Happy Death Day 2U (PG-13)

Co-written (with Scott Lobdell) and directed by Christopher Landon and starring Jessica Rothe, in Happy Death Day 2U our heroine, Flower “Tree” Gelbmans, discovers that being murdered over and over and over again was surprisingly easy compared to what is going on now. You have no idea how mad I am at myself for not reviewing the first one! Happy Death Day (2017) was released right in the midst of an Oscar season that started pretty early, and was very time consuming (Because 2017 was a much better year filled with better movies than 2018. I’ve found 2018 to be sort of lackluster, personally.), so it didn’t get the attention it deserved. It wasn’t a masterpiece or anything, but it was certainly a notable film which turned out to be much better than I anticipated going in and it was certainly worthy of a watch and a write up with a recommendation to see it. It is well acted, well written, and fresh-feeling for a concept that has been attempted many times (the time loop).

The writing is still pretty strong. It takes a while for Happy Death Day 2U to get going (You may feel differently if you’re just jumping in here.) but once it does it’s another fun ride. The concept of the day you were born becoming the day on which you are murdered and have to relive over and over again is intriguing. The addition of an element of science fiction /time travel/dimensions makes Happy Death Day 2U as fun and as satisfying as the first installment. There is just enough humor so it doesn’t become goofy. It isn’t too gory (thinking back on it, there’s really not much gore at all. There’s hardly any!). The film doesn’t rely on scare jumps. The plot is super interesting as Tree faces this great, life altering decision about her past and her future. This movie brings up philosophical questions about life and change and choices – the what ifs and what would you dos, and if you could – would yous?…  Imagine the possibility of getting a “do over” in life. I am growing to enjoy the concept of these films more and more. (Now I have to go back and watch the first one again! Because of this blog I’m always watching something new and needing to move on. I rarely get a chance to see anything for a second time unless it is so brilliant that I must.) I also like the multiculturalism of it all because it is a college campus, that’s what most American college campuses look like, so why not? It’s realistic and doesn’t feel forced.

Jessica Rothe is so stinkin’ cute (with her Blake Lively-looking self. (My review of A Simple Favor is in the link because, why not!?) She reminds me of another actress as well but I cannot put my finger on exactly who. It will come to me eventually…), that I find her face to be hilarious when she gets pissed off. I love it! She does some really good acting here (just as in the first installment) and I think she is a large part of what really puts the Happy Death Day “franchise” (Is it too soon to call it that just yet?) a notch above other run-of-the-mill slasher movies. Rachel Matthews does a notable job as well. The intensity of Steve Zessis is hilarious. The remainder of the supporting cast were the weak(er) link in the formula and made Happy Death Day 2U feel like a school play, at times.

And can we please talk about those big, scary babies? Haaaaaaahaaaaa! Those crazy looking babies are scary, creepy as heck and comical in the best possible way, all at the same time. I mean…Just. Wow!

Happy Death Day 2U earned 7.5 out of 10 bloops. It’s a good movie, worth seeing in a theater for the ambiance. After getting a foot in the door and earning some recognition with the first rated PG-13 installment, amping up the gore a bit would have given this installment more impact. It makes a great popcorn movie. Good job keeping up the quality from the first film through the first sequel. If it does well at the box office over this weekend, I’m sure there will be a third.

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!

Other Reviews (Please excuse the look of this section. It is a work in progress.)

If Beale Street Could Talk
What Men Want
Eighth Grade                          Vice                                                     Roma
Mary Queen of Scots            Widows                                              The Favourite
Green Book                            Halloween                                          Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody            Beautiful Boy                                     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               
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

 

Advertisements

The Upside (PG-13)

Adapted from Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s autobiographical work, directed by Neil Burger, starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, The Upside tells the story of an unlikely relationship between a wealthy, successful paraplegic (Cranston) and ne’er-do-well ex-convict (Hart). The wealthy, successful dude is white and the ex-convict is black. It’s sort of a role reversal from Green Book (my review in the link) where the white dude was the thug and the black guy the sophisticated one. I would say it’s too soon on the heels of a black guy/white guy movie, but I’ll allow both because each is based on a true story.

Compared to the original French film, The Intouchables, The Upside is a watered down, inferior version of the film for certain. The original won seven or so international film awards. The Upside is winning anything. This is the case most times when great (or even good) foreign films and/or television shows are adapted into an “Americanized” version. This is the very reason that even with Tom Hanks attached to the project, I am not particularly looking forward to the Americanization of A Man Called Ove (my review in the link). So, what I won’t do is compare the two because there is no comparison. I’ll look at The Upside for what it is and recommend you see the original and judge for yourself.

The Upside is a cute, funny, safe, middle-of-the-road, non-offensive, formulaic movie that almost anyone can enjoy. Cranston does what he does and he does it well, as usual. Kevin Hart does a really good job with this role. (Just don’t compare him to the 6′ 2¾” Omar Sy, who starred in the same role in the original. I know I said I wouldn’t compare but this was one helluva glaring and hilarious difference between characters.)

