Tag: Annette Bening

Captain Marvel

Here we are, the first “marvel” film of 2019, and maybe the last of them to be reviewed. Whoops.

Now technically, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a Sony movie. And maybe this will come out before Avengers: Endgame. It depends on if it finally breaks that damn record. I’m trying to hold out.

But let it be known, that damn it, I saw Captain Marvel opening weekend! I just didn’t write a lot in the spring and I am catching up. It’s not out of hate, or sexism, or anything like that. It is just I don’t want Disney to profit off of my reviews if I don’t get invited to see them early anymore.

Yes, this website is why Disney makes so much money. 
Kree good. Skrulls bad. That’s what Vers (Brie Larson) was taught. She is a warrior in the Kree kingdom, following the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening), trying to protect the galaxy and the universe. Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) is her mentor, and commander of their group of super soldiers. He looks out for her, but she is having problems unlocking her potential.

Either way, they know they need to stop the Skrulls. They can change shape and pretend to be other people! Anyone might be a Skrull, and it is important to have secret phrases to deal with the threat. Threats like Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), leader of the group of Skrulls and a threat to the Kree way of life, and other planets! They go to a planet, pretend to be the citizens, slowly take over, and boom, their planet.

This battle takes them all to planet Earth. It is important to note this is 12-13 years before the events of Iron Man, before Y2K wrecked house. And Vers, when she gets to Earth, is going to have even more memory problems than before, and has to work with local human security, like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) pre-eye patch, in order to stop the Skrull threat and unlock her true potential.

Also starring Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Lashana Lynch, Algenis Perez Soto, and Rune Temte.

I don’t know why they’d want to shapeshift. They don’t like green? Elphaba-syndrome much? 
Captain Marvel is fun and entertaining while also introducing a lot of backstory into the MCU. I bet you never knew you wanted to know how Nick Fury lost his eye, but once that question is answered, you’ll never be the same.

Danvers is a great and strong as fuck character. It has been awhile since we got a character that seemed like they could destroy the world if they wanted to. She has powers comparable and potentially surpassing Thor, Hulk, and Dr. Strange, who I’d put as the biggest three in the MCU. Scarlet Witch should be higher, but they have more downplayed her actual abilities while talking them up, and odd choice. But Captain Marvel has the power and the talk. She will fuck up all the shit.

Like a lot of other recent solo movies, this one failed to feel like it did a lot different than the other previous 20 movies to warrant a higher grade. 3s are great, and better than the occasional 2 these MCU movies can make.

Again, more importantly, this adds the Skrulls to the MCU, which are going to allow some bigger huge storylines in the future, especially if they want to kill more superheroes and it be okay.

3 out of 4.

The Seagull

There has been a long history of movies being named after animal. I don’t want to give a lot of examples, so I will instead just pick a recent one, The Lobster.

The Lobster was surreal and weird. Is The Seagull going to be just as surreal and weird? Will it explore different concepts? Will it be about birds at all?

Or, as I realized later on, will it just be a remake of a very famous Anton Chekhov play from over a 100 years ago? Yeah, it is that one. And this is my only time to point out that the play has had many adaptations, modern versions, some movie, some references in TV shows. But most importantly a few years ago was a modern play version called Stupid Fucking Bird.

I want to watch Stupid Fucking Bird the movie.

Instead I am stuck with this arguably not stupid fucking face.

Set mostly in the early 1900’s, close to Moscow, on a small lake estate, The Seagull is about a wealthy-ish family and their issues. I say wealthy-ish, because they have servants, but also apparently they are too poor to leave the area or better there lives in other ways.

The main patron of the estate is Sorin (Brian Dennehy), whom is getting ill and would rather live in the city. His sister, Irina (Annette Bening), is an aging actress who is living in Moscow mostly but she returns to the estate in the summer. Irina’s son, Konstantin (Billy Howle), is a modernist, who fancies himself a poet and a playwright, hoping to the way plays are told and to become famous himself. Konstantin is madly in love with a local farm girl and his muse, Nina (Saoirse Ronan), who dreams of being a famous actress. And finally we have Boris Trigorin (Corey Stoll), a relatively young author who is very famous in Moscow, whom Irina has been seeing for some time as a celebrity couple.

Also Elisabeth Moss is hanging around during this time, but I couldn’t possibly tell you what her actual job or purpose is. Maybe beloved neighbor.

Most of the story takes place a few weeks over the summer. A lot of the main characters are jealous or infatuated with other ones, even if they are in other relationships. Some of these relationships are out of prestige, out of love, out of settling.

A lot of sex starved people, who might have parent issues, who can orgasm seemingly after a couple of forbidden kisses.

