A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Did you see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? It was a documentary about Mr. Rogers, came out last year, it is amazing and the best documentary of 2018. It wasn’t nominated for an Oscar though, because everything is stupid and life is meaningless.

Wait wait wait wait. I shouldn’t say that. Mr. Rogers would certainly disagree with that statement.

And in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood we have to look at Fred Rogers and get judged all the while, because it is hard to live up to perfection.

shoe
How can he interact with kids all day, and keep his house clean at the same time?
It’s a beautiful day in the late 90’s, and Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is a journalist. He writes for Esquire, and has a history of really going hard after people. He is an investigative reporter, he brings up dirt, he exposes people, and a lot of people don’t want to work with him now. He also recently had a baby with his wife (Susan Kelechi Watson), who has stopped work to stay with their baby boy.

And sure, things are tough. He actually recently got in a fist fight at his sister’s third wedding, dealing with his estranged father (Chris Cooper) who wanted to recently reconnect after a really rough childhood.

And now? And now Lloyd has to go to Pittsburgh to interview Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) for a fluff piece for his magazine. They are going to do a story on heroes. He only needs 400 words, barely anything. And well, Lloyd things that he can crack him. That there is someone different underneath the Mr. Rogers facade.

But while trying to get to the real Fred Rogers, it turns out that Lloyd is being cracked open as well.

Also starring Maryann Plunkett, Wendy Makkena, Enrico Colantoni, and Christine Lahti.

neet
How dare a journalist learn something about themselves in an interview. How shocking!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is going to suffer due to poor advertising on the reality of the film.

First of all, a movie about a journalist interviewing a celebrity and it changing their lives is not a new subject. Just recently we had The End of the Tour and My Dinner with Henre, it is certainly turning into some sort of trope. And with advertising it is not really super clear that this is the case for this film, unlike the previous two mentioned.

No, this looks like a movie about Mr. Rogers! Doing Mr. Rogers stuff! Being humble and awesome! And sure, that happens in this movie, but so, so, so much of the focus is on the journalist dealing with his issues, and Mr. Rogers being the magical other person fixing his life with positivity.

But the issue is, and no offense to the real journalist, no one cares about him. Those parts drag down the film. I went in wanting Rogers, and sure, he was in it. His style his way of talking, his voice, his show. They were all featured and a major aspect. And yet, who cares, no big deal, I wan’t more.

Watch the documentary if you want a better Rogers experience. And yes, Hanks does good at the acting.

2 out of 4.

Lady and the Tramp

I was wrong! Recently I released reviews for all of the Disney remakes this year (2019 for you future folk), all together instead of spaced out throughout the week. It was Dumbo, The Lion King, and Aladdin.

Silly me, it looked like only three remakes would occur from Disney in this year. But as Yoda says, there is another.

Lady and the Tramp was probably meant to go to theaters at some point, but they realized it didn´t have as big of a draw as other remakes, and instead decided to just put it out on Disney+ as an opening day movie.

Heck, I saw it up there and for some days just assumed that it was a TV series. Well its out, and here is a damn rushed review.

walk
Aww, look at the little puppy. Someone pet her right now!

Jim Dear (Thomas Mann) and Darling (Kiersey Clemons) are an American rich couple living in a nice house/city in the early 1900´s. If I had to guess, I´d say 1920´s or 30´s based on the cars at the time, and no talk of war. No one finds this weird, so let us move on! They also recently got a puppy that they named Lady (Tessa Thompson).

Well Lady has lived a privileged life, hanging with her neighbor dogs (Sam Elliott, Ashley Jensen), getting collars, and nice food. But her owners are pregnant and a baby is on the way. A scrappy dog named Tramp (Justin Theroux) warns her that babies mean bad news for doggies.

Sure enough, it does, because the owners are overwhelmed. Thanks to a trip and some cats and some confusion, Lady finds herself collar-less, and in the big city, having to rely on Tramp to save her from the dogcatcher (Adrian Martinez). This is also where she will learn that even the scrappiest of dogs have good hearts. Just not cats, they suck.

