Phantom Thread (R)

Starring Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread tells the story of a London dressmaker who becomes involved with an impressionable, but tough, younger woman. It is a a dark, twisted, sometimes amusing, Cinderella story.

As usual, I had no idea what Phantom Thread was about going in and I could never figure out where it was going. Until we got there. And it paid off. If you don’t care for a slow-paced (I’m sure many would think it is booooring) movie, don’t bother with Phantom Thread. This movie reminded me of classic Hollywood films with the score overriding the dialogue at times and being used to sweep in and out of frames. The glamour, grandeur, elegance and slow suspense of this film will bring classics such as Now Voyager and Rebecca to mind, with its über-European feel including seaside cottages with sweeping tides, grand estates and sophisticated-sounding accents and such.

Now, along with all that glamour, as in the aforementioned films, there is this spirit of 1950’s patriarchy, male chauvinism and the oppression of women – but it all has purpose, and it is important. The movie takes us back in time to where we once were and really reminds us (Hold up! Just for the record, as a black woman in America, when I say “us,” I operate with a full understanding that I have never been engaged to a rich European dude or been a rich European woman myself, and the 1950’s weren’t especially great for my people overall, but you know what I mean when I say “us”. Work with me here! It’s just a movie people please…I am talking about a collective audience and how the writer attempts to move that audience is all.) how much things have changed, along with how much things have remained the same.

Paul Thomas Anderson wrote the story and feeds you bait using this “Phantom Thread” all the way through. He dangles threads of this story like a carrot and you have to follow unquestionably, just to figure out what happens next. Along with the manipulation going on, on the screen, the script is manipulating the audience the whole time and it really is brilliant! It is written with subtlety, nuance and balance. Nothing is what it seems. At times it feels like absolutely nothing is happening, but in the background there is so much going on. Phantom Thread is not just about love, it is about crazy love. And at the same time it is a commentary on what relationships (marriage, friendship, employer/employee, siblings) are like in real life, beyond the fantasy of it all; the bare boned reality of the day to day and what it takes to keep relationships alive. “Phantom Threads” are all around and are a recurring theme throughout the entire story. The threads are the things that motivate us and control our action and reactions – and it gets pretty deep. The parallel between the way this dressmaker works and his relationships with humans, women in particular, is perfectly depicted as well. He’s a man in total control who gets what he wants, and does what he wants when he wants – or so it seems. That’s all I’ll say and I would advise against reading much more about it if you haven’t already, if you intend to see it.

The camera work, cinematography, scenery, set design, costumes, makeup, hair, are all impeccably done. This man is rich and has built a grand London design house and a lifestyle that is luxurious and indulgent – and that’s how he lives his life. And you feel this in every detail of every scene and every shot. It really is beautiful and worth seeing on a big screen for this reason alone.

Daniel Day Lewis is just amazing. He stole my heart in this movie. He is mean, rude, has a nasty disposition and a poor outlook on life. He is talented, passionate and empty. He is also dashing, incredibly charming and vulnerable. I have a theory that if we all refuse to believe or accept that he is truly retiring, it won’t be true. It’s just that simple. Problem solved. Leslie Manville, as the dressmaker’s sister and business partner, is amazing here and deserves that best supporting actress nomination. (She’s my pick so far, although I’ve yet to see I, Tonya (by the way, just as an aside, you have no idea how difficult it is for me to spell Tanya with an “o”!) I have never heard of or seen Vicky Krieps before seeing her here as the dressmaker’s love interest, but I want to see more from her. The entire cast is stellar.

When I started writing this review I rated Phantom Thread 7.5 out of 10 bloops, but as I examined the film further, it easily earned 9 out of 10 bloops. It’s an excellent movie that is worth seeing because what it manages to do is manipulate your perception while the characters remain exactly who they are from the beginning. The acting is strong. Everything about it is solid and purposefully done. The story is well written and suspenseful; but again, it is written in a way that may seem slow and dull. It also runs long at 2 hours and 10 minutes, so it can range from being this beautiful, must-see movie, to being slow, dull and long, depending on whose watching. You know yourself better than I do. I loved it but I surely cannot speak for you. Do what you feel. If it’s for you, enjoy, and if it isn’t… you know what to do.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll down, enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review or follow me on twitter @bloopbymimi1 

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m reviewing next…

The Post

What I’m absolutely seeing this week –

There’s nothing out this week that is noteworthy because it’s awards season, so the market is soft. I’m thankful for that because I have some catching up to do!

