The Greatest Showman

I sincerely apologize in advance…

The Film Itself

Well I’d been avoiding this for awhile because a lot of the people I love LOVE this movie and I knew I would never love it as much as them or at least my loved ones wouldn’t appreciate my inevitable critiques. Unfortunately, it was worse than I expected.

Honestly, I’d sum this movie up as a series of music videos interspliced with scenes explaining the music videos. I could hardly follow the plot. Why is he a fake? What is Hugh Jackman’s goal at literally any point in this movie? I know that he’s doing something wrong but I really don’t know what.

Plus why would anyone make a movie about P.T. Barnum? From what I’ve heard he’s a horrible person. I would understand if they wanted to make a cool-looking musical about carnies or if they wanted to make a movie about being different, but it did neither of these effectively. I love Hugh Jackman but this is way too ego-centric of a nine year dream. 1) The whole movie like glorifies PT Barnum, they try to make him the villain but don’t do it effectively and he doesn’t ever really redeem himself to the carnies (super sorry if that term is not PC, but the movie never made it clear what they should be called. Performers?) 2) The character is supposed to be like 20-30. Hugh Jackman is 49. 3) He personally selected the director who had only previously directed commercials and music videos, and it showed.

The dancing was amazing and I assume that the singing was really good but it was so hard to tell underneath all the autotuning. Not to mention the CGI.

I have a couple of friends who hate all musicals. They’re of the persuasion that it doesn’t make sense for people to just break out in song and that’s exactly what this is. People start randomly singing and dancing all the time and I never know what they’re singing about or why.

I don’t think I’ve thought about this movie once since I saw it except for when I got the songs stuck in my head, because I will admit that they are very catchy. I also do not understand why they chose to make it pop music. I guess the composers did it because PT Barnum was a “forward-thinker” (maybe but circuses are pretty much extinct now…) and it was supposed to be expressive of the characters’ emotions (traditional Broadway style is much more expressive in my opinion).

I wish I could have seen this in theaters and before all the hype. Maybe that would have helped…

Fun Fact

I couldn’t find any good facts, but I did notice that the bearded lady shaved armpits but not her face which is DUMB.

Best Part

God literally nothing stands out. I guess the dancing does?

Worst Part

I guess I would have to go with the bar scene with Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman becuase it felt so similar to Channing Tatum’s bar number in Hail Caesar but that was 100000x better.

 

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While We’re Young

Gonna take a minute to wrap my mind around this and definitely want to hear an aged man (my dad)’s opinion on it but as my first full Noah Baumbach experience (I watchd half of the Meyerowitz Stories) I am thoroughly… surprised and intrigued. It’s not often that you see something fresh and inventive these days but while we’re young definitely is. What looks to be and starts as a hipster-centric movie becomes so much more (thank God). And just like we see with Josh in the movie, it doesn’t let you off easy with Adam Driver’s inauthenticity but it goes even deeper. It’s true–at least I assume so–that Adam Driver’s movie is more interesting than how he came about the story. While authenticity is a noble pursuit, it’s not the only truth. And it’s layered with commentary on technology and millenials’ obsession with vintage, what it means to be young or old. I’m going to need some more time to unpack this, but all the acting was amazing. I cold have used a bit more of Amanda Seyfried though. I also never knew how much I love Naomi Watts. Just a really well crafted and directed movie. Also not often seen nowadays.

That’s all for now.

Oscars Pt. 2

Well I forgot to review the rest of the movies. A few months out here are my thoughts:

This year for the Oscars sucked. Three Billboards was my favorite I guess, but even that I didn’t totally love. Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell were absolutely wonderful and I think they both deserved their wins.

Pissed that Gary Oldman won honestly. Would have still been pissed, but less so if Daniel Day Lewis won, though I think Daniel Kaluuye deserved it.

Call Me By Your Name was so fresh and wonderful, I really wish it would have won.

I really wish I could say that I understood the Shape of Water but I really don’t. I left it with a smile on my face but I really didn’t feel like it made you root for the love story nearly enough. I’m all for an oddball, unlikely couple, but I just wasn’t particularly moved by this one. I mean it was mostly a sexual attraction anyway.

I don’t even remember the rest of the movies at this point. None of them really made an impression aside from Call Me By Your Name, which was beautiful and surprisingly delicate. Also it is a TRAVESTY that the director wasn’t nominated. Could have won cinematography in my opinion too if Hollywood didn’t have such a hard-on for Guillermo del Toro*.

*Not to hate on Guillermo del Toro. He’s very talented, just like I said, I didn’t get all the hype.

2018 Best Picture Pt. 1

So far, rather unimpressed.

Get Out

I saw this a while ago in theaters but I do remember loving it, the cinematography, the acting, writing, direction. So far my pick for best picture, and maybe director and original screenplay. Kinda wish Allison Williams was nominated for the scene when she’s talking straight faced on the phone even though she wouldn’t win.

