Review: Silence

Our mission is not complete.

In the late 1500's Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) is no longer sending updates from Japan, where he was trying to spread Christianity. Fathers Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) travel from Portugal to Japan in secret to find out what happened to him after hearing what they think is slander. Christianity is outlawed in Japan, and while there's was a few believers who shelter Rodrigues and Garupe, there was even more trials for them.

At this point, we all know this was a passion project 20+ years in the making for director Martin Scorcese. Having loved all of his films, I can say this one wasn't for me. Don't get me wrong, Silence is not a bad film but for me it was a very boring one. It's easily the most un-Scorcese film I've ever seen. There's a few shots here and there that are very "him" but otherwise he approaches this film completely different. The thing for me was that the story just wasn't very strong and felt repetitive. Rodrigues has his faith tested, is betrayed and tortured, or watches someone else get tortured because of him. Rinse, repeat. 

If there's one thing that is truly amazing, it's Andrew Garfield's performance. I thought he was better here than he was in Hacksaw Ridge, which he's Oscar nominated for. Someone should scratch out that title and replace it with Silence. I feel a bit cheated though, because I was looking forward to Adam Driver and in a nearly three hour movie he's in it for maybe 20 minutes. Liam Neeson even less. Performance wise they're all strong, even though those accents are hard to get used to. Liam doesn't even attempt one, I guess that comes with being a long time actor? Nana Komatsu, Tadanobu Asano, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, and Yôsuke Kubozuka also give stand out performances in their little amounts of screen time. 

The film's lone Oscar nomination is for cinematography, which is definitely deserves, but Silence left me wanting, well... less. I wanted to be moved by it, but I wasn't. 

Recommended: Only because it's Scorcese.

Grade: C+

Memorable quote: "You want me to hear your confession?" - Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield)

2017 Screen Actors Guild Winners




The SAGS have come and gone. Tonight was the night of amazing speeches. All the nominees got a ton of time and it's hard for me to pick a favorite. I imagine our DFTOUS will be going on a 3:00am twitter bitchfest after all the shade thrown at him during this award show. It was glorious.  How did I do in my predictions? 7/13. I blame The Crown. Here is a list of the nominees and winners. The winners are in blue. 


Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Captain Fantastic
Fences
Hidden Figures
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight
I called this. I was rooting for Moonlight, though I would've been happy with any of these films minus Manchester winning. I'm so happy for Hidden Figures though, how can you not  be? It's such a wonderful and important film. 


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
Ugh. Don't get me wrong, I love Emma Stone. I thought she was great in La La Land, but she doesn't touch Natalie Portman in Jackie. No one does, she gave the best lead actress performance hands down. I can't believe her Oscar chances are gone.


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
THANK YOU SAG! Thank you for going for Denzel over Affleck. That's the right choice. 


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
Viola continues to be a well deserved lock.


random Dev gif because the thirst is real

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Al - Moonlight
Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water
Hugh Grant - Florence Foster Jenkins
Lucas Hedges - Manchester By the Sea
Dev Patel - Lion
Mahershala gave the most beautiful speech. You could tell he was on the verge of tears throughout. 


Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
The Crown
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
Westworld
The Stranger Things kids were so excited. It was adorable. I thought Downton was going to take this, then The Crown started getting momentum so I thought it would go to them, but then Stranger Things got it. I'm okay with that, even though I like Game of Thrones and Westworld better. David Harbour screamed their acceptance speech, which was brilliant. I kept hoping the camera would cut to his former Newsroom cast mate Dev Patel. 


Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
black-ish
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black
Veep
OITNB still isn't a comedy but they've got the most diverse cast in Hollywood right now and they're all so talented. It's just strange seeing them get a comedy award after this last season. Danielle Brooks also let it drop on the red carpet that next season is going to take place over the span of three days. 13 episodes for three days. 


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
Apparently The Crown is really good. I have yet to watch it. 


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
This really surprised me. I figured Spacey would get it, though I wanted Rami to take it. Lithgow's speech was very humble and sweet. 


amazing. Moonlight for everything

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
Julia won! I'm always happy for Veep winning any awards. 


