Professor Marston & The Wonder Women

This year was a big year for Wonder Woman. She had her DC film debut, as the first solo female superhero film in some time (Never forget, Catwoman and Elektra). She broke some records in terms of profit, and easily, she is the best of the current DCEU films.

By a long shot. The ending was still poor and CGI crazy, but for the most part it was still a great film.

But this year we are also getting Professor Marston & The Wonder Women, a film about Wonder Woman, however not a film anyone would expect. We get to learn about how Wonder Woman came to be, her eccentric creator and his interesting lifestyle with the women he dubbed to be wonderful.

Walk
And this is when he takes those wonderful woman off to see the wonderful wizard of oz!

William Marston (Luke Evans), as you may have guessed from the title, was a professor! He taught psychology and even taught classes to just women. It was very progressive for the 1920’s and 30’s. He had a DISC theory about humans, which stood for Dominance, Influence, Submissive, and Compliance, but I won’t get into all of that.

His wife, Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall) should have been a professor, but was having issues with her PhD, so she worked closely with her husband in their laboratory. They enjoyed studying the human condition and what makes them tick. On that note, they also hired one of their students to be an office aide, who would work with them over long hours, an Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote). She was pretty, young, influential, and William wanted to sex her.

But Elizabeth might have also wanted to sex her.

This is not a love triangle of chasing emotions, this is three consenting adults eventually deciding to enter into free and open relationship with each other, in a world that wouldn’t look too kindly with their situation. And this is just the beginning, because at some point, Wonder Woman gets created out of this. And also the lie detector. Yes, they invent the lie detector.

Also starring Connie Britton, JJ Feild, Oliver Platt, and Chris Conroy.

WW
Oohh, shiny.

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women is a story that happened many decades ago, but could not have been told until very recently. At this point, the world has somewhat caught up to what these three people discovered years ago and can find what they did accepting without a lot of shame.

I am NOT saying that everyone who watches this movie will be comfortable with what occurs, but it treats the subject matter in a fair light, noting the pros and cons of what occurred, along with the fallout. To modify an overused line, this is a better love story than Fifty Shades of Grey (and Twilight, yes).

The acting from the three leads was incredible and believable. This is the best thing Evans has ever done. I previously said that this year with Beauty and the Beast, which was true at the time, but this is Evans finally in a role that shows actual dramatics, without relying on song and CGI. For Heathcote, I don’t know most of her work, but it definitely stands out from some of the shitty movies I have seen her in. Hall is a very accomplished actress, but I would put this near the top of her work as well, definitely showcasing a different sort of range for her.

This movie will make people uncomfortable, but it really feels like a story that needs to be told. It could have gotten to Wonder Woman aspects quicker, to help draw in some of the less patient viewers, but it is a story about unconventional love and how it has changed the world.

4 out of 4.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax

My decision to watch The 9th Life of Louis Drax seemed to happen almost by accident. In fact, I had four options for screeners to go see, an overwhelming number of choices. One of them was about to come out in theaters, so I didn’t want to rush the review. Another one didn’t come out for almost two months, and there would be more future screenings. So it came down to this film and a war film.

I settled on 9th Life merely because it seemed weird. Both films seemed interesting, both had mysterious components. But this title was just a bit stranger.

And hey, going on to read the IMDB page really didn’t answer any questions. I figured it was based on a book and would just be an actual unique movie to witness. I just didn’t imagine it would also be intense, haunting, and emotional.

Wires
And hey, you know what they say.
Wires on the head, sexy in bed.

Louis Drax (Aiden Longworth) is not your average little kid. On his 9th birthday, he finds himself falling off a cliff, straight into the ocean. You see, Louis Drax has always been accident prone. His birth was an accident, he almost killed his mom, Natalie (Sarah Gadon) in the process and needed an emergency C-Section. When he was a baby, a light fixture fell on him in his crib, breaking ribs. But Louis survived. Louis survived electric shocks, food poisoning, and more, and damn it, he is going to survive this.

Sure, he was declared legally dead for over two hours and is now in a coma, but he survived. Sure, his dad (Aaron Paul) allegedly pushed him over the edge and is now on the run missing, but he survived. He is now having visions in his coma, causing him to flashback through his life, but he survived.

