First Man

When I first heard about First Man, I didn’t realize it was a biopic on Neil Armstrong. I thought it was just a space movie with cool visuals, and would be about the first man on Mars or something like that.

The poster is just really sexy like that.

Despite not knowing the real topic, I knew I was really excited. Damien Chazelle has yet to disappoint, with his first two big breaks being, well, big breaks. Whiplash was breath of fresh abuse, and La La Land is goddamn La La Land, my favorite movie of that year.

So yeah, let’s try a real person story about a space man!

Group
A bunch of men that totally want to break out into dance, but can’t in this movie.

In the 1960’s, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) became an Astronaut for the NASA program. He was already a test pilot for other companies as an engineer, not a military man, and he needed to get a new start. His daughter, Karen, had died when she was two, of some cancer. That sucks. That sucks a lot. He needed to get away.

Not just from the fact that his daughter died. But other friends as well. When doing science in the sky, and reaching the upper parts of the atmosphere, things can go wrong. They HAVE gone wrong for Armstrong, but he generally keeps a clear head on these sorts of things and lucks his way into not dying.

Is he afraid of dying? Is he ready to die? Is he afraid if he gets too close to people, he will become a wreck should they die in an accident? His wife (Claire Foy) loves him, and is helping raise their family, and is fully aware of the many risks of space travel. But she supports him, even when he is hard to reach. Physically, and emotionally.

And of course, eventually, Armstrong does some pretty impressive historical stuff.

Also starring a whole lot of white people. Most of them playing real white people too, I assume! Played by Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbot, Ethan Embry, Ciarán Hinds, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Shea Whigham, Olivia Hamilton, and Corey Stoll playing the Buzz Aldrin.

Love
I assume this dance is not my tempo.

Chazelle started us out on his film trajectory by giving us people who wanted to achieve stardom at all costs. The next film also involved achieving stardom, but in a city full of stars, people who already made their life successful. And now, in this film, we still have that achievement desire behind the scenes, but instead of reaching a city of stars, it is a whole sky full of stars. An interesting path and one that is keeping Chazelle fresh by clearly trying very different things.

The most interesting aspect of this movie, to me, is that it isn’t really about the moon landing. It is called First Man. Why? Because it is about the First Man on the moon, not the successful events, just the person himself. Neil. Armstrong.

That might sound like a normal biographic movie, but I assure you, this one feels different. We see things from his point of view and mindset, without having to actually go into first person point of view. It is easy to feel the claustrophobic nature of the capsules. Of viewing the edge of space for the first time. To walking on the moon, to losing a child or friend, to having to make life saving decisions despite not knowing the right answer.

It is so damn personal and at the same time it is hard to connect to him. Armstrong comes across a very distant person, dealing with a lot on the inside and less likely to talk about his feelings or actually deal with the reality his job is creating. He is a humble person and a quiet person, not looking for fame, but looking for something else hard to pinpoint.

First Man is a great film, with terrific acting, and is likely to be a lock for several nominations, especially in the sound mixing areas this upcoming Oscars.

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.

Face
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.

Boat
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.

Gold

This is a review of Gold, Jerry! Gold!

Gold is another film that sort of came out of nowhere for me. I might have heard about it once, but I never saw a trailer. The first real moment acknowledging its existence was when it went and got nominated for a Golden Globe award!

Not like, a really good one. Just Best Song, for a song named Gold in the movie Gold. And that on its own didn’t really matter, because everyone knew La La Land would crush that category, guaranteed.

But hey, I watched it anyways. Maybe it would secretly be great, since it is one of those 2016 films that decides to come out awkwardly in January 2017 for most of the American public.

Jungle Love
Must have been some time zone confusion, what with them in an Asian jungle and all.

Technically Gold is inspired by a true story. I say that, because it isn’t at all like the true story. It is the idea of the true story, some parts true, but basically everything changed with some extra story in order to create a bigger complete story. Or at least that is what they want you to believe.

