Archive | Movies RSS feed for this section

STRANGER THINGS have been said…

28 Jul
Goonies meets Poltergeist meets Mazes and Monsters meets E.T. with a little bit of Heathers splashed in.
stranger
It was so close to being as if someone found a missing 1980’s Amblin film and decided to break it down into 8 parts and release it within this modern phenomenon known as “Netflix Streaming”.
.
It’s refreshing when you can find the time to watch a Netflix show. But then you’re immediately hit with the stress of “which Netflix Show??” Some of us have not been (hashtag)blessed with the luxury of having the time to watch these awesome shows when they come out. I missed the new season of OITNB, Still haven’t seen Kimmy Schmidt’s new season but have received several txt messages and Facebook posts about a certain Dawson’s Creek reference that I’ll go crazy over. And now that the hype of these two shows has died down, I find myself with a little time to take on new television awesomeness. In recent entertainment news, the show that has everyone all a buzz is a show called Stranger Things.
.
Stranger Things is said to be the story of a boy who goes missing and the people in a small town who go looking for him. But it’s so much more than that. It completely, perfectly and successfully captures the 80’s genre of fantasy drama without going overboard, without getting cheesy and most importantly… without making fun of it. I couldn’t put the show down! It obviously mastered nostalgia and it reminded us of the simpler things in horror/sci-fi. It took what we knew and embraced back in the day and made us jump again in 2016.
.
You can’t ignore how well this show is cast. David Harbour, whom I always enjoy watching (And who surprisingly has only been in the business since 2003) and Matthew Modine, appropriately playing a creepy fuck to the break out young stars of this TV/Film (praised below).
teens
The teenage plot lines on Stranger Things are crafted flawlessly. Barb… sweet, plump, unknowing Barb 😦 . I fucking loved Barb. SOMEONE CARE ABOUT BARB! Actors: Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton and Joe Keery do such a great job playing their roles in this series. Not just the performance of their characters but the tone they are responsible for setting within the piece is so, so important. These three nail it.
.
Before I get into my incompatible feelings regarding A.) the joy I feel having Winona back in our lives mixed with B.) her “acting” “choices”.., I need to highlight some performances that are not so conflicting…
kids
Every single child on this show.
.
EMMY! EMMY! YOU GET AN EMMY! YOU GET AN EMMY! EVERYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 15 GETS AN EMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
.
They were connected, they weren’t stale, I believed everything they said and did. The kids on this show are on another level and need to be acknowledged…. BY PAMELA EBERHARDT. I try to think of a favorite of the main four and I can’t. Gaten, Caleb and Millie are all so damn good. Maybe Finn is the weaker of the four, but not noticeably enough. Such a strong group of little performers. There were times my jaw dropped by how good they are. Okay, El. El is my favorite.
el
 
SPOILER ALERTS
Those Eggo’s are for Eleven, right? RIGHT?!?!? They better be!! 😦 😦 😦
.
Eleven’s supposed death had tears come out of my face. It’s not fair, papa. It is NOT fair!!!! A part of me was kind of hoping Eleven was a Clone of Hop’s daughter. Cause he hadn’t laid eyes on her for most of the series and I thought maybe that’s what they were doing over there at Hawkins?? But…. I was…. you know, wrong. “Not everything can be about cloning, pam” – a friend.
.
Okay. Winona Ryder. How do I put this exactly the way that I want… You know when you’re watching Katie Holmes in something… the moment she opens her mouth you shake your lowered head. I kind of feel the same way about Winona Ryder as an actress. She looks so good and it was so great to see her again, but then the moment she has dialogue that she has to pair with emotion…. my head cocked to the side, my eyes squinted and I tried. I tried so hard. cause I’m rooting for her, man. So much screaming. She tried to make EVERY moment she was going through so pivotal that I stopped caring.
winona
“I think the Prince at the end of the Little Mermaid should have asked more questions about what had just happened.” – me or Melania Trump.
.
FACT: There’s an Upside world that the boy is missing in. He can communicate to us through lights. There’s a monster in there that hunts alone. it’s drawn to blood like sharks.
CHARACTER RESPONSE: That perfectly explains everything let’s go there now.
.
Overall, I really loved it. It was fun to watch and i can’t wait for more though I’m definitely hoping the Duffer Brother’s ELOQUENTLY explain more things regarding this “parallel universe” in the second season.
.

