English Vinglish (2012)

For years I've avoided Indian cinema because I thought it was all singing and dancing and romancing because those are the kind of Indian movies on TV here in Italy. English Vinglish isn't one of those movies (and thank you, Sid, for the suggestion).

It's a beautiful, funny and sweet film about Shashi (Sridevi), a regular Indian housewife who is constantly mocked by her husband (Adil Hussain) and daughter (Navika Kotia) because she doesn't speak English. Then one day she had to go to New York to attend her niece's wedding and once there she joins a four-week English tuition class. From there, her life changes. 

Thursday Movie Picks: Television Edition: Workplace

Do you know what day is today? Thursday, but not any Thursday, it's the 100th Thursday I participate in Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. But enough with the bragging, let's talk about this week's picks. It's the last Thursday of the month so it's TV time and the theme is the workplace. So not fun, am I right? Well, actually my picks make it look cool. Kinda.

A Few Best Men (2011)

In spite of the rating A Few Best Men has pretty much everywhere, I still decided to give it a chance. What can I say, I love British humour and, after yesterday's horrendous comedy, I needed something to cheer me up. That, of course, this film didn't do. 

English David (Xavier Samuel) and Australian Mia (Laura Brent) meet and fall in love while on a vacation. After a week he proposes and they plan to marry in a few days, so he goes back to England, gets his three best mates (Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop and Tim Draxl) to come to his wedding. Needless to say, the wedding will be filled with havoc and chaos. 

Walk of Fame (2017)

You know what I hate? Having a crush on Scott Eastwood because this dude seems to have a soft spot for goddamn awful movies. And Walk of Fame is easily the worst I've seen. 

Drew (Scott Eastwood) works at a telemarketing agency with his friend Nate (Cory Hardrict) because he keeps failing his bar exam. Then one day he meets a hot ex-flight attendant (Laura Ashley Samuels) and tracks her down at the acting school she's attending. The sort of thing a creep would do. Anyway, there he encounters an eccentric acting coach (Malcolm McDowell) and decides to pursue the acting career while trying to win the girl's heart (and her panties). 

Saw V (2008)

Althgouh the entries weren't dreadful, the Saw franchise has been slowly getting worse, film after film. With Saw V, it hits the bottom. I'm pretty sure the following entries will be even worse than this one though.

Following the events of Saw IV, detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is commended as a hero. Special agent Peter Strahm (Scott Patterson), however, is suspicious of him because his assistant agent Lindsay Perez said Hoffman's name and looks into Hoffman's past. Meanwhile, a group of five people is put through a series of gruesome tests.

Girl Week 2017: Women Directed by Women

It's the last day of Girl Week 2017 and I have to admit it kinda makes me sad. I really enjoyed talking about ladies for the entire week, whether I was reviewing a film or picking a movie/character/performance. What I liked the most though was reading what the others who joined and hosted (Dell on Movies) the blogathon wrote.

Princess Mononoke (1997)

It's Sunday and the last day of Girl Week 2017 which means I could only write about an animated film with a strong female character, and I picked Studio Ghibli's Princess Mononoke

While protecting his village, a young warrior, Ashitaka (Yoji Matsuda in Japanese, Billy Crudup in English), is stricken by a deadly curse and his only hope is to travel to the far east. He eventually finds himself in the middle of a battle between Iron Town, led by the ambitious Lady Eboshi (Yuko Tanaka in Japanese, Minnie Driver in English), and the animal inhabitants of the forest, led by a Princess Mononoke (Yuriko Ishida in Japanese, Claire Danes in English), a human raised by wolves. 

Frances Ha (2012)

I've only seen a couple of Noah Baumbach's movies, and the same applies for Greta Gerwig, and I always loved what I saw which is why Frances Ha seemed like an obvious choice to me. It's directed by Baumbach, it stars Gerwing and its written by both. I was supposed to love it but I didn't. 

Atomic Blonde (2017)

Although I missed it when it was in theaters, I was pretty excited about Atomic Blonde. After all, it's not like it happens every day to have an action movie lead by a woman. In this case, it was even an incredible women, Charlize Theron. The pretty good trailer and the fact that I've only read positive reviews are the reasons why Atomic Blonde ended up being a huge disappointment for me. 

