Book vs Movie: Molly's Game

Earlier this year, I watched Molly's Game, Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut that tells a story that seems too unbelievable to be true, the story of a former Olympic-class skier who, at the age of 26, created a high-stakes poker game in Los Angeles which attracted many Hollywood celebrities as well as wealthy people and sports figures.

Ocean's Eight (2018)

Ocean's Eleven is one of my favourite heist films ever. It's fun, entertaining, clever and the chemistry between the actors, it is simply wonderful. That's what I was hoping I would find in Ocean's Eight, the all-female spin-off of Ocean series. Unfortunately, it wasn't nearly as good as the "original" (in case you didn't know, Soderberg's film is a remake of a 1960 film, also named Ocean's Eleven, starring Frank Sinatra).

Newly released from prison, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), the young sister of Danny Ocean, puts in motion her five-year-in-the-making plan: she is going to get Cartier to lend a $150 million diamond necklace to a vain actress, Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), for the exclusive Met Gala where she is going to pluck it off the actress's neck. To pull off the heist, she assembles a team of talented women.

The Invisible Guest (2016)

Although I don't join every week as I used to, I love Wandering Through the Shelves' series Thursday Movie Picks, for two reasons: first, it challenges me and it's fun to read what other bloggers have picked; second, I discover so many gems because of it. The Insivible Guest (Spanish: Contratiempo), picked by the host a few weeks ago for non-English language week, is one of those. 

The film follows Adrián Doria (Mario Casas), a wealthy young businessman who was arrested after he was found in a hotel room with his dead lover, Laura Vidal (Bárbara Lennie). As his lawyer (Francesc Orella) is away working on the case, Adrián is suggested to meet with Virginia Goodman (Ana Wagener), a veteran lawyer who is an expert in building defences for trials. He does as he's told and has 180 minutes to tell her about all the events that led to his arrest so that she can convince the jury he's innocent. 

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)

Although I haven't read Jenny Han's book, I was looking forward to seeing To All the Boys I've Loved Before as it looked kinda nice from the trailer. 

The film follows Lara Jean (Lana Condor), a 16-year-old who, instead of telling boys how she feels about them, writes them love letters that she never sends and puts them in a teal hatbox. When her older sister, Margot (Janel Parrish) leaves for university, her younger sister, Kitty (Anna Cathcart), steals the box and sends the letters, thinking of doing her a favour, and soon Lara Jean finds herself faking a relationship with one of her crushes, Peter (Noah Centineo), so that another of her crushes, Margot's ex-boyfriend Josh (Israel Broussard), who think she is in love with him.

Author: The JT LeRoy Story (2016)

More than a year ago, when I suddenly became interested in watching documentaries, someone on Twitter, I think it was Katie from She Likes Movies, suggested me Author: The JT LeRoy Story. I finally watched it and it was one of the most interesting and compelling documentaries I've seen.

As you probably guessed from the title, this documentary tells the story of JT LeRoy, which tells you absolutely nothing if, like me, you have never heard of him before --which is absolutely insane as, according to the documentary, he had a huge success in Italy (I'm from Italy, just in case you don't know).

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

I don't know why but The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou has always been the Wes Anderson movie that appealed me the least. Even though I had never seen it, there was something about it that just didn't click with me. I feel exactly the same now that I've seen it. 

The film follows Steve Zissou (Bill Murray), a famous oceanographer who, after losing his closest friend and colleague, Esteban, to a probably non-existent Jaguar Shark, sets out on a voyage with Team Zissou, which includes his estranged wife, Eleanor (Anjelica Huston), Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson), a man who may or may not be his son, and a pregnant journalist (Cate Blanchett), to hunt down the mythical creature. 

Ratatouille (2007)

I love food. I love eating it, I love thinking about it, I love reading about it and, of course, I love watching movies about it. Since I woke up craving Disney Pixar and Incredibles 2 is yet to come out in my country, I decided to rewatch Ratatouille.

The film follows Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt), an ambitious young rat with highly developed senses of smell and taste who, despite his family's disapproval and the obvious problem, dreams of becoming a cook. When he ends up alone in Paris, in the restaurant of his (dead) idol, Auguste Gusteau (voiced by Brad Garrett), he has the chance to make his dream come true as he starts controlling a garbage boy, Alfredo Linguini (voiced by Lou Romano), who is then given credits for Remy's dishes.

