Blue Iguana (2018)

After the dreadful Solo: A Star Wars Story and the even more dreadful Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, I decided to go with another 2018 movie, Blue Iguana, a movie I knew absolutely nothing about other than it having Sam Rockwell and its IMDb score being lower than the previously mentioned movies. And guess what, it was better than both.

Eddie (Sam Rockwell) and Paul (Ben Schwartz), two American petty criminals on parole, are recruited by British lawyer Kathrine Rookwood (Phoebe Fox) for a big job in London involving a mysterious package. Things go terribly wrong and the two Americans are caught up in a mess involving a mob boss (Peter Polycarpou), a mama's boy (Peter Ferdinando) and a princess (Frances Barber).

Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018)

I saw the trailer to Sierra Burgess Is a Loser about a week ago and it seemed kinda interesting so I decided to check it out. A couple of things I should have kept in mind though. First, it's a teen rom-com. Second, it's a teen movie from Netflix and we all know how To All the Boys I've Loved Before turned out.

Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) is smart and witty but she is also "ugly" and unpopular which is why Veronica (Kristine Froseth), the most popular girl in school, makes her mission to make her life miserable. When Jamey (Noah Centineo), a sweet football player, asks Veronica for her number, she gives him Sierra's instead. The two begins to text, but Sierra soon realises Jamey believes her to be Veronica so she asks Veronica to help her. In return, Sierra will teach Veronica how to be smart as she was dumped by her college boyfriend (Will Peltz) for being dumb.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Han Solo is my one of my favourite characters in the Star Wars universe. I mean, he is a charismatic space cowboy with balls, how can you not love him? Even Leia eventually falls for him. And yet I decided to pass Solo: A Star Wars Story. I just didn't have a very good feeling about it, and, eventually, reviews proved me right. Now that it's on DVD, I decided to give it a chance. 

The film opens with Han (Alden Ehrenreich) as he escapes the planet of Corellia but vows to return for Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), the woman he loved and was forced to leave behind. After that, Han meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), encounters Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), wins the Millenium Falcon and gets involved in a series of dangerous adventures.

Quanto basta (2018)

When it comes to Italian cinema, we are submerged with trailers and promotion of idiotic comedies, basically the same movie over and over again, as they, unfortunately, happen to be the movies my fellow countrymen pay to see. There are movies, I never even hear of, and Quanto basta is one of those. And if it wasn't for a friend of mine, I would have never known about its existence. 

The film follows Arturo (Vinicio Marchioni), a talented chef who has fallen into disgrace because of his bad temper. Convicted of assault, he is sentenced to social work in a center for autism. Once there, he meets Guido (Luigi Fedele), a young man with Asperger's syndrome who has a great passion for cooking. When Guido enters a cooking competition and asks Arturo to be his mentor, they both embark on a journey of personal growth. 

The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

Although I found it to be a flawed film, The Third Man left me wanting more. More film noir, more Orson Welles. Hence, I decided to watch The Lady from Shanghai, as it's considered by many Welles's best film noir. 

The film follows Michael O'Hara (Orson Welles), a young Irish sailor who, after a fateful encounter with a seductive woman, Elsa Bannister (Rita Hayworth), agrees to work on the yacht of her husband, criminal lawyer Arthur Bannister (Everett Sloane). Things get a sinister turn when Bannister's law firm partner, George Grisby (Glenn Anders), comes aboard and makes Michael an offer he can't refuse: $5,000 to help him fake his death.

Vacation (2015)

I remember seeing the trailer to Vacation like it was yesterday. To be honest, I only remember Chris Hemsworth's huge bulge which is the reason the movie ended up on my watchlist. Three years later, I finally watched this, and it was glorious. I'm still talking about Hemsworth's (prosthetic) penis though. 

Fifth instalment of the Vacation series, the film follows Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) as he takes his wife, Debbie (Christina Applegate), and their two sons, James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins), on a road trip to Walley World, an amusement park, just like he did with his parents and sister when he was a kid. And everything goes wrong, of course. 

