Posts

Showing posts from 2021

Review: The Green Knight

Image
Gawain (Dev Patel) is the King's nephew and knight in training when he accepts a challenge from The Green Knight. (Ralph Ineson) One year later, he's tasked with tracking that Knight down, and encounters much more on the way. This has been one of my most anticipated films of the year, and I purposely avoided reading the book so I could go in as blind as possible, now after leaving it, I wonder if that was the best choice. I had to sit with this a bit. I liked it, but I wanted to love it. Dev Patel is a fantastic actor and I'm 100% here for him getting leading roles, especially in projects like this. He doesn't have a ton of dialogue, but he's very easy to watch. Alicia Vikander also gives a wonderful performance in her two roles.  The standout of this film is the cinematography. It's absolutely gorgeous and it will be a travesty if it's not an Oscar nominee, let alone winner. I loved how everything looked. It was so eerily beautiful.  Let's talk about th

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: Book Adaptations

Image
  This week's TV theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about book to show adaptations. In the past I've tried to go with adaptations where I read the source material, but this week I decided to pick three shows where I've never touched the book(s) they are based on.  1) His Dark Materials - I had never even heard of this series of books until the Golden Compass was made into a movie and church going folk freaked out. I never bothered with any of that, but the HBO show had a great cast so I gave it a watch and I'm glad I did. I especially loved the second season and am very invested. Sometimes I have a bit of trouble following the "politics" of the show, which likely makes sense to book readers, but I still enjoy it.  2) The Queen's Gambit - I don't think I know a single person that didn't watch this on Netflix. Anya Taylor-Joy was wonderful and the costumes are everything. I may or may not have bought a dress specifically because it reminde

Review: Old

Image
Guy and Prisca (Gael Garcia Bernal and Vicky Krieps) take their young children on an island vacation to get a quick reprieve from some family issues. When the helpful hotel staff directs them to a "secret beach" with a few other guests. They soon realize that they cannot leave, and that they're rapidly aging. I'm fairly sure when I reviewed Glass I said I was going to quit giving director M. Night Shaymalan chances, but there I was with a babysitter booked thinking The Green Knight came out a week ahead of time. Old was what we ended up with. Thankfully expectations were low.  Truth be told, the concept of Old isn't bad. The plot itself is actually very interesting and I was never bored, but god these characters have NO depth. I can't speak to this film's source material but Shaymalan seems to have put zero thought into them aside from writing an outline. The trophy wife is vain, the doctor is a dick, a child literally asks people what their occupations

2021 Blind Spot Series: Seven Samurai

Image
  What I knew going in: The basic premise and all the inspirations that came after. When a man overhears a group of bandits saying they're going to sack a small farming town after harvest, the townspeople hire samurai to protect them. I'm not sure if there's a film on my Blind Spot lists I've put off like Seven Samurai . 3 and half hours of this is a COM.IT.MENT. I ended up having to watch this over the course of a few days but I'm very glad I finally did. I really ended up loving this. The run time was always what put me off but in the end, I'm glad it was long. I loved that we really got to see the day to day of the townspeople and how the samurai come together and get to know each other. Most movies would cram all of this into a musical montage, but seeing it all play out was nice. I can definitely see where a lot of movies take inspiration from this, which is one of my favorite parts of watching these older films. If I had any issues with it, it's that

Thursday Movie Picks: Summer Break

Image
  This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about summer break! Summer is halfway over here already and it feels like it's gone by so fast. But here are a few films I enjoy that give you that forever summer mood. 1) Adventureland - I re-watched this recently and I forgot how much chemistry Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart have together. This is a fun, nostalgic film to watch for anyone that's spent their summers visiting an amusement park or a fair. 2) My Girl - Full disclosure, I have never been able to watch this film without crying at the end, but I loved it growing up. I felt like I could relate to Vada and it was such a sweet story of first love. 3) Kings of Summer - This is a movie that surprised me. At first glance a movie about 3 teenage boys who decide to build a house in the woods didn't appeal to me, but I listened to my fellow blogger's reviews and gave it a go. I ended up really enjoying it! 