Also starring Yvette Nicole Brown, and the voices of Janelle Monae and Benedict Wong.

meatball
Let´s face it, this is the only reason you are here. 

In the original Lady and the Tramp, not a lot happens. It is a product of its time, no one is really too evil. We have a dog catcher, some cats, and a rat. And that is very much true here as well.

There are not many changes from the source material. Jock is now voiced by a woman, whatever. The couple is interracial and the town very diverse, really weird for the time, but again, whatever. They changed the Siamese cats, which makes sense, to two regular cats and they have a very different song. If they had to change one thing, that is the big one. Oh, and there is no Beaver.

So what we have is basically just a regular remake. Nothing fundamentally different, nothing new to offer, just showing it in a new way. And honestly, it looks really great. The CGI pets are all really well done, and the voice acting is not as jarring as it was for The Lion King.

The spaghetti scene was cute and the songs were fine.

I am giving this movie an average review, basically because of how nice it looks. It is not going to blow you away, it does not change the game, and it is not going to get an serious consideration for watching in my own household. But if they had to remake something and not completely make it worse, this is a good way to go about it.

2 out of 4.

Dumbo

The first of the three Disney remakes this year, Dumbo has always felt like an odd choice for several reasons.

First, the original Dumbo doesn’t have a whole lot of plot going on for it. It is a simple story, so they will have to expand a lot of it in order to be worth a revisit.

Second, it was going to be directed by Tim Burton. For the most part, everything he has touched lately has been pretty shit. It has been five years since Big Eyes and 12 years since Sweeney Todd. A lot of forgettable things in between. Could he reimagine it, or will he just make it his basic Burton brand?

And thirdly, like…who the hell cares about Dumbo? Honestly? I can honestly understand most of the remakes, but I can’t imagine Dumbo was high on the list of the average viewer of something they wanted new and updated.


That doesn’t include the people who say no to every remake.

Our main-est adult character is Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), an amputee from World War I (not called that during the movie) has returned home for work, and well, is going to work for the circus. His old boss (Danny DeVito) gives him the job to take care of the pregnant elephant, and Ms. Jumbo gives birth under his watch to a strange, large ear having elephant baby.

What a weirdo! And when they show him off eventually, the crowd makes fun of him, calls him Dumbo, and that makes his mom so mad, she gets angry and causes a ruckus, so they have to get rid of her. Damn.

Well, Holt’s kids are with him, and Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) take a liking to Dumbo. Shit, they find out he can fly if he has a feather. That sounds fun. That sounds like something that can be exploitable!

And exploit the circus does! More and more stunts, bigger and bigger audiences, more and more money!

Also featuring Michael Keaton, Eva Green, and Alan Arkin.


This frame went on to inspire the film Joker.

The original Dumbo came out in 1941, so that means two things. Honestly, a lot of people have probably never seen it. And sure, 78 years is probably long enough to wait for a remake. Much longer wait for more films. I won’t hurt them for that.

For those that saw the original, there is not a lot of film after Dumbo both learns to fly and learns to do it whenever he feels like it. So a lot of this film takes place after that, which is great. I need expanded stories.

However, they sure picked a dull way to expand his story. Just more exploitation and sadness, and corporations taking over corporations as some weird meta explaining what Disney is doing to everything.

The cast of characters are completely ones that no one will care about. Our lead girl to help inspire the youth of the world has the personality of “liking science” and apparently that is good enough.

And honestly, this whole thing was unappealing to look at. It felt too dark physically at times.The animation never grappled with me, and yes, this film oozes Burton.

I would say this is the biggest live action mistake Disney has done, but I would watch this film a dozen more times before I ever watch either of the Alice films again. Which are directed or produced by Burton too. Ah, now we know where the major problem lies.

0 out of 4.

Harriet

Harriet coming out in 2019 is one of those surprising things that you didn’t expect. How could one of the most famous black women ever not already have a real, state of the art, biography film? The woman who saved so many slaves in the underground railroad? The woman who won an informal contest about replacing Andrew Jackson from a $20 bill.

