nicole Kidman - Lion
Octavia Spencer - Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams - Manchester By the Sea
Did Octavia push out Monoe? I think this might be our Oscar line up.


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Al i- Moonlight
Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water
Hugh Grant - Florence Foster Jenkins
Lucas Hedges - Manchester By the Sea
Dev Patel - Lion
I was not expecting Florence Foster Jenkins to be so loved. Jeff Bridges needs to surrender all of his nominations over to Ben Foster who was far better in that film. Hedges is surprising, I haven't seen the film but I'm aways happy when a kid gets in.  



Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
The Crown
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
Westworld
I can't wait for Downton Abbey to fuck off already. I'm kind of surprised This Is Us didn't make it since it's all the rage at the moment. I'm happy for Game of Thrones, Westworld and Stranger Things! Amazing shows. 


Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
black-ish
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black
Veep
I'm not sure why SAG is still pretending OITNB is a comedy series when Emmy has it in the drama slot. I don't know which season they're nominating. S3 qualified for the Emmys this year, and was rightfully shut out. Hopefully this is for S4. Veep is always my favorite in this category, I wish Silicon Valley would get some love with the SAGs though. 


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Millie Bobby Brown - Stranger Things
Claire Foy - The Crown
Thandie Newton - Westworld
Winona Ryder - Stranger Things
Robin Wright - House of Cards
I knew Millie would get a SAG nom, however it's horrifying that Evan Rachel Wood was shut out for Westworld. What is that? Lena Headey should be in here for Game of Thrones too.


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Sterling K. Brown - This Is Us
Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones
John Lithgow - The Crown
Rami Malek - Mr. Robot 
Kevin Spacey - House of Cards
Dinklage gets the Thrones gimme nom even though he had one great scene the entire season. If you're going to nominate Thrones here, nomination Liam Cunningham. I'll be rooting for Rami. I'm surprised Anthony Hopkins or Jeffrey Wright didn't make it in for Westworld. What is this?


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.
Uzo Aduba - Orange Is the New Black
Jane Fonda - Grace and Frankie
Ellie Kemper - The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep
Lily Tomlin - Grace and Frankie
What is with SAG's love for these random shows like Grace and Frankie? Is it the new Hot in Cleveland?


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson - black-ish
Tituss Burgess - The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Ty Burrell - Modern Family
William H. Macy - Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor - Transparent 
Okay, SAG. Just because the Emmys pretend Transparent is a comedy doesn't mean you have to as well. You're already going against them for OITNB. 


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Mini Series
Bryce Dallace Howard - Black Mirror
Felicity Huffman - American Crime
Audra McDonald - Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Sarah Paulson - The People v. O.J. Simpson
Kerry Washington - Confirmation”


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Mini Series
Riz Ahmed  - The Night Of
Bryan Cranston - All the Way
Sterling K. Brown - The People vs. O.J. Simpson
John Turturro - The Night Of
Courtney B. Vance - The People vs. O.J. Simpson
So happy to see The Night Of getting nominations here!



Review: Loving

Brace yourselves for a whole lot of ugly coming at you from a never ending parade of stupid.

Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga) are an interracial couple in 1950's Virginia. They go to Washington DC to get married, only to be arrested after being caught in bed together because the marriage isn't "valid there." Eventually they are told to leave Virginia and not come back for 25 years. After Mildred writes to her senator, a lawyer from the ACLU (Nick Kroll) is assigned to their case and helps them get the justice they deserve.

It's amazing how relevant who you're married to still is today. Also amazing is that someone else's marriage isn't anyone but theirs business. That's what I wanted to scream at the screen while watching this. Director Jeff Nichols has always been good at telling stories about people in the South. Telling a true story is different for him, but it pays off with his vision.

Edgerton and Negga have so much chemistry. You absolutely believe they're in love. Their performances aren't showy in the least. In fact, it's about what they're holding back. Edgerton almost has to spit every word he says out. You know he has a lot to say, but doesn't have the words to say it. He just loves his wife, and wants to be left alone. Negga is different. Mildred is a loving, caring person who despite given several opportunities, she never says a bad word about anyone. In a different world, maybe she would be marching alongside others during the civil rights movement. But here, she's content and sees nothing wrong with who she loves. 

I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know very much about the Lovings before seeing this. I was only familiar with the ruling, reading the outcome of the family post hearing was a bit of a gut punch. Some things aren't fair. But like all of Nichols' films, this lovely little gem deserves to be seen. I hope the Oscars don't forget about it in light of the more quicker paced films. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "Tell them I love my wife." - Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton)

Review: Nocturnal Animals

Revenge.

