I took Wildflower Child to the movies to see Miss Peregrine's. I actually had to bribe her with the promise of metric tons of popcorn and dinner out to go to a movie. My child is a monster. Regardless I had been very excited about this film as earlier this year I devoured the novels by Ransom Riggs. They are some of most creative and unique writing I've read in years. The entire concept of creating a believable world inspired by strange black and white photographs found at yard sales and flea markets is just wonderful. I have recommended these books to everyone I know who reads fiction. They are an easy read, though not simple, and some of the concepts and "rules" he created for his world are completely original. There is a method of traveling through time that blew my mind. So, yeah, I was excited to see this movie. Especially with Eva Green as the fantastic Miss Peregrine and Tim Burton directing.
I wish I could be more excited after having seen it, then I was when buying our tickets. The movie is gorgeous and I've tried to view it through the eyes of someone who didn't read and love the books, but I'm struggling. I should point out that I am okay with book to movie adaptations. I understand that there will always be changes and sometimes they aren't changes I want, but they made sense to the director or for the time restraints or capabilities of special effects, or whatever. Understanding that, I do not understand why the characters of Emma and Olive were essentially reversed. Emma is still the love interest and a "teenager" (why didn't they get into the relative ages of the children so Jake understands how young he is comparatively?) but instead of being a fire starter, she's now the floater. Olive is aged to teen years and linked to Enoch romantically and is the fire starter. What the hell? There was NO REASON for this change at all. Emma's heat in the books is important, and having Olive be very young and constantly putting herself up there to help the children illustrates how brave and capable all these characters are. The other character change that killed me was Bronwyn. In the book she's another teenager and almost foster mother to the youngest children. In the movie, she is a little. Bronwyn's strength in the books is not just her ability to literally carry them through danger, she is brave and compassionate and very gentle with the younger ones (Claire and Olive particularly). She is very underutilized in the film and more a sight gag than anything else. Fiona was also made much younger in the book than the movie and she talks. In the book she is silent until traumatized and there is a rudely funny moment when no one can understand her through her thick accent while speaking rapidly.
Let's not forget that the main setting of the book revolves around a date during WWII. The evil "peculiars" use the cloak of the war and the mantle of the Nazis to move around Europe hunting Jake and the other children. The stress and fear of living and moving during that time is palpable in Ransom Riggs' writing. There is virtually no reference to the war other than the Nazi stamped bomb that falls when Miss Peregrine's time loop closes.
I have taken two days to try to process how I feel about this movie and what I can say about it to those who have, and have not, read the books. Honestly, I am just sad. This was a unique and beautiful story that was frankly begging to be adapted. It was directed by one of my favorite directors, and cast very well. And it was one of the most disappointing films I've seen in a long time. Including Suicide Squad. I felt like it was simply expected that the other films would not be adapted and therefore the ground was scorched and salted. And I'm not sure anyone involved in the production actually read the books. Even if you haven't read the books, I'm fairly certain the final reel will have you saying "what?" to yourself. I know I was. Though with all that said, Wildflower Child loved it and hopes they make more. But what does she know? She's seven.
So I finally got around to watching Suicide Squad. With my boyfriend. Just going to drop that there. Anyway... The one thing I can say about the film is, it is better watched with someone to look at in moments of confusion and disbelief and ask, "What?" or "Why?" or comment on how a brief viewing of Harley Quinn in hot pants is delightful, but watching her fight her way through... whatever that was... wearing heels and essentially red panties started to make us sad. I actually thought that if we wanted to get an idea of her exhibitionism and lack of shame, the shot of her in the bright red undies, before she pulls on something more asskickingly appropriate would have been fine. But the continued exposure of her body was gratuitous and even made me uncomfortable. That's saying a lot. Though her run around the elevator was awesome and Margot Robbie clearly put the work into getting into Harley's skin.
The real problem with this movie wasn't the casting, although it obviously leaned very heavily on having gotten big names, it wasn't the special effects or visuals, which were spectacular. It was simply the writing. There was no story there. There was lots of flash backs and attempts at creating a reason behind why each bad guy was picked and why they were who they were, but honestly, there was no reason to give a shit about anyone. Except maybe Harley because inherently her story is so brutally sad.