The film is about Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey), a man who runs a business about buying up land for its potential of minerals and selling it once they can confirm the minerals are there. His dad (Craig T. Nelson) started it, but after he suddenly passed, the last seven years Kenny has been bringing it down. Heck, the workers now basically make calls and sales over the phone in a bar now. His wife (Bryce Dallas Howard) has been keeping them afloat with her own job, not leaving him despite the promises of an amazing life.

Kenny is down to his last dollars. And he wants to bet it all on a hunch. He wants to talk to Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), a famed geologist who found an incredibly big copper find. But since then, people still have not trusted his different way of thinking. They want to work together, to go to Indonesia, where Acosta believes they could find the biggest gold mine ever.

And when the results eventually start coming in, thinks start to sky rocket. But can their sudden success and amazing luck really all just be good news?

Also staring Toby Kebbell, Rachael Taylor, Bruce Greenwood, Corey Stoll, Bill Camp, and Stacy Keach.

BDH
They took beauty and the beast to a whole new level here.

(Potential spoilers)

Gold has the potential of being a really great film. But what they needed to do was try to take away the big twist in the latter half and spread it out more throughout the film. Because for the most part, this just feels like a rags to riches story. It has some set backs, they overcome it, some set backs, they overcome. And some back and forth business stuff.

But when we finally learn the twist officially, the whole thing feels sort of awkward. We aren’t given enough time to process it, and seeing more of the fallout from said twist would be a lot more entertaining and important than some of the minute details they put into getting the land and making sure they could secure it for a mine. The subplots kill the film and take away focus. Because damn it, the twist and scam IS the focus.

We only get the smallest of bits that it might be a scam for those going in blind based on eventually an FBI agent talking to Kenny, and realizing that Kenny is telling the story of the film. If the goal of the film is to tell the true-ish story of a real life scam, it is just odd to hide the fact that there even is a scam throughout most of the film.

It is just pulled in too many directions, where not enough of the pull is in the correct direction. The acting is fine, McConaughey looks disgusting, and there is a lot more geology in this film than I would have expected. But that alone is not enough for me to like it.

2 out of 4.

Black Mass

Johnny Depp is the type of guy who is always working and trying out new bizarre characters. It gave him some early fame but lately people are getting tired of him. Mortdecai gets to be one of the worst films of the year, as people assumed it was just a mustache obsessed Johnny Depp playing Johnny Depp.

But then there was Black Mass. Based on trailers and word of mouth, we were told this would be Depp acting, playing a real character, and not the same old shit as before. Something new by technically making him play a more normal role! A sadistic mean and manipulative person, but a real guy nonetheless. No super annoying quirks, no autism, just a dude who didn’t mind killing people.

The acting was supposed to be so great that people were going to remember how great Depp could be when he gives a shit. I am sure he gives a lot of shit when doing his latest Burton film, but after awhile, it just looks like he has no more cares left in the world and he would rather just sit there and shit money. (Assuming they don’t flop, which they have been as well!)

Face
That’s the face I make when I shit normal things. Can only imagine other objects.

Black Mass is the story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger (Depp), America’s Most Wanted criminal for a long time. You may have heard about him for many reasons. Or maybe you watched the documentary (or read my review of), Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, which was out a year or two ago on Netflix. It went over his crimes and the trial once they eventually caught the guy (spoilers), while the film version specifically only talks about his crimes for the most part until he started to hide elsewhere in the USA.

Like most crime movies, this one also takes place in the scariest city in the USA for people who like grammar, Boston. Bulger and his gang (some members played by Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons, and W. Earl Brown) are criming up the streets and kicking butt. They basically control all of South Boston. But there are rivals, and there are conflicts of interest.

You know, like John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), when he returns to Boston, his home, but now a member of the FBI. He is friends with Whitey, despite the mostly common knowledge of his criminal activities. Eventually he convinces Whitey that he should become an informant, because there are other bad people out there who he can rat out to get them in trouble. Doing so, that would allow him to gain even more power on the streets, having the FBI in his back pockets. Oh hey, Whitey’s actual brother (Benedict Cumberbatch) is also part of the Massachusetts State Senate. Pretty sneaky stuff.

