One Day Away – My Thoughts and Predictions for The Oscars 2018

One Day Away – My Thoughts and Predictions for The Oscars 2018

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When I woke up this morning I realized (a little late) that I hadn’t written anything on the Oscars yet. In fact, it has been a while since I had last sat down and written anything. I couldn’t figure out why that was so, but I knew that I had a lot of catching up to do. So, I thought that I would sit down and write a little something for you today. At first, I thought that I would just sit down and write out a short predictions list of who I thought was going to win what and all that crap, but now I feel like if I don’t at least give my readers some context to my predictions, then I shouldn’t make any predictions at all. So, before I make my Oscar predictions, I would like to give short reviews of the Oscar movies that i have had the pleasure of viewing this year. Obviously, I haven’t seen all of the films nominated this year, and so several will not be mentioned. I encourage anyone who reads this to leave a comment if there is a film not mentioned that I should take a look at.

The films that I will examine in this post will be The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Post, Darkest Hour and Coco. I would like to say that it has been almost a month since I have seen some of these films, and also that since I am only doing short reviews of these films, I may forget to mention something or only focus on what I enjoyed. I may try to do more fleshed out reviews of each of these films after I have had a chance to revisit them. Until then, I hope these short reviews will be enough.

The Shape of Water

I loved this film. I will not lie, I thought that it was absolutely brilliant. The acting is great, the cinematography is glorious, the writing is amazing. The film is just a perfect example of fabulous storytelling. I was completely hooked to this movie from start to finish. Guillermo del Toro has made a beautiful film that I think will be remembered and talked about for many years to come.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Going into this film, I wasn’t sure I would like it. The trailer looked alright and I knew that this movie would probably get some nominations here and there. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how much I would love this film. The two things that really stand out for me is the acting and the writing. Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell all three give strong performances in this film that leaves the viewer truly caring about these people that live in the small town of Ebbing, Missouri. The dialogue for this film is amazing. Not just the way it is written (although that is a big part of it) but also the way it is said feels so natural its like you aren’t even watching a movie. It feels more like you are actually there witnessing the events play out.

The Post

What can really be said about this movie that hasn’t already been said? When you have the winning combination of Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Meryl Streep you are bound to have yourself a fantastic film. The only bad thing about The Post is that it is a pretty by the numbers Oscar nominated film. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but I do feel like there is a movie like this one nominated for an Oscar every year. Because of that, I fear that this film might be overlooked by many, and forgotten by others. Still though, I would highly recommend this film to all Spielberg/Hanks/Streep fans.

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour suffers from the same problem that The Post does: it feels like there is one every year. What Darkest Hour has that not many other films have though is a performance as strong has Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. I feel like the film as a whole may not be for everyone, but Oldman’s performance is.

Coco

This. Movie. Is. Stunning. Not only is this animated film visually beautiful, it is also a beautiful story that will entertain the kids while it moves the parents. Disney and Pixar have proven once again that they are the masters of animated storytelling.

 

And now what you have been waiting for…

My Oscar Predictions:

*note, I will not be listing out predictions for all categories, only the ones that I believe to be the most important.

Best Picture: The Shape of Water

Lead Actor: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Lead Actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (I would like to note that I would be fine with Woody Harrelson, Richard Jenkins, or Christopher Plummer wining as well)

Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Animated Feature: Coco

Original Screenplay: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Cinematography: The Shape of Water

 

 

 

Let the Past Die – My Thoughts on the Film and What The Last Jedi Means for the Future of Star Wars

Let the Past Die – My Thoughts on the Film and What The Last Jedi Means for the Future of Star Wars

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Before you read any further, I feel that I should warn you that this WILL contain many SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi yet, then WHY ARE YOU EVEN READING THIS? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING? STAR WARS HAS BEEN OUT FOR ALMOST A MONTH NOW! GO SEE IT! NOW!

In all seriousness, I would highly recommend to all who have not seen the movie to wait to read this blog until after they have seen it. The only way to truly experience the film the way writer/directer Rian Johnson wanted you to experience it is to go in completely spoiler free. This is your last warning. There will be spoilers after this.

Okay, so I neglected to write anything about The Last Jedi for a while, mostly because I needed time to think about everything. I knew that if I wrote anything about the film before having time to digest it, I would not be saying how I really feel about the movie. Overall, I love the movie, but that was not how I felt when I viewed it for the first time. To say that The Last Jedi is probably the most divisive Star Wars film to date is an understatement and many fans have gone so far as to sign petitions to try to get the film removed from canon. I will be honest, after my first viewing I was completely silent. I was speechless and fell into a day of deep depression. For the first time in my life, I had seen a Star Wars movie that I didn’t want to talk about. Friends would ask me what I thought and I would have to tell them that I “didn’t want to talk about it,” and that it was “too soon.” I was just in a state of shock. I couldn’t believe what I had seen. I was sure that I had missed something, surely that was it. There was no way that a Star Wars movie could have made me feel this way. It wasn’t long until I found out that I wasn’t the only one who had felt the way I had after seeing the film. The best way to describe many people’s reaction to The Last Jedi is that it was as if “millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.” The next day, I went and watched it again and this time, I truly enjoyed it. Seeing The Last Jedi for the second time was just like being a child again if you can believe it. I felt so much joy at the sight of Luke Skywalker and Leia. I loved the movie and I loved Rian Johnson for making it. I have seen it three times now and can honestly say that I think that it is probably the best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back. 

