Category Archives: Movies

Isn’t It Romantic Movie Review

Every movie genre has its own series of predictable clichés. The romantic comedy genre is no different.

Isn’t It Romantic premiered last week.

Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is a plus sized woman living in New York City and working in an architecture firm. She is single and cynical about romance. She is even more cynical about romantic comedies. Then she is mugged and knocks herself out running into a pole in an effort to get away from her mugger. When she wakes up, she finds out that the world around her has changed.

Her apartment, which was tiny one room apartment over a store has become the apartment of every New Yorker’s dreams. Every man she meets thinks she is attractive. This includes Blake (Liam Hemsworth), a super hot billionaire who is immediately attracted to Natalie.  Instead of being seen as a gopher by her colleagues, they respect her. The only person who seems the same is her best friend and work husband, Josh (Adam Devine). Then he meets Isabella (Priyanka Chopra), a model and philanthropist. This turns Natalie’s world upside down and she has to decide if she wants to live in a romantic comedy fantasy or live in reality.

I loved this movie. I loved it not only because it’s heroine looks like most women in America, but it exposes in the most satirical (and funniest) way possible, the flaws in the romantic comedy genre. But what I loved most of all was the message of self esteem and loving yourself, regardless of romantic relationship status.

I recommend it.

Isn’t It Romantic is presently in theaters. 

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, New York City

The Only Woman in the Room Book Review

There is a stereotype about women: their looks dictate their intellect. A pretty woman lacks in the intelligence department while an unattractive woman soars in the intelligence department.

Back in the day, Hedy Lamarr (b0rn as Hedwig Eva Maria Kieslerwas considered to be one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. She was also incredibly smart, but given the era, her intellectual abilities were not exactly respected or appreciated.

The new book, The Only Woman in the Room, by Marie Benedict is Ms. Lamarr’s story from her perspective. The book starts when she is 19. It’s the early 1930’s in Vienna. She is a budding actress who catches the eye of a wealthy and powerful arms dealer. To protect herself and her family, she marries this man. While she plays the role of dutiful wife, she absorbs everything that she hears and sees.

When the marriage turns abusive and it becomes clear that her Jewish ancestry will put her in harm’s way, she escapes to Hollywood. In her new life and career, she is Hedy Lamarr, silver screen goddess. But she has a secret that only a few select people are privy to: she is a scientist. Her invention could possibly end the war and save lives, if those in power would give her work a chance.

I was shocked how much I loved this book. Before reading it, I was aware of Hedy Lamarr as a movie star and had heard that she was an inventor. But other than the basic facts, I was unaware of her complete story. I loved this book because it is the story of a woman who is clearly intelligent and capable, but is underappreciated for those qualities due to the era she lived in.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Is Liam Neeson Really A Racist?

In the heat of moment, we all say and do something that we end up regretting.

Earlier today, actor Liam Neeson admitted that a few years ago, he considered attacking an African-American male in revenge for the rape of a friend.

In response to the admission, the outrage is palpable and expected.

Is racism wrong? Absolutely. I don’t know him personally, but it sounds like it was an emotional, knee jerk reaction that under normal circumstances might not have happened. I am not African-American, so I cannot and will not tell someone who is how to react in this situation. From my perspective, he sounds contrite and remorseful. While his apology may not make up 100% for what the actions he was thinking of undertaking, it goes a long way in showing that he is changed man. For that, it is enough for me.

 

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The Holocaust and the Attack on Jussie Smollett Happened For The Same Reason

This past Sunday was Holocaust Remembrance Day. Earlier this week, actor Jussie Smollett was verbally and physically attacked on the streets of Chicago for being a member of the African-American and LGBTQ communities.

Though both events may appear to be different, they are related by one very disturbing fact: someone decided that because another human being is different, they have the right to verbally abuse and physically attack them. In an ideal world, we would judge our fellow human being by who they are as an individual, not by how the identify themselves. But we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world where we someone walking down the street and we judge them based on factors such as skin color, religion, etc.

Last night, actor Ellen Page was on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and accused Vice President Mike Pence of contributing to the attack on Mr. Smollett.

