Tag Archives: reviews

MP5: The Seagull

seagull movie

I wouldn’t have even known about this movie, except for a couple of my eagle-eyed friends having spotted it playing in Irvine earlier and chirping excitedly about it. All of us love Saoirse Ronan ~ the first time I saw her was in Lady Bird, which I thought was fab, but my peeps didn’t get into that flick so much. Anyway, a different friend and I winged our way to Westpark 8 yesterday to check out The Seagull.

First, the acting was incredible. What a cast! Annette Bening. Love her. She was superb as the aging, jealous, petty yet complex matriarch. Saoirse was wonderful. Elizabeth Moss was great. And Brian freaking Dennehy! Everyone else was amazing as well.

Second, the first third of the movie was boring AF. My friends disagree and it’s true I am not known for my patience. But I was literally tapping my foot and yawning. It dragged on and on setting up these characters. This would have worked better in writing. I could totally imagine reading The Seagull as a romance novel and becoming engaged after skimming through the beginning. Country house, games, clothing, flirtations, play within a play, yada, etc.

Third, once things began to happen, the movie fully enchanted me. It was the age-old story, perfectly summarized by the J. Geils Band in “Love Stinks” (“you love her, but she loves him, and he loves somebody else; you just can’t win”), but there are no new stories, so everything depends on how you tell the ones we have. The Seagull is a great one, which we would expect, given that it’s based on the play by Anton Chekhov.

I got confused at the end and thought they messed up the movie, but that was just my brainfog. In my defense, that’s actually happened to me in a movie and the audience began yelling that the film was all screwed up. I took migraine meds yesterday and started taking allergy meds too because I’m tired of being itchy and stuffy along with suffering stabby pain. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep, since that sometimes happens with allergy meds, but my sleep was “normal.”

After I got things sorted out in my mind, all was excellent again. I recommend this movie, as long as you’re chill with a slow start.

Not sure which movie I’ll see next. Not everything plays conveniently to my location.

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MP4: Hereditary

hereditary

 

A little bit spoilery, not a lot. 

Welp, I ended up seeing this movie after all. It received loads of rave reviews, but also the critics warned that it was insanely terrifying, so I was torn. Generally, I avoid horror films, but I have seen a few great ones. A group of friends decided to go last night and I impulsively joined in. One of them is a medical doctor, so I felt relatively safe.

As I drove over to Huntington Beach, “Thriller” played on the radio. Geesh! I haven’t heard that song for ages. I wondered if it was an “omen.” When Vincent Price’s scary laugh reverberated at the end I almost turned around. But no, I bravely (foolishly?) soldiered on and met my peeps. MoviePass asked me for a photo of my ticket this time ~ even they couldn’t believe I was actually seeing Hereditary after the first three “fun” movies I watched on their dime. Well, there you go then. Don’t presume to know me. I am mysterious and unpredictable. Nyah!

I worried the previews would be for terribly scary films, but my fears were unfounded. Just Tom Cruise adventure type stuff. Then the feature began. I made sure to have my hands ready to cover my eyes just in case, but that mostly was not necessary. The movie kept prepping for big drama with ridiculous music, but then nothing would happen. There were no outrageously frightening scenes for a long time. Yes, some yucky stuff occurred, but that’s all. It did give foreshadowing though, so if you see it, pay very close attention. (I missed some.)

I’d like to make a general comment about supernatural evil in fiction. This is an ongoing issue with powerful forces that seem to be able to do all sorts of wackadoo things, make stuff move at will without regard to physical laws, have mysterious signs appear and disappear, kill peeps randomly, etc., and yet… AND YET… these forces need something from humans so badly, just one particular thing from one particular mortal person will suffice and nothing else, and an entire plot hinges precariously on this powerful force subduing said human because complicated. Yah okay, let’s go with that. No prob.

I enjoyed the movie. It was fun trying to figure out what, exactly, was happening. Was it all in someone’s head, or “real?” Which character was sympathetic ~ the mom, the dad, the son? Hmm. It did get scary, of course, but not as scary as I had expected from all the reviews. It wasn’t as scary as, say, The Shining. Neither was it as good. I’m not sure what prompted all the rave reviews, but in my opinion the story simply didn’t hang together and make enough sense to warrant all the fawning. I figured it was just me, so I looked up some explanations this morning to see… and am still unconvinced Hereditary is a great movie.

Good, not great. Scary, not horrifying. You’ve definitely seen better, and scarier.

MP3: Ocean’s 8

O8

 

Fantabulous! No, not the movie; we’ll get to that later. I’m talking about the voodle salad at Whole Foods.

