Posts Tagged ‘the post’

h1

So Many Movie Reviews! Three Billboards, Phantom Thread, Game Night, Lady Bird, and more!

March 28, 2018

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) was a movie that I immediately wrote off when it was announced, but as the release date approached, I was intrigued enough to check it out. It was fun. All the main actors are funny and I was laughing through most of the movie. I wish there were more animal encounters, but I can hardly complain about this sequel – it was better than it had any right to be. Anyone interested in watching this shouldn’t be disappointed.
Replay Value: It is fun enough to watch again, but unless Dina wants to see it, that probably won’t happen.
Sequel Potential: Can you believe this grossed $400 million in the United States alone? To put that in perspective, that’s just under the combined box office receipts for Justice League and The LEGO Batman Movie. It did more business than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spiderman: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok! Unreal. So yeah, lots of potential for more Jumanji.
Oscar Potential: Zero nominations.
Dina Meter: My wife would have definitely enjoyed this movie.

6/10 (Fun)

Phantom Thread (2017) was more high level filmmaking from director Paul Thomas Anderson. Daniel Day-Lewis gives his typical powerhouse performance, although this one has quite a bit less dazzle than some of his best work. Still, his high strung and OCD fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock is another very memorable DDL character. The writing, direction, and acting are all very well done in this film, but fair warning, it does get a bit weird towards the end. I doubt general audiences would be enthralled, but those of you that enjoy more artsy films should find a lot to appreciate here. Phantom Thread is a film that is already making me reexamine my new movie ratings because it doesn’t seem to fit the “Highly Enjoyable” or “Fun” categories, but it was certainly a better film than Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Replay Value: I would take this journey again.
Sequel Potential: Zero.
Oscar Potential: Acting nominations for DDL and Lesley Manville, plus Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, and an unsurprising win for Best Costume Design – it is a movie about a fashion designer!
Dina Meter: Definitely not Dina’s kind of movie and if she did watch it, she would have been out in the last half hour.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Lady Bird (2017) was a lot of fun, but I have a confession. The trailers for films are so long these days that I no longer make it a priority to be in the theater when the movie is supposed to start. The actual film almost never starts until 15 minutes after its listed showtime. Well, I walked into Lady Bird over ten minutes late and the feature presentation looked like it was well in progress. Walking in late to a Best Picture contender is inexcusable and I think it may have hindered my experience ever-so-slightly. Still, I definitely enjoyed Lady Bird. Saoirse Ronan was absolutely terrific and her character, while a flawed teenage girl trying to figure things out, was one of 2017’s best movie characters. Laurie Metcalf was also great as Lady Bird’s mother. On the other hand, this movie was a good contrast for Timothee Chalamet’s performance in Call Me By Your Name. After seeing him in this, I’m upgrading his performance in Call Me By Your Name to truly phenomenal. I give Lady Bird a strong recommendation and I feel like I owe it another watch myself.
Replay Value: High on my list to see again immediately.
Sequel Potential: Seems very unlikely.
Oscar Potential: Five nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, plus Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress and Laurie Metcalf for Best Supporting Actress.
Dina Meter: I am looking forward to watching this with Dina and I am sure she will like it.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

The Post (2017) was an enjoyable politically-charged newspaper thriller with a standard Oscar-worthy performance from Meryl Streep and lots of quality work from the rest of the cast. The story of a government cover-up and a small newspaper putting everything on the line to publish the conspiracy was actually quite a bit more entertaining than I was expecting. It’s still difficult for me to picture The Washington Post as the Oakland Athletics of the newspaper world, but this movie has a bit of a Moneyball feel to it. I tend to prefer Steven Spielberg’s adventure spectacles, but at this point, I think you have to give the guy credit for being very adept at making political thrillers.
Replay Value: Not really a movie I’m looking to watch more than once.
Sequel Potential: N/A
Oscar Potential: Two nominations: Meryl Streep and Best Picture.
Dina Meter: I think she’d like The Post.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) might be one of the most polarizing films of 2017. I’ve seen people say it was the best film of 2017 and I’ve seen people say they hated it. Honestly, it’s a tough film to rate. There was definitely times during the movie when I thought it was the year’s best film. Frances McDormand gives my favorite performance of the year – of that, I am certain. Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson also chip in with exceptional performances. Much like the film itself, Rockwell’s unhinged police officer is one that is likely to divide audiences. He’s an idiot and a total loose cannon that seems to have no leash and there seems to be no good explanation for his free reign of destruction. The character is rather despicable but Rockwell’s acting is off the charts. I loved him in this movie. Three Billboards is brutal, shocking, and full of twists and turns and will possibly leave audiences shaking their heads or unsatisfied, but I thought it was great. McDormand and Rockwell give two of my favorite performances of 2017 and the plot, although absurd at times, is insanely entertaining. This movie is a total spectacle and a must see in my books.
Replay Value: I am looking forward to watching it again.
Sequel Potential: Almost none. I guess it’s possible, but I don’t see any reason to continue this story.
Oscar Potential: Seven nominations: Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay, and Woody Harrelson, plus well deserved Oscar wins for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.
Dina Meter: I have no clue where my wife will fall on this movie, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