And he has a great coma doctor to help him in Dr. Allan Pascal (Jamie Dornan), who also gives TED talks about coma stuff that is totally relevant to the plot. However, Pascal’s relationship with Natalie, as they both mourn over Louis’ fate gets a bit too personal and with the dad potentially stalking around, it can get bad.

At the same time, they really have to get to the bottom of all these accidents. Why is God seemingly out to get this little boy, causing him to need to see a psychiatrist (Oliver Platt) for all of his issues?

Also starring Lina Roessler, Julian Wadham, Molly Parker, Barbara Hershey, and Anjali Jay.

Picnic
Ah, what a happy little family. 9th birthdays are always full of falling from heights, right?

The 9th Life of Louis Drax is the type of film I would love to talk about, complete with spoilers, but that is now how my site has worked. So I will respect that and keep things vague.

9th Life was a movie going experience. Not in the same way of something like Lord of the Rings, but an emotional roller coaster, going more than up and down, but also backwards, looping, spinning, and in circles. I’m sorry, that hyperbole was kind of shit. The intro showed Louis going through accidents growing up, including as a baby, and it basically made me horrified. I cried. And that was just the beginning. (Editor’s Note: Yes, I also cried at the ending).

Louis in the coma was a strange place, full of flashbacks, weird creatures and demonic voices. What was happening in real life at the same time was just so odd and strange. In terms of the mystery, I figured it out for the most part about halfway through. However, I was wildly wrong on the smaller details and guessing a big part of the end didn’t take away from the actual experience.

Spy
No, we don’t get to see Dornan’s penis. Stop asking. This is like Fifty Shades of Grey all over again.

The acting from Gadon, Dornan, Longworth, and Paul were all top notch. This is probably the best acting I have seen from Paul since Breaking Bad. He had me in tears at one part as well. Gadon’s character was appropriately weird, Longworth carried every scene despite being such a young actor, and Dornan was a very relatable character. It was easy to see his mistakes and understand why he was making them, while also finding him sincere in all of his actions.

And shit. This movie despite being fiction is about real diseases and problems. Again, if I went into specifics, it’d count as spoilers. There was one really odd scene at first that didn’t feel realistic. However, it fit within the universe that the movie had created, so it wasn’t completely out of place. It did provide a very haunting and sad ending as all of the threads were finally unraveled.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax surprised me. I both want to see it again and kind of never again. Good performances all around and damn it, an original story as well.

4 out of 4.

Chef

I had the unfortunate bad luck to miss Chef when it first hit theaters in May this year. I was living in a place that didn’t get too many limited releases, and once I moved to a place with them, it had already left most theaters, or was still an hour away. So it took a lot longer than I would have liked, but at least I beat the DVD release. Aka, getting to see it when it was hitting the cheater theater cycle.

The reason I really wanted to see it is that in a summer with so many giant block busters, the trailer made this one seem a lot more realistic and honest. It also helps that it secretly had a lot of actors I enjoyed, many of which who had starred in big block busters.

Not to mention I heard it was a movie about cooking, where they actually featured a lot of cooking. Not calling out any names or anything.

Kid
Hey! A kid too! This would appeal to the Disney crowd! That and the heavy cursing!

This is a movie about Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) who has been cooking food longer than some people have been alive. Hell, I have been writing reviews longer than some people have been alive. If anyone is younger than this website and reading it, congrats, you are very advanced for your age. He has been working at the same restaurant for awhile too, under the owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman). They have butt heads a lot recently, Carl wanting to constantly change the menu and experiment and Riva thinking that people come in expecting a certain taste. Carl wants to change the menu because famed LA food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) is coming in to give them a new rating.

Well, when everything starts to not go as planned and Carl seems to get angry at everyone he needs a change of pace and stat. His ex wife (Sofia Vergara) keeps telling him he should start a food truck so he can be his own boss. He just has to borrow money from her ex husband before him (Robert Downey Jr.). Jeez. But hey, if he goes somewhere new, his old line cook Martin (John Leguizamo) promised to join him. And if the food truck can bring him closer to his son (Emjay Anthony), as the two have drifted over the years, then it is even better.

He just has to first figure out how to use the dang internet and that twitter thing, and figure out why everyone is so interested in his truck in the first place. Also a wild Scarlett Johansson and Bobby Cannavale appear, so they should be noted too.
a

Internet
What the fuck is the internet?