Yesterday, Thursday, I arrived at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach early enough to grab a late lunch, meander around B&N, and see O8. My plan was to have a low-carb salad at Daphne’s Greek Café, but you know what they say about plans. BT was undergoing some remodeling, so I wandered around for a bit, trying to find Daphne’s. Finally, I spied a directory and OMG there was no Daphne’s! Yikes. Sadness. Now what? None of the other casual restaurants looked like they’d have something tasty and low-carb friendly (I don’t eat sushi anymore). So, I figured I’d walk over to Whole Foods, where there would have to be something acceptable among the trendy offerings. Right?

Usually at WF I get a slice of pizza or a dish of pasta or a cookie ~ you know the drill. Heavy on carbs, light on veggies/nutritional value. All that has now been nixed from my slate of choices. I poked around a bit. Not fond of salad bars where peeps are breathing and sneezing all day. The packaged stuffs were too carby ~ sandwiches, wraps, etc. I peeked at the deli counters. Lotta pasta and… ooh, what’s this? Mediterranean salad. I love! Why are they calling it Zucchini Voodles?

OIC. The curly things aren’t noodles ~ they’re zucchini curls. Cute! There must be some machine that voodlizes your foodles. And the rest of the ingredients were totally legit: tomatoes, artichokes, feta cheese, spinach, olives, dressing. I bought a cup of that and sparkling water and sat down. I assumed the salad would be good, but it was wonderful! I’d never have ordered this in my “past life.” I’d have passed it up for something yummy like pizza. But it was so delicious! The flavors worked so well together. I savored that for a while until realizing I hardly had any time left for B&N. Whoops.

Did a quick book browse, then checked into the movie. It was crowded for a weekday, but O8 has been pretty hyped up. There were some good previews I can’t remember and then the main feature began. First, let me say one thing. It’s really difficult to watch Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett now without remembering that article about their penis facials. I mean, obviously the facials work because their skin is super-glowing and beautiful. But still. This knowledge is distracting.

Second, the problem for a movie with 8 (or 11, etc.) main characters is that… it has 8 main characters. These Ocean movies are overcrowded with protagonists, or anti-heroes, to be precise, since we are (may I remind everyone) talking about criminals. I don’t know about you, but I can’t really root for characters committing crimes unless they’re setting to rights a miscarriage of justice, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that’s not what these Ocean movies are about, mainly. They’re about very good-looking people committing crimes, is what.

Third, putting that aside for a moment, I can still have fun with a movie like this if I can let go and jump into it, but that’s difficult when the set-up drags on and on and on. For gawd’s sake ladies just steal something already! Since I’m not a scriptwriter, I don’t know how you make it super-fun for an audience to sit through the minute details of hacking into a computer system or copying a diamond necklace or whatever, but geez they need to spice that stuff up! So boring. Yeah, there were a few funnies, but not enough. And I had the same criticisms about the male Oceans ~ in fact, I dozed off during each one (bought the set at the beginning of the year to prep for O8). Yawners, even with Clooney. I know!

Finally, the action happens and it’s good. Nicely paced (finally). I enjoyed the last third of the movie. James Corden was hilarious as the insurance detective. The ending was fun as well. But overall Ocean’s 8 was a disappointment after all the hype. Certainly not as bad as Life of the Party, but nowhere as good as Book Club.

I’m going to give Hotel Artemis a swerve after the terrible review in the Observer, and while the stellar reviews of Hereditary tempt me, I’m afraid it’ll give me nightmares for the rest of my life, if not heart failure on the spot. Definitely The Year of Spectacular Men next week and then The King! Elvis, baby.

*

Whoa. One thing before you go. While looking up the O8 cast to make sure I got Corden’s name right (I didn’t, lol, and fixed it), I noticed that there was a busboy named Michael Gandolfini. Yes, his son. BE STILL MY HEART.

 

MP2: Life of the Party

LOTP

 

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!

 

I saw Life of the Party last weekend with a friend, predisposed to enjoy it because (1) I love Melissa McCarthy, and (2) I was in the mood for a fun movie. I may have mentioned that I generally want movies to be entertaining, not history lessons or preachy screeds. But…

While LOTP had some funny moments, I have to give it a meh overall. It’s just too stupid and at times downright cringey. I get that MM as Deanna overplays the helicopter mom part, so into her mommishness she becomes the most unsexy wife on the planet, with her frumpy sweatshirts and Hallmark card cheerfulness, which is somehow the biggest turn-on to a certain frat dude because tastes vary, and we can go with that (gah). No, we can. We’ll go with that! But I just can’t deal with the fact that her daughter appears fine with this cougarish relationship, and her daughter’s sorority friends are chill with it as well.