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 
This was a huge surprise. I thought Tambor was going to win. Macy did too, apparently because he mentioned it in his speech. 


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
I hear The People v OJ is going to stream on Netflix next week, so I'm looking forward to that. I'm so behind.


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
This shocked me, but in retrospect I should've seen it coming. Look at the other nominees, the votes got split. All The Way was really dull, it's a shame Riz didn't win. 

DVD Review: Florence Foster Jenkins

Sing.

Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) is New York heiress who has big dreams of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible voice. She of course, doesn't realize she's terrible. Her husband, St Clair (Hugh Grant) enables her by never telling her the truth, showering her with praise, and paying off their friends to do the same. They hire a meek pianist, Cosmé McMoon (Simon Helberg) to accompany her as she tries once again to be a star.

There are so many things in this film that could come off as completely awful, St Clair being the biggest one. He and Florence don't sleep together, he has a girlfriend, he spends her money, but you can tell how much he loves her. That relationship could've been so gross but Grant plays Bayfield as protective and madly in love despite his "unconventional" relationship. Streep is amazing as always. We all know she has a lovely singing voice so it was probably fun for her to be able to screech like that. Florence, while a bit batty comes off as very endearing. 

The biggest surprise to me was Simon Helberg. I'm used to seeing him in The Big Bang Theory so it was nice to see him stretch his wings a bit and do all his own piano playing. He and Nina Arianda, playing fellow socialite Agnes were my favorites. 

I wish they would've elaborated on a few things, like why Flornece has this terrible fear of knives, but over all the film was so warm and sweet. It makes for a nice afternoon viewing.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Those chairs are not for practical use" - St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant)

Indie Gems: American Honey

Do you have dreams?

Star (Sasha Lane) has been having a rough go of it. When we first meet her, she's dumpster diving with two young children trying to find food for the abusive household she lives in. While she's out, she meets Jake (Shia LaBeouf) a magazine salesmen in a van full of free spirited young people. He convinces her to come with them and work for Krystal (Riley Keough) traveling across America.

What makes Star the mots intriguing is how grey her character is. She's introduced to us as responsible for looking out for her half siblings (I'm assuming that's what they are, the film doesn't explain) but then she just dumps them with their absentee mother to leave with Jake and the others. It made me ponder on whether or not that was a good move, whether I blamed her, or thought she was ever coming back.

American Honey forced me to watch something I couldn't relate with at all. I could never be a door to door salesman, partying all day and night, then crashing in seedy motels. Some of the people in this group are despicable as well, like Krystal who acts like their pimp to another who steals a perfectly cared for dog because she wanted it for herself. But director Andrea Arnold captures all this without judging eyes. She has a way of shooting that makes anything her camera touches feel organic.

This is Sasha Lane's film debut and she's wonderful in it. Both her and LaBeouf have complicated chemistry. If there's one mistake the movie has, it's that it's far too long. When you make a film that pushes three hours, there shouldn't be filler and there were far too many scenes of the magazine crew singing along to music in their van to justify the film's length.

Grade: B-

Watched on: DVD

Memorable Quote: "So you're a real American honey like me?" - Krystal (Riley Keough)

Thursday Movie Picks: Science Fiction - TV

Wanderer is spicing things up with Thursday Movie Picks and has included a few categories throughout the year where we can use TV shows. Being a TV addict, this is amazing. Today's theme is Science Fiction, and here are a few I love

1) Westworld

HBO's newest drama may look like a Western at first glance, but it's only a cover. Seeing how the "Hosts" are programmed and the "Guests" that interact with them is fascinating. 

2) The X-Files

I loved watching this show with my parents when I was a kid. It also introduced me to "shipping" even though I didn't know it at the time. I waited not so patiently for Mulder and Scully to get together. 

3) Space Cases
Anyone else remember this show on Nickelodeon? It was about 5 teenagers that randomly had a space ship. One of them had an imaginary friend that turned out to not be imaginary anymore when said actress quit the show.  