Having said all that, I do not think that it is a perfect film. There are things that i probably would have done differently, but they didn’t ask me to make a Star Wars movie, did they? (Probably for the best). Here I would like to go though and talk about everything that I liked and didn’t like about Star Wars: The Last Jedi and try to explain what some of this might mean for the future of the Star Wars franchise.

Plot Overview and Some Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

The film opens right where The Force Awakens left off, the first time a Star Wars film has done this. Ray has gone off to Ahch-To hoping to find Luke Skywalker and the Resistance is in the middle of the evacuation of their base. As the last of the Resistance ships begin to depart from the base, First Order stardestroyers and a First Order dreadnought appear and a battle ensues. Poe Dameron leads fighter to victory in destroying the dreadnought, but at the cost of many fighters and all of the Resistance bombers. This opening battle is just amazing. It’s visually stunning and just good, old fashioned Star Wars fun, and you can believe that I was fanboying all three times that I saw it. After the battle the Resistance ships jump to light speed in an attempt to escape the First Order ships. This proves to be pointless though because they soon find out that the First Order can now track them through hyperspace, something that was previously thought to be impossible. (I really thought that was cool because it was mentioned in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that the Empire was working on hyperspace tracking.) Because the First Order can track them in hyperspace and also because they are running low on fuel, most of this part of the movie is just a low-speed chase that apparently reminds some fans of an episode of Battlestar Galactica. While the Resistance ships are trying to stay out of range of the First Order stardestroyers, Kylo Ren flies in his own special TIE fighter fallowed by two or three other TIE fighters to attack the Resistance ships. Kylo locks on to the bridge of the lead ship, but chooses not to fire on it after sensing his mother (Leia) is there. But Kylo is unable to stop the other TIE fighters from firing on the bridge, killing almost all of the Resistance leadership in the process and also sucking Leia out into the vacuum of space. I will not lie, seeing Leia get sucked out of the ship shook me more than anything in a movie ever. It was like I had been punched in the gut. I started to tear up as I saw her floating in space. I kept thinking, “so this is how it happens, this is how they explain no Leia in Episode IX.” But then, what I considered the most amazing thing in that movie up to that point happened. My tears went from tears of sorrow to tears of relief and joy because Leia doesn’t die. She is able to use the Force to get herself back onto the ship. I couldn’t help but to be excited for this. This is something that I have always wanted to see. Leia uses the Force! And not just to know that Luke is in trouble or that Han died, no she actually uses the Force to save herself and it was awesome! Now, before anyone gets mad at me for saying that, yes, I completely understand if you hated that part and I think that it is justifiable for you to hate it. I just thought that it was cool because my inner child always wanted Leia to use the Force so I probably would have been happy with her using it for anything other than feeling that something is wrong. No joke, I probably would have fanboyed if she had just used the Force to lift a chair or something stupid like that. I’m a hardcore Star Wars fan so I’m going to think that most things in a Star Wars film are cool. Sue me. She does not come out of that unharmed though. As soon as she is back on the ship she falls into a coma and it is hard to tell if she will recover. While Leia is in her coma, Vice Admiral Holdo is put in command.

Meanwhile, Ray finds Luke and tries to give him back his father’s lightsaber. And, like Luke tells us in the trailers, this doesn’t go how we thought. Luke takes the lightsaber, looks at it for a short moment, and then tosses it over his shoulder before stomping off, angry that someone has found him in his self-imposed exile on Ahch-To. Ray spends some time fallowing Luke, hoping that he will train her. Luke keeps turning her down until R2-D2 plays the old recording of Leia from A New Hope. (Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.) That was the second time I cried in this movie. Luke tells Ray that he will teach her the ways of the Jedi and why they need to end and I felt that he had some good points. He brings up that the Jedi sat by and let Darth Sidious (the Emperor) take control of the galaxy and that they let themselves be destroyed by Sidious and that Darth Vader was a Jedi and was trained by another Jedi (Obi-Wan). I felt this was good because it helps tie the three trilogies together and helps these movies feel like one long story. While Luke is training Ray, she discovers that Kylo and herself are somehow connected by the Force, something that I think Rian Johnson was trying to use to make us all think that Kylo and Ray were related (spoilers, they aren’t). Anyway, Kylo and Ray talk here and there and that encourages Ray to wonder why Kylo turns to the dark side. Luke blames himself and says that he saw the darkness in Kylo from a young age, but Snoke got to him before Luke could do anything about it. Then, Kylo said that Luke tried to kill him because he feared Kylo’s power. What we end up finding out is that both stories are somewhat true. Luke did consider killing Kylo once he saw that Snoke had gotten to Kylo’s heart, but at the last minute feels shame for even thinking it. Before he is able to put away his lightsaber, Kylo wakes up and destroys everything, including killing the other students at the temple that didn’t join him. Ray ends up thinking that she can turn Kylo back to the good side if she just goes to him (basically making Ray every teenage-girl in America who dates a bad boy because she thinks she can change him) and she leaves Ahch-To to go find him.