Next, the divorce. I don’t care what state this “Decatur” is supposed to be in ~ Georgia, Illinois, Indiana (seems Midwestern)? I actually just googled “decatur wildcats” to make sure it isn’t a real thing. But no way does some jerkface divorce his wife after 20+ years and arbitrarily decide she gets no money when he’s been supporting her all along. I don’t care if the house is in his name. She gets alimony. I understand that the plot needs Deanna to suddenly go broke so her college friends can hold a fundraiser and have the Shakira moment yada, but it’s all wrong. Sorry.

Deanna’s “vampire” roommate is a ridic throwaway character, only there to set up the ending, but they could have made her an actual funny character. Why not? Lazy writing. Some of the other sorority girls, same deal. They are almost funny, but not quite.

Then jerkface and the real estate blonde. Totally unbelievable that they’re a couple. She’s this glam beyotch and he’s so yuck. I guess he has money, but still. And Deanna/jerkface’s daughter, who is so loving and perfect, somehow doesn’t notice all the nasty captions on the photos at the wedding? She’s fine with them totally trashing her mom ~ and not only that but frat dude (beyotch’s son, conveniently), who is in lurve with Deanna, is fine with it also. Eh wot?

Deanna vandalizing the wedding reception of jerkface and beyotch gives me the cringies. Not funny. Cakes are sacred! Why would you hurt an innocent cake? Major cringies also from Deanna’s friend Christine who keeps dragging her (own) husband off to have sex everywhere, bleh. I really would like to know what happens at these writers meetings.

“Hey, let’s give the main character a friend, kay?”

“Great idea. We should make her a super-horny friend.”

“Yeah! Horny! How about a married woman who is always horny?”

“For other women’s husbands?”

“No, like, for her OWN husband!”

“Whoa, that’s wild! Let’s do it. People will LOVE IT!”

Love love love. So funny. Especially after the 17th time.

Didn’t hate LOTP, the 80s party was fun, and there were a few laughs, but it certainly fell short of expectations. Onward to the big pile of movies coming out on June 8th! Yahoo!

 

MP1: Book Club

Book Club

My handy dandy MoviePass came in the mail on Friday, so naturally I activated it that night and ran right out to see my first movie on Saturday afternoon. I decided to see Book Club. It was first on my list of current movies and playing right near me in Triangle Square, where (strangely) I never go, even though it’s actually the closest theater to my apartment. I guess that’s because I always see movies with friends and that’s just not a convenient central location. I could literally walk there, not that I would (what, are you nuts?).

Anyway, of course parking was a major hassle, as usual. No wonder we don’t go there. What a pain in the butt. I left in plenty of time but began to worry I’d be late. I will never understand why people simply don’t drive up to the top of a parking garage when the bottom levels are full. WHY DO THEY HOVER AND WAIT? All you have to do is go around and up and up and then, viola, like magic, there are a zillion spots. It happens every time! Finally, I got a nice top spot away from the maroons and then like an even bigger maroon I couldn’t figure out where the theater actually was. This is a geometrically confuzzling architectural construction with staircases that don’t connect to all the things and just ugh. Lots of restaurants are smushed in the levels and people sit outside being noisy and irritating.

Okay, so finally I found the theater, hurrah! There was a bit of a line which was fine cuz it gave me a chance to open the app and check in for my first time. Wait, what. This is an e-theater only. What’s that mean? I haz to select my movie and seat and I’m not allowed to change my mind. If I screw up, I’m done for the day, boom. No more movie for you! Well, geez. I stood there in the blasting sunshine trying to peer at the seating chart on my phone and stab at an aisle seat toward the back. Bam. No takebacks!

I get up to the window and the guy says I didn’t have to stand in the line cuz I already have the ticket code thingie on my phone. Well, aren’t I a dumbass. He doesn’t even want to see the MoviePass credit card. Fine, whatever. I go in, show my phone to the otter guy, and he tells me theater two. I stumble around, find my seat, and some fat man with a vat of popcorn is sitting in it. I ask if that’s G5 and he moves over one seat. Apparently the whole row is a group of friends, all jabbering excitedly, great. As I look around, I see the theater is stuffed with old people, all happily waiting for this old person’s movie. WTF am I doing here? Oh, right. I’m old too. Forgot.

The lights go down and an ancient biddy shines a flashlight in my face. “Those people are sitting in our seats, Mildred,” she huffs.

“We are not!” grumbles Popcorn Man. “These are our seats.”

“We’ll just sit over here in these empty ones on the side.” Biddy and Mildred plop down in the clearly inferior seats.

Popcorn Man chuckles. “This whole row is ours.”

Damn right, Popcorn Man. You defend our honor! Fight for Row G. This is our turf, bro.

It was quite an experience for my first time I must say.

Oh, the movie? Book Club. Enjoyed it! Funny, poignant, not as cliched as I had expected. Highly recommend. That’s my in-depth review.