This becomes a win win. Whitey gains gang power, and the FBI catches a lot of bad guys. It isn’t until things get more and more violent that some people out there begin to get fidgety and want to bring in Whitey as well, because something very sketch is going down with his relationship with the FBI.

Also featuring Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Adam Scott, Kevin Bacon, David Harbour, Peter Sarsgaard and Corey Stoll.

Dinner
A gangster, an FBI agent, and a David Harbour walk into a restaurant…

I had a BlackWeek on my website, and I was most upset that Black Mass came out so much later than the other Black films. I was excited to see Depp back in greatness, although I think his role from Tusk and Yoga Hosers is actually pretty sweet.

And then I watched Black Mass and it all felt unoriginal. Just because I watched a documentary about Whitey doesn’t mean I remember a lot about him. The only thing I really remember was him being a rat and getting the other gangsters in trouble while he got away for decades. Black Mass should have been a nice companion piece to the documentary, giving us intense recreations of some of his worst work and making Whitey seem like a real person.

Even though I didn’t know about his individual crimes, the reason it felt unoriginal is just that it felt like every other gangster movie before it. Sure, plot wise it had the original true element of actually working with the FBI, because the real life plot is so silly no one accept it as something plausible in a fictional film. Stylistically, it felt the same. Elements of the film seemed to be bad recreations of Goodfellas.

Yes, the acting was there. Depp, Edgerton, Sarsgaard all did wonderful jobs. Cumberbatch sounded funny and I wanted more scenes with him because of it.

But I would hope that the film didn’t feel like the gangster films of the past and tried to make a truly unique experience for this real life story. I guess I could also be biased, because I also have recently seen Animal Kingdom (with Edgerton), and it was definitely a unique gangster film.

1 out of 4.

Dark Places

When I was a very young kid, I was in a dark place. But then it was my birthday and since then my life has been nothing but light! I might take this joke out before I publish this review.

A few things intrigued me about Dark Places. One, the pretty heavy cast. A lot of people I like to see pretending to be other people in movies and television are in this movie!

And two, it is based on the book written by Gillian Flynn. No, I have never read any of her books before, but I have seen Gone Girl, which was based on her book. Gone Girl was CRAZY good too. If you missed the movie, you need to time travel back to 2014 and hit that thing up right now. Or find it through regular mortal beings.

If the author has the same awesome level of mystery and great dialogue, this film can be just as great. Even without Affleck.

Adult
Jeez, even more people who don’t know what to do with their hands.

Little Libby Day (Sterling Jerins) was the only surviving member of a massacre at her home. He mother (Christina Hendricks) and two older sisters were killed through various means. Her brother, Ben (Tye Sheridan) was accused of murdering his family and part of the reason for his sentencing is that Libby testified saying she saw her brother do it. But that was a lie. Libby Day began to live through the government and was given a nice fund by generous donations to help her live in the future.

Well, the future is now, and adult Libby (Charlize Theron) is practically out of money. She can’t jut ask for more, because no one cares about her. She is old news, and there are girls everyday surviving tragedies who actually need help. Libby has been extremely apathetic about everything in life so she has never gained any skills or actually gotten a job in her life.

But she has a letter from a fan, Lyle Wirth (Nicholas Hoult) who wants her to come down to tell her story and get paid. She tends to avoid these sorts of things because she doesn’t like to revisit her past. It is kind of a…dark…place…for her. Turns out Lyle is a member of a group called The Kill Club. They are a bit obsessed with murder stories and like to examine the evidence, clues, whatever to determine if the real murderer was caught. And some of them are creepy reinactors, but we don’t talk to them.

Desperate for cash, Libby agrees to go along with their questions and help talk to people for their investigation. They believe Ben (Corey Stoll) to be innocent despite him never choosing to appeal the details of the case! But that can’t be. Mysteries and shit.

Also featuring Andrea Roth, Chloe Grace Moretz, Denise Williamson, Jeff Chase, and Sean Bridgers.

Kids
Hendricks in something set in the past? New territory for her!

