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Update January 30th, 2019:

I have added a Search Window on the Sidebar (=========> ) to allow for previous Reviews to be found.   It took a while to figure out how to add this feature which to me is necessary for anyone looking to see what any thoughts have been for something that they wish to watch.    You will note that there are multiple entries for many movies.

I hope this makes the reviews more accessible and available for those visiting.   Happy movie watching!

Original Posting:

Thanks for joining me!  For many years I have been sharing movie reviews with my good friend Alison.   What started out as Monday water cooler discussions on what films we saw (we seemed to see movies often) then turned into emails.   She moved from her job.   I moved from mine, but we still kept in contact.

The reviews have been been shared with others over time, but the beginnings remain the same.   When I review, the email was addressed to Alison, and then others were added.

So here I am.   After much thought, the idea of sharing the movie reviews over time has finally taken shape.

I must early on make a shout out to the late, great, Pulitzer prize winning reviewer Roger Ebert, from the Chicago Sun Times.    I depended on Roger and his reviews, and his TV show At The Movies with Gene Siskel.  Now I didn’t always agree with Roger and his reviews, but I would read and enjoy how he viewed these films.   It is not unusual for me to refer to him, or wonder what he would think about a particular film.

I am adding present reviews as some historical reviews as I find them.   You will also see some more lengthy discussions about films as well (like discussions about Alien Covenant or Star Wars The Last Jedi).

These of course are all one man’s opinion.   Nothing more, and nothing less.   If it can save you from spending $13.99 on the latest film in the theatre, by avoiding a bad film (in my opinion) then great!    If it opens up a level of discourse on a film and a debate – I have always enjoyed debating films (and other things).

 

Maggie G TIFF 2018

Maggie Gyllenhaal at TIFF premiere of The Kindergarten Teacher

 

August 12th, 2019

Last week I was out of contact and unable to post an entry.  I won’t apologize as it was a fun week away with youngest son to show him the Canadian Maritimes.  Many good times and seeing unique places in this remarkable country of ours.   If you haven’t seen the Eastern Provinces I highly recommend it.  Places like Hopewell Rocks, and Cabot Trail and Halifax are simply too good to be missed.

First and foremost this week I have to shout out and acknowledge my eldest son’s birthday today!   And it was almost right around this time that he was delivered, and later handed to me by a nurse while I was on the phone with my Mom.  His eyes staring up at me as he fit easily onto my right forearm bundled in blue blankets.   My son.    He has been a source of tremendous pride and joy ever since.  Here’s to you Buddy on your special day.  Your Father is very proud of you.

A week ago I ended up watching Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused.  It is similarly structured as another end of high school film, George Lucas’ classic American Graffiti.  The principal difference is the setting for Dazed is the 70s whereas Graffiti was the 50s.   There are some very young stars like Ben Affleck that you will recognize as well as Matthew McConaughey.   The setting as in many Linklater films is rural Texas.   And the school year is just ending.   The graduating students are thinking about next steps while at the same time preparing to haze the incoming frosh class of Grade 9s.   They carry homemade paddles and exact the punishment to varying degrees of severity depending on their temperament (Affleck doesn’t fare very well).   Not much of anything occurs but the characters are fun and engaging.  They seem very real and you feel like you are watching any rural school at the time.  You will recognize (for those of you old enough to remember those days) that the characters are similar to your memories.   I liked this film, and would recommend for a little escapism.  In high school, a few years means everything, but as you grow older you realize that you all aren’t very different at all.  Life was simpler when your worst thought was how severe a spanking you would get, or who might show up at a park keg party.

