julia-00157

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Reviews

Lil Timmy Tim: Statistics (Ms. Lawton)
(2013)

Transcendent
This made me fail math because as soon as my teacher said the word statistics I saw this video in my head playing over and over and I couldn't hear a single word she said.

The End of the F***ing World
(2017)

The Completely Morbid, Deeply Hilarious, and Utterly Binge Worthly Best New Show of 2018
The End of the F***ing World opens on James, a 17 year old self proclaimed psychopath, and Alyssa, an angsty teen who gets angry at most everything. James is looking to kill something bigger than just animals, and Alyssa is looking to be in love. In the school cafeteria, they find each other. James doesn't have any feelings. Alyssa has too many. Naturally, they run away together. In a quick turn of events that involves punching a dad in the face, setting a car on fire, and murder, out heroes find themselves on the run to find Alyssa's dad.

To be young is a battle of insecurity. Am I doing this right? How do I look? Am I good enough? Am I allowed to say this or that? The teenagers in this show simply do not care, something that that breathes a breath of fresh air. They throw away conventions and only worry about the immediate next step. They are the people we wish we had the courage to be, for better or for worse. And it captures figuring yourself out so well. The dangers of labeling yourself too quickly or not having a box to occupy.

Part of the appeal is the show is its realness. Of course, much of it is brutal and should never happen, but there are also things that bring it so far down to earth, such as Alyssa getting her period while on the run. Something that never happens in movies and no one questions it. The language of the show is brutal, but is exactly how most teenagers talk, and it makes sense in the characters' mouths. To censor would be a lie.

Though the series is short it allows perfect pacing and doesn't ever feel rushed. It's gripping and easy to watch in one sitting. The characters are allowed to develop and MY DO THEY DO IT. This is, somewhat, a coming of age story. James and Alyssa change with each other and because of each other.

The series is brash and brutal and doesn't hold back in any way. It is full of the cynical, quick talking dialogue scenes of a Wes Anderson movie. The characters are misfits and fed up with the world. They don't like what they've got but they've got something so let's go.

If I haven't said this yet, the series is like, really funny. But it's also sad and sweet and touching and magnificent and makes you want to stand up and cheer or groan with second hand embarrassment.

The series ends with James, and 18 year old who finally understands what people mean to each other and Alyssa, an emotionally charged teen who knows what to get angry about. The End of the F***ing World is an instant cult classic and should be celebrated in all its brash glory.

It
(2017)

Pennywise is a murderous Halloween prank
A group of children face their fears in the truest form: Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Should I start out by saying I am a sensitive person? I don't usually do horror movies because even the most obvious jump scares make me, well, jump. I saw this movie because I'd seen it get good ratings and heard it wasn't that scary.

The movie opens with young Gerogie losing his boat in the sewers, thus bringing him to Pennywise. The first scare isn't bad. Actually rather lame, if I may say.

The movie centers around the Losers' Club: six boys and one girl brought together by their encounters with It (and the local bully.) It starts by terrorizing them with their greatest fear, then turning into the clown, played by Bill Skarsgard, Skarsgard did a good job of playing a disaster of a villain who's only fear aspect is that he just appears. It did the opposite of say, Jaws, in that it shows you the monster from the very beginning. But this isn't just any monster, no. It can transform, and it's mouth can get really big.

The movie does fall victim to, I don't want to say every horror trope, but it comes close. The kids follow things they shouldn't, split up, see dead people, etc. Something about the movie is that when ever you see a red balloon, It is near. The movie probably used this once or twice in blindingly obvious ways, but not every time? In my opinion, if you're going to go, go all the way. I get surprising the audience but if you've already established something you can't just push it aside and hope no one notices.

The young actors in the film, particularly Finn Wolfhard, were hilarious. The movie took breaks from its "horror" to have them make fun of each other in the way thirteen year old boys do. They're pretty well developed, and I say pretty because I've heard so much praise on that front but it can't quite reach.

The film repeats what it thinks works a lot. The blood (which I must say there wasn't as much as the average horror movie but like, still) was unnecessary and gratuitous. The friendship between the children is fun, and feels genuine, but they also try to force a romance between the one female characters and not one but two of the oddball misfits.

I guess I knew what I was getting into but I think the best parts of the movie are away form Pennywise, with the kids just joking, getting hurt when they can get better, throwing rocks and telling inappropriate jokes. To be honest that's the only reason I rated it this well at all. The ending, which was supposed to be satisfying in that telling the thing that feeds off their fears that they are no longer afraid unfortunately fell short.

