Sunday, December 31, 2017

FRESH FROM THE THEATER: Star Wars - The Last Jedi

We have arrived to the last review of 2017! I managed to see the movie just before the year ends and I thought it would be a good finale. Overall I would like to say that for me this was a very tough year and I do not think I will look back at it fondly. I lost someone who was, in 26 years, the most important person in my life and I wish I had realized that a lot sooner. I did not, unfortunately, and the burden of that will live on with me for a long while, I fear. But that loss will also make me stronger, because I'll work harder to hold on to the people that are dearest to me. That having been said, I watched a movie that thought me just that: to let go. It was a wonderful lesson wrapped in an awesome movie, and I will go into the smallest of details as possible to let you all understand what I am talking about. Let us now dive into: [MAJOR SPOILERS COMING!]

Our story continues with the rebels trying to fight relentlessly the First Order, and the latter wishing to crush the rebellion once and for all. But as that goes on, Rey has finally reached Luke, who is unwilling to give up his hatred of himself for having failed Ben Solo during his training. Rey resorts to finding answers to her questions alone, while the rebellion is under continuous attack. Leia is indisposed, Poe is showed aside, and Finn has to find someone who will ensure that the First Order cannot track them anymore. In the end Ben faces his old master who has one more lesson to teach him.

I honestly don't know where to begin. The more I thought about the little details in the movie the more I fell in love with it. I was teary eyed all the way through, for obvious reasons, among them the fact that the movie re-did my favorite scene from Return of the Jedi. But I am getting ahead of myself, so let us go in order. First, Poe Dameron. He has got to be my favorite character. I just adored every little thing he did and his chemistry with Leia was on-spot. There is this endearing scene, where he hoped to be in charge and the whole movie set up how he is going to be the leader of the rebellion. He has the brain of Leia and the charm (and clothes) of Han, actually, which makes him a very likable character. He wishes to do good, he would sacrifice everything in order to win, but he learns the hard way that one cannot always go in guns blazing. He is on his way to becoming a wonderful lead character and I hope that episode IX will make great use of him!
Second is Finn, who might be the only low point of this movie for me. Don't get me wrong, I incredibly enjoyed his story. The fact that there are corners of the universe we never visited before are finally revealed to us, not to mention that his partner in the adventures, Rose, is a wonderful young gal who shows him the horrors of war reach far beyond the conflict of First Order vs. Rebels. The reason I deem it less important is the fact that Finn kind of had the same adventure in the previous movie. He embarked in something unknown to learn a great lesson. I find that he was underused, but that does not take away from the awesomeness of that plot-line, of course. The part of the galaxy that we are shown blew my mind, so yes, no regrets on that account.
Third is, of course, Rey. I just love the fact that there is no longer a balance between good and evil. I ALWAYS hated the idea of 'no feelings', like you are only good if you avoid your emotions and thoughts. Just think of Return of the Jedi, when Luke yells out "NEVER!" and then starts waving around the lightsaber like a deranged maniac... like did that look like a well thought out rational method of attack to you? And if I am talking about Rey I have to add Ben. I loved the fact that he is, in the end, a scared child, the same way Rey is. They both sought someone in their life who will show them the way, who will tell them what to do, but ultimately, they have to choose for themselves. There are no Sith or Jedi. There are people with conflicting feelings who can decide do to right or wrong. They are human. And I love that. I love how there is no logical explanation, there is no definitive line, good and bad have a different meaning and a different understanding.
Ben was easily driven to Snoke because he felt betrayed by Luke. He also felt betrayed by his parents who handed him to this uncle. And then there is Rey, who knew all her life that she is not descendant of a noble bloodline, she is just strong on her own. I f*cking loved that. I just knew it, I told everyone, come on! Not every single Jedi is a descendant of the Skywalker family! And she isn't and I adored that! Going back to Ben, I need to address the shirtless scene: I loved it. Not his body in particular, Adam Driver is a good looking guy alright, I wanted to see more actually, this grandpa pants that they have him wearing is ridiculous... I mean where is the belly button? And while thinking about this I realized why I was so content with it: the movie did not make a sex object of the women. We perceive men very differently when they are on screen naked as opposed to women. Think of slave-Leia... see my point? I think that was a good scene because it was meant to enhance his vulnerability and it did.
Now turning to the old schoolers, Leia was marvelous. I heard they cut out a bunch of her scenes, I am guessing for the next movie, and the way she gave on the mantle to Poe was done formidably. Fisher also wrote most of her lines and I am so happy she did, because nobody else could ever be Leia but her. Toward the end Luke comes to her and tells her that he cannot turn Ben, and I just adored that it was a perfect re-enactment of my favorite scene with them from Return of the Jedi, when he tells her that he will go to Vader. I also loved that Leia can use the force, there were several comic books in the extended universe that dealt with that, so I was happy to see it. [The way I squealed at the torn lightsaber with the crystal in it! Shown in the stand alone two part Clone Wars cartoon!] I have loved Carrie Fisher all my life and if there is a way for her to reach Han and Luke gracefully in the next episode, then I will let her go with a smile and a tear in my eye.
Finally, Luke. Oh boy... where to begin? I adored him. He has that same charm he did when the story was about him, but you can tell this is an old man who has seen his fair share of adventure. He was learned a great deal about the Jedi, the universe, the Force, family... he decided to isolate himself for the same reasons other Jedi did, because that is what is expected of them and yet, these characters are not like others. The world changed and with it the people who are able to wield the force as a weapon. His last graceful act is that of saving his sister and I found that moving. I loved his battle with Kylo Ren because it was reminiscent of Obi-Wan's death and as such I am convinced the Luke will still return and teach Rey the same way he was thought by the ghosts of the great masters. I also adored his interaction with Yoda!