Now where should I start as I review the 2017 Tom Cruise vehicle The Mummy?  This was almost universally panned and it bombed at the box office (not always two things that go together hand in hand).  This film also made Universal rethink their plans to re-start the older style Monster films (Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde).   I went in with an open mind, or tried my best to do so.  Somewhere on an executive’s or writer’s desk is a mapping out of how this series of films was supposed to work together.   The voiceover by Russell Crowe tried to help, but it was fuzzy.   But how about this movie rather than the series?   To start, there is a story about an Egyptian princess who decides to give her own fate a nudge in a Macbethian way (if that is a word).   However, before she completes what she thinks is her main aim, she is thwarted and sent to be punished.   There isn’t much resemblance of this movie to the 1999 The Mummy with Rachel Weisz, which in many ways is too bad.  That was campy fun, and spawned a few sequels that kept Canadian Brendan Fraser busy before he disappeared.   Now this.   A couple of thieves are looking to find antiquities and sell them on the black market, one of which is Tom Cruise.   He has treated poorly, archaeologist  Jenny Halsey, who you may recognize from Peaky Blinders, and The Tudors.   Several things happen as they come upon a tomb which shouldn’t be where it is.   Much of my difficulty with this movie is how many times silly things happen, and why certain characters manage to survive despite everything go on around them.  Miss Halsey is one of them.   She is a pebble on a flea for The Mummy.   Yet The Mummy and her zombie hench-people manage to never finish her off.   Much like Lois Lane with General Zod, in Superman, but I digress.   And then there is the Russell Crowe character who in an X-Men type of way is trying to create, dare I say it, a League of Monsters.   But what?!   He also happens to be a monster himself with very little self-control for such a learned man.   Surely he would know when to take his medicine and at what intervals.   Things like this just pile up to the point that I lose my patience.   It’s silly.    It makes no sense, and there isn’t the underpinning of why these characters would choose to do this.   As you will see, The Mummy herself didn’t in fact choose her fate, so then what about others?   The good news is, I don’t care – and I don’t need to find out.   There just isn’t enough intrigue nor curiosity in me to delve any further.   Cruise too was a curious choice.  He rarely plays the rogue.    As an aside, Cruise is actually two years older than Crowe, but you would never guess it from the body type (Crowe clearly is enjoying his beers and BBQs Down Under).  Cruise continues to make you wonder where the Dorian Grey-like portrait is of him stashed away in a Scientology vault in Florida as he is ripped and enjoying being with more women in their mid 30s.    But Cruise is more suited to the smart assed agent than the rogue thief.   It didn’t work.   Nor did Crowe.   The best that can be said is the The Mummy herself.   There were decent scenes with her and she manages to muster some sympathy for a character who doesn’t have many redeeming positive qualities.   So this movie is a smelly, hot mess and deserves to be the catalyst for some soul searching at Universal.   We may be saved from more old school Monster movies and keep the memory of Boris Karloff, Bela Legosi and others safe — for now anyway).

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July 29, 2019

I like Emily Blunt.   Plain and simple.  I think she has grown tremendously as an actor and shows a great deal more range than just the romantic interest.   She has shown herself to be multi-talented with acting, then singing in a movie like Into the Woods, and also dancing, where she played a dancer in Adjustment Bureau.  Dramatically I think that she took a huge leap forward with Sicario, where she played an FBI agent amongst manly men and held her own.   In a world where Disney has taken upon itself to re-invent and re-release their content in endless forms to show that they have no shame, along comes Mary Poppins Returns.  I must admit to my predisposition to not wanting to catch this film, but it kept creeping me and daring me to watch.    Now it is on Netflix, and I watched it.   I think for many viewers one cannot think Mary Poppins without thinking the Julie Andrews Oscar winning performance.    However talented I think Emily Blunt is, I still do not put her in the same category as Oscar winner Andrews.   Joining Blunt in this cast is Hamilton creator himself Lin-Manuel Miranda as a chimney sweep, Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Meryl Streep.   Quite an ensemble and expense for Disney to make.   The results are okay.   Just okay.   Whereas the original had numerous sing along tunes for young and old alike, this one really doesn’t.   Perhaps spend some more on musical talent than the acting.   None of the songs approaches classics that we all sang to like “A Spoonful of Sugar”, or “Supercalifragalis-expialidocious” or “Chim Chim Cheree”.   Poppins 2 comes closest with “The Place Where Lost Things Go”.  But the magic isn’t the same.   Maybe it’s a product of expectations again, and expecting something remarkable to move you in the theatre but I am not certain.    More than one person reached out to me to encourage me to see this movie.   They felt Blunt channeled Andrews very well and she mimicked her voice and mannerisms very well.    They saw Mary Poppins in front of them.   I didn’t feel the same way.   And in saying that I will give kudos where they are due with songs performed by Miranda.  I think he was excellent and brought his considerable Broadway talents to this project.   Is he Dick Van Dyk?   Well no, but he stands on his own because he can.   He isn’t the Van Dyk character, but someone else, while Blunt had the unfortunate high jump hurdle to overcome.   So can I recommend this film?   Yes.   I find it a little too long, about 25 mins too long with a couple too many songs that didn’t ignite resonate with me.   I found the story with the foreclosure aspect a tad overblown and less believable.   Convince Londoners that someone who had owned that property in that location for that long, that they would have money troubles and you would be laughed out of the theatre.   But take a movie as a piece of entertainment and an escape for a couple of hours and there are worse places that you can spend your time.   And maybe still introduce youngsters to the talent of Julie Andrews from 50+ years ago when she was at the height of her super stardom.   Andrews was nominated an additional two times for the Oscar.   Remarkable.   To be asked to fill those shoes and float on that umbrella is an honour, and the job Blunt does here deserves some praise.