2017 Academy Award Nominations + my thoughts


They're finally here! What all we award lovers anxiously wait for. I'm posting my thoughts a day late since I had my Top 10 of 2016 list up yesterday. La La Land tied All About Eve and Titanic for a record 14 nominations in case anyone was wondering the limit of the Academy's boner for this movie. There's no way it doesn't take Best Picture now. There were a few surprises, some good, some terrible and a few offensive snubs. Let's get to it. 

Best Picture
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell Or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight
For fucks sake, Academy just use all 10 of your slots! It's not that hard, you could've easily put Jackie in here. I actually predicted this category correctly, every single one, so I'm surprised with myself. 


Best Actor
Casey Affleck - Manchester By The Sea
Andrew Garfield - Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling - La La Land
Viggo Mortensen - Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington - Fences
This is about how we thought it would go. Viggo and Garfield weren't locks but I'm happy for Viggo. 


Best Actress
Isabelle Huppert - Elle
Ruth Negga - Loving
Natalie Portman - Jackie
Emma Stone  - La La Land
Meryl Streep  - Florence Foster Jenkins
I was so happy for Negga that I didn't even realize Amy Adams got snubbed at first, looking back, this is ridiculous. How did this happen? She can't have split the votes with Nocturnal Animals, I didn't think that many loved it? I get it, Meryl is queen but they need to stop nominating her for everything. Adams was better in Arrival. I wish both she and Taraji P. Henson could be in over Meryl and Isabelle.


Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali - Moonlight
Jeff Bridges  -Hell Or High Water
Lucas Hedges  -Manchester By The Sea
Dev Patel - Lion
Michael Shannon - Nocturnal Animals
Lucas Hedges is kind of bullshit, to be honest. This kid had ONE scene were he actually emoted anything other than asshole teenager. Of course, that's Manchester by the Sea in a nutshell. I do however LOVE that Michael Shannon got in for Nocturnal Animals. I assumed Aaron Taylor Johnson would sneak in. (He should've over Hedges at least) Dev Patel makes me happy, even though I haven't seen Lion. I just love that guy. 


Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis - Fences
Naomie Harris - Moonlight
Nicole Kidman - Lion
Octavia Spencer - Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams - Manchester By The Sea
This was exactly how I predicted it as well and I'm not mad. I mean, Janelle Monae should've been in for Hidden Figures but I'll take Octavia. 


Best Director
Denis Villeneuve - Arrival
Mel Gibson - Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle - La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester By The Sea
Barry Jenkins - Moonlight
Who blew Mel Gibson first? Seriously, fuck that guy. 


Best Cinematography
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence
Silence is a surprise. I would think Jackie or the Handmaiden would've done well in this category too.


Best Documentary Feature
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
OJ: Made in America
13th
The only one I've seen is 13th, which is amazing. I have the link for OJ but it's seven hours long. I'll see it before the show.


Best Documentary Short Subject
Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets


Best Live Action Short
Ennemis Entreniers
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode


Foreign Language Film
Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann
I love A Man Called Ove so I'm happy to see it here. I had a mini hissy fit over The Handmaiden not being nominated until I realized South Korea didn't even submit it. So now my hissy has turned into: South Korea, wtf were you thinking?


Best Sound Editing
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully
The sound categories are about the only place I'm happy to see Hacksaw Ridge. 


Best Film Editing
Arrival 
Hacksaw Ridge 
Hell or High Water 
La La Land 
Moonlight 


Best Visual Effects
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I really hate that Captain America: Civil War isn't in here. Just look at Vision, for fuck's sake. Kubo being here is kind of cool, I guess. Doctor Strange should win but I imagine Jungle Book will. 


Best Costume Design
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land
I love these nominees. Allied may have been pretty flat but it definitely deserves this. 


Best Makeup and Hair Styling
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad
The fact that a movie with Jared Leto's shitty Joker is Oscar nominated is a pile of shit. They couldn't have chose The Neon Demon here? If Deadpool was going to get an Oscar nom, why not here for his burns? You seriously went with Suicide Squad? What did Leto threaten to mail these people?


Best Sound Mixing
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
I forgot 13 Hours existed. 


