High Strung

high-strung

3/5 Stars

Summary: “When a hip hop violinist busking in the New York subway encounters a classical dancer on scholarship at the Manhattan Conservatory of the Arts, sparks fly. With the help of a hip hop dance crew they must find a common ground while preparing for a competition that could change their lives forever.”

So I chose this movie on Netflix  because it had 5 stars so it has to be great, right?  Nope.

If I’d realized the movie was rated PG before watching it, I probably would have moved onto something else, because it was just your typical PG movie about a girl who can dance. The story is extremely predictable and the acting of some of the background characters is horrible.

On the plus side, the dancing is nice to watch.  I’m always amazed watching ballet (if you want to watch an awesome show about ballet, check out Flesh and Bone).

The movie isn’t terrible, I still enjoyed it to an extent, but it’s probably better left to maybe a more preteen/teen audience.

Available on Netflix.

Logan

logan-trailer-700x300

4.5/5 Stars

Summary: “In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.”

Everyone, take note.  This is how you make a superhero movie.

Logan is a great example of why I enjoy the X-Men movies more than anything with the Avengers in it.  It focuses on telling you a story and not just “hey look over here at some epic action shots.”  That is not what I want to pay to see.

Having the movie rated R was also a great choice, by allowing the movie to feel more real and gritty.  Logan is aging and hurting and the world is apparently not that great a place, the cursing and the blood add to the atmosphere of that.

I loved seeing the relationship between Logan and Charles and watching Laura’s character grow.  She’s bound to have a spin off, right?!

Logan is an amazing addition to the X-Men franchise and if you’re a fan, it’s going to blow you away.  And the ending, ughhhhh!!!

Also, there’s no after credits scene so you don’t have to wait around like I did :/

Z: The Beginning of Everything

z_107_10429-e1485356614567

4/5 Stars

Summary: “Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, a brilliant, beautiful and talented Southern belle and the original flapper and an icon of the Jazz Age in the flamboyant 1920s. Zelda is a free spirit, who longs for a bigger and better life. When Zelda meets an unpublished writer named F. Scott Fitzgerald, a passionate, turbulent and notorious love affair emerges. This fictionalized biography pulls back the curtain on the wild parties and the music, as well the struggles, adultery, dark secrets and dashed dreams.”

Major binge watch alert!  I planned on watching the first two, maybe three episodes of this show and ended up watching the entire season in a day…oops.  To be fair, the episodes are only a half hour long.

Seriously though, why is a drama only 30 minutes?!  Somehow, they manage to make the episodes feel satisfying in the shorter amount of time and I actually didn’t realize they weren’t hour longs until I looked at the clock a few episodes in.

Before this I’ve only heard of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, so I had no idea what to expect with the show.  It starts before the couple has met and goes through their early relationship through the beginning of their marriage.  In what seems like a short amount of time, they really go through a lot.  Zelda seems like a great character and I am so interested to see where she is going to go next.

If you love the 20’s, you’re going to love the feel of the show along with its beautiful sets and costumes!

Available on Amazon Prime.

 

Black Mirror

black_mirror_-_nosedive

4/5 Stars

Summary: “A television anthology series that shows the dark side of life and technology.”

This is a great show for people who like to think about things, even though you can still enjoy it more passively.  Each episode has a completely different cast, topic, and feel to it.  But they all are kind of like what if ____ .

Some of the scenarios are really creepy to think about because they could easily happen/kind of already have.  This isn’t a show that is going to make you feel happy and positive about technology, I’ll just say that.

You can watch the episodes in any order that you want, though there are a few things that you’ll pick up on if you watch certain ones in the correct order.  Some of them will leave you really wanting more and some were kind of meh, but overall it’s a great series and I hope there will be more.

Available on Netflix.

Hell or High Water

hell-or-high-water-poster-1280jpg-5bb653_1280w

3.5/5 Stars

Summary: “A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s ranch in West Texas.”

Ehhhhh.

I didn’t love the movie, but I also didn’t hate it.  Hell or High Water is basically a modern day Western, while a lot of the time it’s easy to forget it is happening in modern day (for me at least).

The acting in the movie is great and it has a good plot, it just didn’t hook me as much as I would have liked.  I really don’t understand all the rave reviews people have written for it.

Personally, I could have done without the whole plot line of Jeff Bridges’ character.  I only really cared what he was up to at the very end, and by then, what’s the point?  I think the movie was missing some backstory elements that could have made you feel more for the characters earlier on instead of everything coming together in the second half.

If you can handle a slow paced movie about little more than robbing banks for 80% of it, give the movie a try and let me know what you think!

Moonlight

Moonlight

4.5/5 Stars

Summary: “A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.”

Out of all the Oscar nominated movies of 2017 that I have seen so far, I think Moonlight is actually my favorite.  It’s one of the few that feels bigger than just your average movie, which is what I want from something getting awards attention.

The movie is split into three parts, each telling the story of Chiron in different parts of his life.  I would have watched entire movies on each part because they were so good and interesting.  You get to see how a kid’s environment can really change how they grow and who they become.

