Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

I really enjoyed Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot so I decided to check out some more of her work. My first choice fell on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as I had heard of it many times before and was curious to see what it was about (yes, I still don't read plots before watching movies. I like it better that way). 

The film follows two showgirls and best friends, Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell). Lorelai is engaged to a wealthy nerd, Gus Esmond (Tommy Noonan), whose father (Taylor Holmes) disapproves of their relationship and is convinced that Lorelei is only after his son's money. So when Lorelei and Dorothy go on a cruise together, Esmond Sr. hires a private detective, Ernie Malone (Elliott Reid), to keep an eye on her. 

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

I love a good mystery novel/film and over the past year, I read a lot of Agatha Christie's novels. Murder on the Orient Express, with its mindblowing ending, was one of my favourites which is why I was very excited about Kenneth Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express mainly because of its stellar cast. I eventually skipped it because of the not-so-pleasing reviews. I finally decided to give it a chance and it isn't that bad. It isn't that good either though.

The storyline, everybody knows it. The famous detective Hercules Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is vacationing in Istanbul and soon finds himself on the Orient Express on a trip to Calais, sharing the train with an eclectic assortment of travellers. Of course, a murder is committed and, as the train gets stopped by an avalanche and the passengers find themselves trapped in the train, Poirot must solve the crime before the train starts working again.

Talk to Her (2002)

I've been meaning to watch Pedro Almodóvar's Talk to Her (Spanish: Hable con ella) for the longest time as I read a lot of great things about it. Unfortunately, it didn't meet my expectations. 

Benigno (Javier Cámara) is a nurse who has dedicated his past four years of life to his only patient, Alicia (Leonor Watling), a young and beautiful dancer in a coma as a result of an accident. Marco (Darío Grandinetti) is a journalist who is in love with Lydia (Rosario Flores), a female bullfighter who is also in a coma after being gored by a bull. The two men meet in the hospital and a friendship begins to develop.

Thursday Movie Picks: Television Edition: Spin-Offs

I skipped May's Television week of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks because I had nada to pick from (I don't even remember what the theme was) but I just couldn't miss spin-offs week. Without further ado, here are my picks

Blockers (2018)

I saw the trailer to Blockers months ago which is the reason why I wasn't anything good from it. Actually, I was expecting it to be pretty damn bad which is why I wasn't planning on watching it. Unfortunately for my brain, I read some positive reviews and I watched it. 

Lisa (Leslie Mann), Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) and Mitchell (John Cena) are connected with each other because their teenage daughters, Julie (Kathryn Newton), Sam (Gideon Aldon) and Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), are friends since they were little. While snooping in Julie's room, they stumble upon their daughters' pact to lose their virginity on prom night so they make their mission to stop them from sealing the deal. 

I Am Ali (2014)

I don't know a lot about boxing as I'm not a fan of the sport but I do know the names of some famous boxers, Muhammed Ali probably being the first I've heard off. But I knew nothing other than his name and that it's not his birth name as he changed it when he converted to Islam so I decided to check out I Am Ali to learn more about him. 

Through audio clips and archive footage with the Ali himself and interviews with his sons and daughters, his ex-wife, his friends, his boxing opponents and many others, Clare Lewins's documentary tells the story of the man behind the legend and discusses what made Muhammed Ali the great man he was. 

A Case of You (2013)

I added A Case of You on my watchlist a couple of years ago as I wanted to watch it for a Thursday Movie Picks theme and forgot about it. Then I removed it from my list because it was a romantic comedy. And then I added on my list again because of Sam Rockwell. And he is pretty much the only reason A Case of You is worth watching. Unless you are a clichéd romantic flick fan, in that case, you're gonna love it.

Sam (Justin Long) is a young New York City writer who is suffering from writer's block and spends a lot of time at the local coffee shop. One day, he lays eyes on the barista, Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood), and falls for her. Unfortunately, as he tries to casually start a conversation, she doesn't seem interested, and the day after he learns that she was fired for often being late. After finding out something more about her from her former boss (Peter Dinklage), he decides to stalk her on Facebook and becomes everything she is looking for.