Darkest Hour

It was ok. Really just felt like a documentary. Gary Oldman will probably win although I kind of wish Daniel Kaluuya would. The cinematography was pretty good. Really enjoyed Lily James. Definitely my pick to win makeup. That’s really all I could ever say about this movie. It just made me want to watch Dunkirk.

Dunkirk

Pretty good! I enjoyed the nonlinear storytelling, but it ended up being a little too confusing and took away from the movie for me. Did enjoy the focus on heroism. I’d be fine with this winning any of the sound/production design awards. As a big Christopher Nolan fan, I’m a little disappointed to be honest.

Lady Bird

Great depiction of that good old human condition. Identified so hard with everything Lady Bird did as a high schooler. Identified less with the mother daughter relationship but definitely recognize it in other families I know. Unfortunately, I knew about all the best jokes before the movie and I wish that Lady Bird was just a bit quirkier. Definitely enjoyable though. Huge Saoirse fan but she’s up against a lot of heavy hitters. Laurie Metcalf would definitely be my pick for supporting actress if my girl Allison Janney wasn’t nominated. I’d be fine with Greta winning best director but gain, heavy hitters.

Fuckin’ Phantom Thread

ooh boy. I was totally on board for this movie for about thirty minutes. It has really cool direction and cinematography, great acting, AMAZING SCORE. But God! What was the point?! It just kept dragging on and on and I just don’t get it. I’ve got the Filmspotting review of this queued up in my Podcasts app so maybe they can show me what I’m missing. I think this was probably a bad place for me to start with Paul Thomas Anderson. Definitely my pick for best score and costumes and I wouldn’t be upset with any cinematography awards.

To be continued…

Bonus: Intolerable Cruelty

I’ve been binging on ER like it’s my goddamn job for a couple of months and have been missing George Clooney since he left. Immediately was able to recognize this as a Coen brothers production. Super goofy and I loved it. THIS is the type of Coen brothers movie I can get behind. Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou?, and this. Burn After Reading I just did not get. But this had the comedy feel of an old-timey movie like Singin’ in the Rain which George Clooney is just perfect for. Gene Kelly reincarnated. Or maybe Donald O’Connor. Or maybe both.

Update

So… I’ve decided that I just don’t have the time to write these really long posts, as much as I like to. But I still want to talk about movie! So I’ve decided we’ll go with little blurbs and if I have time to come back and write more I will. Here are some thoughts on movies I’ve seen recently.

The Disaster Artist

Genuinely funny. And so thoughtful and detailed. James Franco definitely deserved that Golden Globe even though at this point it’s basically meaningless.

Beauty and the Beast (2016)

Sigh. After the first scene I was so on board. It was beautiful. Afterr that things just didn’t quite fit together. There’s only really one thing I can point to as being at fault for the movie’s misgivings, other than that it seemed like things just didn’t come together and work will. I’ve been watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and Cristoph Waltz said something about how the only thing that matters is casting. If you’re cast in the right role, you’ll be great. If you’re cast in the wrong role, it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you won’t be good. That’s how I felt about Emma Watson in this movie. It just wasn’t fair to cast her in this movie. It was really just the cartoon movie brought to life (no new take or anything) and she is just too subtle of an actress to fit into it. I wouldn’t say she was bad, just not right for this movie. Way too much auto tune. I feel like Josh Gad was asleep.

The Last Jedi

SO GOOD. Loved it. I think my feelings on this movie are best summed up by an article I read recently that said this was the first Star Wars movie to make me feel something more than “oh that was pretty cool”. The Kylo Ren and Rey storyline was so interesting and complex, I couldn’t get enough.

Colossal

Good. I guess. You could really take it or leave it. The premise is interesting but doesn’t really go  beyond the trailer. I guess it was really cool to see Anne Hathaway’s character be the really noble pseudo-superhero. I really don’t think I’ve seen a female role like that.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Pretty good. Really interesting sense of humor. They did a great job of developing the side characters like Drax and Rocket, but I felt like Chris Pratt’s character really fell flat. And I couldn’t have cared less about Gamora and Chris Pratt. I felt like there was no chemistry there. I thought it was impressive that this movie was able to restrict the plot to basically one planet, rather than several like the last movie, and it didn’t feel boring or static.

Hidden Figures

Really good but this felt like a bad book to movie adaptation. I could have use 100% more Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae or none at all. It didn’t make sense to me to include these women with really interesting stories and then say next to nothing about them.

Bright

I have more or less no feelings on this movie. I didn’t think it was bad, but I don’t think it did anything at all new. My guess is that the whole racism theme was way more overt and heavy-handed and focus groups were like no no no so they made it like more magic-based or something. I just never really understood what anyone was fighting for or about, I guess. I feel very eh.

The Discovery

“Faith” Oh, God. I have such contempt for that word. Show me someone who relies on faith and I’ll show you someone who’s given up control over whatever it is they believe.

