Thursday Movie Picks: Private Eyes

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about those detectives that work on their own. I don't know about you, but this stumped me a bit. Every time I thought of a private eye movie I realized they didn't technically qualify as private. They were always part of a police force. This is what I came up with.

1) The Nice Guys

Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are a match made in private eye heaven. This movie was so much funnier than I expected it to be. It still gets quoted a lot in my house.

2) Harriet The Spy

I loved this movie when I was a kid and my friend and I used to pretend to be her and spy on our neighbors. Classy.

3) V/H/S/2

This is a cop out, but like I said. This was tough, but V/H/S/2 does start out with private detectives uncovering the tapes. One of the shorts in this film is really good and the rest range from meh to bad. But it was better than the first V/H/S

2019 Blind Spot Series: Enter The Dragon

What I knew going in: That there would be excellent fighting scenes. 

Growing up, I had family members in Karate, I would play Mortal Combat with friends on their Nintendos. I would watch movies like 3 Ninjas, Karate Kid and anything with Jackie Chan, but of course I didn't see a damn thing with the famed Bruce Lee. I'm not sure how that was possible. I even saw The Crow with his son but yet I had seen nothing but clips of Lee's work. Now here I am in my 30's trying to make up for that oversight.

Enter The Dragon is actually kind of a mess. It's not only about Lee (Bruce Lee), who plays a secret agent infiltrating a crime lord Han's ( Kien Shih) tournament. His henchmen are also responsible for the death of Lee's sister. But it also features two Americans, Roper (John Saxon) and Williams (Jim Kelly) who are also there dealing with their own things.

It's a bit distracting, but I was drawn to Williams, not only because Kelly is insanely hot but he was escaping racist cops so I was immediately on his side..and he's the first to die of the bunch. It just had weird pacing and I found myself getting annoyed whenever Roper was on screen because I didn't care for him the way I did Lee and Williams. Lee's character weirdly gets treated like an afterthought at times despite this being his movie. 

The martial arts however was fantastic and did not disappoint. Lee is a joy to watch. Over all, I was expecting this to be a bit faster pace but I still had a good time watching it. I think my expectations were just slightly too high.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "A board can't hit back." - Lee (Bruce Lee)

Indie Gems: Other People

I thought this happened to other people. 

David (Jesse Plemmons) is a writer living in New York who flies home to Sacramento to be with his dying mother, Joanne (Molly Shannon) as she quits chemo. His relationship with his family is strained since he came out 10 years prior and they did not take it well, especially his father. (Bradley Whitford) Now the current situation forces everyone to rethink what family means to them.

This fell into my Netflix black hole after reading Jay's review on Assholes Watching Movies and while I thought it sounded like something I'd like, I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. What I've found during this Netflix clean out is I tend to drift towards my cell phone while watching some of these films, I never did once here.

Cancer dramas can be very cliche, but writer/director Chris Kelly (Who apparently wrote this based off his own experiences) litters his film with genuine humor and skips all the platitudes. David and Joanne, as our main focus feel like mother and son. You can tell just by listening to Joanne where David gets his knack for comedy from, even though he's at a point in his life where he's not successful. 

Molly Shannon is absolutely amazing here. For me, when I see her I think of Superstar, even though I know she's done a ton of more dramatic work since then. I didn't get a single second of Mary Katherine Gallagher here. I stayed strong with her at the beginning and wept for her at the end. Plemmons also puts in great work. David isn't the most likable character, but he's never so bad to where I don't care about him. All of this is just happening at the worst possible time.

If you need a film to amuse you for a while, then make you cry it all out at the end. (or maybe I'm a wuss and you'll power through it) This one is for you.

Grade: A-

Watched on: Netflix

Memorable quote: "When you miss me, come visit your sisters." - Joanne (Molly Shannon)

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies You Thought You'd Hate, But Ended Up Enjoying

This week Wanderer was kind enough to take one of my suggestions. We've all been there, right? Gone into a movie with the lowest of low expectations and them come out pleasantly surprised? Or in some cases loving what you saw? That's what we're talking about this week. Here are some films that surpassed my expectations. 

