Archives for category: Liz

Liz: 5 out of 5 stars

Oh hello!  It’s been awhile hasn’t it?!  I will admit I’ve gotten quite lazy with writing reviews, but with the Golden Globes coming tomorrow, it was time that I churned one out.  Omar and I saw The Revenant (2015) yesterday, directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardyas well as Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, and Forrest Goodluck.

Movie trailers tend to always attach quotes such as “masterpiece,” “the most amazing movie in the whole wide world,” “the best ever,” etc etc you get the point.  I was excited to see this movie as soon as Omar first shared the trailer with me some time ago.  It looked beautiful and interesting from what I saw and I was ready to see Leo on screen again.  I don’t tend to believe what the quotes attached to trailers say about a movie, but after seeing The Revenant, WOOO I BELIEVE IT!  I loved loved loved this movie.  I can honestly say that it was definitely in the Top 10 Most Visually Beautiful movies I’ve EVER seen and though it didn’t have the most amazing story or anything, this movie will always be in my favorites of all the time.

Quick summary before I get going: The Revenant tells the story of a terribly injured (like really terribly) frontiersman, Hugh Glass, who is left for dead in the cold cold wilderness by the group of fur traders he was leading.

So why the perfect 5 out of 5? Let’s begin.

First, like I already said, DAMN this movie was MAJESTIC AND MESMERIZING.  Just about every single minute of this movie was visually breathtaking.  Whatever I write here will not do it justice, you really have to see it yourself to understand what I’m talking about.  Let’s look at some pictures though to give you a taste:

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So much nature!  So much snow! So much forest!  I mean if this movie doesn’t win all the awards for Best Cinematography, I’ll be shocked.  (Note: I am horrendously behind on watching all the movies being nominated for all the awards and such so I shouldn’t really be saying anything, but let my above statement be a testament to how impressive this movie was).

Second: the cast.  Before I go into my love rant about Leonardo DiCaprio, let me just say that I give all the applause to this entire cast (AND CREW!) because filming this movie must have been absolutely brutal.  Just watching the movie made me feel cold and so actually being in that environment and then filming a movie on top of it is quite a feat.

The acting was superb.  I’ll start with Forrest Goodluck, who plays the son of Leonardo DiCaprio.  Yaaaas, Native American actors on screen!  Forrest Goodluck is only 17 years old but from reading about him online, the kid has already done so many amazing things director-wise, which is crazy! Read about him!  This is his first breakout role as an actor, and I hope he continues to get roles in the future because he was great.

I was also excited to see Will Poulter in this movie.  He’s starting to turn up in a lot of movies and it’s so cool to remember him in School of Comedy in the UK and now he’s in these super-huge epic movies.  Also shoutout to Domhnall Gleeson who is also showing up more and more.  The dude was in this movie AND Star Wars VII.

Now to Tom Hardy and of course, my sweet sweet Leo.  First of all, I need to acknowledge that this is their second time on screen together (the first being Inception).  There’s really no point to acknowledging that other than the fact that I love when actors appear in different movies together.  Tom Hardy is a talented talented man.  I love him and his acting ability really impressed me in this movie.  He was a terrible character but he played it so well.  I’ve seen him fit into a number of different roles now and I’m happy that he can move from romcom to action movie to gritty British crime thriller to biographical etc etc easily.

Ok, let me the millionth person for the millionth time say JUST GIVE LEO THE DAMN OSCAR ALREADY. Haha, I know that the Oscars and other such awards aren’t an indication of the true talent that an actor has, but I really feel like he deserves all the awards for this role.  From reading about how he was close to hypothermia often (I guess most of the actors were but moving on..) to sleeping in animal carcasses… to how he spent most the movie grunting and crawling and screaming in pain… I just think he gave up his mind body and soul to this role.  He didn’t speak much in this movie at all, but that doesn’t matter at all.  I love Leo in just about every movie I’ve seen him in, so I might be biased, but he really put it all into The Revenant and I hope he is recognized for that.

Third: the screenplay / (lack of?) script.  There wasn’t much talking in this movie.  There was a lot of grunting and silence.  Yet I was enthralled and hooked in the entire time.  I don’t have much else to say about that, but it’s always impressive to me when I’m captivated by a movie so intensely that I don’t really notice that the movie as a whole was relatively quiet.