Review: Space Jam 2: A New Legacy

Image
When Lebron James takes his son, Dom (Cedric Joe) to a sales pitch meeting, they're both sucked into a computer by a rogue algorithm (Don Cheadle) and are forced to play basketball against each other to escape.  It's sort of impossible for me to objectively review this. The original Space Jam came out when I was 9, so of course I loved it. I've seen it several times since and while I can admit it's kind of stupid, the nostalgia factor never goes away. So on principle, I was never going to like this. But now that I have a 9 year old of my own who really wanted to see this, I was open to it. I'm not above laughing at dumb things. And dumb this movie is. At least the first Space Jam was mostly about basketball, this is more about being a glorified WB sizzle reel. The big conflict between Lebron and Dom is that Dom would rather spend his days creating video games than play basketball like his dad, and it's his video came they play. Full of powerups and random charac

Review: Gunpowder Milkshake

Image
Sam (Karen Gillan) is a second generation assassin who makes a rogue choice in saving young Emily (Chloe Coleman) and finds herself running from the very people who hired her.  I'm almost embarassed to admit at this point that I didn't get into the John Wick films. The first didn't hold my attention so I never bothered with the others, and this film has essentially been marketed as the "Female John Wick." But I ended up having a lot of fun with this. There are plenty of badass women assassin movies out there but I love that this one chose to feature all their leads above the age of 30. Since I'm in my 30's now as well, that's very appealing to me and I loved the action. It was fun, over the top, and gory and I loved the settings they chose to showcase it. (A bowling alley, a library, etc.) While there isn't a ton of "showy" moments for acting, Gillan was great and I loved Lena Heady, Carla Gugino, Angela Bassett and Michelle Yeoh as wel

Review: No Sudden Move

Image
Curt (Don Cheadle) is a criminal fresh out of prison who is given a "babysitting" job by Jones. (Brenden Fraser) He's working with two men he's never met before. Russo (Benicio Del Toro) and Charley (Kieran Culkin) but what seems to be an easy job turns into so much more.  This film has a great cast. So many wonderful actors show up, even though some of it is for a short amount of time. But my god, the double crossing in this movie was excessive. It's like that scene in episode 5 with Loki when all the variants start betraying each other. It's meant to keep us on our toes but it just got irritating after a while.  The actors are what keep this film going. Cheadle and Del Toro area always fun to watch. David Harbour was the standout for me. Watching him punch an old guy in the face while crying and apologizing was the highlight of the entire movie. This is very much a streaming movie. It's currently available on HBO Max and in theaters, and I'm glad I h

Thursday Movie Picks: Non-English Films

Image
  Films not in the English language is always one of my favorite themes from Wandering Through The Shelves . I always end up with a larger watch list after the fact. As always, a rule for myself is to try not to use ones I have in the past. This time, I ended up with a very depressing theme within a theme. Losing a child in various ways. 1) The Broken Circle Breakdown - From Belgium, this story is about a couple who fall in love despite being opposites. They eventually have a child who is diagnosed with a terminal illness and this movie is about how it affects them. I really liked this movie, despite the weird rant the main character goes on towards the end that brings the film to a screeching halt.  2) Loveless - From Russia, a young boy overhears his parents talking about his future in the midst of their divorce. Neither want him, so he runs away. Now the parents must find him. I would never watch this film again but good lord does it live rent free in my head. This film is relentle

2021 Emmy Nominations

Image
  The Emmy nominations are finally upon us, and they're actually...pretty good? Of course there are some awful snubs but a lot of my favorite shows like Ted Lasso, Wandavision, The Crown, and The Mandalorian got 20+ nominations. Boy do I have THOUGHTS!  Outstanding Drama Series “The Boys”  “Bridgerton”  “The Crown”  “The Handmaid’s Tale”  “Lovecraft Country”  “The Mandalorian”  “Pose”  “This Is Us”  I'm glad the Emmys didn't snub Lovecraft Country like others did. The Boys made me laugh. I know a lot of people love that show but outside of Karl Urban I just could not get into it. Emmys are still holding onto This Is Us for dear life.  Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Uzo Aduba, “In Treatment” Olivia Colman, “The Crown” Emma Corrin, “The Crown” Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale” MJ Rodriguez, “Pose” Jurnee Smollett, “Lovecraft Country” MJ Rodriguez is my favorite nominee here. She's been consistently snubbed for her work on Pose and now in its final season s

