Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

synopsis

“Michael Keaton delivers the best performance of his career” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone) in this “funny, frenetic…” (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times) film from co-writer director Alejandro G. Iñarrito. When a has-been movie superhero (Keaton) risks everything for Broadway, he faces harsh critics, a deranged alter ego, his estranged daughter (Emma Stone) and a difficult stage star (Edward Norton). Also starring Naomi Watts, and Zach Galifinakis, (Birdman is “audacious, corginal, and bold” (Leonard Maltin, Indiewire.com).

review

I had seen this on DVD previously, after it had been released for general audience viewing in theaters. I think I might have been high, but I distinctly remember falling asleep through it, blaming what I called a vignette-based movie with no connections.

This time I noticed the unedited telling of the story through scene-vignettes, telling a story. I managed to stay awake…and engaged. I truly enjoyed the cinematic artistry. The unediting, played well with the setting of this movie. The performances were gritty and quirky enough to garner praise from the pretentious set, which boosted this movie up.

The more exciting scenes, of course, included those where Edward Norton was revealed. Even Michael Keaton was revealed.

While I am far from qualified to judge, I did find the movie entertaining, artistic, sad.

Reefer Madness

Reefer Madness (1936)

synopsis

Reefer Madness is the camp classic movie that documents the marijuana scare of the 1930’s. Billed as the “Assassin of Youth” Marijuana is vilified in hilarious and absurd ways. That the humor is unintended makes it all the more real.

At the time of its release, Reefer Madness was hailed, as a must see for all parents and their teenage kids. Now, almost 60 years later, it is still a must see for altogether different reasons.

~ DVD Case

review

I think I had seen this before through a cloudy haze of “reefer.” At the time, only half interested, the movie held no interest for me, as I had not “killed my entire family” yet.

This time, I watched this movie with a serious eye. I laughed at the spelling of Marijuana: Marihuana. Second, I laughed at the intense looks of the jazz playing pianist, and the uncontrollable burst of laughter from the marihuana smokers. Cause for more laughter was the method of indoctrinating new smokers, the ease with which they took up smoking, and their inability to distinguish the difference in smell between tobacco and marihuana. My wildest dream was a flop house where I could be queen; this movie fed that fantasy.

In the end, the tragedies that occur seem incongruous with the offense of smoking “reefer,” by my experiences. I did enjoy the movie, whether it was a serious public service announcement or a satire on the “dangers of reefer madness.”

After Earth

After Earth (2013)

synopsis

A crash landing leaves Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his legendary father Cypher (Will Smith) stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape. With Cypher injured, Kitai must embark on a treacherous journey to signal for help. They must learn to work together and trust each other, if they want any chance of returning home.

~ movie website

review

Wow! I had heard such bad things about this movie after it had been released for general audience viewing back in 2013 that I had an additional reason not to see this movie, aside from an actor whom I do not appreciate, Mr. Jaden Smith. I was not impressed by his appearance in The Day The Earth Stood Still. However – to his credit – he did play a spoiled brat – in my opinion – in both movies, a character with whom I identify with rigorous honesty, and that may be the single reason I do not like the person, though he appears to be a spoiled child in real life also…believe me, I can tell…I am one.

Anyway, therapy over, I liked this movie. It held my attention, despite a weak plot, or was it bad acting that made the story bad? I am not the one to judge that, unless it was obvious. Will did seem more wooden to me than scarred. Jaden, well, I have a hard time even looking at him – we’ll just leave it at that.

What did I like? In the beginning, Cypher is saluted by a soldier, whose life he had saved. The soldier is missing a leg, but orders his colleagues(?) to stand him up. One he is standing he finally salutes Cypher. That single sign of respect moved me to tears. What makes this scene so significant to me is that I have no respect for the military, et al, as I am a pacifist – this is the simple explanation, as a human I am multi-faceted, and do have other emotions that tie in to my life choices. Even at the scene of a second salute, I was moved, though, not as much.

I also enjoyed the scenery on earth. The ship looked cool on the outside, but the inside did not complement the outside at all – at least not to me. While the outside was sleek, the inside was skeletal, literally.

