Movie Review: Arrival (2016)

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Plot: When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.

Since I haven’t read one bad review about Arrival and about ten million people asked me whether I’d seen it, I was really rather excited to get to this. I also loved Sicario, which at that stage had been my exposure to director Dennis Villeneuve’s work.

Arrival is one of the most unique and well thought out films I’ve watch in ages. It is some of the best work I’ve seen from 2016, and would certainly have altered my Top Ten list of 2016. Villeneuve has a talent to direct the dark and dreary. His signature style is tense and the subsequent underlying tension makes him a formidable force to watch in the future. He knows how to get the most intense emotions from his films’ stars, most evident in the way Amy Adams, Jermey Renner and Forrest Whitaker portray their part of Arrival.

"Story of Your Life" Day 37 Photo: Jan Thijs 2015

I guess I see now why people were so riled up when Amy Adams was not nominated for best actress. She was fantastic as Louise, a linguist who is tasked to extraterrestrial beings when they mysteriously appear in random locations across the globe. The lingual exploration was fascinating, which explored the dissection of communication and language. It made me realize that we take language for granted and how it forms and changes us. Talking is so natural, we rarely pause to consider how remarkable it is that we are talking.

I am also appreciative that Villeneuve once again provided a film with such a strong female lead. He obviously has an appreciation for strong female characters – can we have more of him please?!

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I always feel like a complete noob when talking about CGI. Visual design is one of the areas where I truly have no experience in (or a desire to get experience in). My adventures into more serious films have shown me however how much tone and proper CGI can affect a film. Arrival has incredible CGI. The Aliens are formed in a way that is slightly revolting and highly fascinating, light years away from our perception of beady eyed human forms. There is a particular scene with Adams that was mesmerizing – I get goosebumps just thinking about it. The directing also is sad and heavy and dark, and impresses the sadness which Adams’ character carries with her.

The eventual conclusion to this two hour masterpiece will stay with you – I am still wondering about the implications of it all. The focus, despite the entire plot, is not truly on the Aliens. It is more about how would we even talk to Aliens should they arrive on the planet.

Rating: A well-deserved 9/10

Movie Review: Beauty and The Beast (2017)

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Plot: An adaptation of the fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.

Of all the sentimental attachments I have to Disney classics, my attachment to Beauty and The Beast is the strongest. As a young girl Belle was like this guiding light – she liked to read, she was interested in a greater life and she was the author of her own story. She finds love because she’s brave and can see past the exterior, not because she needed rescuing. Belle rocks man. So it was with an uneasy mix of excitement and trepidation that I handled the news of a live animation adaption. Would they ruin it? Would they, GASP, try and be original? I am pretty happy with the original work and I would not have appreciated a new take where Gaston is the hero and the Beast is just a Beast – I’m looking at you, Maleficent.

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However, I loved it. Emma Watson is most certainly not the world’s most accomplished actress, but she’s been unfairly criticized for her work as Belle. I was expecting much worse, both in terms of acting and of singing. People are reporting her as weak and unconvincing. She wasn’t. She is at times slightly wooden but not offensively so. Is her voice auto tuned? Maybe, but since I’m no Adele I am not going around judging people for their singing. Whether her haters like it or not, she’s a face of gender rights at the moment and that, combined with her serious personality and Harry Potter legacy made her a spot on choice for Belle. That yellow dress sure is pretty and springing and she seems to have good chemistry with Dan Stevens – who wouldn’t? – And eventually looks more comfortable with the role.

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A standout performance is that of Luke Evans as Gaston. He’s the boorish, muscled and mean spirited villain with such style that it is obvious he had the time of his life being Gaston. He also has hands down the best singing voice of the cast. My favorite musical of this film is Gaston, he was perfect in every way and the musical is brilliantly executed.