1) Nebraska

I put off seeing this until the very last second the year it was nominated for an Oscar because what would a black and white film set in the Midwest have that could possibly interest me? Turns out a decent amount. This was far better than I expected.

2) Aquaman

I wasn't a fan of the character, I wasn't a fan of Momoa, and The DCEU's track record sucks, but I had a ton of fun watching this. It surpassed every expectation I had. 

3) Red Eye

I remember the night I saw this very clearly. I worked at a movie theater, and we were opening this and The 40 Year Old Virgin. We stayed after work the night before, and everyone wanted to watch the latter, but our boss was like "Come on, this is like 90 minutes, we can watch both." And we did, and this ended up being amazing for what it was. 

What Movie Sparked Your Love for Cinema?

I saw this question on Twitter as part of a "get to know me" game and when I tried to think of the answer for myself, what I came up with kind of surprised me.

I've mentioned before that working at a movie theater as a teenager is what broadened my horizon for films, but what was the movie that got me to look at cinema beyond the comedic and horror films that I normally stuck with?

At first I thought of American Beauty. It's my all time favorite movie which I saw for the first time at age 13. While it's very important to me because it was the first time I considered dysfunctional families and stopped feeling alone about it, I never really got into anything like it until years later. 

I thought of all the Shirley Temple movies I would record off of AMC when I was little just so I could watch her tap. I loved those too, but I never watched other classic films. 

I loved big franchises like Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter, but back then I was just enjoying the ride and not thinking about the process. At least not right away. 

Weirdly enough, I think the movie that changed cinema for me was a small, tough to watch indie called Mysterious Skin. You see, when I worked at that theater we'd get magazines showing all the upcoming films. And because I lived in a small town it means we rarely, almost never got independent films. When I read about Mysterious Skin, it intrigued me. And it starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who I was familiar with. 

The funny thing about this is that there was a decent amount of time between me learning about the film and it actually coming out on DVD to rent. But just reading about it changed something. I remember finding IMDb, getting recommendations, saving titles, learning about the Sundance Film Festival and going on a movie watching spree. When I'd actually see it in the fall of 2005, it was heavy. It deals with child abuse and plenty of things that make me uncomfortable to think about but I was in awe of how well it was made and how good JGL was in it. How director Gregg Araki shot around those uncomfortable scenes made me appreciate the film making aspect that I had rarely considered before. All I had to compare it to at the time were those shitty Lifetime movies my mom would try to scare me with. This was in another league. 

That same fall, my boyfriend and I drove to the nearest big city and spent a few days doing nothing but watching all the movies in theaters that our local one would never get. We ended up seeing a lot of the eventual Oscar nominees for that year, and that started my tradition of religiously watching it. 

Because of Mysterious Skin, I looked for more independent films. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stopped being the kid from 3rd Rock and 10 Things and became my favorite actor. Because of Mysterious Skin, I'd look up Brady Corbet's filmography and find Thirteen, a film that remains in my Top 5 today. That led to me seeing Evan Rachel Wood, and her becoming one of my favorite actresses too.  It's probably because of Mysterious Skin that I tend to gravitate towards all this dark and dysfunctional story telling. (Actually, maybe I can blame that one on American Beauty. Or all those slashers my parents somehow allowed me to watch.) 

Regardless, while I always liked watching movies, I don't think I truly loved everything about them until I was 18, reading that theater magazine in between stringing up projectors and having an obscure title catch my eye. 

What movie did that for you? 

Also thank you for making it to the end of this rambling. 

Review: Captain Marvel

What makes her a hero.

Vers (Brie Larson) is a Kree warrior whose life is dedicated to fighting Skrulls. She has no memories of anything else. During a mission, she is captured by a Skrull named Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) who unearths fragments buried deep in her subconscience. After she escapes, she crash lands on Planet C-53 also known as Earth, and meets up with a young S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to fight the infiltrating Skrulls and figure out her past.