8/10 (Must See)

Game Night (2018) was tons of fun. Absolutely Hilarious and totally unexpected. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams were terrific and had great comedic chemistry. Jesse Plemons is also hysterical every time he’s on screen. I mean absurdly funny… like I laughed through almost every second of his screen time. Game Night twists and turns so much you’re never really sure what’s real and what’s not (and neither are the characters in the movie) and it doesn’t get so outlandish that it becomes ridiculous. This would have been the best comedy of last year and after a brief glance it looks like I’d have to go back years to find a straight comedy that I enjoyed more than Game Night. If you missed this in theaters, make sure you check it out on home release – it’s a must see comedy and very fun flick.
Replay Value: Comedies are best the first time, but I’d happily watch this again.
Sequel Potential: Successful comedies always have sequel potential.
Oscar Potential: None.
Dina Meter: If Dina doesn’t love Game Night I’ll be shocked.

8/10 (Must See)

Annihilation (2018) is writer/director Alex Garland’s follow up to his terrific Ex Machina. I don’t know. There’s a good movie in here somewhere, but I didn’t love it. Annihilation is intriguing, at worst, and there are some thrilling moments when the women enter The Shimmer and encounter some strange beasts, but the last 20 minutes or so of the film are definitely going to lose viewers. I’ve read a number of people that loved this movie, but I’m among those that were kind of boggled after Natalie Portman reaches the lighthouse. Ex Machina was a bit weird too, but I think it was substantially more palatable than Annihilation is. The cast here is okay, but nothing remarkable. I’ve read enough good things about Annihilation to know it has an audience, but it was a slight miss for me.
Replay Value: Debatable.
Sequel Potential: I believe this was the first adaptation in a series of novels.
Oscar Potential: A February release and a divided audience are going to hurt its chances, but I suppose a Best Adapted Screenplay could be a long shot.
Dina Meter: I think making Dina sit through this would ruin her day.

5/10 (Decent)

Red Sparrow (2018) did not grab me at all. To be fair, I was incredibly distracted while watching it, as I explained in this post, but even if I was focused on the movie, I don’t think I would have been impressed. This is the least inspiring performance I’ve seen from Jennifer Lawrence to date and none of the characters I saw were interesting or likable at all. I walked out of this movie probably less than halfway into it.
Replay Value: I will probably give this a second chance on home release.
Sequel Potential: $44M in gross with a budget of $70M is a dud. Let’s just stop now and let J-Law focus on meatier roles.
Oscar Potential: More like Razzie potential. Seriously… drawing live IMO.
Dina Meter: Dina could probably stomach this movie if she were multitasking.

3/10 (Bad)

Game Over, Man (2018 – Netflix) was a comedy I was looking forward to since it was written by and starring the dudes from “Workaholics,”, but this is stupid comedy, not smart comedy. Game Over, Man relies on shock value and grossout humor and while it has some funny moments, it’s mostly just really dumb. It’s basically Die Hard with three idiots instead of Bruce Willis and a posse of forgettable bad guys, none of which have the charisma of Alan Rickman. No idea how this movie has a 5-star rating on Netflix, but I expect that start plummeting as more people start watching it. This movie wasn’t trying to be good, but it also didn’t succeed very well at being silly entertainment. You can safely skip this, unless you enjoy bad comedies and a lot of people do.
Sequel Potential: There was a sequel teaser similar to the credits of 22 Jump Street. No idea if it’s a real thing or not, but it probably shouldn’t be.
Oscar Potential: None.
Dina Meter: Dina was laughing before she fell asleep, but so was I. I’m confident she would have lost interest too.

3/10 (Bad)

h1

January 2018 – Movie/TV Preview

January 6, 2018

My list of January movies I’m looking forward to doesn’t look much different than last month’s list, as a number of the films I want to see saw a limited release in December to qualify for the Oscars, but will receive wide releases this month. Some of these movies aren’t playing anywhere near me and don’t have an upcoming wide release listed, so chances are I won’t see many of them until they are on blu-ray.

1. Molly’s Game (January 5th, wide) – Jessica Chastain play Molly Bloom, host of private high stakes poker games in Hollywood and New York that featured some A-List celebrities. The book was enjoyable, but this film is getting raves and Aaron Sorkin is a master at turning books into screenplays.

2. Lady Bird (limited release now) – I don’t know much about this movie except that it’s a supposedly quirky coming-of-age story starring Saoirse Ronan and written/directed by Greta Gerwig and that’s it’s one of the most highly rated films of 2017.

3. I, Tonya (???) – Margot Robbie plays Tonya Harding, the former renowned figure skater that conspired to have Nancy Kerrigan assaulted and made a sex tape she sold to Penthouse.

4. The Disaster Artist (???) – This movie is about some guy that made a bad movie called The Room. I don’t know much about any of that, but James Franco is apparently spectacular in this and it has received critical praise.

5. The Post (January 12th, wide) – Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in a political drama where the press squares off against the government.

