The Nice Guys

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It’s always fun to see an actor step outside of their wheelhouse. The results can be cringe-worthy or — in this case — a grand slam. Gosling has fine-tuned the Rico Suave, silver-tongued devil type; Never a misstep, his sleeves always cuffed just so as to accentuate his effortlessly toned forearms, and that ovary-melting smirk of his.

Crowe, on the other hand, uses his perpetually furrowed brow and gruff demeanor to take roles that require him to basically embody the not-actually-that-far-off version of himself, the Makin’ Movies, Makin’ Songs, and Fightin’ ‘Round the World Russell Crowe from South Park.

In The Nice Guys, Crowe doesn’t make quite the departure from his former roles that Gosling does, but he’s an almost delightful, jovial version of himself.

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In 1977 Los Angeles, in lieu of Facebook stalking and the wealth of dirt that is the internet, men like  Jackson Healy (Crowe) were hired to find people and in most cases, hurt them. Not quite a hitman, but the way you and I grab our wallet/keys/phone when we leave the house, included in his daily arsenal are brass knuckles.

At the other end of the spectrum we have the gauche gumshoe Holland March (Gosling). He’s a bit behind the eight ball and pretty consistently three sheets to the wind. He catches a break when he’s hired to investigate the possible suicide of a young adult film star. The investigation turns into the search for a girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) who has gone missing. March quickly discovers that he’s not the only one with a vested interest in finding this elusive young lady.

While the obstacles stack higher, March and Healy team up — against their better judgement — yielding amusing and often riotous results. With March’s pint-sized P.I. daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice) in tow — often to the chagrin of her father — they’ll have to find Amelia before anyone else does.

After their appearance at the Oscars this year, it was pretty clear that Crowe and Gosling have some zippy chemistry, but nothing could’ve prepared me for how well they actually worked together. You can’t fake that kind of rapport. Much like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in those delightful Road To… movies, John Candy and Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers, they just get it right.

It’s no surprise that I loved it because it’s a Shane Black film. And Shane Black has a propensity for making movies that I typically enjoy. Why, Shane Black had a hand in bringing together Riggs (Mel The-King-Of-Miami Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) in the Lethal Weapon movies! Incidentally, get a look at Black’s pitch for Lethal Weapon 5 here.

The Nice Guys is disarmingly funny and even endearing with loads of pretty consistent action. Never has a movie with so many exposed breasts been quite so clever and charming. The very definition of a summer hit. Keep an eye out for a presidential cameo like you’ve never seen before and, seriously you guys — so. many. boobs.

 

 

Green Room

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When punk rock band The Ain’t Rights hits hard times, they’ll go just about anywhere for their next paying gig. Unfortunately, anywhere happens to be a rundown, beat up, hellpit of a bar out in the sticks of Oregon.

After playing to a crowd of swastika-sporting neo-Nazis, Pat (Yelchin), Sam (Shawkat), Reece (Cole), and Tiger (Turner) make for a hasty exit when they’re held up by a macabre discovery; a woman has been murdered in the titular Green Room. And by murdered I mean she’s got a goddamn knife in her head. It’s awful. Just awful. When it becomes clear that escape isn’t an option, a chaotic scene erupts. Within the maelstrom, the clarity of the sad state of affairs crystallizes, forcing the terrified Ain’t Rights to make some nearly impossible decisions.

Doing the unthinkable comes a bit more easily when faced with your own probable demise. Relying on the help of a stranger by the name of Amber (Poots) — who also happens to be a friend of the slain woman — the group must determine who they can trust, if anyone.

Throughout the rest of this white-knuckle, gasp-out-loud, grab-your-barf-bucket, pass-the-Xanax, and so on and so forth thrill ride, the band must keep their wits about them to escape the clutches of Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself — Patrick Stewart — who plays the curator of this fine establishment, Darcy, and his evil henchmen.

Never in one statement have I ever hyphenated so much. I’m hyphen-ventilating.

I’m sorry. I’ll show myself out.

