Beautiful Boy (R)

Based on David Sheff’s memoir, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Addiction and his son Nic’s memoir, Tweak, Beautiful Boy tells the story of Nic’s addiction to methamphetamines and his father’s desperate effort to save him from certain death. Directed by Felix Van Groeningen in his American film debut and starring Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy shows the devastating toll addiction can take on a family.

Beautiful Boy is a universal film because, sadly, chances are if you’re an American, no matter what walk of life you may be from, what ethnicity you are, what salary you earn, how much education you do or do not have, you probably know an addict.

This movie touches upon every emotion experienced when dealing with an addiction; frustration, fear, anger, sorrow, guilt, shame, disgust, exhaustion, hopelessness, helplessness, you name it. It also touches on the many behaviors addicts exhibit; manipulation, lying, stealing, selfishness, recklessness, risk taking behavior, etc. The audience gets a vivid picture of the full burden this father takes on while trying to get his son clean for good. In the midst of it all the lightbulb goes off that the only person who can help Nic is Nic. Replace the name Nic with anyone you know and love who’s addicted and the scenario remains the same. I won’t get into my experience with addiction right now but let’s just say I know of what I speak and I had to learn this lesson the long, hard way.

Timothée Chalamet steals the entire show. In a word, he is outstanding. I knew he was something special when I saw him in Call Me by Your Name (my review in the link), and I was sure he was the real deal then, but man-o-man this dude nailed this performance. I would be shocked if he were not nominated for an Oscar. I’m looking forward to seeing who his competition might be because right now he is the one to beat. Steve Carell is effortless in his role. It’s like he’s not acting at all and I felt every bit of his angst. The supporting cast is fantastic as well.

The directing and writing are exceptional. There wasn’t a dry eye in the theater by the time that movie went off; every man and woman was sniffling at the bare minimum. One man could not stop wiping away his tears, and he was making a serious effort to do so. When the movie went off one woman came into the ladies’ room after I had entered, locked the stall door and just broke down and cried. She was still in there when I left. I would have helped her out but I was trying to hold it together myself. It. Hits. Home.

Beautiful Boy educates the audience about addiction by showing how Nic’s addiction affects the entire family dynamic and the road to recovery is most often not without hiccups. Addiction never occurs in a vacuum. Addiction is a total disruption of everything. It not only consumes the thoughts and life of the addict, it also consumes the thoughts and life of everyone in the addict’s orbit.

The one huge problem I had with Beautiful Boy was that I wish Timothée’s/Nic’s skin would have become less clear over time and he looked a bit more disheveled as he descended into this haze of dope. Nic and his girlfriend were two of the cleanest looking addicts I’ve ever seen. Considering how they were living, and how severe their addictions were, the upkeep of hygiene on that level of getting high is highly unlikely.

Beautiful Boy earned 9 out of 10 bloops. It is an absolutely excellent and important film that relays one man’s truth about the hell he went through trying his best to save his son.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @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 Seeing Next

Can You Ever Forgive Me
Bohemian Rhapsody – Finally!!!!!
Nobody’s Fool

Other Reviews

The Hate U Give
First Man
Assassination Nation
The Oath
A Star is Born
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
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
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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The Hate U Give (PG-13)

Based on Angie Thomas’ 2017 novel, directed by George Tillman Jr., and starring Amandla Stenberg (as Starr) and Russell Hornsby (as Starr’s father, Maverick). The Hate U Give is the ultimate coming of age story about a young lady who (after years of silence, much like Maya Angelou’s caged bird) finds her voice after witnessing the traumatic police shooting of an unarmed black man. Maverick prepares his children for the harsh realities of life, including drilling them from a young age on how to interact with law enforcement so they survive precarious police encounters. Unfortunately, the young man who was killed hadn’t been taught or hadn’t heeded these lessons.

The Hate U Give not only addresses police shootings of unarmed black citizens, it addresses problems in the black community that “the community” can work on to improve the quality of life therein. The phrase, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” kept coming to my mind while watching The Hate U Give and the phrase takes on several meanings throughout this film.

