Movies in backwards order 2016 (Fall)
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On to the fall. Movie Count – 50*. Worst is first as usual. New ones in this color. Spoilers in white,

Knight of Cups – Did Terrence Mallick hit his head underwater a few years ago? That’s the only thing that could explain this and the almost as bad fake philosophy tripe Tree of Life. Gimme a freakin’ break. And he keeps casting all my favorite people in his movies. STOP IT!!!!

Everybody Wants Some – Why do movie wigs look so bad? They were the only entertaining part of this. From the master of bore, you have a movie set in the 80s with people who act nothing like people did in the 80s. Plenty of memberberries like Space Invaders, foosball, Disco, country line dancing, and a great soundtrack that he’s peddling to get you to think the movie made you happy. But it’s just nostalgia. Again.

Gods of Egypt – It’s entirely possible I’ll watch this again someday solely to watch the Kingslayer be all golden. And it’s shininess is really it’s only redeeming quality. It could have been fun for the sake of it if there wasn’t this horrible young actor in a bad dye job ruining everything.

Cell – lol what? I mean I think it was supposed to be bad. Like they meant it. And it had three endings. I don’t know which was the real one. At least it wasn’t trying and failing. 

The Magnificent Seven – Mostly crapola. I could not buy most of this cast as cowboys except D’Onofrio and Lee. They’re just too modern. Sarsgaard made a good villain. But when you’re cowboy hero won’t even make the effort to stand up straight, there’s nothing to see here. The chick was okay.

Hail, Caesar! – Now I tend to like movies that have an exclamation point and this is no different. But I don’t exactly love it. I think I might have if it was longer. Ralph Fiennes needed to come back and I’m not sure Jonah Hill’s role even qualifies as a cameo. But Josh Brolin was great as always. Channing Tatum I’m getting sick of. He looks half asleep the whole time and here and in The Hateful Eight I thought he did damage to the movies. I get that he’s the flavor of the month, but how about someone more delicious in the future? The plot was cool in that it included all the types of classic Hollywood movies and how some of it probably was instead of how it seemed. I really can’t help but think this was supposed to be a longer story though. I can’t say it’s great for that reason, but it’s really good.

X-Men: Apocalypse – I mean, a lot of it was off. I mean why style Xavier like an 80s version of Robin Gibb instead of giving him a perfect mullet? And no one had a mullet. Or leg warmers. IDEK. Anyway, I saw it earlier today and I’m already straining to remember anything I really liked about it. It wasn’t bad but, maybe I should let it sit. I usually don’t like to read other reviews before I do this, but in this case, I think it will probably help. I debated putting it last. Maybe I should have. Anyway, the inclusions to the cast were good. Sansa, of course. But I don’t know it all had a ‘been there, done that’ feel to it. Days of Future Past was so good that it makes this seem like weaksauce. But maybe it is weaksauce even without comparing it. I don’t know. It feels a little phoned in. They probably should have cast someone taller for Apocalypse. If he’s all powerful why can’t he turn his head in his suit? Maybe the tubes? Am I supposed to know what that was about? Anyway, yeah. I’m leaving it here for now. But it’s not looking promising that it will stay here.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – I mean it’s so on the nose. I’m saying that as someone who loves Andy Samberg’s face. It could have been awful but it wasn’t. Mildly amusing. The cameo gimmick was not there for someone of my generation. Watchable.

The Young Messiah Little kid Jesus looks like my friend Karen from when I was a kid. Had to get that out. Anyway, I thought it was pretty good. At first I thought it was going to be goofy with some new director trying out all his camera angles, but it settled down. I mostly went to see this for Sean Bean. He had more of a role than I expected. I thought he was just the “name” attached. But he plays a centurion who has to hunt down young Jesus. Of course he doesn’t want to but it’s his job. See, Herod died and Herod, Jr. wants to get rid of the threat. And then basically we see what it might have been like for the young Messiah. I thought it was a nice story. Everyone stayed away from the regular hammy biblical acting. I don’t think this movie should bother anyone and it has a nice little explanation what His Life, and life in general, is probably about.

Zootopia – Yeah. This was cuter and smarter than I expected. I don’t know why I’m saying that I wasn’t expecting anything. I only went to see it because I had time to kill and nowhere else to go. But it was the story of following your dreams no matter what. I’m not exactly sure that I still believe that’s the best advice. Maybe I was meant to be a carrot farmer all along. But there’s a lot going on here and I think you can interpret what it’s trying to say in a couple of different ways. I’m not going to bother spoiling it since there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t see it yourself. The voice actors were great and I appreciate the Disney style of animation better than that other stuff. One thing I don’t get is why Shakira when that clearly should have been Lady Gaga.

Moana – This really couldn’t hold my attention for some reason. I couldn’t remember what her mission was and she kept saying it. I was hearing “My name is Moana and blah blah blah blah…” lol. I don’t know I think there wasn’t a lot of jeopardy there, because the ocean was putting her in place every step of the way. Who was the villain? I think that’s why they made up the coconut pirates but then they suddenly were gone. The songs didn’t seem to weave in and out naturally either. The Rock got only one song and it wasn’t very good which is a shame because he’s a talented guy. There was the one good song, I still have to look it up. The animation was fine for the ocean and sky and all that but the “people” looked like Shrek. I don’t like Shrek but at least he was a monster of some kind. These are people. It’s time to go back to realistic people animation I think.

Jane Got A Gun – Good western. I really wanted to see it in the theater but it didn’t play here. Probably would have been higher on this list if I had. The cast were all good. Nothing really to remark on that much. A fine effort by all.

The Nice Guys – I think it belongs here. Um, so, it suffers from a mild case of inthecommercialitis. You’ve seen the funny parts. It’s still good though. It’s very close to Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, except without Val Kilmer which if you pay close attention it seems he should have had a cameo but I’m assuming he wasn’t there because he was sick. His son actually plays the projectionalist, which I didn’t realize until I read the credits. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make a natural pairing. Kim Basinger seemed like she didn’t want to look at Gosling, which is weird, but I remember her being super nervous in interviews and I want to blame that, but it’s odd for a seasoned actress. Anyway, I lost the plot a few times but I was distracted by Gosling’s pants. Bomer was gorgeous as always. People who love KKBB should like this almost as much. I want Crowe’s jacket. Sad to say, I think it’d fit.

Doctor Strange – Pretty good. Mostly the Shadow. I don’t know enough about comic books to understand the Marvel or DC history of things but this seemed like a similarly metaphysical situation. I had known that Joaquin Phoenix was in talks to play the lead role so when Cumberbunch was cast I was disappointed. So for a while I watched it thinking how Phoenix would have been better. Then they come across Benjamin Bratt who would also probably have been a sexier Doctor Strange. But what do I know? The story was pretty cool. The effects probably should have been seen in 3D which I didn’t. Anyway, another good Marvel movie.

Arrival – It wasn’t even that good, I’m sick of movies being hyped for months and months and then you see it and realize the people hyping it must be dumb. I mean it was okay. But geez Louise, it wasn’t all that. And it ended up reminding me of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure but nowhere near as entertaining. More spoilers…. guess what people, time isn’t real. Don’t we all know this by now, so the twist in the end is so not twisty that it’s almost just a squiggle, and you know for like an hour before the movie’s over who the kids dad is and when. Unless you’re as stupid as a crayon. And if you’re worth half your salt you would know to just try to use the Force to communicate instead of writing words down for months. Give me a break. And obviously the Chinese and Russians would figure it out first because of their writing systems. And then and then our hero is a selfish bitch for having a kid she’s knows will die from a horrible disease. Selfish cow!!! Just because you wanted to be a mother. Boooooo…. booooooo….. But it was a well made movie with the effects and cast and all that. But the story needs a flush or two.

