You Don’t Know How That Feels

Cars 3 is an interesting animal. I mean, all of the Cars movies are sort of interesting and a little bit weird, but also quite enjoyable.

I had a feeling that I was going to like it, because it’s basically the plot of Rocky 3, and I really, really like Rocky 3. (It’s my favorite Rocky…) Lightning McQueen wants to come back, but it seems like racing has moved on, and his mentor is dead, and his partner is supportive, but unable do much for him, and there’s outside pressure that has nothing to do with why he fell in love with the whole thing anyway.

The movie itself is sweet, touching, and not overly long, which made for a nice change. I adore new character Cruz Ramirez, as well as several quite sweet tributes to Paul Newman.

There are fun cameos as always, although I think Lighting’s new corporate boss being a Cadillac named “Mr. Sterling” being voiced by Nathan Fillion and NOT John Slattery is a waste of a perfectly good easter egg. (Not to take away from Fillion, who is as always, flawless.)

Cars 3 is worth checking out, Pixar usually is, if only to see what they were able to do visually, and this one has a fun story and some nice new characters to go along with it.

Short:

Lou, about the sentient, loving Lost and Found being is straight up adorable, with a touching bit to say about bullying, and attachment.

Rankings:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  3. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  4. Cars 3
  5. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers

Despicable Me 3: This is coming up. I’ll probably go see it. Unlikely I’ll see it opening night.

Ferdinand: I knew this was happening, I did not know that John Cena was voicing Ferdinand. That’s kind of ridiculously perfect.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure: Oh my goodness, can I not wait for a short of Olaf running around learning about Scandinavian Christmas traditions. Also, Else and Anna’s Christmas dresses are everything.

Coco: OK, this is going to be great, or at the very least beautiful. I don’t know a lot about Dios De Los Muertos, except that it’s also my birthday, and in Ireland we call it All Souls Day.

They Do Not Deserve You

wonder_woman_ver5

When I was waiting for my car last night on the way home from Wonder Woman, I texted my brother, “Wonder Woman is perfect by the way.” His answer: “Well they took long enough I would hope so.”

I loved this movie. I went in ready to love this movie and it’s perfect and wonderful and I want to hug it and also I want to see it a million times. Aless summed it up, “I don’t think I will ever get tired of watching that movie.”

Patty Jenkins and the team at DC and Warner Brothers have created something really special, and it’s not like they had any pressure on them to do it right or anything. (HAHA) And through a coup of casting Gal Gadot, who I think might actually be Wonder Woman, like hiding out or something, and a singular focus on telling a strong story with defined characters, they cleared the very high bar that had been set for them.

Let’s talk about Gadot. I was in the “Who?” “She’s too skinny.” “I’m not sure about this.” camps three years ago when her casting was announced. But she’s amazing, she understands this character in a way that’s hard to articulate, her every move and word embodies Diana and it’s just so wonderful.

There’s a moment in this movie, the first time we see Diana in Wonder Woman’s costume, where she pushes herself over the top of a trench in Belgium and runs through No Man’s Land, deflecting bullets with her shield and bracelets, taking the fire as the men who follow her chase through to the other side. I was crying the whole time. Happy joyous, “HOLY SHIT THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING” tears, streaming down my face. It’s a wonderful moment.

Chris Pine is great in this movie too, which does incredible things with Steve Trevor, who is brave, funny, interesting and DAMN IS THE BOY FINE. I mean, look, I’m not saying the rest of the movie could have been crappy and the scene where he takes a bath and then he and Diana have a conversation about his dick would have mad the whole endeavor worth it, (yes that happens, and yes it’s better than how I described it) and I don’t want to dwell on the fact that the image of him in a fedora walking through the streets of 1918 London, (SWOOON) is my new image of male perfection, but seriously, he’s a very attractive man and has passed Hemsworth to become the third best Chris. (He’s even inching up on Pratt…none will touch Evans though.)

I could keep going on about how much I loved this movie, but I’m just going to say one more thing, this a movie where Bruce Wayne does not appear and it still managed to get across the part of his personality that I like the best from versions other than movies. He finds the original copy of the picture of Wonder Woman with her war buddies, and sends it to her, with a note that reads, “I found the original, maybe someday you’ll tell me your story.” A little bit cranky, but deeply invested in the people he cares about.

