Award Show Round Up: Golden Globes 2019

Well the season has officially begun! And, while a lot of the winners were…um…surprising? (Bohemian Rhapsody, Best Drama? Really? We’re going all in Green Book? Really, Green Book? Um, OK… I guess, I mean you’re wrong, but also, OK?)

Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg were adorable hosts:

Highlight of this though: Emma Stone screaming her apology for starring as an Asian woman in Aloha.

I haven’t watched A Very English Scandal yet, but I love Ben Whishaw in all of his nervous British energy.

Always love an excuse to talk about the brilliance of Carol Burnett

(The other lifetime achievement award of the night – Jeff Bridges – is also a legend, but his speech went off into the stratosphere so I’m not including it here.

The least surprising (but completely deserved) win of the evening:

REGINA KING WON BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, BECAUSE SOME THINGS ARE GOOD:

(Also, every one go see If Beale Street Could Talk.)

Sandra Oh is a legend, and her parents are so cute!

I love Patricia Clarkson:

I also love Darren Criss:

And I love that the HFPA gave Roma Best Director along with Best Foreign Language Film!

Continuing the list of people I love. The Favourite was not my favorite movie, but she is fantastic in it as she is always in everything:

I guess, I really have to see The Wife:

And, well, there’s no way it was in the best Drama of the year, (it wasn’t even the best musical miscategorized as a drama), but Rami is a beautiful weirdo, and his performance was very good.

And now, fashion! There were a lot of trains and a lot of capes, but also some glitter and some yellow!

 

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Emma Stone in Louis Vuitton (Photo Credit: Getty Images + Todd Williamson/NBC)

 

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Rachel Brosnahan in custom Prada (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Valerie Macon)

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Kerri Russell in Monique Lhuillier (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian/NBC)

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Regina King in custom Alberta Ferretti (Photo Credit: Dan MacMedan/USA TODAY NETWORK)

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Laura Dern in Valentino (Photo Credit: Getty/Steve Granitz)

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Claire Foy in Miu Miu (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison)

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Lucy Boynton in Celine (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Nicole Kidman in Michael Kors Collection [& super cute hair bow] (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison)

 

And the Nominees Are 2019: Round 3

I didn’t get to a lot of movies over the holidays this year, but since the Globes are this Sunday(!) I thought I would update you all on the few I did see since my last post, which included both my favorite movie of this awards year and my least favorite!

(Also, if you’re interested, you can see my Top 10 list on Instagram.)

If Beale Street Could Talk 

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There’s so much I want to gush about in this movie. I’ll start with aesthetics – the light is beautiful, every frame of the central couple (KiKi Layne and Stephan James) looks like an oil painting. Barry Jenkins uses elliptical editing and collage to keep us in his protagonist Tish (Layne)’s head, rather than in the linear narrative of the plot. But instead of being disorienting, it feels emotionally true. We don’t remember our own love stories the way movies usually tell them to us. And that’s what this movie is at its heart, a gorgeous love story, between two people, who are born into the world of being Black in America with all the danger and beauty that implies. And who has been better at capturing that than James Baldwin was? I don’t think anyone, but Jenkins definitely belongs in the conversation.

Other things this movie deserves praise for include:

  • Regina King‘s heartbreaking steadfastness (what’s wrong with you SAG members that didn’t get a nomination!)
  • Nicholas Britell‘s sweeping score (my favorite of the year so far!)
  • It’s humor. It can be hard, I think, in movies that get so emotionally raw to recognize, but there are some fantastic one liners in this script

(Also, they filmed some of the Greenwich Village scenes on my block in The Bronx, which is pretty cool.)

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Roma

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Everyone I follow on “film Twitter” couldn’t stop talking about visually stunning and “deeply personal” this movie is, so I knew I had to catch it before I made my Top 10 for the year (spoiler, it made it). But the thing missing from all of those comments I read beforehand is how sad this film is. Which isn’t meant to discourage you from watching it, because you totally should (and it’s on Netflix so you don’t even have to leave you house), but I would have appreciated a little warning.

The story follows the daily life of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), an indigenous maid/nanny in a wealthy doctor’s house in early 1970s Mexico City. It’s meditative and slow and for long stretches not a lot happens, until something does. A lot like life. The pacing may be a struggle for some viewers, but I love a movie that focuses on quotidien reality and elevates the mundane into art, and that’s exactly what this does.