I agree with her. Whether we realize it or not, those in power can influence the average man or woman on the street. If we see our political leaders working towards diversity and respect, we try to emulate them. On the flip side, if we see our political leaders endorsing hate/prejudice and using their position to legislate either, we see it as a go ahead to attack another human being because they are not like us.

It’s 2019. We have a choice at this point. We can choose love, diversity and respect for our fellow beings. Or, we can continue on this path of hate and prejudice. I hope that we (when I say we, I mean a collective cultural “we”), choose love, diversity and respect. But these days, hope often springs eternal.

 

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Stan & Ollie Movie Review

No matter how bright the career of a performer is, he or she likely to experience at least one downturn in their career.

From the 1920’s to the 1940’s, Laurel and Hardy were the darlings of the movie going audience. But then things changed and their careers took a downturn.

The new movie, Stan & Ollie, follows the titular characters in the early 1950’s. In hopes of reinvigorating their career, Stan (Steve Coogan) and Ollie (John C. Reilly) go on tour in England. While the tour is well received, old emotional wounds spring up between the friends and performing partners. Even with their wives, Lucille Hardy (Shirley Henderson) and Ida Laurel (Nina Arianda) supporting them, will these old friends complete the tour or will the past end the tour prematurely?

I have to admit that while I have heard of Laurel and Hardy, I have never seen any of their films. That being said, I really enjoyed this film. I enjoyed it because the film was funny, heartwarming and it was the story of two performers who are not in the prime of their lives and are willing to take a shot at reviving their careers.

I recommend it.

Stan & Ollie is presently in theaters. 

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Best Movies Of 2018

2018 has been an interesting year for movies. Below is my list of the top ten movies of 2018

  1. Widows: Women in action movies are at best the romantic significant other and at worst, the damsel in distress. Widows flips the genre and the expected narrative on its head and tells the story of four women who take fate into their own hands after the deaths of their criminal husbands.
  2. The Wife: Based on a book by Meg Wolitzer, Glenn Close plays a woman who questions her life choices as her husband reaches the peak of his career.
  3. Ralph Breaks The Internet: The sequel to Wreck-It Ralph follows Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) as they journey from their world of arcade games to the Internet.
  4. The Party: A group of friends get together to celebrate the professional success of one of them. In the process, hard emotional truths are revealed.
  5. Black Panther: Based on the comic book of the same name, an African King must fight for his throne while leading his country into the future.
  6. Vice: A biopic of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
  7. The Favourite: Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) may sit on the throne of England, but she is not the one who is really leading country. Two women in her court vie to be her favorite and to gain power that only comes from being close to Queen.
  8. A Star Is Born: A Star Is Born is the 3rd reboot of a narrative that audiences have seen since the 1930’s. Unknown Ally (Lady Gaga) sees her career dreams turn into reality while her mentor/lover’s career flails due to addiction issues.
  9. Crazy Rich Asians: Based on a book by Kevin Kwan, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) travels from New York City to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time. The visit is a bit more turbulent than Rachel expects.
  10. Aquaman: Based on the comic book of the same name, Jason Mamoa plays Arthur Reed, a man who is born of two worlds and must choose where he belongs.

This will be my last post of 2018. Thank you so much for visiting and reading my blog, your support means the world. Wherever you are this New Years Eve, have a safe and happy one. I will see you in 2019.

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On The Basis of Sex Movie Review

Sometimes, when we fight against an injustice, we change the world.

The new movie, On The Basis of Sex, starts in the mid 1950’s. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) is a first year law student at Harvard Law School, one of only a handful of female students among a sea of male classmates. In addition to her schoolwork, she is juggling motherhood and marriage to Marty Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), who himself is second year law student at the same university. Though she is smart and tough, she has to deal with the prejudice and rejection that comes with being a woman in a man’s world in an era where men and women lived in totally different worlds.

The film then flashes forward to the early 1970’s. Ruth is a Law Professor who is given a case to review by Marty. Charles Moritz (Chris Mulkey) is a middle-aged man caring his elderly mother. He is denied the right to deduct the cost of caring for his mother from his taxes because he is a man. Knowing that this case is the opening she is looking for, Ruth takes it on. The question is, will she win and open the door for American women or will they lose the case and set the American feminist movement back decades?

