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Little Women

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Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on their own terms.

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This is a good movie, but it’s hard to follow because it jumps around a lot – it’s difficult to tell what’s a flashback and what’s present day – although it does seem to be a frame story. It begins with Jo writing her story and ends with her publishing it.

Each March sister gets her own vignette, and the vignettes tie the story together. Meg (Emma Watson) is the oldest, and she marries for love, regardless of status. Jo (Saoirse Ronan) is the writer, a free spirit who doesn’t think about love until it’s almost too late. Amy (Florence Pugh) is the drama queen who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to get it. Beth (Eliza Scanlen) is the youngest, innocent, a gifted piano player, and, unfortunately, sick for most of the movie. The head of the house – at least while their father is away fighting the war is Marmee, their mother (Laura Dern).

And of course, there’s Aunt March (Meryl Streep). She’s the crotchety old lady who has to have things just so. Streep’s make-up was really good; it made her look really old – appropriately old for the character.

Theodoore “Laurie” Laurence (Timothée Chalamet) might be described as the general love interest in the story. He starts off as a bit of a bad boy, but by the end of the movie, he’s changed his ways.

The theme of this movie is family – the March sisters might not have much, but they have each other. It’s definitely a warm and fuzzy feel good movie.

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Movies

Ford v Ferrari

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American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

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In two words, this movie is both intense and frustrating. Not to mention really loud. Tires squealed constantly. It had a surprising amount of emotional highs and lows, but it was also laugh-out-loud funny.

This movie is frustrating because of the aforementioned corporate interference. Ford wants to win at Le Mans, of course, but they also want to project a wholesome image of their company. Ken Miles is, well, a bit rough around the edges. However, he’s also the one of the best race car drivers in the world, so as much as they might not like him, they need him.

Christian Bale plays Ken Miles. His British accent was so thick it was almost unintelligible. But the difficulty in hearing it may have also been because he was shouting over the noise of the cars.

Caitriona Balfe – as Ken’s wife, Mollie Miles – is really good at being angry. Mollie Miles isn’t someone to be messed with. Even though Mollie is British, Caitriona’s natural Irish accent was audible at times, which was cool.

Noah Jupe plays Ken and Mollie’s son, Peter Miles. And he actually got to use his voice this time, which was nice to hear. He did have some lines in A Quiet Place, but as that the dialogue in that movie is mostly sign language, he didn’t speak much. Ford v Ferrari was a smaller role for him, but he was adorable nonetheless.

This movie is definitely worth seeing. It keeps the audience of the edge of their seats for an entire two-and-a-half-hours. It puts the pedal to the metal and doesn’t let up.

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Movies

Downton Abbey

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Chaos ensues when the servants of Downton Abbey learn that the king and queen of England plan to bring their own servants with them to Downton during their royal visit.

This movie is the culmination of six seasons of the TV show on PBS, with all of the original cast signing onto the project. Even though they took a few minutes before it began to explain all the characters and storylines, which was nice, it was still sort of hard to follow.

The movie is bit slow, but that’s not for a lack of action. The action is there, it’s just subtle. Paying attention to the dialogue is a must. Otherwise, it’s easy to miss Maggie Smith’s sassy humor. Violet Crawley and Minerva McGonagall may be characters in two different franchises, but they seem to be similar in everything else.

Imelda Staunton was there, too, except this time, her character was the outcast in the story. Even so, she and Maggie went back and forth as if they were still playing Umbridge and McGonagall.

Laura Carmichael also reprised her role as Lady Edith. She didn’t seem to have a lot to do with the movie’s main storylines, but she didn’t get nearly enough screen time. Because frankly, she’s amazing in The Spanish Princess.

This movie is definitely worth seeing. Whether someone has watched the show or not, it’s a good time.

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Movies Uncategorized

I thought I was over it

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A while back, when I was doing some research for this post, I watched The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. It had been awhile since I’d read the books or seen the movies. Plus, I’d since come to the conclusion that while the story is good for what it is – romance – the writing wasn’t very good because the end of the series was very anticlimactic. And Bella and Edward never fight. How realistic is that? It’s not. At all.