Like I said, overall, I liked the movie. I will state that I was in a movie-watching mood, would could have influenced my feelings about this movie. I am an oddball also. 😀

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

synopsis

Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is written and directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock, with Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. Kevin Feige is producing, and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Nikolas Korda and Stan Lee are the executive producers. Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” blasts into theaters on May 5, 2017.

~ Movie Website

review

The soundtrack is awesome! Chris Pratt does not do much for me, but I did manage to catch a hot screen shot. The funny thing is I don’t remember; I thought I had taken a picture of Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. I guess I was wrong. 😀

The story was kind of weak, once again, having the feeling like we just dropped in for an episode of Home and Gardens presents “Breakfast with The Ricardo’s.” The only difference, is that I don’t think I would be receptive to some space food. Anyway, I remember being bounced around the clouds, try to figure something out. When the root of the plot is revealed, I still had some questions.

Did I mention how awesome the soundtrack is for this movie?

The Mummy

The Mummy (2017)

synopsis

Tom Cruise stars in this spectacular version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy. Thought safely entombed deep beneath the desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day. Her malevolence has grown over millennia and with it come terrors that defy human comprehension. From the sands of the Middle East through modern day London, The Mummy balances wonder, thrills, and imagination.

~ Movie Website

review

Mom and dad were watching the other day and it caught my attention while cooking, so when I saw it at the library, I decided to check it out. I did like the previous one with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz.

Well, I do lust Tom Cruise and he did oblige in this movie, so how could I not like it. It was a fresher version on the mummy’s tale, with an ending that leaves the door open for a sequel or spin off – on which subject matter, I will not say, so as not to spoil the ending of The Mummy. There were moments of levity throughout the movie, especially whenever Sgt. Vail (Jake Johnson) was in the scene. I especially appreciated the creativity to include another monster within The Mummy.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

synopsis

Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

With the additional support of James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgà¥rd) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the team must reassemble to defeat as (Ultron), a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver), played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch), played by Elizabeth Olsen and meet an old friend in a new form when becomes Vision (Paul Bettany).

~ Movie Website

review

OMG! I thought I had the original movie, The Avengers (2012). I even called my nephew to inquire, but kids nowadays don’t know how to communicated live. As I set to watching this movie, I was even more convinced due to the humor in the movie, that I remember hearing being mentioned in other’s reviews.

Anyway, my first impression was too fake – the CGI animation, if that’s what it was. Then I got a good laugh and continued. It was okay. The humor kept me laughing and there was an ultimate fighting action scene that did engage me, but the plot was nothing new: good versus evil.

There was one scene early in the film where the Hulk is returned to David Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and he is shirtless, exposing a hairy chest. Yum! I have a bad habit of being lazy, so I try to find the scenes after the fact and I couldn’t find the scene this time. 🙁 Wah, wah, wah! 😀

So, I still have not seen The Avengers (2012). I suppose I will have to put it on my list of movies.

I must admit that I was intrigued with the introduction of the twins: Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). For a moment, I thought I might be watching Justice League, which I am less eager to watch because I don’t think the movie includes the Wonder Twins: Zan and Jayna. OMG! I just discovered that I have been under a serious delusion: the Wonder Twins are associated with Super Friends, not Justice League. Doh! Okay, now I will add Justice League to my movie list.

Exciting action, humorous. My favorite line: Can’t remember, can’t locate online, but it was from Iron Man to Captain America and involved holding something!? 😀

Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

synopsis

Academy Award® nominees Amy Adams; and Jake Gyllenhaal … from acclaimed writer/director Tom Ford (A Single Man) … unfulfilling marriage when she receives a package con … ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). The novel is dedicated to her but its content is violent and devastating. Susan cannot help but reminisce over her past love story with the author. Increasing she interprets the book as a tale of revenge, a tale that forces her to re-evaluate the choices that she has made, and reawakens a love that she feared was lost. Also starring Armie Hammer and Michael Shannon. NOCTURNAL ANIMALS is a thriller of shocking intimacy and gripping tension.

review

I have been wanting to sees this every since I started seeing previews for this movie, only because Jake was in it. I am in love with this man. He is a god to me. He is perfection. He is the most handsome man I have ever encountered.

This movie was so powerful that it moved me to tears. I had to face my own mortality and discovered that I don’t want to die when it comes right down to it, even as I viewed someone die peacefully, albeit from a fatal injury.