The 80s aesthetic of it was, I guess, nice, and they had interesting cinematography when they weren't über focused in on the scary parts. The plot was thin and everything in the long run was pretty predictable.

Again, I feel like I have to say I am sensitive to horror movies. I was jumping and covering my eyes, but the second I left the theater, I was fine. Nothing about it stuck with me.

Dunkirk
(2017)

Heart pounding, heart breaking war thriller
Can I start off with a question? Why do we go see movies? To escape, to learn something, or to feel something. Dunkirk perfectly captures all three and, like the movie, this review will come to you in three parts.

One, to escape. Watching this movie was a truly immersive experience. When the planes darted around I felt dizzy. When the soldiers gasped for air as their boat went under I could feel their anxiety and tried to reach out myself, and swim for the surface. When a bomb blew up I felt I was in danger. The suspense built throughout this movie reached levels only a true master can dream of. I don't know what made me feel this way, and maybe I'm not supposed to know. Maybe the intent wasn't for the audience to go searching for the origin, but something about this movie made me care deeply about every single character. Maybe because most of the men were just baby- faced little boys, whether they were top billing or an extra with less than a second of screen time, I wanted to rescue them. Which precisely encapsulates the history of the mission. Dunkirk was a rescue mission. They tried to save every young man stuck on that beach that day. And I could feel that. I felt in with the characters, like I knew them and was in the same boat. I wanted to survive just as much as them, but we wanted to survive together.

Two, to learn something. Dunkirk is obviously based on the evacuation of Dunkirk in World War Two. We talked briefly abut this in history class but not to any large extent. As a result, I was walking into the theater knowing little about what happened except the basics. Now, Nolan's characters are all fictional, but they are drawn from the real people that made the story. The movie is fast paces and taking place along a short stretch of time. The characters are always on edge and doing something, so there is little room for exposition about their own lives. However, there is some scattered throughout, perfectly placed so that you can have that, without ever feeling forced.

Three, to feel something. As I stated earlier, this movie forges a deep understanding and protective relationship with every single character. I feel like they are my babies and I want to make sure they are okay. The ending, which I won't spoil, is perfection itself. Capturing what must have been felt after Dunkirk was evacuated: relief, exhaustion, and victory.

Throughout the movie there is a constant, underlying ticking noise. A clock, which they are up against. The rounds of a revolver, pointed at their heads. A fighter plane getting ready to fire, swirling above them, squealing.

Obviously, this is One Direction's Harry Styles's acting debut. And yes, he can act. He's got a lot to learn, sure. But he's got raw talent you can see in this movie and I expect we will see many times in the near future.

All across the board, performances are spectacular. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and this chain would be unbreakable. Each actor providing a step up for their partner in a scene as they build each other up. A little note I have is that most of the soldiers looked very similar. Dark hair, big eyes, and a stiff face. I assume this was a very conscious choice for the director to make.

Dunkirk has three simultaneous and interspersed story lines. This works well for making sure you don't lose interest, but it depends deeply on your ability to recognize the actors. This goes back to all the soldiers looking the same. There was a part that I found to be an unnecessary tear-jerking attempt, but that's not to say it at all spoiled my enjoyment of the movie.

I'm not going to go into Nolan because we all know he's proved himself as someone who can do this. However, I will say, though I am not a huge fan and haven't seen everything he's made, this is unlike anything I've seen his name attached to. It all felt so real, a stark contrast to the inception approach that nothing is.

And last but not least, it's just really pretty. The wides and close ups and deep emotion each shot brings, whether you're conscious of it or not.

You will find your heart beating and breaking from the opening credits to the end.

Wonder Woman
(2017)

Wonderfilled Wonderful Wonder Woman
This movie is like, really good. Disclaimer: This review is coming from someone who has never consumed wonder woman media of any kind before this movie. I've never read the comics, seen any of the TV shows or anything. This review is based solely off this movie.

Now me, I'm not really into super hero movies, but after hearing all the rave reviews about this one, I figured I would have to see it. And boy, I do not regret it. It was incredible. From start to finish this movie will keep you on the edge of your seat with heart-pounding action scenes, tense drama, lovable characters, a light to balance the darkness, and an overarching love story (familial love, friendly love, and romantic love)

The beginning sets the tone with female warriors training, but also propels into the mythicality that drives the plot. We are introduced to young Diana and her home island. After being trained as the strongest warrior on the island, the one who will kill Ares, the God of War, a soldier, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes into their secluded island, bringing with him a fleet of ships. This battle scene is the first that marks the serious tone that carries through the rest of the movie. What this film does really well that a lot of other superheroes origins fall short on is balancing the light and the dark. It is a serious movie, but it is also humorous. It's not overbearing but still able to maintain a dark element. A tough thing to pull off that should be commended on all levels.

Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and the ensemble manage to create such lovable characters from the first time you see them. Wonder Woman (Gadot) knows her way around HER world, but there are some things in the real world that she's experiencing for the first time (like snow and ice cream) and some social norms she can't quite wrap her head around (no women on the battlefield, unnecessary casualties in war). She also doesn't take any crap, an empowering quality all too lacking from most women in film. She doesn't want to hear your "that's not how it works," or "you can't do that," because who gets to decide that? Chris Pine creates and actually attractive love interest. He's charismatic and funny without being Trademark Charismatic and Funny.

As someone who never read the comics, the story as a complete surprise for me, and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It kept me guessing, and never fell flat. Even though I had accidentally read some spoilers before seeing it, everything was still a surprise as it was happening. The story doesn't lose sight of it's beginning, and carries through to the end as one story, not a collection of events. It keeps hold of the strength displayed in the first few minutes until the end credits roll.

Yes, there is a CGI filled, everyone-go-at-it final act, but can you name one superhero movie that doesn't contain this? This movie is the first one I've seen in a long time that does it well, although it still hit a few snags along the way.

I cannot recommend this movie enough. Not only is it fantastic that we get a female superhero movie, a box office smash from a female director, and a new series to look forward to, we also just got a really good movie that everyone, female and male, should see.

Beauty and the Beast
(2017)

LeFou Finds Prince Charming
Beauty and the Beast, a tale as old as time. A long beloved and somewhat controversial fairy tale that not everyone was willing to see made live. Disney is still at the beginning of their phase of remaking classics into live action films, with Beauty and the Beast being the third (I believe) that is just a remake as opposed to a new take, after Cinderella and the Jungle Book. Everyone knows the story: a prince (Dan Stevens) is cursed to be a beast until he finds true love, and an opportunity arises when a smart, different girl (Emma Watson) enters his castle. The new, evolved story answers some questions that the animated version left open ended, like what happened to Belle's mother, what happened to Beast's parents, and more details about the enchantress's magic on the castle. The Beast is earned some sympathy with a backstory, yet is it also covered why he got himself cursed, being a selfish, rude prince as opposed to just an orphaned eleven year old turning an old lady away at the door. Belle is evolved to be a modern woman in an olden time. She is the inventor, instead of her father, who is an artist. She attempts to teach a young girl to read, which the village sees as absurd and unnecessary. She actually gives the village a reason to despise her. She is also more headstrong and determined, trying to escape when captured at first.

The move itself is dazzling and charming. From the very beginning, the sets and costumes are to be admired. It captures you in a fairy tale. The musical scenes are cartoony yet beautiful, simply an animated world come to life. The castle and its inhabitants are a display of the talent in the design team behind the movie. It takes a bit of getting used to, with Cogsworth and Lumiere redesigned into more elegant furniture pieces, and Mrs. Potts and the Wardrobe looking nearly unrecognizable from their previous designs. Seeing the beast more humanized was weird and I am not sure if it was the right choice. It kind of eliminated the whole 'looking past horrifying' when he was basically just a large, hairy man with horns.

The movie allowed time for Belle and Beast to actually know each other and become friends and form a relationship before they fell in love. Beast is also a bookworm in this version, already having the giant library as opposed to just getting it to win over Belle, leading to a more genuine relationship. The performances were cartoony, as to be expected. They are portraying animated characters, so everyone knows their acting would be a bit, well, animated.

If you are either avoiding or praising this for it's "exclusively gay moment" featuring Josh Gad's character, LeFou, I wouldn't hold your breath. LeFou, Gaston's little friend, is obviously infatuated with him. This is mostly for comedic purposes, however. Later in the movie, when the villagers are storming the castle, the wardrobe puts three men who are attacking her in dresses. Two of them go screaming, while one is very happy dressed up like that. In the finale, him and LeFou are ballroom dancing together for a split second. If you blink, you miss it. LeFou also gets redemption after Gaston turns him away one too many times. A few new songs are added to the new version to fit in new parts of the story. Obviously not as good as the original songs, and largely forgettable, however.