Jungle Book – If your biggest claim to fame is your CGi, then it better be flawless. It ain’t. The young actor was fine. Super Hollywood type kid, but that’s okay. He needed to carry the movie. Billy Murray and Christopher Walken were also great. But you know, you can’t improve on the animated classic film. Not a huge fan of the anti-individual dogma either.

Midnight Special – I mean, I don’t know. I’m putting it here because I just forgot to include it all this time. I liked it but I do remember thinking it was overrated as well. Great cast but I could have used more. Maybe I’ll add to this if I watch it again.

DemolitionWell I only went to see it because Jake. I had expected it to be either the same thing as Moonlight Mile, or Jake smashing a house for two hours. It’s more the former than the latter and it’s got a pinch of Ordinary People thrown in. It’s a little more avante garde than those movies. I’m still left with questions though. For example, I don’t know why but when I originally saw the trailer, I thought it seemed pretty obvious that she purposely crashed the car. Now after having seen the film, I don’t know where I got that from but it’s still totally possible. Naomi Watts and Jake and the kid make a great team. It’s nowhere near as depressing as I thought it would be and there’s lots of quirkiness to entertain you but then Chris Cooper really grounds the thing. There’s a lot going on and it turns out to be unpredictable. I feel like Her fans will like it.

The Finest Hours – So I saw this on Netflix. Which is weird. It’s totally a movie theater type of movie but I really did like it. I’m getting very used to Chris Pine. I thought he did a great job here, especially with the accent. I think it would make a good companion picture to last year’s Brooklyn. Casey Affleck was good as well. I’m not sure what’s wrong with Eric Bana but you always feel like he should have been someone else. I saw this a while ago, but remember thinking it was really well done and should have had more of an audience. It was suspenseful and almost kinda creepy. It was a much better movie than The Perfect Storm which you can’t help comparing it to.

Deepwater Horizon – Really good. Like the epic disaster movies from the 70s but this really happened. It’s a shame how money has turned people into victimizers, which is basically what the movie shows. People need to see what really happens behind the scenes in these news stories that they ignore while being busy with their own lives. I’m happy that Wahlberg makes movies like this that are entertaining but are also about something. Peter Berg is getting good at this. Can’t wait to see Patriot’s Day.

A Bigger Splash – Well this was different. And then not, it seems like Europeans always go to some seaside location to get up to stupid trouble. Ralph Fiennes was top notch in this and pretty naked. I don’t want to do spoilers but suffice it to say it’s one of those people get old so they act the fool and mess up everything type of films. If you’re into that sort of thing, you should like it.

Keanu – This kitty. Such a cute kitty. And that will sway your opinion of the film. There were some bland spots and it’s fairly obvious that the template for this was Raising Arizona. If you recall Nathan Jr. was so adorable that all the criminals wanted to steal him. It became about more than money. Same thing here with little Keanu. I think it’s a genius thing to give him the disease that he has to allow for future sequels. I’m not really a fan of these guys. I always thought they did that kind of ‘trying too hard’ comedy. But they were decent in “Fargo” so I gave it a chance. Fun, cute movie.

Blood Father – Yeah this was a good movie. Much like Get the Gringo, it’s one of these would have been a box office hits, if it didn’t come out only on video, because sugar tits. Well my problem with it is actually the actress who plays his daughter. She was really bad. I would think he’d still have his choice of costars, so I dunno, maybe he just has bad taste in women. Everyone else I liked though, even Parks, who I’ve always been meh about. So yeah, highly recommended.

Hello, My Name Is Doris – Not as cute as it thinks it is but still quite good. I prefer the performance of Tyne Daly over Sally Field but they both did fine work. There were many points when I watched between my fingers due to secondhand embarrassment. But I am glad that it treats old people like people.

Batman V SupermanIf you recall I hated the abomination we called Man of Steel. So I sort of surprised myself that I got to this on opening weekend. I’m even more surprised at how much I liked it and honestly almost loved it. I don’t read the comics but I’m familiar with a lot of the villains from hearsay or other animated TV, maybe that helps. Anyway, Ben Affleck was fine as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Clooney remains the worst Batman ever. Here Bats is older and more like the grumpy thicker Batman from more of the animated stuff. Superman makes more sense here than he did in Man of Steel. They didn’t toss the idea that he’s a jackass alien. They built on it. I think what we have to understand as older folks is that we were dealing with Kal-el in the first movie. I don’t know that we ever really dealt with him before MoS. Then at the end of MoS he took on the mantel of Superman and only now toward the end of this film does he become Clark Kent, human. Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is just window dressing and moves around to fill in plot points. It might have been that she was miscast but there isn’t a lot for Adams to do here. Jesse Eisenberg, who I normally don’t like, was actually quite good as Lex Luthor. Maybe a little like the Joker here, it seems he wants to watch the world burn. And they stole a lot from other things, but that’s the way of this hodge podge/mod podge world we live in. Otherwise I enjoyed it. I loved Wonder Woman’s wardrobe cues to who she would be. And as much as I was dumbfounded at why she has a sword and shield ala Xena, the magic lasso showed up right when it should have. I almost cheered when it did, tbqh. The storyline was fine as long as you take it as Snyder’s new thing that he’s doing. You can’t look for our old Superman anymore. He’s gone.

Love & Friendship – Kinda really funny. I guess it’s Jane Austen who I never really took to. I guess it depends on the adapter. This had a great cast as well. But the standout was this guy I’ve never seen before Tom Bennett. What a hoot! I really enjoyed every moment he was on screen. The costumes were to die for and I also liked how they had subtitles explaining who everyone was at the beginning. Extremely helpful.

Central Intelligence – Better than I expected. Mainly because I’m afraid of Kevin Hart. But Dwayne Johnson I expect to be super funny and generally great and he was here. The plot was pretty good too. Even if I got confused about who the villain was.

The Infiltrator – I’ll probably need to rewatch this because I didn’t follow some of the transactions exactly, but this was a really good movie. The cast was great. Bryan Cranston of course, and Leguizamo is a reliable pest, but Benjamin Bratt stole the show here for me. He out charisma-ed Ol’ Heisenberg. The thing is I wish they’d let their relationship grow a bit more. That’d make the movie longer but I don’t care. I like long movies. Anyway it seemed a bit rushed that they would be that close. Michael Paré who I’ve been a fan of since forever has a cameo here and I was super happy to see him in it, even now that I’ve realize he blocked me on twitter. WTF? lol I really don’t know why. Anyway, for half the movie it seemed like the same old undercover cop/drug trafficking thing ala Donnie Brasco but this went a different way because of the banking.

Collateral Beauty – Yeah I’d love to see this without having seen the trailer. Here be spoilers why it ruined it. The trailers tell you that he’s writing to Death, Love and Time and that Death is an elderly white woman. You go into the film believing that these are the rules. You get there and you find out that it’s not the cast and his co-workers actually hired actors to play Death, Love and Time to prove that he’s a crazy person so that they can sell their stock, or company, or whatever. But it turns out in the end that the “actors” actually were Death, Love and Time all along. So if you think that going in because of the trailer there is no twist, or reveal. But if you’re dumb enough to forget what the trailer’s been telling you for months then you’ll just get flim-flammed by the script. Those trailer should have never happened. They just should have shown Will Smith being crazy in NYC, talking to air or something. There also are a few pay offs that they seemed to be setting up that didn’t happen. Someone wimped out. It was that close to being great.