Green Room is being widely regarded as a horror film, but I was lucky enough to participate in a Q&A with the film’s Writer and Director, Jeremy Saulnier who shed some light on that very thing. His take on the whole thing is that the movie is definitely a thriller, but more than anything, it’s a film about war. Which, if you see it, makes total sense. I think it’s that creepy-ass cover of “Bad Moon Rising” in the trailer that gives the indication that it’s a horror movie. And any flick in which people are dying in large numbers often gets pegged in that category. That’s one of the coolest things about Green Room; it’s definitely not what you expect.

Saulnier spoke about his own youth. Growing up, he listened almost exclusively to punk rock cassettes on his Walkman. As someone who used to spend more time than I’d like to admit at shows where people sported clothing held together by safety pins and wore poorly constructed mohawks held up mostly by Elmer’s Glue, I don’t necessarily share his love of this music. That said, I totally get why people dig it.

I’ve never been in a mosh pit and thought, “This is where I belong,” and to see Saulnier — a mild-mannered guy — at least in a Q&A setting — regaling us with tales of his youth and participation in that scene, I guess it really does take all kinds.

In the same vein as what 10 Cloverfield Lane did with John Goodman, Green Room made Patrick Stewart into one of the scariest MFs I’ve ever seen. Saulnier spoke on that as well. He said, and I quote, “We didn’t pick Patrick Stewart. Patrick Stewart picked us. And we were like, ‘Okay! … Great!’ and our minds were just blown.” He talked about working with a man who has such a legacy in film and television. How he thought this guy would come on set and you would be warned about looking him in the eye, but not surprising to me at all, he said that wasn’t the case in the slightest.

While it may not be a horror movie, it is nightmare-ish, but in a much different way than your classic slasher flicks. Without giving too much away, Green Room is packed with stellar performances. Anton Yelchin is a superstar. That kid’s going places. He is wildly and effortlessly talented. Poots is just so cool, too. She’s like the girl in high school who never really fit into any one clique, but everybody thought she was awesome and kinda scary. Solid cast, superb job done by all.

Green Room comes out in select theaters on April 15th and in wide release April 22nd. Expertly crafted and seamlessly executed, the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. It is funny and stressful and loud af.

Maybe my favorite part of the screening I attended was telling Saulnier that I watched his movie with my eyes and ears covered nearly the entire time. He was flattered.

10 Cloverfield Lane

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I’ve gotta hand it to J.J. Abrams. He really pulled the wool over everybody’s eyes by making the biggest blockbuster of the last decade while secretly making this little gem. And what a fun surprise! Is it a sequel to Cloverfield? Maybe. Maybe not. Now that I’ve seen it, I could not possibly care less.

10 Cloverfield Lane stands on its own two just fine. Employing that technique I mentioned in my review of The VVitch and paring down the cast to about 3-5 people seems to be incredibly effective. And when you put them all in a small space and lock them away, things get a little weird.

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is involved in a car accident that renders her unconscious. When she comes to, she’s on the other end of one of my worst nightmares: in a place she’s never seen, chained down, and her belongings out of reach. Oh, yeah. She’s hooked up to IVs as well. Since all of that other stuff isn’t horrifying enough.

But like so many other strong female leads we’ve seen in recent past, she MacGyvers the shit out of it and has her wits about her when her captor/savior finally stops by to say hey. Howard (I almost actually typed Dan Conner, John Goodman) has an unsettling demeanor at best. After filling Michelle in on how everybody else in the world is dead and he saved her and she’s welcome, she gets to meet their other housemate and our comic relief, Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.).

Okay, so everything seems pretty copacetic in the house. It’s like a much scarier The Waltons. Like, if there were only three of them. And Papa Walton had pretty clearly been deranged and they never left the house and John Boy… poor John Boy.

I guess it’s more like if Rob Zombie directed an episode of The Waltons.

Anyway.

As you may suspect, this are not as A-OK as they may appear to be. Shit ends up going sideways in a real hurry.

Without giving too much away, I will tell you that everybody nails it on this flick. Winstead, Goodman, Gallagher, Jr., Abrams, Dan Trachtenberg, McCreary, Goddard, Cinematographer Jeff Cutter, the set designer, the boom operator… they all just killed it.