Fourth: Alejandro Iñárritu is slowly becoming one of my favorite directors. I haven’t yet seen Babel, but I’ve seen the rest of his feature films, and though it is a short list, all of them have been extremely strong and impressive movies.  Furthermore, this movie must have been extremely frustrating and difficult to take on, especially after two directors had already left the project.  Also yaaaas Mexican representation!

Nitpicky things: I guess the story wasn’t that incredible looking back.  I don’t want to sell it short, but the movie was essentially a revenge story with other factors mixed in.  But I don’t care about that at all.  I enjoyed the story and I think that a complicated one might have ruined it.

Penultimately: I’m glad that this movie cast Native actors for the Native roles.  I’m also glad that it touched on the destruction that white people brought to their land and people.  I appreciate that the movie didn’t romanticize the white frontiersman nor did it trap the Native actors into horrendous stereotypes.

Lastly: THAT MUSIC THO. Absolutely beautiful score and it paired so well with the cinematography and the action happening in the movie.

I thought that this movie was simply incredible.  I enjoyed it from start to finish.  Go see it.  I will be intently watching the Golden Globes tomorrow and I will cry for Leo out of pride, no matter what happens.

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Liz: 3.3 out of 5 stars

I’M ALIIIIIIIIIIIIVE! Wow. It’s been about two months since the last time I wrote a review, and I’m really ashamed.  Totally believed that I could keep up with reviewing regularly along with law school but life caught up real bad and after reading all my cases for the day, I just had no energy to crank out a blog post.  I haven’t been watching as many movies as I did over the summer but luckily, school hasn’t taken up all my life and I still get my movie time.  Since the last time I wrote, I’ve seen a lot of Gene Kelly x Frank Sinatra movies and a bunch of Halloween-y films (finally got around to Scream, Scream 2, and The Thing!!)

Last weekend, Omar came home from school and we watched Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Crimson Peak. The former was hilarious, but surprisingly fine for like the 5th movie in this series. Creepy little children are very creepy.  But this review is about Guillermo Del Toro’s newest film, the gothic romance Crimson Peak, starring Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, and Jim Beaver (yay Supernatural hiiiiiii Bobby!).

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Quick Liz summary: The daughter (Wasikowska) of a rich American industrialist (Beaver) falls very quickly in love with a visiting British baronet (Hiddleston) who is seeking investors in his new mining invention.  Father is not pleased and unearths some mysterious bad information about the baronet and bribes him and his sister (Chastain) to leave and never come back. However, he “accidentally” dies and since his daughter has no one left (her mother died too), she marries the baronet and moves to England with him and his sister.  She begins transferring her money to her husband but she (as well as her friend back home played by Hunnam) gradually begins unveiling some really creepy shit in the very eery mansion she lives in.

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I’ll start with everything that was just so right about this movie. The atmosphere, THE AMBIANCE!!!! Everything from the costumes, to the creepy and barren English landscape, to the disintegrating yet incredible Allerdale Hall, oozed gothic romance.  It was an aesthetically beautiful movie and it was all essential to creating that uncomfortable vibe that something wrong was happening inside the mansion.  The movie’s trailer made the movie seem like it was a pure horror movie, but that’s not what the actual film was.  Like the beginning says, “it’s a story with ghosts.” Crimson Peak was really creepy and there were definitely some huge jump scares.  The ghosts were extremely horrific -looking- the dripping blood and skeletons were awesome; I haven’t quite seen anything like it.  However, I wouldn’t say that this movie is one that will give you those kinds of horror thrills. It felt more like a gothic murder mystery, which I loved. The vibe of the movie reminded me of what Sucker Punch looked like (even though I haven’t even watched all of that movie).

Anyway, this movie definitely deserves some recognition for the amazing set and costumes.

Spoiler alert: there’s a sex scene with the baronet and his wife, and YOU SEE HIDDLESTON’S BUTT. ok that’s all.

Also: shoutout Jessica Chastain… that acting. wowza.

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There was really only one negative about the movie. It had a mediocre story. The beginning to climax of the movie had this really great build-up. It seemed like something reaaaally dark and twisted was happening and it was going to be a hugeeee surprise.  However, I kind of figured out what was happening and when everything was revealed, it was a little disappointing. I won’t say anything further.