Best Original Score
Jackie 
La La Land 
Lion 
Moonlight 
Passengers 
PASSENGERS?! Oh my God. Why? I' so psyched for Jackie and Moonlight though. 


Best Original Song
“Audition” - La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” - Trolls
“City of Stars” - La La Land
“The Empty Chair” - Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go” - Moana
"Drive it Like You Stole it" not being here from Sing Street is a travesty. I can't believe the annoying song from Trolls made it in over that. 


Best Adapted Screenplay
Arrival 
Fences 
Hidden Figures
Lion 
Moonlight


Best Original Screenplay
Hell or High Water 
La La Land 
The Lobster 
Manchester By the Sea 
20th Century Women 
I really don't think La La Land deserves a screenplay nomination, despite loving it. The fact that it's going to win this category too is even more absurd. 


Best Production Design
Arrival 
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 
Hail Caesar
La La Land 
Passengers
Passengers AGAIN? And Hail Caesar? When there's Neon Demon, Jackie, and The Handmaiden? 


Best Animated Feature
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia
I knew as soon as I saw Moana that it was probably knocking Finding Dory out of the animated race. This is still Zootopia's hands down.



Best Animated Short
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper
Piper! It's the only one I've seen but it's just so cute.

My Top 10 Films of 2016 and 10 Worst

I'm always running late with these yearly Top 10 lists because I'm always trying to play catch up with some of the big awards contenders. Before this list is published, I didn't get to see Lion, a film I've had on my Must See list for a while. But it was hard enough choosing just 10 to begin with. I ended up with a "just missed" category because I kept rotating films.  Here are my Top 10 films of 2016, and the 10 worst. 


Top 10 Films of 2016
This was everything I wanted from I wanted from the MCU. 


The ending of this elevates it from a great movie to a phenomenal one.


I can't remember the last time I was so angry at a film ending. I wasn't ready to leave Chiron. 


This severely underrated comedy had so much heart.


 I love this thriller and I think it will go down as one of Anton Yelchin's best films.


An amazing performance by the criminally underrated Rebecca Hall, and a very good piece on mental illness.


This movie has so many twists and turns but it never once becomes "too much"



Beautifully scored. What Natalie Portman does in this movie is nothing short of incredible.



Inspiring and superbly acted, the cinematic version of "yaass queens."

Stunning to look at with beautiful songs.


Just missed

Jeff Nichols can do no wrong. Everything he directs is wonderful, and I especially like his report with Michael Shannon.

 Can a film be beautiful, yet ugly? That's what this is. Gorgeous to look at when it wasn't one of the most uncomfortable scenes I've seen in a long time.

Allison Janney, Ellen Page, and Tammy Blanchard are wonderful in this little Netflix indie. 


Honorable Mention: Fences, Loving, Swiss Army Man, Hell or High Water, The Lobster, Star Trek Beyond, Snowden, Don't Breathe, Hush, Zootopia, Rogue One, A Man Called Ove


And now for the 10 Worst Films of 2016. Mind you, if a movie looks bad, I skip it. These are films that I actually thought had promise when I went to watch them, and they turned out to be terrible...except for Gods of Egypt, I knew that was going to be bad before watching it on HBO. I normally only do a "bottom 5" list, but I saw enough this year to make 10 out of them.

1) Suicide Squad - This had the most potential and they wasted it with a terrible Joker and so many incoherent story choices. 
2) Hail, Caesar - Why did everyone but me like this movie? It was so boring. 
3) Into The Forest - A movie so bad that they managed to make two of my favorite actresses, Evan Rachel Wood and Ellen Page bad performances. 
4) Regression - Emma Watson CAN'T ACT. Why do I keep giving her chances?
5) Sausage Party - Zero laughs. 
6) The Bronze - Another film with zero laughs and a terrible lead.
7) Sing - The worst animated film I saw this year.
8) Hello My Name Is Doris - Predictable, and not the good kind.
9) Gods of Egypt - LOL
10) Batman v Superman - Holy shit, DCEU, if you want to compete with Marvel, you need to be better. I give credit for Wonder Woman though. She was awesome. And that Flash cameo. 