Josh Gad as Lafou provided the required quota of comic relief. He was just a bit over the top. I also didn’t really understand the issue with him being Gay. Goodness me, I guess I’m just that peculiar that I really couldn’t care about someone’s sexual orientation as long as they are decent human beings, and my experience with the gay community has me convinced they are, in actual fact, more often better people than their straighter counterparts. On further thought Lafou wasn’t particularly straight in the original work, so I just don’t get the fuss. I found the third musketeer’s reaction to his wardrobe change hilarious and spot on.

My only issue with Dan Stevens as the Beast is that I didn’t get to see more of his lovely face. It is a pity. He has a gorgeous voice. Considering most of his work was under CGI (mores the pity), I can’t truly comment on his acting in here.

Maurice (Kevin Kline) was much less of a cartoonish fool and a man dealing with grief and guilt. I quite liked this impression of him, and made the character much more lovable. Also great voice work from Emma Thompson, Ian McKellan and Ewan McGregor.

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It is true that Bill Condon provides an extravagant affair. He clearly had Disney’s massive financial backing because his sets are elaborate and finely carved. The only one lacking was Mrs. Potts. She definitely got the bums rush from the development crew. Everything else is so ornate and rich to look at. I enjoyed the castle crumbling as physical evidence of the Beast’s chances of finding his human form beginning to wane all the more.

I know the original work well enough that I can parrot the songs, so I picked up on the changed words. I don’t get why they did it though. It wasn’t necessary for the original works are close to perfect. My only serious complaint is the rendition of Beauty and the Beast. Neither the song in the movie or its’ rendition by Ariana Grande and John Legend comes close to the original Celine Dion cover. The new songs were dangerous experimentations. I liked all of them, but someone sure had balls to create new scores for such a beloved classic.

A lot of political commentary going on and naturally I was on board – women reading, doing their own thing, and specifically Belle stating that she’s not ready to have children yet to the complete bewilderment of her community is a priceless moment. We feel you, Belle.

I actually really loved this adaption. Disney has a knack of producing great live animations. It is somewhat lazy work with about half the creativity than an original production would require – just do good casting and great graphics and depend on the fans that are hit with a wave of nostalgia. It remains quite wonderful work however and I can’t wait to buy the DVD!

Rating: 8.5/10

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

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Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

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The Original Guardians of the Galaxy was celebrated far and wide as original, refreshing and pretty much different from any normal Marvel film. I mean we love them, but they aren’t necessarily ground breaking in the stories they tell. I agreed mostly, but I also still felt that everyone and their grannies took the hype too far. Regardless of my opinion, the first film was a runaway success and since it is Marvel, a second one was inevitable.

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The sequel is in many ways an equal to original. Chris Pratt is Chris Pratt and the lovable and very attractive goofball. He is still surrounded by his team – Gamora (Zoë Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). They acquire more recruits this time – Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). It is starting to feel like the Space Avengers with such a large cast going on here, but I very much doubt that the majority of the audience worries about that too much.

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Plenty of things work – Dave Bautista’s literal minded Drax gets more dialogue and the things he says is what we think without saying it, making the situations he’s placed in quite hilarious. Telling the creepy Mantis she’s probably beautiful on the inside was quite funny and painfully blunt. Baby Groot is emotional manipulation – he’s so cute he could have danced the duration of the film and I would have liked the movie. Chris Pratt loses his shirt and I couldn’t complain about it. The directing is colorful and bright and suits the upbeat tone of the film. The dialogue is relatable and funny, the banter between the team easy and seemingly sincere. The soundtrack is a lot of fun and a continuation of the first film. Sylvester Stallone shows his face and boggles the mind that he’s still looking smoking when he is six hundred years old now.