What else is there to say? The movie did three things that made it stand out for me: one, it heard the complaints people had with episode VII. Two, it gave us something of the past and used it to move forward. Three, in certain places it directly spoke to the audience, but I was OK with that.

I've read somewhere that this was a movie about letting go of the past and moving on, for people who do not want to let go of the past and move on... and I find that to be spot on. Is the movie perfect? No. They could have done a lot more with Captain Phasma, Finn could have been used in different ways, Kylo could have shown more body... (hehe), some jokes felt ill-timed (making me feel like I was watching a Marvel movie instead) and although I liked the pacing I would have been completely fine with this being a 2 hour movie like the others. This is all the criticism I can think of and that after three hours of discussion with the other seven people I saw the movie with. I loved Vice Admiral Holdo and her contribution to the fight, I loved how so easily we put Snoke aside, like, no, there is no greater evil, there is no ultimate villain, let that notion go! I loved the creatures, I especially adored the nun-like dinosaurs taking care of the island where Luke lived. I laughed so hard at Chewie's every scene, and teared up when he hugged Leia... I don't think I will ever get tired of that. The music too, oh my god, the music to these movies deserves every award in my opinion. I just... I love this series.

Watch it? Yes. You might like it or you might not. And that is it. There is no real argument here because people will always find something to complain about. Think about this: the original trilogy did not disappear just because the prequel trilogy came out. If you don't like this series, you are in luck, there is plenty of Star Wars out there for you without it. Me, on the other hand, am a fan of this story and I just cannot wait to see where it will lead next!

Until the next item on my list!

_ _ _ _ _

Rey - Daisy Ridley
Finn - John Boyega
Poe Dameron - Oscar Isaac
Kylo Ren - Adam Driver
Leia Organa - Carrie Fisher
Vice Admiral Holdo - Laura Dern
Rose Tico - Kelly Marie Tran
General Hux - Domnhall Gleeson
Chewbacca - Peter Mayhew
C-3PO - Anthony Daniels
Supreme Leader Snoke - Andy Serkis
Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill
Yoda - Frank Oz

Thursday, December 28, 2017

What's Next On My List? Office Christmas Party

I decided to sneak in one last review for 2017 because it is Christmas related and posting it in January or waiting one more year just felt dumb to me... so here is a movie that I really think you should reconsider putting on your movie list!

In order to avoid having to close down the branch, the young director organizes a big Christmas party in the office to impress someone whose business might be able to save them. The party, of course, gets out of hand very quickly, and the young director seems to have lost the business anyway and in his drunk desperation the events of the night unfold very quickly.

I did not hear anything about this movie and as such I did not have high expectations. But oh lord... I laughed so hard I can't even tell you. Above everything, this movie had no disgusting toilet jokes that would put me off... I hate those, I am not even going to apologize, humor can be so sophisticated and subtle and worth your while and I cannot laugh at someone shitting themselves or unjustified puking! It's not funny! And you know what? I am almost certain that this is the reason why the movie did not do great: it was advertised for those who enjoy these kind of dumb jokes and then they saw something much more sophisticated and the ratings went down. Dumb people have a problem understanding good jokes, is all I am saying, and I am being this mean because I honestly don't get why this movie was not received well, since the writing was just one of many good things.
I will not even detail the awesome actors who were part of the project, but let me focus on what sold this movie for me: the characters and the plot. The actors tells us everything we need to know through acting. There is no big exposition speech, there is no need to spell things out for us, those who care for each other will tell you with their eyes and they do. We find out that the owner of this branch died and his children are fighting and they are doing so because they want to succeed. In the end they realize that it was their father who instigated this rivalry and they should rely on each other. More than one person finds love, and it is not in your face, just hints in the background. Even if the office itself gets almost incredibly destroyed, they do in the end come up with something that might save everybody's job. I did not need over the top jokes, just characters who are relatable and funny and they were. 100%.

This movie was a super pleasant surprise and I will definitely tell everyone to go see it, because it is smart and witty with likable characters and it did bring me more Christmas cheer than I thought it would and that alone makes it a good movie! So do go and check it out.

I am currently under the weather, but I have one review planned for this year, and if everything goes well I'll be able to go to the cinema and see it and write my review quick, if not, this was it and I wish you all a happy new year!

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

Josh ParkerJason Bateman
Tracey HughesOlivia Munn
Clay Vanstone - T.J. Miller
Carol VanstoneJennifer Aniston
Trina - Jillian Bell
Mary Kate McKinnon
Allison Vanessa Bayer

Monday, December 25, 2017

5 Of The Worst Christmas Movies I Have Ever Seen

Well here it is, Christmas of 2017, that means that there is only a week left of this year, and I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to the next year. These are not in any particular order, they are just utter sh*t and that is way I wanted to talk about them!