I hope that most of you, like me, will go into 10CL knowing little to nothing about it. Abrams teamed up with Drew Goddard — half of the mastermind tag team behind Cabin in the Woods — for this project. The other half being the unstoppable Joss Whedon which is neither here nor there. You definitely feel Goddard’s influence on the story. And perhaps even more exciting, the score! Bear McCreary — you probably know him from the theme he composed for a little program called The Walking Dead — absolutely slayed this soundtrack. It’s whimsical but also impresses upon the audience the notion of impending doom.

I can’t tell you what to do. I won’t tell you how to live your life. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t strongly insist that you see this goddamn movie. Last year, the movie to see in the theater was Mad Max: Fury Road. Same deal here. So, I guess what I’m saying is that if you don’t go see it, I won’t be mad at you. I’ll just be disappointed.

The Witch

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Let’s talk about The VVitch. I love horror, but I love it most when it comes at you in unexpected ways. Not only is it the first scary movie I’ve seen this year, it’s also the first foreign picture I’ve watched. Kidding about the latter, obviously. But you coulda fooled me! Old English is a trip.

Anyway, when I say scary, in reference to this movie, it’s not quite fair. Because while it is frightening, it is even more so thoroughly unnerving. Anytime a family is so isolated, that’s when the weirdest shit happens. Not like, The Hills Have Eyes. There are not backwoods mutants or anything. More like Amityville. Evil forces coercing a once tightly knit family unit to implode.

I’ll spare you the diatribe about what the horror genre has become and instead focus on the idea that maybe, just maybe, we are at the dawn of a resurrected era. Scary movies weren’t always slasher flicks that relied on jump scares and a gross of blood packs on standby to raise the hair on the back of your neck. Those are fun, but once upon a time, there was more to it.

Part of the experience is getting the audience to go along with the story. To get them to buy it, if you will. However, when you have that perfect storm of characters/plot/setting/execution, it will instill the feeling of waking up from a stressful nightmare in its audience. That moment when you open your eyes and you’re just in bed, sweating and still and afraid to move. And then that relief washes over you. Filmmakers behind movies like The Babadook, Oculus, It Follows, and The VVitch have nailed that technique. They are vigilantes charging into what is arguably one of the most beloved genres of all time and changing all of the rules.

Keeping the cast small and often isolated seems to work like gangbusters. The Witch is an excellent illustration of that. In 1630 New England, the oldest of four children, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), is left in charge of the youngest son in the family, Samuel.

Samuel absolutely owns Thomasin in a game of Peek-A-Boo by disappearing forever. Grief-stricken, Katherine (Kate Dickie) — the matriarch of the family — succumbs to her melancholy. Meanwhile, the children’s father, William (Ralph Ineson) is trying to keep all of the plates spinning. He’s searching for answers, comforting his wife, chopping a shit ton of wood, and trying to keep his weird ass kids from doing weird ass shit.

Ralph, if you read this, I just want you to know that you could quit making movies today and live the rest of your days in the lap of luxury doing voice overs for video games. That’s neither here nor there, but I wanted to put it out there in case nobody had ever mentioned that to you before.

Aaaaanyway.

Eldest son, Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) gets it in his head that he should go find his baby brother. And that doesn’t go very well.

I would hate to live in a time when, if something were to go wrong, somebody’s gotta be a witch or it was the devil. Like, that’s crazy. I know you need someone to blame, but let’s not jump right to burn the witch, okay? Thank god for the internet. Even though the internet is kinda the devil.

And it all comes full circle.

I experienced The VVitch. I would usually say that I enjoyed a movie, but this isn’t a movie you really enjoy,  per se. What I will say is that in his debut, Director/Producer Robert Eggers knocked it out of the park! Or, perhaps a more appropriate analogy, he really burned the witch! I’m sorry. I’ll show myself out.

 

 

2015: Year in Review

I saw a grand total of 16 movies in the theater in 2015. Decent, but I can do better. If you count the time that I got to see Jaws for the 40th birthday, it’s 17. I’m not counting it, but I wanted to mention it because I GOT TO SEE JAWS IN THE THEATER.