After all this time, finally Marvel has given us a female led super hero movie and if you've spent any considerable amount of time on the internet, you know incels are pissed about it. So every time this movie flat out showed a man trying to talk down to a woman, harass a woman, or expected to be owed something from her, I smiled, because I knew somewhere there was a man-baby getting all bent out of shape about it.

Shitty people aside, Captain Marvel was a blast. It gets off to a rough start with a dark battle and mostly uninteresting characters but as soon as Vers lands on Earth and meets up with Nick Fury, this movie comes alive. I didn't realize how much I missed consistently seeing Fury in these movies. Jackson has excellent chemistry with Larson and Vers and Fury together are very similar personality wise. The heart of the story is when Vers finds out she is Carol Danvers and meets up with her old friend, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch)

I liked how they tied things together with the other MCU movies. We see a few familiar faces from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and our favorite traveling infinity stone also makes another appearance. I think Carol is going to fit in nicely with the other Avengers too. I especially want her to have scenes with Wanda because she's my current favorite.

If there was one thing I was worried about when Captain Marvel was announced, it was how they handle her power. She's been hyped as the most powerful being in the universe so I was afraid they would introduce her as this deus ex machina and that she would run over all the other Avengers. But, I should've just trusted The Russos. Even though they had nothing to do with this movie, they seem to be taking those fears seriously and they have proven to write weaknesses in the already OP characters like Thor, Scarlet Witch, and Hulk. 

Another aside, what they do with the Marvel logo at the beginning of this film might make you cry.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "Your ass." - Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) simultaneously 

Indie Gems: The Incredible Jessica James

I'm dope.

Jessica (Jessica Williams) is an aspiring playwright  who still pines for her ex-boyfriend. (Lakeith Stanfield) Her friend, Tasha (Noel Wells) sets her up with an acquaintance, Boone (Chris O'Dowd) who is also fresh out of a relationship and they strike up a friendship.

I have no excuse for how long it took me to watch this film. I think Jessica Williams and Chris O'Dowd are hilarious, and this got great reviews when it came out. It just fell into the Netflix black hole. I'm happy to say this did not disappoint.

If you're familiar with Williams from her stint on The Daily Show, her humor is all over this. I'm guessing she was given a lot of leeway to improvise and it all works in her favor. Same with O'Dowd, only he can sell himself with "Also, I'm good at cunnilingus" so nonchalantly. 

There's not a lot in terms of plot here but that's okay. Jessica is interesting and it was so easy to root for her throughout. I liked how they handled all of her relationships too, between her and Boone, Tasha, Damon, and everyone else around her. It felt very organic and funny. I really wish I would've seen this sooner, because it's something I can easily see myself watching again and again.

Grade: A

Watched on: Netflix

Memorable Quote: " probably I mean she's good with dick." - Boone (Chris O'Dowd)

Thursday Movie Picks: The Cold War

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves are movies that take place during the Cold War. I quickly realized that I don't have a lot of films I like with this theme, or even ones that I've seen. I'm sure I'll be kicking myself for not thinking of several movies once I read everyone else's but for now I'm stuck. Here are some Cold War movies that are on my watch list that I haven't gotten to yet. 

1) Charlie Wilson's War

Julia Roberts initially put me off from seeing this, which is crazy because it stars Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman and they are two of my favorite actors. 

2) Good Night and Good Luck

Another one that has been in my Netflix queue for ages. I've seen parts of this movie just never in one sitting. Admittedly, I was bored with what I saw, but I'd like to give this film a fair shot eventually.

3) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

I have no desire to see this to be honest but my husband really liked it so I feel I should watch it for him. 

Review: Greta

I'll be right back!

