DVD Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin

Oh bother.

Author Alan Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) is scared after WWI and moves his reluctant wife, Daphne (Margot Robbie) and their young son Christopher Robin (who goes by Moon) out into the country side. Normally he and Daphne are fucking off and being absentee parents while Nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald) takes care of their son, but for a short time Alan has to actually be a dad, and during the time spent with his son he comes up with the idea to what will be his wildly successful Winnie The Pooh series. 

Man, poor Moon. His parents truly weren't ready to commit. And when they do they exploit him for book sales. I never knew the story of how Winnie The Pooh came to be. At first I expected to never look at Pooh the same again, but this film isn't very memorable so I no longer have to worry about that.

The cast are great, and the film looks beautiful. From the costumes to the sets and locations, it really was a lovely little spot in the country side they created. But there wasn't a lot of substance here. It's not bad by any stretch. They tug at your heartstrings a bit with the Nanny but it's really just an interesting tale that doesn't stay with you for long. 

Recommend: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote.

Thursday Movie Picks: Non-English Movies

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves asks us again to talk about films that aren't in the English language. I gave myself a rule where I would try to avoid the foreign films I talk about the most (you probably know my favs) so here are three other excellent films not in the English language. 

1) The Lunchbox (Hindi)

This movie is just so damn charming. It's about a man who subscribes to a lunch box delivery service in India, only to receive the wrong lunch box and strike up a friendship through letters with the person making his lunches. 

2) Memories of Murder (Korean)

Being a big fan of director Joon-ho Bong's English language work, I finally started to go back and watch the films he made in his native language and this murder mystery was gripping from start to finish

3) Mustang (Turkish)

I'm still annoyed this didn't win the Oscar in 2016. It's about 5 sisters and how their lives change after they are married off by their conservative parents.

Review: BlacKkKlansman

Going undercover.

Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first black officer at the Colorado Springs Police Department. Eager to prove himself, but treated poorly by several other officers, he's finally given an opportunity to go undercover. Wanting to take it a step further, he infiltrates the local KKK chapter using fellow officer Phillip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) to go as his "white" self while he speaks to to them over the phone.

Director Spike Lee is never subtle, nor gentle with his opinions and BlackKlansman is better for it. His direction is incredible. I especially loved how he would show the juxtaposition between the two groups. How we would be watching a klan initiation and flip back to a man telling a group of black college students about the horrors of racism and what they need to do to fight it. Lee manages to make you feel disgusted, laugh occasionally, and overwhelm you with power all within the film's two hour run time. If you think he's taking digs at our current administration during the film, just wait until the end when he flat out calls them out.

John David Washington has his dad Denzel's voice but he doesn't once try to emulate him in any way. He's completely his own character and he's tremendous in this role. Stallworth really believes in being a police officer and wanting to prove himself. Anyone who reads this blog knows that Adam Driver is currently one of my favorite actors and he's great here too as a Jewish officer tasked with physically being around a bunch of psychos. You legitimately feel anxious in these scenes where they're questioning him. 

Another thing Lee did that I found interesting was the way he shot Driver and Washington when they were sharing the screen. I felt like Driver was always subtly out of frame. He'd have his back turned or would be in the background somewhere. Was it because they were both playing "Ron" at different times and he wanted to remind us all who the real Ron was? 

In my first draft of this review, I talked about what he does at the end of the film that really hits it home and had me walking out of the theater with tears in my eyes. But it's best not reading about it first. Just go in and feel... and take those feelings with you when you vote. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Did you get that?" - Ron Stallworth (John David Washington)

Indie Gems: Band Aid

Musical Marriage Counseling

Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Polly) are a married couple that can't stop bickering. To channel this, they decide to start a band with their eccentric neighbor, Dave (Fred Armison) where all their songs are their fights. 

On top of starring, Zoe Lister-Jones wrote and directed this. The plot itself is very clever and the little details she put into it were wonderful. When Anna and Ben are having a good spell, their clothes (and in some cases, lack of) reflect that.  She took on a lot and it paid off.

She and Polly are one of the most believable couples I've seen in a film in quite some time. Their fights were relatable and every married person, myself included has had a few. Listening to them sing it out was fun, and a little heartbreaking one you finally hit that emotional rock bottom you know is coming. 

I've had a few people recommend the show Life in Pieces to me, which Lister-Jones stars in (and a few of her costars such as Colin Hanks makes cameos here) after seeing everything she brought to the table here, I think I may finally check it out. 

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "I just like to sit on a toilet and let my butt hole be free. Makes me more productive." - Ben (Adam Polly)

Thursday Movie Picks: A Siege

Hold steady, this week at Wandering Through the Shelves we're talking about sieges! There's a lot to choose from this week, but my mind went straight to franchises. I'm sure everyone has seen these.

1) Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The siege of Helm's Deep is the gold standard of cinematic sieges, in my opinion. I loved watching this in theaters, it was so exhilarating and I felt the same way watching it at home. 

2) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

While it felt a bit more powerful in the book, the attack on Hogwarts is the most intense thing to happen in the Harry Potter books. There was so much going on, and we lost so many characters we loved.

3) Prince Caspian

The Chronicles of Narnia sequels didn't exactly soar at the box office, but I still really liked Prince Caspian. The siege in this film was focused more on Peter fighting Miraz, but it was a good scene over all. I got the feeling from the actor's commentary that it was their favorite to shoot as well.

Strange Things You Associate With Certain Films

You know what I'm talking about. You're watching a movie but because of something that happened during or around the time you watched it, you associate it with something else. Maybe it's a romantic comedy, yet all you can think of is a loud fight your neighbors were having. Maybe it's a horror film, but you think of a nice phone call you got from your grandma during it. Maybe they're so random you just never say them out loud.

Until now. Tell me the weirdest thing a movie reminds you of. I'll share a few of mine below

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America - Tornadoes

It was summer. I was 10 or 11 years old and home alone watching this on TV. Our TV room was in our basement and I had the volume up so high that I didn't notice the blaring tornado sirens that were going off outside. Not until my neighbor ran into my house to get me. I'll never forget stepping outside, looking down my street, and seeing a big ass tornado floating above the sky only a few blocks away. It never touched down, thankfully. But that's what I think of when I think of this movie now. 

Jaws 2 - Cabbage Patch Dolls

I had a Cabbage Patch Doll I inherited from my older sister, but it was never truly ~mine~ I remember watching this with her when my mom came downstairs and presented me with my very first Cabbage Patch doll that I could actually call my own. Her name was Glenda and you could crimp and curl her hair. What I question most about this memory now is if I was still young enough to want a doll, why the hell was I watching Jaws 2?

War of the Worlds - Flooding

After seeing this in theaters with a group of friends, it was raining so heavily when we got out that one of the roads by the theater was covered with water. I drove through with no problem. So did the group in the second car. The third car? Nope. Got stuck right in the middle and we all had to get out and push this car out of shin high water all while cracking jokes of the impending alien invasion. 

The Last Samurai - A tangled mess 
Not my actual photo, but pretty damn similar

If you've ever worked in a movie theater, you were probably familiar with the possibility of having the film "wrap" around the projector. Or dropping an already put together movie (you use clamps to hold it together) to move it from one projector to another. If I remember correctly, a second of footage is about a foot long. So you can imagine how massive The Last Samurai was at two and a half hours. Our copy wrapped and the projectionist at the time decided to move the film from one platter to another, but the clamps he used to secure it didn't secure properly and he dropped it. I got to help him put it back together. If you thought watching that movie was long, imaging unraveling and splicing it back together. I cringe just thinking of that film now. 

Kung Fu Hustle - That time I almost left my future husband before our relationship even started

Man, Kung Fu Hustle is something. Back then, I didn't have the appreciation for bad movies that I do now. So when my first date with the man I would eventually marry was to this, I seriously questioned bailing. It's funny to think about now. Especially when he had tried to justify it with "You really need to see Shaolin Soccer." 

The Passion of the Christ - Sno-caps
My theater was not prepared for this movie. Not only did we end up selling out every showing for weeks but we ran out of every single concession we offered except Sprite, Coke, and Sno-caps. Nobody likes Sno-caps. Although really, with the amount of people that ran out of the theater screaming and crying because of the violence, I don't know why the fuck they thought they wanted refreshments during it. 

Indie Gems: You Were Never Really Here

It's not a dream

Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) is a veteran of the Gulf War who makes his living now as a hitman. He's traumatized not only from the war but from past experiences. He takes care of his elderly mother and wanders from job to job in an almost dream like haze. When he's tasked with finding the young daughter (Ekaterina Samsonov) of a senator that hasn't returned home, things escalate. 

I was a huge fan of director Lynne Ramsay's last film, We Need To Talk About Kevin and I've been looking forward to this ever since it was a huge hit at Cannes. Since it never came near me in theaters, I had to wait for the DVD, but it was certainly worth that long wait.

The film is very dreamlike. Despite being centered around violence Ramsay doesn't show a lot of it. Most of the time the scene cuts to the aftermath of Joe's jobs and it works. It makes this more than just another hired gun film.

Phoenix is phenomenal. I'm hoping Oscar voters don't forget this because he'd surely get a nomination had this had a fall release date. He's so good that unfortunately the rest of the cast doesn't make nearly as good of an impression. He outshone them all.

My biggest complaint is that this film went by so quickly. At 1 hour 29 minutes it completely flew, and I wanted to spend a little more time with Joe. 