The Hate You Give highlights the fact that there’s not any one thing that needs to be done to combat police shootings of unarmed black citizens, the issue lends itself to a collective effort and consciousness shift that could be the “something good” that comes from all of this misery if dealt with properly. In a perfect world…

I haven’t felt so much emotion during a film in a long while. The Hate U Give made me laugh and cry, and in between there are many, many valuable lessons about life, loss, family, society, communication and more. Hell, I cried half way back to Brooklyn. The tears just would not stop! I don’t think I’ve ever seen this level of intimacy into the lives of a black family in present day America shared on film in such a relatable way; and to have a police shooting be the impetus to all the action is timely, important and brilliant. I’m talking about the type of intimacy where one can get an authentic glimpse of what a slice of black life is like for many black people in America, if one cares to.

The fictionalization of it all makes it much more palatable to examine and discuss the issue more rationally. And there will be much discussion, particularly if you take your children. And they all need to go see this film. I recommended a co-worker who has nieces (18, 13, 10 and 8 years old) visiting from Ireland this week see The Hate U Give with them. I cannot wait to hear her take when she returns from vacation. It’s got a PG-13 rating, which is pretty incredible given the depth of the subject matter.

George Tillman Jr.’s direction is spot on. The writing is strong, at one point things get chaotic and it’s smart because that chaos reflects all the things going on with this young woman and within this community. I was fully engaged and entertained. I felt the need to get out of that party, I felt the angst in that car, I was at Starr’s school when she went off, I was at that funeral, nearly embarrassed by and irritated with Seven’s ignorant mom. I was in Starr’s home with her dad and Chris. I was at that protest and felt all that frustration and rising rage. I felt as though I got a real, first person account of what was happing to the main character and her thought process. And here’s where that tricky perception thing comes in. You see, I’m black, I’m a woman and I come from a place not so different than from where Starr is from, so I can readily place myself in this young woman’s shoes and feel all these things she is feeling. That is the stuff of exceptional movie making.

Amandla Stenberg and Russell Hornsby give award winning, 10 bloop worthy performances here. I felt the fear, joy, frustration, tears, elation, love, connection, and the inner turmoil of each of these characters. Stenberg’s character evolves into somewhat of a superhero. The supporting cast did an outstanding job as well.

The Hate U Give earned 10 out of 10 bloops. It may not be a “perfect” film but it is certainly a “masterpiece,” in its own special way. I recommend it to everyone I come across. It is one of the most powerful, well-acted, well written, well produced films of the year so far. It tells and excellent, timely story that not only attempts to fairly assess this difficult issue from all sides, but offers challenges, changes and solutions for black families, the black community, police officers and activists to ponder. The Hate U Give needs to be seen, heard, questioned and discussed. I’ll be reading the book shortly.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @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!

Other Reviews

First Man
Assassination Nation
The Oath
A Star is Born
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
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
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

 

 

First Man (PG-13)

Based on James R. Hansen’s book, First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling, First Man tells the story of the life and times of Neil Armstrong from 1961 to July 20, 1969 when he became the first man to walk on the surface of the moon. The film includes a look at Armstrong’s personal life, the mission which made him a household name and the failed missions which led to that successful mission.

According to IMDB, Hansen is an expert in aerospace history and the history of science and technology who has published a dozen books and numerous articles covering a wide variety of topics, including the early days of aviation, the history of aerospace engineering, NASA, the Moon landings, the Space Shuttle program, and China’s role in space. First Man is Armstrong’s singular authorized biography.

In other words, the man knows what he’s talking about. I include this for those who are concerned with the movies historical accuracy because Chazelle chose not to replicate the iconic American “flag-planting” on the moon. A smart move, only if he figured out another way, or a better way to emphasize the triumph of being the first man to walk on the moon; but does he?

No he does not. I sat for over two hours waiting for Ryan Gosling to plant his foot on the moon and say the now famous quote. I saw it and I was unimpressed. He may as well have gone ahead and reenacted the flag planting or showed the footage because the event felt incomplete without it, and what was done instead made the story feel overworked, insincere and corny.