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Vice

 

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I’m having trouble figuring out how to write about this movie because it made me viscerally angry and I’m not great at coherently expressing anger. Partly, I am angry in the way the movie wants me to be, angry about Dick Cheney (Christian Bale)’s power worshiping, Machiavellian evil and they way he and his friends exploited our system to craft a government that allowed them, and anyone who follows them, to do whatever they want (which of course means enriching themselves no matter the cost economic, environmental, or humanitarian). That anger, I was prepared for.

I didn’t expect to be so angry at writer/director Adam McKay. I think I hate his style. I went back and looked at my notes for his last film, The Big Short, and I was similarly (though less angrily) confused by it. The mixture of tones gives me whiplash. In the case of Vice, the inclusion of actual images of actual humans getting tortured (and gory recreations of the death of others) often in quick cutaways as “gotcha” shock reactions to something Cheney says, felt cheap and exploitative.

I’ll grant that this satire and therefore correctly categorized as a comedy, but I rarely laughed. I cried for our country though. I wrote in my Big Short review that though it was clear McKay was critiquing the bad behavior he depicts, it “left me feeling like, you know what, the whole thing (as in the economic system) is fucked anyway, may as well get what you can.” And I left this movie with a similar sense of despair, but without the hope most of us can get anything anyway.

The silver living is, I have my award season nemesis now. (The acting is good.)

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Awards Show Round Up: Emmys 2018

So, I took this summer off from blogging, but you didn’t think I was going to miss a major awards show did you? Especially one that included this moment:

Of course, nothing else was that epic, but there were some fun moments and surprise winners. Here were my highlights:

Pretty solid, topical opening number:

(Michael Che and Colin Jost were fine, their monologue was fine, that is all I have to say about them, though the reparations bit was good.)

Amy Sherman-Palladino has an Emmy – actually she has multiple! (I haven’t caught up with this show yet, based on last night I really really have to, but this is justice for Gilmore Girls:

(Also you can see here the way they announced the nominees before the presenters, which was weird. There were still some good bits, but the rhythm was weird.)

Also in reasons to watch Maisel: 

Merritt Weaver years ago gave my favorite Emmy speech ever, she continues to be adorable (and overwhelmed with gratitude and nerves, whoever made her think she had to apologize for her first speech needs to get over themselves):

I didn’t watch this show, but as always, give Regina King every award ever:

When I was in college, my friends and I would sit in our sorority house and watch grainy YouTube musicals that some theater nerds (just like us!) at University of Michigan sing silly songs about Harry Potter. Then one of those kids ended up on Glee and I felt like my friend (who I had never met) was famous. Well, last night, he won an Emmy:

Also, John Mulaney is one of my favorite artists and this was characteristically adorable:

I really, really need to watch Nannette:

(Also, love that The Crown won, and I like Stephen Daldrey, but this moment was pretty perfect.)

A lot of people took fashion risks last night! Here were my favorite ones that worked out:

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Ellie Kemper in J. Mendel (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty North America)

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Dakota Fanning in Dior Haute Couture (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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Aidy Bryant in Tanya Taylor (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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Tiffany Haddish in Atelier Prabal Gurung (Photo Credit: FilmMagic)

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Jessica Beil in Ralph & Russo (Photo Credit: Getty)

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Judith Light in Michael Kors Collection (Photo Credit: Getty/Steve Granitz)

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Contance Wu in Jason Wu Collection (Photo Credit: Got Celeb)

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Samira Wiley in Jenny Packham (Photo Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage)

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Natalia Dyer in Dolce & Gabbana (Photo Credit: Getty Images + Joen Shearer)

 

 

Award Show Round Up: Golden Globes 2018

Well, that was quite a night huh? I saw a lot of handwringing on the internet last week, about how the Time’s Up call for women to wear black would make the night seem funereal and dour. But it didn’t at all, the sisterhood and solidarity on display felt like a celebration. And while there were still of shady men winning awards, I think it’s pretty clear that the women in that room (and watching along with me on Twitter) don’t have any patience for it anymore.

I know I usually go chronologically with these recaps, but lets be real this moment matters more than anything Seth said at the top (though I did like his “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” segment):

This moment had me crying and texting my mom, and it was everything. And then it was followed with this and my world was made:

(Sorry about the weird lightning bolt, I coulnd’t find a clean clip of this.)