Have you ever been to a sweet restaurant and have the best time, only to return a second time where they burn your food and don’t even care enough to fix it? That is what watching Dark Places felt like. It is possibly unfair to compare this so much to Gone Girl, but the same person wrote both books that the films were based off of. Here are some notable differences though. Gone Girl was directed by David Fincher who is a fantastic director, while Dark Places was directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner who is not well known. He did the movie Sarah’s Key, which I thought was okay. The screenplay for Gone Girl was also actually written by Gillian Flynn, while the screenplay for Dark Places was written by…Gilles Paquet-Brenner, again.

So hey, maybe the reason this movie was so damn boring was the director/writer himself. But for all I know, the source material was also shit and Gone Girl is her own good book. Hard to say, but the talent behind the camera in this movie was not as great as Gone Girl.

But yeah, boring. Dark Places successfully created an overall dark atmosphere for the whole film, both in the past and present. But it never felt like it used these settings appropriately. It felt long and drawn out. The actual mystery was not only a let down, but kind of shit as well. It didn’t make a lot of sense and there wasn’t a real ability to figure it out from clues before the end, which is usually a nice feature for a mystery.

The let down the viewer will receive once all of the truth comes out it a complete bummer. More so in that it means the other 90% of the film you sat through with only the occasional interesting scene was also a bit of a waste. Dark Places put me in a dark place and made me not even want to write this review.

1 out of 4.

Ant-Man

If you want a movie in production hell, then you want Ant-Man. Sure, Iron Man was technically in development since the 1990s, but those were with different studios before Marvel got it back in 2006. If you didn’t notice, they then pushed out the movie just two years alter.

Ant-Man, however, was also in development since 2006 and took just nine years to finally get released. That is a long time of trying to make a movie work and never giving up. Well, they technically gave up a little bit. Edgar Wright who was signed on to be the director since the beginning was fired early 2014 from the project which scared a lot of movie fans. Wright is well liked and has an awesome style. And the movie was roughly a year away! How could they do this? And with script re-writes as well!

I will admit that I too overreacted, expecting that Ant-Man would unfortunately be Marvel’s first real disaster of a movie in a long time, possibly meaning bad news for the other new franchises coming down the time lines. But as a not so secretive fanboy, I was also of course hoping for the best.

Yes
Thumbs up, seven new franchises up!

The movie starts in Taylor Swift’s favorite year, 1989, where some dude named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is upset over S.H.I.E.L.D. turning his science into weapons! He made a Pym Particle, but he refuses to let them have it for warfare, so he quits and starts his own company. It should be noted we get to see Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell), an older Howard Stark (John Slattery), and a random tool, Mitchell Carson (Martin Donovan).

Now, in the present day, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is just getting out of prison. He stole from his corrupt company who took millions from customers and gave it all back. He has a masters in Electrical Engineering, but he is also a pretty great thief it turns out. He has tried getting a regular job, but his crime history makes it hard. No job means no money, which means he can’t pay child support to his ex (Judy Greer), and thus he can’t really see his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson). To make things worse, the ex is now dating a cop (Bobby Cannavale) which is all sorts of awkward.

So Scott gets with his friend, Luis (Michael Peña), who has a heist for them. With a few friends (David Dastmalchian, T.I.), they are going to rob Pym’s house who has the biggest safe ever. Unfortunately, the only thing in it is an awkward suit.

Turns out it was all a test. (I swear I am not spoiling the whole film). Pym’s company is no longer in his hands, and his protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is about to discover the shrinking secret. Once he gets the formula right, he is going to sell the Yellow Jacket suits to the highest bidder, making an unstoppable army at whomever’s disposal. Their only person on the inside is Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly).

So it is simple. Break into an extremely secure facility, destroy the science and the suits, save the day. A nice heist. Perfect for someone who can shrink and control ants, right? Also Wood Harris! Fuck, I couldn’t fit him in naturally!

PENA
Super powers are overrated, you da real MVP!

Again, it looks like I told too much, but I think I told the basic motivations of our main characters and also threw in most of the side players as well. You got to see the two good guys, where they are coming from, and of course the bad guy.

