Indignation

First off in this review of ‘Indignation’ based on the novel by Philip Roth, this is not my kind of movie. I admit I prefer the big studio popcorn flicks. Just my preference. I went to this movie on the recommendation of a friend. That being said, I did not like the movie, but it is a very good movie. Weird opinion, I know, but it’s how I feel.  It was well acted and it looked great. It really transports you to the 1950’s and you get a honest, unfiltered view of a world that few have experienced.

The movie tells the story of Marcus Messner, a young Jewish boy from Newark who heads off to the prestigious Winesburg University in Ohio. His father worries for him due to the number of young men lost to the Korean war. Marcus escapes the draft through his scholarship to Winesburg. When Marcus arrives at college, he takes to his studies with extreme focus and works in the school library. His attention is caught by a beautiful coed, Olivia Hutton. They have a eventful first date which sets into motion a difficult and challenging relationship. Olivia is troubled but Marcus can’t stay away.

Personalities clash as Marcus meets with his roommates and Dean of the school. The script is eloquent and intelligent and you soon find yourself lost in the characters’ lives. Marcus is an intense character and you can feel every moment of his journey through his college days. The pain and confusion of his first real love and the frustration of being trapped in a world that not only does not understand him, but refuses to understand him. I’m sure we’ll be hearing Oscar buzz for this one in the coming months. As good as it was though, I had problems with it. I just found Marcus to sometimes be overly aggressive in his ideals. One entire scene which could have ended with a single sentence was drawn out simply due to Marcus insisting to create an argument where none existed. It seemed in every scene he would get along with whoever it was he was talking to, and then it would turn and become a angry confrontation and t hen back to being civil again. It just seemed to me a lot of Marcus’ problems were self-inflicted.

Audience: The audience was fairly well-behaved. They were quiet and attentive, but there was one point during the film in which a gentleman in the row ahead of me seemed to nod off and started to snore rather loudly. Other than that, no incidents.

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Suicide Squad

Finally! After months of anticipation, Suicide Squad hits theaters this weekend. I am about to say something I never thought I’d say about a DC Entertainment movie, after the debacle that was Batman Vs Superman; I really liked it! All that things they got wrong in B vs S, they got right in this one. They didn’t shy away from the inherent ‘comic book’ nature of the material but they allowed it to find its own voice as well. It had a very ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ vibe and that’s a good thing. It had a quick pace, a great script that showcased all the characters which, considering the size of this ensemble, was not an easy thing to do. The story was a bit scattered, but I can forgive that because of all the backstory and character info they had to pack into the first act. A lot is going on and it’s hard to see how things line up, but they eventually do before the ‘run into danger, kill things’ formula begins to grow old. A particular shout out to Margot Robbie who stole the show as Harley Quinn. I have always wondered how this demented damsel would look in a movie and how she would be portrayed and I’m glad to say that she nailed it. She balances the sexy nature of the character with the strength she possesses. The costume is something you’d see in a strip club, but that’s kind of the thing with Harley. She makes you think she’s a ditz, but there’s a brain behind those sparkly eyes. The rest of the cast does a great job of bringing these heroes(?) to life. Will Smith brings a human side to Deadshot and you see he’s more than just a hitman in a costume.

A few low points, I’m afraid. Killer Croc was one of my least favorite characters. Physically he looked odd. His head was too large for his surprisingly small body. He didn’t look right. You know what I mean, but the one thing I did not like about this movie, and I am loathe to say it, was the Joker. I am a big fan of Mr. J, but Jared Leto’s incarnation of him left me baffled. There was so much wrong. He looked like just some guy who painted his face, dyed his hair and wore too much red lipstick. He was portrayed as some kind of mob boss, and while that has been an angle used for the character, the Joker I love does not play that. He’s a psychotic creature of chaos who doesn’t know what he’s going to do next anymore than his victims. He doesn’t have tattoos and he doesn’t dress like a ’70’s pimp. It felt like they just tossed Joker into the mix because they needed something to fortify Harley’s story, but it came off like such an after thought, it barely had any effect on the movie. If Jared Leto is going to return as the Joker in future films, let’s hope he takes a cue from the comic books. The Joker there carries a lethal tension and madness that this one was missing. If you don’t believe me, check out ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’. He may not be cool and hip with tattoos and all, but he’s a stone cold killer nonetheless.

In the final analysis, this movie was worth a night out to see. It found the energy that all the previous DC movies had lost and I hope they keep it up with upcoming films. It was good to see that the DC Movie Universe still had a few sparks of life left in it. Here’s hoping for Doom Patrol in 2018!