Also starring Glenn Fleshler, Brian Dennehy, Mare Winningham, Jon Tenney, and Michael Zegen.

Only bad things can happen on a boat.

The Seagull is about a small group of people who all want to fuck a different person. Not everyone will leave disappointed either! Some will succeed, some will be left to pick up the scraps, and that is life.

The ideas behind this story in 2018 don´t feel original at all, but if it was originally scripted in the late 1800s it was probably original as hell at the time of release. It may have inspired most of the similar stories for the last 100 years.

And yet, it doesn´t matter, as I am here just to judge a film.

The film does has really fine acting of course. Bening is a star, and Stoll does a lot more than I expected from him based on most of his previous roles. Moss provides some good comedic relief, and Ronan is fine as usual. I did find Howle a little bit strange though. It really felt like he was meant to be played by Eddie Redmayne, but he canceled or was too expensive so they settled.

The story though is just okay. It has some chuckles. It has a pointless intro flashforward. And really, I do not know why the cast wasn´t speaking with Russian accents or anything. It was just lot of clearly American people talking occasionally about Moscow and it kept throwing me off.

2 out of 4.

20th Century Women

I remember, four years ago, being really excited about the movie Beginners. It had Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor, and a good potential story.

But when I finally saw it, I thought it was only okay and a bit disappointed by that fact. I might have liked it more if I was a more mature film watcher though, but who knows, going back and rewatching it just feels like a chore now.

Despite that, I was still surprised to see that the same director, Mike Mills, also directed 20th Century Women, which judging by the trailer seems like such a very different film. Well, obviously one point is that it is mostly about women and not men. It still involves age and growing up as a major theme, and some quirky characters. But still, quite different films.

Needless to say, I needed to watch this movie because I know it will be nominated probably for Best Actress. And because Best Actress films are biased against, it might not be nominated for anything else.

And there are so many women to be the focus of, such a shame.
The year is 1979, in Santa Barbara, California, and yes, that is the same place that Psych was supposed to have taken place.

Dorothea (Annette Bening) is a decently modern woman for the time. She is strongly independent, as her husband left her about a decade before. She has a son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), who is now 15. He is smart, curious, and a free thinker, like she has raised him to be. But she is a bit worried that he has no strong male influence on his life.

Sure, she has had him hang out with men before. In fact, the house they have they rent out to several guests, one of them being a middle aged man (Billy Crudub), who fixes cars and is a handyman. But they have nothing in common, so he is bored when they have to interact.

So she gets the help of two women. One, Abbie (Greta Gerwig), another renter who lives with them, and survivor of cervical cancer. And also Julie (Elle Fanning), a girl slightly older than Jamie who is his best friend, who tends to sleep over in his bed in a completely non sexual way. She wants to have them help teach him about the world. About how to be a good man, even if it is from the women point of view. She cannot see him in the world how he really is, as she is the mom, so she thinks he will listen to them and they have his best interests at heart.

And well, teach them they sure do.

Like the proper way to drug up before your first rave.
20th Century Women was a surprising film. Despite the title, I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. Not saying that I don’t like films about women, I just might not get them as much depending on the focus.

First of all, the camera work was really fun in this movie. Every time travel occurred, it was sped up and made colorful (double meaning on the word trip, potentially). Characters were sped up on regular movement between scenes as well, even if just walking. The framing was well done, especially on the Bening/Crudup dance scene. And a decent chunk of the story is told through flashbacks, narrated by various cast members, going over their story on how they got to this point in their lives. It was creative and visually pleasing.

My biggest issue from this film comes mostly from our lead, Bening. The character she plays is kind of shit, and her actions are a bit confusing. She is set up as this strong, modern, free spirited thinking woman. But all of that goes out the door when she sees what other women do, or what her son thinks. Most of the film she seems like a normal conservative lady, unable to deal with the changes in the world. It is so weird and bizarre, and it made me feel nothing for her character.

The side characters all have their charms though. Zumann, Gerwig, Fanning, and Crudup. Those are the people who I think should be nominated come Oscar time. A decent and amusing film otherwise.

3 out of 4.

Danny Collins

Danny Collins is a movie that sort of just sneaked into theaters. It wasn’t heavily advertised, it didn’t have more than 1 screening, and I honestly had never heard of it.

I might have even watched it when it came out, if it didn’t come out against Insurgent. Come on. Teen high school dystopian dramas > everything, am I right?

My biggest concern for this movie is actually Al Pacino, once a great actor, now a guy in a lot of bad movies, like Jack and Jill and Stand Up Guys. He is becoming a bit of a box office turn off for me, just like Robert De Niro. For the most part, they seem to be just showing up to do their scenes and not putting any heart to it, getting their easy pay checks. That is the one thing I will mostly look for in this film. Can Pacino try harder?