I understood the attempt to create tension by demonstrating NASA’s failures, thereby creating this great moment when success is finally achieved, but I didn’t feel the tension and build up from the failed missions enough to feel the triumph of Armstrong’s mission. The movie was too busy teaching us about the life of Neil Armstrong and then somewhere along the way the politics of the day were inserted into the story line (not that I’m mad about it because my favorite part of this entire movie is Gil Scott-Heron’s poem). I learned some things about Neil Armstrong, but aside from the facts about his daughter I wasn’t very interested.

The stories of the astronauts who gave their lives in the name of science, technology and space exploration and Neil’s own failed test was the part of the story I found most enjoyable and it was where I learned the most. I wish more focus had been placed on the failed missions/tests and less on Armstrong and his family life, and his wife smoking, for crying out loud. The meatiest part of the story was sort of glossed over and inserted as an “aside” in a missed opportunity for what would have made a much more interesting and focused movie.

Chazelle and Gosling are reunited here for the first time since La La Land and the direction he administered and direction taken had me scratching my head. (I didn’t care for La La Land (my review in the link) and I have the same luke-warm feeling about this movie.) Ryan Gosling walks about as if he is made of wood or something. He has little to no facial expression for most of the film. I mean, was Armstrong autistic or something? (I’m not being facetious. I have a master’s degree in psychology, I’ve worked with many autistic people, I know what autism looks like, I know it can be quite serious and I do not speak of it lightly, so take your outrage and offense elsewhere. I am honestly mulling the question.) Like, tell me what I’m missing here? No doubt the man was a gifted engineer, so it wouldn’t be a far-fetched theory that he was perhaps on the spectrum, with some social awkwardness, but I need someone to tell me that and not leave me guessing about it, and somehow explain this performance of Gosling’s. And if I had to stare into Ryan Gosling’s baby blues for one more damn second while he was in that little capsule I thought I was going to scream! It was like being hypnotized to sleep or something in a movie that was already too long and too slow in spots. Thank goodness there were no opening credits!

The cinematography, effects, hair, make up, wardrobe, lighting, set design, are all impeccable. The integration of old footage is brilliant but not done seamlessly.

First Man earned 5 bloops out of 10. It so-so, perhaps worth it if you don’t have to pay. You may like it more if you’re more interested in the life of Neil Armstrong than I. Gosling’s inexplicably robotic performance was just too much to bear, the more interesting parts of the movie deserved more time/time spent on Armstrong’s personal life could have been reduced, and at 2 hours and 21 minutes it was too long with a weak payoff in the end. From what I can see, this film is not a contender in the Oscar race as far as acting, directing or screenplay. I found it totally unmemorable as it floats in a sea of other “meh” movies made this year.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @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 Seeing Next

A lot. Too much to get into. I’ll be posting every day for the next several days.

Other Reviews

Assassination Nation
The Oath
A Star is Born
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
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
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

Assassination Nation (R)

Written and directed by Sam Levinson (son of Barry Levinson) and starring Odessa Young, Hari Nef, Abra and Suki Waterhouse, Assassination Nation is the story of how a data hack that turns a lovely American town upside down and into a pack of animals. As the hack exposes the secrets of the townspeople, chaos ensues, and four girls are blamed and forced to fight for their lives.

Assassination Nation is billed as an action/comedy/crime film. With a combination like that you expect some chaos at a fast pace. This movie is super aggressive. It assaults the viewer with unpleasant images and uncomfortable subject matter purposefully in order to get a rise out of it. The way the film moves from subject to subject and scene to scene is tiring because it moves so fast as it attempts to put all these moving parts and information and situations in motion at once. Whatever Assassination Nation may be, it isn’t timid and it isn’t dull. It is balls to the wall art out loud baby. It gets in your face and beats you over the head with one social messages after another and then another; but not without warning. You are informed that the assault is coming. And when it’s over, you’re worn out. At least I was. All of this while it asks the question, if someone hacked your phone and released all of your data, what would your life look like to outsiders, people who don’t know you, your employer, your neighbor? Pretty effin’ brilliant concept if you ask me. How social media has grown from this lovely way of staying in touch with classmates, then family and friends, and now it’s like a monster. Or at least, it can be. Even if the execution isn’t spot on here, the action and crime are great.

