Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Movie Review

Grief and fear are two very potent emotions. They have the power to control our actions and if we give them power, our destiny.

The latest addition to the MCU universe, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, uses grief and fear as the emotional base of the narrative. The sequel to Doctor Strange, the movie starts with the wedding of Doctor Steven Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) colleague and ex, Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). The festivities seem to be going well until predictably, the city is attacked by a monster. Its target is America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a young lady with abilities to travel through the multiverse.

Together with his friend, Wong (Benedict Wong), he has to keep America safe from Scarlett Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). She wants to use the girl’s powers to get back to the fictional children she created within the world of WandaVision. Nothing and no one who will stop her from getting back to her boys. The only person who can save the world and the multiverse is Doctor Strange.

This movie is absolutely amazing. I would even go so far as to say that I would rank it in the top 5 of MCU movies. Making a sequel to one story is hard enough. Making two of them and marrying them into a larger tale is twice as hard. I loved the surprising horror elements, the underlying emotions that drove the characters, and the ending that is absolutely perfect.

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Do I recommend it? Absolutely. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was top ten lists of movies come the end of the year.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is presently in theaters.

P.S. As usual, stay for the mid-credit scene. There are two of them, so I recommend staying until the very end.

Throwback Thursday: Spotlight (2015)

The purpose of religious observance is to provide community and structure to the ins and outs of our daily lives. That does not mean, however, that some within the clergy will use their power for less than honorable means.

The 2015 film, Spotlight, tells the story of how a group of journalists at the Boston Globe discovered that the Catholic Archdiocese was covering up a decades long child molestation scandal. Led by Michael Keaton, the team includes Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d’Arcy James. Taking place over the course of a year, the audience is taken on a journey to uncover the truth and the lengths that were taken to cover up what the church would have preferred to remain hidden.

When this movie originally came out six years ago, I tried to see it in the theater. There is a reason why it was sold out. It is gripping, intelligent, and a bare knuckle ride from start to finish. This is why we go to the movies. It is also a reminder of why journalism is so important and can never be overlooked.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Clueless Character Review: Cher Horowitz

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. If you watch enough high school movies, you might get the idea that the popular girls are all versions of Regina George (Rachel McAdams). The surprise comes when we realize that what we see on film does not always match reality.

In the movie, Clueless, Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is a modern teenage version of Emma Woodhouse, the heroine of the Jane Austen novel Emma. Living in Beverly Hills with her widower father, Mel (Dan Hedaya), Cher has a good heart, but her head is not always in the right place. She buts heads with her stepbrother Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd) and spends most of her time with her best friend Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash). When new student Tai (Brittany Murphy) arrives at Cher’s school, she sees an opportunity to do some good in the world via a makeover and a potential match with Elton Tiscia (Jeremy Sisto).

She will soon learn that what she sees, the rest of the world does not see. Elton would prefer to be with her than Tai. Tai is crushing on Travis (Breckin Meyer), who is equally into her. Christian, her new boyfriend (Justin Walker) is gay. The only relationship that works is out between her teacher Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Ms. Geist (Twink Caplan). Her pest of stepbrother is not only right about a few things, he is also the right boy for her.

To sum it up: Cher is an interesting character because unlike other similar characters, she is not a b*tch. She is may say and do things to hurt other people, but she does not do that on purpose. She just thinks she knows everything, when she clearly doesn’t. This makes her likable, even if she is completely frustrating to the audience and the people around her.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Review

The story of the underdog is as old as humanity.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga premiered on Netflix on Wednesday. Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) have been best friends since childhood. Coming from a small town in Iceland, their dream is to win the Eurovision Song Contest.

It appears that their dream will be just that. Then an opportunity reveals itself. But like any dream, there are roadblocks. Lar’s father, Erick (Pierce Brosnan) is a cold fish when it comes to his son.

Alexander (Dan Stevens) is a Russian competitor who appears to be romantically interested in Sigrit. He also might be using Sigrit to break up the duo. But Sigrit and Lars have been doing the will they/wont they dance for years. Can they win the contest and finally admit of their feelings for one another?

I have mixed feelings about this movie. It is supposed to be part absurdist comedy and part inspirational film. The inspirational half of the film works just fine. But the absurdist comedy falls flat on it’s face. I should have been laughing out loud, but I wasn’t.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Disobedience Movie Review

Disobedience is defined as failure or refusal to obey rules or someone in authority.

It is also the title of the novel by Naomi Alderman and the movie of the same time. Ronit (Rachel Weisz), Esti (Rachel McAdams) and Dovid (Alessandro Nivola) all grew up together in the same Orthodox Jewish community in North London. But Ronit left the community some years ago and has since found a new life in New York as a photographer.  Then her father, who was a respected Rabbi dies and Ronit is forced to return home.

When they were teenagers, Ronit and Esti were together, but their relationship was not exactly welcomed by their friends and neighbors. While Ronit was living in New York, Dovid and Esti married. Their marriage appears to be solid, but when Ronit walks back into their lives, all three main characters must grapple with questions of not just sexuality, but also faith.

Disobedience is one of the best films of 2018, at least for the first half of 2018. The acting is solid and the narrative is perfect. In other films, with other screenwriters, Dovid would be the mustache twirling villain keeping  the lovers apart. Ronit would be the hero who saves the day and the Esti would be “damsel in distress” caught between her marriage vows to Dovid and her love for Ronit. But in this film, all three characters are so real that I felt sympathy for all of them as they went on this journey.

I recommend it.

Disobedience is currently in theaters. 

 

Flashback Friday-Red Eye (2005)

Flying has become a routine of our modern lives. It can also create an opportunity for blackmail.

In the 2005 movie Red Eye, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) hates flying with a passion.  On a flight to Miami, she sits next to Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy).  The conversation starts off as regular small talk until Jackson reveals that he has ulterior motives. If Lisa does not help Jackson assassinate a politician, her father will be killed.

This movie is brilliant. If there was one film to describe as a thriller, this film would be it. Murphy is truly terrifying, reaching the limits that only a villain in an Alfred Hitchcock film would reach. For her part, McAdams fear of flying is only heightened by the very difficult decision that she knows she has to make.

I absolutely recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-Mean Girls

Most of the iconic high school/teen movies are from the 1980’s or 1990’s.  Mean Girls, premiering in 2004, is one of the few movies of recent memory that I think deserves to be included on the list of iconic teen movies.

Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) has been home schooled for most of her life. Now she is going to public school for the first time.  She settles in socially initially with Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franseze). Then the Plastics, the most popular girls in school come calling. Regina George (Rachel McAdams) is the leader of the trio with Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried) following right behind her. Trouble starts when Cady falls for Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett), Regina’s ex boyfriend.

Lindsay Lohan is brilliant in this movie. It should have been the start of a long and beautiful career. Instead it is one of her best movies, which is now ten years old. Rachel McAdams was perfectly cast as Regina, queen bee in the social hierarchy that is high school. Despite the fact that it is a movie, it is so true to the high school experience. Adding to the greatness of this movie are the SNL alumni playing some of the adult characters.

I recommend this movie.

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