What lacks is an actual plot. The writers focused on the one thing left unanswered in Volume 1 – Starlord’s patronage. Enter Kurt Russel, cool old-dude extraordinaire, as Ego the Living Planet. He’s not much of a villain with a lot of ego and little grey areas, and it is pretty clear quite quickly that he doesn’t want the best for his son. There are also gold people, led by Elizabeht Debicki’s Kismet, who are angry that Rocket stole shit from them and are now determined to wipe out the team. It’s a pretty weak story, sloppy in places and lazy writing. It doesn’t particularly fit into the Marvel Universe that has so carefully been crafted. Some redemption is provided by the presence of Baby Groot, the fights between Starlord and Rocket and the chemistry between Starlord and Gamora. I also didn’t particularly appreciate how every bad guy last time was sympathized with this time around – Nebula (Karen Gillan), the conflicted sibling of Gamora, is the grayest character of the lot. Her hatred towards her sister is based on her robotic punishment as a child, and we don’t really blame her, but was it necessary to include it so much again into the second film? Yondu remains damn cool and everything for a blue guy, and Michael Rooker is cool enough to be him, but again, so much unnecessary things in this film piled it up to one long watch. I appreciated the cameo by Sylvester Stallone, but really, was it necessary?

I enjoyed GoTG II. It is not a particularly strong film but it is fun and really funny. Marvel took a chance changing so much from their usual formula, and despite following some of their renowned plot moves, it is still the most original work they’ve done in a while.

A 7.5/10 for me

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2? What did you think of it?

Blindspot 2017: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

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Plot: Danny Ocean and his eleven accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously.

Rating: 8.5/10

Brad Pitt and Matt Damon really is everywhere on my Blindspot list this year. I’m back with Brad Pitt today and looking at the 2001 heist film that proves just how cool Brad Pitt and George Clooney it.

If you are a clever deducer (I know that is not a word), you realized by the rating that I liked this. A good heist film remains a good heist film, and a fast paced, no-nonsense one provides for good entertainment. I thought the heist was brilliantly planned. The film is intelligent and quirky and doesn’t take time to tell its’ story.

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The core actors certainly contribute towards the camaraderie Oceans provides in spades. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Casey Affleck, Bernie Mac – really everyone on screen was great to behold. There is a chemistry in the group that comes across as authentic. I especially liked George Clooney and Brad Pitt together. Both men were able to look and sound like old friends who were up to no good.

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My favourite girl crush Julia Roberts was on screen again. She’s so talented and drop dead gorgeous and she’s so classy on screen. It takes a lot of an actress to be cold and angry and charming at the same time.

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I really liked that this film didn’t take ages to get through and sort itself out – I hate a long drawn out affair as you all know. The plan was laid out, the men were recruited and informed and things went down. Can’t all films just go like that??

Have you seen Ocean’s Eleven? What did you think? I see the next film in the franchise is an all women cast – a relatively popular decision nowadays. What you all think about that?

Book Review: Stars of Fortune (Nora Roberts)

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The Guardians Trilogy #1

Plot: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a trilogy about three couples who join together to create their own family and solve an ancient mystery through the powers of timeless love…
 
Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Her visions lead her to the Greek island of Corfu, where five others have been lured to seek the legendary fire star, part of an ancient prophecy. Sasha recognizes them, because she has drawn them: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, a loner. All on a quest. All with secrets.

Sasha is the one who holds them together—the seer. And in the magician, Bran Killian, she sees a man of immense power and compassion. As Sasha struggles with her rare ability, Bran is there to support her, challenge her, and believe in her.

When a dark threat looms, the six must use their combined powers—including trust, unity, and love—to find the fire star and keep the world on course.

Rating: 7.5/10

For all my love of Nora Roberts her books generally follow the same route. She’s a good writer who thoroughly researches everything she writes about, but I’ve never really stumbled across a book of hers that felt like fresh air until Stars of Fortune. I avoided this series mainly because I so strongly disliked The Dark Witch series. I was sure that another venture into magic was a poor choice for Roberts. You know, because I speak with the authority of a gazillion New York Times bestselling author.