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Overall, Crimson Peak was a really fun movie, especially with Halloween coming up in a couple days. I loved it simply because the ghosts and creepiness and gothic theme are all things I love.  However, it pales in comparison to Pan’s Labryinth. I recommend seeing this movie if you’re into all the things I’ve mentioned above but it’s definitely not a 5 out of 5 for me.

Liz: 3.8 out of 5 stars

Hello hello!!! I apologize for my extended absence recently. Law school has been draining my time and energy away and good god can you believe I’ve only watched ONE movie this week?! Absolutely horrendous. The weekend is almost here so I need to set aside some much-needed movie viewing time. ANYWAY, I’m BACK for my review of Annie Hall (1977), directed by Woody Allen, and starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in the two main roles, along with others.

This post is going to start off with how I am very very ashamed of myself for participating in the continuation of Woody Allen’s career by simply watching his films, despite knowing about his very very disturbing personal life. Over the years, I’ve found it more and more difficult to distinguish a line between the quality of the work that individuals produce and what those individuals do in their personal life. I used to say that I didn’t care about the personal life because I really can’t speak on or judge others, particularly celebrities, since media can be untrustworthy. However, in the case of Woody Allen, and many others, I feel that I can judge. And it bothers me that someone like Woody Allen, continues to thrive in his career and in the world in general and I’m super critical of myself for being a part of that. For obvious, but also very personal, reasons, I am truly disgusted by Woody Allen, and though I will admit that I have enjoyed a bunch of his films, I do not believe that he deserves to remain a rather respected and very supported person in the industry. Moving on to the review of the film itself ~

Quick Liz summary: Comedian Alvy Singer (Allen) goes through the process of trying to figure out why his relationship with Annie Hall (Keaton) ultimately ended. He examines his prior relationships to Annie and then revisits the events, the ups and downs of their relationship.

Annie Hall is one of those films that has consistently appeared on lists of classic movies, movies to watch before you die, etc etc. Not sure why it took so long for me to watch it, but about a year ago, Omar and I decided to start watching it while we were in Paris. We didn’t make it through; I guess Woody Allen’s annoyingly fast talking and a rather un-exciting start to the movie made us stop. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, and we made it through finally and overall, enjoyed it!

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I’ll start with the stuff I didn’t like about the movie. I mentioned it already, but Woody Allen has this super fast way of talking. It’s not unique to this movie alone either and it annoys me every single time I hear it haha. He sounds like he’s always in a rush to get all the words out and I just want to tell him to slow down because he makes me anxious.

Next, this isn’t really a DISLIKE, but I found this movie’s story and characters to be underwhelming. After hearing such rave reviews about this movie, I expected something more profound or impactful I guess? I found the characters to be uninteresting. I didn’t care for the relationship between Allen and Keaton’s characters at all; I didn’t care about what happened between them. I didn’t actually feel very much chemistry between them, which is interesting, because I know that Diane Keaton and Woody Allen were married for a hot second, and despite divorcing, remain great friends. The story didn’t make any impact on me at all and it wasn’t incredible to me like some of his other films (Midnight in Paris; Vicky Cristina Barcelona). It surprised me that this movie won so many awards including the Oscar for Best Actress (Diane Keaton), whose performance was fine but again, not THAT impressive to me) and the Oscar for Best Picture, amongst others.

What I did like about this movie was the script/ dialogue. For this, I can understand why the movie won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The movie had some great jokes/ funny moments and perhaps at the time, it was pretty influential for the genre of comedy. I laughed many times throughout for some obvious moments but also for some pretty subtle, hidden jokes. Woody Allen manages to always come up with super witty dialogue that though exhausting sometimes, I generally enjoy.

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Also shout out to Diane Keaton’s wardrobe, which is kinda her own personal style in real life. Love it.

In the end, Annie Hall was not AMAZING to me, but a solid movie. I appreciated it but it’s definitely not a memorable or favorite film of mine. 5 out of 5 slaps to me though because again let me say that Woody Allen does not deserve to still be so influential in entertainment.

Liz: 5 out of 5 stars

Omar picked this movie to watch one scorchingly hot afternoon and it was…. FANTASTIC. What We Do In The Shadows (2014) is a movie directed and written by two of its own actors, Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords!!!). I only recently started hearing about this movie. I didn’t know too much about it other than that it was a comedy and that it was a must watch. I’m so glad Omar randomly chose this movie because it was such a light-hearted, silly, and genuinely hilarious experience watching it.