This guy fucks.

Danny Collins (Pacino) used to be a big star. He was wildly famous in the 70s, with lyrics that compared to John Lennon and he was on top of the world. Now, 40 years later, he is still rich and famous and touring, but playing all of his old hits to old fans and kind of just going with the motions and never giving it his all. Huh, sounds a lot like something I talked about not to long ago.

Either way, his long time manager Frank (Christopher Plummer) let’s him know for his birthday that he found a 40 year old letter, written to him by John Lennon that never made it to him. A letter that basically would have changed his life and told him that money and fame aren’t everything. Well fuck, now he is old and feels useless. But there is still a chance. He should just leave his young cheating wife (Katarina Cas), check himself into a hotel and no longer worry about music but instead worry about his life.

So he is going to live in a Hilton hotel, to constantly hit on their manager (Annette Bening), and try to hook up the main receptionist (Melissa Benoist, who is in everything now) and the main valet (Josh Peck). But that isn’t his main goal, no of course not! He actually has a son, Tom (Bobby Cannavale, who is in everything now), whom he has a rocky relationship with. So he wants to fix that up real soon before someone dies and ruins it all. This means he also will have to befriend his wife (Jennifer Garner) and finally meet his granddaughter (Giselle Eisenberg).

Good. A man with a mission. A man who might go back to money fame drugs and playing for old people if he can’t fix his real life before it is too late. Also featuring Brian Smith as a booty call, and Nick Offerman, who has like, a minute of screen time only at the start, but looks cool enough to mention in this review.

At least the casting department got something right. Cannavale could totally be Pacino’s son.

There you go Al Pacino! If you play a part that in some way mirrors your own career for the last five years, you might put some effort into it!

From Pacino I saw passion and I saw an actor who cared about playing his character. Great! And his own enthusiasm made me enjoy the performance and overall, enjoy the movie.

I thought the relationship aspects between Collins and his family felt realistic and avoided tons of cliches. The most unfortunate part about the family was Jennifer Garner though, who had a character that didn’t do a whole lot in the film, so it felt odd for someone of her talent to be used in such a way. This happens a lot with the mom role in films, for whatever reason, but since they had her, one would guess her role would be more substantial.

I was also very impressed with Bening, playing a hotel manager or something. She was able to pull off the professional/dealing with a huge celebrity/not caring about said celebrity really well. And of course, Cannavale was great for many reasons as well.

Danny Collins, a movie that I was afraid would be a bad VH1 made for TV movie, ended up having quite a few strong characters and a unique enough plot to really enjoy. Based loosely off of a real story, but I don’t care about that story, so I didn’t feel like talking about it.

3 out of 4.

Girl Most Likely

I got to see the trailer for Girl Most Likely only once, and that was at an independent movie theater before I saw Fruitvale Station.

And I made plans to wait for it on DVD. Wasn’t an appealing trailer, looked super low budget. It looks like one of those stories, written by someone who doesn’t write normally, but is secretly writing about her own life, and this is a way of telling her story.

Yes, I determined that out a trailer once a few months ago. Shut up.

Oh faced
I said shut up, not hold open your mouth. That is just awkward.

Imogene (Kristen Wiig) is about to have a break down. She used to be considered very bright. She was a great writer. She won a huge grant for $30,000 to write a play and have it performed in NYC. But all of her dreams came crashing down and she has been slowly unraveling, enough to chase her long time boyfriend away. So she tries to kill herself.

Oh. Erm. Shit.

She isn’t too good at it though, so she gets hospitalized instead. Even worse than that, she has to be released from the hospital into a loving environment, which they assume is her home in Jersey. Nopenopenope. Her child hood sucked! She was in a single parent home, because her dad died when she was young and her mom (Annette Bening) was trash. Her brother, Ralph, (Christopher Fitzgerald) had it worse, having some form of autism. He is smart, just a recluse. At least he will be there when she moves back.

Oh, and her mom’s new boyfriend, Geourge Bousche, who talks about spirtuality and is quite mysterious (Matt Dillion). And some dude, Lee (Darren Criss), who she has rented out her old room too. Shit, she can’t even stay in her old bed. Oh well, she just has to survive three days until she can go back to her apartment in NYC. Or if her boyfriend comes to pick her up.

One of the two.
One. Of. The. Two.

Boy Band
Ah, Glee has turned Criss into a boy band member. That was unexpected.

Alright, my original thoughts may have been wrong, but I can’t get that same feeling out of my head.

