What I Liked About “It” (2017)

It 2017 movie poster4star-2“When you’re a kid, you think the universe revolves around you. You think that you’ll always be protected and cared for. Then, one day… you realize that’s not true.”

After 27 years, Stephen King’s child-killing clown has returned to haunt a new generation.

There’s a passage in It that reads, “Being a kid is learning how to live and being an adult is learning how to die.” The reality of that metaphor is what’s most chilling about this movie and the quest for survival.

Based on the 1986 Stephen King novel, It is the first installment of a planned duology and is the perfect example of when a remake is acceptable. Few people have actually seen or remember the 1990 miniseries that starred Tim Curry as the freakishly horrid Pennywise, so this remake was a great opportunity to remind a new generation why clowns will forever live in our nightmares.

Here are five reasons I enjoyed being spooked by Pennywise…

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Ingrid Goes West is the Millennial Generation

ingrid goes west3star“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea. Hashtag, California.”

When I try to understand the emotional complexities of social media, this quote from IndieWire hits the nail on the head:

“No one is as happy as they seem on Instagram, as depressed as they seem on Twitter, or as insufferable as they seem on Facebook.”

Ingrid Goes West dives face first into Single White Female territory with a splash of Desperately Seeking Susan for the millennial generation. Sadly, this Insta-stalking satire deserves a grittier and deeper look into what it’s dissecting.

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Dunkirk Review: What You Need to Know

Dunkirk movie poster5star“Hope is a weapon. Survival is victory.”

White knuckled, heart racing and teeth clenched, this movie engulfed me entirely, and I was only ten minutes into it.

For those who need to brush up on their history, the miracle at Dunkirk is simple: When 400,000 men couldn’t get home, home came for them.

The evacuation occured during the Battle of France in WWII when Germany cut off and surrounded a vast number of British, French, Belgian and Canadian soldiers. The evacuation took eight days, with a total of 338,226 soldiers being rescued by a fleet of 800 boats, including 39 British destroyers.

But, before you go into this movie with preconceived notions, I’ve laid out some points to consider that are worth knowing pre-viewing.

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“Okja” on Netflix is Life Changing

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After watching the Netflix original movie Okja, I’m an emotional wreck and looking at food in a whole new light.

In 2007, Lucy Mirando became CEO of the Mirando Corporation where she announced that her organization had been breeding a special kind of superpig. Twenty-six of the best pigs would be sent to locations around the world, and ten years later, one will be crowned the winner.

In 2017 in South Korea, a young girl named Mija risks everything to save her best friend – one of the genetic superpigs named Okja – from the multi-national Mirando Corporation who have captured Okja to bring to New York City for the Best SuperPig Festival.  Along her quest, Mija encounters a group from the Animal Liberation Front who join her to save Okja from slaughter.

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Wonder Woman is Overrated

Wonder Woman 2017 poster3star“I will fight, for those who can not fight for themselves.”

It appears that everyone is praising Wonder Woman; a female superhero lead’s cinematic debut has finally arrived, and it’s alarmingly average.

I rarely second-guess myself when making unpopular assessments on movies, and I’m sitting here mind-blown as to why this movie (as a whole) is being lauded as the greatest of the great for women.

As Christina Cauterucci at Slate asked herself in her review, and as I currently ask myself: Did I blackout during some essential scenes?

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Wonder Woman Made Me Finally See the Importance of Female Representation,” Dana Stevens wrote at Slate. Or “Her femininity is part of the story, for the way it makes even the other heroes in the movie underestimate and discount her. But her gender is never the story’s primary thrust,” wrote a critic at the Verge.  Right. The “most beautiful woman the world has ever seen” whose male characters are constantly wagging their tongues at throughout the movie…gender is no thrust here.

This is one of the safest movies I’ve ever seen, but some critics are already asking about the film’s Oscar potential.

As my queen Ellen Ripley would say, “Did IQ’s steadily drop while I was away?”

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Four Deleted Scenes from Aliens (1986)

aliens 1986 title“You know, Burke, I don’t know which  s p e c i e s  is worse. You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.”

After the success of my website’s most viewed post from a few years back, Three Important Scenes Deleted from Alien, I wanted to followup with an entry chronicling four important scenes omitted from the theatrical cut of James Cameron’s Aliens…a film so powerful that it has fans arguing that it’s the only sequel in a franchise to surpass the original in greatness.