Frankie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a young woman in NYC who finds a lost purse on the subway. She returns it to its owner, Greta (Isabelle Huppert) and the two form a friendship. Frankie's roommate Erica (Maika Monroe) points out how strange the relationship is and soon after Frankie finds a bunch of fake purses and realizes this friendship isn't an innocent as it seems, and Greta is not going to let her go so easily.

If you're looking at this movie from a camp perspective, it's great. You get to watch Isabelle Huppert play piano, dance around, drug people and act crazy. That alone is worth the price of admission. But if you're going in looking for a serious thriller you're going to be disappointed because all the characters here are remarkably stupid. The plot needs them to be. It's mostly easy to ignore until the final 15 minutes or so.

Huppert is great, Moretz acting wise was good too but I think she was slightly miscast in the fact that physically, she looks like she could hold off Huppert if she wanted to. While I can buy the meek attitude the movie goes to great lengths to get around that fact. They also ask you to believe that the NYPD are pretty incompetent, and that even though a woman could be arrested for an altercation with a victim in front of many people that could identify her, that they would still need to hire a private investigator to find her, and that the police wouldn't immediately go to her door. It's The Walking Dead level plot devices. 

It's dumb fun, go into this movie looking for dumb fun and you'll enjoy it. 

Recommended: Yes (for that reason)

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "You've practically adopted this woman." - Eric (Maika Monroe)

Review: If Beale Street Could Talk

Unbow your head, sister.

Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) have been best friends since they were children, and are now a loving couple looking to move forward in their lives together. The Fonny gets arrested for something he didn't do, and Tish finds herself pregnant and trying her hardest to get Fonny out of prison. Their love for each other and their baby on the way remains strong, but there's no faith in the "justice system."

This has been one of my most anticipated movies of the year and my theater JUST opened it this weekend. Luckily it was worth the wait. If Beale Street Could Talk is a stunningly beautiful film from the way it's shot, to the lovely score, to the actors who really feel like a family on screen. 

Layne and James have excellent chemistry together. The supporting player are also very strong, particularly Tish's family. Her mother, Sharon (Regina King) her father, Joseph, (Coleman Domingo) and her sister Ernestine. (Teyonah Parris) They are an excellent family unite and Ernestine provides some much needed comic relief. I loved the fact that she was making "No one would fuck you" jokes at Fonny's sisters because that is probably the immature shit I would do in her place. 

This movie is very bleak, but there's so much love between all of the characters that it doesn't turn this into one big misery tour. They're being strong, so the audience stays strong along with them. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "I'm hip." - Frank Hunt (Michael Beach)

Review: Fighting With My Family

It was my dream too.

Saraya (Florence Pugh) and Zak Knight(Jack Lowden) are amateur wrestlers in Norwich, England. Their parents (Nick Frost and Lena Headey) are wrestlers too and when Saraya and Zak get the opportunity to try out for the WWE, Saraya makes the cut as Paige and goes on to become the youngest ever Diva's Champion.

I've been watching wrestling on and off my entire life. Most recently, however feels like the longest spell I've gone without watching it week to week. I still try to read my favorite wrestling blogs to keep up with everything, but truthfully I haven't watched consistently since 2016 or so. Paige does have an interesting story and Florence Pugh has been on a roll lately with everything she touches, so when my theater opened this, I knew I had to see it.

Though plenty of liberties and changes were made, I loved how this film captured what life is like in WWE's developmental territory. Just seeing the work outs and how things go in the ring and on the indie circuit was a joy and made me miss going to live shows. Unfortunately a lot of theatrical cliches come along with all this authenticity. Your musical work out montages, family drama, mean girl drama, Paige changing her look to try to fit in, only to switch it back to being herself.  Those bits bring the film down and had I not been a fan of wrestling beforehand, this may have been a deal breaker for me.

The actors are all fantastic, especially Pugh and Lowden. Their sibling rivalry feels natural. Unfortunately it's only the Knight family that gets real development. Her coaches and fellow wrestlers in NXT do not get anything close to it. 