The screen play is very well balanced. The Upside never gets too sappy, too preachy or pretentious. It’s a very comfortable movie in that way. The heavier parts are still light enough to allow for some humor and the humor is subtle enough to allow for the gentler moments without any of it feeling forced.  Kevin Hart gets to show a bit more range than he has in the past as this non-judgmental caretaker who educates others on how to be respectful to disabled individuals along the way. He and Cranston play extremely well together. The jokes are frequent, well distributed, and most importantly, they are actually funny. There are highs and lows, moments of triumph, moments of defeat and it’s all wrapped up in a tidy bow at the end. I didn’t mind the tidy bow at all. It’s just a sweet little feel-good film.

The Upside earned 7.5 bloops out of 10. It is a solidly good movie that is enjoyable and absolutely worth seeing. I stop short of calling it “great” because it’s not unlike many movies we’ve seen before in structure. The premise feels too familiar. I can’t say it’s not to be missed because I think you’ll be able to get over it if you miss it. When I use the term “don’t miss it” I usually mean “don’t miss seeing this movie in a theater.” And if you insist on seeing it in a theater you can go to the matinee. There is some nice cinematography and set design here, but The Upside doesn’t really require a theater view to be enjoyed. Streaming should` be equally satisfying.

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!

Other Reviews (Please excuse the look of this section. It is a work in progress.)

If Beale Street Could Talk
What Men Want
Eighth Grade                          Vice                                                    Roma
Mary Queen of Scots              Widows                                               The Favourite
Green Book                             Halloween                                           Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody              Beautiful Boy                                     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               
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

If Beale Street Could Talk (R)

Based on the novel of the same name written by the inimitable James Baldwin, directed and adapted for film by Barry Jenkins and starring KiKi Layne (as Tish) and Stephan James (as Alphonso or “Fonny,” if you’re family),  If Beale Street Could Talk tells the story of a young woman and her family/community working to free her innocent, wrongfully accused/incarcerated/convicted boyfriend/father of her unborn child.

I was trying to make this review shorter, but there’s no way. I’m usually at about 600 words and I will certainly be over 1400 by the end of this. It took Barry Jenkins 5 weeks to write this screen play. It took me nearly two weeks to perfect these 1400 or so words. …Talk about feeling like an amateur… (Just joking. I don’t compare myself to others. Ever. And Barry had Baldwin as his guide.)

There is plenty to like about If Beale Street Could Talk. Foremost, there is some outstanding acting going on here. Most notably from Brian Tyree Henry (whose doesn’t have a lot of lines; but man oh man, the ones he has are powerful and haunting. The development of the depth of his character takes literal moments and it is flipping brilliant!), and the underrated Colman Domingo. Regina King has won a Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe award for her role and is a favorite for the Oscar. Congratulations Regina!

Jenkins’ directing and the editing of Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders are outstanding! This movie has so much geographical movement that enriches the story with palpable energy. We’re on the street, in an apartment, back on the street, in another apartment, at a bar, in the visiting room at the jail, in a department store, oooh, look… we’re in Puerto Rico! We’re on a rooftop, in an alley, in a grocery store, yet another apartment, in a bathtub, etc.

This movement, in conjunction with Nicholas Britell’s score, makes If Beale Street Could Talk feel vibrant and alive and invites the audience into every scene, with every character, every step of the way.

If Beale Street Could Talk contains (nearly) two, (mostly) loving, (mostly) supportive black families (even though Alphonso’s mama is crazy and his sisters are being raised to be horrible people) full of strong Black women and a father in both homes as a norm. That was nice to see for a change of pace and I need more of it, please.

The film presents a potential “white savior” who fails! How often do you see that happen?!! But dude, you failed at the wrong-est of times! Fonny needed you, man! (I’m halfway joking about the white savior thing. On one hand, I’m sure anyone in Alfonso’s position couldn’t give a care about the ethnicity of whomever might have the ability to “save” them, but on the other, a story written by James Baldwin containing anything about a white savior would mean the world as we know it would make a little less sense.)

Cinematographer James Laxton makes certain that If Beale Street Could Talk is a masterpiece to behold visually. The set design and wardrobe are thoughtful and beautiful. The setting and subject matter, each vacillating between romance/hope/love and fear/despair/helplessness, fit right into Jenkins’ stripped-bare, pensive style of directing exhibited in Moonlight (my review in the link. I must say, I watched Moonlight a couple of weeks ago and fell right back in love with it all over again). Laxton captures it all. What a dynamic pair they make.

If Beale Street Could Talk is only Jenkin’s second feature film and it is quite a daunting endeavor. I’m proud that he went for it, but along with the praise, I have a bit of criticism which it pains me to share, but share I must. Alright, alright, alright…there’s quite a lot of criticism.

Using the same musical director, cinematographer and editors on both films pretty much ensures the same “feel” and tone, which is probably what Barry (I call him Barry as though we’ve met. I’m sure he won’t mind, because I love him.) was going for and that is fine, but at times – specifically during the third act – I literally felt as though I was watching Moonlight with some changes in faces, circumstances, location, etc. Both films are unconventional love stories with vague endings. The pauses, the shots, the use of music, the colors, all felt so familiar but not always necessarily in the best way.