Quick Liz summary: This film is a mockumentary (these are always great) about a group of vampires (aha it gets better!) living together in Wellington, New Zealand and all the silly shenanigans they get into. Werewolves and other non-human entities run rampant as well! So much fun!

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I found absolutely NOTHING wrong with this movie. Sure it’s not some seriously moving, inspiring movie, but it is definitely memorable and I would watch it over and over again in a heartbeat. I’ll begin by saying that I love anything that comes in mockumentary form. Mostly because the only other mockumentary type things I’ve ever seen are The Office and Parks and Recreation. I just absolutely love the subtle humor that comes out of a simple glance at the camera or something weird/ wrong happening in the background of another person doing a one-on-one interview.

This provides a good segue to the amazing characters in this film. I’ll start with Taika Waititi’s character Viago, a 379 year old vampire, who is kind of like the more moderate one in the flat. He leads the camera people around the house, giving odd introductions to his flatmates and showing them the weird parts of the house. His flatmates Vladislav (aged 862; played by Clement) and Deacon (the youngest, aged 183; played by Brugh) are equally, if not more, ridiculous. Their characters along with the other ones in the movie are all just so weird and not normal– from the way they talk, to the way they dress — that it’s so much fun to just watch. There’s a great scene (one of many) where they’re walking at night through the town of Wellington amongst normal humans and I could not stop laughing.

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There isn’t much to the story itself, but the antics that the characters get into are great and overall, it’s a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously at all, which I really appreciate. I love movies like this where seemingly stupid premises, characters, situations happen, but it just seems to work because that’s how good the directors and writers made it. If you haven’t seen it, you definitely need to watch it now – I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. I apologize for a rather short review, but I think that What We Do In the Shadows has so much humor that comes about unexpectedly while watching, and I really don’t want to ruin that for yall!

Upcoming review from me- Annie Hall! Omar is desperately behind, but he’ll be writing very soon! Forgive us, we both just started law school so there’s a lot of adjustment and reading we have to do but never fear! Our movie reviews will be here! … eventually.

Liz: 4 out of 5 stars …… but also 1 out of 5 stars

Hello hello, I was supposed to write reviews for What We Do In the Shadows and Annie Hall all before this movie, but I have a lot to say for this one so I want to write my review for Straight Outta Compton (2015) first. Directed by F. Gary Gray (who also directed Friday, The Italian Job, and Law- Abiding Citizen — all great movies, go watch all three RIGHT NOW if you haven’t haha), this movie is a biographical drama starring O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (who looks EXACTLY like his father, whom he portrays in this movie… aww so cute), Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti, and others.

Quick Liz summary: This film is about the growth/development of the hip-hop group from Compton, California, N.W.A, its individual members, and their relationships with each other.

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**quick trigger warning for domestic abuse/ violence against women*

So I decided to give Straight Outta Compton two separate star reviews because on one hand, I really enjoyed the movie, but on the other hand, I’m very critical of it for several reasons. I’m super indecisive too and I can’t possibly combine all the different feelings I had and arrive at an appropriate star rating. I’ll begin with my decision to give it 1 out of 5 stars.

Prior to this film’s release, I had seen a couple articles going around about the controversy surrounding the casting call for female extras for this film. See here for the actual wording of the casting call. To summarize for you, the agency used an A to D group scale and each individual group had different expectations for appearance for the women. The “A” girls should be “the hottest of the hot… great bodies.. very classy looking.” The “B” girls — “These are fine girls… small waists, nice hips. You should be light-skinned…” For “C” girls, they specifically say that these should be African American girls, whereas for “A” girls, they say that they could be black, white, asian, hispanic, etc. And finally “D” girls: again African American girls, “poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin type.” YIKES. Seeing this horrified me for sooooo many reasons. It’s so clearly colorist and racist and sexist, amongst other things, and just another example of how Hollywood continues to enforce certain looks and stereotypes, particularly for those of female bodies. To go off that, in the movie, the women seemed to just be there for the male gaze, usually half to fully naked throughout. And seeing them just reminds me of the casting call above.