Despite knowing a little bit about the movie, I still found this movie to be full of surprises. Some big names have pretty small roles in the movie and some of the character choices were surprising, even by the ending. But in the end, really, it is a movie about following your dreams, family, and food.

It actually took me a little bit to recognize Sofia Vergara in that her voice wasn’t completely exaggerated like it must be in Modern Family. Jon Favreau when he was wearing the bandanna looked like The Amazing Johnathan which was just weird. John Leguizamo I had to assume was actually Michael Pena because Leguizamo hasn’t been in anything great since…well, almost forever.

Speaking of food. This movie features a lot of food, a bit more varied early on pre-food truck, but darn it, they show a lot of food prep and more importantly people eating it. Which is important in this genre.

It was all decently funny and cute at the same time. There weren’t any hugely dramatic or crazy moments happening throughout, just an appropriate sequence events after the critic bundle early on. That was refreshing. A lot more comedies rely on outrageous antics to carry the plot, but this one keeps it relatively simple.

Overall, Chef is clearly the best cooking related movie of this year so far.

3 out of 4.

Legends Of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

Fuck this movie. Just, get it out of the way. During The Nut Job I predicted Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return would end up being the second worst animated movie of 2014. I was wrong. At this point, I don’t see how there could be anything worst than this trash of a film throughout the rest of the year. No way. No way at all.

It was so many levels of shitty, I don’t think I can properly spend time explaining it all, so I made a short play to try and explain it all.

Full Cast
Here are most of the characters. Not of the play, but of the shitstorm movie.

Executive 1: Alright, we need a sure fire hit for the company. We got about $70 million in budget, and we want to cover ALL demographics. We want the nostalgia, we want the kids, we want songs, we want jokes, we want it all.

Executive 2: We gotta get that Glee girl involved. She is relatively free with the dead boyfriend news being almost a year old now.

E1: Yeah, get her to be the lead!

E2: How bout we do another Wizard of Oz movie? That one last year was pretty well received, and they didn’t try at all!

E1: Brilliant! Who doesn’t love the Scarecrow and Tin Man and Lion! We can make a sequel. Bring everyone back!

E2: But sir! We are out of villains! All the witches are dead!

E1: Shit, we can’t just have them having fun and going on an adventure. We need excitement!

E2: Well, we could get Ralph, our idea man…

E1: Ralph? That man is a wild card, shit, just saying his name three times tends to get him involved.

(Just then, Ralph busts in the boardroom door, pen and paper in his hands).

RtWC: FUCK THIS! WILD CARDS DON’T NEED TO WAIT THREE TIMES! HERE IS OUR MOVIE.

BOOM. FIRST OFF, DOROTHY’S HOUSE GOT FUCKED UP BY A TORNADO. LET’S MAKE THE VILLAIN BE AN APPRAISER WHO KICKS HER OUT OF THE HOUSE. ALSO, LET’S CHANGE THE LOOK OF HER AUNT AND UNCLE. HER AUNT HAS TO BE YOUNGER, HER UNCLE NOW BALDER. IT WILL WORK.

E1: Yeah people probably won’t remember the look of the outside non Oz characters.

RtWC: ALRIGHT. LET’S GET HER BACK TO OZ. WE NEED TO UP THE NOSTALGIA. FIRST THING WE SEE ARE HER FRIENDS, ALL FREAKY AFTER THEIR NEW BRAIN HEART AND SHIT. ALSO, FLYING MONKEYS. WE NEED MORE OF THEM.

LET’S SAY THE WITCH HAD A BROTHER. BUT HE IS A JESTER, BECAUSE THE WITCH IS A BITCH. HE IS EVIL NOW BECAUSE OF THIS STUFF. WHY NOT. HE IS ALSO OUR COMIC RELIEF. FUCKING JESTERS.

ANYWAYS, SOMETHING WILL GO WRONG, DOROTHY WILL HAVE TO MEET NEW PEOPLE.

LIKE A FAT OWL THAT CAN’T FLY AND IS SMART. AND A MAN MADE OUT OF MARSHMELLOWS. A PORCELAIN DOLL. THEY HAD THOSE LAST MOVIE, LET’S DO MORE OF THEM.

RapeJoke?

E2: Is the Jester going to have a stupid death like the witch?