However, as I watched the movie, all of the feelings I had while reading the books came back to me and hit me like a ton of bricks. It was weird; I wasn’t expecting anything of the sort. Maybe it’s because when I read the books, I was at my father’s house, and they kept me sane during that time. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself after I finished reading.

Even the question of “Why didn’t Bella choose Jacob?” popped in my head, even though I know perfectly well why she chose Edward. It’s because when you’re around people who make you feel good, you don’t give up on those relationships. Or when you’re doing something that makes you feel good about yourself, you don’t give up on it just because it gets hard.

I might not like the writing so much anymore, but I guess The Twilight Saga still means something to me.

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Movies

The Lion King (2019)

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After the death of his father, young Simba leaves Pride Rock to run away from his responsibilities, only to realize that running away doesn’t fix everything, and he must return to take his place as the rightful king.

The latest installment in Disney’s series of live-action remakes, The Lion King is good. It paid homage to the original, but it wasn’t the same. Some of the differences are to be expected, and even welcomed: Young Simba and Nala (JD McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph, respectively) were adorable. Wright Joseph is no stranger to playing Young Nala – she’s been doing it on Broadway for years.

Timon and Pumbaa (Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, respectively) were hilarious. And, they can sing. Billy Eichner was just as good as Nathan Lane, and he got Nathan Lane’s blessing to play the character.

The one voice they didn’t replace – and it would be a tragedy if they had had to – was James Earl Jones as Mufasa. His voice is iconic. Although it does beg the question of why they didn’t bring more of the original voices back.

Donald Glover was excellent as well. Beyoncé, however, left something to be desired. Yes, she can sing, but “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” sounded strange. And her acting fell flat, even though she only had to use her voice. She makes a lot of money for a reason – ostensibly because she’s talented – but that doesn’t mean she can do everything. She’s good at making her own music; she should probably stick to that.

The animation was as realistic as it could be, which was really cool. And, the crew used virtual reality to help them visualize where they were. All in all, this movie is satisfying. Slimy, yet satisfying.

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Movies

Spider-Man: Far From Home

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All Peter Parker wants to do is relax and enjoy his class trip to Europe. However, one does not simply stop being Spider-Man. Saving the world is a 24/7 job that waits for no one.

Tom Holland is adorably awkward, which makes Peter Parker relatable. And that relatability humanizes superheroes as a whole – at the end of the day, they want to be just like everyone else. Zendaya may play Peter’s love interest, MJ, but it didn’t seem to be a very big role. She and Holland had a few scenes together, but for the most part, he was busy saving the world. However, it might purposefully be a smaller role: she’s not a damsel is distress who constantly needs saving. She’s just as much of a hero as anyone else.

The turning point – and the unexpected plot twist – of this movie comes in the form of Jake Gyllenhaal. He introduces the theme of innocence and what happens when it’s lost: How is Peter Parker going to handle himself when someone betrays him? Gyllenhaal’s presence also begs the question “Why are all the bad guys in movies attractive?” Or at least, they seem to be. If it’s an appeal for sympathy, it doesn’t exactly work.

The supporting characters in this movie, including but definitely not limited to Marisa Tomei and Jon Favreau, provided the comic relief sprinkled throughout an action-packed movie. The comedic timing was perfectly unexpected.

The post credits scene might just be the best set up for a sequel ever. Marvel fans definitely won’t want to miss this.

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Movies

Yesterday

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In a world where no one remembers the Beatles because of a random, worldwide, 12-second power outage, Jack Malik makes it his personal mission to bring their music back.

This is the movie audiences didn’t know they needed. Rather, the world didn’t know it needed. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, while also describing the ups and downs of the music industry without the frame of a biopic. Lily James is as amazing as ever, Kate McKinnon makes things hilariously awkward like she always does, and Ed Sheeran was a nice touch to the movie. He didn’t need to act so much as be himself, but he definitely has potential as an actor. And last but definitely not least, Himesh Patel had himself an excellent big-screen debut. He makes Jack someone the audience can relate to. Apart from the musical genius that rewrites and re-records the entire Beatles catalogue, of course.