My biggest problem with this movie. It’s a biographical drama and goes into the background history of the group, N.W.A., but also goes into each of the members’ individual lives– particularly Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube. Let me say that I’m not very knowledgable about any of these men; I never listened to N.W.A. or any other rap that much growing up (though knowing Omar has definitely turned that around in the last 6 years or so). Omar is super up to date on all of that though so definitely check out his review when that comes out. He’s told me a lot about them musically, but what I’m interested in the most is personal lives, and wow lol Straight Outta Compton conveniently left out Dr. Dre’s history of violence against women, as well as Eazy-E. I won’t go too much further into that here, but I’m critical of the movie for leaving this out and though Dr. Dre is undoubtedly a musical genius, it hurts to know that he, along with other celebrities, can get away with a history like that.


ALRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT, so now that I’m done with being very critical of the movie, I’m ready to talk about why I also gave this movie 4 out of 5 stars.

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First of all- acting. It was an all-around phenomenal cast, but the shining star for me was Jason Mitchell, who plays Eazy-E. Throughout the movie, I felt that his performance was the most natural; he really fit into the role so well and played it perfectly for me. I’m sorry if this is a spoiler for anyone lol, but Eazy-E passed away on March 26, 1995 from complications from AIDS. (I’m gonna insert here that unprotected sex is dangerous!!!! Make sure y’all get tested and use appropriate protection and all that. Be safe!) Mitchell’s performance at the end of the movie as he portrayed Eazy-E at the end of his life was absolutely heart-breaking for me- I cried multiple times. I really think he deserves awards attention for this, because it blew me away. Apart from that, he was just able to show anger, kindness, love, and so many other human emotions all at once and it was great. What’s more impressive is that he hasn’t been in too many other movies/ roles before, so I’d love to see him in more projects in the future. None of the other performances hit me on such a high level like Mitchell, but I do want to say that no one else could have played Ice Cube other than his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. They look so eerily alike, and Jackson Jr, just had all his mannerisms down perfectly as well. It’s also not just that they look alike but his son really acted great in general.

There were also several hilarious moments, particularly when Eazy-E is rapping for the first time and Dr. Dre and Ice Cube can’t handle how.. not great it was. There’s also another scene where Ice Cube pushes a (topless) girl named Felicia out into the hallway and locks her out, saying “Bye, Felicia.” That was pretty funny at the moment, but I’ll pause here to be critical once again, because this scene was making fun out of a woman’s humiliation and that’s not funny at all.

I don’t have much to say for cinematography here because I wasn’t paying attention to that too much but I do want to mention that the scene where N.W.A. is performing in Detroit had great camerawork of the group on stage.

Finally, as I mentioned above, I’m not very knowledgeable on the history of rap, prominent groups, etc. Despite my problems with how the movie left out some huge biographical information, I thought that it did a good job of tying together the lives of Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre in that it all seemed to flow together easily. The movie did a great job of showing how music/ rap contributes in huge ways to the raising of social awareness, particularly on police brutality, discrimination against black people, and life in Compton for them.

Liz: 2.5 (????? I think???) stars out of 5

Mr. Nobody (2009), directed by Jaco Van Dormael and starring Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham, Rhys Ifans (and others!) is a film that I had been hearing a lot about recently. I had heard generally positive and interesting reactions to this and so I wanted to see it for my movie turn. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sold on this movie — read on!

Quick Liz summary: Nemo Nobody is the oldest mortal man left on Earth after humans have become quasi-immortal. He recounts his life and important events that have happened, which individually branch out as alternate life choices and their consequences are shown.

Let’s start with what I loved about this movie. The cinematography (Christophe Beaucarne) and the visual effects (Louis Morin– who did work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) were absolutely beautiful! They reminded me especially of the visual effects in the cancelled-too-soon show Pushing Daisies and also maybe Wes Anderson, in that many scenes seemed almost straight out of a story-book or a doll-house, if that makes sense. The colors were bright, especially when Nemo was a younger child, and everything looked like it was ~almost~ fake, which reminded me a lot of The Truman Show as well.