Before the release of Aliens in 1986, James Cameron removed over 20 minutes of footage bringing the theatrical run-time to 137 minutes. Five years following Cameron decided to reinsert over 17 minutes of deleted footage back into Aliens creating the Aliens Special Edition.

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While I’ve seen both the theatrical cut and director’s cut, the latter doesn’t differ heavily from the former…certainly not nearly as drastic as  Alien³: The Assembly Cut. The advantage of this theatrical cut is all about the pacing of the film – it flows smoothly and quickly…exactly what studio execs wanted.

My preference? There are aspects of the director’s cut that I find could have been beneficial to keeping, while others deserved to be left on the cutting room floor. Personally, I prefer the theatrical cut.

Sigorney Weaver’s preference? She threatened to never shoot an Alien film again if the longer director’s cut was not released.

Here are four scenes that didn’t make it in the theatrical cut.

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Oscars 2017 Recap

2017 Oscar Winners

Although the top four acting categories garnered predictable winners, what no one predicted at the 2017 Oscars were the infamous hashtags known as #Envelopegate and #Oscarfail.

When Warren Beatty and Faye Dunnaway went to present the Oscar to best picture, Beatty had been handed the wrong envelope by the accountants. Confused and apprehensive once he looked at the envelope (which read Best Actress Winner Emma Stone from La La Land), Beatty attempted to show Dunaway the mistake before she immediately blurted out: LA LA LAND!

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What a total F up. It’s one of the most surprising reversals in Oscar history.

As Trevor Dueck writes, Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel steered us through an overall entertaining show with Trump jokes and on ongoing feud with Matt Damon. Don’t forget about the bus-load of tourists who got the surprise of their lives when they were brought into the Dolby Theatre and got to meet some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Here’s a recap of the 2017 Academy Awards.

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Top 10 Movies of 2016

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The 2017 Academy Awards are finally upon us, and this year we can safely praise the industry for not imitating #OscarsSoWhite. The hashtag heard round the world last year explained the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations, but not this year.

The Academy has nominated four Best Picture movies about people of color (Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion and Moonlight), seven acting nods for performances of color as well as nominations in categories such as directing, screenplay and cinematography.

This year it really comes down to two movies. One focuses on black America and personal diversity while the other is about following your dreams. Moonlight and La La Land are undoubtedly the two movies to beat.

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While I’m fearful that the overrated La La Land will sweep the Oscars, Trevor Dueck argues that “two white tarts dancing and singing in Hollywood might have come out a year too late.” I’m not so sure about that though.

As the director of Moonlight Barry Jenkins explains, “They could not be more different films. I don’t think a love for one has to be to the rejection of the other. I can only speak to the film I made, which was made in the service of shining a light on a character who is often marginalized. Where that falls in the context of the awards season, I can’t say. But I love that regardless of where we are right now, a year and a half ago, we sat down to make this thing, and that’s exactly how I felt and it’s how I feel now.”

Everyone knows my stance on the undeserving Goliath that is La La Land (see here), but this feel-good musical has earned a whopping 14 nominations, a record only shared with All About Eve and Titanic. WTF, right? Even the LA Times asks who will survive the onslaught of La La Land? After sweeping the Golden Globes, it’s proven to be an unbeatable force.

But there were more great movies this year than those two. Many of those movies were ignored by the Academy entirely but were some of my favorites of the year.

Here are my top 10 personal favorite movies of 2016!

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5 Things I Learned from Captain Fantastic

Captain Fantastic cast4star-2“Always tell the truth. Always take the high road. Live each day like it could be your last. Drink it in. Be adventurous, be bold, but savor it. It goes fast.”

If you had the opportunity to be fully present for your children, could you do it?

In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

Writer/director Matt Ross was fully focused on parenthood while penning this script. He took questions that he asks himself as a father and translated them into the character of Ben (played by Viggo Mortensen). “My goal was to create a movie that was intellectually stimulating and emotionally moving.”via First Showing.

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I’m about seven months late to catching one of the most outstanding and underreported indies of last summer, so pardon the delay. Each year brings constant booms in technology and increased distractions for us millennials and non-millennials. Captain Fantastic delves into a territory I’d be most uncomfortable with – an existence void of the toxic influences of society. The horror! Right?

Here’s what I learned from Captain Fantastic…

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