Tuesday, September 01, 2015
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Monday, August 10, 2015
I Am Big Bird- tells the story of Caroll Spinney the man in the bird suit the puppeteer and the voice of the beloved Sesame street character Big Bird. The film begins telling us about his childhood and when his mother introduced him to puppets. The film goes on to highlight steps that lead him to Sesame street. Then we go down the road to his heart breaks, career turmoils, major events on Sesame Street, and meeting the love of his life. The film ends leaving us knowing that someone will take over for Caroll when the time comes.
Big Bird's character was a huge part of Sesame Street in the beginning. I think this film unlike Being Elmo, the story of Kevin Clash the voice of Elmo, does a much better job of paying tribute to the creation of Sesame Street and the purpose it once served. A documentary about the show all together would be better. I cried through most of this film. I was a big fan of Sesame Street. I'm sure I wrote this on here before somewhere but I remember when Jim Henson died. This was the first time ever on TV I saw the subject of death and characters dealing with a loss. The movie talks about how the show addressed death when Mr. Hooper died, which is an emotional scene in the film. Most of the film pulls on your heart strings painting a picture of the lovable man behind the sweet yellow bird. This was good but I'm still looking for the full story of Sesame Street telling the Northern Calloway story, who created the music, how these actors stayed so long, and so on.....
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Nightcrawler- Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a videographer/journalist interested in making money and gaining notoriety through capturing crime scene footage. He bumps heads with a news producer who rejects his early footage and come-ons. She sends him on his way but his ambitions to prove he has something good for her turns him into sort of a monster (if you don't think he was already). He hires an assistant and together they chase down a crime and the criminals who committed the crime.
This is another film that got many great reviews. It took me several days to finish it, with Netflix giving me a hard time and my lack of time to focus on the film. Afterwards, I felt the film was good but not amazing. I do like the genre but somehow I just wasn't moved. I think if I saw this in the theater in one sitting I would have been like whew that was good this guy is crazy. So, I'll admit my review is a bit skewed. This of course needs to be applauded for minimal scene use and having such a great plot. As a person that does videography/video journalism myself and I am totally into forensics I dug the story a lot. The lead character is very well developed and Gyllenhaal has the look to play a creepy guy. Spoiler: I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. The story exposes the potential lack of compassion among journalist and the lead character is not punished for his actions. It's like the bad guy wins which is cool but I don't like this bad guy that much. He was a creep that needed a self-esteem boost. What do you think?
Here's the trailer:
I want to see this as a fan of her music. A friend of mine did a review and gave it 1.5 stars. I hope they keep pumping out these movies about the female musicians and I'm glad they are documentaries oppose to docudramas.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
I haven't seen that many new movies so I'm going to start reviewing new to dvd films and currently streaming films.
Beyond the Lights- starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, and Danny Glover.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars as a troubled pop singer named Noni, that falls for a cop played by Nate Parker. Through their relationship Noni embraces her true self and what we get is an intriguing love story.
This is another film currently on Netflix. When I first got introduced to Gugu on her show Undercovers, I felt that she was a pretty woman and maybe a little too young looking to play that character but talented still. Shortly after the cancellation of this show, she started popping up in more and more projects. Although, this film felt a bit lengthy in parts the plot is strong. The two stories being told one of two lovers and the other that of a complicated mother daughter relationship create a well rounded film. It isn't The Notebook where you just want to cry for the lovers the whole time but I think those that can relate to Noni might cry for her story. I really liked it! I haven't seen any other good new romance films that I can think of at the moment.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Minions- spinning off from the Despicable Me films Kevin, Stuart, and Bob star in their own film along with all the other minions. The film tells the story of how the Minions began and why they exist. The Minions exist to serve an evil boss and find themselves trying master after master throughout the years. After years of not having a boss, the Minions become depressed but Kevin decides he along with Stuart and Bob they will go out and find an evil boss for them to work for. The film starts in NYC and ends in London (during the 60's) as the Minions are sent to steal the Queen of England's crown for their new boss Scarlet Overkill played by Sandra Bullock. They aim to please their new boss and find themselves bumping heads with her, as she believes they are not intending to help her but out to outwit her.
I went into this film thinking it would be good yet while sitting in the theater and feeling like this kind of sucks, I thought did I really think it was going to be that good? After all, I didn't like Despicable Me but I didn't go to this film for me. My son seemed to enjoy it coming home speaking Minionese. The story is certainly off the wall but I did giggle a few times. If your kid's are a fan of the Minions I'm sure they will love it.
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Top Five- Written and directed by Chris rock and also starring him, Top Five is a fresh romantic comedy. The film centers on a comedian played by Chris Rock who is looking for his next big career hit. He's had a lot of bad press in the past and is now the subject of an interview by a journalist played by Rosario Dawson. The two spend the day together as Chris Rock's character runs his errands for the day like picking up wedding rings for his wedding. What happens through the day is that the journalist's questions get answered, two adults start to like each other, and the lead characters re-think their lives and their opinions of each other.