I cannot think an another US Supreme Court Justice who has had a major motion pics about her released, along with a full biography of her life as Ruth Bader Ginsberg.   Maybe it is because she is a left-leaning, liberal judge who CNN and others want to trumpet against the Trump Republicans who seemingly want to turn the clock back to 1955, and treat women (and others) as second class citizens.   In her 80s now, and still sitting on the bench, even after two cancer scares, she is a formidable woman.   She knows her place in history, as well as in the present.   The movie starred Felicity Jones in On The Basis of Sex (previously reviewed here).   The documentary was from CNN and is on Crave.   Both are worth checking out.  I enjoyed them equally.   It’s funny watching Justice Ginsberg watch herself be played on SNL.   She gets a good laugh out of it.

In the end, without delving too deeply into the politics, this is a documentary which informs and explains the stepping stones in the changes in laws (and in reflecting our changed morals) to the world around us in the Western Hemisphere.   However much we feel that this is the “right way” to think about the world and how it should be, note that many other countries and leaders don’t share in these views.   RBG has been a champion for the woman’s rights movement ever since becoming a lawyer in the 50s.   Her personal story reflects the world as it was at the time, by not being able to secure a job out of Harvard and Yale law, despite being on the Law Review and being recommended by some of the most astute legal minds.   She endured, and flourished and moved forward with cases that mattered.   If nothing else, her tenacity and impact can hopefully encourage more people to turn out and vote at the next US Presidential election.   Maybe more people that she has fought for, like women, minorities, LGBT community etc will step forward and rally to find a leader who will carry on her crusade.   Check this out if you can.   See what a difference one person can make.

I finished watching Stranger Things 3, and can report that I enjoyed this season better than Season 2.   I like the additions of the new characters, notably Ethan Hawk’s daughter Maya as Robin, and Priah Ferguson as Lucas Sinclair’s little ice cream eating sister.   They add some welcome new spice and energy into the cast who is separated for most of this series heading down and sorting through different storylines recounting the same ultimate conclusion.   Russians are involved, and a new method of utilizing people as an army.   In the end the kids and adults need to work together to identify, triage and solve the problem in their small town.   It is  more emotional than Season 2 was.   I found it much more engaging, even though there are times where the level of disbelief gets dangerously high.   I still prefer the original overall, but this was a worthy sequel.    I am not sure I will hear need to hear the theme song from The Neverending Story ever again, but that is a sideline.    Millie Bobby Brown I think keeps growing as an actor and makes this more watchable.   The other kids each have their own gifts and it’s a good ensemble cast that works well.   Do I need to see a Season 4, not really.   I certainly don’t need to see more of Winona Ryder.   I also felt as though one of the surprise moments leaned a little too far out towards 2019 rather than 1983.   You’ll likely spot what I mean, and if you don’t, then don’t worry about it too much.  Maybe it’s just me…..

I re-watched First Man on Crave the other night.   As we approached and passed the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by Neil Armstrong, and the crew of Apollo 11, it is a good reminder to remember those who worked (and some died) to bring this effort to pass.   From JFK laying down the commitment to reach the moon in a fixed time frame (“end of the decade”) to the remarkable engineers, companies, pilots, wives and families who contributed.   Here’s a simple Thanks, and acknowledging your commitment, your cooperation and sacrifice to do what no human has ever done before.   Maybe the flames of passion for this can be re-ignited to take on Mars.  Maybe not.   Maybe the symbol of world superiority will be taken over by another power as we look to the stars.   Maybe.   Neil Armstrong was a remarkable man.   I hope that he actually did what was suggested at the end of this movie.   I really do, because it would reveal a humanity in him, and be a symbol for all those who have to put a brave face on before very dangerous undertakings.   I am saddened that this didn’t get as much Oscar buzz, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy it any less.

