Sunday, August 12, 2018

What's Next On My List? The Greatest Showman

Been putting this off, mostly because I did not have money to see it when it came out, but my sister brought it up, and I felt that I should check it off my list finally.

I young boy who came from nothing, decided to make the best of his life and make all his dreams come true, and give the life he promised to his beloved and his two girls. The way he does it is quite unconventional at the time, as he opens his own circus with people who are mocked for their strangeness. He finds himself distant from what really matters, only to find himself back when it is most important!

"Hyperbole isn't the worst crime. 
Men suffer more from imagining too little than too much."

Right off the bat, I need to admit that I do not give two shits about the bad criticism this movie might have received. I am just sooooo done with people who are unable to appreciate musicals. You don't like music? Bye. You don't understand if something is inspired by true events as opposed to being a reflection of them? Your problem. Stop trying to be critical just for the sake of criticism! I am sure that more people liked it then they would dare to admit. Did you like this movie? Good for you! Embrace it! Sing the songs, dance to the beat, enjoy a story for nothing more than it being a good story.
Do I have criticism? Sure, but it was more technical. See, even if I know that this was not reality, that this guy was indeed an a-hole who abused of others... I do not want to see that story. Do you? Go watch a documentary then. Everything else in Hollywood has to have some sort of moral message and this movie went with "family is more important than work" and I was okay with that. Not to mention, I find that is a message still too many have not managed to learn. I did not understand why the dwarf was not played by one, and in some scenes Michelle Williams was clearly wearing a wig, see? Technical issues. But I always prefer musicals that were made for movies, because you can tell that the choreographer and the director have an eye for it (that is right, f*ck Les Misérables and its stupid sound stage and fish-eyed lens...). The scene where Barnum convinces Carlyle to join him? That dance scene in the bar was fantastic.
"- You want people to laugh at me.
- Well they're laughing anyway, kid, so you might as well get paid."

Watch it? Definitely. Me, as a musical lover, have been told off several times for not having seen it yet, but not anymore!!! I know that there are inaccuracies, but someone was indeed the first to pick people who were shit on by society and showcased that their strangeness is to be celebrated instead of laughed at. The real one might have done it differently, but this is still a pretty damn good story.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

P.T. BarnumHugh Jackman
Charity BarnumMichelle Williams
Phillip CarlyleZac Efron
Anne Wheeler - Zendaya
Jenny Lind Rebecca Ferguson

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What's Next On My List? Galaxy Quest

Last semester this movie resurfaced in one of my courses, as an introduction to fandom and popular culture. Gotta admit, I could re-watch this movie a hundred times!

The actors of a famous sci-fi show get rolled into an outer-space mission by aliens who have the belief that they and their show was real all along. Once out there they become the heroes they were playing all along all on their own merit and they learn to appreciate all the fans that look up to the them and the world they helped to create.

I loved this movie, not just for the cast, as I had seen it by the time everyone in it was famous and well known for several other projects. And well, gotta say, it was originally because of the cast that I decided to watch it in the first place. I adore movies that have serious actors in them, showcasing they are equally good at comedy, that includes of course Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman. I miss him a whole lot, but I'm glad there is such a variety of things that I can choose from if I wish to see him on screen again. As far as the movie is concerned, I am delighted every time I see it. It is funny, smart, sad at times, I mean, I caught a few tears here and there when I watched it, and I also find it to be for every single audience out there: the outsiders, the inner geek in you, in all of us, the truth of comic conventions, fans, hardcore fans, sci-fi addicts and many more. The movie shows how some actors do become the role that they are playing. I recommend this movie to everyone who likes to see all sides of a story (let that be on either side of the fourth wall!).