War Dogs – Right off the bat, I have to say I really liked the nods to Scarface, especially that wall. Scarface is not one of my favorite movies, but it’s the favorite movie of the kind of people who would get themselves into a mess like this. I love Jonah Hill, which is why I went, and I’m really starting to like Miles Teller. Teller is the star playing a young man whose life has already sort of crapped out on what it was supposed to be even if he’s still young. Well, in true Johnny’s mother fashion his life requires him to turn to a life of crime in order to handle his financial responsibilities. That’s where his old BFF from junior high comes in. Honestly if we grew up at all, we shouldn’t still be friends with the people we chose in those years. Could you imagine having to have your junior high hairdo all your life? Of course not. But. Of course his friend leads him on a path to riches and where the path to riches leads. It’s a dramedy I think. Anyway, it’s got lots of yucks but it’s really a cautionary tale about people who want to think that ‘the world is yours’. Hopefully you know how that turns out. Good movie. You might be reminded of Buffalo Soldiers, but it’s not really like it except the way they make money.

20th Century Women – I know. It’s not as high as it would be if this was an objective list. But this is my favorites and it’s a chick’s movie so this is where it belongs. Billy Crudup stole this movie in my opinion. Yeah Annette Bening is great and she should be nominated and all that but Crudup is the fun here. It’s like his character from Almost Famous got older and is living in this woman’s house. So she’s a single mom. And she has tenants who make up a sort of family. It’s heartwarming. it’s Oscar-y. But also it’s got some quirky directing choices that I enjoyed that make it slightly different from the Woody Allen-ish Hallmark channel movie that it could have been.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – What do you know? I liked it. For the first half I was trying to get around looking at it too hard even though I saw it in a regular theater. Then I was trying to figure out why Ang Lee chose to do it this way. I knew there had to be a reason beyond wanting to play with a new toy. He’s not the Cameron type. Then I realized he was doing it to immerse you into their world. The world of the soldiers that we ignore. That’s why all the POV shots. You had to look them in the face after all you’ve done to them. And you also had to get an idea of what it’s like from their vantage point. The story was actually good. Not the Coming Home redo we were expecting. The actors were fine and I think the technique got you to get used to them like they’re your buddies even though we’re not that familiar with them. I only knew of Hedlund previously. The girl from “The Slap” was a good choice to play a wholesome/skank looking cheerleader. I did think Steve Martin did a good job as the Texas moneybags who’s head of the players. I think this should teach people to finally hate the player. You can’t have a game without them so remember that if you are them. (One thing I wished a couple times was that they’d been able to do the split diopter thing that Brian De Palma does. Especially when the football players in the background were all fuzzy.)

Café Society – Mild Woody. He does a more subdued film here with two stages in a young man’s life. I thought Eisenberg did fine. One small problem is you can really see why Bruce Willis was cast in the role Steve Carrell ended up playing. And you can’t help but think Bruce would have fit the role better even if he’s a worse actor and a twit. The movie looks amazing. Not the usual ending.

The Brothers Grimsby – Okay that one scene is as gross as you’re going to get without gore. But, this movie is actually really well done and entertaining. And smart. I’m going to go ahead and do medium spoilers to explain a film I think a lot of people might mistakenly skip. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Nobby, a family man from Grimsby who although blessed with many children still misses his long lost brother Sebastian. By happenstance he finds that Sebastian’s going to be at a big to-do because he’s an MI6 agent. And from there the wackiness ensues. In the meantime what we find out is what’s really important, what family means, and that everyone is important in the larger human family. You weren’t expecting that were you? Sacha Baron Cohen is some kind of a genius. Although I liked Mark Strong before, I was super impressed with his straight man abilities. I mean the stuff he went through in this movie with a straight face. lol And he was brave to do it, in my opinion.

Race – Such a great film. Released at a different time of the year, you’d think it’d be Oscar bait. But somehow it’s fighting it out the weekend before Oscar with last year’s movies. I don’t get it. Now truth be told it seems like a Disney type movie from 20 years ago, which if you understand what I mean by that, is a good thing. I don’t really know Jesse Owens’ story but for the bits and pieces you get as a sports fan or in history documentaries about something else. Here you see a cinematic telling of the time and just really about how important his actions were in the course of history. And I really wish that Jewish people and black people would watch this together. Seriously. The performances were great. It was easily digestible and it’s incredibly timely. I can’t imagine anyone disliking it. Some of the cinematography stops you like when he’s about to enter the stadium and he separates from his coach in silhouette. Really great stuff.

Captain America: Civil War – Yeah well, the Russo brothers have done it again. Now mind you it’s the weakest of the three. But the other movies were so freakin’ amazing that it’s barely a criticism. I think some of the other Avengers’ lack of awesome dragged it down a bit. Mainly Iron Man and the witch girl. I’m still not sure what her red energy balls are doing. But if it weren’t for them this would be a ten. Olsen I don’t like, but there’s nothing wrong with Downey. Iron Man is just not that wonderful of a character. I love that they continue to make Hawkeye useful. They must love Renner as much as I do because there’s really no good reason for him to be there except to round out the cast. The new guys, Black Panther and Spider-man were a great addition. And new-to-the-team Ant-man was a scene stealer. But the emoting part of the film goes to Sebastian Stan even if he’s still half robot. Now that I think of it the other emotional one was Vision. Weird. But yeah, it’s great. Cap is still our greatest hero. Falcon is our bestest friend and the hits just keep on coming. Let’s hope this goes on forever.

Manchester by the Sea – I love Kyle Chandler but his accent was awful. Tate Donovan’s was pretty good. But the kid, his accent was passable, but I didn’t like him. I feel like a cooler kid needed to be cast in that role. He didn’t look like his family either, so, I dunno maybe he was adopted before. Anyway, other than that it was really good. Michelle Williams, who I strongly dislike, did a really good job here. But of course, it’s really the Casey Show and he puts in a great performance. The movie had some wonky bits and there was a song that stuck out like a sore thumb but there was enough greatness to override that. It does seem Oscar worthy in what so far is a weak year, and it’s getting late.

Allied – This could have been really great but something was slightly off about Brad. He’s looked like he had a migraine for the last decade but maybe after the divorce he’ll stop looking like that. It also looked like they did something to the area under his eyes. either too much concealer or they fixed it in post, which, leave it alone. People are supposed to look like people. Otherwise, I liked the story quite a bit. I felt like he was holding back and maybe a better director would have gotten more emotion out of him. Or convinced him to go all the way for Marion (without worrying that Vampyra would pitch a fit) And the very first shot looked like Jar Jar Binks was parachuting into the desert. The scene in the car would have been much hotter if you’d been able to think that that sandstorm was real. But that’s all on Zemekis. I like the spy genre. I like the noir mystery to this one. The partisans and all that. I just wish I didn’t have the visual issue. It’s the second time recently I sat in the theater wondering what scenes would have looked like had De Palma directed them. (See also Billy Lynn)

Sully – Great. Fantastic work again from Clint Eastwood, master director. Hanks and Eckhart had a great chemistry. As much as Hanks mostly looked and sounded like himself save for the white hair, I was properly brought into the movie by his performance especially when I braced myself in my theater seat for impact. lol Very cinematic.