Before Ray leaves Luke finds out that they are connected and thinks that he’s lost Ray too when she leaves, so he decides that he must burn down the ancient tree with the ancient Jedi texts in order to end the Jedi. It is then that he is visited by the Force-ghost of Jedi master Yoda, who finally shows us what Obi-Wan was talking about when he told Darth Vader in A New Hope “If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” To just be blunt about it, HE FREAKING SUMMONS LIGHTNING OUT OF THE FREAKING SKY AND DESTROYS THE ANCIENT JEDI TREE! THAT’S RIGHT, YODA IS BASICALLY A GOD NOW! The only bad thing about Yoda doing this is that it begs the question WHY DOESN’T YODA JUST SUMMON FREAKING LIGHTNING OUT OF THE SKY TO ZAP KYLO REN TO KINGDOM COME??? Like, I’m pretty sure all Yoda would have to do is just wait for Kylo Ren to get on some planet and then summon lightning down on him. Boom! The galaxy is safe and Luke can go back to training new Jedi and everyone is happy again. But no, Yoda uses this power on a tree. Moving on, Yoda also tells Luke that he must learn from his mistakes because, “The greatest teacher, failure is.”

Ray ends up finding Kylo Ren on Supreme Leader Snoke’s ship and Kylo takes Ray straight to Snoke himself. Snoke toys with Ray for a while and reveals that he is the one that created the connection between them in order to lure Ray to him. He then reads her mind and finds out that Luke is on Ahch-To. Snoke tells Ray that she is going to die and that after she is dead they are going to destroy the Resistance and then go kill Luke. He then orders Kylo Ren to kill Ray and this part is probably the most shocking part of the whole movie: Kylo Ren kills Supreme Leader Snoke. You see, when Ray is brought to Snoke, he takes Luke’s old lightsaber and sits it next to him. While Snoke wasn’t paying attention, Kylo Ren uses the Force to turn the lightsaber toward Snoke and then turns it on, cutting the Supreme Leader in half. Ray and Kylo then fight and kill Snoke’s Praetorian guards in an awesome showdown that had me once again feeling like a child. After all the guards are defeated, Ray asks Kylo to call off the attack on the Resistance ships. Kylo refuses and says that she needs to join him. They then fight over the Skywalker lightsaber, pulling it in half with the Force. Ray is able to escape when Admiral Holdo points the last large Resistance ship at Snokes ship and goes to lightspeed, blasting Snoke’s ship in half. (Note: everyone except Holdo had escaped off the lead Resistance ship onto smaller ships before Holdo sacrificed herself. Kylo Ren names himself Supreme Emo Leader and orders that they follow what is left of the Resistance down to the planet Crait (TIME TO SUMMON UP SOME LIGHTING, YODA! Oh, you’re not going to do that? Oh, okay I guess…).

On Crait, a battle ensues and the First Order has the upper hand. Just when all hope seems lost, Luke shows up and tells Leia that he is sorry for what happened to Kylo and that he is there to face him alone. Luke steps out of the base and Kylo Ren gives the order to focus all fire onto Luke. Luke comes out of that completely untouched and Kylo decides that he will go down and face Luke. The both take out their lightsabers and start to have a duel that is less like a duel and more like Luke just dodging all of Kylo’s attacks while the Resistance starts looking for a way to escape. Kylo Ren finally strikes Luke and reveals that he has been fighting Luke’s Force projection this whole time giving Ray time to get what is left of the Resistance onto the Millennium Falcon and escape. Kylo Ren throws a tantrum because they escaped and back on Ahch-To, Luke, weakened from Force projecting himself across the galaxy becomes one with the Force and fades away like Yoda did in Return of the Jedi. And that is the third and final time I cried while watching this film for the first time.