Tish provided quite a bit of narration in order to move this story along. My feeling is – there’s a point where a movie can have too much. When I’m watching a movie, I want to see the movie, not listen to it. Not even in Baldwin’s beautiful words. I know that no one wants to sit for a four hour, sad movie? Specifically, not I; but there was so much narration it causes me to question the “adaptability” of this book to film, or at the very least, whether this was the best way to execute the adaptation or the best of Baldwin’s book to adapt.

The subject matter is too vast and too dense. Baldwin was a deep and complicated person, thinker and writer, so I would imagine during an adaptation of even what seems like his simplest work, there is a lot of material to sift through with many, many layers to untangle. From one moment to the next, If Beale Street Could Talk confronts the audience with teen pregnancy, generational poverty, police harassment/corruption, unlawful imprisonment, sexual harassment, young love, family support, domestic violence, the frustration of the Black man in America, religion/faith, loyalty between friends, lovers and family, etc., etc., etc.

It was a lot. In fact, it was too much. Respect for the original work is important, but in movie-making (Not that I’ve ever made one, but I’ve watched enough of them to know the things that make one better than another), many, many times, adjustments and even sacrifices have to be made in the name of clarity and focus in succinct storytelling.

Barry, where was the resolution? I didn’t mind being left hanging when Moonlight ended. I thought it was perfect and beautiful for that film; but here, I would have appreciated the opportunity to at least see Alphonso free after all the agony we went through together. I don’t care how the book ended, satisfy the viewer – book; movie – there is a difference.

And lastly (Dang, that feels like a lot of criticism right there! Sorry Barry. I still love you though!), if there wasn’t going to be a resolution at the end, you know what would have been absolutely perfect!? This movie could have been tied into the modern day wrongful conviction exonerations and releases spirited by the Innocence Project, for whom 2018 was a record-setting year in exonerations. A couple of these innocents were locked up right around the same time as Fonny/Baldwin’s writing and are just now getting out. There could have been a few statistics on DNA exonerations of the wrongfully accused and how people of color, specifically Black men like Fonny, are disproportionately the victims of such injustice. Lastly, show some pictures of men who’ve gone through what Fonny went through in real life with their name and the number of years lost from their lives due to these injustices. When If Beale Street Could Talk was over this is all I could think about and I wanted it to happen desperately; but it didn’t. It could have been so perfect and so powerful. There would have been applause at the end. I know this to be true of my screening, at least, because I would have been the one leading it!

I know Barry, I know, you were probably thinking about this as a love story and I’m thinking of it as more of a cautionary tale – more like an anti-love story. There is nothing that says “love story” about your love spending his entire youth locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. There was love in the acts and sacrifices made on Fonny’s behalf. That’s where the love comes in. Just because they stayed together through their hardships does not make it a love story in my opinion. I know all “love stories” do not end in happily ever after, but this was just sad. Some sad, sour love.

Whatever way you look at it, love story aside, of all the “fiction” written herein, the incarceration piece is the most heart wrenching, as many people – mostly Black men – have lost their lives, livelihood, freedom and youth being arrested, tried and convicted for crimes they did not commit, and to not highlight that is a missed opportunity, in my humble-never made a movie in my life-opinion.

Alas… If Beale Street Could Talk earned 8.0 bloops out of 10 bloops. Although it’s not perfect, it is a solidly good movie with a lot going for it. A brilliant second effort by Jenkins and his crew. I just think it could have been better had the subject matter been more finely tuned. The hope and despair were palpable and wonderfully executed and if it gets people who would not otherwise have to explore and/or read Baldwin’s works, kudos! I’m excitedly anticipating seeing what Mr. Jenkins will do with Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and anything else he wants to take on.

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!

Other Reviews (Please excuse the look of this section. It is a work in progress.

What Men Want
Eighth Grade                          Vice                                                    Roma
Mary Queen of Scots              Widows                                               The Favourite
Green Book                             Halloween                                           Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody              Beautiful Boy                                     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               
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

What Men Want (R)

Directed by Adam Shankman, written by Tina Gordon, Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory (giving credit to the team who wrote the original, “What Women Want” (2000), of course) and starring Taraji P. Hensen, What Men Want is Mel Gibson’s What Women Want, except that Mel’s character is now a Black woman. Each characters is successful in their field. Both are self-absorbed, arrogant, energetic, results-driven, work hard/play hard characters. He was a male chauvinist self-absorbed, jerk who ended up with empathy, compassion and a heart of gold. She was a disconnected, hardened woman who learned to warm up, open up and trust someone beside herself (and her father). If you’ve not seen the original go watch it.

Both movies are equally entertaining. In the interest of being a person who likes to know what I’m talking about, I watched the original today (Friday, February 8, 2019) for the very first time. It was an enjoyable, solid movie. Don’t know how I missed it. I’m a huge fan of Mel Gibson’s work.

Taraji P. Hensen can be quite funny at times. She and Josh Brenner played extremely well off of one another. Erykah Badu fits in perfectly here and steals the entire show with her scary, crazy self. She really is such a good actress. If you’ve not seen The Cider House Rules (1999), do so.

Clichés include the woman-on-top sex scene that every comedy starring a black woman seems to require nowadays, the most Caucasian sounding, up-tight acting White woman somewhere in the orbit (a friend/coworker/neighbor) of a crew of Black women – oh, and of course she gets her man back in the end. I refuse to give a spoiler alert for any of this because it is part of the formula and anyone who has seen a rom-com knows how it goes and what to expect. Everything gets tied up with a pretty little bow in a neat package. The end.

