Movie Review: Hail, Caesar!

Last night my husband and I went out with some peeps to catch the latest Coen brothers movie, Hail, Caesar! It was everything I was hoping for, but I’ll readily admit my bias toward liking a Coen brothers movie. Their quirky, witty, intelligent films are a reliable source of entertainment. Just the other night my husband and I watched The Ladykillers on Netflix without knowing who wrote it, and by a third of the way into the movie I remarking to Chris, “Wow, this really is similar to a Coen brothers movie.” Low and behold, that was because it is. In spite of my readily admitted bias, I think many people will enjoy Hail, Caesar!

Hail, Caesar! (2016) Poster

 Summary from IMBD:

Hail Caesar! Follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer for Capital Pictures in the 1950s, who cleans up and solves problems for big names and stars in the industry. But when studio star Baird Whitlock disappears, Mannix has to deal with more than just the fix.

First of all, the cast of characters and the casting of the actors in this particular film is perfection. Everyone, from go-to-Coen-actress Frances McDormand, as film editor C. C. Calhoun, to Ralph Fiennes as director Laurence Laurentz, and a galore of other Hollywood A-listers make an appearance in this film. Josh Brolin carries the story as his character, Eddie Mannix, works his way through several messes all while dealing with twin reporters played by Tilda Swinton.

There was so much to love about this movie, but I’ll pick my five bright spots of the film.

  • Alden Ehrenreich’s rope tricks. Ehrenreich plays Hobie Doyle a western movie star who gets set up to be in a drama movie which is outside of his comfort zone. His character is both a hoot and a hero. His boyish charms endear the character to the audience, even through some awkward scenes, and his smile is just so sweet. Plus, I loved all of his rope tricks!

  • Tilda Swinton’s twins. Tilda Swinton plays twins who are journalists that compete with each other. It was amazing. I loved all of her outfits and admired Mannix’s ability to tell the two women apart. I sure couldn’t. ;)

  • Scarlett Johansson’s accent. Scarlett plays DeeAnna Moran, a synchronized swimmer/actress from Brooklyn. DeeAnn’s sweet swimmer demeanor is in sharp contrast to her harsh accented  rough around the edges character and the misnomer of sweetness is played to perfection by Scarlett.

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  • Channing Tatum’s dance number. Channing plays tap dancer/actor/singer Burt Gurney who is not as nice as his sweet smiling face would lead everyone to believe. I loved the dance number soooo much! It was such a great throw back to movies from the 50’s that I have enjoyed, and the homoerotic subtext was such a great little piece of commentary that it had me giggling in appreciation.

channing tatum

  • Veronica Osorio’s pretty face. Veronic Osorio plays actress/dancer Carlotta Valdez and steals the show in her scenes with Alden Ehrenreich. Definitely an up and coming star to watch, I’ve already developed a girl crush on Veronica and plan to see what other things she has been in that I can track down.

More than just a fun film about the industry in the 50s, Hail, Caesar! is also a social commentary on Hollywood film making while using that same industry as its medium for the examination.  This commentary is made in both subtle and not so subtle ways, with characters actions showing what the Coen brothers are remarking on and soliloquies by other characters expounding on those observations about Hollywood in a more forthright way. While full of a cast of bright characters, each plays a special part in showing what goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood centered around one man who tries to fix all the problems that other people make.

Nodds & Nends: Mario Console, Beards, and Minions

Check out this custom Super Mario World console by DeviantArtist Zoki64. That is some great detailed geeky work there. [via Global Geek News]

custom Super Mario World SNES by Zoki64

Don’t you just love beard and mustache competitions? I do. Well, I enjoyed the video of hairy highlights that Jezebel posted for this year’s competition.

The Minions get an honest trailer, because, well, Minions. Also, as always, the Screen Junkies peeps make some really good points. Spoilers of course. [via Nerd Bastards]

Check out this awesome website Nerds Of Color for some great reading material. I stumbled across it on the WordPress’s new Discover (their featured posts) link. I particularly liked the article How to Fall In Love with Your Writing by drupkins ( author Dennis R. Upkins Jr).

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I’m Looking Forward To or Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I Still Need To Watch

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme by The Broke and the Bookish where fellow book bloggers, and anyone who wants, can contribute to a themed top ten list. This weeks discussion centers around Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I’m Looking Forward To or Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I Still Need To Watch. (I’ve not stuck strictly with movie adaptations, sorry.) These are in no particular order, unless you count that they are in the order I thought of them.

1.The Magicians by Lev Grossman will be adapted into a TV series on the SyFy channel. Love The Magicians, read my review, and I can’t wait for this show. You can see a sneak peek here.

2. Mocking Jay Part 2: I love Katniss, and while the movies may not be exactly like the books, I still love them. So very much.

3. Paper Towns by John Green. First I need to read this book and then I can watch the movie. I’ve avoided John Green even though I know he is an excellent writer because I avoid sad endings, and from what I hear that is all his stories. But this trailer entices me to delve into that abyss.

4. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. My husband is not a fan of the adaptation of The Hobbit. And I get it, they added a lot of unnecessary things to make it a three movie money maker, but I still really want to see it.

5. Supposedly Matched by Ally Condie is in the works to become adapted into a movie. I always thought it was written rather like a screen play than a novel at times, and if done properly, would be a really pretty movie.