My Thoughts Overall of The Last Jedi

As I said earlier, at first I this film made me feel really depressed. This was the first Star Wars film that I didn’t want to talk about at first. I just had to morn Luke and think things over in my head for a while. I want to be clear though, I ALWAYS thought that this was a good film. It did what it was supposed to do: to shock and surprise me. I’m glad that I didn’t get what I was expecting out of this film. It’s been too long since a movie surprised me as much as The Last Jedi did. In a way, it was everything that I could have ever wanted. That also doesn’t mean that it is a perfect film. In fact, I think that it is far from perfect. There were parts that we could have done without and there are also some missed opportunities. I could have done without the shirtless Kylo part that was put in there just to be eye candy for all the emo teenage girls watching. I could have also done without the porg. I can’t express enough how much I hate the porg. The porg are literally the new prime example of how some things in Star Wars are just made to sell freaking toys. That is literally the only purpose they serve for this movie and I hate it. Hell, the Ewoks and even Jar Jar served a purpose in the stories. What do the porg do? They’re just cute and your kids will want one. Also, if you have noticed, I didn’t talk about Canto Bight, Ray’s parents, or Captain Phasma in the plot overview. Well, that’s because literally none of that matters. Nothing that happens in Canto Bight matters to the film in the long run so they could have just cut that all out (I never say that they could have cut things from films by the way). Who are Ray’s parents? Doesn’t matter, they were just drunks that are probably dead now. And Captain Phasma is in the movie five minutes and all they give her to do is die. And part of me just wants to pretend that Kelly Marie Tran’s character Rose just never happened.

The missed opportunity that I am the most upset about is having Luke show up in his X-wing to take on the First Order. How awesome would it have been to see Luke fly in inside his X-wing fighter and start shooting up the First Order on Crait before jumping out of his X-wing to fight Kylo Ren in a real lightsaber duel? We saw his X-wing in the water on Ahch-To, so why couldn’t he have lifted it out of the water? That would have been a great throwback to The Empire Strikes Back. And, sure, he would have needed an astromech droid in order to fly the X-wing, but R2-D2 was with Ray when she came to Ahch-To, so couldn’t he have stayed with Luke when Ray left so he could have gotten in his X-wing? Luke still could have died in the film if Rian Johnson really wanted him to,  but this way his death could have been so much more epic. But that’s not the film that we got.

I would also like to take a moment to talk about how much I love what happens to the characters in this film. The Development of Ray, Kylo Ren, Fin, and Poe is terrific! Ray has found out that it doesn’t matter if she comes from nothing. To be honest I’m glad she’s really a nobody. It feels really nice knowing that she just someone really powerful with the Force. It also means that she is now more relatable as a character because she is just one of us. She’s not a Skywalker or a Kenobi or anyone else that we know from lore. She’s just Ray. Now that she is no longer asking “Who am I?” and “Who are my parents?” she can just focus on who she wants to be in this galaxy and I really like that. It allows her to grow. Kylo Ren also grows as a character. Sure, he’s even more emo in this film than he was in The Force Awakens, but he kills Snoke and now has complete control over his own destiny. He is no longer just a servant for some kind of greater evil like Darth Vader was. Kylo Ren has become that greater evil. He might not ever be as cool as Darth Vader, but he has done something that Vader couldn’t do. Fin also found his true place with the Resistance and Poe learned how to be a leader and a true hero.

What Does The Last Jedi Mean for the Future of Star Wars?

In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren say “Let the past die.” I feel like that statement was the theme of this film. With Luke’s death in this film and Carrie Fisher passing away a year ago it has been left to the new cast to carry Episode IX by themselves. Sure, Luke will probably come back as a Force-ghost, but his story is officially over now. It is time to give all the focus to Ray, Fin, Poe, and Kylo Ren. It’s their story now. The Force Awakens, as amazing as it was, was all about rehashing the old stuff, the things we were familiar with. The Last Jedi did something else. It paid its respects to the originals while offering up something fresh and new for all the fans, young and old, to enjoy. The Last Jedi left me not knowing what to expect from  Episode IX, and maybe that’s for the best. All that we do know about Episode IX is that all bets are off. Anything can happen, and that gets me excited.

So until then, may the Force be with you, always.

 

 

 

What Just Happened??? My Spoiler Review for Avengers: Infinity War and My Thoughts on Where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Going

What Just Happened??? My Spoiler Review for Avengers: Infinity War and My Thoughts on Where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Going

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I was overflowing with excitement as I stood at the front of the line for the Thursday night premier of Avengers: Infinity War at my local theater. I had gotten there hours before they would begin seating for the film and I didn’t care. I would be part of a group of lucky moviegoers who would get to experience the culmination of ten years worth of storytelling. I had followed the Marvel Cinematic Universe right from the very beginning and finally every plot point would soon be coming together in a grand nerdgasmic climax to one of the most successful/highest grossing film franchises ever.