Because this movie is perfect.

Rankings!

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  3. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  4. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers

Transformers again.

The extended Dunkirk look was fabulous. Good lord is that movie going to be good. I hope it wins Nolan his Oscar. I kind of don’t see how it couldn’t…though it would be sweet sweet irony if Logan wins.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: How do we make this thing most people love better? Add Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum!

Thor: Ragnorok: *Aless and I practically collapse into giggles on the floor of the theater in anticipation.*

Balance Is The Answer

King Arthur

I like to visit Camelot every few years. I’ve mentioned this before.

I think Guy Ritchie is one of the greatest working action directors. I’ve mentioned this before.

I’m not sure that Charlie Hunnam is actually a good actor, though I have consistently enjoyed his work. I’ve mentioned this before

So, with all of that out of the way, it should be a foregone conclusion that I really really enjoyed, King Arthur: Legend Of  The Sword. But I was  nervous going in because this movie has not been tracking well, and it made not nearly enough money last week to be considered a hit, which is a shame, because this movie is a complete and utter delight. Obviously, I knew that this movie was probably going to have my favorite stylish action of the summer but goddamn do I love how Ritchie handles fights.

From Arthur’s brawling as he grows up on the streets of Londinium to the stunning magic assisted sword fights to the incredible opening battle featuring giant elephant demons (Yup, that’s a thing. AND IT WAS AWESOME), all of the action was superbly fun. And only two of the scenes utilized slow motion.

Hunnam is kind of perfect here? I don’t know how else to say this. I’ve been onto his schtick since about season 3 of Sons of Anarchy (stare intensely at his co-stars until it’s time to shout) but it’s actually deeply effective for Arthur, and even more surprisingly, he handles the wisecracking required of a Ritchie lead miraculously.

Jude Law does well as the villain. (Arthur’s uncle Vortigan, who’s new to me.) An unnamed sorceress plays Merlin’s role (I kept waiting for someone to call her Morgan or Vivienne, but it never happened) and I squeed a bit when one of Arthur’s street buddies rose as a new knight, “Sir Tristan.” (Everyone else had their normal names, but this guy had gone by the street name “Wet Stick” the whole movie).

Overall I think it’s a bummer this movie didn’t hit because it’s a whole lot of fun, and it’s vaguely educational, because I bet some kid is going to see this movie and get into Athurian legend.

I hope so at least.

I also hope that either this or The Man From UNCLE get sequels, though that seems unlikely.

Trailers:

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Lord does that look good. The first one was so special, I hope they keep it going.

Transformers: The Last Knight: Guys, I can’t decide if I’ve just seen this trailer a bunch of times and I have stockholm syndrome, or do I actually want to see a new Transformers movie?

The Hitman’s Bodyguard: I have never heard of this movie before, and it looks PRETTY dumb, but using Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” in the trailer is genius.

Wonder Woman: We’re so close. It feels close right? Anyway, this trailer is bank, all of them have been.

Rankings:

  1. Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  2. King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

Quick unrelated note: Today is the 6th Anniversary of The Fangirl’s Dilemma! A lot has changed and lot hasn’t, but thanks to everyone who’s read for the past 6 years!

Yours in love, nerdiness & girl power – Reenie

This Unspoken Thing

Guardians 2

Happy Movie Season You Guys!

I think this is the first “official” movie season that actually started on May The 4th.

If you’re new around here, let me explain.

Movie Season is the Blockbuster release time, between May and December. The rule of thumb is that it reaches from Marvel to Star Wars. (Previously, Marvel to Hobbit)

This year’s first Marvel Studios release was the highly anticipated Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2.

One of the many things that made Guardians Of The Galaxy the delight that it was, was the surprise factor. It’s humor, it’s space opera action and that soundtrack all caught everyone off guard. Volume 2 doesn’t have that out of left field leg up, instead has the handicap of expectation. This worried me a little, thinking their might be an Iron Man 2 effect, where the loss of the surprise makes the whole thing feel sloppy.

Not the case. Rather than rehash, James Gunn has built on the foundation he placed 2 years ago. My main complaint about Guardians was always that for a team film, it is woefully unbalanced, giving priority to Star Lord and Rocket, which is fine, but shortchanges Drax and Gamora in a big way, which is a bummer, because those characters are fun, and Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana are fantastic.