Review: Black Widow

Image
On the run after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Natasha's (Scarlett Johansson) plans of laying low are interrupted when her sister from a past life, Yelena (Florence Pugh) gets her involved in a sinister plot involving the famed Red Room.  My family and I went to the theater again together for the first time since The Rise of Skywalker and boy did it feel great to see the Marvel logo on the big screen again. I have so many feelings about this movie.  I find myself at an awkward crossroads with Natasha. I love her, I still think her dying in Endgame was a big mistake, and that gives this film an air of too little too late, but Scarlett Johansson as an actress has proven so disappointing lately with her defense of Woody Allen among other things. I'm so invested in Natasha as a character it's mostly easy to look past, but it's never far from my mind. I couldn't help but feel bitter leaving this, even though I enjoyed the first half immensely. The second h

Review: The Mauritanian

Image
Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahin) is arrested and held in Guantanamo Bay prison for years without being charged. A couple Albuquerque lawyers, Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) attempt to fight for his freedom, while prosecutor Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) will do everything he can to prevent that. This film wasn't on my radar at all until the Gloden Globe nominations came out last year. And even though this was giving me Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker vibes, I went against that thinking this would be more of a courtroom drama. *Narrator* It wasn't. There was a lot of potential in this story, but it's all thrown out for some torture flashbacks. I left this film feeling like I didn't even learn much about Slahi himself. They breeze by everything like they want to get to the hard stuff. Director Kevin Macdonald's features just keep going down hill from the excellent Last King of Scotland . I get he has interest in the mo

Thursday Movie Picks: Female Althetes

Image
This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is films about Female Athletes. Not going to lie, this is thrown together because I accidentally posted next week's theme this morning. So here's what I very quickly came up with. 1) Bring It On - The essential early 2000's cheerleading movie. I still have a soft spot for this. For me personally at the time, it made Cheerleading look interesting, which is something I didn't think possible for me.  2) Love & Basketball - Sanaa Latham's part of film certainly qualifies here. I still love this. It's one of the best teen dramas out there. 3) Brittany Runs a Marathon - I don't care if Brittany isn't a typical athlete, it takes A LOT of athleticism to run a marathon. I think Gillian Jacobs is great in this. It's a very sweet little film.  

Review: Zola

Image
Zola (Taylour Paige) is a part time waitress/part time dancer in Michigan who meets a woman named Stefani (Riley Keough) at work and is soon talked into a cross country trip to Florida under the pretense of dancing. Of course, there's more. I feel like anyone with a Twitter account has probably run across the infamous set of 2015 tweets that this film is based off of. I saw them too, around the time the rights were purchased to make a film. I didn't go back to re-read the story before watching this, but I did notice some difference. Zola , much like the tweets that came before it, is a mess. A fun, entertaining, and occasionally highly uncomfortable a mess. I was surprised how heavily this film leaned into its Twitter cred so to speak. I expected a "based on a true story" title card at the beginning and for us to move on, but it's woven into the entire story. I didn't realize before watching that the last feature director Janicza Bravo did was one I absolutely

What I Watched on TV in June

Image
This month was tough. I had a lot personal things going on, so I left my DVR and streaming lists collect my TV shows while I dealt with that. Eventually I'll catch up with Pose and The Bad Batch. Maybe I'll start Kevin Can F--- Himself, but I didn't watch a ton this month. The Handmaid's Tale - I finished this in 3 days. I'm torn how I feel on this over all. I should split it up into pro's and cons. Spoilers, obviously PROs 1) Fred got what he deserved. That was satisfying. 2) June finally made it to Canada, and her testimony at Fred's trial was one of the best scenes of the season.  3) Commander Lawrence still had something to do. He's probably the most intriguing character on the show right now. I'd love to see some flashbacks from his life prior to Gilead.  4) I missed seeing June and Moira together, so their scenes were nice. 5) This show does a fabulous job of making you love both June and Luke and June and Nick. Both sets of couples have so ma