The Lobster – what a brilliant piece of fuckery. I mean really. What was this? lol You know the premise and if you don’t, watch it first. Colin Farrell has been a hoot for a long time but here oh em gee is he a beauty. lol Only he could be that winkingly wry. You know this from In Bruges. I guess I have to deal with Rachel Weisz. She’s becoming a permanent fixture. I don’t hate or anything but I could do with someone else pretty much every time I see her. Here it’s the overall premise and how it plays out that are the real winners. A+ for originality and A++ for balls. (not sure if this is officially this year’s movie)

The Girl on the Train – I’m writing this a couple of weeks after I saw it so I’m fuzzy but I really enjoyed this movie. I didn’t see where it was going but as things wrapped up I hope that it would go a certain way. It’s a mystery kinda thriller but it’s more old school. It’s almost noir-ish in the sense that throughout you’re looking for a femme fatale and you have a few choices. Luke Evans is so hot in it. I’m sorry but he is. He’s not necessarily supposed to be. Maybe a little scary but I’ll go ahead and call him scary hot. Again I wish they were singing. I keep seeing casts who should be singing. But here we are with a whodunit around a missing woman. Gone Girl this ain’t. It’s not a shock value thing. It’s just a mystery surrounding a woman who can’t really help us because she’s a drunk and can’t remember important parts of what happened. Blunt plays this troubled woman without being a caricature. One problem with the mystery of it all is that if you know the filmographies of our cast you can guess the villain based solely on that. lol But Without spoilers I can say it’s definitely worth the money. I’ll go ahead and say it’s for fans of movies like The Hand that Rocks the Cradle or Hitchcock movies.

fyi, I saw Miles Ahead last year, but if I’d seen it this year, it’d go about here.

Kubo and the Two Strings – I knew little about this going in which is the way I like it. This is one of those movies where as you’re watching it you think ‘Yeah it’s good and stylish and all that, but I’m not sure about all the hubbub’ and then the ending. I started crying like I was hiccupping. Yeah it’s like that. It’s darker than I was expecting because I guess I was expecting a kids’ movie, which it is but then it also isn’t. I wouldn’t bring small fries who don’t know about death already. But if they do know, it should be great for them. It had a couple of wonky spots and was sort of predictable until the very end which really packs a punch. But I’d really like to know why the character Ralph Fiennes voices looks like Peter Cushing.

Snowden – Yeah. This got overlooked on purpose. People don’t want to know. They want to think this guy's a traitor instead of the world hero that he really is but about the movie. I thought Joseph Gordon Levitt did a great job actually. At first you don’t get if the voice works but it does. It’s nice to see Nic Cage in a real movie. Stone is also a great hero for making movies like this and of course he’s a master at his craft. Woodley is becoming someone okay now that she’s in something other than those Detergent movies. I wish more people had seen it. It’s not just a redo of the documentary.

The Light Between Oceans – So I wasn’t sure about this one but I ended up really liking it. I guess any bad reviews have to do with the younger folks thinking everything has to be immediate and not at all emotional. I’m not really a Fassbender fan. He sounds so much like Bono that whenever he starts talking I start looking for a dude in wrap around shades. But he was quite good here. I believed him in his Catholic guilt and decent husbandness. Alicia Vikander has yet to suck. This is a story about how life just makes everything a tragic ball of shit for everyone everywhere at all times. Heartwrenching it is but it sort of peters out at the end. I would have had the kid walk right into the ocean trying to get to the lighthouse and that be the end of it. But this went on into a not so gruesome but still unhappy and messed up ending. Still the rest of it made up for what it rolled into in the end. It’s Oscar-y. Don’t know how the rest of the year will turn out though.

Captain Fantastic – Really liked it. Viggo was the perfect person to play this Mosquito Coast type dad. It’s very hippy-dippy and sensible all at the same time. It’s a shame our ideals don’t pan out. Maybe it’s because we’re crazy. But then again maybe it’s because the world is. Watch it.      

Hacksaw Ridge – Really fantastic war picture. I’m usually not a fan since I don’t support war. However, this movie was about a pacifist who went to war to save his fellow soldiers because his conscience forced him too. He’s tested often and never gives in, which is a great message. I really think people have lost any kind of convictions. They just do whatever their facebook friends are doing. This on the other hand is the story of a truly good individual. The cast were great. The battle scenes were outstanding and brutal without being unnecessarily traumatizing like the cowardly film Saving Private Ryan. Anyone worth their salt will think this is a great film. Hopefully people will give Mel Gibson the kudos he deserves. I doubt it, but it would be nice.

Hell or High Water – Our newsmen don’t seem to know what’s going on in this world but our movie makers do. That’s sad. Especially when you think about how long it takes to make a film. This is about America and her formerly pink houses and what happens to their inhabitants. And it’s a classic western at the same time. I mean it’s here, in the now. But it’s also a shoot ‘em up with bank robbers and even a cattle drive. Chris Pine has grown on me. He’s definitely a great singing talent, but in this movie I finally feel like he can be a great actor. Ben Foster always has been. I hope he gets some buzz out of this. The Dude continues to abide. I really enjoyed it. Taylor Sheridan is quite the storyteller. After this and my favorite from last year, Sicario, I’ll be showing up for his films by default. This is movie is America 2016, watch it and weep but also cheer.

Bleed For This – Yeah. I figured I’d like it. Miles Teller was great as Vinny Paz. He got the essence of the guy without doing an impression. I think that Paz is probably a more annoying character than he was portrayed here. More rascally. But I thought you got the feels part of it from Teller’s performance. Aaron Eckhart also got the idea of Kevin Rooney and the fact that he is so far from what the real guy is like, it’s pretty amazing. But he’s done that kind of ‘wait, that was him?’ acting before. I got used to Ciaran Hinds eventually at first I couldn’t buy him as Italian or from Rhode Island. It does make you wonder where all the Italian actors went though. I know some people will think it’s just another boxing movie which is unfortunate because this is a true story. My mom commented that it’s not all flamboyant with music like Rocky”. That’s totally true. It’s a Ben Younger movie and you can tell. It’s a hell of a lot quieter which might make some people miss out on the triumphantness. But it’s so well done. I do hope it gets some Oscar attention.

Nocturnal Animals – That opening credits sequence. Now I’ve got movie-watching skills but I was thinking OMG what is he doing? Knowing that he’s going to alienate a big junk of his audience immediately. But if you wait for it, it pays off into something. I’m sure plenty of people will still hate it though. But it’s also pointing a finger at us. First of it’s pretty noir-ish I love noir. A lot. Second the cast is just great. Spoilerish… It’s a story within a story. Amy Adams is given a manuscript to read. So you see the version of it in her mind, within the movie. Then you she her present day life along with flashbacks. So I suppose it could get confusing for some but I just thought it was multi-layered awesome. It was gorgeous to look at. Of course. Everyone did a great job acting. Everyone. But of course our Jake was super amazing. The score was fantastic. I just really would like to see this in the Oscar race. It probably won’t be. Whatever. I might do a whole post on it when I get it at home.