I like the addition of a father (Richard Roundtree) for Taraji’s character. That character is part of what separates this movie from the original, even more so than whatever gender of ethnicity the characters may be. What makes this movie stand out is the super positive representation of men as fathers. No man bashing here. These were stand up dudes, each in their own way (Richard Roundtree, Tracy Morgan and Aldis Hodge), doing their best to raise their children well.

(I can’t lie…the fact that the fathers are Black men is an added bonus for the positive representation. Since I’m a Black woman who sees a lot of movies each year I can tell you, I cannot think of one movie I’ve seen in the past few years – any years honestly – which featured kind, thoughtful, communicative, heterosexual, Black men. There may be a movie with one! But not three! And if you don’t know: Yes, that is important. I’ve been watching (and enjoying) movies featuring nothing but white people my whole life without complaint. I’ve seen negros, Black people, African Americans evolve from slaves/servants, pimps/hoes, gangstas/gang bangers and any other negative, stereotypical nonsense one could think of on film. So yes, I will be pleased by positive representation each and every time, even though it plays a minor part in how I rate a film. If representation is done extremely well, as it is here, I might bump it up .5 bloops, but I will never give a movie that earned 8 bloops 10 because the main character or the cast is Black.)

What Men Want earned 8 (.5 bump included) out of 10 bloops. This is a smart remake that does much more than just change the gender and ethnicity of the main character. It goes a step further with the addition of these positive men/fathers who happen to be Black. It’s a great Valentines Day movie because it isn’t a strict “chick flick.”

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!

Other Reviews

 Eighth Grade                          Vice                                                    Roma
Mary Queen of Scots              Widows                                               The Favourite
Green Book                             Halloween                                           Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody              Beautiful Boy                                     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              
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

 

Eighth Grade (R)

I actually wrote a review for Eighth Grade dated July 19, 2018 and failed to post it at the time. I couldn’t quite make up my mind how I felt about this movie. Since it is being talked about as being “snubbed” by the Oscars and nominated for other awards this season, I figured, why not post it (with a few revisions, of course)?

Written and directed by Bo Burnham and starring Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade tells the story of 14 year old Kayla’s transition from the last week of middle school into high school. Middle school has been uneventful and Kayla is holding out hope that things will improve.

The acting is strong. Elsie Fisher does a great job expressing the pain in Kayla’s life. The direction and cinematography allows the audience a birds eye view into Kayla’s world. At times you feel you are walking in Kayla’s shoes.

I’m going to put a spoiler alert ahead of what’s coming because I need to talk about some things with a bit more in-detail than usual.

The thing that makes this movie great is also the thing that makes it meh. Bear with me…

There is nothing fantastic about this movie. It is very typical, slice of life stuff. But somehow, Burnham managed to create this element of urgency and suspense, reminding me of all the reckless things I did in my youth and how those things could have gone horribly wrong (and some of them did!). I was a smart kid, which doesn’t mean I didn’t do stupid things or put myself in precarious situations, but I managed to dodge doing any serious, permanent damage to myself. Watching Eighth Grade, I wondered if Kayla would be as fortunate, as she attempts to navigate the road from childhood to young adult. Like most teens, in her quest for autonomy, Kayla doesn’t make the best decisions.

Kayla’s got a multitude of issues. She doesn’t fit in, struggles to form friendships, appears to have body image issues, she’s got identity issues (Dear God, that blog!) she’s got acne, etc. – all the basics for angst in many teen girls. She was neither shunned, nor bullied by her peers. It was almost worse than that. She was completely ignored and operated as though she were invisible. Just how far would she go to be noticed?

On top of that, her mom was gone and she was being raised by a clueless single dad who loved her, but had no idea how to talk to her, what to say or what to do. As Kayla is trying to find her way, so is her father. He is trying to care for her the best way he knows how, falling short regularly. They are two people, stumbling through life, with no right or wrong answers and no directions or assistance. My real problem with this is that they both should have been in counseling, particularly Kayla, to deal with her mother leaving (it’s never clear whether she left or “abandoned” Kayla), and her nearly crippling social anxiety.

In lieu of friends to talk to, Kayla choses to create these ridiculous YouTube videos where she pretends to be cool and popular, and a person with something to say. I don’t even know if anyone watched the videos since she had no friends. I’m not sure if this was meant to be sad or therapeutic, or if it was just a device Kayla used to communicate where she felt she had no other outlet for her voice. Oh, and Kayla’s speech pattern while filming these videos is cringe-worthy. I know she’s just a kid, but please learn to speak properly, in full, concise sentences. And be your authentic self. Those scenes nearly gave me a headache each time.

My greatest problem with Eighth Grade is that while Burnham is given credit for writing a story about a girl, all of Kayla’s angst and woes were chalked up to some type of phase that she seemed to just grow out of – sort of minimizing her feelings, just like a man who would write a story about a teenage girl coming of age might do. You know? Everything is an immediate, urgent, emergency when one is a teenager. I get it. But Kayla’s issues seemed more severe than the average teen angst I’ve experienced and/or witnessed.  That neediness in her for friends, acceptance, companionship, popularity isn’t going to just going away on its own because a few weeks went by. (Don’t know if you’ve read my “Welcome” page, but I have a master’s degree in school psychology and have worked with all types of children with all types of troubles, so I’m qualified to make that statement, based on what I’ve seen, thankyouverymuch.)

