The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Growing up, I never really felt like a girl. No, I didn’t skip from toddler to womanhood. I am just a dude. But still, I don’t know what it feels like to be a girl.

I never found someones diary and betrayed their trust by reading about their deepest and darkest secrets. Except for Anne Frank, but apparently she was cool with it since she was dead and all.

Thankfully, I have movies that tell me what it means to be a girl. And I also now have The Diary of a Teenage Girl, so I can get those few years of middle and high school. That is definitely the years I understood girls the least, given my friendship and dating record.

What? Oh this is getting too personal. Sorry, I confused a prestigious movie reviewing website for a Live Journal again. Ahem.

Mic
Now let me put the rest of my secrets on audio. No one can get to them then.

Minnie (Bel Powley) just had sex for the first time and she is only fifteen. Whoa. This is already getting too personal for me.

She has been wanting to explore her sexuality for awhile, but she is sort of shy, not the best looking girl and lacking confidence in her breasts. But she had sex finally after seducing Monroe (Alexander Skarsg√•rd). For those who can read actor names in the parenthesis, you will realize that he is not a high school aged boy, he is a super adult. That is because he happens to be the boyfriend of Charlotte (Kristen Wiig), Minnie’s mom. Oh boy. That’s a rape.

Except they get super into each other. Like. A lot. And I do mean into each other. This ups Minnie’s confidence to walk down her school’s halls and know she can take on the world.

But again. This relationship is not appropriate and bad. He is manipulating her. Or fuck. Is she manipulating him? No, that’d be crazy…

Also starring Abby Wait as Minnie’s younger sister, Miranda Bailey as Minnie’s friend, and Christopher Meloni as Minnie’s father.

Touch
If you look closely, you will see this picture is very inappropriate.

I have never felt so much like a teenage girl in my life before. That should be apparent given the introduction. Powley did such a fascinating job as the lead. Powley herself is 23 years old at this point, but she was a teenage girl before and frankly looks very young. So along with acting the shit out of being an actual teenager, it made me feel quite uncomfortable. Uncomfortable enough to look up Powley’s age.

The film was rated R for a variety of reasons, including GRAPHIC NUDITY, but surprisingly no actual male dick. The only penises you see are drawn/animated. Lot of boobs though. And a lot of very uncomfortable sex. Sex sex sex.

Moving on. The rest of the film, outside of the awkward teenager ness and great acting from Powley, was also good. The supporting cast felt realistic, the plot felt realistic. It was all just about a girl finding herself. There a quite a few films that fit into this genre, but this feels like it should go directly to the top tier.

This film happens to be up for several Spirit awards, including Best Actress and Best First Feature, meaning the director hadn’t done a film before this one. Pretty crazy to think about. Marielle Heller, not only directed for the first time, but also wrote the screenplay, which is also her first. It clearly takes a woman to really understand all the weirdness it takes to be a woman.

4 out of 4.

They Came Together

Heh. Heheheheh. They Came Together. That title. Oh man. Oh boy.

I’m done. I can’t even think of a good intro because of that.

However, I would feel like an asshat if I didn’t first mention that this movie had already been reviewed on my website. Yah! Here is a link! Because I totally have guest reviews on my website, not a lot, but they are there. And from them, of the seven, one I had reviewed already, one I reviewed soon after, and this one I reviewed way way later.

I think I am just stalling.

Leaves
Like how I am avoiding cleaning up my leaves in my yard.

This movie is your classic romcom. And that is how they sell it. It is literally a spoof movie on romcoms, and they basically say that in the opening scene.

It is your classic boy meets girl. Joel (Paul Rudd) is a big corporate man working for a candy shop. Molly (Amy Poehler) is a klutz and owner of an independent candy shop. Oh my goodness, conflict!

Joel has a long term girlfriend (Cobie Smulders) who doesn’t love him like he does. Molly has an ex-husband and a kid.

Joel has a best friend (Jason Mantzoukas) who introduces him to a girl from work. Molly also has a best friend (Melanie Lynskey) who also wants to do that same thing!

Joel has a group of best friends who help him decide relationship advice. Molly has a black coworker friend (Teyonah Parris) who helps her keep it real.

Joel also has to deal with his younger brother (Max Greenfield) who is busy following his dreams and not making a living. Molly has other options, like a banker (Ed Helms) who wants to get closer to her.

I think you get the gist. It has a lot more people in it too! Like Christopher Meloni, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper, Michael Ian Black, Kenan Thompson, Jack McBrayer, and Ken Marino.

Bear Suits
I don’t have a joke here. I just like the picture a lot. ūüôĀ

I felt ridiculous writing this, because in all honesty, it was a ridiculous movie. I actually put off watching it for so long, because I thought I wouldn’t like it, or it would be as average as a romantic realistic indie movie. And hey, it was weird and unique! So that was good.