Thursday Movie Picks - Oscar Edition: Best Cinematography and Visual Effects

Image
  It's the first TMP of the month and you know what that means - It's Oscar edition! This week we're talking about two categories. Cinematography and Visual Effects. Honestly, has there been an Oscar category I've bitched about more on this blog than Visual Effects? Nothing I ever want to win does. I'm constantly mad about it, but I'll do my best to find 3 winners that I actually like. Cinematography is easier, I normally love that category. My biggest hurdle was the fact that I picked some of the movies I would've talked about here already. Here's what I came up with. The first three for Cinematography, the last three for visual effects. 1) Pan's Labyrinth - I love that this movie was nominated for so many Oscars, but I especially love that it won this. It was so beautiful and frightening. 2) There Will Be Blood - I recently re-watched this again and I can't help but admire just how expertly this was shot. 3) American Beauty - I still love thi

2021 Blind Spot Series: Roman Holiday

Image
  What I knew going in: I had seen parts of the film before. Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) is bored on her tour of Europe and sneaks out one night to enjoy herself. She then meets an American expat Joe (Gregory Peck) who at first doesn't recognize her. They spend the following day together. I've been meaning to "finish" this film for ages. Whenever I watched it before, I always missed the beginning. I had no idea what the circumstances where that Ann ends up sleeping in Joe's apartment, so it was nice to have some context there. This film is delightful. I can see why Peck was so convinced Hepburn was winning an Oscar after working with her on this. She absolutely shines as Ann. She's innocent, fun, and very endearing. That's pretty remarkable considering early on we meet her having a tantrum. Peck of course is smooth as always. His characters are always so likable. I really wish this was in color. I know that's a bit sacrilege to say with older films

Review: Supernova

Image
Sam (Colin Firth) and his husband Tusker (Stanley Tucci) are traveling across England in an RV to visit friends and family. Tusker was diagnosed with early dementia and has been declining. This trip is important to them and their relationship. This film came out late last year and made zero impact on the Oscar race despite some early predictions for the lead actors. It's easy to see why. A similar film in The Father was also out and far superior in every way. But even if The Father didn't come out in the same year, I doubt this film would've been an awards darling. In a way it's not fair to compare them. Despite them sharing dementia in their themes, the films couldn't be more different, but I had to bring it up because now I see why I heard next to nothing about Supernova after initial screenings. It's just bad.  Firth and Tucci have excellent chemistry and the film is very much about their relationship and how they're about to lose it to an unfair disea

Review: Our Friend

Image
Dane (Jason Segel) doesn't really have a direction he wants to go in life. We meet him early on, a best friend to Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and eventual best friend to her husband, Matt. (Casey Affleck) Over a decade later, Nicole is diagnosed with cancer and Dane sees that Matt can't handle the house and their two young daughters all by himself, so he drops everything to go to live with them while Nicole's diagnosis turns terminal. I recently lost a family member to cancer, and on my plane to their funeral, I decided I wanted to mope and only watch depressing movies. So this is how I landed on Our Friend . Otherwise Affleck alone would've normally put me off it. But the thing is, I liked this. Sure, it didn't have anything new to say in the terminal illness department and it uses the ever popular jumping around in the time line trope. (Thankfully in a more coherent way than My Sister's Keeper , for example)  But it's been so long since I've seen Jason Seg

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: Fish Out of Water

Image
  This week's TV theme from Wandering Through The Shelves are for those who just don't quite fit in. I've been pretty excited for this week because I was saving one of my favorite new shows for it. Here's what I came up with. 1) Ted Lasso - I cannot describe how much I love Ted Lasso. This show is so wholesome, sweet, and absolutely hysterical at the same time. I'm so glad I started watching it. I just hate that it's on Apple TV and I'll have to pay to watch the second season after my free trial runs out. Football coach Ted moving to England and coaching soccer, a sport he knows nothing about is very out of his element.  2) The Great - I was somewhat interested in this Hulu show where Elle Fanning takes on the role of Catherine The Great, but when I finally started watching I was faced with something so unexpectedly funny. I was not prepared for the tone this has. It's wonderful and Catherine is so adaptable to her new surroundings. Huzzah! 3) The Fres