High School Musical (2006)

It was summer 2007, about a year after it premiered on Disney channel, that I first watched High School Musical and I loved it. I was 13 at the time. I'm 24 now and, while wandering through the shelves, I picked High School Musical's DVD and rewatch it because, you know, we all need to do something stupid once in a while.

It's New Year's Eve at a ski resort. Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), the star of a small-town high school basketball team, and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), a math genius, are forced to sing karaoke together and instantly click. After the break, Troy returns to school only to find that Gabriella is a new student there. They become friends quickly and decide to audition for the upcoming school musical but the cliques they belong to don't approve and try to separate them. On top of that, drama queen Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) and her brother Ryan (Luca Grabeel) try to prevent them from getting the leading roles in the musical. 

Upgrade (2018)

I had never heard of Upgrade, then, all of a sudden, everyone in the blogosphere started talking about it. "This is how Robocop was supposed to be", I read multiple times and, although I've never seen Robocop, I decided to check it out. 

Set in a near future where almost everything is controlled by technology, the film follows Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green), a man who lost his wife (Melanie Vallejo) and his limbs all in one night when their self-driving car malfunctioned and left them to the mercy of some muggers. Grey is approached by a reclusive computer genius, Eron Keen (Harrison Gilbertson), who offers him the opportunity to walk again with the help of a neck implant called STEM. The surgery succeeds and Grey soon learns that STEM (voiced by Simon Maiden) can talk to him and that it is a pretty smart system, and given the lack of progress by the detective (Betty Gabriel) assigned to her case, Grey uses Stem's capabilities to find the men who killed his wife. 

Two Days, One Night (2014)

I knew virtually nothing about Two Days, One Night (French: Deux jours, une nuit) when a couple of years ago I added it on my watch-list. I only knew it had Marion Cotillard and that was enough for me. But I kept putting it off because the French language isn't something I'm always in the mood for (specifically since I hear my mother and grandmother speak French every Saturday). 

The film tells the story of Sandra Bya (Marion Cotillard), a young mother and wife who has been on sick leave for depression and learns that no longer has a job as her co-workers have opted for a large cash bonus in exchange for her dismissal. She only has a weekend, hence the title, to convince the majority of her colleagues to give up the bonus so that she can have her job back.

The Third Man (1949)

I was talking with Alex from Alex Raphael months ago (it was December 2017, it still qualifies as months ago, right?), and I learnt that The Third Man is his favourite movie. I hadn't heard of it before which didn't surprise me as my knowledge of film noirs is very limited, but after reading a great quote from the film that Alex had shared on his blog, I added it on my watchlist.

Set in the post-WWII, the film follows American pulp writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) as he arrives in Vienna to meet with an old friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles), who has offered him a job. However, he is soon told that Lime has just died in an accident, hit by a truck in front of his building. As Martins starts searching for details, he finds the circumstances very strange and begins his investigation to discover the truth. 

City of Gold (2015)

I discovered City of Gold while watching the first episode of Cooking with Jeff, a YouTube cooking show hosted by Jeff Goldblum, as the guest was Jonathan Gold, the first Pulitzer-winning food critic who passed away a month ago. Being quite a foodie myself, I had to check it out. 

Laura Gabber's documentary follows Jonathan Gold around the city of Los Angeles, specifically in its ethnic enclaves where his culinary/food journey started many years ago.

Rushmore (1998)

I've heard a lot of good things about Wes Anderson's Rushmore over the years but, for some reason or another (I can't recall any of those at the moment), I never checked it out. 

The film follows Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), a nerdy, precocious 15-year-old kid who earned a scholarship to the exclusive prep school Rushmore, where he is not doing very well in any of his classes as he doesn't bother to study and spends all of his time enjoying (too) many extracurricular activities. His life takes an unexpected turn as he befriends a depressed middle-aged local industrialist, Herman Blume (Bill Murray), and falls for a recently widowed teacher, Ms. Cross (Olivia Williams). 

Rango (2011)

It's been seven years since I first saw Rango and the only thing I could remember about it was the main character being a lizard, that I kinda cried at some point and that I really enjoyed it. So I played it safe --you never know what you get with movies you have never seen before. Or nobody has ever heard of before-- and rewatched it.