Disclaimer: I want to tell you right off the bat that will not see any ABC or Hallmark Christmas movie on this list. Why? First, because every other 'bad Xmas movies list' specifically focuses on those. The reason for that is that we already do not expect high quality, I mean if one channel has to come up with 25 movies each year, they are running low on ideas... but what does surprise me about those is that some are exceptionally wonderful! I have written about those in a separate entry, if you'd like to read them, you'll find them here:

Let me now crack down these terrible movies, advising you to stay clear of them all! Beware, this list was made especially because I have been missing this awful movies from other ones and I think people should be warned! Enjoy the 2017 Christmas entry with all the hatred in my heart :)

A Perfect Day (2006)

That is a candy cane filled with lies. There is absolutely zero Christmassy about this movie. The main character becomes a famous writer and he almost cheats on his wife and he is supposed to learn the lesson that his family is more important which is the biggest crap they could come up with... look, there is a difference between a workaholic and a man who finally reached success. Let us begin by saying that he is probably the one paying for all the Christmas presents they don't get because this isn't a Christmas movie... second, it might just teach you that you should not get crazy with fame, which is a good lesson, but it never goes that far. He is never in over his head, he is just working. He never forgets his family, see, he cannot in the end cheat. He loses his way... maybe, not really. This movie is stupid as hell and there is this magical old guy who I assume was there for the moral lesson, but this was completely lost on me. Not only not a Christmas movie, but also a sh*tty movie.

Unaccompanied Minors (2006)

I did not finish this movie. I just did not. It was about 20 or 30 minutes in and my sister and I looked at each other and that was it. It is kids being kids who don't need to parents with the 'adults' being the enemies and I just... we have seen this story three hundred times already and the gimmick did not become more entertaining or, let's say, smart. The kids will win, we will laugh at the dumb evil adults, hahaha, there is ZERO christmassy about the feeling of the movie or how these kids behave and that just drove me nuts. I get the airport part, I get the difficulty of being a child of divorce, I understand that the holidays are a hard time for a lot of people. These I get and the idea in itself is not bad, but the execution... if after 20 minutes I don't care about any of these kids, then you have a bad script.

Jack Frost (1998)

Oh god... this scarred me as a child. Hear this, the father is a musician who turns into a snowman, because he neglected his kid and wife and he has to learn his lesson. Okay, not as bad as it seems, except he DIES. He F*CKING melts! He learns the lesson only to never be able to make things right. WHAT IS THAT POINT THEN?? What is the big moral message here, 'hey, life sucks?' or 'oh you thought you had it bad?. This guy dies in a car accident and he gets to comeback to, uhm, I dunno, not let his family grieve? Move on? Accept their losses and be stronger without this man, who, was basically more absent than present? Here is my problem with him becoming father of the year in retrospect: HE IS STILL DEAD. Giving him a piece of who he could have been will only make it worse! Here kid, have a peak at the life I never gave you, you already missed it, now you can be assured that you'll never have it! Merry Christmas! ... f*ck this movie.

Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger (2012)

Or really any continuation to this story... The original Nativity was a delightful little movie with Martin Freeman playing a teacher who is helped by his children to regain his Christmas spirit. He is also helped by a very optimistic and somewhat childish adult, Mr Poppy, who is at the same time very caring of the children (read my review of the movie here!). The problem is that Mr Poppy was a bit weird, but in a lovable sense. I did not want to set him on fire or feel awkward about his lack of social skills. The other movies decided to remake the story and then made him dumber, and dumber... he is not borderline retarded and that is not fun. There is nothing fun about someone who needs to be treated differently and instead we put him in social situations where we can laugh at him. Why? Who thought this was a good idea? I cannot laugh, I do NOT feel the Christmas spirit and I am constantly feeling awkward. Awful sequel.

The Family Stone (2005)

... I f*cking hate this movie. I hate it so much that I want to buy every single copy and set it on fire. Just burn. Die. Cease to exist please... Okay, so this guy brings home his girlfriend, okay? Who has issues, nothing major, just OCD and neatness, okay? And what happens is that the whole family laughs at her. I am not kidding, their idea of being open to the girl their son/brother is in love with is to laugh at the awkward person she is. The sisters are rude as hell, for no real reason (I am going to be mean and assume they have no sex life, because the level of intelligence this movie has showcased would make that assumption accurate), and then the mom is dying. Oh yes, she is so close to dying that she does so the next morning, not ever having told her kids about her condition. I mean, merry Christmas I guess. And if it wasn't an already awkward story, the mom and the dad have sex, which I assumed everybody heard based on the montage scene, and THEN she dies. Oh and the guy leaves her awkward girlfriend for another girl, BUT THAT'S OKAY, because the girlfriend falls in love with his brother instead. This is all I remember and even this I wish I could erase from my head. This is not normal. This is not how normal people behave. American families might be more messed, and yes, occasionally you do have parents who are unable to tell their children if they are sick, I get that, but the whole set up of the family is just unhealthy. So much so that I would rather assume a family like this does NOT celebrate Christmas together. That would have made more sense. You do not shit on your brother's wife-to-be, and then you do not steal her away because you are more compatible... NO. God I hate this moooovie!!!!!

Which ones do you hate? Let me know in the comments below!

Until the next item on my list!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What's Next On My List? Anastasia

A childhood favorite, I was terribly scared of it for years and years... and actually there still are parts of that I skip, but... if it wasn't worth the goosebumps I wouldn't re-watch it as often as I do. And yes, this too is a Christmas movie to me.