If you're a wrestling fan, I definitely recommend checking this out, and if you're just looking for something feel good, this should work for you too.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B- 

Memorable Quote: "What are you dickheads after?" - Young Saraya (Tori Ellen Ross)

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: Book to Show Adaptations

This week's TV theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is all about the written word making it to the small screen. There's plenty of examples out there and it was easy to pick my top three. 

1) Game of Thrones

This is one of my all time favorite shows and I'll be so sad to see it end this year. It's not always perfect when it comes to adapting from the books, but some of the most exceptional hours of TV have been from this show.

2) Sharp Objects

I love Gillian Flynn's books and putting this one in mini series form was perfect. The entire cast was wonderful and I thought the slight changes they made were all for the better.

3) The Handmaid's Tale

Now this one I actually like better than the book. The book left me wanting a lot more whereas the show expands on every loose end Margaret Atwood left behind. 

The Mount Rushmore of Thorgasms

For the fourth year, M. Brown over at Two Dollar Cinema is back with his Mt. Rushmore of movies blogathon! If you're not already reading his blog, then you are clearly failing at life and need to get to it as it's one of the funniest things on the internet. The rules are below

1)I'd like to have all posts done by Friday, March 1st (where I'll create a master list, linking back to all of your lovely sites), but it's cool if you're an overachiever and finish early. Or not at all.

2)When you've finished, send me a heads up/dick pic on twitter @twodollarcinema , reply in the comments below, e-mail me (, make circles out of black smoke that Amy Adams will decode, Hell, cut a note out of old newspaper headlines, I really don't mind. Just let me know that you're in and that I love you so much. 

3)In your post, please use the rad banner my wife designed in eleven minutes.

4)Share the announcement, if possible. I don't really know anyone, uh, except you. 

5)I just want to tell you both good luck, we're all counting you.

Now, when I set out to write this post, I was going to be 100% serious. Then that idea snowballed into something super long so I'll just save it for another day. While brainstorming I read Sati's Best Of 2018 post and was reminded of watching Infinity War in theaters, and experiencing a Thorgasm.

What is a Thorgasm you say? Well it's how your body reacts to the God of Thunder looking like a god damn snack on the big screen. Yes, I went with another Marvel theme, but I can't help it. Thor just *does* things to me now. So behold, the Mt. Rushmore of Thorgasms.

Thor arrives in Wakanda
Bring me Thanos? Bring me a towel.

Thor powers up while The Immigrant Song plays.
Ah ah-Iiiiiiiiiii came.

Thor loses his shirt in Hulk's apartment
Hulk's always angry? I'm always drooling.

Thor goes for a dip in Age of Ultron
There are no strings on Ultron, and there are no panties on anyone watching.

Review: How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

It's time to let go.

One year after the events of the last film, Chief Hiccup (Jay Burachel) finds Berk overrun with dragons and a hefty target painted on their backs because of it. When a man named Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) tries to hunt down Toothless, Hiccup makes the decision to try to find the hidden world were dragons can be safe from the humans who still wish to destroy them. 

I never expected myself to adore an animated franchise so much at this point, but HTTYD drew me in right away with its beautiful score, which is still going strong its 3rd time around. The animation as always looks wonderful and they've continued to gracefully age the characters well. And it's those characters that keep bringing all of us, young and old back to see how their story progresses. What I've always appreciated about these films was the consistent development Hiccup, Astrid (America Fererra) and the gang have gotten throughout their journey and this is a great way to end it.

I was concerned when watching the trailers that this villain was going to be pretty similar to Drago in the second film so I was surprised when that wasn't the case. Sure, they hunt dragons but Grimmel's intentions are very different and because of that we avoid that rehash. If there is one fault this film has, it's that it actually focuses on Toothless and his new love interest a bit too much and less on the core gang we've been following. I can see why children will love this, it's full of comic relief, but I wanted a bit more on that front.