The most surprising thing about that internet contest is that it sort of worked! The secretary of treasury at the time said sure and was going to do some things. And then Trump happened, and well, there are “more important things to worry about” according to the new secretary of treasury, and she got the shaft again.

This movie might have been made just to help expedite the whole process. I’ve heard about movies being made for worse reasons!


Like, “My best friend was mysterious and hid behind trees, here is there movie!”

Araminta “Minty” Ross (Cynthia Erivo) was born a slave, to slave parents, and only knew working for the man. Her sisters were sold off at a young age, and she was left lonely with out him. She was a similar age to the slaveholders son, Gideon (Joe Alwyn), and knew him her whole life.

After a plea for freedom, based on the wishes of the former owner, Minty knew that she just had to get out of there. So she ran. And with help from people along the way, but on a journey by herself, she made it to Philadelphia, land of the free. There she met slavery abolitionist William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.), who gave her new papers and let her pick her new identity, Harriet Tubman. And for a year she lived a free woman, learning how to be free and live well for once.

But it wasn’t enough. She had family down south. She had a husband. And if the movement up here wouldn’t go and save them, she would just go and do it herself. Again. And again. And again. And again.

And shit, one day, maybe lead a goddamn army regiment during the civil war.

Also starring Jennifer Nettles, Janelle Monáe, Tim Guinee, and Vondie Curtis-Hall.


And introducing for the first time, this GUN.

Sigh. Okay. This is a standard biopic, somewhat boring at times, with good acting from the lead. That is what I am now going to say in more words right after this sentence.

Erivo has been a great acting addition since she hit the scene seemingly last year, and ended up great in our titular role. She would be the reason to see this movie in theaters, as she carries the film.

The cast of supporting characters doesn’t work as well. Seeing Odom Jr., was great, as someone historical other than Aaron Burr, but he felt too goofy in his role and it took away from some of the seriousness of his scenes. Monáe stood out way too much also to feel believable in the role.

The slaveholders are once again turned into cartoon characters instead of villains that both intimidate and induce real scorn. Alwyn never feels natural in his role, and the final confrontation between his character and Tubman is just so fake feeling that the story seems to be wasted on that.

When doing a biography film, it is important to steep it in as much truth as possible if they want to make it something schools will buy and show for education reasons.

Other important notes: I am glad they included her civil war victory. I am glad they showed the various members of the railroad who helped her along the way. And this movie has Fredrick Douglas in it, but they never say his name. It’s great he has such an iconic look that we can tell without doing the awkward name dropping thing lampooned in Walk Hard.

Harriet features great acting from the lead, but the rest could have had improvements to make this a truly great film.

2 out of 4.

The Current War Director’s Cut

Here it is, boys. The time has truly come. A film has decided to come out and also be the “Director’s Cut” of that same movie.

Technically that isn’t all too rare. A lot of movies that come out are Director’s Cuts, they just don’t always advertise it. Usually if there is a DC available, it is home release, and it implies the studio or a producer had a final cut that was different from the director’s vision.

So what is going on with The Current War Director’s Cut? Well, Harvey Weinstein happened.

One of the main things Weinstein was known for, besides the sexual assaults and rape, was getting final edit on many movies. He wanted movies to go a certain way, and advertise a certain way, and go for awards with his permissions. He could be great at it, but it also bugged a lot of director’s at the time.

This movie was planning on coming out around 2017, hitting the festivals, and getting lukewarm reaction. Then the scandal. Then the selling off of properties. And our director got his movie back, edited his movie his way, and got to release it wide for the first time!

light
It’s basically the American dream, with a lot more sexual assault in the way.

Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch). An American celebrity if there ever was one in the late 1800’s. He was an inventor, an improver of older inventions, and someone who was business savvy. People loved him and he wanted to be loved. But when it came to the battle over how America would be hooked up to the grid for electricity, he was also quite dirty.