Other Reviews

A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented ChristmasDen of Thieves
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

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Den of Thieves (R)

Den of Thieves, starring Gerard Butler and Pablo Schreiber (Liev’s paternal half-brother Those are some good, tall genes ya’ll), is a present day, cops and robbers action drama where you can’t tell who the bad guys are.  You gain an understanding fairly early on that none of these guys, whether they be cops or robbers, are outstanding citizens, but who do you root for? It plays like an extreme game of cat and mouse, but you can’t tell who the cat is.

As with any movie I see with the intent to review it, I try to go in with zero expectations, but it’s not always easy. Suffice to say, I wasn’t expecting much here. But I gotta tell ya, this movie exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds. The action scenes, which mostly involve these beautiful, specialized, high-powered weapons, were exciting. (If you’re into that sort of thing, that is. Guns and shootouts may not be your thing, but I am very much into them – on screen, that is. Just to be clear.) If you’re not into bullets, gun play, violence, cussing and some blood, don’t bother. There is humor and suspense and mystery and a lot more than just a shoot-em-up.

I feel the need to mention that Den of Thieves is one of the first action films I’ve seen in a long time, with such a large cast where the majority of the men are over six feet tall. Not that being over six feet makes you any more of a man or more of a bad ass than a man who is say… 5’7 (I won’t mention any names specifically); but it changes the dynamic of the action when there are these big ole, man-sized, muscular, testosterone spewing, manly men going up against one another. It adds to the intensity of the action. It’s all about wits and brawn, gun power and ammunition here. Think of Predator, and you’ll understand what I’m trying to say about how larger men change the dynamic of the action. Arguably there are very few big gun scenes that can beat Bill Duke and the crew taking down that forest about 45 minutes into Predator, which I will tune in to watch every single time. Kudos to the casting department!

Gerard Butler and his biceps (which are quite impressive, by the way. (Wooooooohoo….  that man’s biceps flexing with that gun in that last action sequence is what I call art!) do a great job here. He is convincing as this a-hole of a cop, akin to Bad Lieutenant, although not nearly as vile. (If you’ve not seen Bad Lieutenant all I will say is that you cannot unsee it once you have. I haven’t watched it in years, but it’s a rough movie for most folks. I wasn’t old enough to see it the first time I saw it and I still don’t feel like I’m old enough to watch it again. Proceed with caution). Along with being an a-hole, he is a bad ass, so it’s all balances out. O’Shea Jackson, Jr.  (I think we may be at the point in his acting career where we can stop referring to him as Ice Cube’s son, but I will continue to do so until I feel all of us are caught up) does a good job as this guy who gets caught between the cat and the mouse. Pablo Schreiber does a good job in his role as an arrogant gang leader. I can’t think of anyone who could have done a better job with his role off the top of my head – maybe Jason Mamoa, but just I want to see him in everything – so, never mind.

Written by Christian Gudegast, the writing is strong, but not flawless. Nevertheless, you get what you pay for and then some. One thing I didn’t like was the use of the N word. I’ve stated previously the use of the word doesn’t offend or bother me personally. I know who and what I am, so miss me with that altogether. It just wasn’t necessary here and added nothing to the story. The fact that a black man was using the word didn’t change that fact. The egotism, machismo, testosterone, bullets, muscles, arrogance, etc. all lend very well to the plot. And finally! – a movie with a strip club scene that is relevant to the plot! The scene helps to elevate the cat and mouse scenario to whole ‘nother level. The plot contains elements of many robbery movies we’ve seen before, and a quite a few cop movie clichés, but the twist of this movie is thoughtful and makes the story fresh. So when all the pieces come together it is all very satisfying.

One particular action scene was unrealistic in many ways, as there are thousands of rounds fired and not one innocent bystander is injured or killed. Nevertheless, the scene is quite entertaining. I was totally into it. Also, there was one important thing that took place that I just couldn’t explain. Full disclosure: maybe I blinked, or was too into my Rafiqi’s chicken and salad and I missed something, but I’ll put all the blame on the writing instead of my indulgent movie-going habits. Don’t judge me. This is a 2 hour 20 minute movie and I knew I didn’t want popcorn or nachos or any of that other movie junk. I should be applauded for being responsible about my dietary choices! (I might have been tempted if the Cheetos popcorn was made with the hot Cheetos, but it isn’t yet. I’m going to tweet Frito Lay when I finish here, so they can get on that right away.)

Anyhoo… Another thing that I realized after watching this movie is that there is no extra exciting soundtrack with crazy loud, pulse pounding, matching music that you’ll want to download immediately after the movie is over. I don’t think a funkier soundtrack would have improved the movie, and I like that they didn’t rely on cliché, nostalgic songs to pull the audience in. I was already in. All the way. It’s straight up storytelling and character development, which is unusual for an action movie, and that’s a large part of what makes this movie better than good.