It is hard to find a nice spoof movie nowadays. And I think They Came Together gave one of the better attempts at it. I did laugh at quite a few of the absurdities, and found it pretty funny. But, by the end, I thought aspects of it were going too strong and the joke was losing its luster. A bit. You know? Maybe too much of a good thing. Hell, I even had a good time explaining some of the jokes to others, but I didn’t think this is a movie I could really watch again and enjoy it as much of the first time. I think it will quickly stale out.

This is all conjecture. I might love it forever. But if anything, these reviews are first impressions and my impressions can often change through time. I usually don’t like changing a review later, because who would notice and ehhh, apathy. This time I am pretty sure that I would only enjoy this movie once though. And that is why it is just an okay film in that regard. Without staying power, I don’t want to buy it. If I don’t want to buy it, then is it really that great?

2 out of 4.

White Bird In A Blizzard

If I was a White Bird, I would stay far away from blizzards.

Correction, if I was any color bird, I would stay away from all forms of snow. Fuck that. Birds and snow don’t go together. I am also under the impression that penguins are secretly fish. I don’t think my bird body could deal with snow, let alone lots of it.

So sure, a White Bird In A Blizzard may be impossible to see, but if you are any bird in a blizzard, you are probably fucked regardless, right?

Maybe the moral of this movie, that I haven’t watched yet, is that you are fucked either way, but sometimes you are fucked and invisible.

Blizzard
What? This shit isn’t even a metaphor? She is literally in a blizzard people, wearing white, and being white!

First off, get your time machines ready, this movie takes place in the past. Namely, the late 80’s and very early 90’s. So not too distant, but also before some of you were born.

No cell phones, no GPS, no facebooks, so when Kat’s (Shailene Woodley) mom, Eve (Eva Green), goes missing, there is not a lot they can do to find her. She vanished with no trace and no sign of fowl play. Kat’s dad, Brock (Christopher Meloni), is terribly shook up. Brock is a beta bitch, a pushover, and really doesn’t know how to live comfortably after this news. It seems Eve just grew a bit crazy, being a housewife, not getting to be as wild as she used to be, having to make dinner and stay at home all day. So she just bailed, especially when Brock didn’t really fulfill her sexually.

And who could fulfill her sexually, based on her movie history? And based on his TV history.

Either way, all of this has messed up Kat’s social life a bit. She is blossoming into a flower and doesn’t want to be like her mom, so she has sex when she wants and with who she wants. Usually her neighbor/boyfriend (Shiloh Fernandez). But maybe older men who she shouldn’t be messing with. Maybe.

Oh well. Life sucks. Kat feels lost. And she has to rely on her relationships, her friends (Mark Indelicato, Gabourey Sidibe) and the Detective (Thomas Jane) to help her get by unscathed without being too messed up.

Friends
A strong independent black woman and a gay male, the best of best friends represented.

Whoa. This movie dealt with some serious issues. Let’s compare them to Miss Woodley’s other work!

Divergent didn’t really deal with anything serious, as it was clearly just an intense high school film. She didn’t make it into the final cut of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie, so no issues at all. The Fault In Our Stars was about death and life at a young age, so we are getting closer. And The Spectacular Now also had a lot of serious issues.

But the issues in this movie are definitely the most serious. And most shocking, given her status as a younger franchise leading woman now. Because this movie deals with a lot of sex, and because of that, sex happens, and yeah, I can see why maybe the Divergent producers maybe wanted to hide this movie from the general public. They might not want their young star being in movies all naked and having sex with older men. Might ruin imaging.

This might be why White Bird In A Blizzard didn’t get a super wide or public release. It kind of just snuck out of nowhere on my radar. It is based on a book, but who cares.

Or or or or hey. Or maybe. Just maybe. It didn’t get a wide release because it wasn’t the best film?

I mean, it had some nice moments. But it also had a lot of dull ones. I don’t think it fell into too many cliches, it just didn’t really seem like a movie that would never stick with me too long after watching it. I won’t forget about the entire movie in a month, just most of it.

2 out of 4.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

I don’t know how people reviewed the movie Sin City when it came out, I just know that Sin City: A Dame To Kill For will be pretty hard to review.

Sin City itself was pretty polarizing. I think overall it was on the positive side of the spectrum for most people (including me). The art style was something very different and took awhile for some people to get used to. It was also pseudo copied with The Spirit, which a lot of people hated (and those people also suck).

But a sequel has long been in development and long been clamored for, as the original came out in 2005. Almost took 10 years to get another installment. It has to live up to a lot of pressure, so I hope it can deliver.

Nakkid
Now with more nakedness than ever before.

Sin City is a land where dreams come true. Assuming your dreams involve corruption, drugs, sex, betrayal, murder, lawlessness, crime, death, and other synonyms. Shit is weak. Shit is weak everywhere.