Maybe best quote of the series:

“We have to trust them. They’re the Government. They’re on our side”

What a timely lie.

HE’S A VERY SMART PRINCE…

6 Jan

I interrupt my “Every Tom Hanks movie Ever” challenge to bring you my review of the 2014 adaptation of INTO THE WOODS.

into-woods-witch-baker

This will not be an insanely long review commenting on how Into the Woods effected my childhood and how much it means to see a well done film version of a show I hold so close to my heart. Anyone in musical theatre (most) have a special place in their heart for this show. I am not closer to this show than anyone else. I do not think that my insights on Woods should be taken into more consideration than others. I am not the world’s #1 authority on musical theatre film adaptations. I am merely in the top 50.

I want to start off by saying that it was a wonderful version. Anything “negative” that I may say, is all nitpicky because… the truth is…  they got it right.
I would also like to start off by saying that I saw this film at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin Texas and you get to drink there. A bottle of wine. You get to drink a bottle of wine while you sit before a score put to screen that represents such a large part of your childhood. Emotions.
One last thing… I saw the movie with my older sister (who played the baker’s Wife at 17 – but we’ve all played the Bakers wife at 17, haven’t we) and it was emotional just seeing it with her. Musical theatre, as with most of the people I surround myself with, shaped so much of our upbringing. Sondheim in particular with a light shining on Woods.

I wish….

I wish they had done the reprise of AGONY.

I wish they had nailed more of the jokes within the text/Line deliveries.

I wish they had just cut the Baker’s Dad part rather than doing what they did.

I wish that their voices didn’t often sound so… strategic? polished, on point – I wanted more… human error? personality? flaw for character?

I wish a lot of things…

I’m a BIG advocate of actors who sing. Not the other way around. So much of today’s new musical theatre is comprised of people with AMAZING voices (and some nasal musical theatre bullshit voices) and I miss that gritty – I’m singing a song with my soul – voice that is found in so many original cast recordings from   the 70’s and 80’s.

Let’s be honest, those of us who  know the show like the back of our hands will always and forever compare it to the original>< the Bernadette/Gleason triumph. So… let’s do just that.

ACTING

We’ve got some points for both columns here. Meryl did something which only Meryl Streep could do. Bernadette is in our heads as the witch. Her voice, her delivery, her aura. That being said, Meryl made the witch her own and after the prologue I stopped hearing Bernadette’s voice. Joanna Gleason’s comedic timing was so subtly brilliant that it just couldn’t be matched by Blunt. Emily was solid and gave a fine performance. But that’s… that’s it. Let’s everybody calm down. Anna Kendrick….. again, another fine performance. Solid. I think what is so often missed about Cinderella is how freaking funny she can be. Kim Crosby in the original came close and Laura Benanti(in the version where we’re only allowed to talk about her) was great as well. I feel that Kendrick in general is kind of underwhelming. Her voice is great, but it’s not mind-blowing. Let’s everybody calm down about that as well. I actually really liked James Cordon. Zien had a stronger voice, but always looked like he was going to crack up. it was like getting to see what Jimmy Fallon would have been like as The Baker. Johnny Depp… everyone was hatin’ on Johnny Depp. I actually thought he was great! I liked the sleazy salesman approach and I think we’re just all too quick to hate him these days. Let’s give the guy a break. Tracy Ullman – She was great. My heart goes out to the original Jack’s Mom, but Ullman was the perfect choice for this. I recently saw her in The Band Wagon with Michael McKean and wasn’t impressed. She was better in this. Jack – I LOVED the film Jack. I LOVED the original Jack. I liked that he was bigger and was scared of Little Red at times in the stage version, but I thought this kid was great. (P.S. Giants in the Sky was the first time water came out of my face. I’d like to say the “only time”, but that would be a lie.) Little Red. Nobody will be better than Danielle Ferland in this role. They just won’t be. Lilla Crawford was fine. My new dream role is Rapunzel because it is the most thankless, unforgettable role and it shouldn’t be. I have yet to see a Rap. where I’m truly moved. Rapunzel’s prince was fine. Who am I missing?? Whom am I… oh yes. CHRIS PINE. Chris, Chris, Chris Pine. Stole the film – Hence the title of this blog.