George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon), known for being rich and helping develop breaks for trains for safety and efficiency, wanted to work with Edison, but he was shunned by the busy man. So he figured he could get into the game, help develop a new technology, and then Edison would want to merge ideas. Edison is not a merger, he is a take over kind of guy, a guy who doesn’t admit if he is wrong.

This began a big battle over the American landscape, accepting bids for their various forms of technology, with the goal to be providing power for the Chicago World’s Fair, and putting their product out there for millions. And of course we have a wildcard in Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), a foreigner, a genius, a man who saw the future, but couldn’t always get the funding or time to put all of his ideas to the paper.

Three men of influence, one goal, and a whole lot of shoddy tactics.

Also starring Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton, Tom Holland, and Matthew Macfadyen as J.P. Morgan.

looks
You know that look in your eye when you see an electric candle for the first time last a few hours? That’s the look I want to give to my dinner every night.

I honestly went into this movie thinking the worst. The trailer was okay, the cast I enjoy, but the director’s cut notion prepared me for the worst. That’s weird. The buzz was not good.

But after watching it? I feel frickan’ amped. Westinghouse is so cool, and he is only a name I have seen mentioned and had no idea he was in this race. I figured this was a Tesla/Edison movie thanks to memes, but Tesla is way less important overall to this plot. Shannon does a good job of playing this quiet and seemingly noble entrepreneur.

After the film I was electrified to look up more information on these big three, to go beyond the quick facts I see on the internet. The movie felt accurate. It moved at a very quick pace, telling a historical pr battle with enough excitement to keep me on the edge of my seat. It flowed so well from scene to scene.

I have a love of historical films, especially ones that have good acting. Historical films that don’t get bogged down in being super serious, but still can tell not only a good story, but a story worth being told. A story with wattage. Alright, that’s a stretch.

Anyways, congratulations to Alfonso Gomez-Rejon for getting the movie he wanted to make. Oh, and by the way, he directed Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which made my top of the year list when it came out.

3 out of 4.

The Death of Dick Long

A24 has been a cream of the crop for a few years. A good mix of great titles, quirky titles, original titles, and sometimes all three put together.

Who doesn’t want a film that is original, quirky, and really great? That is my kind of film of the year. That is what we get with things like Colossal (not A24). I am just happy they are still making money enough to try.

And that is what we get with something like The Death of Dick Long. Heh. Dick Long. Nice.

men
Men. Just being guys. Doing manly things.
Last night was a blast. A lot of booze, fireworks, shenanigans, and more. But in the extreme early hours of the morning, Zeke (Michael Abbott Jr.) and Earl (Andre Hyland) find themselves racing to the ER to secretly leave their friend, Dick Long, who is bleeding and dying, and getting out of there before it is too late. They don’t want their friend to die, but they also don’t want to be associated with his injuries, because of how they got formed. They take his ID and skedaddle.

Hell, Earl says they just need to skip town its so bad.

But for Zeke it isn’t as easy. He has a wife and kid, and he needs to clean his car, and destroy evidence. But it seems no matter what Zeke and Earl try to do, they just keep getting mixed up in their own lies and the innocence of others, driving the story closer and closer to home.

They really, really, really, don’t want people to know what they did.

Also starring Janelle Cochrane, Roy Wood Jr., Jess Weixler, Poppy Cunningham, Virginia Newcomb, Sunita Mani, and Sarah Baker.

gasp
The face a lot of people will make halfway through.

The Death of Dick Long is a simple story, about a crime that people don’t like, but not one that people have normally seen as dangerous. It is based on a news article that the director read at some point, and wondered what the lives were like of the people involved.

The lives of the people involved? Apparently mostly normal, redneckish people, trying to live simple lives, who sometimes develop curiosities. They aren’t trying to hurt people, but they’d still want to hide their own sins.

This movie was over hyped for me, but thankfully I still found enjoyment in the film. My favorite moments were just watching the lies completely get unraveled by very obvious irregularities and people talking to each other. It made me cringe and I got a lot of enjoyment over it. I was busting out laughing in a final scene, when a character decided his best option was just to run away finally.