So many animated trilogies don't really end, but director Dean DeBlois wanted this one to be final and it ends on a very compassionate note. It will be sad not to see Hiccup and Astrid again, but what a beautiful way to go out. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Toothless didn't give you that." - Astrid (America Fererra) 

2019 Academy Award Winners

We made it. You know, this ceremony started off promising then Infinity War lost and it all went (almost) downhill from there. Jesus. I'm glad it's over. I went  17/24 with my picks. Some of those I was happy to get wrong, others less so. The winners are in green. 

Best Picture
Black Panther
A Star Is Born 
The Favourite
Bohemian Rhapsody
Green Book
I'm surprised it wasn't Rohemian Rhapsody after the way this night went but still...fuck yooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuu

Best Actress
Glenn Close: The Wife
Lady Gaga: A Star Is Born
Yalitza Aparicio: Roma
Olivia Colman: The Favourite
Melissa McCarthy: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
YES Oh my God I screamed so loudly when this happened. I had screamed about a lot of things tonight but this one was special. I'm so happy she won.

Best Actor
Christian Bale: Vice
Bradley Cooper: A Star Is Born
Viggo Mortensen: Green Book”
Willem Dafoe: At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek: Bohemian Rhapsody
Thanks, I hate it. 

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams: Vice
Marina de Tavira: Roma
Regina King: If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone: The Favourite
Rachel Weisz: The Favourite
I am so happy I got to see this yesterday so I could fully enjoy her win. Regina gave a beautiful speech and Chris Evans' fine ass helping her up the stairs was the icing on the cake.

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali: The Green Book
Adam Driver: BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott: A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell: Vice
I'm going to pretend this is for True Detective, in which he is killing it in this season.

Best Director
Spike Lee: BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski: Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimo: The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón: Roma
Adam McKay: Vice
BORING. Every one of these films was far more interesting and better directed than Roma.

 Best Original Screenplay
"First Reformed”
“Green Book”
“The Favourite”
The least original of the nominees won. What is this? The highlight was the look on presenters Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson's faces when they had to announce this. Both looked like they were in pain.

Best Adapted Screenplay

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” 
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” 
“If Beale Street Could Talk” 
“A Star Is Born” 
Unlike Green Book this one deserved to win and Spike Lee ended his speech by telling us to do the right thing, which was perfect. Plus look at that hug between him and Jackson awwwwwwwwwwww.

Best Animated Film
“Incredibles 2” 
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
“Isle Of Dogs”

Best Cinematography
“Cold War”
“The Favourite”
“Never Look Away”
“A Star Is Born” 
The only thing about Roma that I liked was the cinematography so I don't *hate* this, I just think The Favourite and Cold War looked better. 

Best Visual Effects
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Christopher Robin”
“First Man”
“Ready Player One”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story”
This was the turning point of the night for me. I was in an excellent mood until Infinity War lost. This was such a "throw you a bone" award to First Man since it lost out on the Sound categories. I'm sorry, but you can't tell me any of these visual effects are better than what was in Avengers. These old ass academy voters need to get off their high horses about voting for super hero movies. May they all step on a thousand Thanos shaped legos. 

Best Foreign Language Film
“Cold War” 
“Never Look Away”

Best Documentary Feature
“Free Solo” 
“Minding The Gap” 
“Of Fathers and Sons” 
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
I guessed this one right, but I haven't seen it. I only saw RGB.

Best Documentary Short Subject

“Black Sheep”
“End Game”
“A Night at the Garden”
“Period. End of Sentence.”
I thought Lifeboat was going to win but I'm so happy for this. This was a worthy winner and "I can't believe a movie about menstruation just won an Oscar" was the quote of the night. 

Best Costume Design
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
“Black Panther”
“The Favourite”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Mary Queen of Scots”
I've been saying this should win since last February so to see it happen is just amazing. 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Mary Queen of Scots”
At least Vice won something.

 Best Film Editing
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“Green Book”
“The Favourite”

Best Sound Mixing
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Star Is Born”

Best Production Design:

“Black Panther”
“First Man” 
“The Favourite” 
“Mary Poppins Returns” 
This one surprised me but I'm so happy. 