The Film Itself

This movie was not what I expected. I thought there would have been a little more science involved and a lot more Robert Redford. I definitely was not expecting as much of a love story. However, it does pose an interesting theory as to what’s beyond this life.

Let’s start with the actors. Like I said, I would have liked a lot more Robert Redford than I got. Honestly, I think I would have preferred a movie centering on his character rather than Jason Segel’s. Not that Jason Segel wasn’t good, just I think I would have preferred more science and less love. For instance, I thought the concept of Robert Redford’s cult was really interesting but there was almost no point in including it in this movie. I think my main problem with this movie is that it’s not Arrival. I have such a love for Arrival that it’s clouding my judgement but I’ll try to stay objective. (Go see Arrival RIGHT NOW) I just think that Arrival had such a perfect balance of scientific discovery and sentimentality, whereas The Discovery was a little heavy-handed on the sentimentality. But then again, that’s how I felt about Interstellar the first time I saw it because the science went over my head.

Back to the acting. Jesse Plemons is always such a delightful surprise. I loved him in Fargo and I loved him in this. The way he kind of hides behind his hair, just the way he hides behind his faith in his father is so perfect to me. Rooney Mara was good too but I find it hard to really dig down into a purely quirky character. I will say she had great chemistry with Jason Segel.

This was such a softly-paced and dreamlike movie. I don’t want to say it’s slow-paced because that’s not quite right, it just takes its time. Let me tell you though, such good cinematography. I loved the dreary coloring of the whole movie. And the score was AMAZING. Easily the best part of the movie. However it always concerns me when aspects like cinematography and score overshadow the rest of the movie.

It’s a little hard to analyze the plot because the ending colors it so much but again, I’ll do my best, for you my devoted supporters. I think the ending is really interesting but it frustrates me that it wasn’t slightly more obvious. Not that I wanted to be able to figure out the answer but I couldn’t go back and point to specific clues without the movie’s help. Also it took me and my dad a few minutes to piece it together. We came up with: the brother and father did not bring Will back, instead he died and went to “a different place” like Isla said, the different place being where her son died. Not sure if that’s accurate but that’s all we were able to figure out. Also I find it kind of hard to believe that the death of a woman he did not know followed him his entire life? And if the answer to that is that they were “mean to to be together”, that’s lame and gross.

I know it might sound like I hated this movie but I didn’t. I liked it but didn’t love it. Three Stars. And I think that’s probably mostly just personal preference. Give it a try.

Best Part

When Will went under the machine and died (?). It was so interestingly and beautifully shot.

That and Jesse Plemons’ one-man band. Probably my favorite character.

Worst Part

Hmm. Nothing terrible sticks out. I guess I didn’t love the scene when Jason Segel and Rooney Mara met? Just didn’t love Jason Segel in this scene I guess.

Fun Fact

Nicholas Hoult was originally cast in the lead role. Man would I have loved to see that. Would have been a totally different movie.

Florence Foster Jenkins

“People may say I couldn’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

The Film Itself

Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the flesh is how I would describe Florence Foster Jenkins. Such a delightful little movie about people being drawn to passion. And so hilarious in a very surprising way. I was expecting a much bigger movie but I’m glad that’s not what I got. This was a small, heartfelt movie, but not overly sentimental. Props to the director. He knew just how to get those small comedic moments and it was wonderful. The only thing was that the whole plot of this movie seemed ridiculous and implausible. But I mean it’s a true story so…

I am pretty upset that Simon Helberg isn’t nominated for an Oscar. He consistently got a laugh from me and the rest of my family every scene he was in. It was such a quirky character I had never seen before too. Did he occasionally strike a false note? Sure. But still an absolutely delightful performance.

Hugh Grant was pretty good. I’d heard that this was possibly the best performance of his career. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but as my mom said, the bar was set pretty low. I absolutely loved his little recitations and wanted more of them. And he definitely had the aristocratic air they talked about. Aesthetically he was definitely the right person for the part. I will say that this felt like less of an affectation than most of his characters.

Meryl Streep. I did not know the extent of her comedic skills. Her first singing scene was. too. good. And of course she brings a sincerity to every role that is seldom seen elsewhere.

Fun Fact

David Bowie had her original recording in his record collection.

Bonus Fun Fact:

The real Florence was in a taxi accident. She wasn’t injured, but she gave the driver a box of cigars because she could hit a higher note afterwards.

Best Part

I loved Meryl’s first singing scene. I also really loved the scene when Florence and Cosme play the piano together. It’s very touching and tender and a little heartbreaking. Representative of the movie as a whole.

Worst Part

Eh. I don’t know if there were any moments that I really didn’t like. I guess I had a problem with the Carnegie Hall performance. That woman yelling at the audience didn’t seem like enough motivation for them to start cheering. She was great too.