Movie Review: Call Me By Your Name

Only because of the fact that “Call me by Your Name” along with “The Shape of Water” are both nominated for best picture this year and the ratings for this movie are incredibly in the high 90’s on rotten-tomatoes, I decided to see this film. For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone likes this boring, overly long story about a man in his early 30’s and a young boy in his teens – who are trying to decide if they are gay – was ever made into a movie – much less liked by anyone. There is no real story here, just a series of boring scenes in an old town in Italy and I could not wait until it was all over and in the end, after about 2 hours I had to leave early because I just could not stand the whole bad experience.

Considering that 9 movies are nominated now for the Academy Awards and a great movie like “Molly’s Game” was not even nominated and this one was, tells me that there is something very wrong with the voting process for the Academy Awards. As far as the performances, by Armie Hammer who is not gay and the other actor – they were OK but the agony of sitting through this mess was so bad I didn’t even notice. There was also way too much smoking in this movie, even considering that it was set in the year 1983. The sexual scenes were done tastefully, with the exception of one disgusting scene involving a peach that I thought was in very poor taste.

This is one of the worst movies I have seen for a while, and one of the rare times I have walked out of a film before it was over. Do yourself a favor and miss this very bad waste of 2 hours.

Movie Review: Hostiles

I have heard some prominent reviewers comparing the new Western “Hostiles” starring Christian Bale to Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece from 1992 “Unforgiven” and while I agree that this is a good Western, with a very simple story and very well done, it is not anywhere near as good as Unforgiven, which arguably has the best line and scene in any movie of all time, (see video below) and is the best Western ever made. Anytime I see a good Western, it reminds me what a horrible time that was to be alive. Killing people indiscriminately was as routine as brushing your teeth, even including women and children, and US soldiers killed just as brutally as Indians. Life was very hard in those days, and if you got sick or even a small flesh wound or infection, odds are high that you are going to die. There was no medicine or pain killers other than alcohol and the all of the important medical discoveries were years into the future.

I thought the screenplay for this movie was very well written because the story was kept very simple and eventually wound up as a group of soldiers, Indians and civilians making their way to different locations while being attacked my savage Indians. There was not that much more to the story, but the simplicity I thought was the best part of this film along with the scenes of the great vistas of the Western United States.

I recommend Hostiles.

Movie Review: 12 Strong

One day a famous PHD in Economics will write a book that attempts to count the amount of money and lives the 19 men who created the world changing disaster of 911 has cost the world. The number of lives is in the millions, and the amount of money is in the 10’s of trillions. These 19 terrorists on that day, also gave this country the longest war in its entire history, Afghanistan. Nobody who ever lived through 9.11.2001 will ever forget that day; and 911 is where the the movie “12 Strong” begins.

What is good about this movie is to record an important moment in US History that marked the beginning of the war in Afghanistan. Anyone who sees this movie will learn something they didn’t know about the first 12 men to risked their lives and ventured into the middle of Afghanistan to locate Taliban fighters so US bombers could destroy them. Even more amazing about their incredibly riskly and unlikely mission is that they used horses to fight a great deal of their battle where they were greatly outnumbered. The only thing about this movie that I didn’t like was that it was slow in too many places, a bit too long and in terms of a war movie, there was really nothing new here. This film stars Chris Hemsworth and Micheal Shannon, who seems to be in many movies lately.

This movie should be seen by anyone who is interested in getting a history lesson about something that happened right after 911. For me, I give it a mild recommendation.

Academy Award Nominations 2018

HUGE Omissions and errors in this list include “Molly’s Game” not nominated and Jessica Chastain and Idris Alba also not nominated. They also did not nominate Michele Williams for best supporting actress. Another mistake. Why the Shape of Water was so liked by so many, I have no idea.

Best Picture
Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Actor
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Isreal, Esq

Best Actress
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

Best Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director
Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

Best Animated Feature Film
The Breadwinner
The Boss Baby
Loving Vincent

Original Screenpla
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Adapted Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Molly’s Game

Best Foreign Language Film
The Insult, Lebanon
Loveless, Russia
On Body and Soul, Hungary
The Square, Sweden
A Fantastic Woman, Chile

Best Documentary Short Subject
Edith and Eddie
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Best Documentary Feature
Faces Places
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

Best Production Design
Beauty and the Beast
Bladerunner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Best Cinematography
Bladerunner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Best Costume Design
Beauty and The Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of water
Victoria & Abdul

Best Sound Editing
Baby Driver
Bladerunner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Sound Mixing
Baby Driver
Bladerunner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Animated Short Film
Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Best Original Score
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Visual Effects
Bladerunner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

Movie Review: Phantom Thread

The movie “Phantom Thread”, supposedly for reasons unknown, is the last Daniel Day Lewis will ever make. The story is about a middle aged and wealthy wedding dress maker and his ill fated and strange relationship with a much younger woman who is a waitress he finds while at a restaurant. I found the entire experience of his movie hard to watch, mainly due to the cruel treatment of Lewis character towards this very nice young woman who constantly tries and fails to please him, his all too frequent rude and moody outbursts and a sound track that seems to never stop droning throughout the whole 2 hours. Perhaps Lewis has decided to quit acting after months of cruel scenes with this nice woman co-star he was working with took its depressing toll. There is a strange twist to this movie at the end that I found more strange than interesting and throughout it all, the audience has to watch the downward spiral of a strong relationship that falls into verbal abuse.

