Thursday, April 19, 2018

What's Next On My List? Frost/Nixon

About three years ago I decided to write about Richard Nixon's relationship with the media and I did so because this movie inspired me to dig deeper, as deep as I could. My approach was from the side of the media, and despite the fictitious dramatic elements in this movie, the real life elements kept making me wish to discover as much as possible about this man. Looking at the president today... I would say that people were pretty hard on Nixon for what he did and how he did, because, at the same time, it hurts to see that nothing really has any consequence anymore in this world. Nonetheless, let's talk about the movie.

It is the story behind the interview series between the Australian TV host David Frost and the resigned president Richard Nixon. The story shows us the side of David, how he decided to set up the interview, paid for it from his own pocket, the research team behind it and finally how he got Nixon to confess to knowing about Watergate all along.

I was mesmerized by this movie. Prior to this movie all the information I ever got about Nixon was through a popular culture spectrum of jokes from the 90s. What is wonderful about this movie is that it made me care... I mean, I wanted to know more. A simple Ron Howard movie got be so hooked on US history that I ended up writing over 40 pages on it. First of all, I love that the rest of the interview was so boring that after the first time it aired the episodes disappeared completely and besides the confession people did not really care for it. Second, the casting was simply superb in my humble opinion. These are all top notch actors who, I believe, did the best job possible. Third, the story is itself interesting, but selling it as something new that people should care about is an immense work. I can say that they director and the writer did a great job.

My review won't go further into detail because I want everyone to see it. If you ever had questions about American presidents or to see how the media has changed over the years in US history than this is the movie for you. If you like any of the 300 actors in this movie, then you'll love it. If you are just looking for something of quality, again, this is it.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Richard Nixon - Frank Langella
David Frost - Michael Sheen
James Reston, Jr. - Sam Rockwell
Jack Brennan - Kevin Bacon
John Birt - Matthew Macfadyen
Bob Zelnick - Oliver Platt
Caroline Cushing - Rebecca Hall

Friday, April 13, 2018

What's Next On My List? About Time

A friend reminded me of this movie a couple of weeks ago and as we got talking about it I decided to write that down.

Tim's family is peculiar, as they are able to travel in time, but only the men. After he is told by his father what they are capable of, he uses it to gain experience in life and make sure to end up with the love of his life. As time passes he learns that there are rules to time travel that he should not break, and there are times when he just cannot go back, no matter what. He decides to accept life as it comes and he makes the best of it.

I adored this movie. The plot is fairly simple, but what makes it fantastic is that it teaches us the most important lesson in life: we all wish to go back in time and change certain things, what we said, what we did, a loud sigh we want to take back... and this movie allows for that, but in the end our protagonist decides to let life play out as it was meant to be. His father tells him that sometimes he went back and re-lived just one day, in order to enjoy it, because we all tend to forget. We never live for the day. As time passes Tim stops going back even for that, he learns to appreciate life for what it is and be aware at all times that our time here is short. The fact that he is able to travel in time is a gift that nobody around him shares. Him learning the best lesson from it is a reminder to us all, whom aren't gifted, that life is precious and we need to live for the day. He finds the love of his life, they have children, he cares for his sister and his parents, as well as his best friend. His gift to time travel is used both for himself as all of the important people in his life.

Watch it? Definitely. A great British comedy and romantic movie that gives you a good cry with a marvelous story. It is beautiful how the little things that we take for granted really make us who we are. This movie never forgets what message it wants to convey and that's what makes it an exceptionally good film.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Dad Bill Nighy
Kit KatLydia Wilson
Uncle DRichard Cordery
Harry Tom Hollander
Charlotte Margot Robbie

Thursday, April 5, 2018

What's Next On My List? The Nice Guys

My sister suggested this movie for a night of family fun and I laughed hysterically on and on, at a simple but super clever story of two unlikely partners.

They are, in reality, terrible. Holland March is a private investigator who cons old ladies in order to take care of his daughter, and he meets Jackson Healy while investigating the case of a dead pornstar. The two realize that there is a much larger conspiracy at hand and they do their best to reveal who was behind the killing of a handful of innocent people.
"- Dad, there's like whores here and stuff.
- Sweetheart, how many times have I told you? Don't say 'and stuff'. 
Just say 'dad, there are whores here'."

I loved the 1970s setting, the buddy-cop feel, but in the end mystery detective story that was filled with jokes left and right. This was a wonderful movie for the exception of one little thing that I and my sister deemed completely unnecessary. [Spoiler] In the story the girl, Amelia, they were chasing in order the uncover what really happened ends up being killed by the gun for hire the guys were fighting. Her death contributed to nothing, if not made me sad. This girl escaped everything and then fell dead when she finally reached the good guys. Her mother turns out to be the main villain, and she claims that she wanted her safe. To be honest, catching her and claiming she is insane would have helped me believe that the mother did care on some level. Killing her only enforced the image that she would do anything for the pay-off that the companies her daughter was fighting were giving her. Jackson and March would've still tried to uncover the truth even if she was just locked away in a mental hospital (being deemed incapable by her mother). The writing could have gone a different way, is all I'm saying.
That having been said, there was nothing else I could complain about. March's daughter Holly was very funny, not to mention that her interaction with Jackson was kind of moving. Jackson's job is to make sure that everyone gets a good night sleep and people who abuse little girls in particular pay for their ways. He is a kind of hero, arguably for money, but a hero nonetheless in the end because he resorts to doing the right thing even when he is not paid. March seems desperate and he cannot get over the pain of having lost his wife, the fact that Jackson cares for Holly as much as he does makes him respect him. As they uncover the truth they learn a lot about each other and decide to partner up in the end. Although I personally would not have thought about casting these two together, I'm glad someone did because it was magnificent!

"- Jesus Christ! One at a time!
- You took the Lord's name in vain.
- No I didn't, Janet. I found it very useful actually. Ok, Janet?"

Watch it? Please do, you will not be disappointed. Ryan Gosling is simply hilarious, and even if at first you can't really see why you would care for either of these two, you cannot help but love them. I believe that this will be my favorite Russell Crowe movie of all time!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Jackson Healy - Russell Crowe
Holland March - Ryan Gosling
Holly March - Angourie Rice
John Boy - Matt Bomer
Amelia Kuttner - Margaret Qualley
Tally - Yaya DaCosta

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What's Next On My List? Ferdinand

My sister and I love watching cartoons and I was waiting for this one to finally come out because I fell in love with the trailer right away! I loved the animation and the idea, not to mention the excitement over the voices featured in the movie... overall I was too excited and scared that I might not like it. But I did!

This is a story of a bull that was made to love instead of fighting. Other bulls look down on him for being the way he is, seeing that they believe that the only way to survive is to fight. Ferdinand, however, knows that even if he is the strongest, even if he defeats the matador, he will still never really win. He decides to help all the other bulls escape the hands of those who only see wild animals in them, to live where they can be free.

I think that my favorite scene of all time was that of a literal bull in a china shop. Ferdinand is mistaken for a ferocious and dangerous bull and is taken back to his old home, a place he managed to escape after his father passed away. There he finally understands why his father never came home, why people are scared of him and why his old friends believe that brute force is the only way. A matador comes to their ranch to select a bull, but Ferdinand fights hard to make sure they all get out alive.
Honestly I kept laughing and then crying, and laughing again and crying and this cartoon just kept playing with my emotions in a good way. It was not a 'your parents must die because Disney' kind of feeling, but it focused on the reality of how we treat these animals. Which, as heartbreaking as it is, is the truth. Us humans are sometimes forced into a place where we do not fit, and I loved that this story showed the same dilemma for a bull. I'd like to believe that indeed they are not seeking a fight but are forced to do it (and they are, I mean really... they don't get rage from color red, for example...). The idea of a bull only wanting to smell flowers is incredibly endearing!
There was, however, one thing that kept bothering me: communication. Ferdinand somewhat refused to say out loud what he was feeling and thinking when he was surrounded by new people. He had a new friend, Lupe, a goat that always wanted to be a coach and Ferdinand never really says out loud that he has never fought and never wishes to fight and I did not understand why. There were plenty of chances for him, not to mention that him and Lupe develop a great friendship, but he still waits for her to find out on her own. If I was forced to do things that I hate I would scream my head off...
And that is all the bad I can name. I loved every second of this movie. From the asshole German show horses to the Scottish highland cow that can't see right: It was simply adorable.

Watch it? Uhm, YEAH! I teaches children to not judge based on appearances. It also teaches you to be patient and to let all flowers bloom. We treat animals awfully... we just do. But not all of us and this is a tale of how seeing past what you think you should see might show you something that you'll love. I think that is a great moral.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Ferdinand - John Cena
Valiente - Bobby Cannavale
Angus - David Tennant
Hans - Flula Borg

Saturday, March 24, 2018

What's Next On My List? Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I was really looking forward to this movie as I hoped they would do the Disney cartoon justice. There were some things I expected, but some that took me by surprise, overall the movie was an incredibly delightful experience and I was very happy to have seen it. Allow me to go into detail:

The tale of Belle, a girl who has outgrown her little town, ends up in cell of an enchanted castle in order to save her father's life. Her capturer, a prince under the curse of an old woman, befriends her despite his beast-like appearance. The two, like in all fairy tales, fall in love and break the spell.

My sister and I have always watched the Disney cartoon around Christmas, for us it will always be part of the holiday tradition, and as such we decided to wait for winter with this movies as well. I had to realize, having seen so many real life adaptations that something for me was always missing. It was only when the first trailer came out that I finally understood: the music. I just love the soundtrack of the original so much that without it... all others were never good enough. Honestly, I did want the Disney version to be made into a real life version and what I got was everything I wanted! First, the Beast did not look like a giant cat anymore, but an actual beast. Second, the aim of Gaston is to be really attractive to everyone else, but too much for Belle: Luke Evans was the perfect cast for this job. Third, finally, the fact that Belle reads so much showed and I know that was a gentle nod to the fact that women should no longer be portrayed as damsels in distress, and I find it was done well. 
I need to admit that I am completely in love with Dan Stevens, he just cannot do wrong, and I adored recognizing his facial expressions as his relationship developed with Belle. There were more scenes of them talking, which was a smart addition, and his song was by far the most beautiful (which is weird in a soundtrack that is over 20 years old... the people who wrote the new tracks knew their source material). Overall there was one thing that bothered me immensely... the enchantress curses the prince because he was an a-hole to everyone. But... what about the town? We can see that everyone in the town has no problem whatsoever with being rude to the disguised self of the enchantress again and then taking up arms with the plans to kill the beast... why is that OK? Why don't we teach a lesson to the people of the town? Adding her to the background as one of the citizens was a huge mistake, in my opinion, but that is the only criticism I can come up with.

Watch it? People I have met so far did not want to because of their love of the cartoon. You can trust me when I tell you that you will not be disappointed. The people who made this movie cared about what they were doing. 

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Belle - Emma Watson
Beast - Dan Stevens
Gaston - Luke Evans
LeFou - Josh Gad
Maurice - Kevin Kline