Review: Luca

Image
A young sea monster, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) dreams of a life bigger than the one he leads under the sea. One day he goes to the surface after following Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer)and realizes they turn human when they are out of water. The meet Giuila (Emma Berman) and try to achieve their goal of owning a Vespa. That sounds like a weird summary, but really that's what the movie is about. The Vespa part is hilarious. The less context the better. Aside from a few running gags that I appreciated, this was pretty mid tier Pixar.  I felt like this film was more of an animation showcase than a strong story. Luca often day dreams, and we see those dreams play out, but they don't exactly add anything. They feel like a slight distraction. The plot itself isn't particularly innovative and there's plenty of bad Italian stereotypes. It's going to draw plenty of comparisons with The Little Mermaid but it's a pretty basic story about friendship that Pixar has told time and t

Review: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Image
Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) take on one of the most difficult cases yet after a routine exorcism ends up being something deeper. I was late to the Conjuring trilogy, but I can still safely say the first film is one of the best horror films in recent memory. The second film was very strong too. It was just unsettling. There is that constant feeling of dread and not knowing what's going to happen next. The 3rd installment starts out that way, but then quickly turns into something generic that lacks the magic of the previous films. What made the first two films so scary were the things we couldn't see. I still think that scene in the first film with Joey King and Mackenzie Foy in their bedroom, staring into the dark corner is one of the scariest things in the entire franchise. This film doesn't have that. It's assigned an actual speaking villain, and it lifts so many shots from other iconic horror films that it becomes distracting.  James Wan n

Thursday Movie Picks: Natural Disasters

Image
  Nature is taking center stage during this week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves . This week we're talking about natural disasters. There's plenty of those to go around so here's what I came up with. 1) The Impossible - About a devastating tsunami, I've never been so grateful to not see a movie in theaters. I cried not even exaggerating through about 80% of this movie. It was a lot 2) The Wandering Earth - I wanted to think outside the box a bit, in this film, the sun is dying out, so it's part natural disaster/part dystopia. While I think the film overall had some pacing issues, it was a really interesting story. 3) The Day After Tomorrow - We have tornadoes, we have floods, we have blizzards, this film is a feast of natural worst nightmares. 

Review: In The Heights

Image
In the neighborhood of Washington Heights in Manhattan, Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) owns a bodega but dreams of going back to his native Dominican Republic. He pines for Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) who has big dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Meanwhile his friend Nina (Leslie Grace) has just returned home from her first semester of college and realizes the location might not be for her.  I didn't get to see this on the big screen like I originally wanted to, but even watching this at home on HBO Max it felt larger than life. The musical numbers were fantastic. They were so colorful and full of energy, I couldn't take my eyes off them.  Anthony Ramos is an absolute star. I hope he can carry momentum all the way until awards season because he deserves it. He's so energetic and talented. Everyone involved in this had wonderful singing voices. I loved seeing Corey Hawkins, who plays Usnavi's friend (and Nina's love interest) Benny. I was first introduced to him on The Wa

Thursday Movie Picks: Worst Book to Move Adaptations

Image
  This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is all about those book adaptations that just let us down. We all have them. It's hard as hell to translate a book to screen. Very few have done it well. Here are some films where I felt they were lacking compared to their book counterparts.  1) The Lovely Bones - I should say that I don't hate this movie. I actually really liked the cast and I think they were great in their roles, but I wish a woman would've directed this. What makes The Lovely Bones so compelling and sad is Susie having to watch everything she's missing out on go on without her. How she never gets to have these "firsts" she looked forward to as a young woman. Director Peter Jackson chose to brush over that quickly and instead focus on the more fantastical elements of the story that were not even important. I hope someone takes another crack at this again in the future, even though Saoirse really was the perfect Susie. 2) The Woman i