Story centered around the legend of the lost Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. The Duchess is presumably lost when Rasputin, a trusted friend of the family who was then thrown out of the palace and forbidden to return. He decides to take his revenge and on the 300th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty he decides to take every single Romanov with him to the grave. Unsure as to why he cannot rest in peace, he finds out that his mission was unsuccessful as one Romanov is still alive, none other than Anastasia.

Of course this is an alternate reality, the true story is engulfed in mystery, but the happy ending that the cartoon gave unfortunately never occurred. But... you watch this cartoon and you fall in love. It belongs to the golden age of Don Bluth movies, with beautiful animation and wonderful music. It is one song in particular that makes this a Christmas movie for me, and that "Once Upon A December", sang by Anastasia when she wanders into the royal palace. Miles and miles of snow cover Russia, and Anya, an orphan girl is kicked out of the orphanage as she has come of age, she sets out for St. Petersburg. There she is lost in the ruins of the royal palace, feeling at home but unsure as to where that feeling came from. Here she is discovered by Dimitri while she sings, a young con-artist who wishes to get the reward from the Dowager Empress Marie for finding his lost granddaughter.
To Dimitri's surprise he found the true Anastasia, suffering from amnesia after a blow to the head when she lost her grandmother who was fleeing from the country. They travel together to Paris, and during their adventure fall in love. She wished to find a family for years, and she found that with Dimitri, her future finally surpasses the past. 
Needless to say, there is nothing romantic about winter in Russia... but snow alone is very inviting to me. I adore the winter, actually, I love something about every single season. And you know each time I re-watch it I end up liking it more and more. It is a scary movie but it is also very funny. Finally the soundtrack is one of the best for Bluth movies.

Watch it? Absolutely. It might do the Christmas magic for you as it does to me, but it is an outstanding cartoon with a great story. Plenty of action and you might even spare a few tears while watching it.

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

Anastasia - Meg Ryan
Dimitri - John Cusack
Vladimir - Kelsey Grammer
Rasputin - Christopher Lloyd
Bartok - Hank Azaria
Young Anastasia - Kirsten Dunst
The Dowager Empress Marie - Angela Lansbury

Sunday, December 10, 2017

What's Next On My List? Billy Elliot

Well, I don't have to tell you why this movie is awesome, actually, I think this might be one of the most useless reviews I will ever write :D but I wanted to include it because to me it is a Christmas movie... And as to why you'll see in a minute:

A young boy from a miner family discovers that he has talent for ballet and wishes to pursue it. However, his father and his brother are caught up in the fight against the low wages they receive as miners and do not think of Billy's future as a priority. When Billy's father Jackie realizes that he has a potential to be much more than he ever could have been he steps up for him.

First of all, my sister showed me this movie in December, I am certain that we already had the decorations up in the apartment, which just added to the feeling. Second, there is a Christmas scene in it, which might be the saddest scene in movie history, but it is followed by snow and it is around Christmas that his father realizes how much his son is worth. The musical version of the movie, which has added to the popularity of it, has given a much larger role to the holiday season. In it the whole town has a Christmas party at the community center and Jackie has a song as well as the ensemble, and it is one of my favorite Christmas songs actually. The musical was written by Elton John, and the song is "Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher". Third, and final reason, is that most of my favorite Christmas movies are not really centered around the holiday season, it is simply a part of the story and the fact that it is not the center of attention makes it that much more important. The holidays are always cause for debate in the family and not everyone is a fan... but it is still part of everyone's year. The fact is that there is enough to get me invested, to see different sides, to see different families and to learn about different stories. In this movie winter is not a long period but it stands out in my opinion. I love the scene where Jackie realizes his son's potential and I love it when Billy and his best friend build a snowman. For him Christmas without his mom is especially hard but they still manage to pull through.

Watch it? I don't know why I'm asking, I'm sure you have already seen it. And if you need convincing then do watch the musical as well! It was one of the best directed shows I have seen on stage in 26 years and I say that having seen over at least thirty. Good music, good actors and a great story.

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

Billy - Jamie Bell
Mrs. Wilkinson - Julie Walters
Grandma Jean Heywood
Tony Jamie Draven
Jackie Gary Lewis
Michael - Stuart Wells

Sunday, December 3, 2017

What's Next On My List? Balto

As December has rolled in I am thinking about writing about movies that make me feel Christmassy, although they are not considered as such by others. Now, a lot to cover here, but first I wanted to talk about a favorite of mine from my childhood.

An outcast, Balto, lives on the outskirts of the town on Nome, Alaska, where most dogs look down on him for being half-wolf. For this reason he is not allowed near humans either, but that does not stop him. He has feelings for a husky girl, Jenna, and when her owner Rosy falls sick with the other children in town he is determined to help.

This is of course a romanticized version the story that inspired this movie. Balto was a Siberian husky and sled dog who led his team on the final leg of the 1925 serum run to Nome, in which diphtheria antitoxin was transported from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nenana, Alaska, by train and then to Nome by dog sled to combat an outbreak of the disease. The serum was transported by many, not just the team led by Balto, and actually many were offended that he was the only one receiving attention. When the other dogs were awarded for their part in the adventure Balto was not invited. (You can read up on it here!) His story is the basis for many other children's stories, out of which this cartoon might be the most famous as it has two more sequels.
Now, the snow and the setting and the story... all of is makes it Christmassy to me. The fact that there is a miracle in it just makes it that much more seasonal! Snow in general just makes it feel like Christmas to me, it might be just my thing, but I am sure others find it so too. I adored this cartoon as a child, an outcast who becomes a hero... when you grow up feeling that you might not fit in then you are sure to fall in love with this adorable half-breed. My favorite is his best friend, Boris, a Russian goose who has some of the best one-liners out there. Their friendship is very moving. Yes, I have cried several times whilst watching it. On top of that there are two polar bears that can't swim but love hugs and cuddles and I relate to them on an emotional level!