On a side note, when I was on vacation in Wildwood NJ this summer, the boardwalk t-shirt stores were liberally stocked with "couple shirts" saying "I'm his Harley Quinn" and "I'm her Joker." Every time I saw them I wanted to cry. There is nothing good about the relationship between Harley and the Joker. It is straight up psychological abuse and torture. She is completely insane, because of him. If anyone thinks their relationship is romantic, they might want to get some therapy. Stat.
I really wish I could delve deeper into why this film was so disappointing. But there's nothing deep to discuss. It was sad, boring and heartless. There was ZERO chemistry between Cara Delevigne and Joel Kinnaman. And Viola Davis just seemed like a one note "mean lady."
Seriously, skip it. Unless you're watching it with someone else who can distract you from the ridiculousness of this big budget sack of sadness.
I'm going back to my Marvel Cinematic Universe. Gladly.
The Secret Life of Pets turned out to be even better than I thought it would based on the teaser trailers I've been stalking. Max, voiced by Louis C.K., is a sweet brown and white terrier who is absolutely in love with his owner Katie. He has a network of friends in the pets in his building and the one next door (NYC). His life is good. Other than the hours that Katie is away and he pines for her, Max loves everything about his situation. Then Katie adopts Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a huge shaggy brown mop of destruction, and all hell breaks loose.
This is essentially another "find our way home" film with the main characters getting over their initial differences and animosity through surmounting adversity. We've seen these stories over and over and over, and it would be easy to add The Secret Life of Pets to a long line of similar films and forget it. And I've seen some criticisms by viewers who only focused on that aspect of the film. I have to disagree though, as a life long animal lover, a rescuer, a mother and a human with a really twisted sense of humor, this movie was fantastic.
There are several lines going through the movie that are all happening at once. Max and Duke are lost and trying to avoid going to pound, where Duke will be euthanized. Gidget (Jenny Slate), Max's neighbor from next door, is trying to rally their mutual friends, and her newfound not terribly trustworthy hawk friend Tiberius (Albert Brooks), to find and save Max who she's starting to realize she's completely in love with. And Snowball the adorable but evil bunny (Kevin Hart) is leading a revolution of "flushed pets" to destroy humanity, while also trying to find and kill Max and Duke for accidentally killing "The Viper."
This is supposed to be a children's movie. These are the best kinds of children's movies. The ones that are really written for the adults. I have to tell you, there weren't that many kids in the audience. And I was laughing so hard, my kid told me to stop it.
Things that the grownups would enjoy:
The Secret Life of Pets is a brightly coloured, fast paced, romp of an adventure film with some very dark undertones. I did mention the amount of potential death, involuntary snakeslaughter, and attempted homicide right? Lots of death. And a walk over bones. But the kids in the audience didn't seem phased by any of it. They enjoyed the adventure and the gags and I know that the adults that watched it with me enjoyed a lot of the higher level writing.
And you cannot watch Chloe (Lake Bell) and not see the true catness of her character. There was so much done with her supporting part that made me laugh I can't even list them all. I've had cats all my life until the last couple of years and she was perfect. The stray cats were one note villains for the most part, but Chloe, she's fantastic.
I can tell you that I would enjoy seeing this movie again. It isn't my favorite of the children's animated films from the last several years, but it sure was worth going out to see and I did enjoy it completely. I will own a copy at some point for repeated viewing when I need a laugh.
I took myself out to see Ghostbusters last night, and because of timing had to see the 3D version, which was fine.
Because I haven't been living under a rock, I've been very aware of the internet hate storm that occurred when insecure men discovered that "the classic" original Ghostbusters would be erased by the addition of a film in the franchise with a female cast as the titular characters. After all they would obviously round up all copies of the original films and destroy them, making only the 2016 Paul Feig version available from this point forward. Oh wait, that wasn't going to happen at all? Huh, wonder what all the fuss was about?
