January 1st, 2018 New Years Day

The dialogue and writing in any film is a crucial part in understanding the characters and how they interact but it shows so much more than that; intelligence, humour, sympathy etc.  I have enjoyed Aaron Sorkin’s work for some time.  From TV with The West Wing and Newsroom, his political satire and addressing news of the day was second to none.   His banter among the characters as well is first rate.  Then in movies like Money Ball,  Steve Jobs, the Social Network again he shows his strength.   His latest project is Molly’s Game with Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.  He doesn’t disappoint.  Here is a story from the novel which I am currently working my way through.   The movie differs from the book in not naming many of the more famous people – in the book Tobey Maguire and Leo Di Caprio figure prominently early anyway.   The stories about Maguire are interesting – and I am still trying to decide if Mr X (played by Michael Cena) in the film is supposed to Maguire.  In the book he wants to charge a $200 fee for his card-shuffling machine that he insists upon using.  This from a multi-millionaire.  Back to the film, Sorkin’s directorial debut is a good one as he shifts from the early days of Bloom in an accomplished family where she is a world class mogul skier (made the US Team) despite spinal fusion surgery due to a curvature in her spine.   That career ends and before heading to law school she heads to LA for rest and warmth.   There she eventually enters into a high stakes poker game as the organizer.   This moves into a Federal indictment for organizing a game with Russian mob ties.   She seeks out Elba to act as her lawyer.   The story unfolds and you see her experiences as well as the challenges that she had along the way.  You meet certain players at the table, and it all comes together in a satisfying story.   Chastain is nominated for a Golden Globe, and Oscar should call as well.   Sorkin is nominated too for Screenplay and will likely be nominated for an Oscar.   Unsure if they win, but should be nominated.   This was yet another quality film that I have seen over the holidays.   I look forward to finishing the book.

I took youngest son to see Coco, the new animated film from Pixar.  The guys who brought us Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Incredibles, Up etc know how to tell a story and bring emotional impact to drawings (computer and hand drawn).   This is an excellent addition to their library of films.  It is set with Mexico and the Day of the Dead backdrop.   The characters are uniformly Mexican and it shows cultural aspects of the day which were unknown to me.   The story is about family, extended family and music.   There are other messages too about heroes and living your own dreams.   The songs are very good and add to the story.  Historically animated fables are about white princesses searching for a prince charming.   Here is a Mexican boy seeking an outlet for his love of music which flies in the face of his family where the great-grandmother was left with a young daughter by a man looking to play music for the world.  As a result the family banned all music.  This film has been a phenomenon in Mexico and I can see why.   Both young son and I thoroughly enjoyed this and can recommend without hesitation.
Darkest Hour to be seen soon.  Add to that The Post when it comes out.   I struggle to support any aspect of the life of Tonya Harding, despite the good reviews.  It has been a very good year for film.
The Netflix documentary called Hired Gun about play-for-hire musicians was very good.   These are players from bands that are all well known.  I liked particularly the guitar player who plays with Mandy Moore, and then also Hilary Duff but also Alice Cooper and then Five Finger Death Punch.   What a contrast!!   I am continuing through season 2 of The Crown and really enjoying this as well.  Claire Foy is excellent.   The episode where Princess Margaret gets engaged is excellent.  The quality supporting cast makes this must-watch tv.

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