Just before the fall of the wall, MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is sent in Berlin after the murder of a fellow undercover agent and, with the help of station chief David Percival (James McAvoy), she is tasked to recover a missing list of double agents.

Wadjda (2012)

Just in case you didn't notice, Thursday is that day of the week I review foreign language movies, and since it's still Girl Week around here, I went with Wadjda, a Saudi Arabian drama directed by a woman. 

One day, after losing a race against her friend Abdullah (Abdullrahman Al Gohani), a boy she shouldn't be playing with, 10-year-old Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) sees a beautiful green bicycle. She wants it desperately so that she can beat Abdullah but her mother (Reem Abdullah) won't allow it because bicycles aren't toys for girls. So she tries to raise the money herself and when her attempt fails, she signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition to win the large cash prize for first place.

Thursday Movie Picks: Origin Movies

Welcome back to Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Each week we, those who join, have to pick three to five films to fit the theme. This is origin movies week and since it's also Girl Week 2017, a series hosted by Dell on Movies from November 20 to November 26, I combined the two and picked three origin stories of female characters. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a third good film so I had to settle for a terrible one.

Girl Week 2017: My Favourite Female Performances of 2017

Hello peeps. I'm back with another entry for Girl Week 2017, the blogathon hosted by Dell at Dell on Movies that's all about girls. On Monday I talked out my mom and I's favourite mothers in movies (apparently I was/wasn't off topic), today I'm talking about those ladies who stole my heart with their performances.

20th Century Women (2016)

20th Century Women is another of those movies I added on my watchlist and pretty much forgot about it. Some days ago it was mentioned on Twitter multiple times as one of the best coming-of-age of this decade so I took advantage of Girl Week to watch it.

Set at the end of the 1970's in Santa Monica, the story mainly focuses Dorothea (Anne Bening), a middle-aged progressive divorcée who is raising her teenage son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann). She is concerned that she may be too old and out of touch with the modern world to raise him adequately so she asks for the help of two women, Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a photographer who rented one of Dorothea's rooms, and Julie (Elle Fanning), Jamie's best friend.

Big Eyes (2014)

Tim Burton has been no stranger to bringing disappointing films to the audience in recent years, therefore I wasn't exactly dying to see this film when it came out. I still watched it because of its leading duo, and it wasn't half bad. Rewatching it a few years later, I still think Big Eyes is a decent film. And not the typical Tim Burton.

It tells the story of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), a painter who has a phenomenal success in the 1950s and had legal difficulties with her husband Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) who he took credit for her works. 

Girl Week 2017: Our Favourite Mothers in Movies

For the third year in a row, Dell at Dell on Movies is hosting Girl Week, a blogathon that celebrates women in films starting from November 20 to November 26. He’s aiming to post every day (so make sure to check out his blog daily), and so am I. Today being the only exception (Monday is franchises day), every day, from the 21st to the 26th, I’m going to review movies about women.

Saw IV (2007)

If there's something I like about the Saw franchise (other than the fact that, film after film, we slowly get to know why Jigsaw killed those people) is its consistency. The original Saw was great and the followings didn't live up to that, but they all are pretty much on the same level and they still make for decent films. Saw IV is another of those movies. Nothing great, but still a decent horror.

Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is finally dead but his sick games continue as Lieutenant Daniel Riggs (Lyriq Bent) is put through a series of tests that is supposed to teach him to let go of his obsession with saving everyone and that allows him to save his partner, Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg). Meanwhile, FBI agents Strahm (Scott Patterson) and Perez (Athena Karkanis) investigates the legacy of Jigsaw.

Bambi (1942)

Disney movies were pretty much all I watched as a kid but Bambi never was one of my favourites which is weird considering love animals since I can remember. To be honest, I'm not even sure if I ever watched the entire film before because other than Bambi's mother dying, I could remember nothing. 