When they released the ropes and called for the movie I happily presented my ticket and made my way to the auditorium. I bounced with excitement as the others made their way to their seats, and I checked my phone for the time. Time, as it turned out, had decided to drag itself out as long as possible. I felt each and every one of those seconds as my anticipation grew and grew. I looked around and saw that the auditorium was packed with people. No surprises there, this was a guaranteed sell out.

Finally, the lights dimmed and the trailers started up. Then the Marvel Studios logo started playing and the crowed of people cheered. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

When the screen went black and the credits started rolling there was nothing but silence. We were all in a state of shock. We were all thinking the same thing: That can’t be it. When the end-credit scene played we all gasped and then half of us were left confused. When we all had decided that the film really was over, we all got out of our seats and marched out of the auditorium in a state of depression. The movie was amazing, we could all agree on that much, but the ending had been an unexpected blow to us all. It shouldn’t have been though. We had all gone in knowing that this film would be much darker than what we had previously gotten in the MCU, but we hadn’t expected it to be that dark.

SPOILER WARNING!!!

As the title suggests, there are spoilers ahead, so please read no further until you had seen the movie. You may go read my spoiler free review if you’d like, but please do not read this until after you have seen the movie.

Still here? Alright then.

Here we go…

 

 My Spoiler Review for Avengers: Infinity War

*please note that while I have seen the movie twice, I have slept since I last saw it and might leave parts out because I’m human and I make mistakes 🙂

The film starts right where Thor: Ragnarok left off, which can be a bit jarring if you did what I did and re-watched all of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe leading up to Avengers because there is so much (at times too much) humor in Thor: Ragnarok, and at the start of this film, there is no humor. The Asgardains are under attack. Thanos, The Mad Titan, has intercepted their ship along with his Black Order (Ebony Maw, Corvus Glave, Proxima Midnight, and Cull Obsidian) and has started killing everyone. The only survivors that we know of are, Thor, Loki, Heimdall, and Hulk. It is reviled that Thanos has already gotten the Power Stone from the Nova Corps on Xandar, and now he has come to get the Tesseract, which houses the Space Stone. There is a fight between Thanos and Hulk, which shows us real quick how much of a threat Thanos is because he is able to overpower the Hulk. Heimdall manages to send Hulk to Earth using the Bifrost before being killed. Loki hands over the Tesseract and attempts to kill Thanos, but is killed my the Mad Titan himself. Thanos and his Black Order leaves and the ship is destroyed. All of this is really great because it sets the tone for the whole movie and lets us all know early on that is isn’t going to be like the other Marvel movies where the heroes are all safe from harm. Just within the first five minutes of the movie two major characters are dead. It’s also great because we’ve spent years just seeing Thanos sit in his special chair not really doing anything at all. It’s really nice to see the character actually do something for a change. And Josh Brolin’s performance is so solid right from the start that you know that when Thanos is on screen bad things are about to happen. His performance really sets in that fear that every great villain needs to make you feel.

Hulk ends up crashing into the New York Sanctum and turns back into Bruce Banner. Banner then warns Doctor Strange and Wong that “Thanos is coming.” Strange seeks out Tony Stark and Banner tells them all about Thanos’ plan to use the Infinity Stones to kill half the population in the universe. Ebony Maw and Obsidian show up to get the Time Stone from Doctor Strange (which is housed in the Eye of Agamotto) and a fight ensues. Peter Parker sees Maw’s and Obsidian’s ship in the sky and joins the fight as Spider-Man. The fight ends with Strange putting a spell that only he can break on the Eye of Agamotto and getting captured by Maw. Parker and Stark manage to stowaway on Maw’s ship and it starts to head back to Thanos’ home world Titan. Here we get some great interactions between Stark and Strange and Ebony Maw, in my opinion is a great secondary villain. He is, overall the most developed member of the Black Order (probably because he is given the most to say) and I really love him as a character. I really wish they had of used him in more movies or gave him a larger role in this one because he really intrigued me. Out of all the members of the Black Order, he was the one I wanted to know the most about.

Scarlet Witch and Vision, having started a relationship, are spending some time together when they are ambushed by Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glave. They are quickly saved by Steve Rogers, Black Widow, and Falcon before Midnight and Glave can steal the Mind Stone from Vision’s head. They all head back to the Avengers base where they meet up with James Rhodes and Banner. Vision suggests that they kill him and destroy the Mind Stone before Thanos can get it, but Rogers shoots down the idea. Rogers then suggests that they go to Wakanda with hopes that the stone can be removed without killing Vision. There’s not really much to say about all of this. There’s a great fight between the Avengers and Midnight and Glave, but other than that it all just served as a reason to get us back to Wakanda and to bring in Black Panther (nothing really wrong with that).