Perhaps it’s a subtle theme, but this movie also explores what’s known as “imposter syndrome”. As his fame begins to rise, Jack is so afraid – paranoid, some might say – that people are going to realize that he didn’t write the Beatles’ songs and expose him for the fraud that he is. Or at least he feels like he is. However, these scenes are somewhat jarring because the audience isn’t aware of them until after they’ve already happened. There’s no buildup to them like there would be buildup to a flashback.

This movie is a unique and refreshing tribute to the Beatles because it breaks from the biopic trend. Biopics are always nice, but once in a while a brand-new story is all you need to expose a new audience to older music.

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Movies

Toy Story 4

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In this fourth installment in the Toy Story franchise, Bonnie makes a new toy that she calls “Forky”, which is actually logical because he’s literally a spork. But one day while the family is on a road trip, Bonnie loses Forky, and it’s up to Woody and the rest of the gang to find him.

As much as this movie features old characters and creates new ones – and new storylines to go with them, of course – it’s almost laser-focused on Woody (Tom Hanks). Woody seems to be having an existential crisis. He knows that when kids grow up, they don’t need him anymore, but he’s also desperate to belong to someone. He can’t imagine “life” as a toy with no owner.

It’s definitely a theme that audiences can relate to, but it’s not obvious. After all, this is technically a kids’ movie, and kids wouldn’t necessarily pick up on it. Then again, no one is expecting them to.

As for other aspects of the movie, it was definitely laugh-out-loud funny. Especially Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and his “inner voice”, which was really just him pressing buttons on his space suit and listening to whatever his generic sayings told him to do.

However, some of the new characters were terrifying. Just the way they looked. They were from an antique store, so that might explain it. Toys were really different back in the day. Don’t worry though, they’re not something that would necessarily frighten children.

And Bo Peep (Annie Potts) was something else. She brought the “girl power” to the movie. She doesn’t need a kid to play with her anymore; she does just fine on her own.

The ending is sad though, so be prepared for that. Otherwise, this movie will be fun for the whole family.

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Movies

Rocketman

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What were you like as a child, Elton?

That’s the question that starts this rollercoaster ride of a biopic, starring Taron Egerton as Elton John himself.

The movie explores Elton John’s career, from his musical beginnings to his international rockstar status. What makes this movie different however, is that it’s not just one big frame story. It goes back and forth between Elton finally in rehab, and various moments in his career.

But it was also the story of a boy, and later, man, who just wanted to be loved for who he was. His father was absent, and his mother, portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard, wasn’t too great either. She supported his interest in music, but that’s about it.

The actors who played Elton John, whose real name was Reggie Dwight, during his early years were really good. They could play the piano and sing. Which was required of them, of course, but they were also adorable and funny. Five-year-old Reggie/Elton starts the flashback portion of the movie singing “The Bitch is Back”, which was surprising, to say the least.

Elton John’s music is familiar, but most of his story might not be. So the movie also serves as a really cool learning experience. They chose the songs for the movie based on what was happening in Elton’s life at the time, so it made a powerful impression. There wasn’t ever a dull moment. It’s full of twists and turns and ups and downs. And great music, of course. The music is everything.

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Movies

Aladdin (2019)

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Aladdin is the story of an orphaned thief who finds a magic lamp and uses its power to win over the princess of Agrabah, while trying to keep it out of the hands of those who want to use its power for evil.

The movie actually begins as a frame story with Will Smith as the narrator, which was interesting and fun. Smith’s performance as the genie was hilarious. It’s not easy to fill the giant shoes left behind by Robin Williams, but he made it look easy.

Naomi Scott was excellent as Jasmine. They really fleshed out the character too. She had her own song called “Speechless”. She was a strong character in the original 1992 movie, but giving her a song to sing on her own made her stronger.

However, this movie was also somewhat disappointing. During the some of the magic carpet scenes (particularly “A Whole New World”), it was noticeable that they were in front of a green screen. The audience isn’t supposed to be able to notice something like that. It was hard to focus on the movie after that because it took the audience out of the story. Computer Generated Imaging is usually seamless. Why did Disney have trouble with it this time?