Eddie the Eagle – I really think this is going to end up in my all-time top 100. That’s saying something because I’ve been trying to redo my list for a while and not a lot has been happening there. Firstly, I came to love the Olympic Games as a fourteen year old watching the Calgary Winter Olympics. I remember it as such a happy time in my own life. Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards was such a huge part of those wonderful games. This movie captures the spirit and hope that those games held better than I could have ever hoped for. The cast does an amazing job. Of course Taron Egerton as Eddie is award worthy in my opinion. I mean the actor looks nothing like him. But he became him in the most adorable and glorious way. Jackman is steady in his role but it’s not about him. It’s really about the spirit Eddie carried through his whole life and a level of optimism I don’t know that anyone else ever had. Could you imagine if we were all like that? How great the world would be. But the way the film is executed especially the jumps and the tension and the great use of bullet time to catch their emotions in the moment. What a great treasure this is. It at least holds up to the standard of other great sports and more specifically Olympics movies like Miracle, Chariots of Fire and Prefontaine.

*There are some I’m putting in now 11/23 that for some reason I just forgot to include in the past when I saw them.


Jake Gyllenhaal in Sunday in the Park With George
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100_2315

 

We took another of my infamous trips to New York City to see Sunday in the Park With George at New York City Center. The reason for this trip was Jake Gyllenhaal. The last few times I’ve taken these trips it was a nightmare. Travel has become ridiculous, hotels too expensive, and lately it hasn’t been worth it. Jake is more than worth it. Recent experiences make me feel like I need to stop travelling as much as I do which isn’t even often but I’m really glad I went tot his show and if it’s my swan song as an uber fan, then what a great one it was.

 

We love Jake. We all love Jake. Whether it was Brokeback or, in my case, going back to Bubble Boy, we know he’s a great talent as an actor. So last year when I hear that he’d been in a performance of Little Shop of Horrors in New York, I was upset that I found out after the fact, because I’d love to see him do a musical. But then when I found it he was actually a good singer I was even more upset that I didn’t see it. So when this popped up there was no way I wasn’t going.

Jake was amazing in Sunday in the Park with George. For some reason, II I’d never seen any version of this. This wasn’t a total production it was a concert version. I’d never been to the City Center before. But I had seats in the second to the last row in the balcony and it was fine. The seating is a steep incline so you can definitely see everything but it’s not scary, like it is in arenas or other venues like that. I didn’t feel like I was going to rolling down and die the way I usually do in places like this. This theater got those arrangements right. And there are elevators so you don’t have to walk up all the way, thank goodness. We were really high up. The only problem for this production was that you couldn’t see the projections they had on a screen from that angle but I don’t think it mattered. It was supposed to be some kind of art installations.

The rest of the cast was fine but that’s not what’s important right now. Jake sings way better than I imagined. Now knowing that he was up for Moulin Rouge makes a lot more sense and I’m questioning why Baz chose Ewan. Not that I don’t love the movie as is, but now that what I know Jake can do I wonder. Maybe he’s just really worked on his voice all these years in between. I don’t know. But As I marveled at what I was hearing, I was like “that timber! I can’t believe it!” Somehow I knew what timbre meant without really knowing because when I got home and read the NYT review after seeing it, they went for the same word. I was thinking about the specialness of the sound of his singing voice, which was actually lower than I thought it would be. I don’t know why but in the bus ride home I was wondering what he’d sound like singing a song from the Doors. lol But he had some kind of amazing range too which is especially noticeable when he switches between singing as the dog and the cat. I really hope someone recorded that. I had all my equipment with me. lol. But I’m reformed and haven’t done that sort of thing in a long time. In fact I only took a pic of my tickets and one from my seat before it started because I wanted it all to work out well and felt like I needed to behave to not cultivate any bad karma.

So about this dog and cat thing. You’re already amazed at Jake’s singing ability and then time stops when he’s acting out (singing) what this dog and cat in the park are thinking. You’re just mesmerized because a) it’s surreal already but b) Jake was fucking nailing it. It almost seemed humanly impossible. I mean this is live. It’s not like you have a bunch of takes and editing to get that right. I’ll never forget that, and I forget a lot. I just can’t go on enough except to use the overused word “amazing” or and over but that’s what it was. I can’t believe I got to see it either. Once in a lifetime.

The female lead was really great too. But this takes us back to timbre. She was perfect, but I’ve heard a bunch of other Broadway style singers who have the exact same voice. I don’t know if that’s fair. But years ago I saw a production of Whistle Down the Wind and the female lead sounded pretty much exactly like her. Her name was Andrea Ross and the fact is if you watch enough of that type singing you’ll hear that voice often. That’s why Jake’s “timbre” was so special, and why I was on the bus trying to figure out whose voice it was close to. I am a fan of music like everyone else but I really appreciate a fantastic male singing voice and it basically makes me think that a person with one is better than the rest of us. So I guess I sort of collect them. For instance, Steve Perry is one of the all-time great voices, as is Freddie Mercury, as is Frank Sinatra. But they sound nothing alike. The fake Journey guy does an impression of Steve, but he still doesn’t sound exactly like him. You can’t because he’s special. Well come to find out Jake is special too. Maybe not that special, but let’s give it time.

I really want Jake to keep doing musicals. And I want them all to be recorded so that human kind may benefit forever. Smile


My favorite movie peeps (actors)
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I’m doing this again to get my stuff straight before the new awards’ season commences. This time I’ll add people as needed

Val Kilmer     Benicio Del Toro

Sean Bean     Jake Gyllenhaal     Christian Bale     Jonathan Rhys Meyers         

Aaron Eckhart          Jeffrey Wright          Jeremy Renner          Gael Garcia Bernal

Sean Astin     Al Pacino     Johnny Depp     Rob Lowe     Arnold Schwarzenegger     Don Johnson     Joaquin Phoenix    

Nicolas Cage     John Travolta     Tom Hardy     Michael Keaton     Kyle MacLachlan     Hiroyuki Sanada     Toni Collette      

Leonardo DiCaprio     Samuel L. Jackson     Ralph Macchio     Patrick Wilson     Ewan McGregor     Marion Cotillard    

Colin Farrell     Russell Brand     Mickey Rourke     Sandra Bullock     Jeff Goldblum     Diane Lane     Steve Zahn     Sean Penn      

Viggo Mortensen     Josh Brolin     Frances McDormand     Jason Segel     Matthew McConaughey     Charlize Theron      

Guy Pearce       Sir Ian McKellen       Ralph Fiennes       Catherine Zeta Jones       Josh Holloway       Bryan Cranston       Joel Edgerton

Marc Anthony, Will Arnett, Antonio Banderas, Angela Bassett, Jason Bateman, Cate Blanchett, Kyle Chandler, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Corrigan, Tom Cruise, Jane Fonda, James Franco, Chris Evans, Luke Evans, Ben Foster, Ryan Gosling, Hugh Grant, Tony Hale, Armie Hammer, C. Thomas Howell, Finola Hughes, Hugh Jackman, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Nicole Kidman, Alexander Koch, Jared Leto, Anthony Mackie, Michael Paré, Ryan Phillippe, Brad Pitt, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Shannon, Charlie Sheen, Sebastian Stan, Miles Teller, Billy Bob Thornton, Hugo Weaving, Henry Winkler, Zhang Ziyi

keeping my eye on…

Alfie Allen, Emily Blunt, Linda Cardellini, Henry Cavill, Emilia Clarke , Oscar Isaac, Michael B. Jordan, Jennifer Lawrence, Shameik Moore, Jaden Smith, Rob Corddry, Andrew Garfield, Chadwick Boseman, Riz Ahmed, Matt Bomer, Iwan Rheon, Jessica Walter