The War Zone (1999)

I decided to check out The War Zone after seeing it on Colin Farrell's filmography (he is barely in the movie, by the way). Of course I didn't know anything about the movie itself and I thought it would be a(nother) boring war film. I couldn't have been more wrong as the film is not about war in the conventional sense. The title though is still very appropriate. 

Tim Roth's directorial debut film follows an unnamed family --a father (Ray Winston), a mother (Tilda Swinton), an 18-year-old daughter, Jessie (Lara Belmont) and a 15-year-old son, Tom (Freddie Cunliffe)-- who just moved from London to rural Devon. After his new sister is born, Tom learns that the relationship between Jessie and their father is more than it should be.

Pinocchio (1940)

I remember seeing Disney's Pinocchio as a child but I cannot remember how I felt about it. The adorable wooden boy whose nose would grow when telling a lie is all I could remember from this classic. So I figured it was time to rewatch it. 

As everyone knows, the film tells the story of an old wood-carver named Geppetto (voiced by Christian Rub) who makes a wooden puppet and names it Pinocchio (voiced by Dickie Jones). One night, before going to bed, he wishes that Pinocchio could be a real boy. The wish is granted by the fairy godmother (voiced by Evelyn Venable) who brings the wooden doll to life. But before he can become a real boy, Pinocchio must prove himself to be good. 

Burlesque (2010)

I'm not a Christina Aguilera fan, nor Cher's, but they both have phenomenal voices and I like many of their songs, and I'm also fascinated by burlesque, so I thought I'd give this musical a chance. 

The film follows Ali (Christina Aguilera), a young waitress from Iowa who leaves her small town to pursue her dreams in Los Angeles. Once in L.A., she tries and fails every audition she does; then, one night, she finds herself in a burlesque club and falls in love with this art. When Tess (Cher), the club owner, refuses to audition her, Ali begins serving customers at the club as a waitress until she finds a place for herself in the show. Meanwhile, Tess must find a way to save her club from bankruptcy.

Tag (2018)

Something I like to do is go on IMDb and look for movie suggestions --as if having 1,000+ movies on my list wasn't enough. That's how I stumbled across Tag and, convinced it either had Amy Adams or Charlize Theron, I decided to check it out.

The film tells the story of a group of friends, Hogan "Hoagie" Malloy (Ed Helms), Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm), Randy "Chilli" Cilliano (Jake Johnson), Kevin Sable (Hannibal Buress) and Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner), who has been playing the same game of tag for 30 years. When Jerry who has never been tagged plans to retire from the game after his upcoming wedding, the four remaining friends team together to finally tag him.

The White Ribbon (2009)

I'm pretty sure I've read someone praising The White Ribbon (In German: Das weiße Band, Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte) in a Thursday Movie Picks post ages ago --that, or I just add movies on my watchlist at random. Anyway, I saw scrolling through my watchlist, I saw it was from Michael Haneke (I loved his Amour) and decided to watch it.

The film is set shortly before the outbreak of World War I in a small village in Northen Germany where strange and inexplicable things begin to happen. First, the doctor (Rainer Bock) is injured when his horse stumbles on a hidden wire; then, a female worker falls into a hole in the rotten floor of a farm and dies; the baron's (Ulrich Tukur) son is found hung upside-down and tortured; the handicapped son of a midwife (Susanne Lothar) is brutally battered. All this is narrated by the town's schoolteacher (Christian Friedel) who in the meantime courts the baron's nanny (Leonie Benesch).

On the Waterfront (1954)

On the Waterfront is another of those classic movies I've been meaning to watch since always but I kept putting off because you don't simply watch a classic if you're not in the mood for it. Also, I wasn't a huge fan of Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire which also stars Marlon Brando, so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it. 

The film tells the story of Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), a young dockworker with a short, unsuccessful career as a boxer. One day, he witnesses a murder of a fellow worker at the hands of Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), the local mobster and boss of the dockers union he works for. When the dead man's sister, Edie Doyle (Eva Marie Saint), enters the picture, looking for her brother's killer, Terry falls for her, feels guilty about her brother's death and begins to question what's really right. 