If you’re into character driven stories, this is one you’re going to want to see.

My only problem with the movie is how each segment ended.  It was almost as if you get the first act of the story and just as everything is about to change, it ends.  Then in the next part you get a very brief mention of what happened during the gap, but not enough.  What they did with Juan’s whole situation really bothered me!  (You’ll know what I’m talking about if you saw it).

The ending of the entire movie wasn’t any different, unfortunately.  It ended JUST AS THINGS WERE GETTING GOOD!  Why?!

Despite that, Moonlight is a great movie that is well worth the 2 hours!

Victoria

victoria-tv-show

4/5 Stars

Summary: “The early life of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at the tender age of 18 to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert.”

A couple months ago I read the book, Victoria, that this show is based on (or the other way around, I’m not sure) and I finally got around to finishing the show!

If you liked the book, you will not be disappointed by the series—and you will probably be excited to know that season one goes beyond book one so you get to know what happens after that annoying cliff hanger.

The first 4 episodes, I think it was, deals with everything that happened in the story.  The two are very similar so if you just finished reading, it might be a little bit boring since you already know exactly what is going to happen.  But then it gets onto new plots that are interesting and fun to watch.

I wouldn’t say Victoria is my favorite period tv shows, but it is a good one that will leave you wanting more (which I think they said is coming in 2017).  Very similar feel to The Crown if you watched that over on Netflix (if you haven’t you should).

Nocturnal Animals

amy-adams-in-nocturnal-animals

3/5 Stars

Summary: “A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale.”

Okay so maybe I just didn’t get it?

Nocturnal Animals juggles the stories of present day Susan, flashbacks of her life with her ex-husband, and the events of the book that he wrote which was apparently inspired by her.  That’s a lot to cover for any movie.  I feel like a plot like this where there is an entire story within the story can be dangerous because you run the risk of one being wayyy more interesting than the other.

That is exactly what happened here.  Throw out the present day, throw out Susan all together and expand a bit upon the “book” and it could have been a really good movie.  The three pieces never really came together for me.  I’m thinking the final scene is supposed to be some kind of aha moment maybe (?) but it wasn’t.  It was a let down.

There was no closure to two of the storylines and really no point to the movie itself other than style and shock value.

If you’re going to watch this one, enjoy the book plot line and ignore the rest of it.  Definitely more enjoyable that way.  And if you got something that I apparently missed, let me know in the comments!

Loving

1466204102_loving_gallery17_richardloving_mildredloving_joeledgerton_ruthnegga_jeffnichols-1194x832

3/5 Stars

Summary: “The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court.”

I really wanted to love this movie (no pun intended), but to be honest it was a bit of a let down.  I only learned about the couple recently and thought that a story like theirs would have made a great, interesting movie.  But I’m not really sure what aspect of their lives the movie was trying to focus on.

It would have been great if it was trying to be a romance story.  To show how the two met and to get us invested in their relationship instead of just dropping us in it just before they get married.  I never really felt that their relationship was that strong, which I’m sure in real life it was.

Focusing more on the case and the legality of their whole situation would have also made the movie better.  The couple had to deal with the police in the beginning, but for the most part the movie didn’t show them struggling with the racism and segregation.  And then when the Lovings are finally doing something about the laws keeping them apart, we don’t get to see what happens!  There’s very little in the court rooms, nothing about other interracial couples looking to them and hoping that they win, and they didn’t really seem to be fighting against that much.

Because I know so much more must have gone on in real life, I just wish it had been shown in the movie because it is a big deal.

I’d kind of say this is a take it or leave it movie.  Maybe if you’re in an interracial relationship, it might mean a little more to you than me, but it’s still kind of middle of the road.

 

Manchester By the Sea

manchesterbythesea_trailer

4/5 Stars

Summary: “Lee Chandler is a brooding, irritable loner who works as a handyman for a Boston apartment block. One damp winter day he gets a call summoning him to his hometown, north of the city. His brother’s heart has given out suddenly, and he’s been named guardian to his 16-year-old nephew. As if losing his only sibling and doubts about raising a teenager weren’t enough, his return to the past re-opens an unspeakable tragedy.”

While I’m still not on the Best Picture bandwagon for this movie, I do think it is one to watch.  Just prepare yourself for one depressing thing after another, because spoiler alert, even the ending isn’t that happy.

The acting is incredibly well done and the story keeps you interested with bits of funny moments sprinkled in to keep you from feeling too depressed.  Told with a series of flashbacks, you get to see the main character, Lee, dealing with the death of his brother in a way that is heavily influenced by his past.

I think it could have been a great movie if it had been a bit more fast paced with some more comedic moments.  There are parts that dragged and felt like nothing was really going on.  By the end I felt like I had been sitting there for a lot longer than 2 hours and 15 minutes, though I’m sure the fact that I was stuck sitting in the second row of the theatre didn’t help.

For the average person, I wouldn’t recommend this, but if you’re into Oscar-worthy movies like I am this one is for you.