2017 SAG Predictions; Who Will Win, Who Should Win.


It's time to predict the SAG's. The Oscar nominations are next week, but that's a bit too cluttered for me to wait for them. I managed to do alright with the Globes, let's see how this goes...
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Captain Fantastic
Fences
Hidden Figures
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight
Who will win: Hidden Figures
Who should win: Moonlight
Aside from Manchester by the Sea, I'd be happy with any of those films winning. They had wonderful casts. Moonlight needs this. The Globes not showering it with love feels like it killed the momentum a bit. (and not having the young actor who played Lil' included in this is bullshit) I'm not 100% sure they'll get it. Hidden Figures is more accessible and is very feel good compared to the rest of these. They might get it. 


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
Who will win: Emma Stone
Who should win: Natalie Portman
I think La La Land will continue its high, but no one deserves this award more than Portman. She was spectacular in Jackie. I'm almost speechless when trying to describe how good she is. 


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
Who will win: Case Affleck
Who should win: Denzel Washington
For some reason everyone is still all about Casey when they should be all about Denzel. 


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
Who will and should win: Viola Davis
Just give her everything.


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
Who will and should win: Mahershala Ali
He was thwarted at the Globes but Ali will be back on top here. 


Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
The Crown
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
Westworld
Who will win: Downton Abbey
Who should win: Game of Thrones or Westworld.
I expect Downton Abbey to get their obligatory hand job and send off. I'm so happy this show is over and can stop taking nominations after this year. (Sorry fans, I could not get into it) 


Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
black-ish
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black
Veep
Who will win: Orange is the New Black
Who should win: Veep
SAG loves them OITNB and they had a very strong (and sad) season. I think they'll take this again, though Veep is always my #1.


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
Who will win: Claire Foy
Who should win: Thandie Newton
The Crown is huge so I see Foy taking here. Newton deserves it, and I think she has a chance here, but not as big of one as Foy. 


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
Who will win: Kevin Spacey
Who should win: Rami Malek
Rami deserves this hands down, but Spacey feels more like a SAG choice. They love prestige. 


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
Who will win: Uzo Aduba
Who should win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
SAG loves Aduba, so she'll probably repeat. JLD is her only competition, I can't see any of these other ladies winning. (Then again, Betty White kept getting nominated for Hot in Cleveland so what do I know?)


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 
Who will win: Jeffrey Tambor
Who should win: ?


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
Who will and should win: Sarah Paulson
No one else is taking this.


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
Who will win: Sterling K. Brown
Who should win: Riz Ahmed.
Obviously I'm always on Team "The Night Of" but The People vs OJ is unstoppable. Sterling was also nominated for This Is Us, so he's clearly liked. He'll take it, and I'll be okay with it. I loved his Emmy speech.

Indie Gems: 52 Tuesdays

When you don't know why you're sad.

Sixteen year old Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) is blindsided when her mother Jane (Del Herbert-Jane) tells her she's going to begin the transition from female to male. She changes her name to James, and has Billie move in with her father (Beau Travis Williams) for one year during her transition. They make a deal to meet every Tuesday from 4:00pm-10:00pm to spend time together. Billie navigates her mother's transition all while exploring her sexuality with her new friends. 

Director Sophie Hyde actually shot this film on every Tuesday for an entire year in South Australia. She didn't use professional actors and they were only given their scripts a week at a time. This is a tremendous gamble, but it paid off. Billie spends a good amount of the movie speaking to her own camera, and recording her friends. The use of non actors made it feel unprofessional in the best way possible.

Cobham-Hervey is a natural talent, and I hope I see her in more films. She really grasps Billie's confusion and insecurities. Del Herbert-Jane (who in real life identifies as gender neutral) plays James so well. She really showcased the frustrating aspects of transitioning and it not going the way you planned. 

The film isn't perfect. It shifts between Billie and James, and Billie and her two friends, which end up taking the bulk of the story later on. There's also Billie's eccentric uncle Harry (Mario Späte) who really doesn't seem to fit in the story. I could never tell if he was meant for levity or just to be a pain in the ass.