Hidden Treasures is the first of three books which covers the adventures of six people who are essentially strangers in the beginning. Each has a secret, and everyone is unwilling to share. Sasha is an artist who has flashes of the future. Her Seer qualities have led her to lead a reclusive life, and you can’t really blame all the boys for staying away from her as she can read emotions. She’s been having troubling dreams where she sees evil and alternatively a really hot man being her boooyffrrriieeend, and ends up deciding to go to Corfu because literary characters have a lot of money and also because of possibility of hot boyfriend (don’t blame her). She immediately meets Riley and Bran. Riley is a girl, as the name can be a bit confusing, and Bran is the loverboy she’s been dreaming about. They are both in the game of hiding shit from their new friend, and that promises later drama. The three decide to rent a place together to search for the three stars that was hidden centuries ago, because that is totally safe and believable. The three are soon joined by another three, which tidily brings it up to three boys and three girls each. Convenient AF, am I right?

So I’ll stop amusing myself and actually review now. I liked the book. It is original for Roberts although it still has some of her traditional plot devices in. She really spent some time developing each of the secret supernatural abilities each of the character possesses. The book is well structured and doesn’t lag. It was good enough that I’m now progressing to the second book, although I must admit of the three inevitable love stories that of Sawyer and Annika interests me in the least.

As for the two leading characters in Stars of Fortune, Sasha is continuously a wet blanket with a poor me attitude and a certainty that she’s beleaguered and weak and everyone hates her. Bran is a lot more fun and for reasons not clearly understood immediately attracted to Sasha. He’s pretty cool, he’s a sorcerer, and seems the most formidable of the team up to this point. Their fights with Nerezza is increasingly testing on the team, and their trust grows in each other as all secrets are revealed in due course. I’m rooting for all our characters, since Nora has never really killed anyone off, but still I will work through the series and sees what happen.

This series is a bit of a trick with recommendations – it certainly contains new mystique and an interesting supernatural element, but it is still Nora Roberts at the end of the day, so if you aren’t a fan of her usual work I’m not sure if you’d even enjoy this. But I sure did!

Movie Review: My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

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Plot: When a woman’s long-time friend reveals he’s engaged, she realizes she loves him herself and sets out to get him, with only days before the wedding.

Rating: 6/10

I was so looking forward to this. Julia Roberts in her heyday? I am so onboard watching her films, any of her work really, but especially anything done that time period. The film also stars a really young and hunky Dermot Mulroney (SURPRISE) and an equally young and fresh faced Cameron Diaz. But here is what I can tell you about this film:

Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) is an annoying character who is having a tantrum about the fact that she’s been friendzoning an amazing man for years and now that he’s moved on she wants him back. She’s also clearly evil and doesn’t mind hurting a perfectly nice and innocent young woman just because her title as the perfect girl is being attacked. Kimmy Wallace (Cameron Diaz) is Julianne’s nemesis in here purely because she dared to date a clearly single and unattached man.

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I can tell you that the message of this film was clear – MOVE ON AND DON’T POACH. Seriously – Kimmy was so perfect it hurt teeth to look at her, but she was a good person who loved her fiancé. Julianne, who incidentally is the “heroine” of this film, is notoriously horrible to men and obsessed with herself. I just didn’t appreciate the fact that the heroine was horrible and that the story didn’t have the traditionally happy ending we demand from romantic comedies – If I want moral lessons or unhappy endings I would rather check out another genre, thanks so much.

I’m rating this 6/10 because I’m petty and angry about the ending. The rest of the film is probably okay if you are fine dealing with the root-canal version of a heroine. As a last comment I can say that Dermot Mulroney was pretty damn hunky in his youth and suits my idea of the ultimate 90’s man as well despite the fact that he’s named Dermot. I’ll leave you with that, folks. Let me know what you thought about this in the comments!

Movie Review: Power Rangers (2017)

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Plot:A group of high-school students, who are infused with unique superpowers,harness their abilities in order to save the world.