6. All The Money In The World (in theaters) – Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, and Mark Wahlberg star in this thriller directed by Ridley Scott about a boy that is kidnapped and his mother’s desperate attempt to get his billionaire grandfather to pay the ransom. An amazing note about this film: Kevin Spacey originally starred as the rich grandfather but was replaced by Christopher Plummer when his scandal broke. This happened on November 8th. Plummer had two weeks to memorize all his lines and prepare for the role before reshoots over the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday and the film was released on December 22nd. Incredible!

7. Phantom Thread (January 19th, wide?) – Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis are all the information I need, but the plot outline doesn’t really grab me.

8. The Darkest Hour (limited now?) – Gary Oldman disappears into the role of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on the threshold of World War II.

9. Hostiles (January 19th, wide) – Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike star in a this period piece set in the late 1800s about an Army captain escorting an Cheyenne chief through dangerous territory. From Scott Cooper, director of Crazy Heart, Black Mass, and Out of the Furnance – all notable films, but none of which I’ve seen.

10. The Commuter (January 12th) – Liam Neeson does Liam Neeson things. On a train. This is the only official 2018 release to crack this list and my interest in it is pretty mild.

Netflix Additions

Immediate Watch

Eventually Watch

Before I Wake (January 5th)
Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, Season 10 (January 5th)
The End Of The F**king World, Season 1 (January 5th)
Katt Williams: Great America (January 16th)

Might Watch

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Adventure (January 10th)
The Force (January 29th)
A Futile and Stupid Gesture (January 26th)
Rotten, Season 1 (January 5th)

Other Notables – Certified Classics in bold

Apollo 13 (January 1st)
Batman (January 1st)
Batman Returns (January 1st)
Batman Begins (January 1st)
Breakfast At Tiffany’s (January 1st)
The Conjuring (January 8th)
Dallas Buyers Club (January 16th)
The Godfather (January 1st)
The Godfather: Part II (January 1st)
Into The Wild (January 1st)
Lethal Weapon (January 1st)
Lethal Weapon 2 (January 1st)
The Shawshank Redemption (January 1st)
Training Day (January 1st)
The Truman Show (January 1st)
Wedding Crashers (January 1st)

h1

December 2017 – Most Anticipated Movies & Shows

November 30, 2017

Top December Movies

1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 15th) – No explanation needed here, right? As far as Star Wars fanboys go, I’m not much of one, but I would say I enjoy the series. I own about 300 movies, but not one film related to the Star Wars franchise. Still, nothing quite defines the experience of going to the movies like a new Star Wars film and I’ll be there opening weekend like everyone else. I was very happy with JJ Abrams’ reboot in 2015 and this should be another fun installment.

2. The Shape Of Water (December 8th, limited) – Guilleremo del Toro (Pan’s Laybrinth directs a stellar cast that features Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, and Octavia Spencer in this period piece about a mute woman that works as a cleaning lady in a top secret government building that houses a creature that she becomes fond of. del Toro and top notch actors and a creature is always a winning formula.

3. I, Tonya (December 8th, limited) – Margot Robbie plays notorious ice skating star Tonya Harding, the woman that was responsible for bashing in rival Nancy Kerrigan’s knee. The tone of this movie seems fun and Robbie and Allison Janey look like they could be giving great performances.

4. Molly’s Game (December 25th, limited) – I read the book this movie was adapted from and I thought it was interesting, but not really something that would translate well to the big screen. If anyone can make it work though, it’s Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter responsible for The Social Network and Moneyball. Also, Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba bring serious acting chops. For those that don’t know, this is a movie about a woman who hosted some of the biggest underground poker games in Los Angeles and New York, some of which were attended by celebrities like Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, and Alex Rodriguez.

5. The Post (December 22nd, limited) – Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in a newspaper drama set in the early 1970s.

6. Phantom Thread (December 25th, limited) – Director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) and Daniel Day-Lewis team up again for what is supposed to be DDL’s last role of his acting career. The film is set in the 1950s and centers around London fashion, which definitely doesn’t excite me. Day-Lewis is one of the best actors of all time though and Paul Thomas Anderson has proven himself a very capable writer/director, so I will be anxious to see how they can make this material enthralling.

7. Downsizing (December 22nd) – Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig play a married couple that decide to shrink themselves in order to escape their stress filled lives and take advantage of this newfound technology that will help the world’s overpopulation issue. Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways) directs this comedy.

Netflix Additions

Immediate Watch

Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 (Dec. 5th)
Judd Apatow: The Return (Dec. 12th)
Dave Chappelle: Equanimity (Dec. 31st)

Eventually Watch

The Crown, Season 2 (Dec. 8th)
Peaky Blinders, Season 4 (Dec. 21st)

Might Watch

Diana: In Her Own Words (Dec. 1st)
Easy, Season 2 (Dec. 1st)
Trollhunters Part 2 (Dec. 15th)
Bright (Dec. 22nd)
Creep 2 (Dec. 23rd)

Other Notables

8 Mile (Dec. 1st)
Full Metal Jacket (Dec. 1st)
V For Vendetta (Dec. 1st)