imagesQ5N69NJO

DIRECTING

It was beautiful to watch. It was everything, visually, I wanted it to be. Was thrilled to see Jack go up the beanstalk. Was elated to see parts of the Giant (still not he whole giant which they could have really “Cloverfielded” themselves had they shown too much of her. And I was overjoyed at the splashy version of Agony.The film wins that point. HOWEVER, a lot of jokes were missed. A lot of line deliveries were sacrificed so that they weren’t “copying” the original. I understand that a lot of the jokes (i.e. dress dropping from the tree in a sloppy/comedic way, a cardboard or human Milky White) is humor that is truly pertinent to the stage version, however… I do think that they could have held true to a bit of what made the timing of the original so… perfect. It felt like Marshall was being very… careful. Which, at the end of the day, could have paid off more than sense of familiarity we all secretly/out loud wanted.  Cinematography was A+.

Overall – I give it an A-. Not since Chicago, I don’t think, has there been a film adaptation that really did the staged version of a favorite musical justice. Sweeney Todd was a travesty, Hairspray – for the most part – was rough, Mama Mia – yikes. Now on to The Last Five Years… which… is gonna be tough. mostly because I am the #1 expert on Musical theatre film adaptation and I have a connection to The Last Five Years that no one else has. 😉

 

 

#16 – THE TERMINAL

2 Dec

The Terminal (2004) – Viktor Navorski

MV5BMTM1MTIwNTMxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjIxMjQyMw@@._V1_SY317_CR10,0,214,317_AL_
Synopsis – An eastern immigrant finds himself stranded in JFK airport, and must take up temporary residence there.
Tom Hanks – The lovable immigrant.
Co-stars – Catherine Zeta Jones & Stanley Tucci.
Best Parts – I love Stanley Tucci. I really do., there’s so many elements of Hanks movies in this film – Castaway (obvious reasons) Perdition (tucci) League of their own (Marla’s dad cameos) Big (Scary place becomes familiar – like the hotel), Splash (Like Madison, he learns some English from being surrounded by stores) Money Pit (He’s broke) Man with One Red Shoe (Airport) That Thing You Do (Playin’ a match maker) Sleepless in Seattle (He… has… a hard time sleeping?) Catch Me If You Can (Music, Spielberg)., when Hanks makes the joke with Tucci about obviously wanting to go to NY that night, the medicine is for the goat scene :), the dinner date scene is great too.
Worst Parts –
 Zeta Jones (not her fault) – the whole subplot on them is so unnecessary, their explanation to him about being unacceptable in the beginning is annoying cause there doesn’t seem to be a plan, I think an international airport should have a translator for ALL COUNTRIES ON HAND, the whole plot of the movie is a bit soft – but we’re not really watching the “plot” of this movie – when that shows up we’re like “oh yeah…”. Viktor really shouldn’t have thrown away that beeper, the ring and wedding for Zoe… come on! Also, if he were “going home” to JFK from 161 Lexington, he wouldn’t have gone through Times Square, he would have gotten on 495 from E. 36th street.
Best Hanks Acting – instills the heartbreak and helplessness we feel not being able to assist someone who can’t speak our language or understand what’s going on. You want to hug him and tell him that everything’s going to be okay. Hanks, a model American in the eyes of many, has us captivated as Viktor interacts with those around him and we hope he’ll understand, that he’ll connect, that he’ll be understood.
Best Line(s) – “Who the hell waits in a crack?”, “She’s a nice girl… she won’t take your chitting.” “Ever feel like you’re living in an airport?” “Oh God, Viktor. Please don’t tell me your father is in that peanut can.”

Overall – This movie gets a lot of shit but its most engaging moments aren’t where you think they’ve failed, it’s in what we take for granted. The stress and anxieties of turning fear into optimism. It’s as silly as it is touching. And it’s pretty damn silly.  (74 = C)

EXCEPTIONAL – (A+) 95 – 100
EXCELLENT – (A) 90-94
GOOD – (B) 80 – 89
AVERAGE – (C) 70-79
NOT A FAVORITE – (D) 60 – 69
SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE – (F) – 50 – 59

To see original post and list of his films (hyperlinked if reviewed) CLICK HERE.