But it didn’t maintain the chuckles throughout. It felt like the acting was fine, but I never felt like the movie went hard enough. Now, I wasn’t expecting them to show the acts that lead to the death in question, because then they’d be going purely for shock instead of focusing on the story. But I still expected more comedic moments, or more dark moments, and was disappointed it didn’t go far enough.

3 out of 4.

Ad Astra

Years ago, James Gray gave us The Lost City of Z, based off of a book and a real life dude, and it was very ambitious. It felt a bit too long, but it had a lot of good going for it, and I know some critics who had it on their top of the year list.

I hadn’t seen anything else from Gray, but I have seen all of his films since then. You know, this one, Ad Astra.

Space Drama? Brad Pitt? Mystery?

Sign me the god damn fuck up.


Sorry Mr. Pitt. I will watch my language in the future.

Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is a decorated veteran in the armed forces, and has lived a life full of patriotism, honor, and sacrifice. He does his job, and he does it well, with little fuss. He also has a famous father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), the most successful astronaut explorer in human history. He has done so much for space travel and has been held in the highest of honors, and also for this fact, been completely absent from Roy’s life.

Their emotions are distant, both mentally and physically.

And then Clifford had to go missing, on his further adventure yet. No one is sure what happened to his crew. Maybe he died. Maybe he is alive. But the folks are having a sure enough difficult time trying to get in contact with him, so they figure maybe his son will have a better shot. At the same time, there are these pulses that are putting a damper on space travel and getting worse and worse, and they might have something to do with why Clifford and his crew have gone missing.

Can Roy find his father? Basically a man he has already been searching for his whole life?

Also starring Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, and Donald Sutherland.

recording studio
In space, no one can hear you scream. Unless you have a space recording studio.

Where does one begin with a movie like Ad Astra? The previews don’t tell a lot, and neither did my plot section. This is a movie about the journey, about the dangers of space and putting real limitations on our travel. I don’t believe everything was fully explained in terms of how things worked, but they felt realistic. It felt like a real potential for our future, without relying on mysterious future technology too much.

No mysterious space magic or space technology lasers here to solve the day, no siree.

And this is a movie to showcase Brad “The Pit” Pitt. One who knows nothing about him would assume almost that he isn’t acting. He is very passive, telling more with his inner monologue and face than his lack of actions with others. The sins of the father story line is strong here, and so on the nose it is the entire face.

Ad Astra is a movie that is best experienced on a large screen, with large speakers, and an open mind. It is definitely light on the action (despite glimmers and shocks), and heavy on the sorrow. This is a strange epic that is completely unforgiving along the way with one main story to tell. It will be hard to top this level of care that went into an original story this year, but one I am glad I was able to witness.

4 out of 4.

Unplanned

Ted Cruz likes this movie, Unplanned. Ted Cruz hyped this movie as it came out in theaters. Ted Cruz talked about how wonderful it was to see this very powerful movie early. Ted Cruz encouraged people to see this movie to see the truth about abortion. Ted Cruz was happy to see its numbers. Ted Cruz hyped the movie again when it came out on DVD.

I think it is certain to say that any movie Ted Cruz decides to talk about is pretty damn bad. In at least the last 3-4 years, I haven’t seen Ted Cruz talk about any movie, at all, ever, as a regular person or a senator. And he obsessed over this one.

Clearly, Ted Cruz was given some financial incentive for this film.

It is also clear that any movie that Ted Cruz likes is likely a colossal waste of time.

operating table
Ted Cruz is just another part of the cog.

You want an abortion movie? Well you got it! This film decides the best thing for it to do is give us part of the ending first, so it can do something graphic, and then give us the long story of her life before then. And in this scene, Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher), director of a Planned Parenthood, has to help with an abortion by just holding an Ultrasound. And during the process, she believes the fetus is running away/trying to escape, so she realizes she is terrible and time to quit.

Before that moment though? Abby as a college student always believed in women rights. She actually had two abortions, once from an accident, and the other time from a marriage that ended up not being a good fit and she needed to escape. So she appreciated Planned Parenthood despite apparently everyone in her family being extremely religious and anti-abortion.