Best Sound Editing

“A Quiet Place”
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”

Best Animated Short Film
“Animal Behaviour”
“Late Afternoon”
“One Small Step”
This was a given.

Best Live Action Short Film
The skinhead movie winning was kind of surprising, I thought Marguerite would. It was the least depressing out of an entire category of depressing shorts.

Best Original Score
“Black Panther”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
I thought Beale Street was gonig to win this but I'm happy for Black Panther. That score is amazing.

Best Original Song:
"All The Stars" - "Black Panther"
"I'll Fight" - "RBG"
"Shallow" - "A Star Is Born
"The Place Where Lost Things Go" - "Mary Poppins Returns"
"When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings" - The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
I'm salty as hell that All The Stars wasn't performed but I love that Gaga got behind the piano for this. She's a hell of an artist. 

Review: Cold War

Love has no borders.

Spanning over several years and four countries, a composer Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) falls in love with one of his singers at a music school he works for, Zula. (Joanna Kulig) They are both perfect for, and the worst thing for each other. A constant push and pull, and Wiktor wanting them to escape communist Poland doesn't make things easier on them.

Cold War kind of came out of nowhere on Oscar morning, didn't it? While a Best Foreign Film nomination was expected landing in the Director and Cinematography categories was not and after watching the film I can see why it was given those honors. 

Music plays a ubiquitous part in Cold War. Joanna Kulig has an amazing voice and I'm glad we got to hear so much of it. I also enjoyed watching the dance numbers the students were learning. It's smart to include these upbeat moments because the plot itself is very depressing. After watching Wiktor and Zula go through so much, you know there's no way this is is going to have a happy ending.

Surprisingly, I liked the black and white. I think that was a good choice here based on the tone, and the actors were wonderful in their parts. There was one thing in the final 15 minutes or so in the film that rubbed me the wrong way, and without spoilers I'm wondering if it's because I'm too sensitive of a parent? That took me out of the film slightly, but not enough to where I can't marvel at what I just saw. This is extremely well made. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Such a man is not born yet." - Zula (Joanna Kulig)

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies Starring Real Life Couples

This week's theme at Wandering Through The Shelves is movies that star real life couples at the time. Some of these couples are still going, others have been done for quite some time, but these are three of my favorite films that fit that bill.

1) A Quiet Place

John Krasinski and Emily Blunt play a couple here when they're together in real life as well. They have a lot of chemistry together, even though Blunt out acts him at every turn.

2) Ruby Sparks

Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan are another couple that are still going strong. She wrote this film, and they've since written other things together, including one of my recent favorites, Wildlife. I love this couple. 

3) Edward Scissorhands 

Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder were together while making this beautifully bizarre film. Now she's got her gig on Stranger Things and he's probably off on a bender somewhere. 

Quick Reviews: Oscar Nominated Short Films

So my dumb ass released her Oscar predictions on Sunday and like I always do, I ball parked the short nominees because I never get to see them. Turns out, nearly all of these are available to watch online, so here are my quick reviews. The film summaries are copied from IMDb. 

Documentary Shorts

Period. End of Sentence - "In a rural village outside Delhi, India, women lead a quiet revolution. They fight against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation."
Can you believe this was funded through a bake sale? I thought that was pretty extraordinary. This is available to watch on Netflix and I thought it was a very amusing and inspiring. Inspiring because these women are doing great things and amusing to see so many dudes be uncomfortable talking about periods. At one point someone compares a pad to an unattractive but competent man. A-

Black Sheep - "After the high-profile killing of Damilola Taylor, Cornelius' family move out of London. But when they discover their new town is run by racists, Cornelius takes a drastic step to survive."
You can watch this on The Guardian's website here. This is told with a single interview and reenactments which makes it feel a bit like something you'd find on cable, but it didn't make the story any less depressing. I just wasn't crazy about the execution, though I feel a lot for Cornelius. B-

