So My Big Announcement....Was that I found out that I was pregnant last January. It was a rough pregnancy in the beginning with all the morning sickness and body changes but it was such a awesome experience. The pregnancy was going really smooth and we found out in April we were having a baby.......(wait for it).... GIRL!!! Almost a month later....she was born almost 4 months premature on May 31st, 2015 at 2:32pm. We named her Morgan Penelope Holden :) My little sunshine had an extremely rough start in the NICU and stayed in the NICU 136 days until finally being discharged on October 14,2015. My husband and my family spent almost all our summer running back and forth to Children's Hospital spending time with our little munchkin. She is beyond a trooper. So obviously we missed a lot of movie time over the summer focusing on our little one but it didn't stop us from having the occasional movie date. So 2015 was full of awesomeness for me personally and also for Hollywood as this year was a great year for movies. I've been keeping up with all my usual entertainment & movie sites for all the scoop on what's coming up in 2016. I'm so excited to be back and can't wait to regain my movie blogging skills again with my little one in tow!
So I haven't updated the blog in almost a week and a half...I sincerely apologize but I have been a bit under the weather these last few weeks and have not had the strength nor the will to write but I'm feeling a little better today and wanted to share a few of the movies I've seen recently and my movie grading.
My Movie Grading - A
Bradley Cooper did one hell of a job portraying Chris Kyle. Like after seeing his story on Access Hollywood with his wife narrating and then seeing the movie...I highly recommend it. It was def a crowd pleaser and one of very few war movies, I actually enjoyed and wanted to watch. Great film, great story about an American Hero!
My Movie Grading - A
Everyone has reviewed this movie to death so I'm going to keep mine short and sweet. Excellent portrayals, wonderful acting, a good wholesome storyline and really good directing. This movie was well worth the wait and the hype.
My Movie Grading - F
Now this movie just didn't have any real rhyme or reason as to why it was created. The acting was piss poor, the storyline was boring and uneventful and the film was just not very entertaining. I was extremely disappointed and not at all happy with what I saw. This was one of those films that Hollywood wasted money making. Not worth the money or time put forth to have this on the big screen.
Into the Woods
My Movie Grading - C-
Not at all what I expected. This was a little too corny for my taste and was another film that didn't necessarily need to be bought to the big screen. The songs are cute and quirky but other than that - it was actually all over the place and from what I understand is better as a play rather than a film. It all made sense though because I think again - Hollywood has not realized that not everything needs to be made into a movie - some things are better left alone.
The Book of Life
My Movie Grading - B
This was a really cute film. Animated but really adorable storyline that made sense and was well worth the wait. I quite enjoyed the film and would definitely watch it again. Good movie for small kids.
That's my take,
Like anything in show biz, I am not at all surprised that "Selma" Director Ava DuVernay was snubbed this morning during the Oscar nominations for Best Director but I am extremely disappointed. I feel that again everything boils down to race in all aspects of the world and even when we want to believe that something as fun and entertaining as the Film Industry isn't plagued with racism...the reality of it all is that it is. I know I am not the only one who felt the disappointment wash over me while listening to the nominations but it started to bother me that though deserving men and women received nominations - two of the top categories featured only White men and women. No one person of color (Latina, African American or Indian) received nominations. Again, this isn't at all surprising but this feeling of disappointment due to discrimination is getting old. With everything that's been happening in the US recently with the protest against racism and police killings (all racially motivated), you would think that a industry like the Film Industry would take notice and change it's usual practices (even if it's just a one time thing).
It's so sad to think that in 2015, we are still here. The Oscar's has been known for snubbing excellent movies that are fan and critic favorites in previous years, so it makes me wonder - who and how are they making these decisions. What movies did they watch that we didn't? What skills did they use to make these decisions? It's very typical as a fan that you'll love a movie, critics give the film a rave review but alas they don't receive a nod or nomination during award season. Personally, the Oscar's and Golden Globes are prejudice and pick films not based off the content or liking of the film but off personal judgement and who's most popular that year. Like for instance, Julianne Moore for her role in Still Alice - now I saw it - thought she did a great job but she wouldn't have been my choice for Best Actress in either. Every year films that are deserving are picked over and though they receive nominations either thru city, web or magazine awards - the Globes and the Oscars are everyone's dream award shows. I haven't watched an award show in years just because all the films I like are usually snubbed and I think award shows play up the fact that jobs like being an actor or actress are more important and weight more in society than that of a doctor (who saves lives by the way) or a scientist. Now I know these professions have award galas as well but they are rarely - if ever televised and do not receive the same amount of hype and press as the Globes or Oscars. But this is the world we live in.
Just for fun, I decided to give a nod to folks, I felt were deserving of Oscar nods:
Carmen Ejogo - "Selma"
Oprah Winfrey - "Selma"
Zoe Saldana - "Guardians of the Galaxy"
Quvenzhané Wallis - "Annie"
Michael Pena - "Cesar Chavez"
Rodrigo Santoro - "300: Rise of an Empire"
Gina Prince-Bythewood - Director of "Beyond the Lights"
Gugu Mbatha-Raw - "Beyond the Lights"
Sofia Vergara - "Chef"
Tessa Thompson - "Dear White People"
I'll leave you with this - an article written by Scott Mendelson of Forbes.com on his opinion of Ava Duvernay's Oscar Snub.
"The Oscar nominations were announced this morning. There will be plenty of analysis regarding good surprises and bad surprises, and I may dip my toes in later today. But the most egregious omission is the sadly not-entirely-surprising absence of Selma’s Ava DuVernay from the five contenders nominated for Best Director. This is not a place to complain about the five nominees who did make the cut, although anyone who knows me well enough knows which one or ones I could have swapped in and out. To the extent that one can be “angry” about a certain filmmaker not being nominated for a major award that honors the best in filmmaking, I am angry. I am angry both because she deserved a nomination. I am angry because if the legacy of DuVernay’s Selma becomes shaped by its Oscar-season controversy, I fear that it will affect the artistic opportunities afforded to its African-American female director in a manner different than if Selma would have come under fire under the directorial lens of a white male filmmaker.
Ms. DuVernay directed one of the very best films of the year and has been lauded and celebrated accordingly for the last two months and yet she was shoved aside for at least a few contenders who were nowhere near as celebrated. There is a real chance that this terrific and towering achievement that highlights the profoundly heroic and blood-stained work of those who worked with and for Martin Luther King Jr. during the “Civil Rights Era” will be forever defined by the notion that it wasn’t nice enough to a powerful white guy in a supporting role. Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty allowed itself to be defined by those sniping from the sidelines (including many outside the filmmaking and critical community) that the film somehow endorsed and glamorized torture because it didn’t have characters monologue at length about the immorality and impracticality of torture. Despite the film’s rave reviews and rock-solid box office ($132 million on a $40m budget), the narrative around Bigelow’s masterpiece, for which she too was denied a Best Director nomination, has become “that torture movie.” Zero Dark Thirty, an overwhelming indictment of our entire post-9/11 mindset wrapped up in the story of one of the War on Terror’s alleged successes, was tainted along with its female filmmaker who currently has no projects on tap.
Selma is not the first “based on a true story” picture that has come under fire for historical inaccuracies. But it is the rare black-centric historical drama told explicitly from the point of view of its black protagonists. So it is both ironic and infuriating that it has now been defamed because of the (I would argue false) notion that it isn’t nice enough to a really powerful white guy who plays a key supporting role. More importantly, it is a rare big movie, even if it was merely a $20 million independently-financed production, which comes from the lens of a female African-American filmmaker. We are just now getting to a point where Warner Bros./Time Warner TWX -0.25% Inc. felt properly pressured (or logically inclined) to hire a female director to direct a Wonder Woman movie. We are just at the point where we have (male) black filmmakers like Lee Daniels and Steve McQueen are crafting “very important movies” about black characters and/or black-centric historical events. We’ve even got Tim Story crafting franchises for Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. It’s a very tiny piece of progress, but it is thus-far male-centric in nature.
I have no idea what offers (if any) have been afforded to Ms. DuVernay in the aftermath of Selma’s initial rave reviews and Oscar-happy media tour. But she is, to put it bluntly, by virtue of her race and her gender, at a greater disadvantage in terms of what opportunities are afforded to her in a still explicitly white/male-centric Hollywood. Mortem Tydlum will face no penalty for the borderline libelous (but unquestionably entertaining and engaging) The Imitation Game when it comes time for him to pick his next project. Clint Eastwood may have sanded off the rough edges off of American Sniper’s protagonist, but he will still get to do what he wants to do next time out. Bennett Miller will face no qualms getting a directing job despite the various “we’re pretending our protagonists are secretly gay for drama” fabrications in Sony's Foxcatcher. James Marsh will face no career hurdles on account of the not-100% accurate The Theory of Everything. And they arguably shouldn’t face any real penalties, since historical movies are at best an approximation of history, a kind of “Elseworlds” variation on known events. The films will earn their critical plaudits, make their money, and win their awards, but the respective directors have already won.
But Ms. DuVernay used Paramount’s (Viacom VIAB -1.33% Inc.) Selma as both a personal artistic statement and a calling card of sorts in terms of what she can do behind a camera in an industry that is mostly filled with white male directors. White male filmmakers have the luxury of being mediocre, and would-be Oscar bait films about interesting white males have the luxury of shrugging off the failures accrued during Oscar season and coasting merely on the perception of prestige whether the films are worthy or not. Damien Chazelle and Dan Gilroy will get huge career boosts merely because Whiplash and Nightcrawler were two of the best movies of the year, and Oscar validation would merely have been a cherry on top. Ms. DuVernay, more than her peers, arguably needed that Oscar validation as a bargaining chip.
That Ms. DuVernay didn’t get a Best Director Oscar nomination doesn’t make Selma any less of a great film. But that she was not among the final five announced this morning points to the notion that the smear campaign worked as intended. It’s a sad reflection of a year when a number of good, great, and lousy fictionalized true-life biopics about allegedly great or somewhat interesting white men are well-represented while one of the very best-reviewed movies of the year went with hardly a single relevant nomination, aside from getting into the expanded Best Picture field, arguably on account of controversy over its accuracy. Considering the obstacles that Ms. DuVernay faces in terms of just steady employment by virtue of her gender and skin color, the risk of Selma being defined not by its once-unquestionable quality as a motion picture but rather by the context of its back-and-forth bantering over its alleged historical embellishments is more than just trivial.
I’m angry because one of the best films of the year has been libeled and that said libel apparently worked. I hope I’m wrong about both Selma’s cinematic legacy and about DuVernay’s career prospects. Maybe she will get a call from Marvel tomorrow to helm a Phase Three picture as Luke Y. Thompson brilliantly advocated on Monday. Maybe she will quickly make a deal to do whatever it is she wants to do with little fuss and little melodrama merely based on the obvious filmmaking talent than Selma displays. But her omission from the five Best Director candidates this year makes that possibility that much less likely in a way that it wouldn’t have for a Selma directed by (for example) Paul Greengrass. Greengrass, who originally intended to direct Memphis based on an earlier portion of King’s life, would have emerged unscathed. I can only hope Ava DuVernay does. And that’s why it matters. And that’s why I’m angry. "
I'm with you Scott...I'm angry too,
A new slightly more entertaining version of the Avengers:Age of Ultron trailer was released today. It doesn't feature too many new scene previews but it has added a few different view points on previously seen scenes. Check it out below: video courtesy of Yahoo Movies & Youtube.
Film Release Date: May 1, 2015
Are you Ready?
"Tough Parental Love"
My Movie Grading: B+
Robert Downey Jr. & Robert Duvall's performance in this was phenomenal. The two play tough loving Judge Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall) and Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.), a father and son who have a very complicated relationship. After Hank's mother passes he returns home after many years and tries to re-build a relationship with his father and brothers. This doesn't go very well and as he is about to leave and return to his very lucrative lawyer job in Chicago - his father is charged with Murder. The movie just gets better and better storyline wise but doesn't go so well when trying to mend the broken relationship between father and son. Various issues from the past cause friction and not much is done to heal this issues until the end. This film is all about family and how difficult it can be to repair broken relationships. I loved how Hank was still respectful of his father even though he was angry - he wanted (as any child does) his father's approval and praises for turning his life around a rough start. In the end...He gets it (in so many words). A good wholesome film altogether and one I would definitely recommend.
That's my take,
"Sleep, Wake Up....Who Am I"
My Movie Grading: C-
Who doesn't get tired of Nicole Kidman looking frightened and scared in movies? Don't all raise your hands at once. Before I Go to Sleep get's pretty A typical once you've watched about 35 mins of the film. From what I understand it follows the story that the book takes us down quite closely and hasn't been modified too much for the big screen. It has a " Edge of Tomorrow" kind of feel with the repetitive scene of her waking up in a bed, with a man; she doesn't know and then running into the bathroom. This happens most of the movie though each time later in the day after she learns who she is - receives a call from a doctor telling her to look for a camera and watch the recording of herself from the day before. After a long while some action starts and then mystery plagues us and we get slightly interested right as the film is ending. Nothing too exciting, I'm sorry to report but if you like a OK mystery and a film that repeats scenes over again....This is for you! Not a bad performance for Nicole but I can't say that I haven't seen this from her before. I'd like to see something new and different. If this doesn't intrigue you enough to see the film, maybe you can check out the book - tilted under the same name.
That's my take,
"They Fought Hard"
My Movie Grading: A
Peter Sobczynski of Roger Ebert.com put his review of the film best saying the following:
"Although many commentators will no doubt immediately compare the new WW II epic "Fury" to Quentin Tarantino's brilliant "Inglourious Basterds," largely because both films star Brad Pitt as a heavily-scarred, drawling Army man leading his men in a quest to kill as many Nazis as possible, it is actually closer in tone to a straightforward and un-ironic guys-on-a-mission tale along the lines of "The Dirty Dozen" or "Where Eagles Dare," with a heavy dollop of gruesome bloodletting depicting the true horrors of armed conflict that have been de rigueur for the war movie genre in the wake of "Saving Private Ryan." It may sound like an interesting approach for a modern war film, but it doesn't take long to realize that writer-director David Ayer has spent more time adding flesh to his battlefield sequence than he has in fleshing out the screenplay. The end result, while technically impressive, is a dramatically bloodless affair, despite the gallons of gore on display."
For me, Fury is one of the first war movies that I would consider watching again. It definitely was not as harsh and gory as "Saving Private Ryan" but gave me a similar feel as "K-9:The Widow Maker" in the sense that most of the film takes place in this tiny little tank with not much space to move around and no real way to escape if your hit by an explosive. I usually do not like War movies as I feel most of them have the same ending where the heroins die a gruesome and sad death - which this one did but it was more touching how they died that made appreciate the film so much more. Towards the middle of the film it becomes more touching as the group finally start to work together with Norman (who is new to the group) and from there they kick ass. There are so many awesome action scenes and lots of awesome effects. One of the more touching issues with this was that 5 men held off a battalion of more than 200 SS agents with a broken down tank is more than just what I would think is a impossible feat but they did it and they did it well. The film features lots of well known Hollywood faces including - Brad Pitt as US Army S/Sgt. Don "Wardaddy" Collier, Shia LeBeouf as T/5 Boyd "Bible" Swan, Michael Pena as Cpl. Trini "Gordo" Garcia, Jon Bernthal as Pfc. Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis and Logan Lerman as Pvt. Norman "Machine" Ellison.