Marv (Mickey Rourke) is still running around, being a badass. If you like him, good news, he is basically in every plot line.

Like when Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) comes to town, looking for secretive revenge and wanting to use his elite poker skills to do it. Or when Nancy the never naked Stripper (Jessica Alba) wants to enact revenge on the death of Hartigan (Bruce Willis) from the first film. Or when Dwight (Josh Brolin) has to go an save Ava (Eva Green) from an abusive relationship, taking out an inhuman body guard Manute (Dennis Haysbert).

So, basically Marv is everywhere. Yay continuity?

Also featuring others, like Rosario Dawson and Powers Boothe bringing back their old characters. Or like Jamie Chung, taking over someone else character. And some people in much smaller roles, like Ray Liotta, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven and Christopher Lloyd who is like 150 at this point.

Beat Up
If only there were angels out there for him to help out?

More action! More death! More sex! Is Sin City: A Dame To Kill For a step in the franchise? Or is it just too late?

Hard to say what the reason is, but this movie felt incredibly lack luster for me. Maybe it is because when Sin City first came up, it was before comic book movies really started to amp up their games. Before The Dark Knight before the Marvel films. Because for the most part, this story / set of stories feels very familiar, yet still distant.

Maybe I am annoyed at just how connected they wanted everything to feel? I liked the disjointedness of the first film, just a few short stories and then another.

Maybe it is just the quality of the stories? For what it is worth, there are basically three plot lines. The middle being the longest and most complete, or at least featuring the most characters, but even it dragged by the end. The “first” plot with JG-L didn’t feel interesting, and Alba’s felt not as epic as it was going for.

Maybe it is that the style feels stale after all this time, with the 3D elements never really enhancing it like I had hoped?

Maybe I don’t know. The only thing I know is this movie felt like a great disappointment. But also, maybe I am just getting older.

1 out of 4.

Man Of Steel

If you have talked to me about superheroes before, you will have found out I prefer Marvel to DC. Marvel sets its characters in real cities in the real world, generally makes their characters relatable, and almost always gives them character flaws, like Tony Stark and his alcoholism.

If you had to ask for my least favorite (popular) superhero, it would definitely be Superman. The idea of his character is boring. He is hardly relatable, being an alien from another planet who has ungodly powers compared to the rest of us. He is generally unstoppable, unless somehow an even stronger force appears, or a very rare substance from his home world magically shows up. Not even Five For Fighting could convince me otherwise.

Regardless, I was still excited about Man Of Steel (Trailer). It looks like their main goal was to make him a bit more relatable to us normal folks, which is one of the harder tasks out there. So if we can get some good drama, and for goodness sake, some good action in this movie, I might just like Superman again. Basically, make it the opposite of Superman Returns. Although it only barely fits, this is also part of my Apocalypse Week, because technically it could involve the end of the world?

ChoicesI like to picture the helicopters as his Angel/Devil counterparts, telling him what to do.
Of course, they are helicopters, so they are both telling him to fuck some shit up.

The movie begins on the planet of Krypton! You see, the elders there have expended all of the planets natural resources, so the planet is kind of doomed, threatening the entire race. General Zod (Michael Shannon) is attempting a military coup to fix the mess the elders have caused, while Jor-El (Russell Crowe) has an alternative answer. He believes his newly born son has the answer to their future, and sends him off to Earth to live and grow, while the rest of his kind perish.

So, Kal-El (Henry Cavill, eventually) finds himself in Smallville, Kansas. He is raised by the Kents (Kevin Costner,¬†Diane Lane), taught to be a good person and to hide his powers from others, who might be afraid of him or use it against him. It isn’t until much later in his life, when he is on odd job #35, that he is able to find an ancient alien space craft. There he finds the answers to his past, his race, and his purpose.

This unfortunately also sets off a beacon into space, allowing General Zod and his crew to find his location. They’ve been amassing a giant army and are looking for a new home. Thanks Kal-El, you doomed the Earth.

They show up, demand Kal-El turn himself over, or else the planet is kaput. Surely he is a man true to his word and will actually leave Earth alone, right? We also have Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Richard Schiff as random scientist FBI guy, Laurence Fishburne as The Daily Planet editor, and Christopher Meloni as bad ass army man.

Zod Zod
Not to ruin the movie for you, but the entire time I thought Zod looked a bit like Geoffrey Arend.

I’ve already wrote a lot about the movie, but¬†hold on to your butts, I have a lot more coming.

Zack Snyder is the man who brought us 300 and Watchmen, both of which I love on their own right, and is a man fully ingrained into the superhero world now. He has the ability to make a movie visually pleasing, but sometimes relies on too many film filters to take me out of it.

