When you love entertainment as much as I do, you sometimes get to a point where you want to drown yourself in it. That sounds hyperbolic, but it’s also sort of true. I get that way around award season or after a particularly explosive season/series finale—case in point, last month’s horrific Walking Dead cliffhanger. I got sucked down a vortex of theory discussions and YouTube clips, which led me to watching one too many supercuts of Norman Reedus being absolutely hilarious (and adorable) when not in character as our favorite crossbow-wielding badass. (Does this sound tempting to you? Enjoy.) Needless to say, my crush on Norman came bubbling to the surface once again, knocking the other boys out of the playground for a while.
You’d think that was how I stumbled across this upcoming event showcasing said badass, but it was actually a happy coincidence that came as the result of a job application and some brief research. I won’t bore you with details, but it was some very random luck indeed that led me to the announcement of Norman’s appearance at the 5th annual Montclair Film Festival. My only concerns were what day of the week it was (Saturday) and how much tickets cost (next to nothing). Talk about lucky. After determining that the place was within driving distance—TAKE MY MONEY. In fact, I did something I’ve never done before: whipped out my credit card and immediately bought two tickets, with no hesitation or thought as to who might go with me. Continue reading
Key Players: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo
Even though I’ve only spent a couple of short months in a real hustle-and-bustle newsroom and never at a major paper, I still get really amped when I watch movies about that kind of setting. It takes me back to when I worked for my college paper—the Spotlight team’s tiny room sectioned off from the rest of the staff made me nostalgic for our tiny computer lab in the basement of the student union, heavy with the scent of newsprint and stale coffee.
Spotlight truly deserved its Best Picture win—what a powerful film. As a journalist, I easily related to their passion for the story, their sense of duty to discover the truth and unveil it to the world. As a former Catholic school kid, the statistics were staggering. Based on true facts, Spotlight tells the story of how The Boston Globe exposed the wide-spread scandal of pedophilic priests and the massive cover-up within the Catholic Church. It hit the front page of the Sunday paper in early 2002 and sent shockwaves around the country—and, as the end credits show, the world.
Should you see it?
If you enjoy journalism movies or are interested in the subject matter. I highly recommend it.
In a lackluster award show year in the midst of perhaps the most publicized Hollywood controversy over the lack of nominations for actors of color, I knew the 2016 Oscars would be a rather different ceremony than in years past. That being said, I still wasn’t expecting so many uncomfortable moments shoved down the audience’s throat by host Chris Rock in his second stint on the stage.
Without touching too much on a provocative subject I’m not exactly equipped to speak knowledgeably about, I thought he might use his opening monologue to address the debate, which he did, and maybe close out the show with some sort of call to action, which he did by citing #BlackLivesMatter, and leave it at that. However, the night was rife with crude jokes, relentless little jabs at the underrepresentation of black actors (not all minorities, just blacks) in film, and several awkward moments that made the talent in the room shift in their seats, tittering as though they weren’t sure if they were supposed to laugh or not. After scanning some reviews, it seems some people were a fan of his tactics, but I happened to find jokes like, “In the In Memoriam package, it’s just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies,” to be needlessly tasteless. Continue reading
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and ALL THE PEOPLE who apparently got engaged yesterday … thanks, Facebook, for reminding me that I am still single AF … I thought it was time to explore another trope of romance cinematography: weddings. Whether it’s the central focus of the plot or just a sweet scene in a saccharine will-they-or-won’t-they story, they’re abundant and extravagant across the board, cropping up in a vast number of films. When I started to compile a list, I realized how prevalent they are in quite a few of my favorite movies. Here’s just a small handful (and some honorable mentions). Enjoy!
1. Mamma Mia! (2008)
Just reading the title gets the song stuck in my head. (“Just one look and I can hear a bell ring!”) As a huge theater nerd, I love all the stage-to-film Broadway musical adaptations. While Hairspray and Rent are very high on my list, this one is my absolute favorite. It was our favorite show when we saw it our first time back in 2009 and remained our favorite when we saw it again, just this past summer before it ended its 14-year run on the Great White Way. ABBA’s upbeat songs set the tone for a story of a young bride-to-be searching for her father against a stunning Greek backdrop, which ensured a beautiful cinematic version. Then throw Meryl Streep in as your lead—SOLD. I love this movie. It’s just so much fun and I always have an urge to watch it before I go on vacation to somewhere tropical.
