Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What's Next On My List? Ferdinand

My sister and I love watching cartoons and I was waiting for this one to finally come out because I fell in love with the trailer right away! I loved the animation and the idea, not to mention the excitement over the voices featured in the movie... overall I was too excited and scared that I might not like it. But I did!

This is a story of a bull that was made to love instead of fighting. Other bulls look down on him for being the way he is, seeing that they believe that the only way to survive is to fight. Ferdinand, however, knows that even if he is the strongest, even if he defeats the matador, he will still never really win. He decides to help all the other bulls escape the hands of those who only see wild animals in them, to live where they can be free.

I think that my favorite scene of all time was that of a literal bull in a china shop. Ferdinand is mistaken for a ferocious and dangerous bull and is taken back to his old home, a place he managed to escape after his father passed away. There he finally understands why his father never came home, why people are scared of him and why his old friends believe that brute force is the only way. A matador comes to their ranch to select a bull, but Ferdinand fights hard to make sure they all get out alive.
Honestly I kept laughing and then crying, and laughing again and crying and this cartoon just kept playing with my emotions in a good way. It was not a 'your parents must die because Disney' kind of feeling, but it focused on the reality of how we treat these animals. Which, as heartbreaking as it is, is the truth. Us humans are sometimes forced into a place where we do not fit, and I loved that this story showed the same dilemma for a bull. I'd like to believe that indeed they are not seeking a fight but are forced to do it (and they are, I mean really... they don't get rage from color red, for example...). The idea of a bull only wanting to smell flowers is incredibly endearing!
There was, however, one thing that kept bothering me: communication. Ferdinand somewhat refused to say out loud what he was feeling and thinking when he was surrounded by new people. He had a new friend, Lupe, a goat that always wanted to be a coach and Ferdinand never really says out loud that he has never fought and never wishes to fight and I did not understand why. There were plenty of chances for him, not to mention that him and Lupe develop a great friendship, but he still waits for her to find out on her own. If I was forced to do things that I hate I would scream my head off...
And that is all the bad I can name. I loved every second of this movie. From the asshole German show horses to the Scottish highland cow that can't see right: It was simply adorable.

Watch it? Uhm, YEAH! I teaches children to not judge based on appearances. It also teaches you to be patient and to let all flowers bloom. We treat animals awfully... we just do. But not all of us and this is a tale of how seeing past what you think you should see might show you something that you'll love. I think that is a great moral.

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

Ferdinand - John Cena
Valiente - Bobby Cannavale
Angus - David Tennant
Hans - Flula Borg

Saturday, March 24, 2018

What's Next On My List? Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I was really looking forward to this movie as I hoped they would do the Disney cartoon justice. There were some things I expected, but some that took me by surprise, overall the movie was an incredibly delightful experience and I was very happy to have seen it. Allow me to go into detail:

The tale of Belle, a girl who has outgrown her little town, ends up in cell of an enchanted castle in order to save her father's life. Her capturer, a prince under the curse of an old woman, befriends her despite his beast-like appearance. The two, like in all fairy tales, fall in love and break the spell.

My sister and I have always watched the Disney cartoon around Christmas, for us it will always be part of the holiday tradition, and as such we decided to wait for winter with this movies as well. I had to realize, having seen so many real life adaptations that something for me was always missing. It was only when the first trailer came out that I finally understood: the music. I just love the soundtrack of the original so much that without it... all others were never good enough. Honestly, I did want the Disney version to be made into a real life version and what I got was everything I wanted! First, the Beast did not look like a giant cat anymore, but an actual beast. Second, the aim of Gaston is to be really attractive to everyone else, but too much for Belle: Luke Evans was the perfect cast for this job. Third, finally, the fact that Belle reads so much showed and I know that was a gentle nod to the fact that women should no longer be portrayed as damsels in distress, and I find it was done well. 
I need to admit that I am completely in love with Dan Stevens, he just cannot do wrong, and I adored recognizing his facial expressions as his relationship developed with Belle. There were more scenes of them talking, which was a smart addition, and his song was by far the most beautiful (which is weird in a soundtrack that is over 20 years old... the people who wrote the new tracks knew their source material). Overall there was one thing that bothered me immensely... the enchantress curses the prince because he was an a-hole to everyone. But... what about the town? We can see that everyone in the town has no problem whatsoever with being rude to the disguised self of the enchantress again and then taking up arms with the plans to kill the beast... why is that OK? Why don't we teach a lesson to the people of the town? Adding her to the background as one of the citizens was a huge mistake, in my opinion, but that is the only criticism I can come up with.

Watch it? People I have met so far did not want to because of their love of the cartoon. You can trust me when I tell you that you will not be disappointed. The people who made this movie cared about what they were doing. 