As someone who loved the animated movie and princess Belle growing up, I was happy with the remake. It captured most of the same magic and made me smile. If you're upset that this 'remake theater' is what Disney has chosen to do, that is fine, but do not regard it as a bad movie just because of that.

Manchester by the Sea
(2016)

This movie breaks your heart
This movie pulls you in and breaks your heart and before you even know what is happening you are sobbing. The critic in me was pointing out the flaws, but meanwhile my heart was broken. This movie is about Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) who learns he is now guardian of his nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges) after his brother (Kyle Chandler) dies. Lee and Patrick are both trying to deal with this in their own ways and together and neither is very good at it.

It does go on for a very long time, but that just makes you feel that much more attached to the characters. By the end I felt like I knew them and had a responsibility to make them happy, a level of deep human empathy that Kenneth Lonergan did a brilliant job in capturing, and that is not an easy feat.

Casey Affleck was brilliant. Completely wonderful. One of the most powerful performances I've seen in my lifetime. Here is a man who's life has been so tough to deal with and he's not doing great. He has problems. He can't quite control himself and starts bar fights and can't make small talk or act like a human being or a general good person, but somehow you root for him with your entire heart. Lucas Hedges is so incredible in his breakout role. He is a wonderful new star and I hope to see much more of him in the future. Michelle Williams, whom we have come to know as an incredible actress, so much so that you almost get used to it after a while, continues to wow, and raises the bar with her latest performance.

I would like to have a ten minute standing ovation for Mr. Kenneth Lonergan. His script makes your heart grow and pule and explode and the pieces try so hard to fit back together until you're left with a mismatched heart that can still love this movie. This movie is SAD. Be ready for that. Don't think you won't cry because you will. It wasn't perfect, but that can be forgiven at the expense of such a deep and moving film that is somewhat of a rarity nowadays.

Fences
(2016)

A Bit Disappointed
I didn't like this movie as much as I expected to. Sorry. The movie centers around Troy Maxon (Denzel Washington), a father to two boys of different mothers, a husband to Rose (played wonderfully by Viola Davis) for the past 18 years, an ex-con, a garbage man, and above all, an ordinary black man in the 1950's.

No doubt it was a powerful script that most likely created an incredible play but it was not meant for the screen. It was obvious that it was a play, in the way they spoke and entered a room and carried themselves in a scene. I, of course, have not seen the play so I cannot speak with 100% certainty but I feel like the script wasn't adapted for the screen at all. It's not like it needed any major changes, just a few here and there to improve clarity. The passage of time confused me throughout. A scene would end and it would be the next day, then a minute passes and it abruptly jumps to six months later with no indication. This could be a statement on how his life passed quickly and routinely, but it felt like a swing and a miss for me.

Viola Davis was wonderful. She deserves every award coming her way. I could sing songs of praise about how magnificent she was. 10/10 for her. Beautiful.

Denzel Washington was certainly egging for an Oscar as he did what he did, but that's not degrading his performance. He did do good, but it was a bit distracting when he stole the show and didn't really let the other actors bounce off each other and him as much. It was all about him.

Even though I constantly found myself criticizing this movie, I did like it. It had a magnitude that I cannot explain, otherwise I would've given it a much lower rating. I recommend this if you are willing to. I will warn you, it is tough to sit through a movie with no one to root for. Washington's character is not a good person and very unlikable, you don't really want to cheer him on.

La La Land
(2016)

Wonderful, Excellent, Gorgeous, etc.
THIS. This right here is what I love about movies. This film right here is why I put myself through going pretty much every weekend to see the latest critically acclaimed masterpiece that turns out to flop, in the hopes that one day, this will happen. La La Land is beautiful, soaring, fun, uplifting, dramatic, gorgeous, and basically everything that makes us smile. I was grinning throughout the entire first act. This is an original live action musical, something we don't get to see too often in movies today. Could it have been a bit of a missed opportunity to cast two white actors in a movie about jazz? Yes, it could have been, but Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling shone. On their own, they are both bright stars, but put them together, and they light up the world. Chemistry, which is such a big missed ball in Hollywood these days, is undeniable between the two of them. It just WORKED. I cannot praise the soundtrack enough. The songs are brilliant and catchy and bright, I'm still listening to it months after seeing the film. Also, the choreography and costumes and the aesthetic of it all. The musical scenes are filmed with such fluidity it is magnificent. The movie is given a retro feeling, but takes place in modern times. The color palette of bright, primary colors for Stone's character and more muted browns and blues for Gosling worked perfectly with the themes and their relationship. The ending, as abrupt as it may be, was certainly beautiful and no one can say it was unsatisfactory.