End Game - "Filmed and edited in intimate vérité style, this movie follows visionary medical practitioners who are working on the cutting edge of life and death and are dedicated to changing our thinking about both."
This is also available to stream on Netflix. This is another one that is sad. It's hard to say goodbye to love ones and seeing them deteriorate. I just went through this recently with my Grandmother, so this was not an easy watch for me. It felt familiar, but I didn't feel like I learned anything new, which is what I always look for in documentaries. C+

A Night At the Garden -"In 1939, New York’s Madison Square Garden was host to an enormous––and shocking––gathering of 20,000 Americans that has largely been forgotten from our history."
This you can watch on PBS's website and it's only 7 minutes long. While I didn't know of this event before watching, I'm not shocked that 20,000 disgusting Nazis supporters all railed together. But...why is this Oscar nominated? It's archived footage with no commentary at all. We already know there's Nazis in America. Our president is currently empowering them. Why not expand on this with some thoughtful dialogue? This just felt unfinished. F

Lifeboat -"Volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts pushing off from Libya in the middle of the night."
This is on youtube. It's also who I predicted to win in my Oscar pool. I still standby it winning, it's a great doc. What these men do is nothing short of amazing. Watching these good human beings took the bad taste of Night of the Garden out of my mouth. A

Animated Shorts
(The other nominee, Bao, I had already seen as it was attached to Incredibles 2)

Animal Behaviour - "Five animals meet regularly to discuss their inner angst in a group therapy session led by Dr. Clement, a canine psychotherapist."
This one is also on Youtube. This was pretty funny. If you've seen an episode of Bojack Horseman, you've essentially seen this type of humor too. B-

Late Afternoon - "An elderly woman drifts back through her memories. She exists between two states, the past and the present"
Another Youtube find! I cried. What a gem this was. I really like this style of animation, it reminds me of Song of the Sea, which I adored. I preferred this to Bao. A

One Small Step - "Luna is a vibrant young Chinese-American girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut. From the day she witnesses a rocket launching into space on TV"
Hello, Youtube. Ahh this one made me cry too. The animation is lovely, but the story is just a teensy bit fucked up in a way. B+

Weekends - "'Weekends' is the story of a young boy shuffling between the homes of his recently divorced parents"
Also on youtube. The animation in this is awesome but I felt like the story dragged a bit. B-

Live Action Short

Fauve - "Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game with Mother Nature as the sole observer..."
Youtube. I found this kind of frustrating. You know going in something awful is going to happen as these two kids keep fucking around. It ends exactly the way you think it will. It is very well acted, however. C+

Marguerite - "An aging woman and her nurse develop a friendship that inspires her to unearth unacknowledged longing and thus help her make peace with her past."
I found this on Youtube as well, however you have to use Google's closed captions as there are no subtitles so I don't know how accurate the dialogue is. There are so few movies about older LGBTQ folks that this was a welcomed addition. It's still sad, considering it's about a woman at the end of her life, but it makes me feel something different other than the other sad shorts I watched. A

Madre - "While at home in her apartment with her own mother in Spain, a woman gets a phone call from her six-year-old son, who's on holiday in France with his father. Every parent's nightmare ensues."
After some confusion with another short film called Madre on HBO Go, I found this on youtube.   The English closed captions on this are definitely way off but the plot isn't lost on you because of that. From the little Spanish I do know I was able to follow along well enough, but I wish I had a bit more clarity in the dialogue itself. This is a very tense 15 minutes. B-

I couldn't find the other two nominees - Detainment or Skin online. Detainment has a few clips on Youtube and the child actors seem to be really good in it, but it's still kind of fucked up that this movie got sprung on James Bulger's parents like this. Skin, I could only find a trailer for. I know a full length film with Jamie Bell is coming out this year, so I didn't have as much to go off of as I did Detainment. I still stand by Marguerite winning the Live Action category.