Saturday, March 18, 2017
Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton, Jack Davenport, Nicholas Lyndhurst
My thoughts on this film: I went to see 'A United Kingdom' having only known of the movie and of the true story behind it from newspaper articles. It portrayed a true story, which to me raises its value. The lead actors were superb. They unfolded the story with emotional restraint.
You could see that this film was produced and directed with respect for the story, for the real people behind the story, and for us, the viewers.
Totally worth watching!
Sunday, March 05, 2017
And Cujo falls sick. Very sick. And the gentle giant who once protected the family becomes a vortex of horror inexorably drawing in all the people around him.
Quote: "It would perhaps not be amiss to point out that he had always tried to be a good dog. He had tried to do all the things his MAN and his WOMAN, and most of all his BOY, had asked or expected of him. He would have died for them, if that had been required. He had never wanted to kill anybody. He had been struck by something, possibly destiny, or fate, or only a degenerative nerve disease called rabies. Free will was not a factor."
My thoughts on this book: I have never watched the film, so I am merely writing this review from having read the book.
Most of this story feels like Stephen King is just filling in time... until the last 100 pages. I think that he took what was potentially an award-winning tale of terror and jammed as much into it as he could until it became one of his shorter novels.
That being said, Cujo is a really powerful book in some places. While I did not care much for a lot of the things surrounding it, the core is pretty terrifying and heart-wrenching. No one wants their beloved family pet to turn on them, and a rabid dog trapping a woman and her child in a car for DAYS is damn well horrifying.
The writing is good and the ending packs a huge punch. I surely did not see that coming.
The ending to this story certainly made up for the very slow beginning.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
|Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel|
BEST PICTURE: Moonlight
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Emma Stone (La La Land)
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Viola Davis (Fences)
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Zootopia
CINEMATOGRAPHY: La La Land
COSTUME DESIGN: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
DIRECTING: La La Land
DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE): O.J.: Made in America
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT): The White Helmets
FILM EDITING: Hacksaw Ridge
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Salesman
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: Suicide Squad
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE) La La Land
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG): City Of Stars - from La La Land (Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)
PRODUCTION DESIGN: La La Land
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED): Piper
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION): Sing
SOUND EDITING: Arrival
SOUND MIXING: Hacksaw Ridge
VISUAL EFFECTS: The Jungle Book
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY): Moonlight
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY): Manchester by the Sea
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Under Todd, it is no more good-girl attitude: he wants warrior princess Charlie all the way. After all, no one ever won by being nice.
Celebrity mags and gossip blogs go wild for Charlie, chasing scandal as she jets around the globe. But as the warrior princess' star rises, both on and off the court, it comes at a high price. Is the real Charlie Silver still inside?
Quote: "From here on out we'll be working on a mental makeover, if you will. I want aggressive. Go-getting. Intimidation. You think the men are walking around apologising for everything and hugging each other? Hell, no! And the girls shouldn't be either."
My thoughts on this book: I am not a particular fan of this story, to tell you the truth.
Let us start with the good parts: you learn a lot about the pro tennis circuit. Lauren Weisberger clearly did her research because she shows you all the particulars of travelling, uniforms, practice schedules, nutrition, and the like. You learn about the image manipulation, the press, and the dance of romance. This part is pretty interesting.
Now, about Charlie: she is not dull. She is just unoriginal. There is little to her that you have not read elsewhere. She has above average tennis skills, good enough to be on tour but not excellent enough to win a grand slam. Everyone in her life keeps telling her to just quit. And Weisberger limits the perspective of the book to Charlie's, so you really only know what Charlie thinks and what motivates her. What about her father, her brother, her (former) coach? What drives these people throughout the story?
One person who is quite happy to have Charlie compete is her new coach, who is straight out of Central Casting for 'Overbearing Brute'. Again, this is a character you have seen before in dozens and dozens of books. And so is the Hot Mediterranean Lover. In a cast of utterly unoriginal characters, Marco surely is the worst. He says and does absolutely nothing that distinguishes him from the others.
I will say this much: I did want to find out what happened. I wanted to know when, exactly, would Charlie grow up and what she would do after tennis was over.
The worst part of all had to be the ending. After dragging out the various dramas at play, the ending occurs so quickly that I was left wondering whether Weisberger had been held to a word count. What was that all about?
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Glen Powell, Kimberly Quinn
Why I loved this film: The characters on which the film is based were special and unique on their own, and well deserving of the sort of semi-documentary films that Hollywood likes to serve up. However, to take that story and bump it up to a major feel-good film that engages the viewer from the get-go to the very end of its running time is what makes it so great!
The acting is just amazing. This is probably one of the best Costner performances in recent years (I was beginning to think that he would not be able to pull it off again).
Taraji P. Henson finally lands a great role, the best one I have seen her in yet. Octavia Spencer also gives the performance of her life as the 'glue' for the other characters.
Jim Parsons is believable and funny at the same time, although this feels like a more human version of Dr. Sheldon Cooper.
Overall, I highly recommend this film.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons, Trevor Lissauer, John Legend, Tom Everett Scott
My thoughts on this film: The opening sequence - which was satirised on the Golden Globes - does not do the rest of the film justice. It is as if the cast from the FAME remake grew up, had children of their own, and then those children hijacked the Santa Monica freeway to do a ten-minute flash-mob dance sequence.
From that point on, the film gets better.
We continue towards a love story as pure as anything since the great dramas of the 1940s. It really reminded me of Singing in the Rain and the likes.
Gosling is surprising as a leading man expected to do song and dance, but he delivers the goods.
Stone, who I did not like as much in other movies, steals the film and possibly the hearts of the audience. The awards should flow like water, and she will deserve every one of them.
This is, deep down, an ode to Hollywood. The film industry has always had issues with endings - back in the day they would film several different endings per picture - and then decide at the last minute which to use. Here, Chazelle pays homage to that by giving us an alternate ending, along with the 'real' ending, and then a closing sequence designed to remind everyone that nothing in Hollywood is real, but everything can still be fun.