Eighth Grade earned 7 out of 10 bloops. It is a good movie that is worth seeing. When you consider that this is a coming of age movie about a 14-year-old girl written by a 27-year-old man, one must admit Burnham did a fine job. If no one mentioned him, one might never suspect this script was not developed by a woman. It is relatable on a basic level, despite race or class or economic standing. It is suspenseful and although I was nothing like Kayla in eighth grade, it transported me back to 8th grade in an uncomfortable kind of way. If you weren’t that outcast, shy, kid, you certainly remember that kid. If nothing else, Eighth grade is a reminder to be kind and a great way to open dialogue between parents/guardians and youth about growing up, peer pressure, self-esteem, bullying, etc.

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!

Other Reviews

 Vice
Roma
Mary Queen of Scots
Widows
The Favourite
Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
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

 

Vice (R)

Aaaah, the old gang is back together again… Written and directed by Adam McKay,  starring Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld (these three did The Big Short (2015) together), and Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney (oddly I couldn’t find a link to her on biography.com. I guess she’s just actually Dick Cheney’s wife/Lady Macbeth), Vice tells the story of Cheney’s rise to power and how he manipulated George W. Bush into allowing him to pretty much act as the President of these United States.

I reluctantly went to see Vice. I get enough of politicians and politics on a daily basis and don’t go to movies to see the same shit I can see any ole time all day long. I’ve reduced my time on social media significantly just recently because people are just annoying with the politics all day. There could be a story about a pony and someone will twist it into something political and a chance to call someone who doesn’t agree with them one of the silly names we seem to have been taught, mastered and overuse. I. Can’t. I don’t want to and I do not have to. I felt the need to disclose that I might be biased toward this film from the jump. There. I’ve admitted it. Let’s move on.

The acting in this movie is great. Bale and Adams shine as this D.C. power couple, methodically manipulating themselves to the top of the political food chain. After watching Vice, I better understand what Bale meant when he thanked the devil for inspiration for this role. Sam Rockwell reminded me of That’s My Bush’s, George W. Bush, where he was just a dupe, a dope and a joke, so I couldn’t stop laughing at him.

The make-up and wardrobe departments deserve the highest praise. Just. Wow! Bale was transformed into a spot on Dick Cheney replica. LisaGay Hamilton made a pretty good Condoleezza Rice (and it was good to see her!). Colin Powell’s makeup was alright, but, unfortunately, Tyler Perry made up to look like anyone but Madea is distracting, (Please don’t ask me why on Colin Powell’s link a picture of Bill Clinton being sworn in appears. I’ve contacted biography so they can fix that. Maybe it’s been fixed by now, I’m not sure. I wrote this review about two weeks ago. And if it is changed, you’re welcome Mr. Powell.)

The directing is adequate. The structure of Vice is similar to that of The Big Short, so it’s not groundbreaking movie making. The writing is okay, but never pulled me in completely – with a few exceptions: when Lynne tells Dick to straighten up; the Shakespeare scene (shout out to my 6th grade English teacher, Miss Garfinkel, whose class was titled, Humanities, and I never really understood why it wasn’t just English), I thought was hilarious despite no one else laughing; the discussion which demonstrated how persuasive Cheney could be was extremely well done; and the reveal at the end was marvelous. For the other hour and 45 minutes I was yawning, stretching, checking the time, nodding off, snacking (on Snap Crisps and they were delicious), etc. I was just another person in a theater watching a movie. There were a couple of other chuckles, a couple of times I was made to jump, which annoyed me at first, but I grew to appreciate jumping because that woke me up and reminded me I was watching this movie. The script was a bit messy and self-indulgent (seriously, with the open mouth eating shot. Why?).

Vice earned 7 bloops out of 10. It is a good movie worth seeing. Although the performances were excellent (Congrats Bale on that well deserved Golden Globe) I wouldn’t say it was a great, don’t miss film because you’d do fine to catch it once it streams, if you’d care to. I’m glad someone demonstrated how someone in power can  and probably did run amok if left unchecked because there seems to be a need to be reminded. I’m no fan of Dick Cheney by any measure, but I would have preferred a more straightforward telling of his story without all the slant, but maybe that’s just me. This hybrid satire/docudrama didn’t do it for me. I don’t know. I guess I’ve lost my humor over politics. It’s really not funny anymore..

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!

 

Other Reviews

Roma
Mary Queen of Scots
Widows
The Favourite
Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
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

 

 

 

Roma (R)

Written, directed, shot and edited by Alfonso Cuarón, and starring Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Roma tells the story of a middle class family and their maid Cleo (who is considered a member of the family and the star of the movie), in early 1970’s Mexico. It is a story about two women who take great care of one another when others fail to do so, and take the utmost care of one another’s children.

Roma is beautifully shot in black & white. The look of it is lovely. Some shots are stunning. The directing is tight, the editing is fine. The locations, set design and wardrobe are great.