And I fucking loved it.

Ant-Man had everything I wanted in a Marvel super hero film. It wasn’t ever super drama serious, but it had its touching moments. It was funny, and then it was also hilarious. Many characters brought the charm in. And the action was exciting. The CGI ants I thought would be cheesy, but they worked really well in the context of the rest of the film. Going back and forth between small and large to fight everyone was very slick. There was a wonderful montage and we even got a pretty significant Avenger cameo.

I really need to acknowledge Michael Peña, who was the best part of this movie and for all I know, not based on any comic book character. He was hilarious and I hope he gets to be in future Marvel films.

There was a weak part though. The relationship between Pym and Hope was supposed to be strained, but the actors didn’t act it well and it instead kind of just sucked. I am more incline to place the blame onto Lilly, but it could be that she was just given a weaker character with terrible lines and development.

Ant-Man has it all. It even has a villain who seems realistic and isn’t just a dark brooding figure. He has his own real motivations and a backstory and his arc makes a little bit of sense. Their fight scenes were wonderful. And on paper he may seem like a minor bad guy, but I think he is the best villain since Bucky and Loki.

Bring me more Ant-Man.

4 out of 4.

This Is Where I Leave You

This Is Where I Leave You is one of those movies that I really didn’t care about seeing right away. I knew I could wait for it, despite liking quite a few members of the cast.

What was my beef? I call it Jason Bateman fatigue. A lot of people in this movie, but his character gets to be the main character, and for the most part, his last several years of roles have been very very similar. The Switch, The Change-Up, Identity Thief, Bad Words, Horrible Bosses. He is generally an asshole character who likes to make fun of others and has bad things happen to him. Sure he is a dick, but people are usually bigger dicks, so his dick-ness is justified.

Either way, I am super tired of him because he always gets lead guy status, thanks to Arrested Development I guess (which is also the same character).

I am tired of what feels like him lazily acting on the screen. It was fine the first few times, but now I really don’t know why I expected anything other than the dead dove.

Punch
But we have female on male violence, so I guess it can’t be too bad.

Can we look at that image closer? I think I got a stunt double in here or something, because man, that looks nothing like Tina Fey or what I would imagine Tina Fey looks like mid punch.

Mort Altman is dead. He is survived by his wife (Jane Fonda) and four kids. He was an athiest, but apparently he wanted a Jewish ceremony at his death and have his family sit shiva. That is an older tradition where the family literally sits for a week (outside of food/sleep/etc) to talk and honor the dead. People are meant to visit them throughout the week as well, to allow the stories to be said in a more natural way and to pass on the legacy of the individual. I learned about it at first from Weeds.

So we have Judd (Bateman) who is about to get separated from his wife (Abigail Spencer) because he found her in bed with his boss (Dax Shepard). Wendy (Tina Fey) is upset over her husband (Aaron Lazar) for being too busy with work, not able to stay, but also having to deal with kids and former lovers. Paul (Corey Stoll), the oldest, who wants to take over the family business cannot seem to get his wife (Kathryn Hahn) pregnant. And Phillip (Adam Driver) is younger, reckless, and dating a much older woman, a psychiatrist (Connie Britton), who actually was inspired by their family to go into her field.

What? Oh yeah, their family was written about by their mother in a book, so people know all about their lives. In a way, this makes it very similar to Peep World, but no one watched Peep World.

And yeah. Shenanigans. Also with Ben Schwartz, Debra Monk, Rose Byrne and Timothy Olyphant.

Sit
Shenanigans I say!

Overall, This Is Where I Leave You is a typical dysfunctional family comedy film. Maybe with more physical punches between and from siblings, but nonetheless, a lot of this is pretty typical.

TIWILY does attempt to do some things differently. With Bateman’s story line, there are unexpected elements behind it and they were a bit refreshing. But Driver’s plot was incredibly standard, Fey’s seemed like filler, and Stoll’s was underdeveloped.