Den of Thieves earned 8 out of 10 bloops. It is mostly well written. I would watch it again. The acting is entertaining. Gerard Butler’s performance elevates the entire situation. Even though Den of Thieves borrows much from other cops and robbers films, it remains unique enough to make it worth a watch if you’re into action.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll down, enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review! 

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m reviewing next…

Phantom Threads

What I’m absolutely seeing this week –

When I know I’ll let you know.

Other Reviews

A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas

The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

All the Money in the World (R)

Starring Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams and Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher that I could find), All the Money in the World is based on John Pearson’s, book, Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty  (1995). A part of the book covers the true events surrounding the 1973, months-long kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, grandson of oil baron John Paul Getty, founder of the Getty Oil Company who was, at that time, the richest man in the world (worth a reported low estimate of $1.2 billion in 1966).

This movie made me angry – or rather, the late J. Paul Getty made me angry. Here’s this man worth over a billion dollars who hemmed and hawed over paying $17 million to retrieve his grandson from kidnappers for months. I mean, this 16 year old kid was held from July 10th throu  gh December 15th! They sent his family his severed ear around the three month mark, for crying out loud! I understand the man was tightfisted with a dollar. He washed his own clothes at hotels to keep from paying for laundry, he had a pay phone in his mansion for guests to use, etc. And I wouldn’t say he didn’t love his grandson, but the man seemed to lack basic human compassion, and the dollar came first and foremost. I cannot imagine having the means to reclaim a kidnapped family member, and not doing so because I couldn’t get a tax write off for the ransom. Even when the demand went as low as $4 million months into the situation (not that $17 million wasn’t a mere pittance to an oil baron), he still refused to pay. I also understand the, “I don’t negotiate with terrorists” mentality. Getty infamously stated at the time, “If I pay one penny now, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.” But we are talking about your grandchild here, sir. Just, damn!

The replacement of Kevin Spacey (following his sexual harassment/sexual assault scandal) with Christopher Plummer was casting brilliance! Since J. Paul Getty was approximately 80 years old in 1973, why bother with prosthesis and makeup when there is a highly qualified actor in the age range? Although I would have liked to see what Spacey would have done in the role, I’m glad Plummer got a shot at it. (There is a soft spot in my heart for Christopher Plummer after watching him in Remember (2015), a film I always recommend to people any time I write about Plummer. If you’ve not seen it, do. And if you’re sick of me bringing it up, watch that movie and learn why I continue to do it.)  Ridley Scott & Co. and solely credited Claire Simpson get props for some fast shooting and editing after Spacey was edited out and replaced with Plummer.

I have to  say… I’m still on the fence regarding Michelle Williams and her acting. She’s okay, but I could think of at least a half dozen of her peers who could have done the job equally as well. I was neither impressed nor underwhelmed by her performance, as always seems to be the case. Just being honest. She doesn’t move me. She does know how to pick roles that fit her range, I will give her that. And I enjoyed her character in The Greatest Showman very much. I’ll have a definitive answer on how I feel about her after she ventures forth with the more challenging role of Janis (a project that has been plagued with problems since 1999 – read the “Did you know?” section in the link), where she will play Janis Joplin. I am expecting great things. The standout actor in All the Money in the World is Romain Duris who plays the kidnapper with a soul. He did what he could to help J. Paul III get through this ordeal.

I’ll keep this short. All the Money in the World earned 7.5 out of 10 bloops. It’s a good movie, worth seeing. It is a character study (or the study of someone greatly lacking in character, depending on how you look at it) of a man who seemed to have everything, but was empty inside. The story is interesting and suspenseful even though we all know how it worked out in the end (for those of us who were alive at the time and remember the story as it happened, as I do, although I was but a wee tot). It inspired me to read more about the case, and the interesting part of the story doesn’t stop with the recovery of J. Paul III. It continues on as a filthy-rich, divided, dysfunctional family with a patriarch who seems to have been an otherwise miserable person deals with their preexisting and ongoing issues. Money isn’t everything. Although my ransom might be far less, it’s worth more to me to be confident that if someone were to kidnap me, someone would be concerned enough to raise and deliver the ransom to save my life. I’ll keep my poor and working class, loving, compassionate relatives over all the money in the world any day, thank you very much!

Thank you for reading. You can scroll down, enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review! 

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m reviewing next…

I’ve seen Molly’s Game, The Post and Phantom Threads, so that all has to be done. I still cannot bring myself to review Lady Bird. I can’t tell yet if it’s because I just don’t care enough or what but I saw it weeks ago and still cannot find it in myself to complete the write up.

What I’m absolutely seeing this week –

There’s nothing out this week that is noteworthy because it’s awards season, so the market is soft. I’m thankful for that because I have some catching up to do!

Other Reviews

Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster