IO (2019)

You know what I've been seeing for the past week or so as soon as I opened Netflix? The trailer of IO, their new post-apocalyptic movie. Worn out by its continuous playing and because Anthony Mackie is in it, I decided to give it a shot. How bad could it be, right? A lot, as it turned out. 

The film follows Sam Walden (Margaret Qualley), a young scientist as well as one of the last people on a post-cataclysm Earth who is dedicated to finding a way to save the planet and for humans to adapt and survive on it. Time is not on her side though as the final shuttle is about to depart and she only has a few days to make a meaningful scientific outbreak discovery or stay on the dying planet. That's when another survivor, Micah (Anthony Mackie), shows up and tries to convince her to leave.

Thursday Movie Picks: Television Edition: 2018 Freshman Series

Welcome back, or welcome if you are new to Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. The rules are very simple, pick three to five movies —series on the last Thursday of the month, which happens to be today— to fit the week's theme. I didn't have much of a choice this week as I've only seen three series, but it's alright though as I loved them all.

Cold War (2018)

On Mondays, my cinema shows art house and indie movies but I don't go often as it usually shows movies that I'm not interested in seeing. This week's movie was Cold War (Polish: Zimna wojna) and, since I heard great things about and I was also curious to see if all the Foreign Language nominees are dreadful this year or if it's just Roma, I decided to go. 

Set in post-World War II Europe, mainly in Poland, from the late 1940s until the 1960s, the story follows Wiktor (Tomasz Kot), a musical director, and Zula (Joanna Kulig), a young singer with incredible talent, as they fall deeply, hopelessly in love. Forced to perform communist propaganda songs, they dream of escaping to the West and they soon have their shot in France. However, Zula misses it and over the years they will cross paths often.

Roma (2018)

I wanted to watch Alfonso Cuarón's Roma back in December when it released on Netflix but the length put me off. Then it got 10 Oscar nominations and, despite the Academy once again embarrassing themselves with awful nominations and jaw-dropping snubs and people mentioning how boring the movie is, I decided to give it a shot. 

The film is set in early 1970s Mexico —Roma is a neighbourhood in Mexico City if you are wondering where the title came from— and follows a year in the life of a maid, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), and the middle-class family she works for.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)

Terry Gilliam first read Don Quixote in 1989 and decided to turn it into a movie right away. It's only in 2000 that he had his first shot at making the film, but everything went wrong and the making of the movie became a documentary about the failure at making the movie, Lost in La Mancha. Last May, after 18 years the first attempt, and nearly 30 years after it was originally conceived, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote finally saw the light at Cannes.

The story follows Toby Grisoni (Adam Driver), a cynical advertising director who is struggling with the production of a commercial featuring Don Quixote. One night, he stumbles upon an old DVD of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, an amateur film that Toby made as a student a decade earlier. He then discovers that the village where he made the film is just a short drive away and heads over there only to discover that the shoemaker (Jonathan Pryce) he cast in the leading role now believes he is the real Don Quixote and that Toby is Sancho Panza. Toby is soon pulled into the world of Don Quixote and embarks on a series of adventures that mixes dreams and reality.

Creed II (2018)

I'm not going to lie, the only reason I was excited about Creed II was the perspective of seeing Michael B. Jordan and his muscles on the big screen. Thankfully, that was not the only good thing about the movie. 

Much like its predecessor, Creed II follows both the personal and professional life of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan). Adonis has just become the Heavyweight Champion of the World and proposed to Bianca (Tessa Thompson) when Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), Ivan Drago's (Dolph Lundgren) son, arrives in Philadelphia and challenges Adonis. Against Rocky's (Sylvester Stallone) advice, Adonis accepts the challenge while trying to keep afloat his relationship as well as a new paternity. 

A Star Is Born (2018)

I am one of the few people who were not hyped at all about Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born mainly because the trailer didn't appeal me at all —I found it to be very cheesy. Then I read the reviews, and they really made me want to see it. Unfortunately, my cinema only showed the dubbed version and since I don't find the dubbing to be as effective as the original, specifically when it comes to dramas, I had to wait for home release to watch it. 