Or maybe it's because this film is pretty plotless. This young deer gets his mother killed by a hunter, he befriends other animals, he learns the skills needed to survive and finds love. But it's not all roses, hunters come back and he must save the other deers. 

Justice League (2017)

When it comes to DC, disappointment is often around the corner. The brilliant Wonder Woman (which I thought was going to be another disappointment, but wasn't) restored my faith in them and, in spite of what critics have been saying these days, I was pretty excited about Justice League. But how could I be not? I grew up watching that Justice League cartoon and I absolutely loved it. Same goes for this movie. For the first time, I can say I loved, truly loved a Zack Snyder film.

After the events of Doomsday, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) asks for the help of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) to assemble a team of meta-humans consisting of Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) and Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) to face a new threat, Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and his army of Parademons who wants to conquer the Earth.

Hop (2011)

Christmas decorations are everywhere (but my house) and what did I do? I watched Hop, an Easter movie. In my defence, that bunny is so cute and so is James Marsden, and that was exactly what I needed. Those two are pretty much the only cute things about the film.

E.B. (Russell Brand) is the teenage son of the Easter Bunny (Hugh Laurie). He doesn't want to be an Easter bunny so he runs away, heading to Hollywood, where he hopes to become a drummer in a band. There he meets Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work slacker who accidentally hits E.B. with his car and takes him in as he recovers. Together they will learn what it takes to grow up.

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies with Strong Female Character(s)

Welcome to another Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's focus is strong women in movies. I don't think I need to say more so I leave you with my picks.

¿Qué Culpa Tiene el Niño? (2016)

I haven't seen a lot of Mexican films but those few were pretty heavy. Don't get me wrong, I love those movies, but sometimes I need something lighter so I gave this romantic comedy a chance. Mainly because I wanted to see Karla Souza in something that wasn't How to Get Away with Murder.

Maru (Karla Souza) has a one-night stand with some guy she met at a wedding which wouldn't be a problem at all if she didn't get pregnant. With the help of her friends, she manages to find the guy. It's Renato (Ricardo Abarca), an immature, unemployed and much younger guy who wants to be there for the baby. And Maru is forced to make things work.

Boogie Nights (1997)

I recently read an article in which Mark Wahlberg was explaining why he asked God to forgive him for Boogie Nights and saying he made some poor choices when he was young, as if doing the Transformers 4 was a good idea. Well, it gave me the push I needed to finally watch it.

Paul Thomas Anderson's film is set in San Fernando Valley, LA, in the 1970s and tells the story of Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), a high-school drop-out who is working in a nightclub. He is soon discovered by Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), a renowned porn director. Under the screen name Dirk Diggler, he quickly rises to the top of his industry but he's also sucked in the lifestyle of the pornography industry. 

Paddington 2 (2017)

I loved the first Paddington which is why I wasn't sure about watching Paddington 2. Sequels suck most of the time and I didn't want a bad sequel to ruin my good memory of Paul King's film. The cute teddy eventually got the best of me, I went to the movies and I was pretty happy with what I saw. 

Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is now happily settled with the Brown family and has become popular in the local community. His beloved Aunt Lucy's (voiced by Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday is one the way and while searching for the perfect gift, he spots a pop-up book in the antique shop of Mr Gruber (Jim Broadbent) and picks up a series of odd jobs to buy it. But the books is stolen, Paddington is accused and it's up to the Browns to find the real thief.

Saw III (2006)

If there's something I've learned watching movies is that (horror) series eventually go bad. It happens all the time. However, that's not really the case with Saw III. It doesn't hold up to the original Saw but it still is a solid-ish horror. 

This time around, John Kramer aka Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) testes Jeff (Angus Macfadyen), a man who got his son killed in a hit-and-run, and gives him the chance to let go his of vengeance. Meanwhile, Kramer is lying on a bed and has his apprentice Amanda (Shawnee Smith) kidnap a doctor, Lynn (Bahar Soomekh), and tasks her to keep him alive.

Puss in Boots (2011)

After Donkey, Puss is my favourite character from the Shrek series. It's probably because I love cats, and because Antonio Banderas's accent is something else. Anyway, Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After didn't do well with this character which is why a solo movie sounded like a good idea. It was, to be honest. Puss in Boots is entertaining and fun, but it has a problem, it lacks the magic of the first two Shrek movies. 