I was actually surprised that despite being an artsy-fartsy movie, I was able to follow along pretty clearly…even with the interruptions I experience in dialogue due to poor DVD quality. And as an artsy-fartsy movie, I was able to appreciate beautiful scenes. I think I noticed some technical errors, which had they been fixed before the movie was distributed, would have improved the quality of the movie…at least for me.

Some things that stood out for me:

  1. Amy Adams’ hair. It was almost as if it had a mind of its own in some scenes, the only unknown factor being the decisive factor determining how much of her face was going to be covered.
  2. An early scene where Amy is entering her house. She is blinded by the reflection of her headlights and raises her hand to cover her eyes. DOH! If she is returning home, shouldn’t she be familiar with this annoying problem enough to know to shield her eyes BEFORE she is hit with the reflection?

Wow! Moving, beautiful, violent, and Jake!

T2 Trainspotting

T2 Trainspotting (2017)

synopsis

First there was an opportunity…then there was a betrayal … years have gone by. Much has changed but just as much … the same. Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to the only … can ever call home. They are waiting for him: Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Other old friends are waiting too: sorrow, loss, joy, vengeance, hatred, friendship, love, longing, fear, regret, diamorphine, self-destruction and mortal danger — they are all line up to welcome him, ready to join the dance.

~ DVD Cover

review

Wow! Just as creative, impactful and truthful as the first movie, which I did see in early recovery. As a crack addict, I can vouch for authenticity/ Though I never tried heroin, I have partied with some guys that did. In the end I don’t see much difference between in behaviour of the depicted heroin addicts in Trainspotting and the way I lived as a crack addict. In my fucked up mind I keep wanting to compare my life now to Mark, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie’ life now – T2 Trainspotting, being the reference for now.

I love that Europeans are so liberal about sex and the human body. This of course provided for some sexy scenes with Ewan and Jonny. Kicking it up a notch was seeing them dressed in stable aprons and cowboy boots. Mmm, mmm, mmm!

There were also some scenes that were surreally artistic, beautiful, provocative scenes, usually and indication of drug use.

LOVED IT! A love letter to all hardcore addicts.

<3 <3 <3

Get OUt

Get Out (2017)

synopsis

When Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a young African-American man, visits his white girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) family estate, he becomes ensnared in the more sinister, real reason for the invitation. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined. This speculative thriller from Blumhouse (producers of The Visit, Insidious series and The Gift) and the mind of Jordan Peele (Key & Peele) is equal parts gripping thriller and provocative commentary.

review

Being a news fan, I heard that this movie had earned a Golden Globe nomination. This especially surprised me because I had never heard a movie of this genre garnering such recognition ever before. My surprise was mostly based on what I learned – not much – of the movie, which I expected to be more of a suspense thriller.

When I started asking people if they had seen this movie, many people commented that it was funny. WTF!? Now I really wanted to see it. Fortunately, for me, I found this movie at Los Angeles Public Library, so there was no cost. Yay! I love free stuff.

The movie was not bad at all, even original in it’s plot. The comedy referred to by previous viewers is most likely associated with how people of dark-skin relate to horror situations, et al, evidenced by Chris’s friend, Rod (LilRel Howery).

Entertaining!
🙂

Boulevard

Boulevard (2014)

synopsis

A devoted husband in a marriage of convenience is forced to confront his secret life.

~ Internet Movie Database

review

I have been wanting to see this for a very long time – apparently, three years – because I had known about the gay theme. I found it at the library of all places after my dvd rental store neglected to carry it and then closed on me.

Robin Williams is wonderful, but his character was such a wishy-washy person, it was hard for me to like him. However, I could certainly identify with the “connection” he was trying to achieve, experience. That was the only part of the movie that moved me. The rest just pissed me off, as it was an expose on human behaviour and how we can close our eyes to mendacity to preserve our fantasy…to a precarious end. I did exactly that seeking a “connection” with another man, though I complicated things with drugs, which I think I resorted to from pressure of keeping my homosexuality a secret to the straight mans’ world.

While the letch in my continues to peer from within, he was eager to see the prostitute (Roberto Aguire), not because I was familiar with him, but because I am EXTREMELY attracted to the type and he was exactly what I like, skinny, dark hair, etc.

Sad 🙁