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My New Year’s resolution is, as usual, to see more movies and write more. So! Here is my dinky little list.

16: Starting us off is the sensation that began as Twilight Fan-Fiction and turned into something far worse. If I could pick one movie from last year to get Ebert’s review for, it’d Fifty Shades of Grey. I hope he would use the term shitshow liberally.

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Jamie Dornan, pictured above with co-star Dakota Johnson, spent a large majority of the film, the taking of that photo,  and — subsequently — his actual life wondering how this happened.

Dornan plays titular character Christian Grey. He is a self-made kazillionare who falls in love with the socially awkward and often self-deprecating Anastasia Steele. I am not part of the solution, I am part of the problem. I read all three of those dreadful books. Never in my life have I scoffed so frequently and loudly. Abysmal.

15: The Minions Movie. I mean, what can I say? At least It wasn’t The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Heard that one was a real dumpster fire but had the good sense not to see it.

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Minions is a cute picture, but I felt there was some material that I wasn’t super comfortable watching next to my 10-year-old niece. Like when the minions are hitchhiking and get a ride with a family of deranged lunatics who then violently rob a bank.

14: I love Paul Rudd, Adam McKay, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish. I did not love Ant-Man. I just felt the whole time like the movie was going, “Remember when this happened? Remember that? Cool.” And it was a little tedious.

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I guess as far as super hero movies go, this one just didn’t hit for me. But they can’t all be The Avengers and Captain America.

Make me a buddy comedy with Rudd’s Ant-Man co-stars Michael Pena and Bobby Cannavale and call it, “‘Ey! I’m Walkin’ Here!” I will see it twice!

13: I saw maybe 10 minutes of Sisters. Here’s what I can tell you about it:

  • Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are sisters
  • It takes place in Florida
  • Their folks are selling their childhood home
  • They are going to throw one last rager in said home

Why didn’t I see more? It was a perfect storm of burning the candle at both ends, La-Z-Boy chairs in the theater that recline all the way back, and a glass of wine. So why did Sisters beat out three other movies on my list that I saw in their entirety? There was a Jaws poster in it. Bam.

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Wrong Sisters.

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There we go. Although, you could tell me that Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney were in this movie and I would be out of line in telling you that you are wrong.

12: Had I seen all of Sisters, it probably would’ve taken this spot. However, I enjoy thrillers. Also, watching Jason Bateman run around like a lunatic just ranting and raving and — at times — wildly gesticulating gave The Gift the boost it needed to beat out a Jaws poster.

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Writer/Director/Producer Joel Edgerton plays Gordo, the man from the past who comes back to wreak havoc on Simon’s (Bateman) marriage and stare out windows like a weirdo. He’s kinda just a creepy looking guy, so this role suited him quite well. There are some fun jump scares and a few kinda cool “ah HA” moments, but the ending fails spectacularly in terms of plausibility, and that sort of ruins it.

11: Jurassic World had one job. One damn job. Have cool dinosaur stuff and, like, an explosion or two. Just like Pacific Rim, they blew it. The kids in this one were super lame, too. The kids from the original were one of the best parts! These little bozos weren’t even scared of the dinosaurs. They were just like, “We’re cunning enough to get out of this!” which is not the reaction children should have to dinosaurs. Because they’re DINOSAURS. The rest of it was essentially just Chris Pratt doing Chris Pratt stuff. Which is fine. He’s great. I just didn’t dig it.

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I hope Colin Trevorrow does a better job with Star Wars.

10: Trumbo is the story of the blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Trumbo and 9 of his cohorts were blacklisted and some jailed due to their political views. The blacklist was an absolutely absurd time in Hollywood, chastising talented men for their personal choices and disregarding some very fine work. Oscar-winning work. Which used to mean something.

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Solid performances abound from an all-star cast, and I don’t know where it lost me, but I just didn’t feel this one. ‘Grats to B-Crans, though! Get them accolades, baby!

9: The Danish Girl was the biggest disappointment for me personally. I was so damn taken with The Theory of Everything that Liam Neeson was looking for me. It played to a crowd of people more mature than me. That’s for sure. Everybody talked about the bear scene from The Revenant. Nobody, but nobody talked about the tucking scene in The Danish Girl.