The story follows Ally (Lady Gaga), a young waitress with a great voice who's been told she's never gonna make it because of her nose, and Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a famous rock country singer battling an alcohol and drug addiction. After one of his concerts, Jackson is looking for a drink and ends up in a drag bar where sees Ally perform. He is amazed by her and soon becomes both her mentor and her boyfriend and brings her into the spotlight. As Ally's career takes off, Jackson's spirals out of control.

Suspiria (2018)

Dario Argento's Suspiria turned 40 in 2017 and to celebrate it cinemas around here screened the movie for a day only. Given the hype surrounding it, I had to go see it. And I was disappointed. Which is why I didn't care much about Guadagnino's remake —also, I'm not the biggest fan of his films. Then the film hit theatres —not in my country— and many people who disliked the original loved this, so I had to check it out. 

The story follows Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson), a young American ballerina who travels to Berlin to attend the Markos Tanz Company, one of the most renowned dance schools in the world, run by a coven of witches. As Susie quickly becomes the lead in the company's most important ballet, psychiatrist Josef Klemperer (Tilda Swinton) starts investigating the disappearance of Patricia Hingle (Chloë Grace Moretz), a patient of his and former student at the ballet company whom he accused of being delusional. 

The Old Man & the Gun (2018)

I haven't seen enough of his films to consider Robert Redford as one of my favourite actors, but I really like him. So of course I had to see The Old Man & the Gun, a heist movie starring Redford in his alleged last performance before retirement. 

The film tells the true but fictionalized story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) and follows him after his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 as he continues robbing banks with the help of two other old men, Teddy Green (Danny Glover), and Waller (Tom Waits), falls in love with Jewel (Sissy Spacek), and is pursued by rookie detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck).

Green Book (2018)

Although I had read good things about it, specifically about Ali's performance, I wasn't planning on seeing Green Book, in part because it's a Peter Farrelly movie, in part because of all the controversies. Then my cinema decided to have a free preview screening —last time they did this it was 2015 and the movie was Paul Feig's Spy— and I decided to go. 

Set in 1962, the film follows an uneducated racist Italian-American, Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), who, after losing his job as a bouncer, becomes the driver of a well educated African-American classical pianist, Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), and takes him on a concert tour into the deep South. 

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

I was pretty excited to see Bad Times at the El Royale, and it was not only because Chris Hemsworth is half-naked every time he's on screen, but because the promotional material had me intrigued. Unfortunately, my theatre didn't show it so I had to wait for home release. 

The story takes place in a remote hotel on the California-Nevada border, the El Royale, in 1969. One day during the off-season, the concierge and sole employee at the hotel, Miles Miller (Lewis Pullman) welcomes four unique individuals: Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a Catholic priest; Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), a struggling soul singer; Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm) who claims to be a vacuum cleaner salesman; and Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson), a rude woman. They each have their secret and over the course of the night, they will show their true selves.

PadMan (2018)

One of my movie goals last year was to watch more non-English language movies, specifically Indian movies as I'd like to change the image I have of Bollywood because of the musicals. I didn't really do it last year so I'm starting now, with PadMan, a movie Sid, my only source of Indian movie suggestions, stressed me so much to watch.

Inspired by the life of Tamil Nadu social activist Arunachalam Muruganantham, the story follows Lakshmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar), a devoted husband who gets worried on seeing his wife, Gayatri (Radhika Apte), using a dirty rag during her periods. When his wife refuses to use the expensive sanitary pads he bought at the pharmacy, he sets out to create them himself in order to provide his wife, and other women, a safe and hygienic period and will be criticized by his village and disowned by his family in the process.

Gangs of New York (2002)

I finally watched Lars von Trier's Dogville last week and I loved it, so I figured it was about time to watch another of those movies I've been putting off for years because of its length, Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York

It is set in 1863 when gangs ran the streets of New York and the government couldn't or wouldn't gain control of the city, and it mainly focuses on Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young man whose father (Liam Neeson) was killed sixteen years before by Bill "the Butcher" Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), the leader of the most powerful gang in New York, and is now seeking revenge. 

Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009)

Long before First Man, La La Land, and Whiplash, even before he graduated from Harvard, Damien Chazelle made his directorial debut with Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, which I had to watch as I love his three big pictures. 

The film tells the story of Guy (Jason Palmer), a promising young jazz trumpeter, and Madeline (Desiree Garcia), his introverted girlfriend. After three months of dating, Guy breaks up with Madeline and pursue a relationship with another woman, the more outgoing Elena (Sandha Khin), only to realise that she is not interested in his music, that she is actually annoyed by it and his friends. Meanwhile, Madeline takes a job as a waitress in a diner to save money to go to New York.