Watch it? I am almost certain you already have! So go see it again and rejoice in one of the best sci-fi movies out there!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Jason NesmithTim Allen
Gwen DeMarcoSigourney Weaver
Alexander DaneAlan Rickman
Fred KwanTony Shalhoub
Guy FleegmanSam Rockwell
Tommy WebberDaryl Mitchell
Mathesar Enrico Colantoni

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What's Next On My List? Perfect Strangers

I will write this review in English, despite in being an Italian movie, because I would like to propose it to wider audiences out there. I do not think that I will be the one to break this movie to big circles, I trust that most have already come across it, nonetheless, if you haven't and want to, this review might help you get interested!
Scriverò questo post in inglese, perché voglio raccomandare questo film a più persone possibili! E comunque non penso che ci sia bisogno che lo introduca agli italiani!

Seven long-time friends get together for a dinner. When they decide to share with each other the content of every text message, email and phone call they receive, many secrets start to unveil and the equilibrium trembles.

I had to watch this movie for an exam and I am so happy that I did! Without going into too much detail, I wanted to reflect on a couple of things that got my attention, and the particular reason why I liked this movie so much. As each person's secret starts to come to light, you realize that these people have been lying to themselves more than anyone else. Saying it is OK, that they are doing it to not hurt others, that their intentions were pure, or simply to make life a bit more interesting... these are all excuses. When they are faced with their secrets, they also have to face the real person that they are, it is not just a revelation to their friends and loved ones, but really a mirror that they were trying to avoid. What amazes me in people is our ability to make ourselves believe that what we are doing is alright, even if deep down we know it isn't. One's ability to ignore their own faults amazes me up to today.
The ending of the movie, in my opinion, reflects the fact that certain circles and patterns are going to repeat themselves simply because of the people we are. If we keep blinding ourselves to the truth, we will never be able to change our ways. I find that these people are caught in an endless loop of their own unwillingness to change the problems around them. However, an outside viewer might learn from their mistakes and find that the only one of the seven, the one who decides to leave this toxic environment, might be an example to follow in our own lives.

Watch it? Most definitely. Wonderful dialogue, wrapped in a perfect italian cultural blanket, made to touch every single viewer out there, and it does so with tremendous success!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

Carlotta - Anna Foglietta
Cosimo - Edoardo Leo
Bianca - Alba Rohrwacher

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

FRESH FROM THE THEATER: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Over ten years ago I wrote my first blog post ever and it was about Mamma Mia! The Musical, as it was touring around Europe and they visited our little country and I just fell in love with it. The following summer the movie came out and despite them leaving out my favorite songs of all time... it quickly became my favorite movie. You can read my reviews here:

Here we are, ten years after I wrote that post, and the immense success of the movie yielded a sequel, to which all the stars from the first movie agreed to. I gotta say, I was skeptical at first, because after realizing who it was that they decided to cut from the movie I shivered a bit, but as the first song started to play I was along for the ride!

Sophie decides to reopen her mother's dream hotel as she now has the experience and the money for it, but she puts a great deal of pressure onto it. As she questions how did her mom find this place to begin with, we are acquainted with a young Donna and her summer of romance, when she met Harry, Bill and Sam. Not only do we learn how Donna decided to stay on this little patch of paradise, but how Sophie's true dream becomes that of continuing in her mom's legacy, in the only home they have ever known.