A simple plot that takes place in one day sprinkled with comedic cameos and hilarious scenes. I laughed through most of the film. This is a film I'd even like to own. This was certainly not for the easily offended as the jokes tend to cross the line. Good romantic comedies are hard to do and this one is a little more comedic than romantic something like Bridesmaids which I also really enjoyed.
Randomly, I enjoyed this film on a date at one of those dinner and a movie theaters so all things combined this was a great night.
(this wasn't a moving film or the typical great film but it was pretty darn good and you know what comedies deserve high ratings too)
Thursday, July 09, 2015
What Happened, Miss Simone?- The documenm is currently playing on Netflix. The film takes a look at Nina Simone the singer, musical composer, and pianntary film is currently playing on Netflix. The film takes a look at Nina Simone the singer, musical composer, and pianist. It documents her life focusing in on her mental health issues and milestones in her career.
I read a review of the film somewhere mid-film that threw me off and when I finished the film I got what they were saying. In the first few minutes, we are brought to a live performance by Nina Simone which completely engaged my interest. The musical numbers throughout the film are what give it it's perk. Yet, like the other reviewer said to my understanding is that the film didn't attempt to highlight her greatness instead it used a flaw in her life to paint a picture of the woman she was. The film documents her life focusing in on her mental health issues and some of the major milestones in her career. Looking back at the title of film I don't think we should be surprised. What it does do is ask the title question and it vaguely answers it. What I didn't walk away with was a feeling of joy to take part in a brief viewing of her life documented on film. However, as a fan of a few of her songs and now after viewing the performances shown I do feel a need to listen to more of her music.
Sadly, I'm left with a sort of sadness for her and reminded of how artistic genius mixed with the obstacles of life can get so ugly, ugly in a way we've seen happen to many other legends. (My rating is for the performance scenes)
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Jurassic World- The latest film in the Dinosaur series has made great numbers at the box office. This suspense driven film takes us to a new theme park with one new and exotic dinosaur the Indominus Rex. The Indominus is a combination of different dinosaur genes creating a super Dino. Two brothers are visiting the park ran by their Aunt and get lost in the park as the Indominus escapes captivity.
I spent a lot of the first hour wishing the film had wayyyy more action. I didn't feel anything for the characters except of course attraction when Christopher Pratt appeared on screen. The Dino vs. Dino fight at the end was the highlight of the film but it lacked a large amount of momentum prior making it all together cool but not amazing. The scenery was fantastic and I'm sure there are proud set designers out there.
Lastly, when I left, the theater the lobby was flooded with people and there were long lines for the next showings. I of course opted for the earliest screening in 3-D.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Home- tells the story of an Alien named Ohh who along with his kind take over planet earth after vacating their home planet. They relocate all the humans to a new home but one little girl and her cat were forgotten. The girl Tip played by singer Rihanna, is on a quest to find her mother and feels Oh's kind are evil. Oh mades a huge mistake that puts his kind in jeopardy. He convinces Tip he will help her find her mother in order for him to escape punishment. Together, they build a friendship and help each other along the way.
This was a fun film. Although, I though Oh's voice was super annoying I eventually started to like him. The story was semi-original but not dynamic. I did get weepy towards the end which means it did it's job by being a feel good movie. My son sat in my lap and didn't move during the entire film (I'm not sure if you understand how big that is). We have spent many days listening to the soundtrack in the car. The soundtrack certainly added to the films charm. This would be a great film to own and watch again. Four Stars....
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
"Boyhood"-the twelve year film. This is the story of a young boy growing up. After, his parents divorce or breakup (can't remember if they were married) his mom has a handful of bad relationships and his life changes as he deals with these new men, puberty, and moving around. I'm one of the few people in my circle that liked the film. Maybe it's because I'm a mom so I got invested in this kid. I don't think the film is about boyhood as much as it wanted to be. It's more about a boy's life and how his mom struggles to navigate life after a separation.
When, I think of a film about boyhood I think about bike adventures through town, first kisses, smoking, failing tests, running from dogs, etc....
This film isn't that at all. The few genuine moments of childhood don't require a gender to be attached.
There are cool moments of reminiscent things from the pass twelve years that made me nostalgic.
When the boy grows up I lost interest in the story a little. He grows up to be a lot less interesting (to me) and some might say he hits an awkward stage. The last winning moment for me is when he is packing to leave for college. He shares a scene with his mom that made me cry.
Was it action packed? No, but it was fun to watch everyone in the film age and navigate life.
Three and a half stars
I finished watching this yesterday.
"Dear White People"- centers around four black students dealing with racial identity at a predominantly white university. That's not the best description because the main character is Samantha White played by Tessa Thompson. Her storyline of being the main radical for justice on campus overshadows the other storylines but they stand out as well. The important thing we see is the racial identity issues.
The film was artistically shot and told a good story. I believe current college students could really relate to the film. The film took a more sensible approach to the subject of race and explored how we begin to define ourselves differently in college. It wasn't "Higher Learning" which had a more angry undertone. "Higher Learning" being from another decade couldn't tell the story of racism in college the same way. Overall, "Dear White People" is a passionate piece of work that shows the points of view of many Black youth growing up in a race driven culture.
Sn: I had to cover my son's eyes during kissing scenes.