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "Joe, wake up. It's a beautiful day." - Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov)

Thursday Movie Picks: Body Switch

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is about switching bodies and of course I already used Freaky Friday this year. Your girl struggled this week. This was hard for me. I know I'm stretching this a bit but here's what I came up with. 

1) In Your Eyes

I really like this indie gem. It's about two people on opposite sides of the U.S who all of a sudden have a telekinetic connection and can see through each other's eyes. That counts as a body switch...right? 

2) Get Out

One of my favorites from last year. When Chris finds out exactly what Rose's father wants to do - put someone else's brain in his body, he takes Get Out into full horror movie mode. 

3) In Her Skin

Now this is a total cheat, but Caroline literally wants to be Rachel. If she could body swap, she would. This movie was based on a true story in Australia that I wasn't familiar with beforehand but it has one of the most horrifyingly realistic murder scenes I've ever watched. 

Indie Gems: Permanent

Middle school is hell. 

Aurelie (Kira McLean) is about to attend a new school and wants to get a perm. Her parents, Jeanne (Patricia Arquette) and Jim (Rainn Wilson) are tight on cash so she goes to a hair school and it goes horribly wrong. On top of Jim fretting about med school and Jeanne being kind of a spaz, Aurelie is at an awkward spot in life.

Whenever I rent an independent film from Netflix, I always make sure to watch the trailers. They usually have something that never got on my radar and Permanent is one of those films. 

The best way to describe it is "cute." It's nothing mind blowing. It falls victim to one of the most annoying tropes out there - over the top bullying - but McLean, Arquette and Wilson have wonderful chemistry and watching their family antics was a decent way to spend the evening.

I don't think you need to rush out to see this, but if it ever streams on Netflix or another platform, give it a go. 

Grade: C+

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "If you try to please all the dipshits of the world you'll be in an elevator going straight down." - Jim (Rainn Wilson)

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: Spies

It's another TV edition at Wandering Through the Shelves and this week we're talking about spies. There's a decent amount of shows that are specifically about spies, but I wanted to think a little outside the box this week.

1) 13 Reasons Why

Tony was a semi-spy, watching Clay and making sure he listened to all of Hannah's tapes. Sure, he wasn't reporting to anyone but his creeper game was pretty strong. This series, though it dragged a bit was really good and was there for me during a really tough time. I'll always have a soft spot for it. 

2) Waco

This excellent mini series that aired earlier this year had a spy in Jacob Vazquez, an agent sent as a plant to get a look inside a cult. Of course, no one listened to him and well...you know what happened.

3) Agent Carter

Now for a show where spies were a focal point. I absolutely loved Agent Carter and I cannot believe ABC cancelled it. Seriously? With all the other trash they air? This show was awesome. 

Review: Sorry To Bother You

Did I catch you at a bad time?

Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is hard up for money and starts a new job as a telemarketer. Alongside his girlfriend Detroit, (Tessa Thompson) his friend Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) and their coworker Squeeze (Steven Yeun) they attempt to make a stand for more pay, but Cassius learns the secret of being a good salesman and ends up rising to heights he never thought possible.

This review is going to be spoiler free. The less you know before going into this, the better. I will say that it is an absolutely batshit ride. 

This movie landed on my radar long ago because of Steven Yeun, now that he's free from the dumpster fire that The Walking Dead has become. Back then, I wasn't really sure what this film was going to be about. This is one of the most original films I've seen all year. It's a comedy, social commentary and horror movie all put in one. Part of it almost plays like an episode of South Park. 

Stanfield is a wonderful lead. I liked that even though Cassius goes against his friends' wishes at various points throughout the film, there wasn't a dramatic fight or over the top tension like some films would tend to go. Everything is very mellow. The cast has wonderful chemistry together. There's plenty of things in here that anyone who has ever worked in a call center would appreciate. This film is also extraordinary in that I didn't think Armie Hammer was terrible. I'm not sure that's ever happened before. 

I wish I could say more about the plot, but you really need to see this. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable quote: "Fuck you, pay me!" - Salvador (Jermaine Fowler)

Rambling TV: American Crime Story - The Assassination of Gianni Versace

It took me way to long to watch the first season of American Crime Story. It was damn near perfect in covering the OJ Simpson trial. So I knew I had to watch season two right away. 

Season two follows serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) as he kills world famous fashion designer Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramirez) and three others. Versace's name may be in the title, but this is really Andrew's show. The way he probably would've wanted it.

I don't think I'm going to be able to see Criss as anything other than Cunanan again. He officially has one of the most punchable faces on the planet after this. He's just good. So is Ramirez. Penelope Cruz, who got a lot of hype playing Donatella Versace was surprisingly one of the weaker acting links, which I never would've expected.