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Another thing that I appreciated about this movie were its general themes of choice, time, and the butterfly effect. Old Nemo can’t really seem to recall how his life played out and so he goes back to major life events and alternate life paths play out as he considers the different choices he had at the time. I really like the whole idea of the butterfly effect and how your life could have turned out a different way if you made a different choice at one certain time. It also really freaks me out and makes me think if life is up to fate/ destiny or if it’s just super random and whatever happens happens. I don’t really like the latter because I start wondering what my life would be like if I didn’t decide to buy those shoes that one day or something. large

This leads me to the things that I didn’t really like about this movie. While I loved the theme, the way that it was executed was just waaaay too confusing for me. The whole movie I was just like “UHHHH wait what?” From the beginning, the movie was clearly about choice and the way life can turn out differently based on whatever you decide, but for some reason, I was just really confused during the film despite being able to grasp what it was trying to do. Perhaps it was the non-linear style of the film that was throwing me off, but it just didn’t work out for me at the end and I was a bit displeased by that. It completely ruined the experience for me; I really wish I liked it more. Maybe it’s just one of those movies that you have to read about afterwards in order to appreciate what it was trying to accomplish, but I at least would have liked to feel like I understood SOMETHING.

The final thought I have about this movie is how the one person of color in this film — Linh Dan Pham — was given a really weak, ignored character to play. I understand that Diane Kruger is the bigger, more well-known actress, so obviously she was going to get a more important character but AGH, I just wish that better roles were give to Asian women in general and not relegated to a lesser, more supporting role.

Well, that’s all I have to say about it! I’m interested to see what Omar has to write about this but I’ll tell you what he said at the end of it — “I don’t think I liked it..” Haha, wait and see!

Upcoming reviews from me — What We Do In the Shadows.

Liz: 4(+0.5??) out of 5 stars

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) is a black-and-white horror romance film directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (Iranian-American FEMALE director ahhh!!!) and stars Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Domnic Rains, Mozhari Marno, and Rome Shadanloo. Omar and I have been wanting to see this movie for awhile now since we first saw the trailer a few months ago. Though I was left wanting a bit more from this movie, it was a really fun, fascinating watch and I’m excited to see what new films Amirpour has in store for the future!

Quick summary: (ooooo this might be a difficult one to write) In the Iranian town named ‘Bad City,’ the townspeople are stalked by a silent, strange and violent female vampire. There is romance, action, mystery, death!

This movie was remarkable to me right away because of how it was shot. Black-and-white movies coming out these days always grab my attention, and further than that, the cinematography was just beautiful. Omar said that he thought the movie looked really “crisp-looking,” which, if I’m on the same wavelength as him, I agree with. I absolutely love how the camera would especially focus on particular individual object and just that object. Examples: earrings on a table, a fish tank/aquarium, a spoon stirring tea, etc. I can’t find good stills to show y’all so you’ll just have to take my word for it. But here’s a gif anyway that kind of encapsulates how I love how the camera focused in on things:

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The soundtrack of this movie was also really great. It offset that whole “horror” genre label assigned to this movie and made it kind of feel almost like an 80s movie? I don’t know if that makes sense, but I really appreciated it. There’s this really awesome scene where the female vampire is in her room alone dancing. Here’s a bit of the soundtrack here:

Also I’ll take this time to mention how the main character Arash looks strikingly like James Dean which I love:

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The overall atmosphere of the movie was another favorite part. There was just this air of mystery, particularly around the female vampire. The movie never really gives her an agenda or anything so you’re left just wondering who she is — is she evil? is she just a girl looking for love? is she a creepy stalker? maybe she’s all of that. This movie reminds me a lot of that one vignette in Paris Je T’Aime, also black and white and featuring a vampire and has Elijah Wood (who also produced this film coincidentally). I loved the feel of it and I appreciated how all the characters weren’t totally freaked out that there was a vampire– it was just kind of normal almost.

Now for what I didn’t like too much about the movie: As the movie progressed, I could grasp what was happening. I’m trying to keep this spoiler free so I’ll just say that certain things happened, and they weren’t too mind-blowing or anything. I got what happened physically in that scene. However, at the end, there wasn’t any “deeper” meaning or great connections made for any of the events that happened. Things just happened and that was it — there wasn’t anything more. I felt like I was scratching for something with greater meaning and at the end I was just like “wait what… WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!” I guess it doesn’t mean anything, weird shit just happens, especially when vampires are involved. Maybe I’ve been watching too many of those surprise-ending movies so I was expecting more than this movie had to offer.

Overall,  I definitely recommend watching this! I’m on a mission to watch more movies directed by women, particularly those of color so I’m glad I got to add this to my list of movies watched for 2015.

Upcoming reviews: Mr. Nobody (2009).