All I know is this… the story is good, but it takes foreeeeeeever to get to the friggin’ point! I have to give myself a pat on the back because I watched while lying on the couch and didn’t fall asleep! I wanted to quite desperately, but I hung in there until something actually happened!!!! I tell you, the struggle was real. I wish I could say whether I would have struggled less sitting in a theater, but who knows?

Seriously. Nothing happens for the first hour and, ooh, maybe, 38 minutes. And I have to say, I wasn’t initially sure if the pay-off was worth the pain.

***

EDIT:

The above comments were my first thoughts about Roma before I gave it some extra thought. I saw Aparicio give an interview where I learned this was her first acting role and Cuarón give an interview where he talked about the movie being based on his mother and her maid. (Although, if my mother drove a car like his mother, I wouldn’t be so quick to claim her.) Then, how I felt about the film improved greatly. I sought out more information because I suspected I had missed something with this film, and I had. So, now that you know what you need to know about this movie going in, and there are no spoilers, so far (at least I don’t think there are), you can enjoy it more than I did upon first watch. And the first hour and a half is still bloody slow, but after reading and thinking about it, I now see that there is a method to it all.

Warning: The next bit may contain spoilers

Back to reviewing…

***

This movie triggered the hell out of me as someone who has suffered the very same tragedy as Cleo, under quite similar circumstances and with some of the same feelings about it all. I accepted it as part of my life plan and moved on. Sometimes what may feel like the most terrible thing in the world that could happen is life, or God or the universe or whatever you want to call it, doing you a great favor. I think this is how Cleo felt, except she felt guilty about her feelings. I did not.

I had no idea what Roma was about going in so it delivered me a real punch in the gut. That was not where I was expecting the story to go. If Roma does nothing else, it captures the immediate emptiness, confusion, and distress that can accompany such an event, and it does so realistically, beautifully, painfully and flawlessly.

Aparicio’s acting is so perfectly suited for this role. During a portion in his interview (hyperlinked above), I believe, where he talks about how long the casting took because he needed to find the perfect person who “felt” like Cleo. This woman is powerless and merely existing while life happens all around her and to her, over and over again, and she wades through the weight of it while emotionlessly floating through it at the same time; accepting her fate, until she surrenders to the powerlessness and in a way, sets herself free. When I tell you it’s brilliant, it is brilliant. (Any time I start using the “b” word, you know I’m into the “Singing Praises” phase of a review.)

Then there is the mother’s story… Although she has a lovely home, money, a husband and children – all these things Cleo does not have – her life parallels Cleo’s – showing that class/status and/or money does not immunize one from unhappiness, misfortune, misery or depression. Again, brilliant!

And while the women’s stories are comparable, so too are the stories of the men in their lives. Each man is selfish, “macho” in his own way, cowardly in one way or another, abusive, dismissive. Again, brilliant!

The last 40 minutes or so of Roma earned 10 out of 10 bloops! That hospital scene transported me from being a woman watching a movie to one semi-sad day 35 years ago in an instant. The end was incredibly moving as well.

Cuarón earned 10 out of 10 bloops for pouring all of his artistic passions into this project. You can see and feel the care in the details of this film.

Roma as a whole, earned 9.75 out of 10 bloops. It is a gut wrenching piece of work about the human condition but I had to take away from the mastery of it all because I had to do extra research to get to the 10 of it all. I didn’t think I would be able to forgive the slow drag that was that first hour and a half of a 2 hour 15 minute movie, but after thinking about it, that old light bulb finally went off and I’m over it! I get it! While I watched, thinking I was bored, Cuarón was intentionally messing with my mind. Many things happened! I was overly focused on Cleo’s floating and not focused enough on the events that were happening to her and around her and seeing those events not through my own eyes, but through the eyes of Cleo! All the work and the beauty and the care that Cuarón put into this project makes it masterful. And what seals it for me is I want to see it again. I might even know someone I may drag to see it so I can see what they think.

Roma is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it has already won two Golden Globes, so at least I know it’s not just me who enjoyed it. Good for you, Señor Cuarón and good for Yalitza Aparicio who is living her best life after being plucked from a humble Mexican town to become a leading lady with Oscar buzz and the cover of Vogue! I am here for and loving every minute of all of it!

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 Seeing Next

If Beale Street Could Talk will be reviewed next. I saw it weeks ago and is one of the more difficult reviews (the opposite of Mary Poppins Returns) that I’ve ever had to write. But I’m almost there.

Other Reviews

Mary Queen of Scots
Widows
The Favourite
Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
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

Mary Poppins Returns (PG)

Based upon Pamela Lyndon (P.L.) Travers’ The Mary Poppins Stories (Mary Poppins Comes Back (1935), Mary Poppins Opens the Door (1943), Mary Poppins in the Park (1952), Mary Poppins From A to Z (1962), Mary Poppins in the Kitchen (1975), Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane (1982) and Mary Poppins and the House Next Door (1988 )), directed by Rob Marshall, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns is the instant classic I’ve been waiting for! This is not a remake of the original Mary Poppins (1964). It is a sequel of sorts; a continuation of the story as Mary Poppins returns to the Banks’ household now that those children from the original are grown and in need of her assistance once again.