Assassination Nation is a bit weaker in the area of comedy. I love a dark comedy, but this is not a dark comedy. Dark, yes. A comedy, no. The subject matter is just too heavy and aggressive, goes too deep and gets too real for humor. With the exception of Nef’s character, who provided nearly all comedic relief, there wasn’t much else to laugh about. I understand comedic tastes varies, but, no. The idea of a group of people losing their shit due to the fear of having their deepest darkest secrets exposed is not so far-fetched, so the situation could have been funny, but I didn’t see it that way. You may disagree.

This movie explores every toxic corner of our society and it is disgusting, sad and frightening to watch at times because you can totally imagine something like this actually happening. You really have to see it for yourself to judge, moreso than most other movies. It definitely isn’t a movie for all. But if you like horror and suspense I think you may like this.

The acting is quite good. Odessa Young gives it her all. Hari Nef is downright loveable. Understand that there are four teenage girls together much of the time so old fuddie-duddies may find the chatter and their conversations a bit annoying. The action is amazing. The gore is so great and disturbing it is just too satisfying to miss out on. The third act is enthralling, technically beautiful and provided a proper pay off for any suffering I may have experienced.

Assassination Nation earned 7 out of 10 bloops. An angry movie for our angry times and it is definitely worth a watch. It’s crazy but there is something hella-artistic about it. It’s like Kill Bill on meth. I would have given it a 6.5, but it got a well-deserved bump from that brilliant, beautifully executed third act and smart concept (even though I dislike the way it ends).

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @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!

Other Reviews

The Oath
A Star is Born
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
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
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

The Oath (R)

Directed by, written by and starring Ike Barinholtz, and co-starring Tiffany Haddish, The Oath tells the story of a family divided over politics and how they survive, or barely survive, Thanksgiving. It’s billed as an action/comedy/drama and contains elements of a thriller that involves politics.

This movie surprised the heck outta me. It was actually pretty good. I was expecting nothing. Like, zero. I had no idea what it was about and hadn’t heard one peep about it before seeing it. Although it is a family comedy set around a holiday like many films before it, The Oath has some originality to it, is weird and funny, not at all predictable and still manages to be somewhat relatable. I didn’t relate to it personally, but I could see the political part ringing true for many people (specifically, the one anti-fill in the blank of any politician against a family full of pro-fill in the name of that same politician). Whether you cast a vote for a Democrat or a Republican, it’s the same scenario when everyone in your family votes one way with the exception of you – and even moreso nowadays.

It was extremely clever of Barinholtz to mix politics and a crime/thriller and not have it turn out to be just another political thriller. The Oath has this present-day, dystopian feel that makes it eerie; particularly when combined with the score (which reminded me so much of The Burbs (1989) and Jaws (1975) (and so many other movies,) and caused me to laugh out loud every single time I heard it). Add the chasm that politics has caused in real life between and among people since we recently moved from a society who at one time didn’t believe in discussing politics at the dinner table, to people who go on line and discuss, debate, argue, name call, work ourselves up into a froth and descend into madness over all day, every day – and it comes together as quite the solid formula. Tsk, tsk, tsk. But for social media… Anyhooo, The Oath is a quaint (in a morbid type of way, if that’s at all possible), violent, funny, entertaining flick. And the special effects and make-up are great.

Billy Magnussen makes for one satisfying villain upon whom you will wish bad things. He made it easy for me to hate him. I didn’t see that movie Haddish recently with that tiny little man, you know, whatshisface, because I wasn’t in the mood to watch those two say ridiculously silly lines to one another. But I decided to give this one a go because it fit into the time I had on my hands before seeing The Hate U Give (review coming up next! Outstanding film, by the way), and this movie managed to keep me engaged. Barinholtz and Haddish do a solid job as a married couple who are impressively in sync with one another. The subtlety of the knowing glances they share mimics the look significant others and besties share when hearing something ridiculous strike their ear, as it escapes some idiot’s mouth. It was brilliant, they did it consistently, and it was funny.

The Oath earned 7 bloops out of 10. It’s a good movie worth seeing. It’s gory, funny, eery at times and never takes itself too seriously. It’s also goofy, amusing satire. The writing and acting are enjoyable and at 1 hour 33 minutes it doesn’t drag on. Of course, it’s not for everybody. Political statements aside, everything isn’t for everybody.