Turns out Rango (voiced by Johnny Depp) is not a lizard but a chameleon (which is kinda funny since I watched The Office episode where the a cappella group from Cornell sings Culture Klub's Karma Chameleon), not just some random chameleon but a pet chameleon with a passion of acting. As his human family is crossing the desert, his aquarium falls off the car and after a series of unfortunate events, Rango ends up in Dirt, a thirsty town inhabited by animals in desperate need of water. They also need a hero and a sheriff, and Rango takes on the role of both as he embarks on a quest to find water. 

A Star Is Born (1954)

I've been meaning to watch A Star Is Born since the dawn of time but I kept putting it off because of its length. Having read great things about it eventually got the best of me. I guess it's because I had very high expectations but I didn't find it that special, just an average musical. 

The film tells the story of Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland), a talented young singer with a band, and Norman Maine (James Mason), an alcoholic movie star whose career is on the wane. He drunkenly stumbles into her act one night, he is smitten by her voice, takes her under his wing and gets her a screen test at the studio he works for. She becomes a major star, their relationship grows and they eventually get married. But soon Norman loses control as he can't control his alcoholism.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Ever since I watched Kenneth Branagh's mediocre Murder on the Orient Express, I've been meaning to check out Sidney Lumet's version of Agatha Christie's famous novel and now that I have, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. Not that Lumet's film isn't good, it is, but it just isn't as good as 12 Angry Men or Dog Day Afternoon

I think it's kind of pointless to tell you what the movie is about, but just in case you don't, it is set in the 1930s and follows the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) as he finds himself travelling on the Orient Express. One of the passengers, Mr Ratchett (Richard Widmark), asks Poirot for protection but he declines. The next morning, Mr Ratchett is found dead in his compartment and Poirot is asked to solve the murder before the train arrives at the next station. 

Purple Noon (1960)

After I watched and enjoyed Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley, I became aware of an older version of the film, René Clément's Purple Noon (Frech: Plein soleil), both based on Patricia Highsmith's novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, and having read very good things about it, I checked it out. 

If you are familiar with Minghella's film or have read the novel, you already know what the movie is about. If you aren't, it follows Tom Ripley (Alain Delon), a young man who is hired by Mr. Greenleaf to retrieve his son and Tom's childhood friend, Philippe (Maurice Ronet), from Rome and bring him back to San Francisco. But Philippe has no intentions of leaving his fiancée Marge (Marie Laforêt), Mr. Greenleaf considers the mission a failure and cuts Tom off, and Tom must find another way to fund his new lifestyle.

Thursday Movie Picks: Non-English Language Movies

If you are a regular on my blog, chances are you have noticed that I review a foreign language movie every Thursday. Therefore, when I saw the theme for Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks this week was non-English movies, I kind of felt like a kid in a candy store. 

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Yesterday, now that basically the entire world, except for Portugal, China, and Japan (according to IMDb), has seen Ant-Man and the Wasp, Marvel's latest film finally hit theatres in my shithole country and since I love Marvel, I got the 9pm ticket hoping that I would not fall asleep in there (backstory, I wake up a 5am every day and I haven't been getting a lot of sleep in the past few days).

Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War but before those of Avengers: Infinity War, the film finds Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) under house arrest as he struggles to entertain himself. When he only has days left of confinement, Scott has a strange dream and decides to call Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Pym and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) then approach Scott with an urgent new mission and Scott must put on the Ant-Man suit to face a new enemy.

How to Survive a Plague (2012)

I don't know much about AIDS but I've always been interested in the subject matter as I care about LBGT causes so I finally decided to check out How to Survive a Plague, another documentary suggested by Dell over Dell on Movies as it topped his greatest LGBT movies list.

As I was mentioning, How to Survive a Plague is a documentary about AIDS and it follows two small groups of gay activists, ACT UP and TAG, as they fight the government, specifically the FDA, to get a treatment to turn a death sentence such as AIDS into a manageable disease.

Bottle Rocket (1996)

Having seen all of Wes Anderson most recent films, and having adored every single one of them, I decided to check out the rest of his filmography, starting with Bottle Rocket, his debut.

The film follows a group of friends who decides to rebel against the norms of everyday life to pursue a career of professional criminals. After Dignan (Owen Wilson) rescues Anthony (Luke Wilson) from a voluntary mental hospital, they convince their friend Bob (Robert Musgrave), who has a car, to join them and rob a library. After successfully pulling off the heist, they hide out in a roadside motel where the group of friends eventually breaks down and things take a turn for each one of them.