I don’t have one bad thing to say about this film. Well, I do, but I won’t because it’s not worth mentioning and my issue is resolved within the film itself. Honestly, the original was not one my childhood favorites. I didn’t see the original until after my daughter was born, so my perspective on the comparisons between the two films is quite different than that of someone who grew up watching the classic. However, I have owned the Disney Album since the age of six (It’s somewhere around here. Please don’t ask me to put my hands on it and pull it out to prove it.), so I was familiar with the classic songs and heard the movie long before ever seeing it.

The set design, costumes, animation, art, sound, special effects, acting, music, original songs (some, of course, more than others), guest stars, all were all amazing. The fantasy sequences are satisfying. The children are cute and not annoying at all. This film captures the spirit of Disney perfectly. It has been 54 years since the original Mary Poppins was released, and if the quality of the Mary Poppins franchise remains this high, a sequel could be made every few years and I would have no problem with it. Mary can go visit a new family with a new set of problems and I would be there for all of it! I mean, don’t you want to know what Mary does when she’s not helping the Banks family? I know I do.

After watching her in A Quiet Place (my review in the link) I knew she was growing on me. Emily Blunt has officially become someone I would go to any movie to see. Until she is not. Yes. She snuck up on me and won me over. Blunt commits to her roles so wholeheartedly and she chooses them wisely and well. There is no competition or comparison between Blunt and Julie Andrews here. Blunt has fun with this role and makes it her own. Lin-Manuel Miranda is utilized in the best way and is right in his element. I’ll even allow for his poor British accent because he remains consistent with it. He is the perfect fit for this film and provides his unique musical style to jazz things up.

The music is sublime, as we move from song to song, sentiment to sentiment, reminiscent of the prequel, with each song getting better and better. By the end I was rocking out in my seat.

What a great screenplay (co-written by Marshall, David MaGee and John DeLuca) that pays homage to the original while making something that feels fresh and new. Still set in the past, and we know it was originally a 1930’s depression-era setting, you cannot say what year Mary Poppins returned and this is what helps to make it a timeless classic. It is odd that it feels like the exact same era as the first film after the children in the first installment have grown up; but Mary Poppins is not only age-less, she is time-less. So I forgive it! That is part of the charm of the sequel!

The elements of fantasy are fun, entertaining and suspenseful.  Those moments not only brought out my inner child, they reminded me what good, old fashioned, musicals were like when stars had to be a triple threat, able to dance, act and sing (or at least do one uniquely and/or exceptionally well), in order to even get into the game. Blunt and Miranda are a charming pair in this way, as he forces her to up her musical and performance game and she rises to meet him in the challenge in the best way.

The much anticipated Mary Poppins Returns earned 9.5 out of 10 bloops. Although I cannot declare it a “masterpiece” it is an excellent film I wholeheartedly enjoyed more and more as it went along. I came home and wanted to go back out and watch it again and would read the book series if I had the time. Adults, it is safe to take the kids, grands, great-grands, nieces, nephews or a class. You will not be bored.  Can’t guarantee you won’t fall asleep because when you’re tired and the lights go out it’s always a crapshoot, but you don’t want to miss this film. It literally took me longer to insert the hyperlinks here than to write this review. This is by far one of the quickest and easiest reviews I’ve ever written. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to find somebody’s child (I have 17 nieces and nephews who have about 20 kids among themselves, so surely there should be at least one little sprout available somewhere) to take, just so I can see it again this weekend and watch them enjoy it.

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 Seeing Next

If Beale Street Could Talk will be reviewed next. I saw it days ago and is one of the more difficult reviews (the opposite of Mary Poppins Returns) that I’ve ever had to write. But I’m almost there.

Other Reviews

Mary Queen of Scots
Widows
The Favourite
Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
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

Mary Queen of Scots (R)

Directed by Josie Rourke, based on British historian and biographer John Guy’s Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart (2005) and starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots is about, well… Mary, Queen of Scots – and how plotting to claim the throne from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, led to her inevitable demise.

The thing that strikes me most about this movie is just how brutal these royals were to one another. Talk about your dysfunctional families! Why would anyone expect their reigns not to have been vicious considering how they lived to maintain all that they had in their personal lives. They killed their family members all in the name of power and position. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Watching the use of religion to control, rile, calm, appease, the masses was impressive. Also watching this movie and reading up on the history of the European rule in order to write this review made clear so many of the reasons why we are where we are today. It’s a shame humans have such a great capacity to learn and the ability to adapt to changes in societal norms but resist that change with all our might at times. All because those in power don’t want to give not even a morsel of it up. The rest of us are just playing in their clubhouse. I guess that’s another discussion for another time. Let’s get into this movie.

From what I’ve read, some people are up in arms at the idea of Mary having had a Scottish accent when she was in fact raised in France. Those same people should know by now, Hollywood is funny that way when they favor an actress as they favor Ronan. This is a matter of poetic license, which at times purposefully ignores and disposes of historical accuracy. And why? Oh yeah, so Saoirse Ronan can star in it so theaters will have butts in seats. As for me, if I don’t mind the diverse cast featuring an Asian woman, a brown man and Adrian Lester, which I’m pretty sure probably isn’t totally historically accurate either, I won’t split hairs about who spoke using which accent/dialect. It’s a movie, not a documentary.