Watch it? I do recommend it whole-heartedly. It teaches a lot of good lessons and it is a good reason to look up real life heroes. It is a wild and very adult adventure but with no real losses or tragedies (compared to a Disney movie, for example). It also has an outstanding soundtrack!

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

Balto - Kevin Bacon
Steele - Jim Cummings
Jenna - Bridget Fonda
Boris - Bob Hoskins
Luk and Muk - Phil Collins

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Why Should You Enjoy Scooby-Doo In Spite of Public Opinion

Of course nobody liked it, I am yet to find someone who will enjoy a movie made of a childhood favorite, but here is the thing... I hated the cartoon and I looooved the movies! You can sue me if you want, but I'll tell you in a minute why you should love them too!

Funnily enough the first movie starts with our team deciding that they have had it with the way everybody is forced into a stereotypical role. They part ways and are brought together after some time by someone who seeks revenge. But when they are together again everybody is finally the opposite of the annoying characters they used to be! The lesson here was to learn that they worked better when they are together, but each made an effort to become a better person than they used to be. If that is not a good moral lesson I dunno what is! In the second movie on the other hand you have the ultimate lesson: the real monsters are people. This is something that the cartoon strongly focused on and I'm not gonna lie, I laughed hysterically at multiple jokes in the second movie. I could go into detail regarding the plot, but I don't see the point of it, because that is not what makes these movies good for me.

Here is my question. Besides the movie deciding to say straight out what you already thought: Shaggy is a stoner, and Scrappy Doo is an annoying little shit, Fred and Velma have a thing for each other, what exactly is your problem? I mean honestly I enjoyed the fact that they managed to surprise me 100% with a twist in the end (in both movies!). And that is what every single episode of the cartoon used to do. I did not mind the changes because I loved that Daphne kicked ass, she is not just a pretty girl. I loved that Fred was no longer the exceptionally fantastic guy that everybody falls for, he is simple, just like his friends. I also adored the fact that Velma is not smart because she wears glasses, but because she actually learns. If you want to tell me that the cartoon was not based on stereotypical notions than you are f*cking lying to yourself! Nostalgia goggles much? I have another question: You have seen all the other adaptation, starting from The Flintstones to comics like Marmaduke, not to mention the abomination that was Jem and The Holograms, which all ultimately took something and decided to teach us NOTHING. Now... if you compare it with that, is Scooby-Doo that bad? Be honest. You can argue with me that the acting wasn't to your liking, or that you thought the twist was dumb but... I mean come on. Open youtube, watch an episode of the old cartoon and tell me what is different.
Here is the thing, I accept it if somebody did not like a movie per se, as in there are hundreds of reasons why you might not enjoy something. My problem is that these movies were aware of where they came from and they wanted to make a satire. It worked! The cartoon was stupid and the movie is aware of it. Second, you can't have anymore female characters whose sole purpose is to stand by the two sides of the best looking male character... you just can't. And if you don't understand that story-wise they needed to have, what's the word, a PERSONALITY, then I don't know what to tell you.
Third, you will never have a version of this story where Shaggy is a likable character, because he is the stereotypical 'anti-guy'. No wonder Fred is portrayed as invincible. You might relate to Shaggy if you too were not the quarterback at your high school's football team, but besides that can you defend in any way a man who finds comfort in the arms of a giant dog? (Yes, I said it!). And yet I did not hate him in the movie. He is by far the most adorable character in the first one, as he is happy to have his friends and family back. He has the purest soul of all of them and that makes him a far more advanced character than the cartoon ever was. I especially liked the idea that he knows his place. Yes, he is a person who scares easily, but he knows his place within the group: he is not the hero, just the sidekick. And Velma in the end asks for his help and he becomes a key element in solving the problem. If you preferred him as a passive member of an active team, screaming with terrible one-liners, again, the problem is with you, not the movie.

Okay, so far I have insulted everyone and their favorite cartoon in multiple lines, and I need to say, sorry if I hurt your feelings. But... but I dare you to tell me that you did not laugh at least once. I dare you to tell me that you did not listen to the soundtrack of these movies afterwards. I dare you to tell me that you did not fall in love with Sarah Michelle Gellar and/or Linda Cardellini (I know I did!). Tell me that you did not hate Scrappy-Doo when you were a kid. Tell me you didn't like that the villain was female in the second movie. Tell me they did not surprise you and you did not feel like kicking ass after your favorite characters did. Tell me you wouldn't want to dance with Scooby-Doo!

I am not saying that these are the best movies ever made, but the hate they get is beyond my understanding. I have seen far worse movies with no moral lesson, no story arc, no real idea behind it. I honestly feel that somebody who loved the original decided to elevate it and in my humble opinion they did a good job!

"Goodbye suckers! ... [while falling] Help me suckers!"

Watch them again? Please do. Do it for guilty pleasure, do it because your thoughts have been so obscured by the fact that everyone around you told you to hate these movies. Re-watch it also because you watched it waiting for your childhood to be re-lived, but this is a satire. Watch it as such and don't let your memories overwrite the experience.