Rating: 7/10

The world has seemingly not run out of the need to reboot franchises. Before I get started about what I think is the ridiculously unnecessary reboot of Spiderman, I will just talk about Power Rangers. I really never thought I’d say this, but this film handled its’ source material in such a way that I didn’t want to laugh out loud in the cinema because of the cheesy factor.

I never saw the original Power Rangers series, that was on MNet in South-Africa and my parents didn’t really see the need for us to have that luxury. I somehow survived my youth without being too scarred about that admission and as a result I have no attachment to the Power Rangers. Hell, I thought there was only one girl Power Ranger so I was pleased when yellow was also a girl.

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This 2017 adaption is full of youths who have some or other trouble – Zac Efron-esque Dacre Montgomery plays Jason Scott, the Red Power Ranger. He’s been kicked off the football team after a cow incident – the exact incident remains quite unclear. He’s been sentenced to detention for the rest of his natural born life and there meets Kimberly Hart (Naomi Scott). He and the cheerleader barely know each other which is complete BS because we all know that cheerleaders and jocks all know each other because rules of society. Kimberly is in detention because she was an awful person and slut shamed another girl via social media. Joining them in detention is Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler). He has some sort of behavioral problem and likes to blow up things, hence detention.

The three all end up at an abandoned mine, where they meet Trini Kwan (Becky G) and Zack Taylor (Ludi Lin). Billy causes an explosion and they discover their respective discs, and they are all bemused to find themselves alive and powerfully strong after a truck accident.

First and foremost I’d like to impress that I was impressed with the inclusivity of the film. Unlike the current administration in the States, the world has a need for inclusivity and for children to understand that they can be superheroes with any skin color. I liked that they didn’t make the black kid the black Power Ranger. Would have felt strange.The inclusion of a gay character was also necessary – because again, perhaps we should understand that people of all genders, races and sexual orientation want to see themselves represented as strong and capable.

The movie is not without humor and it is well placed and paced. RJ Cyler provided the majority of quips and he is very well suited. However, for a kid with behavioral problems he sure didn’t exhibit them too much. Naomi Scott and Becky G were very girl power and I liked them for it.

They only played the song Go-Go Power Rangers once. I think the producers couldn’t help themselves. It’s okay, I’ll forgive them as it was only once. It was included for nostalgia, and even I knew its importance and relevance, though I did laugh at it.

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Elizabeth Banks impressed me as the villain. She is actually quite the diverse actress when she wants to be. Her take on the villain was very one sided, but she can take some applause for the creepy way she handled herself throughout the film.

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The last part of Power Rangers is just one big spectacle, with motorized dinosaurs and burning Krispy Kremes (by the way, I will love to know what they paid for that product placement). The Power Rangers realize up until the very end that if they aren’t working as one team, they have no chance to save their city and ultimately the entire world – because if we are dealing with teenagers, let’s make it even more dramatic. This part was really a lot like Transformers. I don’t know about you, but I am not a Transformers fan for a very specific reason – it is stupid. I think a stronger message could have been passed with the team defeating their enemy without machinery present.

I  enjoyed Power Rangers. I never thought they’d be able to bring such ridiculous source material to the big screen in a remotely respectable fashion. I was wrong. The cast worked well together and the graphics were done really well.

PS: I will return in April with regular posting. I am just currently in a cold war with my service provider about data usage. See you soon!

Movie Review: Southpaw (2015)

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Plot: As tragedy strikes him in his prime, famed boxer, Billy Hope, begins to fall into a great depression. Once the decision regarding the custody of his daughter is under question, Billy decides to get his life back on track by getting back into the ring.

Rating: 7/10

You know those actors you dislike for no reason whatsoever? It isn’t based on their acting ability or the movies they’ve been in, it really is just because because. Their face? Their voice? No idea, but they make you itch on mere sight. Jake Gyllenhaal is that for me. I feel his eyes are too close and his surname is difficult to spell. He’s also related to a woman named Maggie, which may or may not be the real reason. He also freaked me out to no end in Donnie Darko. My point here is that I generally tend to avoid him at all costs, and it really isn’t because of his acting abilities.