Monster Family (2017)

Just in case you haven't noticed, I love animated films, even those targeting kids, and, having enjoyed the two Hotel Transylvania movies and waiting for the third --it comes out at the end of the month here if I'm not wrong-- I decided to check out Monster Family as it kinda has a Hotel Transylvania vibe. 

Based on director and co-writer David Safier's children's book Happy Family, the film follows the Wishbone family, a family that doesn't get along very well and is far from being happy. As an attempt to reconnect, Emma (voiced by Emily Watson), the mother and wife, decides to make some monster costumes for her family, a vampire for her, Frankenstein's monster for his husband Frank (voiced by Nick Frost), a mummy for her daughter Fay (voiced by Jessica Brown Findlay) and a werewolf for her son Max (voiced by Ethan Rouse), to wear to a monster-themed costume party. But she mistakenly calls Count Dracula (voiced by Jason Isaacs) instead of the costume store and Dracula, who falls for her voice, hires a witch, Baba Yaga (voiced by Catherine Tate), who eventually turns the Wishbone family into real monsters.

Labyrinth (1986)

While searching the web for a musical that wasn't too long --which is basically an impossible task since most musicals last more than two hours-- I stumbled upon Labyrinth. I had never heard of it before but I did see pictures of David Bowie from this movie which is why I ended up watching it. 

The story follows Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), a teenager with a very vivid imagination. When her father (Christopher Malcolm) and stepmother (Shelley Thompson) go out and leave her to babysit her stepbrother, Toby (Toby Froud), she is so annoyed with his continuous crying that she wishes the goblins would take him away. Which they do and Sarah must solve the Goblin King's (David Bowie) labyrinth before midnight or else Toby will become a goblin.

Life of the Party (2018)

I really like Melissa McCarthy. She is funny and has pretty good acting skills, which is why, in spite of the low rating on IMDb, I still decided to check out Life of the Party. And it's one of those decisions I immediately regretted. 

The film follows Deanna Miles (Melissa McCarthy), a dedicated housewife who sees her life turned upside down when her husband (Matt Walsh) suddenly dumps her for another woman (Julie Bowen). She never graduated as she dropped out of her last year of college when she got pregnant, so she decides to go back to college, in the same school as her daughter (Molly Gordon), who, of course, is humiliated at the thought of her mother trying to live the college life. 

We Are the Best! (2013)

Many years ago, when I was looking for god only knows what kind of movies (I thought it was movies based on true stories but apparently I was wrong), I stumbled upon We Are the Best! (Swedish: Vi är bäst!), added it to my watchlist and completely forgot about it. Now it has popped out again so I finally checked it out. 

Set in 1980s Stockholm, the film tells the story of Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin), two 13-year-old tomboys who love punk. Sick of being told that punk is dead, they decide to form their own band. There's a problem though, they don't know how to play so they decide to ask another girl at school, Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), who is not a punk but is still an outcast, to join them as she actually knows how to play. 

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Months ago, if not even a lot earlier, there was this tweet asking you to pick movies about supernatural creatures (if I remember correctly, it was one about zombies, one about vampires and one about werewolves) and I realized The Wolfman, the one starring Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt, was the only werewolf movie I had seen and therefore I picked it. That's when Sid suggested me to watch An American Werewolf in London and I decided to give it a chance because it's from John Landis. 

David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are two American friends who are backpacking through Europe. One night, while they are walking in Northen England, they are attacked by a werewolf which kills Jack and injures David. While in the hospital, David falls for his nurse, Alex Price (Jenny Agutter), and she falls for him. When he is discharged, he stays in her flat in London and begins to get visits from his dead friend Jack who warns him that he will become a werewolf at the next full moon.

Food, Inc. (2008)

I've seen several documentaries about food and the food industry over the past year, one being the very biased Netflix documentary What the Health that basically tells you to go vegan unless you want to get all the illnesses you can think of, which is why I was a bit sceptical about Food, Inc. but I still decided to check it out.

Starting off by giving facts about how the majority of products we can find in a grocery store is modified, the film examines corporate farming in the United States and how these few big food corporations drastically changed the production of food as their sole goal is to produce large quantities of food at low costs which obviously means huge profits.