That's my take,
I've been a fan of the Lena Dunham insanely creative HBO show 'Girls" since the beginning and I'm extremely excited that after this season (which premires it's fourth season this upcoming Sunday, Jan 9th) I'll have to wait an entire year for the next season but the show has been renewed by HBO for a fifth season. The article was released on Yahoo Tv via the Wrap:
Article Written By - Tim Kenneally
"Prepare yourselves for more quirky awkwardness via Lena Dunham.
HBO has renewed Dunham’s series “Girls” for a fifth season, HBO’s president of programming Michael Lombardo said at the New York premiere for Season 4 of the show on Monday.
“Girls,” which also stars Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Adam Driver and Zosia Mamet, premieres its fourth season Jan. 11.
The January 2013 Season 3 premiere of “Girls” drew 1.1 million total viewers — a 28 percent jump over the Season 2 premiere, and a series high.
The upcoming season of “Girls” will feature guest stars Ana Gasteyer and “ER” alum Anthony Edwards, who will play the parents of Mamet’s character, Shoshanna.
Natasha Lyonne, Gillian Jacobs, Mar Maron, Zachary Quinto, Jason Ritter, Maude Apatow and Spike Jonze are also on board to appear on the fourth season of the series."
Woohoo for us "Girls" fans,
article link: https://tv.yahoo.com/news/girls-renewed-season-5-hbo-015332830.html
My Documentary Grading - A+
Now you almost have had to live under a rock not to have ever heard the names Siskel & Ebert, and even if not together - Gene Siskel or Roger Ebert in some capacity when movies are mentioned. I've always been interested in movie reviews but I remember reading a article by Roger Ebert maybe 15 years ago and thought that what he wrote in that article was the best description I'd ever read in my entire life. He began with some fun facts but ultimately gave a serious and concrete review of the movie (which now i can't remember what it was) but after reading it I just swooned over how awesome his review was and how I wish I could do something very similar. My father of course gave me the run down of who Roger Ebert was and gave me some literature to read over about being a movie critic and about who Roger Ebert was and who his equally talented friend - Gene Siskel was (around this time I believe he had just passed).
Fast Forward to Sunday - I watched a documentary titled "Life Itself" about Roger Ebert's legacy and his health struggle. The documentary was amazing and gave me a first hand look at his life - how he got into movie writing, his passion about movies and his rise to the top. It was almost like having the opportunity to meet him without actually meeting him and I'm happy I got to watch it. I learned how he was actually given the position because a colleague retired and it was just passed along to him - not that he wanted it but he accepted it nonetheless. He was already a well known writer, extremely talented and so the position was his. He literally thrived in this position - better than his predecessor. Roger became extremely well known especially in the Chicago area (he wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times) for his reviews and eventually partnered up for a TV show with a fellow critic (who he wasn't at first very fond of) Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune.
Long story short the partnership equally and individually became one of the most acclaimed & respected. These two movie experts are still admired today - by folks just like me. Roger Ebert has a wonderful website with all of his past movie reviews and articles for viewing. I visit the website about once a week - since his death he has really great contributors that write reviews for his website now and they are just as good. If you haven't seen this documentary and want to - check it out on Amazon. It's well worth it - if your a movie lover like myself.
That's my take,
Crimson Peak won't be released until close to the end of the year but everything I've read and seen so far as my interest extremely peaked. The film is by horror extraordinaire Guillermo del Toro about a young woman (Played by Mia Wasikowska - Alice & Wonderland) who is swept off her feet by a charasmatic suitor played by Tom Hiddleston (Thor) and moves into his gothic mansion which seems to house a little more than she bargained for including a jealous sister played by Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty). Filming has already begun and some got a sneak peek at the set during the San Deigo Comic Con this past July. Sadly, no trailer has been released yet but hopefully something soon. I'll update everyone as soon as I see it. This looks like it will be one of this years most promising horror films as it has an awesome & genius director. Anyone else excited to see what this film has to offer?
Photo Credit: I found most of these on Yahoo Movies but I see that some of them are tagged by Just Jared, Variety & Entertainment Weekly.