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)

I guess it's because I don't live in the United States and because religions aren't really my thing, but I knew virtually nothing about Scientology. All I knew was that it is a cult, that you have to pay to be a part of it, and that Tom Cruise is a member of this so-called church. So what did I do to learn more about it? I watched HBO's documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.

This documentary is based on Lawrence Wright's book of the same name and provides a deep look at the history of the Church of Scientology, how it went from being a cult to a religion, how it works, the role of celebrities, and its allegations for abuse, harassment and misconduct.

Destination Wedding (2018)

As you may already know, I'm not in romantic comedies but when I saw the trailer to Destination Wedding on YouTube months ago, I knew I would end up watching it because Keanu Reeves is my freaking kryptonite and Winona Ryder is awesome.

The film follows two cynical, miserable and unpleasant people, Linsday (Winona Ryder) and Frank (Keanu Reeves), who meet at the airport while on their way to a destination wedding. They get off to a bad start when he cuts in front of her at the gate; things get worse on the plane when they learn they are both heading to the same wedding. As they are forced to spend time together, they begin to bond over their mutual distaste for the groom, who is Frank's half-brother and Lindsay's ex-fiancé. 

The Lion King 1½ (2004)

Although The Lion King II: Simba's Pride was pretty bad, as direct-to-video sequels usually are, when I learnt about the existence of The Lion King 1½ (which is wrongfully called The Lion King 3 in Italy. It's translated in Italian, of course) I knew I would end up watching it.

Set after the events of the original movie but before the first sequel, The Lion King 1½ follows Timon (voiced by Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (voiced by Ernie Sabella) as they watch the original movie in a theater. Timon wants to fast-forward to when they come in, but Pumba suggests to tell the audience their story and so we learn about Timon's unhappy life in the meerkat colony, how the Hakuna Matata originated, how the two met, and their lives together before and before they met Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick).

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

There's something I've noticed over the past months as I started watching more musicals and reading what other people think about them; most of the time, people either love them or hate them. Moulin Rouge! too has such a divided audience, and, curious to see where how I'd feel about it, I decided to watch it.

The film is set in 1889 and tells the story of Christian (Ewan McGregor), a young English man who moved to Paris to pursue a penniless career as a writer. Once there, he meets a group of Bohemians, led by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo), who tells him he should write a musical show for them to be performed at the Moulin Rouge. While in the process of selling the show, Christian meets Satine (Nicole Kidman), the night club's star and courtesan, and falls for her. She eventually falls for him as well but the club's owner, Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent), is planning to sell her to a Duke (Richard Roxburgh) who will help him turn the night club into a theatre only if he can have Satine.

I Feel Pretty (2018)

I don't remember what I was seeing that day (probably Ant-Man and the Wasp) but I remember that, as soon as I saw the trailer for I Feel Pretty, I knew I would eventually end up watching as I was curious to see how dumb and bad it was. 

The film follows Renee (Amy Schumer), an insecure and lonely girl who works as a sysadmin for an elite cosmetic company and whose office is located in a basement in China Town. She's tired of being invisible and she wishes to become beautiful. After she hits her head at spinning class, she wakes up and, although nothing about her has changed, believes she is a supermodel. This new confidence empowers her to live the life she always wanted.

Winter Sleepers (1997)

I was so impressed with Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run that I pretty much added all of his films to my watchlist. Several years later, I finally decided to watch some of those and I started with Winter Sleepers (German: Winterschläfer).

Set in a snowy alpine resort in Bavaria (aka dream place), the film follows the lives of five people --Laura (Marie-Lou Sellem), a surgical nurse, Rebecca (Floriane Daniel), a translator, René (Ulrich Matthes), a projectionist in a cinema, Marco (Heino Ferch), a skiing instructor and Rebecca's boyfriend, and Theo (Josef Bierbichler), a middle-aged farmer-- whose lives are seemingly unconnected.