I wasn’t actually jazzed about a lot the winners. (Willem Dafoe was robbed! As was Timothée Chalamet (screw you Gary Oldman, you talented abuser)! Three Billboards was over-awarded!) But there were some truly spectacular speeches:

I wanted Laurie Metcalf to win this category, but I’m never going to be mad to listen to an Allison Janey speech:

(And I haven’t actually seen I, Tonya yet, but it’s on the calendar for this week!)

Speaking of things I haven’t seen, I still have to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel but I am so here for Amy Sherman-Palladino winning awards and wearing hats:

My favorite won Best Actress in a Comedy, and she’s the cutest thing!

Amy Poehler joked a few years back at this very show, that Frances McDormand is the only awards guest she would save in a fire, and well, there are a lot of women in that room I would save, but I’m pretty happy she got to give this speech even if she was clearly censored even when not swearing. (You can’t say “shift” now apparently):

And then THIS HAPPENED!!:

All in all a great kickoff to the season!

And the all-black look was fantastic as a cultural choice, but also some of the gowns were really cool:

 

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Connie Britton in Lingua Franca sweater (Photo Credit: Getty)

 

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Viola Davis in Brandon Maxwell (Photo Credit: Getty/Steve Granitz)

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Samia Wiley (Photo Credit: Elle Sweden)

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Kelly Clarkson in Christian Siriano (Photo Credit: Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock)

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Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji and Jessica Chastain in Armani Privé (Photo Credit: Getty)

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Laura Dern in Armani Privé (Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

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Sally Hawkins in Dior Haute Couture (Photo Credit: Getty)

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Awards Show Round Up: Emmys 2017

So with the notable (and frankly disturbing) exception of the inexplicable inclusion of Sean Spicer, last night’s Emmys were one of the best I can remember. Usually the show starts to drag around hour 3, but last night’s combination of skilled (but not overly intrusive) hosting and genuinely surprising/deserved wins made for a fun few hours. Here are my highlights:

I love a musical number and Stephen Colbert did not disappoint (love that Chance interlude too!):

(As always these videos will probably go away with copyright claims…)

I love John Lithgow, though I would have given this one to Ron Cephas Jones…

I want to give Kate McKinnon all of the awards always:

The SNL sweep continued, and I will never be surprised at Lorne Michaels’s ability to appear on the edge of falling asleep at all times:

(Also Anna Farris and Allison Janney are just the best.)

Also pretty happy to see this stunt casting lead to this:

I have always, and will always want to be these women when I grow up:

John Oliver is pretty great:

I LOVE ANN DOWD:

On a serious note,”Thanksgiving” is once of the best episodes of any show ever, and this speech was amazing:

Riz Ahmed is amazing:

Reese Witherspoon for entertainment president:

STERLING!!!!

It is BS that they played him off, Laura Dern and Nicole Kidman (both of whom I love) talked forever…

And then right at the end there, Margaret Atwood was there:

Other notes: I really need to watch Atlanta; It’s time to put JLD in an Emmy pantheon and spread the comedy actress love around a bit. It was a fucking fantastic year for women. (I need to watch Big Little Lies too.

Fashion wise, it was a mixed bag. Weird flowy skirts over leotards and strange feather duster fringe bottoms, but there were some great looks:

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Jane Fonda in Brandon Maxwell (Photo Credit: Getty)

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Millie Bobby Brown in Calvin Klein (Photo Credit: Getty)

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Nicole Kidman in Calvin Klein (Photo Credit: Getty/Jason Merritt)

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Kate McKinnon in Narcisco Rodriguez (Photo Credit: Rob Latour/Variety/Shutterstock)

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Reed Marano (Photo Credit: Strauss/Invision/AP)

(BTW I may design my future wedding dress based on this gown. I’m in love with it.)

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Jessica Biel in Ralph & Russo Couture (Photo Credit: J. Merritt/Getty Images)

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Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Boss (Photo Credit: Getty/Frazer Harrison)

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Susan Kelechi Watson in Cristina Ottaviano (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Thing I Love – Joe Cocker: Mad Dog With Soul

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I’ve been on a documentary kick lately, which luckily seems to be the genre of movie that Netflix has decided to continue paying to keep on their platform. The all knowing “you might like” algorithm got it completely right last night when it suggested that I watch Mad Dog with Soulwhich I had previously never heard of (apparently it’s going to air on Sky TV in Britain, I don’t know if it was produced for that purpose or what the deal it.)