Volume 2 balances things a little bit better. The team is split up for a large chunk of the run time, placing Rocket and Groot with Guardian frenemy Yondu, and Gamora, Star Lord and Drax with her sister Nebula, Peter’s father Ego, The Living Planet, and adorable new comer Mantis.

The team relationships are well defined, and the chemistry based but “unspoken” romance between Peter Quill and Gamora is actually very touching. And there’s something to the theme of family of choice, and biological family, or structural family (In the case of Gamora and Nebula) and the ways they intersect and fight with one another.

Visually, the movie is bright, interestingly designed and of course, the soundtrack very very interesting yet again. (You’ll never thing of “Brandy, you’re a fine girl” the same way again. And it makes excellent use of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” as well as “Surrender.”)

It was also the first Marvel Movie that Aless and I could think of that quickly and breezily passed the Bechdel-Wallace test. (A scene between Gamora and Nebula where they discuss Gamora’s plan for her sister does it.) So good job!

Rankings:

  1. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2

Trailers:

Not Wonder Woman.

Dunkirk, Spider-Man, Star Wars, Pirates, yes, but not Wonder Woman.

 

Ever Just The Same, Ever A Surprise

Beauty And The Beast

Beauty And The Beast is not my favorite Disney movie. I love it a lot, and I still think it’s one of the greatest examples of a film musical. (Right behind Singin In The Rain and The Sound Of Music.)  So I had similar if not the same expectations as everyone going into the movie last weekend.

I wasn’t disappointed. Baffled, unsure, and impressed, for sure, but never disappointed.

The basics of Beauty And The Beast remain as they always have been, but the new film manages to add wrinkles and twists to the story you know that are surprising enough to make watching the film engrossing. The characters we know and love are given turns in their paths and depths revealed in their wake.

If I sound a little too poetic I’m sorry, but I was very happy with this movie. I’m obsessed with this cast, with the decision made in it’s screen play, and I could babble on for days about the visual, but I guess I have to focus on one thing at a time.

Let’s start with the cast. Emma Watson is delightful as Belle. There’s none of Hermione’s intensity or bossiness in her quiet thoughtful French village girl, and that’s something of a relief. Watson’s voice is noticeably autotuned in spots, but when it isn’t has a lovely sing song quality that I think suits the piece quite well. Dan Stevens brings a mournful heartbreak to the Beast and “For Evermore” is an excellent addition to the canon of Howard Ashman penned Disney songs. These two were also wonderful together. Kevin Kline. I wish Kevin Kline were in more movies. The only reason I can think that he isn’t is that he is not inclined to be, because he’s ALWAYS SO GOOD! Ian McKellan is wonderful if underused. There’s a lot of comedy to Cogsworth that I think got lost in the more serious tone taken on the overall film, but both he and Emma Thomspson do exceedingly well with their limited scope. I would watch Audra McDonald read the phone book as long as she got to hit a few above the staff notes and the movie grants her that and then some. Ewan McGregor acquits himself well with Lumiere, the one of the servants who I think gets to maintain their original charm. This is probably because Lumiere is the most *ahem* flamboyant, (pun  not intended) his light (Damn, keep walking into those) is harder to dampen.

Luke Evans and Josh Gad are flawless and I want more of them doing musical theater. I hope this movie shows the mainstream what theater people have known about Gad for a long time. There’s more to him than Olaf, not that mainstream comedy has the kind of roles that really suit Gad, but he’s really great here, and Evans makes Gaston’s particular brand of masculine menace chilling.

The screenplays new wrinkles would constitute spoilers if I talked about them too deeply, but I will talk about the deepening characterizations, starting with Gaston and LeFou! The codifying of LeFou’s queerness is interesting, especially as it dawns on him that his adoration of Gaston is both troubling and misplaced, giving a comic sidekick an actual arc is something that I always support and it’s executed well here. Gaston is shown here as a soldier and returning golden boy who finds the provincial town dull after the horror and glory of war. Which is way more interesting than a blustering hunter and a good deal more frightening. He’s enamored of Belle not just because she’s beautiful (though that helps) but because she’s, well, disinterested. There’s an undercurrent of “yes, you and I are above this place” to his attempts to woo her, and that’s fascinating to me.