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix Instant

Memorable Quote: "A year is a long time at your age." - James (Del Herbert-Jane)

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies that feature an actor who passed away in 2016

This might be the saddest theme Wanderer has ever presented us. We lost far too many great artists in 2016. Three of those artists hit me the hardest, and I'm going to share my favorite film of each of theirs.

1) Snow Cake - Alan Rickman

Rickman also played Severus Snape, one of the most fascinating characters in the Harry Potter series but his work in this little indie Snow Cake is among my favorites. He plays a man who goes to report the death of a woman he just met to her mother, who has autism and forms an interesting relationship with her. 

2) Like Crazy - Anton Yelchin

Narrowing down a Yelchin performance is difficult. I think my favorite film he's been in is Alpha Dog, but I wanted to pick a performance where he's the lead, and he was spectacular in Like Crazy.


3) The Empire Strikes Back - Carrie Fisher

I know it's rather typical to pick a Star Wars movie for Fisher, but Empire Strikes Back is still the best Star Wars movie out there and I count it among my favorite films of all time.

I really wish I didn't have to write this post at all. I wish these wonderful actors were still with us. 

Review: Jackie

Let them see what they've done.

In the days after John F. Kennedy's assassination, we follow his widow Jackie (Natalie Portman) as she recounts her experiences to a journalist. (Billy Cudrup)

It's a simple story, but enhanced by brilliant performances and the best score out of any film this year. Jackie is simply enchanting. This wasn't the Jackie Kennedy I expected to see. I can't say I've ever given her a thought that was deeper than superficial. Seeing her poise on how she handled something so traumatic was admirable. From trying to plan the funeral with Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgard) to telling her young children what happened, to leaning on her assistant, Nancy. (Greta Gerwig)

What Portman does here is amazing. She tries so hard to hold her emotion back, only for strong waves of it to seep through occasionally. We see her as a First Lady who is nervous in front of a camera to one who wants to face it head on so she doesn't hide from the American people. Sarsgard is also very good as Bobby Kennedy, and Gerwig FINALLY plays someone that isn't Greta Gerwig.

The film is the perfect length for its subject matter, and like I mentioned earlier, the score is magical. You never feel it dragging.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "And I don't smoke." - Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman)

Review: Hidden Figures

Can a lady get some credit around here?

The United States is in a race against Russian to put a man on the moon. NASA hires a handful of African American women but no matter how hard they work, they're still stuck in the basement. Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) is a math genius who is given an assignment to work under Al Harrison. (Kevin Costner)  She's the smartest person in the room, but her white male colleagues give her zero credit and welcome her with a "colored coffee pot" instead when she dares use theirs. The man she works with the most, Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons) frequently treats her like a secretary instead of an equal. Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) works in engineering, but she doesn't get the title of an engineer because the courses she needs are only offered at an all white school. Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) does all the work of a supervisor without the title or the pay. We watch these extraordinary women defy the odds and triumph in a world that's stacked against them.

Hidden Figures is an appropriate title. It's embarrassing to say that I had never heard of their stories before seeing a preview for this film. This is yet another reason why I love movies. They shine light on important things that I've missed.

I found myself getting so irritated at everyone in this film that wasn't Doorthy, Mary, or Katherine. Every time a door is slammed in their face, or they were treated with the bare minimum of respect, or when they have to run half a mile to use "their" bathroom, my heart ached. Even knowing I would get that eventual happy ending watching the behavior of some of the characters in this film was just gross. Seriously, every time Jim Parson's character opened his mouth...


Taraji is a breathtaking lead. I wish more people were talking about her in the best actress race. Monae and Spencer also give excellent performances. Kevin Costner was actually tolerable and it's nice to see Parsons play someone very different from Sheldon Cooper. Mahershala Ali is also a welcomed presence in a small role. 

It's a very formulaic film, but backed with an amazing ensemble and a great message, Hidden Figures rises above the normal biopic standards. I wanted to cry tears of joy when it was over just seeing what these women accomplished. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "God forbid anyone get in the way of Mary Jackson's dreams, myself included." - Levi Jackson (Aldis Hodge)