I finished Season 2 of Handmaid’s Tale.   Damn this is depressing.  So many tears, so much crying.   Women who could have benefited from the wisdom and efforts of RBG reside in an unholy land, however much they like to trumpet their faith.   It is filmed in and around Toronto and Cambridge.   Plenty of Canadian references.   Still it isn’t an enjoyable place to visit.   I will leave it at that.

July 22, 2019

This past week I managed to actually get out to the theatre to catch a flick.  And the bonus was I got to attend with Alison, which we haven’t seen a movie together since probably Interstellar at the Cinesphere with Christopher Nolan in attendance.   So after we had both seen positive reports, it was decided to go see the new film from the director of Hereditary (Ari Aster).   To say that Mr Aster prefers unconventional stories would be an understatement.   He wrote this as well as directing.  Both Alison and I enjoyed Heriditary and ventured out to see Midsommar (spelling as per the film).   I had read it was a “relationship film” and more “psychological thriller” than a “horror” movie.   Nowhere had I read anything about it having comedic elements, but more on that later.

The premise is that of a young American couple in their mid 20s, I would guess, where the relationship has had some challenges.  He and his three buddies decide to join another friend and head to a “retreat” in Sweden.   The Swedish friend encourages the friends to all come, and eventually the somewhat outcast girlfriend (played ably by Florence Pugh) in the couple comes along with the boys.   The boyfriend is named Christian and played by Jack Reynor.   One of the buddies in the film, is the young red-haired guy from Meet the Millers (Wil Poulter) who had an unfortunate accident with a tarantula.  He is a source of amusement, time and again.   The group flies out to Sweden and then to a remote area with plenty of people milling about in white cotton outfits.   The natives move about doing chores and other activities that you would see, or expect to see, in Amish communities.   It is at this stage that me, as a person, and entering this commune I would have red flags waving before my eyes and bells ringing in my head.   It’s is just “off”.   The commune is segregated out by age, according to stages of life, as it is explained.  Elders, children and middle age people all eat together, perform traditional tasks and keep busy.   The middle age inhabitants all live together in a large barn with unusual and strange paintings on the walls and ceilings.   If you study the pictures at all, more bells and whistles would be going off.

Then a ceremony happens on Day 2.  Things transpire that I won’t detail where had there not been an uneasiness for a visitor on Day 1, then you would expect to be some after this day.   Some of this is reminiscent of Get Out, and other films like The Village or even Rosemary’s Baby.   A group of outsiders with a unique and different perspective on life, has their habits and ceremonies and ways-of-life seen by outsiders.   They are forthright, in a way, about their traditions when asked directly, but they kind of shrug them off and smile making it seem like quite an everyday attitude, shared by all these people in white.   There are some material omissions.

I will say that there are various moments throughout where the full-theatre audience I sat among laughed when I don’t think that it was planned or intended.   I myself turned to Alison a few times and we laughed.   There is a scene near the end when much of the crowd was laughing at what was being shown, and from a North American mentality I can see why.   It was just so outside our norms that we were put in the middle of a strange and bizarre ceremony.   Traditions, symbols, customs and social norms are very time sensitive and location-centric.   Perhaps this is one of many messages.

In the end, this isn’t a film that I can recommend despite the 4 star review on Roger Ebert’s website.   I liken this more to an Under the Skin or The Lobster where the viewer has to push aside the real as we perceive it, and take in the symbolism or foreign ideologies that to these people are accepted and very natural.   We don’t see eye to eye, but it doesn’t make them any less valid or held with less conviction.   Clearly this group is very dedicated to traditions and doesn’t put a North American filter on what they are doing.  I also cannot recommend this as an option for possible endings to a relationship should they occur.  ‘Nuf said….

I had asked Alison to send along her thoughts and I will post them when I get them.