Mary and Max (2009)

I discovered Mary and Max last year, at the end of December, thanks to Dell from Dell on Movies who posted on Twitter his old review of the film. I didn't read it though because I was on my phone, but I screenshot the tweet so that I could remember to check the film out. Which I finally did and I'm very glad as Mary and Max is such a witty and warm film. 

In the 1970s, Mary Daisy Dinkle (Bethany Whitmore) is a lonely 8-year-old girl who lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, with her alcoholic mother (Renée Geyer) and a distracted father. She spends her time with her rooster, watching her favourite shows and eating sweetened condensed milk straight from the can. One day, while at the post office with her mother, she spots a New York City telephone book and, as she becomes curious about Americans, she randomly picks Max Jerry Horowitz (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and writes him a letter in the hope that he will become her pen friend. When he gets the letter, Max, who is an obese, 44-year-old Jewish turned atheist who has trouble bonding with people, has a panic attack. He eventually decides to write her back. 

The Sound of Music (1965)

I've been meaning to watch The Sound of Music for a very long time but always put it off because of its length. I just have to be in the mood to watch an almost 3-hour long musical which I'm usually not in. I finally felt like watching it and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. 

Set in 1930's Austria, the film follows Maria (Julie Andrews), a young woman who wanted to be a nun since she was a little girl but when finally joins them, doesn't like it and keeps getting in trouble. For this reason, the Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) sends her to the house of a retired naval captain (Christopher Plummer) to take care of his seven children.

Tomb Raider (2018)

I never cared much about Lara Croft. I never played the video game and I never even bothered with Angelina Jolie's movies. I do like Alicia Vikander though (and I'm tremendously jealous of her for marrying Fassbender) so I decided to check out this new Tomb Raider movie. Having read some brief reviews, I was expecting it to be bad but I wasn't expecting it to be as bad as it turned out to be. 

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is a fierce and independent young woman whose father (Dominic West), an eccentric adventurer, vanished when she was barely a teen. When forced to handle her father's global empire, she decides to leave everything she knows behind in search of her father's last-known destination, a mythical island somewhere off the coast of Japan. Needless to say, her mission won't be an easy one.

The Last Will Be the Last (2015)

I never cared much about Massimiliano Bruno's films as he usually does comedies and Italian comedies are pretty bad these days. The Last Will Be the Last (Italian: Gli ultimi saranno ultimi) is a dramedy though and it has Alessandro Gassmann in it so I gave it a chance. 

The film follows Luciana (Paola Cortellesi), a woman who can't really complain about her life. Sure, she is not the wealthiest woman as she is only a factory worker but she is happily married to Stefano (Alessandro Gassmann) and she is surrounded by friends. On top of that, her dream of becoming a mother is finally coming true. Unfortunately, her contract is coming to an end and her employer doesn't renew it because of her pregnancy. Since her husband spends all of his time hanging out in cafes and doing unsuccessful businesses, she finds herself in a difficult financial and familiar situation.

Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)

I rewatched Pacific Rim (please don't go read the pathetic review I wrote years ago) about a month ago and two things I realised. First, it was not as good as I remembered, and second, it did not need a sequel. But we all know how Hollywood works, so Pacific Rim: Uprising happened. 

Ten years after the Battle of the Breach, in which humanity defeated the Kaiju monsters by sealing the entrance into our world. Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), the son of Stacker (sadly Idris Elba does not appear in this), makes a living by stealing Jaeger parts. While on a job, he meets Amara (Cailee Spaeny), an orphan teenage girl, who gets both arrested by the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps, and Jake is tasked, with the help of his former co-pilot, Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood),  to train a new crop of Jaeger cadets in case the Kaiju return.

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)

After I watched Deep Web and was disappointed by it as it turned out to be more of a documentary about Ross Ulbricht, his arrest and trial rather than the dark web, Brittani from Rambling Film suggested that I watch The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. So did I and boy it was good. 

As you probably guessed from the title, the film tells the story of Aaron Swartz. What you may not know is who he was. Well, he was a tech industry prodigy, a writer, a political organizer and an Internet activist who "killed" himself at the early age of 26. 

Charlie's Angels (2000)

I never watched the popular TV series and if it wasn't for Sam Rockwell, I would have never watched Charlie's Angels either. I don't know what it is, but there's something about it that seems to be screaming, shitty movie alert. Well, my gut was right. This is a shitty movie.