Tully (2018)

I watched Young Adult a while back and I didn't love it. It wasn't terrible but I sure didn't find it as good as Jason Reitman's previous movies. In spite of that and the fact that both Young Adult and Tully star Charlize Theron, I decided to give it a chance.

The film follows Marlo (Charlize Theron), a wife and mother of three, including a newborn baby, who is going through postpartum depression and is exhausted of having to take care of the kids all the time. When her brother Craig (Mark Duplass) offers the gift of a night nanny, though reluctant at first, she accepts which brings a young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis) in her home. She and Marlo hit it off immediately and a very unusual relationship develops between the two women.

Gnome Alone (2017)

How I manage to find animated movies nobody has heard of before I don't know. I do know though that I watch a lot of these movies and they usually suck. Gnome Alone is another of those movies.

The film follows Chloe (voiced by Becky G), a teenage girl who is forced to move constantly because of her mother's (voiced by Tara Strong) job. For this reason, she struggles to make friends and spends all of her time on her smartphone. Things are about to change in the new town as she strikes up friendships with the most popular girls in school. But then she discovers that her new home is inhabited by alive garden gnomes, she soon finds herself in the middle of a centuries-old war between the gnomes and the Troggs, creature determined to eat everything, and must decide between her social/high school life or help the gnomes.

Newsies (1992)

Since I'm out of musicals to watch (it's not entirely true though as I have A Star Is Born, the 1954 version, but I'm not ready to commit to such a long musical. I'm not to that point yet), so I let the internet inspire me. In spite of it being a Disney production, I ended up watching Newsies because I was very curious to see Christian Bale in such a different kind of movie. 

The film is set in 1899 in New York City and focuses on the newsies aka young boys who sell papers. When publisher Joseph Pulitzer (Robert Duvall) raises the distribution price one-tenth of a cent per paper, the already poor newsboys feel outraged and, led by the voice of the group, Jack Kelly (Christian Bale), and the head of the group, David Jacobs (David Moscow), they go on a strike. 

Looking Glass (2018)

After wasting 5 minutes to decide which movie to watch, my choice fell on one of the several movies Nicolas Cage has done this year so far, Looking Glass, because it was listed as a thriller and it has Robin Tunney as I was interested in seeing her other than playing Theresa Lisbon in CBS's The Mentalist

After losing their child, a couple, Ray (Nicolas Cage) and Maggie (Robin Tunney), buys an old motel in the desert looking for a new beginning. While exploring the motel, Ray discovers a two-way mirror that allows him to see what is happening in one of the rooms --things such as prostitute sex and lesbian encounters-- and he starts spying the occupants. Until he witnesses a murder and finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game.

Thursday Movie Picks: Body Switch

I'm pretty sure all of us, at some point in our lives, have wished we could body swap but we know it's never gonna happen. Unless your life is a movie, literally, like you are a fictional character from a movie. In that case, chances are your dream will come true, and that's excacly what happened to some of the characters in the movies I picked today for Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks

Couple Therapy for Cheaters (2017)

I remember seeing the trailer for Couple Therapy for Cheaters (Italian: Terapia di coppia per amanti) last year and I was so not impressed. I decided to check it out anyway, about a year later, because I was in the mood for something utterly idiotic in my native language and I was not disappointed.

As you probably guessed from the not so brilliant title, the film follows a couple in crisis, Modesto (Pietro Sermonti) and Viviana (Ambra Angiolini), only they are not husband and wife but lovers. As if being "trapped" in a terrible marriage wasn't enough, even their extramarital relationship is in crisis and they decide to resolve their issues by seeing a couple therapist (Sergio Rubini).

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

I read Greg Sestero's The Disaster Artist earlier this year and he did mention The Talented Mr. Ripley several times. I had never heard of it before but it stars Matt Damon, or Mark Damon as Tommy Wiseau misheard, so I thought I'd give it a chance. Even though I'm not a fan of Damon at all. 

New York, 1950s. Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is working as a lavatory attendant when he borrows a Princeton jacket to play the piano. He ends up pretending to know wealthy Mr. Greenleaf's (James Robhorn) son, Dickie (Jude Law), and he is soon offered one thousand dollars to go to Italy and convince Dickie to return home. But when he gets there, he attaches to Dickie and his girlfriend Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) and things get out of control pretty soon.