July 15th, 2019

There are times when making the mental commitment to myself to write a review each and every week can be more challenging than other times.   This week was such a time.   First it has been glorious out, and I feel as though I should soak up every bit of the sun and warmth while it lasts.   Also, there has been so very little to watch or even to be excited about.   So it has been Netflix and Crave watching instead of going to the theatre.   For all the price increases with Netflix lately, one can lament that having paid just $9.99 not that long ago, and now $13.99 it seems like a cash grab.  Yet it’s still cheaper than the price of a full-priced ticket at the theatre, especially if you partake in 3D or other add-ons!     But having said that there is some reviews to pass along.

This weekend I saw The Happytime Murders with Melissa McCarthy.   Maya Rudolph also stars (a common co-star for McCarthy) along with Elizabeth Banks.   This is a police caper with McCarthy playing a human cop, and her former puppet partner (voiced by Bill Baretta).  There is a back story there.   This is an adult caper in a similar vein as Team America,  although not quite as cutting (nor profane) as Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s work.    There are some funny moments, I did laugh out loud in a couple of places.  There are some good quips and one liners.   McCarthy has very good comedic timing.   She also delivers an insult as well as anyone.   The scene in question that had my attention takes place in the office where Rudolph (as Bubbles) fends off some inspectors.   You’ll know the scene when you see it.   But beyond that and a couple other laughs it is pretty standard fare.   Yes, the graphic scenes of puppets having their stuffed heads blown away are funny to start but then there is more and more.  It isn’t John Wick, but there is enough cotton carnage to go around.     In the end this was able to fill some time, and provided a few laughs on a warm, comfortable cottage evening.   By the way, McCarthy has shown a great deal of range in the last few pictures I have seen in, like Can You Ever Forgive Me?   This strikes more of a mailed in performance for the pay cheque or a film commitment to a studio.

While Happytime trying hard to make us laugh and smile, the Margret Attwood tale The Handmaid’s Tale that I spoke about earlier continues into Season 2 as I watch to be filled with tears and dreariness.   It is damn depressing.   That is the point of course.  A dystopian society as a subset of the United States, where women have no rights and are kept (or those who are fertile) as human incubators with the affluent and powerful men deciding their fates and taking their babies to give to their barren wives.   There are some episodes that are decidedly slow moving, the the episode where Elizabeth Moss is looking to escape.   That plane epsiode could have been done in 15 mins and not a whole hour.   Mid-way through the Second season a couple things happen that are more interesting and show some elements of change are brewing but it is still plodding along.   It’s okay.   It still does not approach the best of the series TV that has been on lately.    Not sure where the accolades and awards come from but maybe there is something I am missing.   Likely.

So another week goes by and I am hopeful at some point to see something worth writing about.   Enjoy the sun!!

July 9th, 2019 – Alison input

Here is a bonus posting this week from Alison.  I will add that I have liked and respected Matthias Schoenarts work in films like Kursk, The Danish Girl, Disorder and others (high praise here from Alison to compare with Daniel Day-Lewis (DDL)) :

Tis the season of nary a good movie to watch while we eagerly await festival season and the Oscar bevy of films.  Some one asked me recently what the last good film I saw was and I was stumped.  Sometimes I wake up the next morning and I can’t remember the movie I watched the previous  night.  Maybe its…what do they call that thing again when you start forgetting??  Ya that. Or maybe it’s because most have been forgettable.

This weekend I watched The Mustang with Matthias Schoenaerts.  The story takes place in a prison and features an inmate that is completely shut down but through his enrolment in taking care of and breaking wild mustangs, finds his redemption.  Not a new story but this time an engaging adaption of it.  The parallels between the lead character and the horse that chooses him are blatantly obvious and formulaic but still it works because of Schoenaerts performance.  He does the silent / brooding bloke so well along with his strong screen presence. I am starting to see the makings of an heir apparent to DDL in this guy.
 The horse gets a nomination for best animal in a movie. Kudos also to Bruce Dern for his crusty cowboy character which is sure to be one of his few remaining performances.  Worth checking out.
The other movie I’ll mention is Photograph.   Much like the Lunchbox, this is an Indian film that is based on the premise of a magical connection between people.  The male lead is of a lower class and dark cast and makes his living taking pictures of passers by in front of the Taj Mahal. One day he convinces a young middle class lighter cast woman to allow him to take her picture. As circumstance would have it, she bolts without paying and thus her imprint is left on him.  Grandma has been on his case to marry so he decides to send her the woman’s picture claiming her to be his betrothed. Of course grandma hops the next train and as fate would have it he and the girl commence their ruse (she’s always wanted to be an actor). It’s predictable enough for you to figure how this goes but the movie is not conventional in that regard. This is one of those movies that is engaging and nearly flawless in its execution; nearly.  Some would say the movie’s ending was perfect and some, like me, kinda felt like I was walked down the garden path and then left there. Either way, the Photograph is captivating.