The tone of the movie changes slightly when the Guardians of the Galaxy come into the story, which to me makes sense considering the tone of the two Guardians movies had been very different than the tone that this movie had. The point that I am trying to make here is that when the Guardians show up it starts feeling a little bit like a Guardians movie (which is great if you love those movies like I do). They find Thor floating in space after receiving a distress call from the Asgardin’s ship. He tells them what happened and they agree that they will help him stop Thanos. Thor, Rocket and Groot go to Nidavellir to make a weapon that can kill Thanos while Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, and Mantis go to Knowhere, where they hope to stop Thanos from retrieving the Reality Stone from The Collector. By the time they make it to Knowhere, however, Thanos already has the stone and kidnaps Gamora before leaving. It turns out that Gamora has known where the Soul Stone has been this whole time and she tells Thanos where it is to save her sister, Nebula from being tortured.

Thanos and Gamora go to the planet Vormir where they meet the keeper of the Soul Stone, who first appears as a figure in a long, flowing black cloak, and turns out to be Red Skull. Red Skull leads Thanos and Gamora to a cliff and tells them that the Soul Stone can only be retrieved by killing someone you love, or as Red Skull puts it, “a soul for a soul.” This moment has to be some of the best character development that I have ever seen on film. Honestly every part of the movie that Thanos is in has some great character development in it for him, which is great considering that we’re been hearing about this guy ever since the first Avengers movie, but we haven’t really gotten to know anything about him other than “he’s bad.” This movie really gives layers to Thanos that the other movies haven’t really given us. In many ways, this is more Thanos’ movie than it is an Avengers movies and I really like that.  Thanos sheds a tear because he knows what he has to do. As it turns out, even though Thanos is psycho-crazy and hell-bent on killing half of all life in the universe, he actually loves Gamora. He grabs Gamora and tosses her off the edge of the cliff to her death. Thanos is then rewarded with the Soul Stone.

While Maw is torturing Strange to try to get the Time Stone, Stark and Peter hatch a plan to save Strange by sucking Maw out of the ship (“have you seen the movie Aliens?”). After killing Maw the three of them decide that it would be best to just continue to Titan to fight Thanos there. When they arrive, they meet the Guardians and make a plan to try to stop Thanos.

After the Avengers arrive in Wakanda, ships show up with an army led by Midnight, Glave, and Obsidian, and a battle ensues. Meanwhile, back on Titan, Thanos shows up and explains that he wants to kill half the universe because the universe is threatened with overpopulation and if he doesn’t kill half of the universe, everyone will die just like what happened on his home-world, Titan. This to me, earns Thanos the title of “The Mad Titan” because with all the Infinity Stones you basically become a god and could do whatever you wanted. So Thanos could literally just make more food/resources for the beings of the universe. He could also make more planets that could hold life on them or he could lower the birth rate on every planet or literally anything else. But no, his solution is to just kill half of the life in the universe. Just to be clear, I am not criticizing this in any way. The point is for Thanos’ plan to not make sense because the only person it has to make sense to is Thanos because he is insane. Thanos ends up fighting Stark, Parker, Strange, and the Guardians and defeats them, injuring Stark pretty bad. Before Thanos is able to kill Tony, Strange makes a deal to save his life. He gives Thanos the Time Stone.

Thor makes his new weapon, Stormbreaker, by doing the most badass thing ever, he takes a star beam to the chest. After making the weapon, Thor, Rocket, and Groot arrive in Wakanda to help with the battle. Midnight, Glave, and Obsidian are killed along with most of their army. Thanos shows up and kills Vision to get the Mind Stone and complete his Infinity Gauntlet. Thor then attacks Thanos and severely wounds him with Stormbreaker (yes, even with the completed Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos nearly gets killed by Thor, making Thor even more of a badass). Thanos then snaps his fingers and wipes out half the universe, and killing Bucky, Falcon, Drax, Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Peter Quill, Mantis, Groot, and Spider-Man. In the post-credit scene, it is also reviled that Maria Hill and Nick Fury are killed as well.

My death count, not counting villains in the movie, is 15 confirmed deaths along with half of the universe (so technically trillions are dead).

I was shocked to say the least. Like most people, I thought that Cap or Iron Man would die, but that didn’t happen at all. It was a blow to the gut to see some of these characters die, but it was a real ballzy move and I’m really impressed that they took it. I was also socked that they let Thanos win. Sure, everything will probably get fixed in Avengers 4, but for right now, Thanos has won. I was really glad that they made this the Thanos movie. It was really nice to see a villain get a lot of real development for a change and I really hope that Marvel continues to do this with all of their big villains going forward. I would have liked to have gotten more time with Ebony Maw. I felt that he was a really great character that was used really well up until he died and I feel like they really could have used him more. As far as our heroes not getting much development in this film, they really didn’t need it, they have had several movies to all get developed and I really don’t think they could get much more developed any more than they already have. All in all I really did love this movie and I am really looking forward to seeing Avengers 4 to see how this all plays out.