So she also decided to volunteer with the company. She walked women from their cars to the doors to not have to deal with the protesters. Eventually she worked her way up, got an official job, then became a counselor to help people decide what to do, and eventually also run the dang facility.

The whole time, her new husband (Brooks Ryan) is incredibly disappointed with her. There is almost never a scene of him just being happy. His religion means that she is wrong and he hates her and is kind of a dick. Not physically. But constantly judging? Definitely a dick.

Oh, and Abby’s boss, who is also climbing up the corporate ladder, Cheryl (Robia Scott) is apparently just driven by profits and loves loves love abortions. But Abby got in this job to help women who need it, but prevent them from getting to the abortion step if possible. You know, the mission of Planned Parenthood. to help women at all costs along the way.

And, spoilers, after the beginning scene, and after all this other mess and being judged, Abby quits her jobs and joins a protest group, deciding to also now shout at those women who leave their cars, but use her position of former director to give more credit to her words.

harassment
A turncoat, if you will.

In this movie, Planned Parenthood is a big boogeyman of a corporation that is driven to make lots of money. They apparently thrive off of abortions, and the more women who get abortions, the more rich they get, and the more powerful they get. They don’t care about women, they care about getting those fetuses out for that paycheck.

They are compared to Big Oil and Pharmacy companies, and driven by huge donors to get this anti-Christian agenda off and running, because of dealing with all of these bad people! And of course the boss character is just a manifestation of all of this. Needs more abortions, needs only loyalty, needs money! And it is ridiculous.

This is all supposed to be a true story. And sure, maybe Abby had a bad boss and attributed things to the whole company? That’s fucked up. But the “disasters” shown in this film, the medical emergencies, and whatever, that seem to make it look terrible, also take place over 9 years I think. If that is the case, then it seems like for the most part a nice ship has been run. All companies have hiccups.

I don’t want to say Abby Johnson is a terrible person. She was driven to this eventually to societal peer pressure. Besides hearing protesters daily for years, her husband was always extremely disappointed with her, and her parents hated her as well. Of course she’d eventually stop and “see the light”. What is messed up is instead of just abandoning it, she tried to use her former authority to convince people it was bad, when really it was just her religious doctrine getting in the way, not her authority and knowledge.

This is an annoying religious film, because 97% of the people who watch it will be those who already are anti-abortion. The other 3% are going to be people who thought it was about something else, or people like me. It won’t change a mind, it is just one of the Christian films where Christians stroke their own egos about how right they are to be Christians. A lot more of them are popping up in big amounts lately, but they are not great films, and Ted Cruz is a goddamn idiot.

Wait. No. He is not an idiot. I don’t fathom he believes all this. He is just motivated to be on this side, politically and financially (most likely), and so he is running with it. He knows it sucks too. He knows.

0 out of 4.

Between The Darkness

Between The Darkness, formerly called Come Save The Night, is a straight to VOD film that deals with another home schooled family in the woods.

These have become popular lately, with our recent films like Captain Fantastic and Leave No Trace. Why not be off the grid and live on your own? Why do we have to conform to society?

Now this is a much more indie film than those other two, which also were really indie. It doesn’t also have big names attached, so it can maybe tell an even more intense and dark story.

But I will say now while watching, that I figured out why I was asked to review the film by the company. And it is a unique reason. This film has the word Gorgon in it. It is used a lot, actually, and referring to the real mythical creature, not some other version of Gorgons like in Small Soldiers. And damn it, if I can’t be the official source of all movies that deal with Gorgons, then what is the point?


I think everyone now is secretly a Gorgon in this film.

Roy Grady (Lew Temple) our man in the woods with his family, lives in the woods! With his family! He has a daughter, Sprout (Nicole Moorea Sherman) and a younger son, Percy (Tate Birchmore). They have a lot of land, legally, but they don’t have phones and the kids never leave the land. Sprout had an older sister, who died within the last few years, and their mom also died years before that. Very sad times.