After stopping a man from blowing up an aeroplane, Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore) and Alex (Lucy Liu), also known as Charlie's Angels --Charlie is a mysterious dude we, the Angels and the audience, are not allowed to see-- are hired by programmer Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell) to retrieve his voice-recognition software that has been stolen. The suspicion falls on Roger Corwin (Tim Curry), Knox's rival. 

Wonder Woman (2009)

I don't remember how I found out about the existence of this version of Wonder Woman, but I'm a sucker for comic books movies and animated movies, and if you combine those two you get a film I can't say no to. 

After defeating Ares (voiced by Alfred Molina), the God of War, and stripping him of his powers, the Amazons led by Hippolyta (voiced by Virginia Madsen) reside in peace on their secret island. Then one day a pilot named Steve Trevor (voiced by Nathan Fillion) crash-lands on the island and Princess Diana (voiced by Keri Russell), the daughter of Hippolyta, is assigned to take him back to his world and capture Ares who has managed to escape and is planning his revenge.

All That Jazz (1979)

About a month ago, Steven from Surrender to the Void suggested me All That Jazz and since I loved Bob Fosse's Cabaret, I decided to check it out (it did take me a while to find this film though).

The film revolves around Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider), a director and choreographer who is simultaneously working on a Hollywood movie picture and on a Broadway production. At the same time, Gideon keeps leading his excessive lifestyle, by being a chain-smoking, hard-drink and drug-taking womanizer.

Book vs Movie: American Psycho

Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho is easily one of the most brutal and graphic novels ever written. The story is told in the first person by Patrick Bateman, a wealthy young man in his mid-20s. He is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He works on Wall Street by day, he is a psychotic killer by night.

Love, Simon (2018)

Though I haven't read Becky Albertalli's Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I was very excited about Love, Simon. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for LGBT movies or because I've heard so many good things about this film, but I just couldn't wait to see it.

The film is about Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a teenage boy who leads a pretty normal life, apart from the fact that he is secretly gay. When an anonymous boy who goes by Blue writes on the high school Tumblr-like page that he is gay, Simon decides to email him under the name of Jacques and they eventually bond. Unfortunately, Martin (Logan Miller), a quite unpopular kid, accidentally stumbles across Simon's emails, screenshots them and uses them to blackmail Simon into helping him get Abby (Alexandra Shipp), one of Simon's friends. While trying to handle his blackmailer, Simon also attempts to discover the true identity of Blue and come to terms with his identity.

Thursday Movie Picks: Legend/Mythology

Can someone please tell me how it's even possible that every single time the theme for Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks is something I really like I struggle like hell to pick films for it?! I mean, I love legends and mythology since I was a kid! Anyway, with the help of Google, I managed to find three films that I haven't picked before. 

A Touch of Sin (2013)

Either because I read some great reviews about it or someone suggested it to me, A Touch of Sin (Chinese: 天注定 Tiān zhùdìng) ended up on my watchlist a long time ago and I finally decided to watch it but, as I haven't seen any other Jia Zhangke film, I didn't know what to expect from it. 

Set in modern-day China, A Touch of Sin tells four disconnected stories about people in agony that eventually resolve in acts of violence. The first story follows Dahai (Jiang Wu), a coal miner who is just can't deal with the fact that his boss, a former schoolmate of his, got rich. The second story is about Zhou San (Wang Baoqiang), a migrant worker who goes around robbing and killing strangers. The third story revolves around Xiao Yu (Zhao Tao), a sauna receptionist who is having an affair with a married man. The fourth story is about Xiao Hui (Luo Lanshan), a young man who drifts from job to job and leaves his last job to work in a high-end sex club.

Woman on the Run (2017)

Last Saturday night. My ankle was killing me so I sat on the sofa and iced it. I was too tired to read (my brain needed a break from all that fashion talk in American Psycho anyway) so I turned the TV on and Woman on the Run was about to start. And I watched it because it made more sense than zapping to infinity and beyond.