 

My Thoughts on Where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Going

Obviously, most of our heroes won’t stay dead for long. Spider-Man and Black Panther both already have new movies announced and even though they could probably give the mantle of Black Panther to someone else and bring in Miles Morales to be the new Spider-Man, I really don’t think they will. Most likely someone will get the Infinity Gauntlet and reverse everything that Thanos has done. It’s pretty safe to say that we will being seeing all of our heroes return next year.

As for the post-credit scene, like half of the people who watched the premier with me Thursday night didn’t have a clue who Nick Fury was sending that distress signal to, which kinda surprised me. He was trying to contact Captain Marvel, who is getting her own movie next year set in the 90s and rumored to introduce us to the Secret Invasion story line and the Skrulls from Marvel comics. She is also going to be in Avengers 4. It seems that she will have a large role to play in defeating Thanos and undoing everything that he has done.

It’s hard to say what will happen after Avengers 4 hits theaters. All we can really do is wait and see.

You Are Not Ready for This. My Spoiler-free Review of Avengers: Infinity War

You Are Not Ready for This. My Spoiler-free Review of Avengers: Infinity War

Infinity WarBack in 2008, Marvel Studios and director Jon Favreau gave us Iron Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe was born. Now, ten years later, the MCU is one of the most successful film franchises of all time. This weekend the nineteenth film in the MCU, Avengers: Infinity War is finally hitting theaters starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, and Chris Pratt. This is the film that has been teased to us ever since The Mad Titan Thanos appeared at the end of 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers and to say that there has been a lot of hype surrounding this film would be an understatement, but can the film live up to the years of built up hype?

As the title suggests, there will be no spoilers of any kind in this review. I will, however be writing a spoiler review and I will have that up in a few days. So feel free to read this review all the way through.

The short answer is yes, it very much does live up to all the hype that has surrounded it for years, but it comes with a price that I feel most of us weren’t ready to pay. I can not stress that enough. NO MARVEL FAN WILL BE READY FOR THIS MOVIE. Having said that, the movie was awesome! It is by far the best film in the MCU as of right now. It is full of explosive action sequences, spectacular special effects, brilliant acting, and a great story that keeps the viewer fully engaged from start to finish. Not only that, but with the much darker tone and a few great surprises, the film comes off as a breath of fresh air. The film’s only real flaw is that it might be a lot to take in all at once (more on that in my spoiler review).

One thing that I defiantly want to touch on is Thanos. He is the most well developed villain the MCU has to offer. As soon as The Mad Titan shows up you just get this feeling of dread that you should feel with every villain in every movie. You just know when Thanos shows up something bad is going to happen and you just have to sit back in horror as you watch these things unfold. So much of that is in Josh Brolin’s performance as The Mad Titan. Thanos has the most screen time in this movie, which is great because this is his movie. Like the film, Marvel Studios has been teasing us with Thanos for years now, so it’s good that they actually made it all about him.

Bottom line, go see this this movie. Like right now.

 

 

 

The Post: A Sign of the Times

The Post: A Sign of the Times

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I remember first reading about this movie being in production- I think in a magazine or Facebook post? Back then it was called “The Pentagon Papers”…

Despite the title change, this movie has everything!

Steven Spielberg +Tom Hanks + Meryl Streep- together the trinity tell a story not too far off from recent events (sort of).

This movie highlights a showdown between the press and the government. The press pushes back against the government when a leak reveals that facts of the Vietnam War were covered up by past US Presidents.

When Kay Graham (Meryl Streep)- the president of the Washington Post- is given the choice: to either remain silent and save the paper, or take on the US government and risk being indicted for contempt, she decides to stand up for what is right, to hold the government accountable.

As Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) agrees: “They way they lied. Those days have to be over.”

However, this decision is not a favorite of the other men surrounding Kay Graham, especially investors and other interested parties. She doesn’t let this negativity bring her down.

One of my most favorite lines in this movie (as a woman and a viewer) is: “I’m asking your advice, not your permission”. It still gives me chills!

This movie shadows much of what is going on in our nation today. With Trump deciding what is “fake news” and networks like CNN still forging ahead with holding the Presidency accountable, this art is imitating life. For Kay Graham, her struggles are directly in line with the #MeToo movement, to an certain extent. No longer can it just be men in power, women have a voice too and it should be heard loud and clear!

Author’s note: Congrats to Meryl Streep being nominated for an Oscar for this role. Although she didn’t win, it was still a commanding performance!

 

My rating: 5 reels out of 5!

 

Today’s the Day: Oscars 2018

Today’s the Day: Oscars 2018

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The countdown to the Oscars has ended! Tonight’s the night!