Like any 90s child, I grew up knowing Joe Cocker’s voice from this:

And then a few years ago (while watching another documentary) I saw this clip of him singing “Space Captain” live on stage and I fell in love:

Many of the talking heads in this documentary talk about Cocker’s unique (to say the least) performance style. At least one referred to it as someone in a trance, and I’ve always felt listening to him sing that he is channeling something raw and beyond himself. I would be tempted to say it’s almost supernatural, but that would grandiose, and would also discount the deep humanity you can hear in that gravel (particularly in the ballads):

There’s nothing incredibly inventive about this as a film, or particularly revelatory about Cocker as an artist or a man. He was a kid form Sheffield England who fell in love with Ray Charles music, and skyrocketed to fame. Once there he was uncomfortable with the attention, and predictably found chemicals that could help him deal. (Though on the scale of rockstar excess he seemed to veer more to the side of “difficult to work with” rather than “force for destruction.”) But it is a lovely portrait of an incredibly talented man, who seems like he was, by nature, gentle and sensitive and dear. (There’s a long section about their life in Colorado, where he enjoyed gardening and hanging out at the local pool hall that I found particularly endearing.)

It’s mostly just an excuse to listen to him sing, which is a pretty great way to spend a Sunday evening:

Also this:

Awards Show Roundup: SAG Awards 2017

Even for an awards super fan like me, with all that’s going on in the world it felt a little weird to sit down and watch actors congratulate each other, but, my Hollywood coastal elite loves, took the platform and used it to speak out for good so, it was actually a really nice way to end the weekend.

Ashton Kutcher and Julia Louis-Dreyfus started the night out strong:

I don’t watch it any more, but I love that Orange is the New Black submits their entire 37 person ensemble, it’s always such a great moment:

To quote Denzel Washinton: Viola. Davis.

In case you haven’t taken my advice and watched Captain Fantastic yet, this might be some motivation now:

Power to the people, stick it to the man

Marhershala Ali made me cry, yes with his performance in Moonlight, but also with this speech:

I love Lily Tomlin, I want to be her when I grow up (and I’m glad I could find a video that didn’t include Dolly Parton’s boob joke filled introduction):

I really need to watch The Crown, because John Lithgow and Claire Foy are delights:

The kids from Stranger Things are adorable, still not watching that show though they did give the best speech ever:

Also, I just love Winona Ryder, she really went on a journey through this speech.

I think Natalie Portman should have won Best Actress, but I love Emma Stone, and I feel a real kinship with her, and this is the kind of speech I would give if ever called upon to:

I’m never going to complain about Denzel Washington winning an award, especially when he is genuinely surprised:

Look, I think Moonlight was robbed, but the Hidden Figures women gave a speech that made their win worth it:

And look, it was a weird night for fashion. Every time I thought, “Oh I like that dress,” and then it would have a strange flower applique, lace detail, or sheer panel. But here were some favorites:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Lela Rose (Photo Credit: Getty)

 

Annalise Basso in Bibhu Mohapatra (Photo Credit: Women’s Day)

Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Michelle Dockery in Elie Saab (Photo Credit: Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock)

Bryce Dallas Howard in Dress the Population (it’s off the rack!) (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) 

Rasida Jones in Vivienne Westwood (Photo Credit: Getty) 

Emily Blunt in Roberto Cavalli (Photo Credit: WENN)

Kirsten Dunst in Dior (Photo Credit: AP)

 

And the Nominees Are 2017: Round 5

BAFTA nominations came out this week! Which means that in addition to the movies I saw in the last week, I have a few catch up posts, and an even longer list of things to see! So this may be a bit of a long one, but there’s some great stuff.

Weiner

Note: I wrote this review this summer, before the latest round of investigations into Anthony Weiner and their devastating implications for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Instead of rewriting it, I’m sharing it here as a time capsule of my initial thoughts on this film.