The film follows Nomi Gardner (Sarah Butler), a successful novelist who's been living the life of a hermit while writing her latest book, her only contacts being her husband Mark (Jim Thorburn), her children (Bailey Skodje and Nevaeh Grace Olsen), her children's nanny Greta (Lindsay Maxwell) and her mentor Teddy (Jerry Wasserman).  Her life as a recluse allows Greta to steal her identity and Nomi is forced to go to extreme lengths to get her children back as she is not able to prove her identity. 

For the Love of Spock (2016)

When months ago I committed to catching up with The Big Bang Theory (I had seen some episodes of the first few seasons multiple times over the years but never watched the whole thing), I saw an episode in which Sheldon is asked to be a part of a documentary about Spock which was being made by Leonard Nimoy's son, Adam. That's how I learnt about For the Love of Spock and, even though I'm not a Star Trek fanatic, I was immediately interested in it.

As I mentioned above, Adam Nimoy's documentary was supposed to focus entirely on the character of Spock, but, when Leonard Nimoy passed away in 2015 while the film still was in the making, Adam decided to explore the life of his father as well, analysing both his professional and private life, putting under scope his relationship with his father as well.

Frost/Nixon (2008)

I am very ignorant when it comes to American history so whenever I feel like learning something new, I watch historical movies (I love reading but reading about history? Kill me now, please). This time I watched Frost/Nixon because I wanted to know the truth behind the Watergate scandal (and because Sam Rockwell is in it). 

After seeing Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) resigning from the White House, in order to get more credibility and money, British talk show host David Frost (Michael Sheen), who is known for interview Hollywood and pop music stars, decides to set up a series of interviews to confront the questions of the former president's time in office and the Watergate scandal. Nixon agrees as he sees the interviews with the politically inexperienced Frost as a way to redeem himself.

Space Jam (1996)

I grew up watching Looney Tunes and I loved them (I still do. I just bought a Daffy Duck mug the other day and it's so beautiful I can't even) which is why I used to watch Space Jam all the time. I remember laughing so hard as a kid and I was curious to know how adult me would react to this. So I rewatched it. And it was dreadful. 

I'm pretty everyone knows the "plot" of this film but just in case you somehow managed to escape from it, Space Jam follows Michael Jordan as he decides to retire from basketball and play baseball instead. He sucks at baseball though. Meanwhile, in the cartoon world, five tiny aliens go over to Looney Tunes land and capture all the Looney Tunes and take them on their planet. As a way to escape from slavery, Bug Bunny (voiced by Billy West) challenges the aliens to a basketball game. But the aliens cheat and steal the bodies of five NBA stars, so the Looney Tunes seek the aid of Michael Jordan. 

Purple Rain (1984)

Though I wasn't a fan of Prince (I'm probably too young for that) I always wanted to watch Purple Rain as I've heard so many great things about it. The film, unfortunately, did not meet my expectations. And by far. 

The film tells the story of The Kid (Prince), a young and talented musician who dreams of becoming a star. While trying to prove himself to the people who surround him, he has to deal with a rival band who is trying to steal his place in the club and Apollonia (Apollonia Kotero), a young aspiring singer who is trying to steal his heart, and he also must protect his mother (Olga Karlatos) from his abusive father (Clarence Williams III).

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

While many didn't like Jurassic World as it basically is just copy of Jurassic Park, I enjoyed it. I found it entertaining and fun, in other words, how a dinosaurs flick is supposed to be. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a whole different story. I wasn't even that hyped about it. 

Four years after the Jurassic World theme park was closed down, as the volcano on the island is about erupt and, once again, kill all the dinosaurs, there's a debate going on on the mainland about whether they should save the animals or let them die. The US government decides not to rescue them, so Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), John Hammond's former partner in developing the technology, enlists the help of former park manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and former dinosaur trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) for a secret rescue mission to send the animals on a new island.

God Willing (2015)

I'm pretty sure I've said this already several times in the past, but Alessandro Gassmann (yes, he is the son of the great Vittorio Gassman) is the only living Italian actor I like and I'd watch anything for him. Just like happened with Non c'è più religione, which turned out to be a very crappy film, I saw the trailer to God Willing (Italian: Se Dio vuole) when it hit theatres years ago but then I forgot about it. Unlike for that other one, I'm glad I eventually watched this as it is a pretty enjoyable film. 