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Redmayne, coming off of an Oscar win last year for his dazzling portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, set the bar pretty high. All things considered, he was outstanding. The content is extremely repetitive, though. Same shot of Redmayne discovering womanhood again and again. I get it, movie. Thanks. And this is coming from a Redmang. A Redmang is a mang who is a Redmayne fan. I just made it up. Get at me if you want in.

In all seriousness, easily my favorite part of the movie was Alicia Vikander. She was beautiful and elegant and 1000% lovely.

8: Aww, Brooklyn. This movie wasn’t the greatest, but it was the first movie I saw with my boyfriend. It’s the story of Irish immigrant Eilis (Ronan). She travels to 1950s Brooklyn seeking the opportunities that await her in America. Tony (Cohen), a good Italian boy, falls for Eilis and the two date for a bit before Tony asks Eilis to have dinner with his family. And then the greatest scene in the movie happens. Tony’s little brother, Frankie — played by the delightful and brassy James DiGiacomo — steals the show with this line:

“So, first of all, I should say that we don’t like Irish people.”

And it’s hilarious.

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Also in this movie, the man who didn’t sleep in 2015, Domnhall Gleeson! That’s reason enough to rent it from the Redbox right there. Is it a good date night movie? Sure. Did I love it? Nah.

7: M. Night Shyamalamadingdong! Way to make one of my favorite movies of the year! The Visit is the latest from Shyamalan and a triumphant return at that. This movie stars two of the best child actors I’ve ever seen. Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould play Becca and Tyler. Or as he is known in the rap world, T-Diamond Stylus. Their Mom, played by the wonderful Kathryn Hahn, is sending the kiddos off for a week-long visit with their Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie). Things are clearly amiss, but we’re meant to chalk it up to the fact that old people just do weird shit.

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As it goes with all Shyamalan flicks, there is a twist ending. While it is visible about a mile away, it’s still a creepy surprise. The tiny cast carries the story seamlessly throughout. Also, I just wanna say that I would adopt Ed Oxenbould TODAY. I’d make it work.

Here’s where things get a little tense.

6: The Revenant is my number 6 pick. This was a tough one because I liked this movie very much, and when you get to those top spots it’s like, “Well, no matter what, I’m gonna be conflicted. So let’s put the movie where Leonardo DiCaprio gets mauled by a grizzly bear just outside the top 5.”

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Inarritu really outdid himself on this one. I get why there was so much buzz around Leo’s character. I do. I am, however, blown away at how much nobody gushed about the pure excellence that is Tom Hardy. His performance, by far, stole the show. I knew it was him, but only because he sounded like Bane for a second and I was like, “WHOA! That’s Tom Hardy!”

If Leo doesn’t win an Oscar for this movie, I’ll be surprised. If Hardy doesn’t win, I will be ENRAGED. Also, Domnhall Gleeson! Again! Man, he’s so great. Somebody get his agent an Academy Award. World’s Most Bitchin’ Agent.

I can see The Revenant winning a whole bunch of Oscars. Just a whole bunch. Cinematography. Acting. Director. They’re gonna make shit up and create new Oscar categories just so they can give it more awards. Best Bear Attack. Best Acting By a Bear. Best Bare-Handed Fishing. Etc.

5: My horror movie needs were sufficiently met with It Follows. There can be many interpretations as to what this movie is actually talking about, but I don’t really care about all of that. It’s scary as hell and well acted. They created a time frame that could be 30 years ago or it could be today. You’re not really sure. It’s also got that 70s/80s score by Disasterpeace that expertly reinforces that.

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This movie is essentially about an STD that has terrifying consequences. I suppose with most STDs you have to deal with some pretty horrific fallout, but none that I know of include a giant man trying to murder you when you’re halfway through a bag of Twizzlers. It Follows is also the first movie that actually made me shout the words, “She’s peeing all over!” in the theater. So there’s that.

Domnhall Gleeson is not in It Follows. That’s the only negative thing I have to say about it.