July 8th, 2019

This past week I watched a few things streaming (either Crave or Netflix).   First up was watching Fifty Shades Darker and then Fifty Shades Freed.   These are the sequels to Fifty Shades of Grey which I saw years ago, and just as quickly forgot.   This was the book sensation and there was a funny lampoon of it on Saturday Night Live.

But never mind.   The movies were critically panned and I won’t spend too much time piling on as it were.    I saw Jamie Dornan, the Irish actor, in The Fall with Gillian Anderson, and I thought he, and the show were both quite good.  In this instance, it’s he material to work with that is so bad.   The lines to be delivered, and the plot that keeps it moving ahead, one tortuous step after another.    How so much can be written  about so little is an ongoing question.    I had plenty of questions about the book, like why does he have to have all this bling-bling?   Why the glider, and yacht, the houses, and this completely strange affinity for Audi products – while she was almost never described in the stories.   But anyway, the sex scenes and BDSM is mild by any standard and but for Dakota Johnson’s willingness to go topless would be pretty much PG fare.   No need to watch.   If you read all the books I will recommend you find other ways to spend your time.

The Wizard of Lies is a 2017 movie about Bernie Madoff and his fraudulent Ponzi scheme, the largest in history perpetrated over 20 years.   Madoff is portrayed by Robert DeNiro, and his Wife played by Michelle Pfieffer.   It is directed by Barry Levinson, he of Rain Man, Diner, Good Morning Vietnam, The Natural fame.  He can be good.   Madoff was arrested in December 2008 after he confessed to his two sons, who worked at his firm in Manhattan (although in a different unrelated business) that he was in charge of an illegal investment scheme.  The two sons called the authorities.   He turned himself in the next day.   The movie tries to show the life that was being led, and how Madoff kept his business to himself.   The two adult boys were kept to the side, as was his wife of 50+ years.   Others refuse to believe that they didn’t and couldn’t know, especially sons with extensive trading experience.    It is an interesting story and stays with me.   He is a man who preyed on others and seemingly didn’t have a problem with it.   The victims were many, like corporations and charities but also individuals.  Mostly Jewish within his own community but many as his notoriety grew from all over.   He was the man who guaranteed results, in an ever shifting economy with unpredictable shifts.   He looked upon as not stealing from orphans and single Moms, but rather wealthy people trying to get wealthier.   What’s the harm in that?   There are other things at work too, with the SEC playing a rather prominent role in their inactivity and even when told of the fraud years before how it was ignored.   Can their be self-regulation on Wall Street?   But when you see how his family is directly torn apart by his actions it really makes you wonder if there is a beating heart in that chest.   I won’t give away much more.   If you follow the news you know more about the history than I did when I watched.  I will leave you to find out some more of the facts as they reveal themselves.   Worth a watch if you can find it.

Mary Shelley was the author of one of the best monster stories ever told.   It has been retold countless times from early film with Boris Karloff playing the beast to more recently when a younger Robert DeNiro played him.   Mary, the author, had an interesting tale in her own right.   She a female writer in an age when women weren’t allowed nor thought to be capable of being or thinking independently.   Born in 1797, she wrote the story when she was a teenager.   It took a Preface by her male lover to get it published.   She was born Mary Godwin.   The man was Percy Shelley.  The movie stars Elle Fanning in the primary role.   Those with Game of Thrones backgrounds will recognize many players in the cast including Arya Stark (Maissie Williams) and Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane).    However much she led a tragic life, and an interesting one I just couldn’t gain any momentum in the telling of it.   I didn’t find the chemistry with Percy was all that palpable, and would have liked to have thought that her treatment by her father would have been better.   Maybe that is looking upon early 1800s actions with the eyes of someone in 2019?    Unsure.   Family reputation would mean much, and having a scandal with a child with a married man isn’t what would have helped anyone’s business nor reputation.   In the end, it was gloomy and not overly positive which is kind of the point.   Frankenstein was a lonely being looking for love and acceptance.   Maybe Elle Fanning has a great role in her somewhere rather than pretty young women who are the princesses to be saved.   But this was not a great role.    She seemingly continues to get work so we will see more of her.   I cannot recommend this one.