RtWC: I DON’T KNOW, LET’S NOT WORRY ABOUT THE END TIL WE START FILMING. HERE ARE SOME PLOT POINTS. ANGRY APPLE TREES? BRING THEM BACK, BUT THIS TIME LET ONE OF THEM KILL HIMSELF FOR DOROTHY.

THEY ARE GONNA TREAT HER LIKE ROYALTY EVERYWHERE SHE GOES. IN FACT, LET THE FACT THAT SHE IS DOROTHY SOLVE 95% OF HER PROBLEMS! THE PORCELAIN DOLL? LET’S HAVE A TIME WHERE SHE BREAKS APART AND EVERYONE THINKS SHE IS DEAD.

E1: Now now, looking into your other notes, I see have written down here that the doll breaks a bunch of porcelain suitors, who then go on talking and living lives, just need to be glued back together to walk again. Why would anyone think she is dead?

RtWC: BECAUSE WE WILL INEXPLICABLY MAKE HER NOT TALK AND JUST LIE THERE POST CRACK, DESPITE HAVING HER WHOLE HEAD GOOD WHICH SHOULD IMMEDIATELY ALLOW HER TO DISPEL ANY OF THOSE THOUGHTS.

E2: Are any of these new friends going to serve a purpose to her journey?

RtWC: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THAT’S JUST FOR MORE MERCHANDISING! I WANT POINTLESS CHARACTERS AND TIE-INS. I WANT FAKE DRAMATICS. I WANT EVERYTHING TO HAVE AN EASY SOLUTION AND THERE BE NO REAL THREAT TO OUR CHARACTERS.

LISTEN, ALL WE NEED IS AT LEAST ONE REALLY BIG NAME, SAY PATRICK STEWART OR MARTIN SHORT. THEN WE CAN FILL SIDE CHARACTERS WITH OLDER, NOT AS FAMOUS PEOPLE. LIKE DAN AYKROYD, JAMES BELUSHI, KELSEY GRAMMER, OLIVER PLATT AND HUGH DANCY. THEN GET SOME “FRESH FACES,” LIKE BERNADETTE PETERS AND MEGAN HILTY. WE MAKE THEM SING AND DANCE, AND CAN DO IT ALL FOR PROBABLY $20 MIL WITH OUR ANIMATION QUALITY.

E1: Hey, we have $70 million on the table! Where would the other $50 million go?

(The three men look at each other, smile, and agree to greenlight the movie).

Anyways, that was probably terrible. But it was still more entertaining than this trash. I didn’t even begin to touch what didn’t make sense with this movie. Just. Fuck.

0 out of 4.

Chinese Zodiac

Here we are. Jackie Chan‘s final big action movie.

You may have heard that before, but based on how this one ended, and the credits, I believe him. I guess he is willing to be in smaller action movies, or as a small role in action films, but this is the last one.

Apparently Chinese Zodiac (which was released in China a few years ago and made a shit ton of money) is also a sort of sequel to Armour of God and Operation Condor, neither of which I had seen. Oh well, whoops.

Rollers
Holy fuck, a roller suit! How useful would that be in every situation??

This story is about a man named J.C. (Jackie Chan), who is kind of a bad ass. He and his team (Fan Liao, Sang-woo Kwon, Zhang Lanxin) seek out thrills and treasures and they are very good at it.

DO YOU SEE THAT PICTURE UP ABOVE? How badass is that suit? It opens the mood and puts you in a crazy feeling mood.

Anyways, after that, he gets word of another secret mission. There used to be 12 Bronze heads that represented the Chinese Zodiac that were stolen forever ago. A secret group wants J.C. to collect the heads for a big payday. He just has to find out where each one is, with some missing for dozens of years! Yes, this basically is a live action version of Jackie Chan Adventures, but no kids or old people.

They do have Coco (Xingtong Yao) someone who studies these things, and Catherine de Sichel (Laura Weissbecker), a French heiress who wants to help though. So that’s cool. Oh and Oliver Platt, which was a bit weird given the rest of the cast.

Heads?!
Never in my days have I seen so many heads.

Alright, Jackie Chan movie.

Was there a lot of action? I’d say so. Was the action unique to Jackie Chan’s comedic fighting style? Yep. So many items were grabbed and used to beat up people with. This movie also featured a volcano, sky diving, a jungle fight, some ship stuff, and, oh yeah, JACKIE CHAN ON A ROLLER SUIT. Which I can’t get over.