4: Ex_Machina was an outside the box kinda movie. It’s very much a lone wolf. Guess who stars in it. Domnhall F-in’ Gleeson! I hear tell he’s going to do 18 movies in 2016. Kidding. Obviously. But how great would that be? I’d see ’em all!

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Accompanying him in this flick are Oscar Isaac — who is giving men everywhere beard envy and making women swoon — and Alicia Vikander — who is giving women everywhere face envy and making men swoon. All three are fantastic.

Unfortunate Best Original Score snub here for Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow. Behind a great film you’ll often find a great soundtrack, and they knocked it out of the park. Much the way Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross brought to life the trials and tribulations of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, Salisbury and Barrow gave this film the score it needed to take the film from excellent to “You haven’t seen Ex_Machina!? LET’S WATCH IT RIGHT NOW”.

If you haven’t seen it, I’ll give you the gist. Caleb (Gleeson) is a programmer who is selected to join Nathan (Isaac) at his insane house where he is creating artificial intelligence of the female persuasion. Alicia Vikander was sublime in The Danish Girl, but she’s superb in Ex_Machina as Nathan’s AI babe, Ava. Perfect pacing and a twist worthy of a better Shyamalan movie made this one a favorite of mine.

3: Spotlight. I loved this movie so, so much. In the late 90s and early 2000s, The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team blew the lid off of a secret that the Catholic Church and a whole bunch of other jerks tried to cover up. The Church hid the fact that as many as 90 priests had been accused of molesting children, mostly boys.

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Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery), Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James), and Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) make up The Spotlight team and work tirelessly to get to the truth.

You really couldn’t ask for a better cast. Everyone was completely spot-on. It’s a very difficult story to tell because it’s quite heavy, but Director Tom McCarthy and fellow screenwriter Josh Singer did it brilliantly.

2: This one was the most fun I had in the theater. It is, of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Force Awakens is way funnier than I thought it would be. I loved the new characters as well. You know all of those people who avoided any and all media related to this movie so that they wouldn’t have any spoilers or even know what it was going to really be about? I inadvertently did that. In the end, it truly did enhance the experience for me.

Newcomers John Boyega, Oscar Isaac (swoon), Daisy Ridley, and BB-8 took all of my expectations and exceeded the shit out of them. I haven’t seen unerring casting for a big movie like this since Star Trek. You take something like this and you cast it and you hope it’ll land with the fans of the original. And it landed, baby!

They also brought back a bunch of the major players from the way, way back and peppered in several actors who basically were like, “Hey, can I be in your Star Wars movie? I’ll do whatever you want me to do” and then you’ve got Daniel Craig in a Stormtrooper suit. I asked and they were like, “How did you get this number?”

So.

Loved the movie anyway. Loved!

And now… my numero uno fave film of 2015…

1:

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Oh, what a lovely day!

I couldn’t possibly overstate my satisfaction with Mad Max: Fury Road. What a film! What a comeback! George Miller deserves that damn Oscar. Give him all of ’em. Best Director. Best Actor. Best Supporting Actress. I want a portrait of him with so many Oscars that he can’t hold all of them and he’s just smiling like, “Why can’t I hold all these Oscars?”

This is a man who worked as an ER doctor to raise the money to make the first Mad Max. And when the budget ran out, he sacrificed his own car! I am so damn happy with this film and Junkie XL is another one who deserved to be on that list of Best Original Score nominees.

I thought that Tom Hardy was an excellent choice for Max. I was able to understand 8 of the 10 words he said. Charlize Theron had a shaved head and one arm and she was still stunning. Nicholas Hoult — nearly unrecognizable — was way outside of what we’re used to seeing him doing and he rocked it.

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It also needs to be said that this wasn’t some CGI free-for-all. These were guys on trucks driving around Namibia banging on drums. That’s nuts! This is why you go to the movies. This movie.

One more thing before I go.

If I had my druthers, this is what the category for Best Original Score would look like (in no particular order):

Howard Shore – Spotlight
Junkie XL – Mad Max: Fury Road
Ryuichi Sakamoto/Alva Noto/Bryce Dessner – The Revenant
John Williams – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Ben Salisbury/Geoff Barrow – Ex_Machina

And an honorable mention to Disasterpeace for It Follows. Also, so happy for Ryuichi Sakamoto who recently found out he’s cancer free!