Liz: 3.9 (maybe 4 if I’m being nice) out of 5 stars

Now for a review of a movie that I had been reluctant about watching. Inglorious Basterds (2009) is  directed by Quentin Tarantino and stars a number of people including the incredible Christoph Waltz, Brad Pitt (always good), Melanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, and more. I had tried watching this movie when it first came out but I couldn’t quite get into it and gave up very early in. Since then, I’ve heard people say that they absolutely loved this movie, etc etc so of course I was curious to try it again. I finally got around to that a couple days ago! Though I had some issues with it, I liked it so much better than the first time and enjoyed it overall.

Quick summary: Inglorious Basterds is an alternate war history film that is about two separate assassination plots on Hitler and his top men- one by Shosanna (Laurent), a French Jewish woman whose family was murdered years before by SS Colonel Hans Landa (Waltz), and the other by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Pitt) and his all Jewish-American soldiers. On to the review!

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ooooo That’s a bingo!

Undoubtedly, my favorite part of this movie was of course the performance of Christoph Waltz, which earned him his first Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor), amongst many other accolades. In my opinion, he definitely deserved it. It is clear that SS Colonel Hans Landa is an evil evil man. But what makes his character even more unnerving is his giggling, smile, and odd pleasantry. It was really fascinating how Waltz was able to convey both sides at the same time. He made it all look effortless and natural as well. At first, the sillier side to Waltz’s character didn’t convince me — he’s an evil Nazi and this more pleasant side to him is just unnecessary. But after thinking about it, I appreciate it more just because what the heck, this movie is an alternate history portrayal so whatever. Love you Christoph Waltz– definitely a memorable experience.

Next, this movie was simply gorgeous! There are so many examples of this, but the two particular scenes that I won’t ever forget are: when Shosanna is standing in the window of the theater at the end and also when Shosanna’s face is on the screen in flames:

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inglourious-basterds-movie-screenshots29The stills don’t do the scenes very much justice but I’ll explain a little further. The first image is pretty straightforward for me– it just looked so cool. The second image — Shosanna just looked awesome– the vividness of the red of her dress, her silence, etc etc — it just looked incredible on screen. I loved it! The accompanying music was also just so great (I love the music in Tarantino’s films).

The whole alternate history aspect of this movie is another favorite just because how cool would it have been if history was actually like that? The two assassination plots, but especially Shosanna’s, were so perfect and ridiculous and I enjoyed watching the two play out.

Now to the parts I didn’t like. Scenes were so drawn out at times, in particular the bar scene with Diane Kruger, Michael Fassbender, and co. and also the ending. It’s not that I thought they were bad scenes, they were just way too long for my taste and could have been cut down sooooo much, if there juts wasn’t so much TALKING. That’s the other thing I really didn’t like. The dialogue was waaaaay too much for me. I appreciate the witty banter that is so characteristic of Tarantino, but here, it was overwhelming and got boring after awhile.

Overall though, I don’t even know why I didn’t enjoy this movie when I first tried to watch it. Maybe I was just too young and distracted by something else. It was a fun film, definitely not a favorite Tarantino film for me but I liked it.

Upcoming review from me: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. 

Liz: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Watchmen (2009), directed by Zack Snyder and starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, etc. was the first movie we watched in August! Omar’s seen this movie before and loved it. I’ve heard of it and had seen snippets of it on TV, but never saw the whole thing, so I was really excited to finally watch it. Overall, I loved everything about it!

Quick Summary: The film adaptation of the very famous DC Comics series of the same name, a group of retired American superheroes investigate a possible murder conspiracy against them.

I’ll being with the only reason why I didn’t give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. IT WAS TOO DAMN LONG. Granted, we did watch the extended cut version, but still the regular version is about 3 hours. I tend to get super antsy if I’ve been sitting for too long and I had to take a couple breaks throughout my viewing of it. Other than that, I’m a huge fan of this movie.

I haven’t actually seen any other Zack Snyder films to completion, but I have seen clips/ snippets of 300, Sin City, and Sucker Punch, and I’ve gotten a pretty good feel of what his filming style/ cinematography choices, etc are like. And I love it! I’m not very good at describing things so bear with, but I’m a huge fan of that kind of dark, dramatic and gritty atmosphere that translates perfectly into what is shown on screen. I also particularly enjoyed the opening credits that laid out the back story/ history of the Watchmen and how that was filmed.watchmen34

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Another thing that I really liked about this movie was that it didn’t really seem like a superhero movie (though I love those, don’t get my wrong), but more like a detective/mystery movie. It was clear that the main characters were all superheroes, but there was obviously something more important to deal with — investigating the conspiracy against their group. The end scene where the mystery was solved, is so reminiscent of a mystery TV show where the detective rounds everyone up at the end and unveils who the bad guy was and why he/she did it. Also, though these folks were all in costume (or shining bright blue and butt naked), it wasn’t cheesy or weird at all.