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

Belle - Emma Watson
Beast - Dan Stevens
Gaston - Luke Evans
LeFou - Josh Gad
Maurice - Kevin Kline

Monday, March 19, 2018

What's Next On My List? The Girl Next Door

Well, when I saw it, this movie was a real sexual awakening for me. I learned a lot of things about myself, and I have to say that even today I look back at it with a smile because of the little elements in it, and well, the overall idea.

Matt is about to graduate from high school, and for the first time in his life he cannot focus on his studies because the most beautiful and dangerous blonde girl moves in next door. Danielle is funny, smart, charming and everything a boy could ever dream of but she is, nonetheless, a porn star. Not only does her past haunt her, but Matt as well, and together they come up with a way to be able to start new. It only involves money, more porn stars, and everything illegal they can think of!

Yes, this is an older movie, compared to how many things there are at the cinema that I could be talking about instead of this is, but I looked it up on purpose. Just today I had a class where we went into detail about the terrible sexual education that is provided in some Hungarian schools. Let me add that U.S. schools are not better... goes to show that they made a whole movie out of it! The shame we still associate with porn baffles me, because let's be honest, almost everyone today gets answers from the internet to their questions regarding sex. And is that OK? I had a debate about abortion today and the common understanding we came to is that people are not really educated. Following another debate about how parents always say that 'How am I supposed to explain gay couples to my children?' and my answer is: 'Why are you afraid of talking to your child?'. Do you think anyone enjoys these? No, of course not, but the more embarrassing the more need to talk about it! The thing this movie focuses on is that kids might laugh at sexual education for several reasons, mostly I think because of the same embarrassment, but not trying to educate them is still a bigger crime - both of the parent and the teacher's alike. There should be no scapegoating here!
There is room for debate here, let me just say that the movie tackles it in a very smart manner, adding a great twist at the end and handling everything with a great subtle sense of humor. The whole situation is absurd, and as such so is the solution. But at least the movie offers one...
That said, I also love the cast. I keep seeing these actors again and again and I am completely mesmerized by the talent they showcase with every new role they take on. Let's be honest, young actors can be tricky, you never really know how far they will be able to go. Finally, I challenge anyone to watch this movie and not fall in love with Elisha Cuthbert... seriously, this girl has such natural charisma and presence on screen that is very hard to ignore. From the industry that gives you incredibly grotesque sexual comedies with the main characters being completely unable to understand the mechanics of sex (or even question what they are putting their dicks into...) I was incredibly gracious to have come about this simple movie about youngsters working super hard to make their dreams come true in a world that is full of obstacles and stupid vindictive adults. You'll get this sentence if you watch the movie.

Should you watch it? Absolutely. It is fun comedy that packs a punch.

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

Matthew KidmanEmile Hirsch
Danielle Elisha Cuthbert
Hugo PoshJames Remar
Klitz - Paul Dano

Monday, March 12, 2018

What's Next On My List? Everything Must Go

Well, you might have guessed it, but I am currently watching Rebecca Hall movies, and I am fairly certain I will write about all of them. First up is a the tale of a guy who just can't catch a break.

Nick gets fired from his job following a law suit in which a co-worker accused him of sexual harassment. He gets home just to find all of his stuff on the lawn and the locks changed to his house. His wife Catherine is gone and he cannot reach her. While living on the lawn he keeps drinking but slowly hits rock bottom. A kid from the neighborhood, Kenny, helps him organize a garage sale and he decides to get rid of everything in order to start a new life.

I really liked the trailer and so I decided to get my hands on it. I had no expectations, but as the story progressed I got more and more invested. This movie is not unique in its style, but it was peculiar to me for a whole set of other reasons. Movies always emphasize how hitting rock bottom for alcoholics is usually a near death experience for them or someone around them, but... is that really it? I mean, do you really need to push someone into a car accident for them to get their shit together? I don't want to believe that. I refuse to believe that people cannot change, I don't care how evil the world is. I liked that for Nick it was realizing that he was simply hurting those around him that got him to get it together. I also know the boost that de-cluttering and throwing away all your shit can mean. A lot of it he donated to friends that he knew will take care of the things that were the most important to him. They will do a far better job than he ever did.
Above all I liked that there was one possible future love interest, but it wasn't forced. Nick goes to see someone from his high school to see why she thought he was 'a diamond in the rough'. They just have a nice talk with a possible coffee date in the future, but nothing more. She tells him that he had a good heart and that is something quite rare. I asked myself what does exactly make an alcoholic a good hearted person, and it was then that he started watching home videos and his father was an alcoholic too. He brought this from home and his wife too was an addict, but having recovered she could no longer handle him falling off the wagon every now and then. There were no grand gestures and no Hollywood moments. It was a simple story about a simple man trying to use what he had learned from years of working his ass off to start again.
The neighbor across the street is a pregnant woman by the name of Samantha, who spends her time alone as her husband works instead of being near to her. She is a photographer and teaches photography too, feeling sorry for Nick they start to talk but all of their conversations end up being very intimate. This is quite rare, I have found, that movies portray a friendship that is not about love or getting physical, but that two people can get in sync so fast and talk so easily that they don't even notice it... It happens more often than one would think. Samantha is careful with him, but he is also the only one she can talk to. There was one scene where he tells her that this is their future too, with everything in rubbles and the next day he goes and apologizes. My sister and mom pointed out how one always has to apologize for saying the truth, and although I agree with the fact that many of us have a problem with accepting the truth and would much rather look the other way, in this case I think that the apology was directed to how he attacked her and her privacy after all the help she has given him. Whether or not Nick's predictions of Samantha and her husband's future will become reality is of course up for debate, but I think that by being honest with her he managed to help them avoid it. And that is not something he should apologize for.