All of that said, I hope Johann Johannsson wins. Not for Sicario, but for The Theory of Everything. I want them to be like, “Hey, Johann. We really dropped the ball back there. Sorry about that. Here you go, mang.” and he’ll be like, “… Redmang?” and then they’ll hug.

John Williams will probably win. Which is also fine.

Welp, that’s it for me. 2015 was a fun movie year. I have high hopes for 2016. I hope that Leonardo DiCaprio rushes the stage at the Oscars while Julianne Moore is presenting the Oscar for Best Actor, powerbombs her, takes the trophy, and books it outta there. We never see him again. At this point, that may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

Shout out to my man, Roger Ebert. It’s times like these I miss you the most. I hope you’re in that big movie theater in the sky watching Mad Max.

Oh, hey guys!

Hello internet! I’ve been gone for quite some time. I won’t bore you with the details, but after what some might call a turbulent couple of years — and several piece of garbage, half-assed reviews and screenplay beginnings — I want to be your Ms. Silver Screen again.

A friend of mine reached out to me today and asked me to write a piece for her. She’d asked me to write it long ago, but I just haven’t been in the right place mentally.

But today, because she decided to take a chance on me again, I’m gonna do this project. To another friend of mine who reached out a few times to ask if I would review his film — I’m sorry I didn’t, and I’d still love to if you’d like.

All of that said, I want to try something: you comment a movie you love/hate/haven’t seen but are curious about and I’ll watch and review it if I haven’t already. My goal is to do two a week. Please throw anything you’ve got at me. Let me have it!

Mendez is back… bitchesss

127 Hours

Ladies and gentlemen, as it was so illustrated just moments before I began typing this, I am a sufferer of frequent nosebleeds. I can tell you how difficult it is to get dressed, brush teeth, write, clean, and do just about anything with the use of only one arm while the other supports the hand that is pinching the bleeding nose. The simplicity of this notion was put into rather harsh perspective when I saw 127 Hours.

The story of Aron Ralston is an emotional one and it is nearly impossible to fathom how he not only kept himself alive, but did so with only one hand. If the movie speaks the truth about the actual event, it was no painless feat. An experienced hiker ventures out into the great wide open with a skip in his step and a smile on his face.Read More »

Winter’s Bone

The feel good film of the year. An uplifting cinematic romp. Happy-go-lucky to boot! This is not that film. I was not expecting it to be when I sat down to watch it, either. However, director Debra Granik really worked the sad factor. The syuzhet of Winter’s Bone is a serious one and can not be taken lightly. This stands especially true for anyone who feels that this film hits close to home. See, this kind of thing actually happens in real life.

Ree, played by the new and fantastic Jennifer Lawrence, is a mother though she has no children of her own. Her own mother is essentially catatonic, her young siblings rely on her for everything, and her father… well, her father isn’t around.

See, Ree has herself a problem, I reckon. Seein’ as her pa done took off and her mama’s got the personality of a big ol’ rock, Ree’s fixin’ to find her pa so’s her family can keep their land. With the law sniffin’ around the property, the heat is on and things ain’t lookin’ too good.

Ahem… so Ree sets her sights on her father who, according to lots of folks, is dead. Unless she can prove to the police that he has, in fact, passed on then she is in a whole heap of trouble. More than what she’s got now. She must resort to doing things that no girl her age should have to do. It doesn’t help things much that her uncle, Teardrop (John Hawkes), carries around a sandwich baggy of cocaine and doesn’t seem like the most positive adult supervision. Unfortunately, he’s all she’s got.

On the bright side, she has a good friend, her siblings are remarkably well-behaved, and she has a neighbor that looks out for her.

Her search leaves her beaten to a pulp mentally and physically. One dead end after another forces her to beg her mother for help to no avail.

It is unspeakably rude to spoil the ending of a movie. I will simply tell you that in the end, 127 Hours isn’t the only best picture nominee this year that contains a limb being cut off.