 

 


My favorite movie peeps (directors and writers)
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Francis Ford Coppola

Woody Allen     Brian De Palma     David Lynch     Quentin Tarantino     Christopher Nolan    

M. Night Shyamalan     Peter Jackson     Oliver Stone     Walter Hill     William Friedkin     Sylvester Stallone     Ron Howard    

James Cameron     Ridley Scott     The Wachowskis     Peter Weir     Clint Eastwood     Baz Luhrmann     Paul Thomas Anderson   

Steven Spielberg     George Lucas     Todd Haynes      Michael Mann     Gaspar Noé     Penny Marshall    

Seth McFarlane     the Russo Brothers    Kevin Smith     Denis Villeneuve    

keeping my eye on…

Taylor Sheridan     Jon Favreau     Ben Affleck    


Random News and Updates 7.13.2016
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So the Olympics are coming. What Olympiad is it anyway? I'm not caught up. I don't have the stamina I once had so I'll see what happens as we get closer.

I wasn't really into the sumer movie season as you can see. Was just into Game of Thrones which I watched through the sticky HBO Now thing on my computer. Life is so weird now. Since I had it I also rewatched Angels in America which was imo the best thing that ever appeared on TV until GoT. We shall see when GoT is over how I feel about that. I should porbably do separate posts for both.

I need to update a couple of my lists. Especially my favorite people list. Every once and a while when I'm on the bus or something I think of someone I probably didn't include and then by the time I get home I forget all about it. I still need to redo my all-time favortie movies list. I know. I know. Yeah, I gotta get my shit together.

Emmy nominations are tomorrow morning. Hope I remember to wake up. Fingers crossed for Bloodline, Shades of Blue, and Fargo. Game of Thrones will get all the wrong nominations I'm sure. 

Spielberg in order
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I’m not going to see The BFG, but since everyone else is doing their Spielberg lists, I figure I should too.

1) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

2) A.I. Artificial Intelligence

3) Jurassic Park

4) Empire of the Sun

5) Schindler’s List

6) Close Encounters of the Third Kind

7) Amistad

8) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

10) Munich

11) Hook

12) War Horse

13) Raiders of the Lost Ark

14) The Color Purple

15) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

16) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

17) Minority Report

18) The Lost World: Jurassic Park

19) Lincoln

20) Catch Me If You Can

21) 1941

22) War of the Worlds

23) The Terminal

24) Bridge of Spies

25) Saving Private Ryan

Haven’t Seen Completely:

Adventures of Tintin

Always

Sugarland Express


Emmy nominations ballot 2016
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Looking at specifically the performer ballot, here are my FYCs and perhaps some comments. In the lighter color I’ve listed some of my favorite people whose shows I’ve not watched. So it’s like saving spaces. Honorable mentions in lilac. (These are in alphabetical order.)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Will Arnett, Flaked

Bruce Campell, Ash vs. Evil ead

Don Cheadle, House of Lies

Andrew Dice Clay, Dice

Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle

Derek Jacobi, Vicious

Rob Lowe, The Grinder

Ian McKellen, Vicious

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline

Matt Dillon, Wayward Pines

Frank Grillo, Kingdom

Terrence Howard, Empire

Ray Liotta, Shades of Blue

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Matt Bomer, American Horror Story: Hotel

Bryan Cranston, All The Way

Colin Farrell, True Detective

James Franco, 11.22.63

Aaron Tveit, Grease: Live

Courtney B. Vance, The People vs. O.J. Simpson

Patrick Wilson, Fargo

Steve Zahn, Mad Dogs

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie

Patricia Heaton, The Middle

Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Dianne Wiest, Life in Pieces

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey

Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU

Taraji P. Henson, Empire

Jennifer Lopez, Shades of Blue

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Kirsten Dunst, Fargo

Sarah Gadon, 11.22.63

Julianne Hough, Grease: Live

Sarah Paulson, The People vs. O.J. Simpson

Shanice Williams, The Wiz! Live

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Will Arnett, Todd Margaret

Malcolm McDowell, Mozart in the Jungle

Bobby Moynihan, SNL

Jay Pharoah, SNL

Iwan Rheon, Vicious

Jason Schwarztman, Mozart in the Jungle

Atticus Shaffer, The Middle

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Naveen Andrews, Sense8

Norbert Leo Butz, Bloodline

Trai Byers, Empire

Jim Carter, Downton Abbey

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones

Kevin Durand, The Strain

Bryshere Gray, Empire

Kit Harrington, Game of Thrones

Elias Koteas, Chicago P.D.

John Leguizamo, Bloodline

Christopher Meloni, Underground

Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline

Pedro Pascal, Narcos

Jussie Smollet, Empire

Cary-Hiroyuki Takagawa, The Man in the High Castle

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Chris Cooper, 11.22.63

Jeffrey Donovan, Fargo

Josh Duhamel, 11.22.63

David Allen Grier, The Wiz! Live

Kit Haringtin, 7 Days in Hell

John Hurt, The Last Panthers

Elijah Kelley, The Wiz! Live

George MacKay, 11.22.63

Anthony Mackie, All the Way

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Roots

Ne-Yo, The Wiz! Live

Nick Offerman, Fargo

Jesse Plemons, Fargo

Stephen Root, All the Way

David Schwimmer, The People vs. O.J. Simpson

John Travolta, The People vs. O.J. Simpson

Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Hotel

Bokeem Woodbine, Fargo

Jeffrey Wright, Confirmation

 

I have to finish this later. I’m really tired.

 


Movies in backwards order 2016 (summer)
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Cake by the ocean! Anyway…I’m up to 19 movies. Worst is first. Read ‘em and weep. New ones in this color. Highlight to read spoilers.

Knight of Cups – Did Terrence Mallick hit his head underwater a few years ago? That’s the only thing that could explain this and the almost as bad fake philosophy tripe Tree of Life. Gimme a freakin’ break. And he keeps casting all my favorite people in his movies. STOP IT!!!!

Hail, Caesar! – Now I tend to like movies that have an exclamation point and this is no different. But I don’t exactly love it. I think I might have if it was longer. Ralph Fiennes needed to come back and I’m not sure Jonah Hill’s role even qualifies as a cameo. But Josh Brolin was great as always. Channing Tatum I’m getting sick of. He looks half asleep the whole time and here and in The Hateful Eight I thought he did damage to the movies. I get that he’s the flavor of the month, but how about someone more delicious in the future? The plot was cool in that it included all the types of classic Hollywood movies and how some of it probably was instead of how it seemed. I really can’t help but think this was supposed to be a longer story though. I can’t say it’s great for that reason, but it’s really good.

X-Men: Apocalypse – I mean, a lot of it was off. I mean why style Xavier like an 80s version of Robin Gibb instead of giving him a perfect mullet? And no one had a mullet. Or leg warmers. IDEK. Anyway, I saw it earlier today and I’m already straining to remember anything I really liked about it. It wasn’t bad but, maybe I should let it sit. I usually don’t like to read other reviews before I do this, but in this case, I think it will probably help. I debated putting it last. Maybe I should have. Anyway, the inclusions to the cast were good. Sansa, of course. But I don’t know it all had a ‘been there, done that’ feel to it. Days of Future Past was so good that it makes this seem like weaksauce. But maybe it is weaksauce even without comparing it. I don’t know. It feels a little phoned in. They probably should have cast someone taller for Apocalypse. If he’s all powerful why can’t he turn his head in his suit? Maybe the tubes? Am I supposed to know what that was about? Anyway, yeah. I’m leaving it here for now. But it’s not looking promising that it will stay here.