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s/o to Archie, I want one for myself

Finally, the soundtrack was fantastic. Aside from just fitting the particular scene, the music also fit the time period very well. It was the perfect supplement to whatever drama, action, or romance scene that was going on.

I haven’t read the comic series but I definitely want to. I’ve heard people say that it’s a great adaptation, but others say it couldn’t do it justice, so I’ll just have to decide for myself!

Upcoming reviews: Inglorious Basterds and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. 

Liz: 4 out of 5 stars

Before I get started on this review, let me just wish my lovely movie-buff boyfriend Omar who turns 22 today! Love you!

Omar and I finally got around to a real movie theater (a rare treat for us!! we really need to go more often again) to watch our last film of July 2015 — Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, directed by Christopher McQuarrie (most notable works to me: wrote the screenplay for the fantastic The Usual Suspects and co-wrote another Tom Cruise fave Edge of Tomorrow or Live. Die. Repeat., amongst others). The movie stars Tom Cruise (back as Ethan Hunt), Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin. Big cast, much excitement!

downloadQuick Summary: Impossible Missions Force (IMF) is disbanded and becomes a part of the CIA and Agent Ethan Hunt is cut off and on the run. Meanwhile, he is determined to prove the existence of the Syndicate by pursuing his only tangible lead — a mysterious blonde and turtleneck-wearing fellow in glasses (Sean Harris). Deception, car chases, guns a-blazing, fancy computer hacking, crazy physical stunts and more, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is another fun, action-packed addition to this franchise.

I’m gonna begin by acknowledging that I was in love with just about every outfit that Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) was wearing. SHOES SHOES SHOES were everything and I appreciated that she took them off while running on rooftops, etc because honestly how can you run in heels (cough I’m looking at you Jurassic World). Also noteworthy: the dress that Ilsa wore at the Vienna Opera like daaaaaaaaaaamn, I wish I could wear that.

Second – I’m a fan of cool car/motorcycle chases and this movie was definitely full of them. Favorite scenes: 1) When Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther (Ving Rhames) finally track down Ethan Hunt and Benji (Simon Pegg) in Morocco by literally running into them as they were in pursuit of Ilsa. That was just hilarious to me, well done; 2) Hunt pursuing Ilsa through the mountains, both on motorcycle– very cool.

The stunts/heavy action sequences were also impressive in this movie. Some were just ridiculous — Hunt escaping from the Syndicate at the beginning of the film by literally hoisting his chained self up a really tall pole (who has the core strength for that I want to know). Others were really great to me. For example, the scene where Hunt is in the huge underwater computer server. Don’t want to ruin much there but I loved it. Ilsa was also really badass – man, they really liked giving her the chance to get up on the shoulders of bad guys and crush them. It was cool.

The movie was also visually beautiful, particularly the Vienna Opera scene and the car chases in Morocco. The lighting, music, and tension in the Vienna Opera scene were all so perfect for me. This scene and others, however, bring up an issue I had with the movie, in that there are OBVIOUS ways that Ilsa is portrayed, positioned, dressed for the sake of the male gaze, exhibit A below ( but that dress though omg).

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Other issues: I didn’t like how the movie ended in that the way that the villain (Sean Harris) was caught was a bit mediocre for me. I shan’t spoil how but I feel like it could have been done in a more dramatic way? Second, I kind of wanted more from Ilsa’s character. I can’t really say what it is exactly — I mean she was obviously badass and all. Maybe I just wasn’t totally convinced by Ferguson’s acting, but I felt as if there could have been more there. I am glad that there wasn’t any romance cooked up between her and Ethan though, yay! For what this movie is, a fun action spy movie, I really really enjoyed it and if there is another Mission Impossible movie, I’ll definitely be watching it.

Final Note: I love the Mission Impossible theme song.

Upcoming reviews: Watchmen, Inglorious Basterds, and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.