Thursday Movie Picks: Good Remakes

Sweet Christmas, I can't believe I haven't joined Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks since August 16. What am I even doing with my blog, am I right?! Anyway, it's good remakes week and I just couldn't miss it as it is so hard to find good remakes and I wanted to share some of my favourites with you. 

The Bad Batch (2016)

I loved Ana Lily Amirpour's A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night so I could tell you I watched The Bad Batch because of it. I could also tell you that I had high expectations about it. But the truth is I watched it because of Jason Momoa, which is why I didn't have a lot of expectations from it (also, I read m.brown's review months ago and it didn't sound that good).

The film is set in a near future and follows a young woman named Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) after she is dumped into the Texas desert with other rejects of the American society known as the bad batch. Eventually, she is captured by a tribe of cannibals, led by Miami Man (Jason Momoa), who severe her right arm and leg. She manages to escape and makes her way to another tribe, led by a man known as The Dream (Keanu Reeves).

March of the Penguins (2005)

I still remember when March of the Penguins (French: La Marche de l'empereur) was released and all I could think was, imagine how boring a documentary about penguins can be. In my defence, I was 11 and not into documentaries at all. Now that I'm into documentaries, I thought I'd give it a shot. 

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the documentary follows the yearly journey of the Emperor penguins of Antartica in their quest for reproduction and survival. 

The Social Network (2010)

Back in February, while I was listening to one of the Across the Universe Podcast's episodes, I realized I hadn't seen The Social Network in years. Literally. And what a shame considering that (a) I love the movie and (b) I own the Bluray. So, of course, I rewatched it that week (and the review is coming ages later, sorry for that). 

I'm pretty sure you already know what this film is about. Just in case you don't (where do you even live?), the film is about Facebook and follows Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) as he develops this social network and makes tons of money with it, and is later sued by the Winklevoss brothers (Armie Hammer) for stealing their ideas and by co-founder Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) for squeezing him out of the business.

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998)

I know, I should know better than watching sequels to Disney classics, but I can't help it. There's something about them that really appeals me. I guess it's because I love to review bad films and these sequels are usually bad, and The Lion King II: Simba's Pride makes no exception. 

The film is set a few years after the events of The Lion King. King Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick) and Queen Nala (voiced by Moira Kelly) now have a daughter, Kiara (voiced by Neve Campbell), who is growing up and trying to step out of her father's shadow. While wandering around, she ends up in the forbidden lands and meets Kovu (voiced by Jason Marsden), another cub who is a descendant/handpicked successor of Simba's uncle, Scar. Kiara and Kovu hit off but Simba doesn't approve and Kovu's mother, Zira (voiced by Andy Dick), is plotting to use her son to avenge Scar.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)

I remember when I first saw High School Musical 3: Senior Year and all these teenage girls, myself excluded, were screaming when Zac Efron made his first appearance on the screen. That's all I could remember about the film as I've never rewatched it. And I even have it on DVD. The reason? It's simply terrible.

This time around, the East High School kids are getting ready to graduate which means each will go their separate ways. Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) are those having a tougher time as Troy is planning to attend the nearby University of Albuquerque and Gabriella wants to attend Stanford University in California. Meanwhile, Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) still plots to steal Troy from Gabriella and to get her part in the school Spring musical.

Paper Man (2009)

I stumbled across Paper Man years ago while I was scrolling through Emma Stone's filmography and, since I love her, it ended up on my watchlist. But eventually, it got lost among the thousands of movies in there. 

The film follows Richard Dunn (Jeff Daniels), a 40-something failed writer who still talks to his childhood imaginary friend, Captain Excellent (Ryan Reynolds). When his wife Claire (Lisa Kudrow) drives him to Long Island and leaves him there, alone, so that he can finish his book, Richard meets Abby (Emma Stone), a 17-year-old whom he hires to babysit, despite the fact that he has no kids. When she finds out, Abby seems completely fine with it and the two start to bond. 

Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958)

When it comes to old Italian movies, I kinda suck as the titles are often all I know about those movies. It was the same with Big Deal on Madonna Street (Italian: I soliti ignoti) which ended up on my watch-list many years ago, but only because I've heard people mention it many times over the years and I thought I should eventually check it out.

The film starts with small-time thief Cosimo (Memmo Carotenuto) being arrested for trying to steal a car. After he is convicted, he asks his girlfriend (Rossana Rory) and lawyer to find someone who, for 100,000 lire, will take his place in prison so that he can pull off a heist at a pawnshop. A washed-up boxer, Peppe (Vittorio Gassman), agrees to switch places, but the judge doesn't believe them and they both end up in jail. When Peppe learns about the plan, he tricks Cosimo into explaining him every single detail of it, and when he gets out, months before Cosimo does, he recruits Cosimo's band of petty criminals to pull off the heist. 

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible is by far my favourite action franchise. With the exception of Mission: Impossible II which was a huge misfire, I loved all the entries and, I don't know how they do it, but each movie they make is better than the previous instalment, and therefore I was very excited about Mission: Impossible - Fallout. And kinda pissed too because the film's release date here was moved from the end of July to the end of August. Thankfully, the long(er) wait did pay off. 

After choosing to save his team over rescuing three plutonium cores, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is forced to work with CIA agent/assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) to prevent the nuclear cores from falling into the hands of the Apostles, a terrorist group founded by the remains of the Syndicate. 

Life Itself (2014)

I had just started blogging when I first read about Life Itself. A fellow blogger described it as one of the finest films he had seen and a must-see for movie lovers, so I added to my watch-list. It's only later that I learnt it was a documentary and I kept putting it off ever since. I'm really into documentaries now, and before this phase wears off, I checked it out.

The documentary tells the story of renowned, Pulitzer winning film critic and television personality Roger Ebert, summing up both his publish and private life and documenting the end of it as he is dying of cancer.

Hotel Chevalier (2007)

Months ago, I watched Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited for the first time and, as I was expecting, I loved it. Thanks to Steven from Surrender to the Void I learnt about Hotel Chevalier, a short film prologue to The Darjeeling Limited

In this short, Jack (Jason Schwartzman), one of the Whitman brothers, is lying on a bed, wearing a robe and ordering from room service. His peace is disrupted when he gets a call from his ex-girlfriend (Natalie Portman) who informs him she'll be there in 30 minutes. He tides the room, draws a bath, changes his clothes and puts on Peter Sarstedt's Where Do You Go to My Lovely.

The Lion King (1994)

Of all of Disney's animated classics, The Lion King is hands down the most celebrated. I, on the other hand, was never so fond of it as a child. So today I decided to rewatch it and see how I'd feel about it and I still don't think this is Disney's greatest film. 

The Lion King tells the story of a lion cub named Simba (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas) who one day will become the king of the Pride Lands. However, his uncle Scar (voiced by Jeremy Irons) is desperate for the crown himself and would do anything to get it, even get Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones), his brother and king, killed and let Simba believed he is to be blamed for his father's death and Simba runs away from the kingdom. Years go by and, while Simba (now voiced by Matthew Broderick) has found new friends in meerkat Timon (voiced by Nathan Lane) and warthog Pumbaa (voiced by Ernie Sabella), the kingdom is falling apart under Scar's tyrannical leadership.

High School Musical 2 (2007)

I don't know why, but High School Musical 2 has always been my favourite of the three. I would watch it over and over, especially when I was in bed, sick. I guess it's because it was more colourful --there's a lot of bright pink though-- and it wasn't set in the school. 

In this second entry, summer has arrived and Sharpay (Ashely Tisdale) still hasn't given up the idea of having Troy (Zac Efron) all for herself so she has him hired at her parents' country club. Unfortunately for Sharpay, all the Wildcats get a job at the country club, Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) included. As if having to compete with Gabriella for Troy wasn't enough, Sharpay also has to fight to win the talent show hosted at the club like her brother Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) and she do every year.