Years before meeting Shrek and Donkey, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) is a wanted fugitive with a mission, to find magic beans. But Puss isn't the only one after the beans and he crosses paths with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), a female feline who is helping Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), and egg of questionable intent and Puss' old friend. Puss eventually agrees to work with them and steal the beans from the outlaw couple Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) but things don't go according to plan.

Nine Lives (2016)

About a year ago I saw the trailer to Nine Lives and tweeted it seemed fun. Then a guy replied to me saying the movie was so terrible it made him suicidal and I skipped it. And now I ended up watching it anyway and I can say that guy was right, Nive Lives is a terrible film.

Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a millionaire at the top of his game who doesn't have a lot of time for his family. So when his daughter (Malina Weissman) turns 11 and once again asks for a cat, Tom goes to a mystical pet store where the eccentric owner (Christopher Walken) presents him an odd cat, Mr. Fuzzypants. On his way home he is struck by a thunderbolt, goes into a coma and wakes up in the body of the cat. This way he has the change to spend more time with his family and understand how valuable it is. 

Jonah Hex (2010)

Something like 5 years ago, when I fell in love with Michael Fassbender (don't get me wrong, I still love him) and decided to watch all the movies he was in, I tried to watch Jonah Hex. It was so terrible, I quit after 30 minutes. Since my taste in movies has changed a lot over the past 5 years, I thought it'd be fair to give it another try, and it was as terrible as I remembered. 

During the American Civil War, bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) witnesses his family die at the hands of Confederate general Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich) and can't get his revenge as Turnbull apparently dies in a hotel fire. Turns out he is still alive and wants to bring the Union down, and President Grant (Aidan Quinn) wants Hex to stop him. Which basically means Hex would get his revenge.

Black Souls (2014)

I have to stop that thing where I watch movies knowing absolutely nothing about them because I wanted to watch a light movie (that's why I picked an Italian movie) and I ended up watching another heavy (third in three days) movie. But at least it was good. 

Black Souls (Anime nere) is indeed a compelling and gripping film about 'ndrangheta, the Calabrian crime network.

Thursday Movie Picks: Adaptations You Want to See

Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves, is back to normal. Kinda. Today we have to pick books/comics/games we'd love to see made into movies and we can't pick those that already have an adaptation (which means I can't pick Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes).

Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys
It follows the Stalinist repression and follows Lina, a 15-year-old Lithuanian girl who is deported with her mother and brother to Siberian labour-camp. It's one of the best books I've ever read. A very powerful and poignant story that shows a part of history many don't know. 

The Soul Breaker (Der Seelenbrecher) - Sebastian Fitzek
On Christmas Eve, in a mental hospital, the medical team and the patients realize that a serial killer who kind of steal people's souls is in the building and they work together to stop him. It's a great psychological thriller filled with tension. 

The Shadow of the Wind (La sombra del viento) - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
On his 11th birthday, Daniel's father brings him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library in Barcelona where the forgotten books are. He picks a novel, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, and before he knows it, he finds himself in an adventure. This is another of the best books I've read. It has action, adventure, romance, twists, humour and much more. 

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)

I kept putting off 13 Hours for over a year because it was directed by Michael Bay. Basically all this guy does is filling movies with action. Nothing but action. But this one caught me off guard. While there still are a lot of explosions and gunfire, that's Bay's style after all, 13 Hours is a pretty darn good film.

It's set in Libya in 2012 after Gaddafi's downfall and follows a group of ex-military contractors who disobey their order to stand down to save the American Ambassador (Matthew Letscher) and his security as their compound fall under attack by a group of insurgents.

Margin Call (2011)

So the other day I was in the mood for something heavier, and I decided I'd learn something more about the 2008 financial crisis by watching Margin Call. I've seen several movies revolving around it before, but none of them made things clearer for me. If anything, they made me even more confused. So I watched this hoping to understand what happened and yet again I was disappointed. 