The main character is a play writer going through a tough time. She has to get out of a slump, and is in freak out mode. Like every movie ever about a struggling writer, the events in the film eventually turn into inspiration, and aww, she is accepted again. That isn’t a spoil, because that is a stupid movie cliche, and it totally happens in this one.

So I feel like this movie of this happening is the third level of realization or something. A movie about a writer who writes a play about her life, and this movie might be about her life too secretly.

I think I am babbling.

This movie had some nice moments, I laughed out loud a few times. It also had a lot of whatever moments, like the first part, and the ending. It was just full of rookie movie mistakes. Things were cut oddly, and it all just felt like a lot of rookie movie making mistakes. Full of jokes that just fell flat.

So overall, it was okay. I enjoyed what they tried to do, and some of the things that were done, but thought a lot of it was just not up to par.

2 out of 4.

Ruby Sparks

I often find that when all you do is talk about movies, people tend to suggest them. Of course I will watch a movie if someone suggests it to me, but with Ruby Sparks something even stranger happened. TWO people recommended this movie to me, potentially within a few weeks apart. Well, of course I have to see it now.

I also realized why I didn’t watch it right away. Sparks? That title is too close to the title Sparkle. I hated that movie.

I could write a better movie than Sparkle for sure. It would be about some sort of mythical creature that Sparkled under strange circumstances. I am sure that’s an original concept.

Calvin (Paul Dano) is a genius. Alright, he doesn’t like that word. But he dropped out of high school once he wrote what many consider to be the next great American novel, and he quickly rose to fame and success. But now, almost ten years later, he is in his late 20s and he still has one novel under his belt. He has released a few short stories and novellas, but nothing of any real length or magnitude.

Some genius indeed. It must all be getting to his head. In fact, he has to see a psychiatrist now just to sort through his feelings of loneliness.

But then one magical night, he has a dream. A dream of a girl, with red hair, and a quirky attitude. She is perfect to him. So he writes about his dreams and turns it into its own new story. Yes, this is the one, his next great novel! Who cares if his brother (Chris Messina) thinks the story is dumb.

Calvin really is a genius. His brain is so powerful, that one morning he woke up and found the literal girl of his dreams in his kitchen. Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan). In the flesh. Based on everything he wrote about. How can that be? People can’t just be created! Or can they? Truly only a genius (or geniuses, in some cases) could create a person without even trying. It gets weirder when he realizes it is not in his head. It gets creepier when he realizes that whatever he types comes true. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas play his mom and step-dad, while Steve Coogan has a small role as “other older writer dude.”

Water bath
Anyone else find it funny how Ruby is always wearing red? And how she and Superman are never in the same room?

Yeah, so I really fucking love strange quirky movies like this. Pretty easy to learn that given my rating record. Watching this movie made me want to watch Stranger Than Fiction right after it. Another well acted quirky movie about the truth being determined by what someone rights. Who knew there was a whole drama about this!?

I found myself flailing while I watched this movie. My mind raced ahead of itself, so once I was given new information, I always assumed the worse. Having complete and utter power over someone? That can lead to many dark dark places, and I assumed each one would be touched upon. Thankfully, each one wasn’t touched upon, because I didn’t feel like crying that night. But the scene where the power finally got to the head? Shit scared me, and it did it in away without having to go the hard R rating that most of us are probably imagining. Which is great, when I rewatch this movie, I can not flip out as much and STILL enjoy the process they go through.

Besides, this type of stuff is every (male?) fantasy. Since Frankenstein, the idea of creating a person has always been intriguing. So why not?

I think this film is excellent on all cylinders, and exactly the type of thing I’d watch again and again.

4 out of 4.

The Kids Are Alright

Interesting story, because, hey lesbians! Yay lesbians! I am not saying Lesbians make a film automatically good. Heck no. Plenty of bad movies that try to get more money just because people like seeing chicks make out with each other. This is not one of those movies. This is serious! This is The Kids Are Alright! And I doubt many people have fantisized about the possibility of seeing Annette Bening and Julianne Moore kiss.

This couple has been together for a long time, over 20 years. They decided they wanted to have kids and have a sperm donor. They agreed from the profiles of one individual, and decided to both become artificially inseminated a few years apart, so that the kids will have the same dad, but each of the moms will give birth. They have never met the guy, of course, and never thought they would, until the brother made the older sister (now 18) collect the info to meet him. And of course, shit goes down.

He ends up having a relationship with the whole family, almost breaking them all apart. Poor Mark Ruffalo. If people actually started to yell at him, we now know he’d just go all HULK on them, but that may be a different movie.


I did NOT like the ending. However the acting is great on all accounts, and it was an interesting and newer story. Well made, but too real. If it was more fake I could have a better ending I think.

3 out of 4.