If you caught my last installment of mini movie reviews, you already know a bit about my movie-going habits. (If not, click here.) If you’re looking for things to Netflix in the coming months, hoping for a couple of decent RedBox rentals, or if you’re just wondering if The Force Awakens is worth all that hype, check out my next batch of reviews below.
MOCKINGJAY PART 2 | 11/20/15
Key Players: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
This was inevitable, as I’ve been following the Games since their first trek to the big screen in 2012. I was a huge fan of the books and eager to see them come to life on the silver screen. The first film was a masterpiece, beautifully true to the book, and wonderfully casted. Same for Catching Fire, my favorite of the three. Mockingjay Part 1 was plodding and slow and started to falter, however, as I sort of expected. Mockingjay is admittedly my least favorite book in the literary trilogy turned film tetralogy, as I felt the climax was glossed over and wrapped up far too lazily to give justice to the story as a whole. I wondered if they would be able to rectify that in the film version.
So, my sister and I continued our tradition of heading to the theater on her first night home for her Thanksgiving break from college and went to witness the “epic conclusion” of the saga that catapulted J.Law into superstardom. It just didn’t feel so epic. It felt harried and disorganized, plotless and tired. Jennifer lacked the conviction and determination that Katniss displayed so indignantly in the first installment. It was, by most counts, a disappointment … but one you have to see to give yourself closure.
A new year means a new batch of film experiences for movie fanatics like myself. Who will be the new Oscar players? The new summer blockbusters? The new book adaptations? What screwball comedies are going to make us laugh? What dramas will make us cry? What actor will have their moment, the one that makes you acknowledge that you’ll be paying much closer attention to their work from now on? I love movies, obviously, and I especially love that there are always so many to choose from. This list is bound to grow as buzz from film festivals and award season starts to spread. (Plus, there’s always the half an hour of trailers that play each time you visit a theater.) Pass the popcorn, another year of going to the movies has begun!
1. THE 5th WAVE | 1/22/16
The trailer caught my interest, since I’m into YA sci-fi fiction being turned into movies lately. I also like disaster flicks. It’s been a while since we’ve seen what Chloe Grace Moretz can do in a starring role, so I’ll give it a shot.
2. DEADPOOL | 2/12/16
I love Ryan Reynolds—particularly sarcastic badass Ryan Reynolds. I know nothing about the Marvel character, just that I have a few friends who are insanely excited for this and the trailer cracked me up. I’ve warmed up to Marvel movies in recent years and this one looks far more promising than, let’s say, Ant-Man did.
3. ZOOTOPIA | 3/4/16
It’s a Disney animated movie about animals. If you know me at all, you know why I want to go. Just watch the trailer. So many sloths!
4. The Divergent Series: ALLEGIANT | 3/18/16
Divergent is right behind The Hunger Games on my list of favorite YA dystopia literature-turned-film. Shailene Woodley is doing a great job of bringing believability to Tris’ heroism and the all-star cast just keeps getting bigger and better. The first book was phenomenal and the first movie followed it perfectly. But the books lost their way after that and the screenwriters did a great job of keeping the plot on track for the big screen. Insurgent made much more sense on film than on the page, so I’m confident they’ll do the same for the final installments.
5. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 | 3/25/16
I love the original so much, I practically have it memorized. So now that it’s their daughter’s turn to get married, it seems only natural to check in on Ian and Toula and see how they (and the whole big fat Greek family) handle the situation. I can’t wait. This is one sequel I won’t mind at all.
6. THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR | 4/22/16
This prequel is going to take what worked in the first film (bold cinematography, Charlize Theron’s face, Chris Hemsworth’s everything), remove what didn’t (Kristen Stewart and her new favorite director), and add some beautiful, talented women (Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain). Mix that all together and see what happens? We’re already off to a promising start. Continue reading