Thursday Movie Picks: Actors in Multiple Roles

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is working overtime. It's all about actors in multiple roles. I feel like there are more bad movies with actors in multiple roles then good ones. Here's what I came up with.

1) Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Mike Myers plays a handful of roles in this objectively bad, yet hilarious film. I have no idea how this holds up but I laughed my ass off when I saw this in theaters. That dick joke at the end had my entire theater rolling. 

2) Suspira (2019)

The remake, aka Tilda Swinton's vanity project because why is she playing all these people?

3) Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Everyone in this film is playing everyone else. I enjoyed this, and I'm going to eventually watch more of their work. 

DVD Review: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

It's a passion project.

Toby (Adam Driver) is a very disillusioned director on set of his new film. He comes across a cobbler (Jonathon Pryce) who he cast as Don Quixote in his first film 10 years prior, but now that man really believes he's Don Quixote, and mistakes Toby for Sancho Panza. Now Toby goes on somewhat of a dreamlike journey with him.

Director Terry Gilliam has been trying to make this movie for 30 years. If you've seen any of Gilliam's previous works, you know you're in for something bizarre. But despite that, I actually enjoyed myself. 

I'm a simple person, I see Adam Driver, I watch. What's great about that is this movie is shot like like the director wanted to fuck Adam Driver. He spends the entire movie with an open shirt, in a few occasional almost sex scenes and the camera just LOVES him. It makes me wonder at what point in Gilliam's vision did he realize he needed this. 

Driver plays his incredulous character well and Jonathon Pryce is a riot. You can tell he's having a lot of fun in this role.  Stellan Skarsgard also shows up to be an asshole briefly and I can't argue that.

I think if you're in the mood for something weird one evening, or you dig Gilliam's films, you will probably enjoy this. As strange as it is, I never once found myself getting frustrated with it.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "What plot?" - Toby (Adam Driver)

Review: Toy Story 4

More nostalgia toys.

Several years after that perfect ending to this trilogy from my childhood we're back with the toys again. This time, their new child Molly is ignoring Woody (Tom Hanks) but still playing with everyone else. When he sneaks into her bookbag and goes to her first day of Kindergarten and watches her make Forky (Tony Hale) he becomes determined to force him to stay even after he escapes several times.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you probably already know that I'm not a fan of the Toy Story franchise. Like most 90's kids, I loved the first one but unlike everyone else I flat out disliked the second and third. Now we're at a fourth installment, which story wise is better than 2 and 3 but still just isn't very compelling.

I'm glad the writers finally decided to do something different and not just repeat the same villain this time around. The idea of "lost toys" and seeing Bo Peep again was nice but the cat and mouse game that Woody and Forky play throughout really drags and makes this film feel a lot longer than it really is. I also found myself getting annoyed with Molly and Forky which probably wasn't the desired reaction. Unlike the other installments, I laughed a few times which was a nice change.

I'm quite torn on this. I hated Toy Story 3, but thought the ending worked really well for the overall series. This film feels unnecessary, yet it's better than the two that came before it.  It's kind of a shame that this film will probably win the animated Oscar just because it's Toy Story, when another animated franchise - How To Train Your Dragon - also bowed out this year with a much better final film. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: " got a kid?" - Ducky (Keegan Michael Key)

Thursday Movie Picks: Witnesses

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves saw something. Did you? I'm bringing it way back this week. 

1) Rear Window

Okay, so I just saw this for the first time last year, but from what I've seen of Hitchcock so far, this is by far my favorite.

2) Sister Act

A singer who witnesses a crime gets sent to a convent to hide out. I've lost count of how many times my BFF and I would break out with "Oh Happy Day" because of this film. This and the sequel were a staple for young me. 

3) Our Lips are Sealed

Remember when the Olsen Twins were in witness protection? Objectively, this movie is terrible but I was obsessed with the Olsens when I was a kid. My hair cut and style were always inspired by them. I'm kind of surprised this film popped into my mind when I saw this theme. I had to roll with it. 

Review: The Farewell

You're just too sad.

Billi (Awkwafina) is a Chinese-American who finds her her grandmother (Shuzhen Zhao) is dying of cancer and her family has decided to keep her in the dark per tradition. Not wanting her to travel to China with them and give it away, Billi surprises everyone by making the trip she cannot afford to discreetly say her final goodbyes.

Awkwafina described this movie as an "empathy orgy" in an interview and she's not too far off. While there's some awkward laughs here and there it's cloaked in depression, but not the kind that turns the film into misery porn. Director Lulu Wang based this story on a lie her family truly told her grandmother and you can tell. It feels very personal.

The cast is very good. There's nothing showy about these performances but they're very understated and you believe each character really loves their Nai Nai and are internally processing a lot about the situation. Billi in particular is very introspective with her grief. The strangest thing for me, however, was the fact that they all travel back to China under the guise of Billi's cousins' wedding, yet they never say a word to each other. With one being raised in Japan and on in America, there could be somewhat of a language barrier, but it seemed strange to me that the two grandchildren never had a conversation on what their parents were doing.

I surprisingly wasn't in a puddle of tears by the end of this. I think that was because I kept expecting it to end a certain way and it never did. But I did leave feeling incredibly moved by what I just saw.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable quote: "He's my only cousin, don't you think I should be there?" - Billi (Awkwafina)

Indie Gems: The Hummingbird Project

All for Wall Street.

Cousins, and high frequency traders, Vincent (Jesse Eisenberg) and Anton (Alexander Skarsgard) leave their job and their over the top boss Evas (Salma Hayek) to secretly build a fiber-optic cable from Kansas to New Jersey in order to get the stocks faster than her company. With the help of contractor Mark (Michael Mando) they are determined to make their extremely difficult plan work.

The plot of this film really didn't entice me but I wanted to see this for the cast. It gets off to a bit of a rocky start, but I ended up liking this a lot more than I expected. What they're doing is so outlandish that you almost expect it to say "based on a true story" but it never does. 

Eisenberg finally plays out of his comfort zone in this, which was the best part for me. He too often goes for the awkward neurotic thing and this finally felt like he was getting back to his Social Network form. Skarsgard is excellent as well, even though he's in the worst bald cap ever throughout the entire film. Hayke's character is a huge schemer that I thought would get on my nerves but even though she looms in the background of what Vincent and Anton are doing, it's never too much. It's nice to see Michael Mando in something outside of Better Call Saul as well.

The Hummingbird Project is pretty serious but has some deeply funny moments throughout. It makes for a nice watch at home.

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "That's an entire millisecond!" - Vincent (Alexander Skarsgard)

Thursday Movie Picks: Mrs. Robinsons

I hope you're ready to rob some cradles because this week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is all about those older women who like younger men. I've actually never seen The Graduate, every time I see the term "Mrs. Robinson" I make a mental note to watch it and never do. I'm not crazy about the term to be honest, but here are some films with older women and younger men.

1) The Reader

I've been thinking about this movie a lot lately, I think I'm do for a re-watch for this film about a teenage boy who has an affair with an older women, only to encounter her again later in life as a law student while she's on trial. 

2) Florence Foster Jenkins

The wanna be Opera singer has a husband who is about two decades younger (in the film, in real life the age cap is only about 12 years) I expected to dislike this movie but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

3) The Good Girl

This is still my favorite Jennifer Aniston performance. It's about a bored woman who hooks up with her younger co-worker. I like this film quite a bit.