Watch it? It was a good story. Simple, but on point. A week from a man's life, but the week that will change it for good. I have found myself wondering about a lot of things, asking myself about the value we place on objects and money and work while we remain blind to the things that matter. And not just that but we choose to be blind far too often. There is a lot to learn from this movie, that is for sure.

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

Nick Halsey - Will Ferrell
Samantha - Rebecca Hall
Frank Garcia - Michael Peña
Delilah - Laura Dern

Saturday, March 3, 2018

What's Next On My List? Starter For 10

In a previous entry I mentioned that I am a big fan of Rebecca Hall and it all started with this movie, that I ended up watching for other actors but... I could not help falling in love with her. A couple of days ago I re-watched it and I thought I would write about it.

"Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to be clever. Some people are born clever, same way some people are born beautiful. I'm not one of those people."

Brian has been dreaming to learn and improve himself since he can remember in order to become the best version of himself. His plans derail when he meets Alice, a dream girl who even seems to reciprocate his feelings, but something is always not right with them, and it is here that Brian realizes that he has feeling for someone else, someone, who cares for him even when he hurts her, Rebecca. It is only after having lost almost everything that he finally wakes up and admits that he has lost nothing, he just needs to keep fighting.

I had no idea what to expect when I watched this movie, like most people, I think I stumbled onto it while searching for one of the 300 famous British actors in it. Thinking about it, I believe that is has literally everyone who was left out of Love Actually, and that should account for everyone who is English and famous today :D Joking aside, I had no expectations going in, I remember and I liked it a lot. It is a pretty simply straightforward story, nonetheless, it has several layers that I myself only noticed upon re-watching it. At first it seems that everyone is there to help Brian along on his journey, being the protagonist he is of course the most important character, but... everybody has a story that goes from A to B, even those characters who are completely in the background. And those who don't advance?  Well, that's the lesson there. Some people are just not meant to learn.
I know that this movie too is based on a book, which I have not read yet, but I plan to in order to see what this story looks like written down. The reason for that is that I completely fell in love with Rebecca's character. Needless to say that it was the point of the story to portray her as the one that us audience should want to pick over the pretty blondish girl. But that is not it. I have met a version of this girl in real life, I have even been her in some instances, and all together I have fallen in love with this girl before. She was the one you don't want to say got away. What I like about her is being completely aware that Brian is an idiot and still caring for him and loving him. She shows up, she helps, she is present and forgiving even when it seems like she should not. Of course she is the logical choice, but the logical one still does not get picked all the time in reality, do they? Brian learned the lesson, as every hero does in their own little tale, but me? I would have picked Rebecca over Alice from the beginning.

"The people who really care about you don't mind if you make mistakes. It's what you do next that matters."

What more is there to say? Having so many actors in it, you won't be surprised to know that most of them have already appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and outside from that Benedict Cumberbatch has worked together again with almost all of them: with James McAvoy in Atonement, with Mark Gatiss in Sherlock, with Alice Eve in Star Trek: Into Darkness and finally he portrayed the husband of Rebecca Hall in the mini-series Parade's End.

Watch it? Well, yes. I don't know what it is, but it just works. The soundtrack, like in most movies I have seen lately, is simply fabulous. This is a story you have probably seen a hundred times, but to me there was an emphasis put on the fact that it wasn't a forced best friend in love with this idiot that you were waiting for him to finally notice... she was never in the shadow and never forgotten, it just took him time to see who is the one who wants him for him. Might just be a romantic comedy for most, but I have found myself wanting more, something that rarely any happy Hollywood ending achieves.

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

Brian JacksonJames McAvoy
Rebecca Epstein - Rebecca Hall
Alice HarbinsonAlice Eve
Julie JacksonCatherine Tate
Spencer Dominic Cooper
Patrick WattsBenedict Cumberbatch
Bamber GascoigneMark Gatiss