 

I’ll admit I went to this basically because I wanted to go to the IFC Film Center, but I’m glad I wandered in. Look, Anthony Weiner seems like a difficult person, but I think he genuinely would had good policies as a mayor. Though one with an anger management problem. The real story here isn’t why he sexted (obviously that’s some combination of lust, ego and a maybe pathological need to be adored) but why that’s unforgivable when others things aren’t. And more importantly its about how amazing his wife Huma is. Not for putting up with his crap (how and why she did is her business. Note: Though I’m glad she’s gotten out now) but for creating boundaries for herself and sticking to them even when there’s a documentary crew in her house. She’s me new definition of grace under fire.

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

If you’ve read this blog, or ever talked to me, you probably know that the Harry Potter stories (I almost wrote universe, but I don’t like that. Maybe the Harry Potter mythology?) are incredibly important to me. In other words, this movie was made for me. And it was a delightful return to a world that I love. Plus Eddie Redmayne & Colin Farrell are 2 of my all time favorite actors, so I’m happy to watch them run around New York (including the museum I used to work at!) reducing it rubble.

The magical creatures are wonderfully rendered. I especially love the platypus like creature who collects gold in a pouch, which google tells me is a niffler. And I loved the sequences where Newt (Redmayne) walks his new, no-maj (aka muggle) friend Jacob (Dan Fogler) around his suitcase taking care of his animals. It was a lovely touch of warmth and whimsy.

Which honestly was needed, because the main plot of this movie is very dark, and the anti-magic Second Salem crusaders are super creepy. No spoilers, but until something towards the end becomes clearer about him, I found it very hard to watch Ezra Miller‘s character Creedance (and don’t get me started on his creepy little sister…)

But, as always, in J.K. Rowling’s world at least, there is hope in the darkness (and its usually in the form of a smart woman – I loved Katherine Waterston as Tina!)

And while I am not happy at all about the casting of a domestic abuser as the franchise’s new villain, I am happy to see where the story goes from here.

Divines

I wanted to like this movie so much. It tells the story of 2 French girls of color, one the daughter of an imam, growing up in the equivalent of the projects. At first it was giving me Fish Tank vibes and I was so in. But, I don’t know if it was the mood I was in or my over empathizing problem, but I could not get over my, ultimately justified, fear for these girls.

At every step along the way I wanted to save them from their self destructive decisions. I understand the point that writer-director Houda Benyamina, was making about the truly bone crushing stagnation of poverty, but I ultimately didn’t enjoy watching their naive attempt at escape (through the emulation of a local female drug dealer) grind them even further into despair.

That being said, the two actresses at the center here, Oulaya Amamra and Déborah Lukumena were remarkable and Kevin Mischel added a lovely touch of romantic relief.

20th Century Women

I love the way Mike Mills tells stories. I loved Beginners and this felt like a true companion piece to that. Not just because Mills has said this is his love letter to his mom the way Beginners was to his Dad, but they feel cut from the same stylistic sloth. And I love that cloth.

It’s a mixture of collage, nonlinear storytelling and other technical tricks with real emotional depth and sly humor. Every character in this movie feels like a real, full person, even the ones that easily could have been jokes, like Billy Crudup‘s post-hippie handyman.

Annette Bening is quietly wonderful as the older, single mom of a 15 year old boy (Lucas Jade Zumann) who she feels unequipped to raise into a “good man,” (Because, “who even knows what that means any more?”) She enlists the help of his friend Julie (Elle Fanning), and renter Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and while her plan doesn’t quite work out they all do their best along with Crudup to form a family.

And its beautiful, and at times absurd, and I’m a little concerned about how much I want to wear all of Annette Bening’s costumes considering she’s  a fifty something women in this, but whatever, the 70s are in. Anyway, this is a beautiful film, filled with empathy, and you should all see it.

Don’t Think Twice

Mike Birbiglia is one of my favorite artists in any medium, his stand up and radio stories are like comfort food to me. And this movie has a lot of the qualities that I about about his work: wry, observational comedy, self-deprecation that doesn’t wallow its way into self-pity, and a deep empathy for the frailty of its characters.

This movie, Birbiblia’s second as writer-director, follows an improv group that starts the move as a family of lovable losers and tracks the changes that occur hen one of them gets hired on a (very thinly veiled) stand in for Saturday Night Live. 