The best part of the film is actually Jane Fonda! Her character is hilarious and really helps mesh the whole movie together. If you needed a reason to check this movie out at some point, Jane would be your reason.

A lot of it is predictable, a lot of it is okay. Overall, it just feels like too much. None of it feels realistic, to have so many things happen this way in a week, so it is hard to relate to any of the characters, at least from my point of view.

Shh. Go away. Review is over~.

2 out of 4.

The Good Lie

If you are like me, after hearing about this movie you might be confused. This seems to be a movie that is based on true events, an inspirational and hope filled tale about people going through extraordinary circumstances. And then later, coming to the land of opportunity to live great lives, but then meeting more bad circumstances, and by golly, overcoming them as well.

So why in the fuck is this called The Good Lie? The trailers don’t really do a good job of explaining any of that title. They just show us a lot of Reese Witherspoon interacting with Africans, making it seem like it is mostly just a tale about other cultures coming to America and having a zany time.

But this movie is about The Lost Boys of Sudan. That is serious shit.

What is this movie about?

Well, I think it is a joke. The trailer is a lie. The makers think it is a good lie, but I beg to differ.

Religion
Oh wait. Maybe it is about religion?

Let’s get things right first. This movie is not about Ms Witherspoon. It is about the shit going down in Sudan.

Sudan had its civil war. Many villages were destroyed, families killed and people driven from their home. Kids and others walked all the way to the border and then to Kenya, with death everywhere all around. In Kenya, they would be able to find Refugee camps, where they found shelter, food, and a place to exist, however meager it can be. And hey, the refugees would be eventually found homes elsewhere.

Like America! And after 13 years of living in Kenya, Mamere (Arnold Oceng), Jeremiah (Ger Duany), Paul (Emmanuel Jal) and Abital (Kuoth Wiel) are going to Kansas City, America!

But once they get off the plane, they realize a mix up. Abital cannot go with them, because for whatever reason, these fully adult individuals cannot all just go have an apartment and get a job right away and start their education. No. Women must have a host family. So why can her three brothers live in an apartment alone and her not with them? Because it would be “improper”.

So. They get sent to Kansas City. She gets sent to Boston. Program is super suspended and backed up after 9/11, so friends and others they know get stuck in Kenya. And they can’t get their sister. Argh! Boo! Hiss.

Some other people in this film include Reese Witherspoon, who works for an agency to find people jobs, and Corey Stoll as her boss. Also Sarah Baker and Femi Oguns.

Baggage
This is the only picture I could find that didn’t entire focus on Witherspoon or them as kid.

The Good Lie ends up being one of those movies that doesn’t actually know what story it wants to focus on. I broke it up into three parts: The boys escaping Sudan, the boys in America adapting + wanting to get their sister back, and the third mysterious part that in no way is talked about in the trailer and is where the title comes from.

The three men playing the refugees were excellent in this movie and the reason I give it such high remarks. The few Americans feel pretty pointless, personally. I like that the actors are all also actually from Sudan, some of them former refugees, some child soldiers.That adds some credit to their roles and their characters experience in America, as they probably already went through that. The little boys who play them as kids also did a fine job.

I guess you could say I am mostly upset about the advertising for this film. It rubs Reese in our face and she has a pretty small role. I am also upset about how predictable the entire film is. You can figure out what will happen after any moment of drama and it goes an incredibly safe route.

An okay movie that doesn’t go the full lengths to tell a great story.

2 out of 4.

Non-Stop

Oooh, Non-Stop, a Liam Neeson action movie where he uses his wit and tactical efficiency to solve a crisis!

I don’t promise a lot about this review of Non-Stop I just promise to make zero Taken jokes. Even if the vague outline I just made sounds like it could easily be used for that movie. It is becoming old-hat to do Taken jokes for just because the movie stars Neeson, so I will let Zach Braff take care of that for me.

texting
Neeson is texting here, to show us he still is up with the times.

Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is a Federal Air Marshal. He is a quiet man who has had some problems in his life recently, including alcoholism! But that is okay, it is not like he ever has to do anything on his job.

