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Saturday, October 31, 2015

The End of the Tour

directed by 
[filmography: The Spectacular Now (2013)]

written by 
[filmography: TV movies]

ENJOYMENT: *** (out of 4)

"Amazing portrait of a brilliant man & refreshing in its simplicity"

This is a film about an interview David Foster Wallace, the author of the famous book in the 90s Infinite Jest, had with Rolling Stone about a decade before he ended up killing himself. I was very impressed by how simple the story was and yet still be so captivating. It'd been awhile since I'd seen a film with so much dialogue. Still, the dialogue was thought provoking and entertaining. The casting was probably perfect. There were bits of the story that left me a bit perplexed, like why they made this movie in the first place, but maybe that's because I never read David Foster Wallace. 

Straight Outta Compton

Directed by 
[filmography: Law Abiding Citizen (2009), The Italian Job (2003), A Man Apart (2003), The Negotiator (1998)]

Written by Jonathan Herman [writing debut] & Andrea Berloff [World Trade Center (2006)]

ENJOYMENT: ***½ (out of 4)
"Great biopic & thoroughly entertaining"

Even as a child of the 80s, I somehow missed out on NWA. Still, of course, I knew Ice Cube, Easy E, Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, and Snoop Dogg, but from their later stuff. Therefore, Straight Outta Compton was incredibly enlightening in telling their story, from rags to insane riches, and all of the dysfunction along the way. The acting, directing and music were all incredible. Somehow they included nearly a dozen characters and it never felt too cluttered. Since most of these guys are still alive though, I was left wondering whether they really went into all the gory details of how extreme their lives got.

Diary of a Teenage Girl

Written & directed by 
[writing & directing debut]

ENJOYMENT: **** (out of 4)
"Absolutely fantastic and very raw"

From the preview I thought this movie was going to be pretty quirky and funny, but I did not expect it to be so raw or realistic of what teenage life could be like. Diary of a Teenage Girl is about a 15 year old girl who starts a romantic relationship with her mom's boyfriend on top of all the other difficulties of growing up. At times it was funny (though I often I felt very awkward laughing out loud in the crowded theater), but it was also a very serious drama. The acting was superb. Bel Powley will likely get a Golden Globe nomination and should get an Oscar nomination as well.


SICARIO (2015)
Directed by 
[filmography: Untitled Bladerunner Project, Prisoners (2013)]

Written by 

[writing debut]

ENJOYMENT: **** (out of 4)
"As good as it gets."

Sicario is about the Mexican drug cartels from the perspective of law enforcement. However, reducing this film to a single description is so unfair. It's action packed, disturbing, and emotional. It's like the best True Detective episode times 10. The casting is perfect, it's original and enthralling. 

Black Mass

Directed by 
[filmography: Out of the Furnace (2013), Crazy Heart (2009)]

Written by Mark Mallouk [writing debut] & Jez Butterworth [Spectre (2015), The Edge of Tomorrow (2014)]

ENJOYMENT: ** (out of 4)
"Boring and unoriginal"

I should mention a disclaimer: I fell asleep twice in the theater while watching this movie. I'm not sure if that should disqualify me from honestly reviewing this film, or if that is evidence that it wasn't any good. The problem is that everyone else, minus my husband, seemed to like this movie. I still feel confident though saying that it didn't go deep enough into the story I was interested in, Johnny Depp looked like Gollum, and it got super repetitive and predictable.

The Martian

directed by 
[filmography: Prometheus (2012), American Gangster (2007), Gladiator (2000), Thelma & Louise (1991), Blade Runner (1982), Alien (1979)]

adapted for the screen by 
[World War Z (2013), "Lost" (2005-2008), Cloverfield (2008)]

ENJOYMENT: **** (out of 4)
"Enthralling and original. A classic space odyssey"

We have been so spoiled with excellent films about space these last two years. The hope is that they can keep them coming and yet still stay as original as The Martian (and Interstellar). Matt Damon is perfectly cast as an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars in the not-too-distant future. Meanwhile, while Damon's character tries to figure out how to stay alive, everyone back on earth is doing everything to figure out how to get him back. The Martian is Ridley Scott's best film since Gladiator. The cast is amazing. I knew this film was going to be good, but I was seriously blown away. It's also bound to get kids excited about going to space and will hopefully help convince taxpayers that this is a worthy endeavor.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Early Best Actor prediction

There are already quite a few wonderful movies this year & solid-looking ones on the horizon. Out of the following films with strong acting roles, I've only seen The Martian so far, but these other three are screaming Oscar potential. My guess FTW, as of now, just by looking at the previews, 2016 will be the Year of Leo finally getting his Oscar. I hope these other ones don't let me down!

4 Likely Best Actor nominees 2016:
  • Matt Damon -- The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio -- The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender -- Steve Jobs
  • Tom Hanks -- Bridge of Spies

Others I'll be paying attention to:
Bradley Cooper -- Burnt
Someone from The Big Short?