#15 – CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR

1 Dec

CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR (2007) – Charlie Wilson

MV5BMTgwMDgwMDc4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTU3MDM4._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_
Synopsis – A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.
Tom Hanks – The coke-friendly Texas congressman.
Co-stars – Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts and  Amy Adams.
Best Parts – Aaron Sorkin, Mike Nichols, Philip Seymour Hoffman, the scene where Hoffman has hid the bug in the ribbon of the scotch bottle, the quote at the end of the movie.
Worst Parts –
 Waste of Emily Blunt – though she was fairly new to the scene – she should have had Shiri Appleby’s role at least, some of the Sorkin mumbo-jumbo starts to feel like you’re listening to another language – subtitles please for those who don’t work in the white house,
Best Hanks Acting – The New York Times put it best when they said “here he has the devilish smile of a middle-aged playboy who has woken up in a long-lost guilt-free sequel to “Bachelor Party”.
Best Line(s) – “It was like being slapped around by a Pakistani vaudeville team”, “Well, my name is Gust with a “T”, but I don’t care.”

Overall – While political dramas aren’t always my favorite, I appreciate that this film entertains as well as informs. I’m all for people using their flaws to serve a greater, noble cause.   (84 = B)

EXCEPTIONAL – (A+) 95 – 100
EXCELLENT – (A) 90-94
GOOD – (B) 80 – 89
AVERAGE – (C) 70-79
NOT A FAVORITE – (D) 60 – 69
SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE – (F) – 50 – 59

To see original post and list of his films (hyperlinked if reviewed) CLICK HERE.

#14 – YOU’VE GOT MAIL

29 Nov

YOUVE GOT MAIL (1998) – Joe Fox

MV5BMTg0ODM2NDc5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODM2Mzk5MDE@._V1_SX214_AL_
Synopsis – Two business rivals hate each other at the office but fall in love over the internet.
Tom Hanks – One of the business owners. The male one.
Co-stars – Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Steve Zahn, Heather Burns, Dabney Coleman and, for pure ethnic diversity,…. Dave Chappelle
Best Parts – Parker Posey, Hanks reuniting with Dabney Coleman, Greg Kinnear’s love of typewriters is a great parallel to Hanks’s real life love of type writers, Nanny Maureen’s one line, any time we get to see Hanks juggle it’s a good day, The little girl singing Annie (it’s a best and worst part), Meg Ryan’s face (only because it goes pretty downhill after this one), Chris Massina’s cameo, when Parker Posey falls asleep as quickly as Homer Simpson, Jane Adams, when Hanks deletes his excuse for not meeting up with her, the elevator scene (It combines someone from Guffman & Strangers with Candy – two of my favorites) It’s just missing an actor from The Creek, Meg’s reaction to Tom  having gotten her the daisies, when Meg and Tom start to become friends.
Worst Parts –
Everything Before the scene where Hanks brings her Daisy’s is kind of obnoxious, every scene with Jane Stapleton (Not Jane’s fault), a complete waste of Steve Zahn, Dave Chappelle,  the creepy scene where we see the ghost of her mom (some call it a memory) –  twirling in the abandoned bookstore, that little kid is old enough to be able to spell more than “FOX”, in the last scene she leaves her apartment with no key… no purse… nothing… no pockets – what if the guy want so to go get a coffee? She just ASSUMES he’s gonna pay?, that they seem to type 125 words per minute, the break up scene between Greg & Meg.
Best Hanks Acting – in the scene where he’s instant messaging her, when he tucks her in, puts his finger on his lips and begins to change her mind about him.
Best Line(s) – “Thank yer, ladies and gentlemen.” “I have a very thirsty date. She’s part camel.”, “ All this ‘nothing’ has meant more to me than so many… ‘somethings’.” “A hotdog is singing, you need quiet while a hot dog is singing?!” “152 people who thinks he looks like a Clark Bar”

Overall -This is one of my favorite romantic comedies in general. I love everything from the moment he brings over the daisies when she’s sick to the moment he comes around the Riverside garden with Brinkley. The film is charming and adork-able, the perfect mix of Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly.   (91 = A)

EXCEPTIONAL – (A+) 95 – 100
EXCELLENT – (A) 90-94
GOOD – (B) 80 – 89
AVERAGE – (C) 70-79
NOT A FAVORITE – (D) 60 – 69
SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE – (F) – 50 – 59

To see original post and list of his films (hyperlinked if reviewed) CLICK HERE.