Tommaso (Marco Giallini) is successful and respected cardiac surgeon who also happens to be an atheist. When his son Andrea (Enrico Oetiker) who is a medical student announces that he wants to leave the studies and become a priest, Tommaso loses his mind, and , while acting as if he is supporting his, he goes undercover to investigate and bring down father Don Pietro (Alessandro Gassmann) who he believes brain-washed his son.

Thursday Movie Picks: Speech/Soliloquy/Monologue

When particularly good, a speech, soliloquy or monologue can make a film pretty damn memorable, and it's the case with today's Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Without further ado, I leave you with my picks. 

Terminal (2018)

The fact that I haven't seen any promotion whatsoever for Terminal should have kept me away from the film. The fact that that it stars Margot Robbie and Simon Pegg who I both very much like, especially the latter, did not allow it. And here I am, struggling to write the storyline for Terminal as it barely has one. 

Basically, the film follows two assassins (Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons) who agreed to take on a high-risk mission for a mysterious employer, a fatally ill teacher (Simon Pegg) who wants to kill himself but does not have the guts to do it, a curious and crazy waitress (Margot Robbie) and a weird and creepy janitor (Mike Meyers). 

Amy (2015)

I remember when Amy Winehouse died back in 2011, we all knew, sooner rather than later, it would eventually happen, but it was a shock nevertheless. I didn't know much about her though, only that she had an alcohol problem and that she was in a toxic relationship. Learning more about her is what made me watch Amy.

This documentary indeed tells the story of the life and death of Amy Winehouse, a talented singer and songwriter with a unique voice as well as a very tormented soul destroyed by alcohol, drugs and especially self-sabotage and self-destruction.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

I'm still on the insane quest to watch every single movie Sam Rockwell has made and, among all those I haven't seen yet (I'm planning on watching some I've already seen, The Green Mile to made one, that I haven't reviewed), I picked Confessions of a Dangerous Mind because this is George Clooney's directorial debut and Charlie Kaufman wrote it. Most important though, I liked the title.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind depicts the life of popular game show host and producer Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) who, at the height of his career, was recruited by the CIA as a contract killer. Well, at least that's what he said.

The Emoji Movie (2017)

Sometimes I just feel like watching shitty movies so that I can have fun writing a review late on. Today was one of those days and, having heard and read so many awful things about The Emoji Movie over the past year, I made it my mission to sit through it. It was not easy, I'll tell you that as this is one of the most dreadful animated films I've seen. And I've seen a lot of dreadful animated films. 

Set inside a smartphone, the film follows Gene (voiced by T.J. Miller), a meh emoji with a problem, he doesn't feel meh and always has another expression on his face. Determined to become a normal emoji, Gene enlists the help of his new friend Hi-5 (voiced by James Corden) and a notorious Emoji hacker, Jailbreaker (voiced by Anna Faris), and they embark on a journey through the apps on the phone.

Lolita (1962)

I finally read Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita in February so I thought I'd watch this film too. I had really high hopes for this, not only because I loved the novel, but because Stanley Kubrick directed it and Nabokov himself worked on the screenplay. What could possibly go wrong? Many things, as it turned out.

Humbert Humbert (James Mason) is a middle-aged, divorced European professor of French literature who moves to the US for a job at Beardsley College, Ohio. Before he begins his post, he decides to spend the summer in Ramsdale, New Hampshire and rents a room in the house of a widowed woman, Charlotte Haze (Shelley Winters), after he meets and falls for her teen daughter, Dolores "Lolita" Haze (Sue Lyon).

Ready Player One (2018)

I almost used my free birthday ticket to see Ready Player One but then I saw A Quiet Place was on and went with it instead. I'm glad I made that choice because Spielberg's latest film was quite a disappointment. 

In the year 2045, much of humanity escape the harsh reality and desolation of the real world in the OASIS, an immersive virtual world where anyone can go anywhere, do anything and be anyone. When its creator, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all the users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder the full ownership of the OASIS. An orphaned teenager, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), finds the first clue and, with the help of some virtual friends, he tries to complete the game before a large company of virtual reality hardware run by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) do so.