The audience: It was opening night and I had low expectations. The auditorium was packed and I was ready for the worst. Pleasantly , the audience was quiet for the most part. Only sparking noise when something moved them to laugh, which was okay. They just laughed and didn’t bother to analyze why it was they laughed. The man in front of me however tried my patience. He kept leaning forward in his seat and getting his head in my line of sight for the whole movie.  The funny thing was that there had been some drama over his seat and  he was a  big, black man. The guy to retake his seat was an even bigger man, but that wasn’t as annoying as the girl next to me. She spent the whole time curled up in her man’s arms and I could tell she didn’t really want to see the movie because  she was constantly checking her phone! Dude! Take her to a chick flick if that’s why you came to the movies! She clearly didn’t want to be there, so when she got bored she would check her phone. So rude.

Absolutely Fabulous : The Movie

The big screen adaptation of the popular BBC series has finally arrived. After years of speculation and rumors it has proven to be a reality. It was hard for me to picture what a film version of Ab Fab would look like. I am familiar with the series and while I’m not a rabid fan, I did enjoy the show’s humor and wit.

In the film version we see how life has continued on for Patsy and Edina. Saffy, Edina’s daughter, is now living with her along with her own daughter Lola. Other than that, not much has changed. Eddy and Pats are still living as large as they can manage, and usually on someone else’s dime. Two forces of destruction plowing down everyone and everything around them with no regard to the destruction they leave in their wake. In other words, business as usual.

Edina is on the verge of a book deal but when the publisher declines buying the story of her life, she begins to see how life seems to have passed her by without her noticing. Her PR business is non-existant and the money is running out fast. Her one glimmer of hope is signing supermodel Kate Moss as a new client. In her zeal to land the deal, Kate Moss winds up falling into the Thames river and is presumed dead with Edina in the center of the controversy.

Things get real for the two best friends and they are set upon an adventure to find a safe place to hide and get away from the nightmare that has consumed their lives with Lola, and her credit card, along for the ride.

I enjoyed the film for what it was. A longer version of the show with a larger budget. It was nice to see all the old gang back played by the original performers. While they have changed on the outside, the spirit and talent remained. Jane Horrocks returns as Bubble and is as ditzy as ever and a perfect comic foil, if not a bit underused in this adventure, but keep an eye peeled as she pops up in other parts of the movie in different guises. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley haven’t missed a step. They ease into Patsy and Edina’s vibe so easily and it’s so good to see the energy between them. The story does make sense in the Ab Fab tradition but is largely uninspiring and even a bit ridiculous and requires a great deal of faith from the audience to make plausible. However it’s not the story that we have come for. The script can lapse into some over silly moments that can take you out of the action, but all in all, it hits all the points. If you are a great fan of the show, you will love this addition to the phenomenon however, it  may be a little over the head of those new to Ab Fab and a little viewing of the series may prove helpful.

Audience: Sadly, there wasn’t much of an audience for this one but thankfully they were quiet as mice for the entire film. Which I think is a testament to the dedication to those who are fans of the show. Everyone was focused on the movie and all I heard out of them was laughter.

Nerve

In the new film ‘Nerve’ Emma Roberts plays Venus, a practical, timid young woman who seems to have trouble showing up for herself but is challenged one day by her best friend Sydney. This challenge leads her to participate in a game of dares known as ‘Nerve’.

At first the dares are fairly daring but not too extraordinary, but the stakes rise and they rise fast after she meets the handsome Ian, played by the adorable Dave Franco. The Watchers of the game take a liking to their pairing and continue upping the challenges for them both. It isn’t long until the line is crossed and the game becomes one of survival.

Nerve is a fast paced tale of suspense that at times strikes a very real nerve. Roberts and Franco have excellent chemistry as Venus and Ian and the stunt set pieces come at you with a frenzied energy and make you feel like you’re along for the ride as well. As the night progresses, Venus finds herself on a journey of discovery as she realizes she’s stronger and braver than she, or her best friend, ever gave her credit for. They manage to attach a real and deep relationship between Venus and Sydney that plays out organically and with great truth. The story itself seems to tease a more complex one which is perhaps found in the novel upon which this movie is based, but as it is now it’s an expertly woven morality tale that, I think, says a lot about the hive mind of the social media of today. It reminded me of the days of ancient Greece and their gladiatorial combat. Two warriors pitted against an opponent for the amusement of the masses. Nerve shows that even when you just watch, you’re still a part of it.

Audience: I should have known with a movie like this there were going to be audience issues. First, the two girls who sat behind me would NOT SHUT UP. They kept whispering and chattering to their reactions to everything on-screen. Secondly, there was a group of douches in the back who also enjoyed disrupting the auditorium with their nonsense. They were trying to snag someone else’s seats before the movie began but got booted out right away. They adjourned to the back row where they seemed to carry on their own little drama. This generation knows so much, yet common courtesy seems to be missing from their skill set.