The fuss was about toxic masculinity being frustrated by the idea that women can be funny and headline a movie about people catching and destroying fucking ghosts. What's the problem? The cast of this movie is a collection of some of the most talented comics of our time. And Paul Feig has proven himself as an adroit director with credits like The Heat and Bridesmaids. This was all a knee-jerk reaction to the idea that "feminism is ruining everything." No, someone looked at something they loved, got an idea, and ran with it. And it was a pretty good idea. Because hey guess what? Women can be scientists and smart MTA employees and they can kick ass.
Anyway, none of that matters now that the film is a thing that exists in the world and I got to see it. I have to admit that I laughed loudly through a large portion of the film, but what really got me was the supporting characters more than anything else. The one-liners and physical comedy were spot on and very referential to the original films. Not to mention the cameo appearances by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver were brilliant and perfect.
Things that should make you want to see this film; Chris Hemsworth as Kevin. Kevin is gorgeous. Kevin is also so stupid it makes you wonder how he remembers to breathe. It is mesmerizing how dum this man is. Also clumsy, which just adds to the wonderment. I mean seriously, he's dumb as a box of rocks, and that is mentioned in the film. When he is introduced, the three scientists looking to hire a receptionist respond to him in vastly different ways; Erin (Kristen Wiig) is just overcome with lust, Abbie (Melissa McCarthy) just needs a freaking receptionist, Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) is really wanting to see what happens if he's around.
Speaking of Holtzmann... I want to marry her. Except I've been warned repeatedly in my life that one should never sleep with anyone crazier than they are. And she is bat crap crazy, and just as smart and talented. Go see this movie for Holtzmann! Do it. Worth every screen stealing second. From the great glasses and slouchy wardrobe, to her low voice and curled lip smile, you just know that there's a lot going on there.
Leslie Jones was so big and bold as Patty, and the facts that she rattles off about the city and history without skipping a beat show how Patty is an invaluable person to have around. Plus, she brought them a car. A vital piece of equipment for going around New York hunting apparitions. Anyone who is offended by the character of Patty is an idiot. There was no reason in this story line for all four characters to be scientists, and if anything having one of them be someone who knows the area better than all of them together, is an asset. There's even a line in the movie when she falls to the ground after attempting to crowd serf, "I don't know if it was a race thing, or a lady thing, but I'm mad as hell!" So I don't know if the disturbances about her casting and character were those things, but she nails Patty and was a lot of fun to watch.
Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig were great and funny, but they really weren't the biggest treats in this movie. Truthfully it's isn't the best movie I'm going to see all summer, but it was good fun and I love watching anything those two do together.
I believe the weakest part of this movie was really the villain and the plot. The villain is a creepy little dude who wants to cause an apocalypse because he's been picked on. Boo-fucking-hoo. There just isn't enough there to be compelling. But the effects were cheesy enough to be part of the franchise, the dialogue was witty and amusing and the pace was good enough to keep me interested. There was balanced use of the 3D effects, including a few that made me jump a bit. And the soundtrack was really good with lots of references to the earlier films.
All in all, I think this was a lot of fun and definitely a good time and I would easily watch it again down the road. I hope that it does well enough for at least the consideration of a sequel. Mostly because I want to see Hotzmann and Kevin again.
Okay I'm a little late to the party for seeing Captain America: Civil War, FINALLY. I mean it's been in the theaters for three weeks already and everyone has an opinion and I'm sure there have been dozens of reviews already. None of which I've read because I wanted to into the theater with only the previous films and the previews to guide me.
With that in mind, I had already decided that I was probably going to be #TeamCap. And I went to the movie with my father (yes, I'm 40, I still love Daddy/Daughter dates), who is decidedly #TeamIronMan. This is awkward. Doesn't help that my kid is awesome and is totally #TeamCap with me. I might be in trouble.
Oh and if you haven't figured it out yet, major spoilers because I was probably the last person to get out to see this flick.
I am a huge and vocal fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have seen all of the movies (including Wolverine: Origins *sigh*) and clap with glee at the good teasers and the Easter eggs. I also read Marvel comics in the 90's. I'm no expert and I don't know all the authors and artists and every story line in the books, but I know what I like and I keep watching and paying attention.
I loved this movie.