#13 – SPLASH

26 Nov

SPLASH (1984) – Allen Bauer

MV5BMTgyNjg0NzI4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzE5OTQyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_
Synopsis – A man is reunited with a mermaid who saves him from drowning as a boy and falls in love not knowing who/what she is.
Tom Hanks – A man. Thee man.
Co-stars – Daryl Hannah, John Candy & Eugene Levy.
Best Parts –  that Touchstone pictures was created by Brain Grazer & Ron Howard simply because Disney didn’t want to release a movie under the Disney name that had nudity (Daryl), young Allen jumping off the boat, young Freddie looking up the dresses of the women on the boat, Allen’s secretary, When Hanks freaks out at the wedding guests about Victoria, when the cab driver short stops and Hanks flies into the glass, at the police station when Hanks says “Hi” and she starts making out with him, when she makes the crazy sea monster noise and breaks all the televisions, the bathtub scene, that Eugene keeps getting beat up by that mean husband.
Worst Parts –
Hanks’s expression on the DVD cover, obviously Allen should have more questions… not even only when he finds out she’s a mermaid – but she’s sayin’ some pretty weird shit through the first half of the movie too, there’s no way that water is Cape Cod water… and the coral where is wallet falls out??, Madison must not sweat during sex. There’s no way she learned that all that shit from watching a few hours of television. Why six days? Is there a sea witch? Are there other mer-people? Where did Eugene find those two guys from The Hills Have Eyes? I’m not even gonna get into him swimmin’ away with her at the end…
Best Hanks Acting – The ice skating scene & when he’s in the tank with her.
Best Line(s) – “It’s not that you had a lot to drink, it’s that you’re too skinny.” “BOCCE BALLS!” “I couldn’t get one leg in there… my daughter’s lucky, she’s anorexic.” “Madison isn’t a name. Okay.. Madison. Good thing we weren’t at 149th street.” “Does she eat worms?” “Is the big secret that you’ve been keeping from me… is it that you’re a mermaid or is there something else?”

Overall – This film takes something that we as children thought was magical and perhaps possible and now makes the cynical adult we’ve become accept it in our world. We see that it’s ridiculous, but it’s more about what this movie makes us feel than what it makes us believe.  (89 = B)

EXCEPTIONAL – (A+) 95 – 100
EXCELLENT – (A) 90-94
GOOD – (B) 80 – 89
AVERAGE – (C) 70-79
NOT A FAVORITE – (D) 60 – 69
SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE – (F) – 50 – 59

To see original post and list of his films (hyperlinked if reviewed) CLICK HERE.

#12 – SAVING MR. BANKS

25 Nov

SAVING MR. BANKS (2013) – Walt Disney

MV5BMTc0MTQ3NzE4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzA4NDM5OQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_
Synopsis – Author PL Travelers reflects on her childhood after reluctantly meeting with Walt Disney, who seeks to adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen.
Tom Hanks – Walt Disney
Co-stars – Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Bradley Whitford, Paul Giamatti, BJ Novak & Jason Schwartzman
Best Parts –  Emma Thompson, Emma sitting across from Mickey at her breakfast table, Emma Thompson at the movie premier, Bradley Whitford’s character voices, the set design, every time Hanks said “Pamela” (personal reasons), the audio recordings of the actual P.L. Travelers after the credits and the need this film brings about to watch Mary Poppins again.
Worst Parts –
I’m not keen on how much time was spent in PL’s past. I mean, I think there were ways to shave that down, but when you cast Colin Farrell as her dad… I get it. I wish that when she decided to rid the film of red, Hanks would have handed her a Kleenex for her lipstick. (And toenail polish)
Best Hanks Acting – Telling the story of his father at the end in PL’s apartment.
Best Line(s) – “If you so much as step foot in here with that trolley, I shall scream. One cannot live on cake alone!”, “A man must shave, for to spare his daughters cheeks.” “Disappointments are to the soul what thunderstorms are to the air.”

Overall -This movie has a lot going on. The flashbacks are its own captivating film and I love being transported to the 60’s to get an insight into the makings of a favorite Disney movie. I love the concept of this film and how it gives the kid in us an inside scoop on the inner-workings of our childhood fantasies without taking away the magic.  (90 = A)

EXCEPTIONAL – (A+) 95 – 100
EXCELLENT – (A) 90-94
GOOD – (B) 80 – 89
AVERAGE – (C) 70-79
NOT A FAVORITE – (D) 60 – 69
SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE – (F) – 50 – 59

To see original post and list of his films (hyperlinked if reviewed) CLICK HERE.