I loved this movie. I loved it because it is not the average bio-pic. Many bio-pics adhere to the “cradle to the grave” narrative. While that works for some movies within the genre, it would not have worked for this film. Focusing on these two very specific periods of time allows the audience to know the woman behind the title of RBG and appreciate her contribution to American history.

I absolutely recommend it.

On The Basis of Sex is currently in theaters. 

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Best Books Of 2018

I’ve read quite a few books in 2018. Below is the list of the best books of 2018, at least from my perspective.

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama: Mrs Obama’s autobiography is insightful, down to earth and one of the best autobiographies that I have read in a long time.
  2. House of Gold by Natasha Solomons: House of Gold was described by another reviewer as a Jewish version of Downton Abbey. I couldn’t think of another description if I made it up myself.
  3. Pride by Ibi Zoboi: A modern-day Pride and Prejudice set in New York City, this Jane Austen adaptation feels old and new at the same time.
  4. We Are Going to Be Lucky A World War II Love Story in Letters by Elizabeth L. Fox: The story of a marriage during World War II told in a series of letter that will make you believe in love.
  5. My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher: When Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds departed this world two years ago, no one knew them better than their brother and son. The book is a love letter to them by one of the people who knew and loved them best.
  6. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: A young girl growing up in the wilds of Alaska learns some hard truths about life, love and marriage.
  7. American Tantrum: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Archives by Anthony Atamanuik and Neil Casey: Based on the character created by Anthony Atamanuik on The President Show, it is a what if story in regards to the fictional Presidential library of you know who.
  8. Not Out Kind: A Novel by Kitty Zeldis: Just after the end of World War II, two women from vastly different worlds meet in New York City and forever change each other’s lives in the process.
  9. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux: 150 years after the publication of Little Women, the book still resonates with readers across the globe and across the cultural landscape.
  10. The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict: Behind every genius is a supportive and loving spouse. But what happens when the spouse is denied her own genius because she is a woman?

That’s my list, what are your favorite books of 2018?

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Downton Abbey, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Movies, New York City, Politics, Pride and Prejudice, Star Wars, Television

Vice Movie Review

Politics is not known to be a clean or ethical business. While some may claim that they are getting into politics to serve the needs of the people, their actual reason for getting into politics is not quite as transparent.

The new movie, Vice, is the story of Dick Cheney, who serviced as Vice President under George W. Bush. The film starts in early 1960’s when Cheney (Christian Bale) is a drunken ne’er-do-well. After flopping out of college, he is working, but spending most of his time in the bar and getting into fights. His longtime girlfriend, Lynne (Amy Adams) gives him an ultimatum: clean up his act or their relationship is over. The film then moves forward in time as Cheney climbs up the political ladder and he and Lynne go through the motions of marriage and parenthood. His job with Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) will eventually lead to the job of Vice President while George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) serves as President. Along the way, he makes many decisions, some which may be seen as unethical.

Writer/Director Adam McKay is not known for dramatic films that have a political edge. But with Vice, he is able to create a film that succeeds. This success comes down to the slightly unorthodox narrative and the lead actors who disappear completely into their characters. This disappearing act, especially by Bale, could lead to multiple awards come next year.

I absolutely recommend it.

Vice is presently in theaters.

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Suggestions Wanted For Throwback Thursday & Flashback Friday Posts

Many of my regular readers know that I’ve been writing Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday posts for quite a few years now.

That being said, I am in need of suggestions for upcoming Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday posts. I am open to both television shows (both fiction and reality shows) and movies. The criteria is as follows:

  1. The movie must have premiered in theaters at least five years ago.
  2. In regards to any suggestions for television shows, the pilot must have aired at least five years ago. I am fine with shows that are both still on the air and/or no longer on the air.
  3. I avoid horror movies like the plague, so please do not recommend any horror movies.

I look forward to your suggestions. Thank you for reading and have a good weekend.

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