Although it is a Thanksgiving themed movie, if you want to see it in a theater I would advise you to go now – like, today, because I’m certain it won’t last in theaters much longer (due to the influx of alleged Oscar contenders)  unless something very unexpected should happen. Heck, it might be streaming by Thanksgiving as fast as these movies pass through.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @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 seeing/reviewing next…

I’m behind as usual, but moreso now for two reasons. First, the MNFN MTA has decided to cut my trains on my route on the weekend so my mobility is restricted as far as getting around the city and secondly, my blog was broken for like 10 days and I didn’t even figure it out until day 6 or so! I had been posting content and it wasn’t showing up on my page! At any rate, I’m up and running now. Going to see Halloween tonight. And I’ll let you know how it was after I review The Hate U Give (should be up tomorrow). Unless Halloween is the best Halloween of them all!

Beautiful Boy
Mid90s
Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Other Reviews

A Star is Born
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
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
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

 

A Star is Born (R)

One cannot discuss A Star is Born without first reviewing the history of this remake. If you hadn’t heard, just for a bit of trivia, since the time of the movie’s release it was rumored that the story was inspired by the real-life marriage of the legendary Barbara Stanwyck (If you have to google Barbara Stanwyck or never seen or heard of Stella Dallas I just feel sorry for you.) and her first husband, Frank Fay. The original version (1937) starring Janet Gaynor and Frederic March was the first all color film to be nominated for an Oscar award. The 1954 version starred Judy Garland and James Mason. This is the version I saw first and it took me many years after its release to be remotely interested in the 1976 version starring Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. I’ve never seen it, by the way. Not that I can recall. I’ve been a “remake snob” for a very long time. So let us continue from there.

Directed and co-written by Bradley Cooper, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper A Star is Born (2018) tells the story of a famous musician/singer/songwriter who helps a young up and coming singer/song writer find fame as his own career declines due to aging and alcoholism. This movie revives and modernizes the story for a new generation. I mean, it’s been 42 years since the last reincarnation, so I’ll allow it.

Talk about a passion project – Bradley Cooper not only directed, co-wrote and starred in this movie, he took guitar lessons for about a year and a half, piano lessons, singing lessons AND wrote three of the film’s original songs. He poured himself into this project and it shows. It was brilliant of Cooper to modernize this version through original music, and the addition of Gaga and some drag queens brings it right up to the present day and pushes it over the top.

Cooper does a great job in his directorial debut. A Star is Born feels like an actual biopic/documentary.

The writing is fine. This struggle-love scenario annoyed the heck out of me but made for a great anti-love story. A broken man with a woman who both think it’s up to her to fix and save him. (If she asked if he was alright one more damn time…) Red flags galore and she just plunges right into it after telling herself she knows better. The episode leading up to the proposal was absolutely outrageous and the fact that she said yes so soon after that incident was ridiculous. She couldn’t even do her job without worrying about this man/child. The things we will put up with in the name of love. A Star is Born is a cautionary tale to everyone that you cannot fix another person, no matter how much you love them. Young people everywhere need to watch and learn from this film.

The acting is great; Cooper as this surly, drunk who drops f bombs all day long (if they cut all the f words from his dialogue the movie might have had a shorter run time) and Gaga as this up and coming star trying not to fall for this drunk. There were points in this movie where they kissed and Cooper was so convincing it turned my stomach because I was imagining what he must smell like with all the whiskey and cigarettes. (Blech! The first time they “slept together” was downright disgusting.) Gaga and Cooper have terrific on-screen chemistry. They played off one another extremely well. This was a perfect vehicle for Gaga as she owns this role from the first scene to the last.

The music is original and enjoyable. Good, I wouldn’t call it great. It just didn’t stir me in that way that great songs in movies do at times. I wasn’t moved to tears or get all the feels. It wasn’t The Greatest Showman-great. I know that’s a high bar to set musically, but if you’re going to give me original music in a movie, I want to be moved. I’ll Never Love Again, while a perfect fit and summary of the entire relationship/movie sounded very “Whitney Houston” to me.