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

Shaggy - Matthew Lillard
Scooby-Doo (voice) - Neil Fanning

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What's Next On My List? Grosse Pointe Blank

Focusing super hard not to be destroyed mentally by all the bad news and sexual harassment accusations coming from Hollywood nowadays, I decided to review an old favorite of mine. Hope you will enjoy the entry!

Martin is an assassin for hire, he is quite talented and does OK in his job, but he is given an impossible decision: go home for his high school reunion or not? The little town he left behind, and the love of his life Debi, are still there, unaffected by time or anything out in the world, while he has changed quite a lot. While at home he realizes that he does not want to be in the business anymore, but quitting is not as easy as it sounds...

Now, this is of course dark humor, but I think it is one of the best examples. Martin is troubled much more by the ghost of his former self than he is by killing. His biggest regret is leaving the love of his life behind and when life gives him a second chance with her, he makes sure to take it. The two best characters in the movie are his assistant Marcella (played by his sister Joan Cusack, and let me add here that I simply adore that they are always in each others' films!) and his psychiatrist Dr. Oatman. The former always helps him keep his humanity, not to get dragged down into the dark world that surrounds them. So much so that she is the one who pushes him to go home for the reunion. The latter on the other hand has to listen to his terrible stories and the work he does and he tries to help him but he always falls short. However, you gotta admire the doctor's tenacity in trying to help someone who is somewhat beyond redemption...
Well, I also need to mention that whilst this movie tries to be a romantic comedy, it has some awesome action scenes. In it the main character has to kill someone sent after him and he does that during the reunion, in the end having to fight off his former boss in his ex-girlfriend's house. A lot of blood is involved in this process and he ends up telling the girl about his insecurities and why he left her, as they are trying to run for their lives. The set up of the movie is quite unique, in my opinion, as instead of a boring romantic comedy it added a very unusual setting for it and it simply works. You care about them, you laugh at them, you understand the struggle and it completely puts a high school reunion into a different perspective!

Watch it? Most definitely. In my humble opinion this is John Cusack at his best! I adore this movie and try to rewatch it as often as I can. It has a marvelous cast with very good jokes and entertaining action scenes.

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

Martin Q. BlankJohn Cusack
Debi NewberryMinnie Driver
Dr. OatmanAlan Arkin
Grocer Dan Aykroyd
Marcella - Joan Cusack
Paul SperickiJeremy Piven
Mr. Bart Newberry - Mitchell Ryan

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What's Next On My List? The Handmaid's Tale

Oh, I have been putting of this review for a while now for various reasons. First, I would deem my relationship with Margaret Atwood 'complicated', despite the fact that I have grown to love her as a person. As far as her works are concerned, I am still not sure if I like them due to the stockholm syndrome that I am sure I have developed over the years, or because simply I do. By this I mean that she has written a lot of things that I enjoyed right off the bat, and some that I needed warming up to. But she is very much present in my life still, I have recently read a thesis that was written on The Blind Assassin, my best friend is currently writing to me under the nickname of MaddAddam on facebook, and we had to re-read The Handmaid's Tale for my sci-fi class. I have spent all summer reading short stories from her, many of which I have already written about in my blog post "Margaret Atwood and I". The main reason I have been putting of this review is that I have a few commentaries about the show that are not really positive... altogether I wish I hadn't read the book before seeing it.

The story of one of the handmaids of Gilead, who was known by the name of Offred, belonging to a couple without children, where she ensued a relationship with one of the drivers of her Commander. The story moves back and forth between Offred, formerly June's past and present. How she lost her husband and daughter and how the people of her country slowly allowed for a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship to rise.

First, the good. This is an incredibly high quality TV series and I am happy that it got made because these are things that we HAVE to talk about today. Just look at how women are treated right NOW in the United States! This isn't a far away future, this is a problem that has to be addressed immediately. And if this show wasn't of such high quality, ignorance would still be the preferred option. But because of it you have handmaids now all over the world protesting for their rights as simple human beings and I gotta admit, when comparing history and looking at the impact popular culture has... it is simply astonishing. The novel itself is wonderful, and people are reading it again, which I could not be happier about. The fact that people are acting as if they JUST discovered that Margaret Atwood can write is somewhat hilarious, but besides the point when it comes to my review.
Now the bad... oh boy. Yes, this show deserved every award it got, from script to acting, to the music and the pacing, directing, cinematography, writing... really, everything. I was, however, still left disappointed by one thing, but a thing that to me was crucial. The Commander and his wife were too young... The book emphasizes something simple about their relationship: they have drifted apart. The Commander himself is a complete loser, no more than a pawn already, he is easily deceived by Offred and the one you do fear is his wife. Now, I was indeed scared of the wife, but by god, there was absolutely no reason for the Commander to be so attracted to Offred in the series! They even added in a sex scene with the wife, proving that one, he is the problem in the bedroom... two, that they are very much easily rekindled into their old ways. The book lets you in on the life of an old couple basically giving up, zero intimacy and a bored husband with a wife still seeking society's approval. Here... the fact that they made them more evil only took away from the hatred I felt for the dictatorship. I was disgusted by him, and I hated her, and in the long run I forgot that they are all just pieces in something much worse. And because of that reason I was quite thrown off.
Overall, is that a huge problem? Not for the simple viewer (by that I mean those who did not read the book), as I have asked around. It is for me because there is a special scene in the book where this defeated old man admits that they only wanted to make the world a better place. And in that moment, for a second there Atwood makes you think and you cannot help but stop hating the enemy. This is something a parent would say, "I was only trying to do the right thing", and yes, they do, but mistakes are made. We sometimes might not see the outcome of our actions. Not to mention that for Offred to pretend was much easier with a sillier inattentive older man, than in the show and some scenes because of it fell short for me. Does that make it bad? No. It is a great adaptation. They decided to answer a few questions the book left open, and I didn't mind. I liked the casting, the way you can tell they opened the book when writing the script, and made use of a great source material. I have absolutely no idea what the second season will be about, but it not being based on the book anymore, I am sure I will be more open to it. I am also curious and waiting to return to this terrible world, just to see the women in it win!