Just kidding! On a flight to London, someone wants to hijack the plane. They have hacked into the local network and are sending text messages to Bill, threatening that someone will die every twenty minutes on the plane unless they get $150 million sent to a bank account. Even more troubling news is that bank account is in Bill’s name, so the TSA and other governmental agencies have assumed that Bill has gone rogue and is hijacking the plane until he gets paid.

Oh no!

Bill will have to use the people he can trust on the plane. Nancy (Michelle Dockerty), a flight attendant who he has worked with before. Jack Hammond (Anson Mount), an off duty Air Marshal also on the flight. And of course, Jen Summers (Julianne Moore), the woman he just met who was sitting next to him in first class.

So, who is the terrorist?! Well here is a list of actors also on the plane to take a pick from, assuming it actually isn’t an inside job and isn’t one of the people already listed in the review: Corey StollNate ParkerScoot McNairyLupita Nyong’oOmar Metwally (who has a turban!), Corey Hawkins, and Frank Deal.

Hands
Their hands are in the air, yes, but I assure you right now they all care.

I know I might have made the plot of Non-Stop seem cliche/not exciting, but it turned out to be the opposite of that. First off, it wasn’t a mindless action movie. The only big action sequence happens near the end, which you could tell from the trailers. Everything else is based on suspense and tiny clues along the way.

Outside of the first 8 or so minutes, I found myself watching Non-Stop on the edge of my seat. The parts of the movie before boarding the plane were a bit slow, but that can be expected in a movie like this.

Was it believable? No, not really. There are a lot of coincidences and lucky breaks that make the entire evil mastermind plan work. Kind of annoying, but I can get over it.

Somehow, despite the coincidences and questionable plot, I was just really entertained by this movie. It wasn’t obvious who the bad guy was, plenty of red herrings thrown our way throughout the film. In fact, I think knowing “who did it” wouldn’t even ruin future viewings for me, which is a rarity for these types of movies.

Neeson might have actually been the perfect pick for this role as well. He has that aged scruffiness, perfect for a guy who has “seen some shit” in his days.

Check out Non-Stop, which ended up being (surprisingly) one of the better movies for the month of February.

 

3 out of 4.

Midnight In Paris

I was reluctant to watch Midnight in Paris because it had some things I am generally afraid of. One being Owen Wilson acting, the other being the possibility that I might not get it, because it is a Woody Allen movie. I think there is an unspoken rule that if you don’t like Woody Allen, you are bad at movies. Or something like that. So I have been putting his recent movies off. Even that one with Scarlet Johansson!

Vicky christina barcelna
But now that I have seen a recent one, I am coming for you Vicky Christina Barcelona!

Film begins with Owen and Rachel McAdams, in Paris! They are married. He is a writer. But they have issues. Hopefully Paris with her parents and friends can help them. The dad is played by Kurt Fuller, who always makes me laugh. Not by what he does, just because of his looks and Wayne’s World.

Well, one night when he just wants to walk around and not go out dancing, he gets invited into an old timey car right at midnight. Reluctantly, he goes with them out to a bar, and eventually realizes he is in the 1920s Paris, much like what his novel is about. He meets the F. Scott Fitzgerald! And other people. Like Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway, and Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein. Famous artists throughout the earl 1900s who inhabited Paris show up, from writers, to song writers, to painters, and more. Night after night he goes to the same place to be picked up by the car, alone after he realizes his wife wouldn’t understand.

Yeah. And he meets a girl. “Adriana” or Marion Cotillard. Not sure if she is actually someone famous or not. But he likes her way more. Afterall, she lives in the “Golden Ages!”

Paris
Allegedly.

Despite it being a “RomCom” it definitely takes it in a weirder direction. My whole time watching, despite it being obvious that they weren’t good together, I was thinking that if these trips through time were real, just being with Adriana in them was him cheating. Bugged me.

I thought the dialogue was really good though. Made me interested in what was going on, and during a time I usually don’t care about. The overall theme of grass being greener was a good one to follow, but maybe a bit too forced at the end.

So yeah. Decent.

2 out of 4.