Checking out Southpaw was thus a highly questionable venture as Gyllenhaal is the main character. About five minutes in I was engrossed and the film made me sweat bullets. Is that accurate to use here? Southpaw uses some cheap tricks for tears or to get their audience emosh, but it works. I was so involved and rooting for Billy Hope that I couldn’t care less if my favorite-actor-to-hate was in fact Billy Hope. It is your typical rags to riches to rags to riches again, you do get the expected training montage with Eminem blasting at the background, you do get a slick manager who is shady as hell, you do get your trainer that lifts your hero from the ground.

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Is it exhausting because we’ve seen this a thousand times? I don’t know about the other people, but I was just as invested in Billy’s crusade as I was with Rocky Balboa’s. Maybe I’m easily influenced and a bit of a softie, but I was there in the ring with him. I enjoy boxing movies and sport movies in general, so I guess I was programmed to appreciate this. I liked the soundtrack, it is satisfactorily badass. 50 Cent is about the only cast member who isn’t an above par actor, and since he’s cool (and I’m a little bit afraid of him), I didn’t have any issues particularly.

Gylllenhaal does a good job portraying a man that has clawed himself out of the foster care system and built himself an empire. It can’t be easy as I’m pretty sure he’s been privileged his entire life – being nasty again – but there is a roughness to the character that can only come from a life on the wrong side of the tracks.

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Rachel McAdams manages the same feat as Maureen, Billy’s wife. There was careful consideration to her character. I don’t know how to explain it, but the outfits she wears tells that she grew up somewhere else than her current life might indicate. Maureen was a wonderful character. I enjoy Rachel McAdams, but let’s face it, she doesn’t have many roles that aren’t catered to her Southern Belle persona. Maureen isn’t a southern belle, she’s a beautiful woman who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and managed to build her life up with the man she loves. She’s an excellent wife and mother and the center in Billy’s world.

Oona Laurence completes the Hope family as the geeky and sweet child of Billy and Maureen. She was adorable, not irritating as a character and a huge asset to the team. She made Billy’s struggles that much more legitimate and made everyone root all the more for him. She kept tight control of her role for the duration of the film and remained convincing to the very end.

I would have loved to see more of Forest Whitaker’s character. He’s a fantastic actor and taking on the role of Tick Wills couldn’t have been the most challenging role he’s ever done, and yet he did it with a level of experience that had you wondering who Tick was and what is it that made him train those boys in the gym so hard.

Southpaw is saved from being yet another boxing movie by outstanding performances by its’ cast, good costume work and directing and a badass sound track. I eventually deducted one point because it really is emotional abuse what I went through, but I am really pleased I sat through it.

Have you seen Southpaw? Tell me in the comments below!

Movie Review: Shall We Dance? (2004)

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Plot:

A romantic comedy where a bored, overworked Estate Lawyer, upon first sight of a beautiful instructor, signs up for ballroom dancing lessons.

Rating: 6.5/10

Shall We Dance was quite a surprise to me. I was ready to go on a rampage if it turned into a film that tried to justify an older man cheating on his perfectly nice wife. It seemed inevitable when John Clark joined a dancing studio because of the lovely Paulina (Jennifer Lopez) staring out into the night dramatically every time John’s bus drove past the studio where she worked. He is warned early on that Paulina has a broken heart and a dented ego and that she’s really talented. He tries to connect as he feels the need to be involved in some stranger’s personal business. Luckily she tells him where to get off and that she’s on to his shit. The movie steers in another direction then at least, with John (Richard Gere) learning to love the new skill he’s acquiring. His busy wife is alerted by their daughter that John is happier and acting very twinkle toes suddenly. She gets PI Devine (Richard Jenkins) to investigate and he delivers the real story – John is dancing, but not cheating. Through a whole lot of escalation and dance competitions, John eventually finds himself with a wife whose feelings have been hurt because he hid so much of what makes him happy in the past few months from her.