J.C. Chandor's movie takes on the beginning of the financial crisis, following a nameless investment bank as one of the traders (Zachary Quinto) discovers that their models are wrong and their large amount of assets worth less than they are marked at. He calls his supervisors and what follows is a very long night of panicking and emergency meetings. 

Saw II (2005)

I think we can all agree that Saw was a brilliant horror. It was tense, suspenseful and had one of the best plot twists ever. They tried to replicate that with Saw II and it worked. Only in part though.

In this one, detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) is called to a crime scene of a victim of Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and finds a lead that brings him to the serial killer's hiding place. Once there, a horrible reality awaits him: eight people are trapped in a shelter and they are inhaling a lethal nerve gas; one of those people is Matthew's son (Erik Knudsen). As Matthews tries to convince Jigsaw to free his son, the eight victims fight for their lives.

Shrek Forever After (2010)

A good first film followed by an even better sequel. That's how I would have described the Shrek series if they had stopped there. But they didn't. They made Shrek the Third, a forgettable film, to say the least. That wasn't enough and they made a fourth movie, Shrek Forever After, another terrible addition to the series. There's a bright side though, with this one they finally stopped wearing down Shrek. 

Since they were out of ideas, Shrek (Mike Myers) has some sort of mid-life crisis. He is drowning in his domestic routine life, all he wants is to be a real ogre again and makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) to go back to his life before rescuing Fiona (Cameron Diaz). As he is erased from existence, Shrek finds himself in a dark alternate timeline where Rumpelstiltskin is king, ogres are hunted, and he and Fiona have never met so he sets out to restore his world.

The Oxford Murders (2008)

I didn't know much about The Oxford Murders prior watching it, but I was expecting it to be good because of its cast, John Hurt actually (Elijah Wood is the reason I wanted to see this though). Guess who was disappointed? I was. 

Martin (Elijah Wood) is an Amerstudenttuden in mathematics who enrolled at Oxford in the hope of meeting his mentor, Professor Seldon (John Hurt). And his dream comes true when Mrs. Eagleton (Anna Massey), the old lady who rented him a room, is killed and he starts investigating the murder with Seldon, who happened to be a friend of Mrs. Eagleton. 

The DUFF (2015)

I'm a masochist. That's the only explanation I can come up with to justify me watching teen romcoms. Most of these movies are pretty shallow, clichéed and predictable, and The DUFF falls exactly into that category. However, this one wasn't that bad. It was kinda fun, to be honest. 

After finding out she is the DUFF which stands for designated ugly fat friend, Bianca (Mae Whitman) cuts all ties with Jess (Skyler Samuels) and Casey (Bianca Santos), her prettier and more popular friends and asks Wesley (Robbie Amell) help to reinvent herself and finally find the gut to ask her crush (Nick Eversman) out.

Thursday Movie Picks: A Stranger

Welcome to another Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week we have to pick movies with strangers and I guess it's because it has been Halloween themed for the past month, but at first I could only think of horror/thriller movies. I was able to do something different with my third pick though.

Children of Heaven (1997)

Almost a year ago (I thought it happened in 2017, to be honest), Children of Heaven (بچه‌های آسمان‎‎ Bačče-hâ-ye âsemân) popped out in a Thursday Movie Picks post, and it sounded interesting so, shame on me for taking this long, I decided to watch it, and what can I say, thank to whoever recommended it (I think it was Brittani).

Ali (Amir Farrokh Hashemian) accidentally loses the only pair of shoes of his sister Zahra (Bahare Seddiqi) and tries to make up for it by sharing his sneakers with her while still trying to find the lost shoes.

American Splendor (2003)

What the hell am I watching? Those are the words I actually said out loud as I started watching American Splendor. I didn't know absolutely anything about it and I just wasn't sure whether I was watching a documentary or a mockumentary or something else. Well, it was something else because that's what this film is, something else. A mix of fiction and reality that results into a quite brilliant biographical dramedy and one of the most inventive biographies I've seen. 

It's about Harvey Pekar, an underground comic books writer that turned his mundane, monotonous life into a humorous and successful comic books series, American Splendor.