Watch it? Definitely. This is simply a good series. I personally wish I hadn't read the book first, and I rarely do that. I always watch the adaptations first and then read the books, that way imagining the actors already, and I checked the cast first here too, but... no. I'm sorry. That is my mistake ultimately. But as far as adaptations are concerned, this is among the best five out there so trust me, I am not trying to be critical! But you check it out too and let me know what you think!

Until the next item on my list!

PS: Of course read the book too! What are you waiting for?!
_ _ _ _ _ _

June Osborne/Offred - Elisabeth Moss
Serena Joy Waterford - Yvonne Strahovski
Fred Waterford - Joseph Fiennes
Nick Blaine - Max Minghella
Rita - Amanda Brugel
Janine - Madeline Brewer
Luke Bankole - O-T Fagbenle
Aunt Lydia - Ann Dowd
Moira - Samira Wiley
Ofglen - Alexis Bledel

Friday, November 3, 2017


My best friend and I went to see what is quite possibly one of the best movies ever made by Marvel. And I have been sitting on this review for hours thinking about it and to see if I was blinded by the wonder of cinema or if truly, as I felt while watching it, this was an extraordinary and unique piece of perfection. I will tell you why in a  minute, but I'm going with the second. [WARNING! Spoilers ahead!]

After refusing to take the throne, Thor travels the world on a journey of self-discovery. He, however, encounters someone who warns him of the dangers that are before the doors of Asgard, so he returns home only to find chaos in the absence of his father. He and Loki get together to prevent the destruction of their home, but for that to work they need to have a small team, and even that is not enough to stop Hela, the Goddess of death.

Well, the trailer lied to you, let's start there. And boy... am I glad it did! I am so tired of 2 minute trailers that go and ruin whole movies. I have been watching less and less as the years pass because I don't want it to ruin anything for me. I could not contain myself when it came to this movie, but I am 100% fine with being deceived for the purpose of leaving a better viewing experience.
I want to talk about everyone, but instead of going by cast order, I'm going to start with our villain, Hela. She is my favorite Marvel villain. Now, I think you'll agree that these movies are not so much about the villains anymore. Think of Civil War (which I am yet to review, thank you me for reminding me), there was someone pulling the strings but is that what you remember from that movie or the fight between Iron Man and Captain America? I thought so. That means that people obsessing over Iron Man 3 not having a good villain need to learn that their purpose is not to be either good or bad, but to elevate your main character and it very much did in that movie, just as much as it did here. Hela comes in and points out something I have been saying for quite sometime: Odin is a shitty dad. Seriously, 90% of Thor's problems are caused by this guying lying left and right! Thor's love for his father is although admirable, it is also childish because he cannot see his many faults. He somewhat does in this movie, thankfully, but it took for Hela to return for that to happen. She was the funniest and at the same time scariest villain in my opinion. The latter because I was asking myself, how are you going to defeat her? And that doesn't happen often, does it? You know that the good guys always win, but I was honestly scared for them more than once. To this they added a comedic side to her and I was just gasping for air from laughter. She was beautiful and charming and simply aesthetically so pleasing that she put a lot of other villains to shame. I can just imagine the two Australians enjoying filming every single day!
Speaking of villains, you have the return of the ever so charming Loki, who mostly played himself. Do I mind? Know, because the movie was aware of it through and through, so much that it even commented on it. I did not understand where his awesome green clothes went, but that was the least of my worries. When it comes to Loki the story almost always repeats itself, what changes is Thor's approach to it. The writers love to play with this love-and-hate relationship that the fans have with him. What I need is to not feel his inclusion forced, I don't want fan service, if you have no story for him, DON'T include him. But it was well written and well thought out, so I was very happy. I am curious to see what is going to happen in the next movies!
Although there is a lot that can be said about the side characters, I don't want to go into that particularly. You see, I have just no clue where we are going with Bruce Banner, and that bothers me a great deal because he is my favorite character of all time. I can easily blame the studios for not giving him a solo movie, because this way there is a lot that is left unsaid and for me it is becoming a problem. His inclusion here, despite all that, was simply great and needed. I missed him a lot.
Let me know move onto the hero of this movie, Thor, who I believe has come a great deal since we last saw him. There is always a fear that some of these movies will try and repeat the gimmick of one of their stories and you have to be careful. Thankfully this was not the case. So much so that perhaps this third movie was the best one so far, and I don't think you can say that about any franchise. Thor's optimism makes you grab a hammer and go and fix the world yourself. Turning over to the moral message of the story, I love that whilst the Avengers on Earth are arguing about what is wrong and what is right, you have this one guy who knows exactly what is right and he goes for it. He says that he runs towards his problems, because that is what heroes do, and my god, did I want to high-five him in that moment! You see? This is why he wasn't part of Civil War, he would've solved that shit in less than 5 minutes!
And really... Any movie that has Jeff Goldblum in it is a win for me!