Building this movie up as a contender for an Oscar, saving it for release closer to the end of the year, hyping it for over a year indicates that “the powers that be” have high hopes for this project to be nominated for an award or two. It may be wildly popular because there is original music and Gaga, but this is the kickoff of award season contenders so we have a long way to go and a lot of movies to see before anything is decided. I wish Cooper and Gaga well.

A Star is Born earned 8 bloops out of 10. It is a great movie that should not be missed. It runs a bit long at 2 hours 15 minutes, but the music and singing are enjoyable and the acting is tight. Cooper did an outstanding job wearing the many hats he did and Gaga delivers excellence.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @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 seeing/reviewing next…

Other Reviews

A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
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
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

The House With a Clock in Its Walls (PG)

Directed by producer/actor/writer/director Eli Roth, based on the first in a series of 12 books (1973) by the late Jack Bellairs and starring Owen Vacarro, Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, The House with a Clock in Its Walls tells the story of a young boy who must go to live with his magical uncle in a strange house following the death of his parents. After moving in, the young boy aids his uncle in locating and stopping a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world.

As usual, I‘ve never read this book so I had no idea what the story was about going in, what was in the book and not in the movie or vice versa, etc. If I were as avid a reader as I should be, this wouldn’t have been on my “to read” list anyhow. Not my genre.

I watched The House With a Clock in Its Walls in an RPX theater all by myself (with my smuggled in (went to a Regal theater. Damn them and their bag check!!! Even if I didn’t bring my own food, I wouldn’t be particularly interested in buying theirs, but that’s another rant for another day. We’re talking mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Yum!). The solitude felt sort of weird because the theater was huge, and I didn’t have the reaction of another soul to compare my experience to. There are times when I consider crowd reaction after a movie. You take notice of no one laughing or people laughing at scenes that were meant to be serious, or us all laughing or crying (Yes, I heard all those sniffles while trying to stop my own) together, or I am the only one laughing out loud because no one else seems to “get” it or I’ve decided a movie listed as a drama has turned into ridiculous drivel that I have to find some way to enjoy. Sometimes I just make note of the silence as everyone is absorbed in whatever is on the screen. You know what I mean. Anyway, let’s get into it.

To say that the Black/Blanchett pairing is odd doesn’t even begin to explain what occurs here. They have no business on the same screen together. Ever. Period. For any reason. Blanchett with her extensive, versatile film catalogue and Black with his one trick ponyism (I’m not judging. There’s nothing wrong with being a one trick pony. If you think about it, Clint Eastwood got away with it successfully for decades using his trademark tough guy scowl and that voice. It just is what it is.). They spewed banter at one another for much of the hour and 45 minutes, attempting jokes which mostly fail due to the fact that there is zero chemistry between them. Their characters are supposed to be best friends, but it felt as though there were no connection between them at all. No one did a terrible job here. The chemistry just wasn’t evident on screen. Blanchett looked as if she had fun during the action scenes, at least.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls isn’t the most annoying young adult story featuring magic spells that I’ve ever seen, I guess. All I know is somewhere in the middle of it all they lost me, and near the end I wanted to just walk out. I didn’t, and it didn’t end too terribly. Underdog triumphs, blah, blah, blah. Nerdy kid turned cool, blah, blah, blah. One big happy family in the end, blah, blah, blah. The entire movie is kind of meh, with some great effects and some creepiness to it. Small children might find it too scary, as it contains a lot of the stuff of nightmares such as clowns, devils, odd looking dolls and the like.

Despite its problems, The House With a Clock in Its Walls earned 6.5 out of 10 bloops. It is a movie worth seeing in a theater for the effects but I have to stop short of calling it “good.” It’s somewhere between not bad/could have been better and almost what I might call a good movie. The lack of chemistry between Black and Blanchett is just too large an obstacle to overcome but the effects are great. Quite a mixed bag here. I suspect that if it does well enough at the box office this won’t be the last we will see of these characters, and if that is the case, let’s just hope someone gets re-cast.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @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 seeing/reviewing next…

It’s Oscar season. There’s a lot to see. Hope you’ll see it with me.

Other Reviews

A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
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
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