It is my favorite award show- I just wish that it didn’t extend long into the night- almost 11:00 or Midnight- some of us have to work in the morning, Hollywood!

Despite the long run time- I do think the Oscars gives the spotlight to the often forgotten, yet extremely important aspects of a film. We get so caught up in the headlining stars, the story, even the soundtrack- that we forget there is a whole team of people behind the scenes who deserve recognition!

Granted, I haven’t seen all these films but I wanted to give my best choices for the other nominated categories:

Animated Feature Film: CoCo

Cinematography: Darkest Hour/Dunkirk

Costume Design: Beauty and the Beast/Phantom Thread

*Note: I don’t have the first idea about documentaries and I don’t want to choose one based on the cover alone! Sorry docs!

Film Editing: Dunkirk ( I still think it’s a little crazy that All the Money in the World isn’t nominated honestly- that team had to reedit the film after Christopher Plummer’s NINE DAYS of shooting!)

Makeup and Hair Styling: Darkest Hour

Music (Original Song): Remember Me from CoCo

Production Design: Darkest Hour

Sound Editing: Dunkirk

Sound Mixing: Dunkirk

Visual Effects: Kong: Skull Island

So, what do you all think of the nominations and my choices? Do you agree, disagree, love them, hate them? Comment below to let me know! Thanks!

 

Downsizing: A Major Downer

Downsizing: A Major Downer

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Before you let the title I wrote give you a knee-jerk reaction, I think I need to give you this disclaimer: This is only my opinion. My husband loved this film and disagrees with me on this review. I think it’s just how you take the film, personally.

Here is the gist of the movie: Alexander Payne, the director, posts sort of a social experiment. If you knew that you would be richer/wealthier and could essentially live life anew, would you take it? What if this decision required you to leave all that you know (work, home, family, friends) and shrink yourself to around 5 inches tall? Would you still agree to the terms?

This is the question that the character Paul (played by Matt Damon) answers as he explores his new life. He takes this opportunity to explore a better life, ends up finding new friends, and finds his true self along the way. He meets an interesting neighbor Dusan (played by Christoph Waltz) , as well as becomes attached to a cleaning lady (who provides most of the comedic relief) named Ngoc (played by Hong Chau).

I guess my main concerns with this movie were the supporting cast. Let me explain first:

  • I adore Christoph Waltz. He was amazing in Tarantino’s films. Seeing him in this film as an average guy who throws lavish parties ‘just because’ is a little off-putting to me. Again, just my opinion.
  • I spent a majority of the film trying to figure out if Hong Chau’s voice was dubbed in English post-production or if it is her true accent when speaking English. No disrespect to the actress at all, I liked her character, it was just one factor that kept bothering me.

Overall, I thought the film came off as a little preachy with the “saving the environment” undertones. I come to the movies to escape, not to feel bad that I don’t recycle my Coke cans or I don’t do more to protect the polar ice caps.

My rating: 2 reels out of 5.

 

Roman J. Esquire: Denzel Delivers

Roman J. Esquire: Denzel Delivers

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“I’m tired of doing the impossible for the ungrateful.”

For anyone who has ever felt like you fought the good fight but you never seem to quite make it where you want to be, this movie should speak to you. I know it spoke to me. Who hasn’t been that employee who keeps their head down, does the right thing, only to see others prosper by being cutthroat? You begin to wonder what it would be like to switch to the other side, just for one day, just for one moment…

Directed by Dan Gilroy, Roman J. Esquire is the story of a defense attorney who finds himself in this exact situation. The movie paints his character’s background as an activist, a person who fights for those who don’t have the power to help themselves. He thrives in this environment and seems to find his sense of purpose in that world. However, this all comes crashing down when he is laid off due to forces outside his control.

Roman (played by Denzel Washington) is approached by a fellow lawyer (played by Colin Farrell), to join his firm instead. You see Roman being ridiculed by the firm’s younger, more inexperienced staff. You see him fight against the current of manipulating loopholes to win cases. You see him outperform the other staff most handedly, drafting docs and covering files with sticky notes full of questions & concerns, recalling information on old cases like its imprinted in the back of his mind. You see his expertise, you know he deserves better, you know he has been the product of bad luck.

So when Roman comes face-to-face with one decision, you are torn as to how you want him to answer. Does he take the hard path again? Does he take the quick and easy path instead? When he does decide, you can see the rock-bottom of human nature and how one decision can cause a ripple-effect in your life and of those lives around you.

Without giving too much away, I will say that I didn’t see the ending coming. It was one of those movies that leaves you at the end, still sitting there digesting it all as the credits roll.

Denzel delivers. I love Colin Farrell’s work but wish maybe his character could have had a little more development. I would have liked to have seen what made him cutthroat, what made him deviate from the path that Denzel’s character chose.

Overall, my rating: 4 reels out of 5.