I liked the first Captain America even though I was never a huge fan of the character in the comics back when I was reading them. I just always felt like the character himself was just a little bit too propaganda-y for my taste. And I appreciated so much how the movie itself spoke to that very issue. Chris Evans brought an innocence and accessibility to to the character I wasn't expecting. I mean he's not only eye-candy, but he's created someone you genuinely believe is a good person. Like a really good person.
I am an Iron Man fan. Always have been. I like the idea of the asshole with the heart of gold. I want to believe that the snarky jerk getting all the attention at the party actually gives a shit about things more than just himself. I want to see the best in people. So I've enjoyed the MCU story arc of Tony going from war profiteer to philanthropist and Avenger. But the thing no one (in the movies) really talks about is that Tony is NOT OKAY. Going right on back to the first Iron Man, Tony Stark is fucked up. This man has more PTSD than alphabet soup. There was a fair amount of addressing it in the third Iron Man, but even so, you know in the movies since then that things have not resolved themselves for him. Pepper is gone. PEPPER IS GONE. This is a sign folks. Don't trust his instincts. Remember, Ultron was his idea. Look how well that went. (Even though we ended up with Vision, who is a vision, but still... Ultron = BAD IDEA!)
So Civil War is really about Steve and Tony have different ideas about what to do with the fallout of the things the Avengers do... Finally, superheroes discussing the collateral damage! Did we really believe all those years that when the big hero fought the big bad and buildings fell down that NO ONE WAS IN THEM? Of course people got hurt. We know this, but it was never discussed, until the recent movies. And now, here it is, come to a head and 100+ countries want to control the actions of the Avengers in order to minimize the collateral damage. Now this would take the blame off the members of the team. But it could put them in positions of doing things they don't want to do, or not being able to do things they feel they have to. In other words, by giving up accountability, they also give up their autonomy.
Tony is completely on board with this plan.
Steve is completely NOT on board with this plan.
Meanwhile in another country, Bucky is being framed for a terrorist attack.
Steve runs to save Bucky. Tony runs to catch Steve, and Bucky. The Avengers choose sides. Vision makes paprikash for Wanda. A crown prince turned king is revealed to be Black Panther. Natasha is conflicted. Tony recruits a high school kid who happens to sling webs. Sam has new toys. Lots of shit gets broken. Tony gets half the Avengers arrested. The bad guy makes a phone call that makes absolutely no sense, but reveals that he is an impostor and the frame job has been planned for a very very long time. More stuff gets broken. Did I mention stuff gets broken? Yeah... Like Rhodes. He gets broken. Tony briefly changes his mind about Bucky. Some shit is revealed about stuff Bucky did when he was the Winter Soldier. Tony no longer thinks Bucky deserves to live. More stuff gets broken... Get the picture?
In a story line that is essentially about determining what to do with the accountability and collateral damage of superheroes fighting super villains... There is a metric ton of collateral damage.
This film does not stand alone. It can't. If you haven't seen the films leading up to it, none of it will make sense and it would just be a bunch of pretty people kicking the crap out of each other. However, as part of the whole, this chapter progresses the stories of not only Captain America and Iron Man, but of the Avengers and the MCU as a whole. They are working out the kinks in the system. And by now they should start to realize that working with/under government organizations... Isn't working. Every time they team up with outside forces, it goes sideways. The problem is, the Avengers have been reacting since they came together. They see a problem, they fight a problem, they have shawarma. What they need is an internal system. And Tony should not be in charge. Unfortunately being the guy footing the bill, he gets too much say in what happens. I don't have an answer, I'm willing to see how the story goes. More than willing. Excited actually. I cannot wait to see the new characters get their own films (BLACK WIDOW needs her own story!) and the Spiderman reboot. Especially with Marisa Tomei as Aunt May (my step-mother is vaguely related to her through marriage, but I'm sure Miss Tomei has no idea who we are).
Very long story short, go see Captain America: Civil War, but don't expect to be satisfied, this is a "to be continued" style chapter in the greater whole. But it was a really good chapter.
I'm Kirsten. Some things you could label me with; tattooed, geek, mama, animal lover, weirdo, nerd, writer, movie and TV addict, lazy, ambitious, insomniac, feminist, LGBTQ+.