Susan (Amy Adams) is an art gallery owner that's suddenly disillusioned with her career and is married to a man (Armie Hammer) who clearly wanders. One day she receives a manuscript from her ex husband, Edward. (Jake Gyllenhaal) She left him almost 20 years ago on terrible terms, and he's dedicated this very violent book to her. 

The TV spots for this film feel like they're advertising a completely different movie. From the trailers, it seems as if Gyllenhaal's family is kidnapped and he either set it up himself complete with a crooked cop, Andres (Michael Shannon) and an unpredictable man, Ray. (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) or he goes after them. In a way, that's almost a blessing, because the film is completely different and going into it mostly blind proved to be a good move. 

Nocturnal Animals plays out in Susan's life, the story in which she's reading, and a few flashbacks. The story has some of the most uncomfortable scenes I've seen in a film all year. But there's no torture porn here, director Tom Ford lets your imagination run wild instead. 

Amy Adams, despite being billed as the star really doesn't appear as much as I assumed she would. She's good at playing cold and depressed, but it's Gyllenhaal, Shannon, and Taylor-Johnson who do the heavy lifting. Their characters are all so different, but they bring a lot to the table. Tony (Edward's proxy, also played by Gyllenhaal) and his weakness.  Andres with his subtle DGAF humor, and Ray being a psychopath. 

The score is haunting, and the opening credits are bound to be talked about for ages alone. If I had a few gripes, it's that Armie Hammer aside from being wooden is in no way believable at playing a man in his 40's and while some things that are left up in the air work perfectly, others made me scratch my head a little. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable quote: "Who? Are you an owl?" - Andres (Michael Shannon)

2017 Golden Globe Nominations




Who announces on a Monday? This is my sleeping in day, so it was the first time in the seven years of my blog I didn't see the nominations in real time. Here are the nominees with a few thoughts. 

Best Motion Picture -- Drama

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight
I actually had to edit my earlier comment because I remembered that Silence should've already screened for the HFPA and it's left out. Wow.  


Best Director -- Motion Picture

Damien Chazelle -- La La Land
Tom Ford -- Nocturnal Animals
Mel Gibson -- Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins -- Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan -- Manchester by the Sea
I love that Tom Ford got a nomination here. I don't think he'll repeat at the Oscars but it's nice to see. Denis Villenueve not being here for Arrival is the big shocker. 


Best Screenplay -- Motion Picture

Damien Chazelle -- La La Land
Tom Ford -- Nocturnal Animals
Barry Jenkins -- Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan -- Manchester by the Sea
Taylor Sheridan -- Hell or High Water
Happy for Ford again. Sheridan being in for Hell or High Water is surprising. I know he'll be there for the Oscars but with the combined category here I expected him to be edged out. 


Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture -- Drama

Denzel Washington -- Fences
Casey Affleck -- Manchester by the Sea
Joel Edgerton -- Loving
Andrew Garfield -- Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen -- Captain Fantastic
Viggo! I saw Captain Fantastic the other day and was saying to myself that they'll probably submit in the comedy category for a better shot at him getting in, so it's nice to see he actually made it for Drama. 


Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture -- Drama

Isabelle Huppert -- Elle
Natalie Portman -- Jackie
Ruth Negga -- Loving
Amy Adams -- Arrival
Jessica Chastain -- Miss Sloane
I have no desire to see Miss Sloane, is that bad? Anyways, I really want someone other than Huppert to win just for something different. 


Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Viola Davis -- Fences
Naomie Harris -- Moonlight
Nicole Kidman -- Lion
Octavia Spencer -- Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams -- Manchester by the Sea
This is likely what the Oscars will look like, althought Monoe could go for Hidden Figures instead of Spencer. 


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Mahershala Ali -- Moonlight
Jeff Bridges -- Hell or High Water
Simon Helberg -- Florence Foster Jenkins
Dev Patel -- Lion
Aaron Taylor Johnson -- Nocturnal Animals
First off, Yaasss to Aaron Taylor Johnson! But secondly, wtf is Dev Patel doing in this category? Isn't he the lead in Lion? 


Best Motion Picture --Musical or Comedy

20th Century Women
Deadpool
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land
Sing Street
I knew when Deadpool one the Critic's Choice last night that we would probably see it here. I liked it, but that over the Nice Guys is ridiculous. I suppose it doesn't matter because La La Land is winning. It's nice to see Sing Street in here at least. 


Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy

Colin Farrell -- The Lobster
Ryan Gosling -- La La Land
Hugh Grant -- Florence Foster Jenkins
Jonah Hill -- War Dogs
Ryan Reynolds -- Deadpool
Jonah Hill came out of nowhere. Again, Gosling and Crowe were great in The Nice Guys, why not nominate him? 


Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy

Annette Bening -- 20th Century Women
Lily Collins -- Rules Don't Apply
Hailee Steinfeld -- The Edge of Seventeen
Emma Stone -- La La Land
Meryl Streep -- Florence Foster Jenkins
Lily Collins is a surprise. Hailee, I predicted. Maybe this will remind her to stick to acting instead of that dreadful pop star thing she's got going on now?


Best Original Score -- Motion Picture

Moonlight (Nicholas Britell)
La La Land (Justin Hurwitz)
Arrival (Johann Johannson)
Lion (Dustin O'Halloran, Hauschka)
Hidden Figures (Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch)
No Nocturnal Animals? Wow. 


Best Original Song -- Motion Picture 

"Can't Stop the Feeling" - Trolls 
"City of Stars" - La La Land 
"Faith"  -Sing 
"Gold" - Gold 
"How Far I'll Go" - Moana 
The Globes are always so off on this category compared to the Oscars. I think City of Stars and How Far I'll Go will certainly snag nominations, but how did they nominate Sing Street for Best Picture then leave out Drive it Like You Stole It?


Best Animated Motion Picture

Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
Moana
Sing
Zootopia
Sing.....SING?!


​Best Motion Picture Foreign Language

Divines
Elle
Neruda
The Salesman
Toni Erdmann
I have seen none of these but Toni Erdmann looks so good. Elle, I can't bring myself to see. I considered making an effort based on awards season alone, then I actually read the plot of the movie. Nope, nope nope. 


Best Television Series -- Drama

The Crown
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
This is Us
Westworld
The Globes love their Freshman series and this time Game of Thrones is the only one that isn't new. Happy to see them, Westworld and Stranger Things there, though I think Mr. Robot should've been as well.


​Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series -- Drama
Caitriona Balfe -- Outlander
Claire Foy -- The Crown
Keri Russell -- The Americans 
Winona Ryder -- Stranger Things
Evan Rachel Wood -- Westworld
Evan!! Please let her win this. 


Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series -- Drama
Rami Malek -- Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk -- Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys -- The Americans
Liev Schreiber -- Ray Donovan
Billy Bob Thornton -- Goliath
Happy to see Rami and Bob as always. 


Best Performance by an Actress in a Support Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Lena Headey -- Game of Thrones
Chrissy Metz -- This is Us
Mandy Moore -- This is Us
Thandie Newton -- Westworld
I love that Lena and Thandie are in this. If it goes to either of them I'll be happy.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Sterling K. Brown -- The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Hugh Laurie -- The Night Manager
John Lightgow -- The Crown
Christian Slater -- Mr. Robot
John Travolta -- The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
None of the Westworld actors made it in here, which is a shame. It's Brown's though. 


Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

American Crime
The Dresser
The Night Manager
The Night Of
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
So happy The Night Of is here. I have such an aversion to Tom Hiddleston now that seeing The Night Manger's name makes me cringe. 


Best Television Series -- Musical or Comedy

Atlanta
Black-Ish
Mozart in the Jungle
Transparent
Veep
Yay Veep! It has zero chance of winning here because HFPA will give it to Atlanta per their Freshman series love, but I'm always happy to see it.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Felicity Huffman -- American Crime
Riley Keough -- The Girlfriend Experience
Sarah Paulson -- The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Charlotte Rampling -- London Spy
Kerry Washington -- Confirmation
I forgot Confirmation was eligble this year, I feel like I saw it two years ago. This is Paulson's to take again. 


Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Riz Ahmed -- The Night Of
Bryan Cranston -- All the Way
John Turturro -- The Night Of
Tom Hiddleston -- Night Manager
Courtney B. Vance -- The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
I love that Ahmed and Turturro both got nominations. The Night Of was an excellent series. 


Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made For Television

American Crime
The Dresser
The Night Manager
The Night Of
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
O.J will win big here like they did at the Emmys, I think. I'm glad The Night Of got in. American Crime just pisses me off. Talk about a great show ruined by their stupid finale that wrapped up 0% of the story they were building. 


Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series -- Musical or Comedy

Anthony Anderson -- Black-ish
Gael Garcia Bernal -- Mozart in the Jungle
Donald Glover -- Atlanta
Nick Nolte -- Graves
Jeffrey Tambor -- Transparent
I don't watch any of these shows, but I think Glover will win. 


Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series -- Musical or Comedy

Rachel Bloom -- My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Julia Louis-Dreyfus -- Veep
Sarah Jessica Parker -- Divorce
Gina Rodriguez -- Jane the Virgin
Tracee Ellis Ross -- Black-ish
Issa Rae -- Insecure
I really need to start Insecure.