What I liked?

The cast is charming. Richard Gere is as classically handsome as always, Susan Sarandon is as always beautiful and talented, and Stanley Tucci provides a whole lot of funny moments and impressed me with his comedic ability. The same can be said for Lisa Ann Walter, who plays the really honest and abrasive Bobbie. I liked her attitude and while she could be harsh, I really enjoyed the character. I also really thought Bobby Cannavale and Omar Benson Miller had some great moments as John’s classmates Chic and Vern.

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How Shall We Dance concluded. As I mentioned, I was sure this film would be a justification of cheating episode and I don’t have time for that. It turned out differently than expected and I am grateful for that.

The dancing was a whole lot of fun. I really enjoy dancing movies a whole lot even if they have questionable plot lines.

The pace of the movie is well executed and didn’t drag out for ages.

Stanley Tucci’s role as Link was quite funny and had some gentle reminders in that straight men are also able to be dancers and entertainers, and that society generally gives them a really hard time. His whole costume of wigs and false teeth entertained me to no end and some of the funniest moments on screen come from him.

What I didn’t like:

Jennifer Lopez can dance, she can sing, she can be Jenny from the Block, but what she is unable to do is act. I was left as uninspired as usual by her. No real emotion or even a hint of conviction in her character, all she has to rely on is her dance moves and girly voice to complete the role as Paulina. I’m not even sure why she is on the DVD cover as there were a ton of characters that deserved to be on it rather.

I enjoyed Shall We Dance. It is a reminder that life doesn’t have to be over after a certain age and that you can still experience new things. It is also to a lesser degree a film about being yourself and owning what you believe in. It also contains Richard Gere, one of the most handsome older men still alive. For a romantic drama, Shall We Dance fails to annoy and is enjoyable to sit through, which is as much as you can generally expect from these type of films.

Have you seen this? Tell me in the comment section 🙂

Movie Review: Cruel Intentions (1999)

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Plot: Two vicious step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to deflower the new headmaster’s daughter before the start of term.

Rating: 7/10

Watching Cruel Intentions confirmed my belief that I was really the most well behaved teenager alive. I lived in books and in my head and had a small group of friends. I didn’t have the desire to rebel. So when I watch these movies I get such a shock and I’m like ARE YOU ALL REALLY LIKE THAT? My mom would have opened a can of whoop-ass if I tried this shit.

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Cruel Intentions is essentially about two rich, privileged children who play with the feelings and lives of other rich white kids and one black kid. Sarah Michelle Geller is hands down the worst white kid, sniffing cocaine out of her rosary and only revealing her intentions to her slightly less horrible step brother, with who she has a very disturbing Cersei/Jaime vibe, at least without any real blood ties. Selma Blair is a really dumb girl in Cruel intentions and who is really ready to be promiscuous. It was really uncomfortable watching such a dumb girl be so dumb and big applause to Blair who has never even given me a whiff of stupidity in any other situation. Ryan Phillipe is really well cast in any situation where he is set to play a really privileged person. He does it with a natural ability which makes me wonder if that isn’t his real natural ability shining through. His character is not without redeeming qualities and when he becomes ensnared in Reese Witherspoon’s innocent charm, it is strong enough to drastically change his ways.  Sarah Michelle Geller obviously had a really good time with being the villain, and I really liked her in this despicable role. She also looks really nice with brown hair, who would have thought?

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Cruel Intentions felt a bit like what Gossip Girl would have been if the characters had been even more spoiled. The end was really shocking and very sad, but would it have had such an impact with a happy ending? I actually really liked this film, though I wouldn’t recommend you watch it with any parental figure in the area – it would be a complete embarrassment to both of you.

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