For reasons I don’t understand, the ratings for this movie are very high, however I cannot recommend this film, even though it is Daniel Day Lewis’s last one.

Movie Review: Den of Thieves

The movie “Den of Thieves” makes a big mistake because it tries too hard to be like an all time movie classic about bank robbery, a head police investigator and a gang of criminals. That all time classic is “Heat”, that came out in 1995, starring Al Pacino and Robert Deniro. Heat is one film that will never be topped in terms of its perfectly told story, action and behind the scenes character development, so right from the start this film, this movie goes into a wrong direction.

I have always heard that the craft of screenwriting is the most difficult of all the creative art forms and it is for good reason. One of the reasons for this is that the story has to be interesting and compelling but most importantly make plausible sense. Unfortunately, this movie makes no sense on a number of levels even to the point of where the screenwriter used the “fill in the blanks” method at the end of the film in a last ditch effort to try and educate the audience about what happened behind the scenes that we all missed. “Den of Thieves stars Gerard Butler who still seems to trying to get back to his excellent performance in “Olympus has Fallen”, released in 2013 proving once again how difficult it is to follow a huge hit like that with another movie as good.

Mainly because of the overly complex plot that mostly holds no water, I cannot recommend Den of Thieves.

Movie Review: The Commuter

The new movie The Commuter” is another example of a screenwriter trying to find something new and different within a genre that we have all seen many times before, “Intrigue and murder on a train”. The problem with trying too hard to be different and new within something done so many times before is that the job of creating the story is even more difficult because of the problem of plausibility. How can you make something so new and at the same time make the whole thing believable? This is where this movie fails, because I didn’t believe the story.

There were things to like about this movie, including the star Liam Neeson and some comments about his financial problems because of the 2008 financial crisis that the whole world can relate to and the other harsh reality of so many commuters in this world who have to take a crowded train to work, five days a week, which is something I could never do. Mainly because of the story, that I did not really believe, I can only give this film a very marginal recommendation.

Movie Review: The Post

Any time Steven Spielberg is involved in making a movie as a director or producer, you just have to go and see what its all about. Spielberg’s new film The Post” is a movie about something that happened in history, and this kind of film has always been my favorite because you may learn something you never knew. All us know how bad and how stupid the mistake this country made with the Vietnam War. Why Vietnam happened in the first place and why it took so long to finally end, are due to the politics involved that were as underhanded as they come.

Robert McNamara has been called the architect of the Vietnam War and he is played very well by Bruce Greenwood and the story of The Post really revolves around him and all of the bad reasons why the Vietnam continued for years long after the United States knew that the war was no longer winnable. The moment that got me the most was when it was said that 70% of the reason why the Unites States continued fighting an unwinnable war was to avoid looking like a loser in the eyes of the world. Over 58,000 young men died during the Vietnam War and to learn that 70% of the reason for continuing was for saving face; makes the entire war all the more worse than it already is.

Tom Hanks plays Ben Bradlee who was the executive editor of the Washington Post and Merryl Streep plays the woman who owned the paper after her husband died. Their courage to publish McNamara’s memos and documents about what was really going on in Vietnam opened the flood gates of criticism and about the Vietnam War and could even have hastened its end. Overall, I thought that the acting was very good, but for a Spielberg movie I did expect something that was great, and not just rather good.

This is a good movie about an important moment in history and I do recommend it.

Past Movie Review: Office Space

When the movie “Office Space” was released in 1999, I remember thinking that I have never seen a film that so perfectly captures the reality of working in the corporate world. The frustrations, the insanity, the injustice, the managers who do nothing and have no skills and yet they are in charge and the fact that as you look around your cubicle environment very often it feels like you are throwing your life down the drain. Very often you are forced to do work that you do not want to do and feeling trapped in a depressing life, “because of the money”.

This movie was also very funny, starring Ron Livingston who was perfect as the miserable employee who just didn’t want do to any of this anymore, Gary Cole, as his annoying boss and Jennifer Aniston as Livingston’s girlfriend who was given a hard time by her boss as a waitress, because she never wore enough buttons on her blouse to please him. What is also great are the irony’s that all the employees of this fictional software company have to face as 2 men are hired to fire a mass of people and they are most impressed by Livingston’s character who at that exact time, had decided to give up on working and do nothing all day and the famous TPS report idiotic nightmare at the beginning of the movie that summarizes all the frustrations and insanities (see video).

If you have not seem Office Space on cable or DVD, you owe it to yourself to see one of the best parodies of the nightmare of working for other people ever produced.