I find improv very hard to watch. (I get so nervous for the performers!) but the performance scenes here act as great illustrations of the group dynamic. The whole cast is great and the story is realistic, painful and warm, and brutal and lovely. It’s an insightful depiction of how people define success differently for themselves and how that can be impossible to describe.

A Monster Calls

I wasn’t going to see this. I feel like the darkness of the trailer made me think it was going to be creepy, but it wasn’t at all. It was a lovely little fable about anger and loss and love.

I bet it was probably a children’s book (it was!) and the movies felt like walking through a fairy tale. The young boy at the center (Lewis MacDougall) has a great “British orphan” face, even though he doesn’t play an orphan. What I mean is he looks like a kid out of a Dickens adaptation. And this feels like it will take its rightful place in the long tradition of British children’s stories.

And, like a lot of those stories, this is pretty bleak. Connor has had to grow up very quickly, because his mother (the always lovely Felicity Jones) is dying of cancer, he’s bullied at school, and his dad, though generally kind, lives in a far away land (Los Angeles). His relief comes in the form of a Yew tree monster, delightfully voiced by Liam Neeson, who comes to help him come to terms with all of his conflicting emotions. It’s a tear jerker, and the animation is gorgeous. I feel like this isn’t getting the buzz it deserves. It’s definitely worth seeking out.

Julieta

Film nerd confession: until last night I don’t think I had ever actually seen a Pedro Almodóvar film. I knew all about him, knew I should probably watch Volver at some point, and had even seen the very underrated musical adaptation of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown during its brief Broadway run, but I hadn’t ever just sat down and watched one.

Well, I don’t know how Julieta fits in with his work obviously, but I can say that I liked it a great deal. Based on a few Alice Munro short stories, the film follows the title character backwards and forwards through her life, slowly solving the emotional mystery of how bright, young Julieta (Adriana Ugarte) becomes the secretly sad, middle aged woman (Emma Suárez).

Almodóvar paces melodrama like a thriller, suspense heightening score by (Alberto Iglesias) and all. I love stories about complicated women that still feel real and this is a good one. I’m definitely going to catch up with more of his work now.

 

Award Show Round Up: Emmys 2016

Due to the fact that my commute is crazy long right now, and I wanted to eat dinner when I got home, approximately every person on the internet has already shared their thoughts on last night’s Emmy Awards, but whatever. I have thoughts.

The general consensus seems to be that the show was amazing, and at first I found this surprising. It was a good show, and there were some refreshing winners, but was it really that good? But then I thought, this is the Emmys, the bar is so low. The fact that they gave awards to more than one person of color (and 2 women directors!) and managed to pay tribute to people without turning it into a showbiz funeral, was all it really took to make it a success.

Here were my personal highlights:

Jeb! I like the Bushes when they have absolutely no power to over the government. And Jeb seems to have a sense of humor about himself which is nice:

I like Master of Nonebut I loved Alan Yang’s acceptance speech:

KATE MCKINNON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All speeches that end with “topple the patriarchy” will always be featured on this blog:

Look, I know people will be disappointed by this, but I still haven’t watched Transparent, (I know, I know), but Jeffrey Tambor has always given good acceptance speech:

I have no interest in rehashing the gruesome murder of an innocent woman and her friend, so I haven’t watched The People vs. OJ Simpson, but I’m a little bit in love with Sterling K. Brown after last night and I am A LOT in love with Sarah Paulson:

Patton Oswalt has been put through the wringer this year, so I was happy that he got this recognition.

(Also, would have been happy if any one in that category won.)

For no good reason, the fake rivalry between Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon makes me really happy.

And I’m always happy for a Good Will Hunting reference whenever.

As I tweeted last night, I’ve loved Rami Malek for a very long time. (Like since he was on a stupid sitcom with Michael Rappaport long time), but I am so happy the rest of you can see what a delightful weirdo he is.

And, like I said about Modern Family a few years ago, we get it, Game of Thrones is good, they don’t really need anymore Emmys.

Also, dresses! There were a lot of one shoulder looks with cutouts, some more memorable than others.