The Young Messiah Little kid Jesus looks like my friend Karen from when I was a kid. Had to get that out. Anyway, I thought it was pretty good. At first I thought it was going to be goofy with some new director trying out all his camera angles, but it settled down. I mostly went to see this for Sean Bean. He had more of a role than I expected. I thought he was just the “name” attached. But he plays a centurion who has to hunt down young Jesus. Of course he doesn’t want to but it’s his job. See, Herod died and Herod, Jr. wants to get rid of the threat. And then basically we see what it might have been like for the young Messiah. I thought it was a nice story. Everyone stayed away from the regular hammy biblical acting. I don’t think this movie should bother anyone and it has a nice little explanation what His Life, and life in general, is probably about.

Zootopia – Yeah. This was cuter and smarter than I expected. I don’t know why I’m saying that I wasn’t expecting anything. I only went to see it because I had time to kill and nowhere else to go. But it was the story of following your dreams no matter what. I’m not exactly sure that I still believe that’s the best advice. Maybe I was meant to be a carrot farmer all along. But there’s a lot going on here and I think you can interpret what it’s trying to say in a couple of different ways. I’m not going to bother spoiling it since there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t see it yourself. The voice actors were great and I appreciate the Disney style of animation better than that other stuff. One thing I don’t get is why Shakira when that clearly should have been Lady Gaga.

Jane Got A Gun – Good western. I really wanted to see it in the theater but it didn’t play here. Probably would have been higher on this list if I had. The cast were all good. Nothing really to remark on that much. A fine effort by all.

The Nice Guys – I think it belongs here. Um, so, it suffers from a mild case of inthecommercialitis. You’ve seen the funny parts. It’s still good though. It’s very close to Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, except without Val Kilmer which if you pay close attention it seems he should have had a cameo but I’m assuming he wasn’t there because he was sick. His son actually plays the projectionalist, which I didn’t realize until I read the credits. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make a natural pairing. Kim Basinger seemed like she didn’t want to look at Gosling, which is weird, but I remember her being super nervous in interviews and I want to blame that, but it’s odd for a seasoned actress. Anyway, I lost the plot a few times but I was distracted by Gosling’s pants. Bomer was gorgeous as always. People who love KKBB should like this almost as much. I want Crowe’s jacket. Sad to say, I think it’d fit.

DemolitionWell I only went to see it because Jake. I had expected it to be either the same thing as Moonlight Mile, or Jake smashing a house for two hours. It’s more the former than the latter and it’s got a pinch of Ordinary People thrown in. It’s a little more avante garde than those movies. I’m still left with questions though. For example, I don’t know why but when I originally saw the trailer, I thought it seemed pretty obvious that she purposely crashed the car. Now after having seen the film, I don’t know where I got that from but it’s still totally possible. Naomi Watts and Jake and the kid make a great team. It’s nowhere near as depressing as I thought it would be and there’s lots of quirkiness to entertain you but then Chris Cooper really grounds the thing. There’s a lot going on and it turns out to be unpredictable. I feel like Her fans will like it.

Keanu – This kitty. Such a cute kitty. And that will sway your opinion of the film. There were some bland spots and it’s fairly obvious that the template for this was Raising Arizona. If you recall Nathan Jr. was so adorable that all the criminals wanted to steal him. It became about more than money. Same thing here with little Keanu. I think it’s a genius thing to give him the disease that he has to allow for future sequels. I’m not really a fan of these guys. I always thought they did that kind of ‘trying to hard’ comedy. But they were decent in “Fargo” so I gave it a chance. Fun, cute movie.

Batman V SupermanIf you recall I hated the abomination we called Man of Steel. So I sort of surprised myself that I got to this on opening weekend. I’m even more surprised at how much I liked it and honestly almost loved it. I don’t read the comics but I’m familiar with a lot of the villains from hearsay or other animated TV, maybe that helps. Anyway, Ben Affleck was fine as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Clooney remains the worst Batman ever. Here Bats is older and more like the grumpy thicker Batman from more of the animated stuff. Superman makes more sense here than he did in Man of Steel. They didn’t toss the idea that he’s a jackass alien. They built on it. I think what we have to understand as older folks is that we were dealing with Kal-el in the first movie. I don’t know that we ever really dealt with him before MoS. Then at the end of MoS he took on the mantel of Superman and only now toward the end of this film does he become Clark Kent, human. Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is just window dressing and moves around to fill in plot points. It might have been that she was miscast but there isn’t a lot for Adams to do here. Jesse Eisenberg, who I normally don’t like, was actually quite good as Lex Luthor. Maybe a little like the Joker here, it seems he wants to watch the world burn. And they stole a lot from other things, but that’s the way of this hodge podge/mod podge world we live in. Otherwise I enjoyed it. I loved Wonder Woman’s wardrobe cues to who she would be. And as much as I was dumbfounded at why she has a sword and shield ala Xena, the magic lasso showed up right when it should have. I almost cheered when it did, tbqh. The storyline was fine as long as you take it as Snyder’s new thing that he’s doing. You can’t look for our old Superman anymore. He’s gone.

The Infiltrator – I’ll probably need to rewatch this because I didn’t follow some of the transactions exactly, but this was a really good movie. The cast was great. Bryan Cranston of course, and Leguizamo is a reliable pest, but Benjamin Bratt stole the show here for me. He out charisma-ed Ol’ Heisenberg. The thing is I wish they’d let their relationship grow a bit more. That’d make the movie longer but I don’t care. I like long movies. Anyway it seemed a bit rushed that they would be that close. Michael Paré who I’ve been a fan of since forever has a cameo here and I was super happy to see him in it, even now that I’ve realize he blocked me on twitter. WTF? lol I really don’t know why. Anyway, for half the movie it seemed like the same old undercover cop/drug trafficking thing ala Donnie Brasco but this went a different way because of the banking.

War Dogs – Right off the bat, I have to say I really liked the nods to Scarface, especially that wall. Scarface is not one of my favorite movies, but it’s the favorite movie of the kind of people who would get themselves into a mess like this. I love Jonah Hill, which is why I went, and I’m really starting to like Miles Teller. Teller is the star playing a young man whose life has already sort of crapped out on what it was supposed to be even if he’s still young. Well, in true Johnny’s mother fashion his life requires him to turn to a life of crime in order to handle his financial responsibilities. That’s where his old BFF from junior high comes in. Honestly if we grew up at all, we shouldn’t still be friends with the people we chose in those years. Could you imagine having to have your junior high hairdo all your life? Of course not. But. Of course his friend leads him on a path to riches and where the path to riches leads. It’s a dramedy I think. Anyway, it’s got lots of yucks but it’s really a cautionary tale about people who want to think the world is yours. Hopefully you know how that turns out. Good movie. You might be reminded of Buffalo Soldiers, but it’s not really like it except the way they make money.