6. Cinder. This book has only been optioned, but I really really really hope this becomes a movie and I can watch it and fall in love with the universe the Marissa Meyer created allover again.

7. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, also only optioned, but I am crossing my fingers and toes real hard and I hope this becomes a movie some day!

8. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. Why or oh why are these books not been made into movies! Ugh. I want to see them. Please?

9. Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Apparently this one has made it to the writing stages. This might be a hard adaptation, considering that the people can hear each others thoughts, but it would be interesting, and I would definitely go and see it.

10. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. While this was not my favorite adaptation of a classic piece of literature, I do think this will be a fun movie. Also, Matt Smith is in it? Yes please.

The Little Prince Official Trailer (2015)

Honestly, need I say more than the title of this post? This looks magical. I love how they took the story of The Little Prince and created a story around that. Amazing. One of my favorite adaptations of The Little Prince was a theater production I saw that had not only amazing acting, but amazing acrobatics. Here is a link to my review of that production. You can read more about the 2015 animated movie production here and watch the trailer below!

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Mockingjay Part 1 is the continuing story of Katniss Everdeen based on the popular young adult novels by Suzanne Collins. Katniss Everdeen is played by Jennifer Lawrence and also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, her two romantic interests, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks, as Katniss’ mentors, and Julianne Moore and Donald Sutherland, as two opposing politician types.

mockingjaySummary from Wikipedia

The story continues to follow Katniss Everdeen; having twice survived the Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself in District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion, a mockingjay, against the Capitol and fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.

I give Jennifer Lawrence all due credit for this being an excellent film. Also, the writers, they deserve a huge round of applause. I found the story engaging and the characters believable. This was not the case for the book Mockingjay. I thought the book was the poorest installment in the series and only finished it because I wanted to know what the writer thought happened, but it was not what I expected from a book that followed the Hunger Games.

With Jennifer Lawrence as their paintbrush, the writers paint a picture of a bewildered young woman trying to take care of the people she love, trying to rise to the occasion, and trying to handle all the of the responsibilities that have been thrust upon her while remaining true to who she is as a person. Katniss is a great heroine, because she isn’t perfect, she has her faults, but she tries, she grows, and she succeeds. That is amazing, and Lawrence took the character by the throat and pushed her to new levels as a role model. (Can you tell, I have a small crush on Jennifer Lawrence?)

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I really wish there had been more of Peeta in this first part, that was the only thing I was disappointed about. I wish there had been less Gale. Such a whiny character who busy so readily into the dogma of a military regime. Ugh. I didn’t like him in the books and I still don’t like him in the movie rendition of the story. But Peeta, I rooted for him in the books, and I love him in the movie version. So, I wish there had been a bit more about him.

Another brilliant piece of casting was Elizabeth Banks as Effie. She added warmth, spirit, and depth to a character that had very little of those qualities. Plus, she pulled off some amazingly outrageous costumes. I love how Banks is able to take on and slip into a role instead of turning the role into a version of herself. So, maybe I have a little girl crush on her as well.

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Effie by Pseudolirium on DeviantArt

While I am still a little sore that they decided to take a rather unremarkable book and elongate it into two movies (for the sake of extra coins in the pocket I can only assume), but I ended up quite enjoying the film, more than I thought I would. And I swear it had nothing to do with the several cocktails I consumed. Ok, maybe a little. The movie was well paced, well written, and excellently acted. My only other complaint is that the ending was a little rushed, and my sister turned away from the screen for a few minutes to pay her bill and missed a crucial piece that just kind of flew by at the end. However, I’m looking forward to part 2 and then a Hunger Games marathon some time in the future when I can sit down and watch all four movies and revel in my girl crushes.

 

Star Wars Official Teaser Trailer for Episode VII – The Force Awakens

I’m sure most of you all have seen this, but I thought I would share in case you were absent from the internets the last month and missed it. Or like me, wasn’t sure you wanted to see it and maybe missed it on purpose but finally decided that you should get around to seeing it.

My thoughts: I really need to rewatch the original three.

Movie Review: Total Recall (1990)

recall

Summary from IMDB:

When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real, or does he?

Jami’s Comments: I wish I could totally recall this movie from my brain. While a SciFi flick that should have been my cup of tea, I had a hard time sitting through the entire thing. And not because it was Chris’ idea to watch it, though it totally was. I thought the movie was extremely gratuitously violent. I ended up not being able to watch about half of it except through my fingers. I called the plot arc within the first five minutes. And what is with that three breasted woman? Just. What? I didn’t like this movie at all. When it ended I told Chris I was going to find the girliest chick flick and make him watch that.

Chris’ Comments: I thought the movie followed Philip K. Dick’s way of thinking, but I have not read this particular book, so I can’t compare the movie to the book. But the movie asked his type of questions. What is reality? And what is just a matter of perception? The movie was pretty crazy and over the top. It is hard to even describe. I found it very funny for its dramatic scenes. Guns that never run out of bullets. The inability to hit someone ten feet in from of them with a hundred rounds. The alien baby growth out of the side of another person. I found it all very over the top and entertaining to watch. It is not the deepest or most thought provoking movie I’ve seen, but it is a good laugh.

kuato