If you’re a regular reader of APFE, you know that I love movies! It’s definitely safe to say that movie-and-film watching is a top hobby of mine—I go to the theater often, and I rent whatever I have to miss, sometimes getting lucky enough for quick releases to streaming services.
But my proverbial pile of movies to review has grown quite a bit, especially during the March Half Marathon Hiatus, and so I’m bringing you another ‘Round Up’ of sorts! Here’s what I’ve rented from Redbox in the last few weeks!
Directors: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt
Rating: Solid B+
Thoughts: I missed out on seeing ‘Coco’ in theaters, and I think if I hadn’t, I probably would’ve given this movie an ‘A.’ The use of color was magnificent, particularly the orange! The songs were lovely, and I found myself tapping my toe a few times, but I’m not dying to own the soundtrack. The twists are obvious, though not garish or glaringly so; you’re able to stay within the story just fine. And who doesn’t love a solid family flick about the importance of where we come from, our family history, and taking care of one another?
Director: Alexander Payne
Starring: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau
Thoughts: Ooooooh boy. Where to even start? Firstly, let’s mention that, in the initial trailers I saw for this movie, Hong Chau was nowhere to be found, and it seemed like Kristen Wiig was going to have a much larger role in the movie! Same thing with Jason Sudeikis—he wasn’t in nearly as much of the movie as I thought he would be. What the heck? The part of Dusan Mirkovic, as played by Christoph Waltz, fits like a shirt comically two sizes too small—who was originally set to play him? Because it really felt like Waltz happen to be walking past the studio that day, and they grabbed him right then to shoot his scenes. I know that critics were split over this movie, and I’m definitely in the ‘against camp.’ The casual racism had me uncomfortable for nearly the whole film. The plot wanders. And there’s such a beating from the ham-fisted message by the end that the whole thing leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Don’t bother with this one.
Title: ‘I, Tonya’
Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney
Thoughts: ‘I, Tonya’ is a film I’m pretty sure no one actually asked for, and yet, here we are… And I’m actually pretty glad I saw this. I definitely did not need to see it in theaters, though Allison Janney’s absolute transformation into the very cruel LaVona gave me some serious anxiety and sadness, and that alone would’ve been worth the price of admission. Margot Robbie brings real humanity to a figure I had previously only thought of as a villain—I was a young girl and mildly obsessed with figure skating at the time of the attack on Nancy Kerrigan. Kerrigan wasn’t my favorite, but I definitely took her side during the controversy. This movie explored many more supposed details to the actual event, and even though it’s only based on the events that happened, it did cause me to at least pause to reconsider how I felt about the whole thing. I won’t be adding this to my physical collection, and I think one viewing is adequate, but if you’ve skipped it so far, throw it in your queue for a rainy day.
Title: ‘Lady Bird’
Director: Greta Gerwig
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts
Thoughts: I avoided seeing this in the theaters and procrastinated renting it as well. I just knew it would have me all up in my feelings. If you’ve ever had a difficult relationship with your parent or your child, you’ll be in the same boat. Saoirse Ronan is amazing as a tempestuous teen trying to figure out who she is as a person, and Laurie Metcalf just sails as a fiercely loving mother with communication issues trying to love and understand her very different daughter. Sad to see that Timothy Chalamet is somewhat of a one-trick pony, but he’ll have plenty of time to broaden his range, provided he still stays tragically beautiful. Greta Gerwig, for the most part, knocked it out of the park, and if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t see Lady Bird yet, get on it.
Title: ‘Murder on the Orient Express’
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe
Thoughts: Because the big reveal was spoiled for me before I got to see the actual movie, I grumpily watched this, enduring that godawful mustache for what seemed like an eternity. This movie was too ridiculous, unintentionally campy, and yet still felt really flat. Confined-space movies are usually very tense, but this was a snooze. For a great assemblage of actors, it had very local-theater-company levels of effort… and let’s be real, DAME JUDI DENCH IS IN IT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Everyone should’ve done better. Definitely pass on this one.
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