Watch it? Forget everything you thought you knew. You will get Sherlock jokes, finally quality Thor and Loki interactions, with the best villain available in the whole Marvel universe (yes, I said it!), side characters who, I am not kidding, have more of a character development in one movie than any hero did in the whole entire DC universe! [That's right, f*ck you DC!]. GO SEE IT!!!

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

Heimdall - Idris Elba
Grandmaster - Jeff Goldblum
Valkyrie - Tessa Thompson
Skurge - Karl Urban
Bruce Banner / Hulk - Mark Ruffalo

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

OLD vs. NEW: Ghostbusters

Of course I watched the original because of Sigourney Weaver! What other reason would I have?
Ghostbusters (1984) vs. (2016)

I feel dumb writing down the plot, like really, how do you not know by now? Anyway, New York starts to exhibit a serious of ghost appearances and a group of scientists and friends who have always believed in the paranormal get together to make the city safer. Unfortunately, however, something much bigger is coming and they might not be equipped for it, but they will nonetheless do their best to save their city and with it the world!

I'm gonna be honest with you and tell you that I liked the remake a lot better. You can boo me all you want, it is simply a better movie! The original one is great because of Bill Murray, Peter Wenkman, I think his character is simply genius. Anyone who has fallen in love with him because of it has my vote of approval. He was funny and smart and all together a great character. But... after watching it I had soooo many damn questions! First, was the blow job scene really necessary? Especially because there was no indication that anyone besides Peter was into Dana, played by Sigourney Weaver. Then their friend Egon, he looked like a socially awkward scientist, who then landed the secretary? He became this macho cool guy in a couple of seconds with no indication whatsoever of actually reciprocating her feelings. I am going to be mean and say that people are very much wearing nostalgia goggles when it comes to this movie... I'm planning on watching the sequel because I was genuinely disappointed. My next question was about the dogs... they get into the body of Dana and Louis and just why? They turned back into dogs later on, what was the reason for stealing her body? And well of course immediately everything they constructed from weapons to traps worked perfectly... Not to mention that they were scared of everything - big heroes you guys were... I'm sorry, I really am, I could watch Bill Murray playing this character for hours on and if Sigourney is involved, count me in, but nothing else in this movie was to my liking.

"- That's where I saw that weird sparking thing.
- What was it?
- Baby, if I knew what it was, I wouldn't have called it a 'weird sparking thing'."

That said, I adored the remake. It was the remake that made me want to watch the original in the first place! I did not care for it for over 20 years. First, the girls were fierce and strong and they went head on into action. I loved the all girl cast, the fact that people complain about it still I think is the reason why it was received so bad. I saw pictures of little girls being excited to get autographs from the stars of the movie and my heart moved. And it if wasn't the feminist inside of me, then it is the fact that I laughed my ass off at this movie. Starting from Chris Hemsworth being a pretty idiot all the way to the small jokes among the characters. I actually felt like I know something about these women. In a small series of scenes I was introduced to who they are and why they do what they do. They were badass! Dan Aykroyd created a wonderful world when he wrote the script of the first movie, I am in no way trying to attack him, but of all the things I could see the new one bring to life, the first just felt... simple. I don't know anything about why any of the guys really wanted to pursue this job, or the fact that they were in no way surprised by the existence of ghosts was off-putting. While, in the remake, there is a larger inclusion of society's reception to paranormal activities and it was just too real.
We see the science behind it, we see the motivation of the characters, we see things slowly unfold and go into chaos, we get to know the villain and his motivations for all of this. Think of the original... why did it attack our planet? No really. Tell me. Explain without rewatching the movie, I know it was a portal, it's coming was foretold, but why? The new one, and I'm not even going to call it a remake, because it was really an homage to the first one, it does not try to erase it, as many people would dare to assume and thus shit on it. So the new one gave us a creepy villain who to me was scarrier than anything else in the movie, and I loved that! If you want to make ghosts acceptable than you need to up the villain and the movie did. Fine, fine, I won't complain about the giant marshmallow, admittedly, it was funny, but not scary.

I also strongly believe that the best thing about both movies was the eyecandy purposefully put there to draw people in. I really don't want to choose between Sigourney Weaver and Chris Hemsworth, but let me tell you, it was not enough for me!

Watch it? F*CK YES! I am so sick and tired of people complaining about the new one! I am telling you that it is a very good movie! It could not exist without the original and I can tell you that it doesn't want to. Nobody is rewriting history here or pretending as if the source material wasn't a beloved series. They made it to have a new take on it and I think it worked really well. Both are good movies, trust me on that, I am not saying that the original is bad, but if put next to each other I will choose the new one every time!

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

Dr. Peter Venkman - Bill Murray
Dr. Raymond Stantz - Dan Aykroyd
Dana Barrett - Sigourney Weaver
Dr. Egon Spengler - Harold Ramis
Louis Tully - Rick Moranis
Janine Melnitz - Annie Potts
Winston ZeddmoreErnie Hudson

Erin Gilbert - Kristen Wiig
Abby Yates - Melissa McCarthy
Jillian Holtzmann - Kate McKinnon
Patty Tolan - Leslie Jones
Rowan North - Neil Casey