Canada Day – July 1st, 2019

There is a part of me that wishes I had more Canadian content for my Canada Day posting for 2019.   I should have held back Maudie, but I wasn’t looking that far ahead at that point.

This week I re-visited an old friend, and a movie I hadn’t seen in a very long time.  I am at the point where I want to re-visit movies that I enjoyed in my youth, and yet ones I haven’r reviewed in this blog now or in recent past.   Sid & Nancy fits the bill nicely as a film I saw as a teenager and it stars a very young Gary Oldman as the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious.   It also stars Chloe Webb, who has played other supporting roles but this was her moment to shine.   Gary Oldman is another method actor (like a Christian Bale, Robert De Niro or Daniel Day Lewis) where he embodies the roles that he takes on.  He finally was given Oscar recognition for his role in Darkest Hour as Churchill, but the foundations for his skills are seen in an earlier role like this.   Having said that, his Sid Vicious is a fairly quiet guy unless he is drugged out or on stage.   He meets and has the enabling relationship with Nancy, who initially rips him off and leaves him hanging, but later reconnects with him and introduces him to the world of heroin.   Oldman apparently at first didn’t want the role, but eventually bought in and went full out.   He lost so much weight he was hospitalized for malnutrition.   Nancy is a druggie, groupie, an American living in Europe basically day to day.   She has massive mood swings and can push Sid to work and get things done, but the next moment drain him of any energy by railing on him and lashing out.   It’s a textbook toxic relationship.  They enable each other and their addictions.   The viewer can see how she impacts him and directs his actions and attitudes.   Think Yoko with John Lennon, but on a way more destructive scale.  And the fact that Sid had a modicum of the talent that John Lennon did.   This movie is a lot closer to Trainspotting than it is to Imagine.   The Sex Pistols were the anti-establishment band that came around at the right time for Britain and its youth (late 1970 and early 80s).  They music with an edge in the trailing days of disco and more middle of the road popular music.   They found a voice and an audience.   The structure of this film is setting near the end and then going back to the backstory on the first meeting of Nancy.   Other more recent movies on the allure of drugs, like Ben is Back and Beautiful Boy, show what the user perspective is.   This also shows how tragic it can be being in a cycle of dependency.   If you like music and its history this can be a stop, but really it is more about seeing one of the great and versatile current actors of today (Oldman) seeing where he was as a younger man.   This is the best performance of Chloe Webb’s career and worth seeing.

I also watched on Netflix, The Catcher Was A Spy.    The interest was sparked with it being a WWII piece where the OSS (precursor to the US CIA) is looking to prevent a rumoured atomic bomb program by the Nazis.   The solution is to track down the Head of the Program (played by Mark Stone, as Werner Heisenberg).    Based on a true story, the US decides on utilizing the skills of an average major league catcher, and scholar, Moe Berg played by Paul Rudd.    I have admit that I am not a huge Paul Rudd fan.   He can play a role in This Is 40, and other more cheesey comedies with guys like Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill, and maybe Ant Man (not seen by me) but not a more dramatic role.   This role didn’t convince me otherwise.   This movie has an impressive supporting cast too.  Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti, Guy Peirce, Connie Nielson, Jeff Daniels are all good and not given enough to do.   The end I have to admit was disappointing despite what the credits go to to show as history.   We all have seen enough Mission Impossible and Bourne movies to know what happens things don’t go as expected.   Anyway, my reaction at the end of it all was that this impressive cast just didn’t have enough to do, and the espionage story was more compelling and interesting than the tangents, like the baseball story and playing stickball at the front.    So I can’t recommend this.