Ronan does a good job here with a lot of dialogue. I really kind of wanted her to just please stop talking at some point (I suppose Queen Elizabeth felt the same way and finally shut her up.), but she carries the movie well. What an arrogant woman Mary was. I guess she lived and died in her truth, for whatever that was worth. Margot Robbie’s skills are overshadowed by hair, makeup and wardrobe. It was almost as though she were a mannequin used to show them all off and there could have been any number of actresses underneath it all. They overpaid to have Robbie in this movie. Since the focus is on Mary, anyone could have been given the part. (Maybe the studio wasn’t so confident in Saoirse’s ability to put butts in seats on her own after all.) Those departments, by the way, hair, makeup and wardrobe, did a superb job, along with the beautiful camera work and set design. The set design told the entire story of the contrasts between these two women. Their homes and furnishings, clothes and makeup create a wonderful visual contrast.

Mary Queen of Scots earned 7.5 out of 10 bloops. It’s a good movie but I would stop short of calling it great. I don’t think I’ll be stopping strangers in the streets to tell them they must see this movie. (I’ve done this before.)

****

Although the two are comparable, I usually don’t compare films (at least I try not to if it can be helped. It’s not my fault two period pieces featuring women leads came out within weeks of one another during awards season). I must say, I definitely preferred The Favourite (my review in the link) because the screenplay really provided a vehicle for some whimsical, energetic, enjoyable, serious, acting.

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 Seeing Next

If Beale Street Could Talk will probably be next.

Other Reviews

Widows
The Favourite
Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
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

Widows (R)

Directed by Steve McQueen, based on a classic British television series written by Linda La Plante and starring Viola (or Vee-ola, as I love to call her – – Does she even need her last name anymore?) Davis, Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell, Widows tells the story of a botched robbery which results in the death of a crew whose widows have to figure out how to fend for themselves while hatching a plan to pay off their husbands’ outstanding underworld debt.

This review may contain spoilers, so be advised…

There is a lot to like about Widows. It has some great action and suspense, along with a couple of nice twists. The acting is fine from this rag-tag, multicultural group of strong women. The cast has enough chemistry to float it. The story is interesting enough I suppose. I wasn’t bored watching it. So what went wrong?

The first problem with the premise of Widows occurs quite early on.

Here’s how I live my life  – – –

If someone comes to YOUR house to threaten YOU over money they feel YOUR husband cheated them out of, uuummm, Boo-Boo… that there is what would be considered, your problem. Period. No, I’m not interested in robbing anything with you. Robbing places is not my area of expertise and I have no desire to die in a blaze of gunfire, kill anyone else or spend the rest of my life in jail. Good luck with all of that. When someone comes knocking on MY door, then we can talk. Until then, Deuces!

But maybe that’s just me. These women were not friends before their husbands died. They were complete strangers. For this reason, from that point on, the movie struck me as preposterous. Had the threat been made imminent to all of the women, so they all had some skin in the game, it  would have made much more sense and brought a heightened sense of danger and urgency into the situation = a better movie.

Also, the good moments were overtaken by the integration of nearly every social issue and human condition ever known to mankind being crammed into this one little movie, including but not limited to, interracial love, economic instability and the threat of homelessness, grief, struggling-working-single mothers, corruption in politics, corruption in business, criminality in general, sexism, absent fathers and otherwise generally sorry men, feminism, the older generation vs. the younger generation, gun control, the balance of power between men and women, liberalism vs. conservatism, white privilege, and so on and so on and so on. I am for equal rights for all, and if that makes me a liberal or whatever people want to call it, then so be it; but even for me, Widows became “preachy,” condescending and boring (because of the preachiness). The espousing of liberal ideology felt extremely forced, out of place and did nothing to elevate the quality of the film; in fact, it did the opposite. There is a time and a place for everything, and this was neither.

All I know is I was supposed to be involved in what could have been one of the best all female heist movies ever and all of this political speak thrown into the mix ruined my good time. It was an unnecessary distraction. . Specifically the office conversation between Colin Farrell’s character and Robert Duval, who plays his father. Make up your mind about the movie you want to make because the heist story line was alright (with the mutual threat included, of course), but the political plot line went left (pun intended) and I just wasn’t in the mood to go that way just then. That’s just not what I showed up for.

And the slapping was just downright ridiculous. Who goes around slapping grown women as if they are children without the expectation of getting slapped right back?! Nobody I know.

Oh well. At any rate, Widows earned 5.5 out of 10 bloops. I wouldn’t say it’s not worth the price of admission, but it could have been much more enjoyable had it kept its focus, not gotten preachy, and fixed that gaping plot hole. An honorable mention to Elizabeth Debicki for bringing all of her towering, 6 foot 3-ness into the mix, Daniel Kaluuya is downright frightening and quite possible the best part of this entire affair, and the beauty, athleticism and fitness of Cynthia Erivo is admirable. They were all a pleasure to watch.

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 Seeing Next

My review of Mary Queen of Scots should be up tonight. Later today I will be seeing Vox Lux.

Other Reviews

The Favourite
Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
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