Now Roy is very weird. He is teaching them about the gods, the Greek mythologies, as their official religion and focus on life. Thus the name of the youngest kid. And because he teachers her about mythology, Sprout starts to believe she can see Gorgons in the woods, and other monsters. They are out to get her, and her dad isn’t buying it.

But it turns out that there are a lot of secrets in those woods, and she will discover them as her life begins to unravel and change at a faster rate.

Also starring Danielle Harris, Daniela Leon, and Max Page.

c
Warrior.

By the end of the film, sure, it got really weird, and took us to a place I didn’t expect at the beginning. Unfortunately, one could easily describe what the ending was about, but the minor levels of interpretation and details are all fuzzy and quick.

We don’t really know why the dad is such a dick. For most people to go and live in the woods and worship ancient Greek gods, you wouldn’t also expect them to be homophobic or anti-liberal while being anti-Christian. So his character is hard to comprehend.

I think this film had a lot of good ideas, but maybe the budget constraints and timing lead to it feeling like it was missing a lot. It wasn’t too short, it just didn’t move the plot along always at a good pace.

I did really enjoy Sprout as the main character and think that she has a lot going on for her, but it just doesn’t add up enough. I root for her, but understand that I am not getting enough of a complete story.

Between The Darkness has a lot of ambition, but is unable to reach its lofty desires in a narratively pleasing way.

2 out of 4.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Awww snap, its a Richard Linklater movie. Always a must watch. It’s been two years since his last picture, Last Flag Flying, and I always talk about how I must watch his movie.

This time it was put to the test, by going up against a straight comedy and a documentary, both highly regarded genres here on Gorgon Reviews. But the Linklater effect still won.

Now Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is a weird picture for him, because it is based on a relatively popular book, so he is put in the position to adapt it instead of tell his own story. Outside of Bernie, I’m not sure of how much he has had to take a real story / existing story and direct before in the past.

Doesn’t matter. Don’t care. Just give me that Linklater.

hipster
Bernadette looks like someone who would have totally read the book before seeing the movie.

Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett), architecture woman star, full of ambitions, desires, and dreams to make her mark and art on the world!

Or at least, she was that at some point in her life. Now? Now she is just a mom. To a wonderful, smart daughter (Emma Nelson), about to go to high school next year, and probably a boarding school far from home! And her husband (Billy Crudup) is wickedly rich and smart, working long hours, making great technology, letting Bernadette do her own thing.

And unfortunately her own thing is mostly staying at home. Taking pills. Developing phobias. Putting all her normal tasks to a virtual assistant. Never restoring the ridiculous house they live in or caring about her property. It pisses off the neighbors, and she don’t care.

And when one thing after another just continues to pile on her life, and everything seems to be going to hell, she decides she has had enough and runs off. She needs to focus on herself. She needs to restore that desire. She needs to prove that she is still somebody.

Also starring Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer, Zoe Chao, and Laurence Fishburne.

work
Wherever this room is, I am not cool enough to be in it with them. 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? was a work of art, much like its main character. Blanchett won her Oscar for playing the erratic lead in Blue Jasmine. She owned that role and fully became someone else. This is her first role since that reminded me of Blue Jasmine, despite being very different.

Both characters have a lot of baggage, and emotional distress, but they are done in very different ways. They have relationship issues, children issues, friend issues, and yet the characters still manage to have very different views of the world. It is incredible how similar yet different they end up being, both worthy of praise. I would argue against anyone who said the roles were too similar and I would insult them quite unprofessionally.

But besides Blanchett being the best thing since sliced bread, the supporting cast was on fire. Crudup hasn’t been this good in years! This is probably the best I have seen Wiig in a movie. She isn’t here strictly as a comedy support role, but someone who has her own bagged to deal with and way more serious. And of course, Nelson, in her first movie either. She has a lot of charisma and I can’t wait to see her in more films in the future.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? has swell acting, a great story, good message, and a lot of unique and peculiar situations. It is the perfect storm of “things I like” in a movie, and is (at the time of writing), my favorite film that I have seen so far in 2019. Boo yah.

4 out of 4.

1 2 3 92