Maurice also gets a makeover, made less of a buffoon and more of an eccentric and it works. Belle and The Beast, both become wounded motherless children, searching for a connection anywhere they can find it, and it makes their romance deeper, sweeter and sadder all at once.

I didn’t love all of the changes. It seemed strange to turn the village from a quiet, sleepy, slightly backward hamlet to some kind of patriarchal hellscape a la The Republic of Gilead where women aren’t allowed to learn to read and if they’re unmarried or without a father’s protection they’re thrown out into the streets to beg. This seems extreme for a fairytale that’s about seeing past first impressions and I did feel the loss of some of the comedy.

But there’s something deeply instinctual about fairy tales, and Disney’s take on these stories that have been with us forever is so deep in the company’s roots, I’m not surprised that they’re able to execute things well.

But This One Goes To Eleven

Movie Post Season Round 6:

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping inspires This Is Spinal Tap

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This Is Spinal Tap looms so large in comedy consciousness, in the careers of the men who made it (except maybe Rob Reiner, who I kind of forgot about in the equation), and of course in the mind of anyone who enjoyed the best comedy of 2016 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, that I was a little nervous to sit down and watch it.

Spinal Tap started the comedy style of Christopher Guest, and his brilliant mockumentaries, and while I don’t think it’s the best of the genre, (WAITING FOR GUFFMAN!) being the first gets it some latitude.

However, the point of this review is mainly to compare it to Popstar, and in that vein, aside from being about the music business in all of it’s weirdness, is about something falling apart and then coming back together. The tensions of Spinal Tap are not identical to those of Connor4Real, but the end result is the same. The band is far less coddled, so their increasing reaction to the chaos provides a different sort of feel from Connor’s willful obliviousness.

As Spinal Tap’s gigs fall in prominence, and their guitarist quits and then returns, it’s not impossible to believe that this is a real band, which was, I think the point in making it. But to apply to much logic or linear storytelling to Spinal Tap would be a waste of energy, since anytime you started to get anywhere, one of the many genius gags would smack you in the face.

Whether it’s the fact that they can’t get an album cover they like approved, the classic, “but this goes to eleven” amp scene, or the tiny stone henge (which is my favorite). The main thing that I’d forgotten, or perhaps never noticed, about it, is that the band seems deeply aware of the fact that what’s going on around them is completely nuts, and their team seems to want to smooth it over. It’s a different takeaway than I anticipated (I’m fairly sure I haven’t watched this movie since middle school) and I kind of comedy that I’m always fond of.

While, as I said, it’s not my favorite for Guest, (Stool boom, stool boom…) nor Reiner, (The Princess Bride exists…and When Harry Met Sally…and A Few Good Men. My GOD that man has made some good movies…ooh, also Stand By Me!) it’s a solid beginning for two really great artists, so that’s something!

Impressive, Most Impressive

Movie Post Season: Round 5

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story inspires Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

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I barely had to pay attention, I have watched this movie so many times. But what to focus on, when comparing it to it’s new younger brother. (Which, I now hold as like, my fifth favorite Star Wars movie.) And while there are lots of things in Empire that I think could directly correlate with Rogue One, I think that main one is the legacy of fathers and children.

Both Luke and Jyn are out to outrun and live up to their father’s legacies simultaneously, and both wind up learning about something that they didn’t expect about said father. A) That he’s alive, and B) that he’s not on the side that they initially thought he was.

In Rogue One, Jyn has convinced herself that her father is dead, but in fact he’s alive and working for the empire, but then, twist! Turns out he’s trying his best to be a good guy. Luke, has always believed his father was a great hero, a powerful Jedi, and of course, that he’s dead. His father, like Jyn’s, not dead, and is in fact the villain to end all villains.

While Jyn gets half the movie to deal with this information, Luke gets, well, a whole movie, but it’s not this one. Both are huge bombshells that matter in not only the hero’s relationship with their father, but in their entire identity. Jyn becomes a hero because her father wanted to save the universe for her. Luke, on the other hand, considers himself the son of Anakin Skywalker, the hero, the greatest Jedi to ever live, or whatever, and instead, he learns that his father is Darth Vader and that his mentor lied to him.

That’s a lot of disillusionment for one little farm boy and one badass space pirate? (What was her deal exactly? Seriously, I was less into that movie than others…) But either way.