I need to be honest, I am mad at this movie.  It was, in my opinion, a comma away from perfection. You can see that they knew their source material, they knew what they wanted, what story they wanted to tell. But the forgot something very important... I don't care about the minor details (like Harry's guitar missing...), what bothered me is the grandmother's role. All we know about her is that, to quote Donna from the first movie, "She told me not to bother going home", and in this one: she misses her graduation and then Sophie realizes there is no point in inviting her to the reopening because "She won't come anyway"... everything points to her being this horrible person, and then Cher appears, she sings and that is it. I cannot shake the feeling that there was a deleted scene somewhere, but I was missing it a great deal! One, "Hey I was a bad mother, I missed too much." really would have set my soul at ease. And well, SPOILER, but as Donna dies, my sister pointed out, did she miss her daughter's funeral? Grandma was not invited for a reason, and after she shows up, I was missing some kind of explanation as to why we are suddenly OK with her being here. Actually, she has a memory of this place, and it would have been fun to point out that it was her mom's stories that made Donna come here. The "catholic guilt" mentioned in the first story was nowhere to be found when looking at the the grandmother and I just didn't get it... they either deleted scenes or simply assumed that Cher's presence would be enough to make us not notice... I dunno.
And the reason I was so mad about this is because it is otherwise a wonderful movie! They used the songs they cut from the first movie version originally in magnificent ways, they managed to write a whole new story with songs we know and love and you get the same happy feeling that the original gave. They managed to write a story that makes sense both prequel and sequel-wise! And then the grandmother's storyline made me very unsatisfied... I would also like to be rude here and add, that I was not very touched by the young actors chosen to play the dads... None of them really got me to understand why Donna would care for any of them, and well... OK, I really don't want to be rude, but they just didn't do it for me and so far none of my friend's either (the long hair was not necessarily a good choice). My final note would be the lead actress, whom I liked very much, but I never understand why they don't cast Meryl Streep's daughters to play young versions of her... they are super talented and they look exactly like their mom! Such a wasted opportunity...

That having been said, I am myself shocked at how much I loved this movie. Every second of it. The writing was terrific, the actors were great, the selection of songs made me weep through half of the movie like a little baby, and the whole thing just got me nostalgic for summer romances and the magic of beaches, and music, and sand and that salty water in the air!

Watch it? Definitely! If this song won't get you interested, nothing will!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Sophie - Amanda Seyfried
Young Donna - Lily James
Donna - Meryl Streep
Young Sam - Jeremy Irvine
Ruby Sheridan - Cher
Rosie - Julie Walters
Young Bill - Josh Dylan
Harry - Colin Firth
Young Harry - Hugh Skinner
Fernando - Andy Garcia

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What's Next On My List? They Came Together

I am a huge fan of David Wain, which you might know of because a few years back I wrote an entry in regards to his works, mostly focused on Wet Hot American Summer and Childrens Hospital, which you can read here! Since then I have also been a fan of Another Period, in which he is acting, and I look for anything that comes from his pen onto the screen.

Joel and Molly recount the story of how they met and decided to break up whilst living through a series of romantic comedy clichés that every person knows by heart by now.

I just loved this movie. Again, this is something I have complained about quite a lot, people don't seem to understand quality comedy anymore. Think of timeless movies like Airplane!, Top Secret, Hot Shots!, or The Naked Gun: what makes them so great? The fact that they parody things we all know. They are all about specific genres and not just flicks, no, they work on stereotypes, on story-lines that have marked movie history, telenovelas, and everything of the sort. They are ultimately made for all audiences. It is the same with this movie, it works with things we all know, it isn't specifically one rom-com that it wishes to make fun of, and if you don't know that movie, you won't understand the jokes either. Think of Spaceballs: it focuses on specific movies, from Star Wars to Alien, and I personally understood the jokes because someone told me what they are about. Does it still work? Yes, because it has other instances and wonderful writing that connects the parodic elements. Timeless? Yes, still applies.
This movie is fun simply because it is. There are call back jokes to the previous Wain/Showalter projects, as well as callbacks to this movie in their other projects too. And what is striking is there are just wonderful actors in it. These two know most of Hollywood already, still, it cannot be forgotten that most movies that have A list actors suck ass because the writers hope that the mess they wrote will go away simply by having famous people in it, but that is not the case here. They made sure the writing was done before they started casting people, you can tell. I will be forever grateful for these writers.

Watch it? Yes please, the rating is stupid. If you are a fan of any of the actors involved in this project, or a fan of Wet Hot American Summer, you are bound to love this movie too! And each time I rewatch it it gives me something more to discover.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Molly - Amy Poehler
Joel - Paul Rudd
Tiffany - Cobie Smulders
Eggbert - Ed Helms
Keith - David Wain