Unfortunately unlike season one, the way they told the story didn't work for me. The first episode was Versace's murder, which I think was the right thing to do, the second episode followed the aftermath, another great choice. Then they started to get into the "why" of Cunanon's psyche..and they tell his story ass backwards. I hated this gimmick, because it made the middle episodes slightly confusing. There was a time when I went to my DVR to start one and I actually questioned whether or not I had seen that particular one already because they replayed scenes from the week before. I think they would've been better off starting with the beginning of Andrew in episode 3, and building up to where he got with Versace. Showing his murders backwards didn't help the narrative. 

Production wise, this show is gorgeous. It's bright, well edited, and so sharp. The acting as I said was wonderful, I just wish the episode order had been changed.

Did you watch season two? What did you think?

Thursday Movie Picks: Bad Parents

I think we've all been there with this week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves - bad parents. When you're a kid at some point you've probably thought your parents were the worst. But do they have anything on the parents in these three films?

1) Matilda

As soon as I read this topic, Matilda instantly came to mind. Her parents were so shitty that she some how got telekinesis as a coping skill? How else do you explain that? I really like this film, even though it made me not eat chocolate cake for years. 

2) Mommie Dearest

This film is so over the top and always good for a laugh, but I forever hate the Razzies for nominating Mara Hobel for Worst Supporting Actress. She was a kid, and she wasn't that bad. Fuck them. Back on topic, according to this Joan Crawford was a shitty mother. 

3) Happiness

I caught this on TV again recently and it really is one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen. While the other parents on this list yell and hit, Dylan Baker's father takes all of that to another level and ends up being one of the grossest characters in the history of cinema. He really took a risk with this role. 

2018 Blind Spot Series: A Streetcar Named Desire

What I knew going in: Nothing, really. 

Blanche (Vivien Leigh) travels to New Orleans to visit her sister Stella (Kim Hunter) after her property is seized. It's clear she's stressed and accustomed to living a certain way. Stella's husband Stanley (Marlon Brando) only seems to make things worse during her stay. 

This was another pick that I went off mostly by title. I've never seen nor read the Tennessee Williams play this is based on, so it was all new to me. The heaviness of it surprised me. I feel like the majority of classic films I've seen don't have the emotional weight that more films nowadays do. 

The actors are outstanding, especially Vivien Leigh who absolutely steals the show here. I think Blanche is written very sympathetically. At first glance, she could seem stuck up and naive but all I wanted was for good things to happen to her throughout. It made me wish someone would've just sat down and had an actual conversation with her. Brando's Stanley was a massive asshole and he played him perfectly. 

I kind of wish this film had been in color. The sets looked so beautiful on their own that I think this would've really complimented it. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable quote: "I don't want realism, I want magic!" - Blanche (Vivien Leigh)

Rambling TV: The End of the F***ing World

Speaking for myself, sometimes I find Netflix's tv options a bit overwhelming. There's just so many things to pick from and some look like trash. Thankfully every now and again you'll find a gem of a show, and that's what I found in The End of the F***ing World.

Based on a graphic novel that I have not read, this 8 episode series is a quick watch. (Seriously, the episodes are around 25 minutes each) and it follows two teenagers, James (Alex Lawther) who is pretty sure he's a psychopath. And a new girl at school Alyssa (Jessica Barden) who talks him into going on a road trip with her to find her real father. 

What caught my eye were the two leads. Lawther was tremendous in an episode of Black Mirror (Shut Up And Dance) and Barden I recognized from the wonderful Hanna.  Since it was so short, I ended up watching the entire season in one night. They were excellent. 

The show is very different. It's mostly a dark comedy. Some pretty awful things happen, but the mood is kept fairly light due to the laid back nature of our leads. I'm a sucker for narration in stories and this is one that gets multiple narrations right.

I don't know if this will get a second season. With the leads already being in their early 20's I'm not sure if this is something they could do long term, but I'd definitely watch a season two if they made it.

Did you see this? What did you think?

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)

Thursday Movie Picks: Long Awaited Sequels

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is a long time coming... Long awaited sequels! I used The Force Awakens in an earlier pick, even though it would've fit here perfectly. Since I can't go with one of my favorite franchises, here's three other sequels I enjoy

1) Blade Runner 2049

It's ballsy as hell to do a sequel 35 years after the original which arguably wasn't that popular in the first place. But I liked 2049 far more than the original and it was beautifully shot. Roger Deakins is a gem.

2) Finding Dory

14 Years after Finding Nemo we finally get to find Dory. I actually like this one a bit more than the original. It was one of those films my son had to watch every day for three months straight and it didn't drive me insane. That's always a plus. 

3) Mad Max: Fury Road

This counts, right? There were a lot of Mad Max sequels but in my opinion, this one is the gold standard. I never expected to enjoy this film and it was wonderful.