The Brothers Grimsby – Okay that one scene is as gross as you’re going to get without gore. But, this movie is actually really well done and entertaining. And smart. I’m going to go ahead and do medium spoilers to explain a film I think a lot of people might mistakenly skip. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Nobby, a family man from Grimsby who although blessed with many children still misses his long lost brother Sebastian. By happenstance he finds that Sebastian’s going to be at a big to-do because he’s an MI6 agent. And from there the wackiness ensues. In the meantime what we find out is what’s really important, what family means, and that everyone is important in the larger human family. You weren’t expecting that were you? Sacha Baron Cohen is some kind of a genius. Although I liked Mark Strong before, I was super impressed with his straight man abilities. I mean the stuff he went through in this movie with a straight face. lol And he was brave to do it, in my opinion.

Race – Such a great film. Released at a different time of the year, you’d think it’d be Oscar bait. But somehow it’s fighting it out the weekend before Oscar with last year’s movies. I don’t get it. Now truth be told it seems like a Disney type movie from 20 years ago, which if you understand what I mean by that, is a good thing. I don’t really know Jesse Owens’ story but for the bits and pieces you get as a sports fan or in history documentaries about something else. Here you see a cinematic telling of the time and just really about how important his actions were in the course of history. And I really wish that Jewish people and black people would watch this together. Seriously. The performances were great. It was easily digestible and it’s incredibly timely. I can’t imagine anyone disliking it. Some of the cinematography stops you like when he’s about to enter the stadium and he separates from his coach in silhouette. Really great stuff.

Captain America: Civil War – Yeah well, the Russo brothers have done it again. Now mind you it’s the weakest of the three. But the other movies were so freakin’ amazing that it’s barely a criticism. I think some of the other Avengers’ lack of awesome dragged it down a bit. Mainly Iron Man and the witch girl. I’m still not sure what her red energy balls are doing. But if it weren’t for them this would be a ten. Olsen I don’t like, but there’s nothing wrong with Downey. Iron Man is just not that wonderful of a character. I love that they continue to make Hawkeye useful. They must love Renner as much as I do because there’s really no good reason for him to be there except to round out the cast. The new guys, Black Panther and Spider-man were a great addition. And new-to-the-team Ant-man was a scene stealer. But the emoting part of the film goes to Sebastian Stan even if he’s still half robot. Now that I think of it the other emotional one was Vision. Weird. But yeah, it’s great. Cap is still our greatest hero. Falcon is our bestest friend and the hits just keep on coming. Let’s hope this goes on forever.

fyi, I saw Miles Ahead last year, but if I’d seen it this year, it’d go about here.

Kubo and the Two Strings – I knew little about this going in which is the way I like it. This is one of those movies where as you’re watching it you think ‘Yeah it’s good and stylish and all that, but I’m not sure about all the hubbub’ and then the ending. I started crying like I was hiccupping. Yeah it’s like that. It’s darker than I was expecting because I guess I was expecting a kids’ movie, which it is but then it also isn’t. I wouldn’t bring small fries who don’t know about death already. But if they do know, it should be great for them. It had a couple of wonky spots and was sort of predictable until the very end which really packs a punch. But I’d really like to know why the character Ralph Fiennes voices looks like Peter Cushing.

The Light Between Oceans – So I wasn’t sure about this one but I ended up really liking it. I guess any bad reviews have to do with the younger folks thinking everything has to be immediate and not at all emotional. I’m not really a Fassbender fan. He sounds so much like Bono that whenever he starts talking I start looking for a dude in wrap around shades. But he was quite good here. I believed him in his Catholic guilt and decent husbandness. Alicia Vikander has yet to suck. This is a story about how life just makes everything a tragic ball of shit for everyone everywhere at all times. Heartwrenching it is but it sort of peters out at the end. I would have had the kid walk right into the ocean trying to get to the lighthouse and that be the end of it. But this went on into a not so gruesome but still unhappy and messed up ending. Still the rest of it made up for what it rolled into in the end. It’s Oscar-y. Don’t know how the rest of the year will turn out though.

Hell or High Water – Our newsmen don’t seem to know what’s going on in this world but our movie makers do. That’s sad. Especially when you think about how long it takes to make a film. This is about America and her formerly pink houses and what happens to their inhabitants. And it’s a classic western at the same time. I mean it’s here, in the now. But it’s also a shoot ‘em up with bank robbers and even a cattle drive. Chris Pine has grown on me. He’s definitely a great singing talent, but in this movie I finally feel like he can be a great actor. Ben Foster always has been. I hope he gets some buzz out of this. The Dude continues to abide. I really enjoyed it. Taylor Sheridan is quite the storyteller. After this and my favorite from last year, Sicario, I’ll be showing up for his films by default. This is movie is America 2016, watch it and weep but also cheer.

 

Eddie the Eagle – I really think this is going to end up in my all-time top 100. That’s saying something because I’ve been trying to redo my list for a while and not a lot has been happening there. Firstly, I came to love the Olympic Games as a fourteen year old watching the Calgary Winter Olympics. I remember it as such a happy time in my own life. Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards was such a huge part of those wonderful games. This movie captures the spirit and hope that those games held better than I could have ever hoped for. The cast does an amazing job. Of course Taron Egerton as Eddie is award worthy in my opinion. I mean the actor looks nothing like him. But he became him in the most adorable and glorious way. Jackman is steady in his role but it’s not about him. It’s really about the spirit Eddie carried through his whole life and a level of optimism I don’t know that anyone else ever had. Could you imagine if we were all like that? How great the world would be. But the way the film is executed especially the jumps and the tension and the great use of bullet time to catch their emotions in the moment. What a great treasure this is. It at least holds up to the standard of other great sports and more specifically Olympics movies like Miracle, Chariots of Fire and Prefontaine.


X-men Movies in backwards order
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starshine_3

 

X-Men Origins: Wolverine – because Ryan Reynolds and Will.I.Am and the rest of it lol

X-Men First Class – I barely remember it, but I gave it an 8 at the time.

X-Men: Apocalypse – It was okay. I mean Oscar Isaac looked funny. I like when the X-Men work together though.

X-Men We had to start somewhere. I like the original Sabertooth.

X-Men The Last Stand – I really liked it. It was just like the new one with a team effort but better, imo.

The Wolverine – So very Asian in the most wonderful way.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Really really good. Message-y and stylin’.

and the winner is…

X2 – This was my favorite comic book movie until The Dark Knight came around.

(I did not see Deadpool and I really don’t want to. Guess why?)


My AD Oscar predictions ballot 2016
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You know I’m crazy.

Picture – The Martian*

Director – George Miller

Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio

Actress – Brie Larson

Supporting Actor – Sylvester Stallone

Supporting Actress – Jennifer Jason Leigh

Adapted Screenplay – The Big Short

Original Screenplay – Inside Out

Cinematography – Sicario

Film Editing – Mad Max

Animated Feature – Shaun the Sheep

Foreign Language Film – Son of Saul

Documentary Feature -  What Happened Miss Simone?

Documentary Short – Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

Live Action Short – Ave Maria

Animated Short – World of Tomorrow

Original Score – Sicario

Original Song – Youth

Sound Mixing – Mad Max

Sound Editing – Mad Max

Production Design – Mad Max

Visual Effects – Mad Max

Costume Design – Cinderella

Makeup and Hairstyling – Mad Max

 

*No I didn’t call my psychic frond. I just got a Argo/Ben Affleck vibe about it. What if the general Academy membership wanted to vote for Scott and they can’t?


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