Especially since I know he actually was rolling down a mountain with it.

I will admit, some plot points were weak, and maybe I didn’t really understand what was going on all the time. But it was entertaining and funny, I laughed throughout.

Which is really all I can ask for. I, like most white Americans, could watch Jackie Chan fight off hordes of people for hours every day and never really tire of it. Incredibly interesting as always.

3 out of 4.

The Oranges

You know who we need more in our lives? Hugh Laurie. That is who you were going to say, right? After all, House M.D. ended a year ago, and he hasn’t been in many movies recently, outside of voice work. It is almost not fair!

Which is why when I heard about The Oranges I jumped immediately to the nearest rental place to give a go. I also immediately recognize people from Arrested Development, Gossip Girl, The O.C., The West Wing, and The Big C. That is a lot of show people in this movie!

Alia
Why so gloomy Alia? You upset that you don’t get cover treatment despite being the narrator? I understand those feels.

In New Jersey, we have two families, The Ostroffs and The Wallings (on Orange Drive!). They have lived across the street for some time, and their families are best of friends. David (Laurie) and Paige Walling (Catherine Keener), with their children Vanessa (Alia Shawket) and Toby (Adam Brody). Toby is successful and moved out, Vanessa is not yet successful and still living at home. She is also the narrator! At least she has that going for her.

Across the street are Carol (Allison Janney) and Terry Ostroff (Oliver Platt), the latter kind of obsessed with his best friend David. They have one daughter, Nina (Leighton Meester), who hasn’t been home in five years, off at college and partying everywhere. But one Thanksgiving, she returns, after having recently broken up with her long term boyfriend.

Well, instead of hooking up with Toby, like her mom strives hard for, she falls into someone else’s lab. David Walling! (Again, Hugh Laurie, the neighbor dad). Heyyy, that’s weird.

Shit quickly hits the fan clearly, once everyone finds out what is happening. Marriages get ruined, people hate each other, and Vanessa just feels incredibly awkward.

Family Love
Yeah, so basically this is good clean inter-family fun.

I like that the relationship wasn’t some overly sexualized thing Sure, big age difference, known each other for over 20 years, many other issues, but it felt like they actually might have cared for each other.

Buuuuut outside of that, I thought the movie missed the mark completely. Even though the two characters just want to be happy, the movie goes about it in such a strange way, I don’t find myself caring about any of the characters. I also thought the ending was pretty bad, not a fan of really any of the conclusions.

It just isn’t that funny. Hard to say anything else about it. Hugh Laurie was okay. However, the movie is skippable.

2 out of 4.

Love and Other Drugs

I will admit, there is a definite reason I wanted to see this movie. In case you didn’t know, this movie is absolutely slathered with Anne Hathaway boobies. It seems she is naked for at least half the movie. Because her and Jake Gyllenhaal get it on, a lot. That is the Love part of Love and Other Drugs.

OHHH
“Ohhh! Ohh ohh”

The story begins with Jake getting fired from the electronics store, for inappropriate sexy time at work. His whole family thinks he needs to get his act together, so he becomes trained to become a pharmaceutical rep. This move also takes place early 90s! His partner is Oliver Platt, and he wants them to do good so they can move up the chain and make the mad money in Chicago. But he just cannot sell his depression/anxiety medicine at all to anyone, no matter how many secretaries he flirts with!

But then something that changes the way we lived happens. Viagra. Selling Viagra, he becomes the hottest pharmaceutical rep, ever! Even doctors like Hank Azaria can’t get enough it. It makes them popular at parties. (Because women love that dick?). Oh yeah, and by this time his brother Josh Gad is living with him, unsuccessful and a loser.

Book of Mormon
He would later go on to be a successful Mormon missionary in Uganda though, so don’t worry.

Oh yeah, thanks to his job, he “accidentally” sees Anne Hathaway naked and they begin a very sexy relationship. Involving a lot of sex. Because they couldn’t have sex that much when they tried to the last movie they were in together, because Jake G was gay for Heath Ledger.

So, the movie is about their relationships, and him being successful, and her having Parkinson’s, and lots of stuff. But I loved it. The relationship felt very real between the two, and it was a realer relationship than most movies would present. The ending was sweet too. Not like sweet ass sweet, but awww sweet.

4 out of 4.