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Kerri Washington in Brandon Maxwell (Todd Williamson/WireImage)

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Constance Zimmer in Monique Lhuillier (Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

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Kristin Bell in Zuhair Murad (Photo Credit: Getty/Kevin Mazur)

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Mandy Moore in Prabal Gurung (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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Priyanka Chopra in Jason Wu (Photo Credit: AP)

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Tina Fey in Oscar de la Renta (Photo Credit: GotCeleb)

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Angela Bassett in Rene Caovilla (Photo Credit: Robyn Beck/Agence France Presse – Getty Images)

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Constance Wu in J. Mendel (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

And the Nominees Are 2016: Round 6

For some reason I thought I had a long list of nominees that I had seen but not blogged about yet. Mostly, I still have a long list of nominees that I haven’t seen (though I have seen most of the big ones. I’m still holding out on Mad Max: Fury Road. I’m not even sure if it’s worth attempting. I’ll probably just have to turn it off in the middle anyway because I am incredibly squeamish.) But I do have 3 to share with you today. (Including one I really think is great.)

Cartel Land

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First, I’ll admit I didn’t give this movie the attention it deserves. I had it playing on half of the screen, while I took notes on museum studies research for my Capstone. Or at least, I did until the scene where a very brave man yells at the absurdly named Mexican vigilante/probably cartel leader “Papa Smurf” that the people don’t need his protection. That what Mexicans want is peace and to get that that need to have faith in government institutions. It was chilling, and led to a much longer study break than I meant to take.

Even after watching the whole film, I’m not sure how naive that man was. I want to agree with him, because it’s what I want to yell at the American vigilantes also featured here. (Some of whom are just racist fuckheads, others who have a more nuanced, but in my opinion, still wrongheaded take on the situation.) But its so hard to know who is wrong and right when it comes to the criminal/government/drug dealer/addict/innocent bystander clusterfuck that has taken over much of Mexico. The director, Matthew Heineman, to his credit, doesn’t really take sides, but the rampant violence and almost gleeful torture he depicts (mostly non-graphically) left me longing for an unequivocal bad guy to hate. But, a lot of what’s causing the problem (from what I can tell) is the constant drawing of lines between “us” and “them,” “good” and “bad,” when it’s really a bunch of humans caught up in a system larger and more dangerous than they know (and I include the Americans buying the drugs in that too.) A tough watch, but one that puts faces to headlines for me in a really moving way.

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45 Years

 

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I love Weekend, director Andrew Haigh‘s last film (and first film ever reviewed on this blog, back when I didn’t know how to add images). I even like his, less universally praised, HBO show Looking (RIP). So, I was excited to see that he has a movie that was garnering awards buzz. But also worried, because what I love about his work is its scale. It’s small and personal and revealing. And those aren’t words often associated with Hollywood success, but there’s an undeniable power to Charlotte Rampling‘s performance that I’m glad caught the Academy’s attention.

Though this movie is focused on a different sort of person than Haigh’s usual milieu, aging middle class straight people instead of urban gay men, this still feels completely like his film. From the gray cinematography to the subtly brilliant sound design, to the almost respectful distance the camera keeps from the characters.

But, unlike Weekend, which, while powerful, feels almost sweet in the end,  45 Years is a gut punch. It tells the story of a couple grappling with revelations of things that happened before they met, but color everything when they come to light. What’s great is, this could easily have been a straightforward story of betrayal, but instead I could genuinely see both (heartbreaking) perspectives. And that’s down to the astonishingly full performances from Rampling and Tom Courtenay who are both just perfect as two people who are trying so hard to hold onto something. It made me think of Blue Valentine, it wasn’t quite the same level of hope-killing, but it resisted any east answers.

Side Note: Listen to the lyrics of your wedding song people, you don’t want to have to dance to this at your anniversary:

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Winter on Fire

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I knew, vaguely, about the protests in the Ukraine a couple of years ago. I don’t have cable so I don’t know exactly how it was portrayed on TV, but I’m sure it was nowhere near as personal as the depiction in this documentary (now on Netflix). It’s both inspiring to see the people all come together to stand up for their rights and heartbreaking to watch what their government did in response.

There’s a lot of really disturbing imagery of police/military brutality here. It was really hard to watch, and I can’t help but echo the words of one of the protesters about soldiers that fired live rounds into the crowd:

“I want to ask you, who gave birth to you? A mother or a wolf?”

Basically, this felt like a magical piece of journalism, the access was remarkable and the narrative unfurls well. It’s essentially the story of how a corrupt government took a protest and made a war. The old chant, “the whole world is watching,” needs to be more true.

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