I hated the filtering for Man Of Steel, but the fight scenes are quite worthy of praise. They mostly involve aliens who move much faster and hit a lot harder than we can even fathom, yet Snyder was able to create fight scenes that could both A) Be followed and understood by an audience and B) show off really cool visual effects. Often times in fight scenes, you will be stuck with blurriness in the action, just not in this movie.

It was great watching Superman doing actual super things, whereas in Superman Returns, the whole movie was him lifting progressively heavier objects.

In addition to Snyder, the film also features Christopher Nolan as a writer and producer, so he can hopefully add some deeper elements to the story that Snyder usually lacks. Unfortunately, I thought the plot and characterizations were probably the weakest part of the film.

General Zod is an interesting villain, mostly because he isn’t Lex Luther. However I think they spent far too much time on Krypton early in the film, which seemed to exist just to give Crowe even more screen time and show off lots of CGI explosions. Unfortunately right after that, we had a series of awkward childhood flashbacks while Superman is an adult hiding from the world, making the early movie feel disjointed and odd. I have to admit, I think a lot could have been cut from the 143 minute storyline to make a bit more exciting movie.

Yes, I am claiming large parts of the Man Of Steel were boring, a sad conclusion. Great action scenes, okay acting, boring overall plot and set up. I really disliked Costner’s character. That guy was an idiot and I felt nothing during his biggest emotional scene of the movie. Heck, you’d think people living in Kansas would also know that when a Tornado is coming¬†an overpass is NOT the best place to run and hide. I know that, and I’ve lived in the Midwest less than year. That isn’t why the film got the rating, but it really grinded my gears nonetheless.

Overall, Man Of Steel is a decent showing for a DC character I hate, but it still isn’t enough to fully love.

2 out of 4.

42

First off, I am a bit disappointed. The movie 42¬†doesn’t get me any closer to figuring out the question of life, the universe, and everything.

Unless that question is baseball related. That’s right, 42 isn’t about The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, but instead baseball, go figure. Not just any baseball story, like the forgettable Trouble With The Curve. This is baseball history! The story of Jackie Robinson, the first black MLB player. Well, technically the first black MLB player in modern, post World War II baseball. After all,¬†Moses Fleetwood Walker¬†played in the MLB for a season in 1884. But after that, sixty years is a pretty long time, with “Negro Leagues” put in place, so Jackie Robinson still turned heads in his debut.

Mirror
Despite the turned heads, he still didn’t help us answer that dang question…
42 doesn’t focus on Jackie Robinson’s (Chadwick Boseman) entire life, but instead about 2.5 years of it. But before we get to Jackie, we first get to learn about Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers. If we listen to his reasoning at the beginning, he wants to try something crazy. That’s right, a black man on the Dodgers! Why not, that should increase ticket sales, and he will also do whatever he can to get his team a pennant.

So he picks Jackie from the pile, gets him on their minor league team, and hopes he can kick enough ass to make it on the MLB team, while holding back his anger enough to not let the rampant racism get to him.

This is a true story, we all know he makes it to the team after a year in the minors, and the rest, really is history. We also see a little bit into his relationship with his wife (Nicole Beharie), and I do just mean a little bit. There are other members of his team who all embrace in him different ways, some with petitions (Ryan Merriman), some with open arms (Lucas Black). Some managers didn’t give a shit (Christopher Meloni), and some made it their mission to make his life a living hell (The Phillies) (Alan Tudyk). But that is to be expected from a Philadelphia based team I guess.

This also has the smaller, yet still important, story of Wendell Smith (Andre Holland). He was the the first black member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, but first had to travel with the teams for two years, writing articles about Jackie and his struggles. That means Jackie Robinson was influential on more than just the baseball level, he just chose to end racism through beating the other team’s pitchers and stealing bases.

Oh there is also a John C. McGinley cameo as the radio announcer, dropping classic line after classic line of old timey talk.

Gang up
Jackie probably thinks I am talking far too much about white people in this review.
Speaking of white people, I guess Branch Rickey was pretty dang important to this story, but no one really talks about him in popular culture. The filmmaker makes sure you know how much of this all falls on his shoulders, and how it would not have happened (so soon) without him. Yep, this just ends up being another civil rights movie where white people are the saviors. Just like The Help and The Secret Life Of Bees. This literally keeps happening in film, and it is kind of annoying.

Even though in this example it might be true, it is still frustrating to see that it is focused on so heavily just to sell more tickets.

I loved Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson. I am glad they went with a relatively unknown actor for the role, because that was one of my bigger problems with the movie Ali.

Overall, 42 is a feel good inspirational movie and it succeeds at that level. There is some intense emotion in here, but it still ends with everyone smiling by the end. It could have dealt with a lot more of his life, but hey, after his first year, he wasn’t the only guy able to make the switch. He was a great athlete, and this is an acceptable (if not entirely accurate) portrayal of his life. I personally still left the theater happy, despite any real issues.

 

3 out of 4.