The Accountant
(2016)

The Accountant is good and bad.
Never would I have thought one could make a movie titled The Accountant that contained so many bullets straight through the head, but them again, Hollywood achieves the impossible each week when more movies are released.

I'll admit my opinion changed throughout this movie. In the beginning I was appreciating the set up and thinking this was a promise to a thoroughly entertaining and thickly plotted movie. Towards the middle I was somewhat annoyed by the lack of connection between too many various strings just hanging, none attached.

However, in the conclusion, I couldn't help but admire the clever connection to the opening minutes. But, that's not to say this movie was without its flaws. There was a plethora of roughly cut fight scenes, which can be a plus if that is your cup of tea, but unfortunately it did not work that way for me. A thin relationship that made me cringe between Anna Kendrick and Ben Affleck, who had no chemistry and were very awkward on screen together. This is not a critique on the actors, they were simply doing their job the best they could. I found the parallel plot line, starring JK Simmons, to be unneeded and only serve to disorient the audience and leave them trying to make connections that weren't necessarily there.

That being said, I though Ben Affleck gave a solid performance as an adult with autism, and that plot line proved sustainable and entertaining.

Hacksaw Ridge
(2016)

Brutal but heartfelt War Drama
"In a world so set on tearing itself apart it doesn't seem to me like such a bad thing to want to put a little bit of it back together." This film pulls you in within the first few minutes with brutal shots of battle in dramatic slow motion to a haunting score, which I can say now was the perfect preview of what was to come later in the movie. Andrew Garfield's character is introduced to the audience as a simple minded but well meaning, all around smiley, adorable young man. When we get farther into the movie we see the depth of his bravery and his values, and Garfield did this wonderfully. We felt the fear and the need to protect, the grief and the struggle to get people to listen, and the frustration when they refused to. I could sing my praises for this performance all day long. Shot in a two act format, that deviates from the standard three act formula, the first act is bright and happy with a bit of cloudiness, like one half of a yin yang, the other the opposite half, so they fit together quite nicely. This movie is brutal in its battle scenes. It is intense and merciless. I cannot emphasize this enough. Before our boys go into battle, we are introduced to them enough that you learn their complexities and loveliness and confusion for what is right; You fall in love with them a little. Therefore, it is so shocking when they enter the battlefield and you see young men getting blown to bits or shot through the back of the head with less than a second of screen time. There is no denying this is a fantastic movie, but the violence was a bit much for me. I only recommend knowing what you're getting into. A story about course and innovation and a desire to serve, this is the epitome of a Hero story with a capital H.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
(2016)

This Film is Magic
Spellbinding, enticing, in a word: Fantastic. Everyone remembers the first time they read/ saw Harry Potter. The first time you went to Hogwarts and were completely transported into an amazing new world. We all wish we could enter the world for the first time again, and with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, JK Rowling has given us what we wanted. An entry into a completely unexplored era of magic with all of it's twists and turns and beauty and disaster. I must commend JK Rowling on her screen writing debut. Falls nothing short of what you would expect from a Potter book. An intricately woven plot with many interesting characters all fighting their own battles, all while introducing us to a whole new world. First, let me praise the brilliant Eddie Redmayne. His character, Newt Scamander, is an outsider. He never felt quite at home with people, but when we see him with his beasts, that's what passion is. We as an audience can see and feel for his intimate relationship, fascination, and respect for these creatures. One subtle thing Eddie did was when talking to people, especially in serious scenes, he didn't make a lot of eye contact. He would look up for a second, then look back down to their shoulder. A perfect and realistic quirk that many people can relate to. The rest of the quartet are also magnificent in portraying their characters. All the technical teams that worked on this deserve a huge round of applause. Costumes from the 1920s that are intriguing and somehow magical, sets that immerse us in a different time, the props department, with their determination to perfect every detail certainly paid off, the animation, making book covers and newspapers come to life even when they are not the main focus, reminding us we are in a new world: one where magic is the norm. And, of course, the beasts. They are what make this film truly magical. They are unlike anything we've seen before and bring our childhood imaginations to life. I could go on for eternity about all the wonderful things about this movie and why any Potter fan, or anyone, should go see it, but I believe I've made my stance quite clear: This film is magic.

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