Gun Shy (2000)

I wanted to watch Gun Shy many years ago when my obsession with Sandra Bullock started but at the time I couldn't find it anywhere. And by anywhere I mean the video rental shop in my town as streaming services were not a thing here, and if they were, I was too young anyway to subscribe. 

The story follows Charlie Mayeaux (Liam Neeson), a DEA agent on the verge of a nervous breakdown ever since he nearly got killed in one of his assignments. This time, he goes undercover to bring down a Colombian drug cartel represented by Fidel Vaillar (José Zúñiga), and a New York City Mafia family represented by Fulvio Nesstra (Oliver Platt). To continue with his mission, Charlie will need the help of group therapy and Judy (Sandra Bullock), a nurse whom he falls in love with as she starts taking care of his gut health.

Assassination Nation (2018)

I know we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it's because of the poster that Assassination Nation caught my attention. Eventually, it lost it because I thought, and I have to thank Google for it, Bella Thorne was the lead. I've read several positive reviews about it ever since so I decided to give it a chance. 

The film mainly follows Lily (Odessa Young) and her friends, Sarah (Suki Waterhouse), Bex (Hari Nef), and Em (Abra), a group of high school seniors in a city called Salem. Each of them has her own daily struggles, but things get really bad when an anonymous cracker starts posting personal messages, photos and emails from everyone in their small town, and the four girls become the target of their community. 

Thursday Movie Picks: 2018 Releases

I feel like I say this every year, but 2018 has been a great year for movies. Some turned out to be a disappointment but some were very pleasant surprises. I'm going to pick some of the latter for this week's Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves, which consists in picking three to five movies to fit the week's theme. 

Away You Go (2018)

I was on IMDb reading info about a movie —I don't remember which one but I'm pretty sure it was German— and Away You Go (German: Rüchenwind von vorn) was on the "more like this" section. It sounded interesting and decided to check it out —and just to give you an idea of what a great movie postponer I am, I added this on my list in September.

Anyways, the film follows Charlie (Victoria Schulz), a young Berliner who has all the things you are supposed to have to live a satisfactory life: a fulfilling job as a teacher, a boyfriend, Marco (Aleksandar Radenković), with whom she is living and planning to have a baby with, and a loving and supporting grandmother, Lisbeth (Angelika Waller). However, she is not entirely comfortable with the direction her life has taken, and she begins to ask herself what she really wants.

Con Air (1997)

It's been almost four years ago since I first heard of Con Air —I remember it so well because it was a popular pick for one of my first weeks of Thursday Movie Picks and I joined the series in 2015— but I never gave it a try because, being honest, Nicolas Cage is not my cup of tea. 

The story follows United States Army Ranger Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) who, after serving eight years in prison for manslaughter, is getting out on parole and goes home to his wife (Monica Potter) and the daughter (Landry Allbright) he has never met. Unfortunately, Poe has to share a plane with some dangerous criminals and when the prisoners, led by Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom (John Malkovich), take control of the plane, he must find a way to stop them while playing along.

The Vanishing (1993)

No home internet can drive a (wo)man insane, but it can also force one to watch those DVDs bought years ago that are yet to see the laser light. The Vanishing, which ended up in my collection because of Sandra Bullock, is one of those. 

The story follows Jeff Harriman (Kiefer Sutherland), a man whose girlfriend, Diane (Sandra Bullock), was abducted at a gas station and has continued to search for her, with no success, for years. Not even after meeting Rita (Nancy Travis) and beginning a serious relationship with her does he give up. Then one day, Barney Cousins (Jeff Bridges) contacts him, the man who kidnapped Diane.

The Nun (2018)

Back in October, I watched The Conjuring movies for the first time and I loved everything about them which is why, despite James Wan not being the director and the negative reviews I read, I decided to check of the latest spin-off of the series, The Nun.

The story is set in 1952 Romania and follows Father Burke (Demián Bichir), a priest with a haunted past, and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga), a nun in her novitiate, as they investigate the death of a young nun (Charlotte Hope) who took her own life and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun, Valak (Bonnie Aarons).

Dogville (2003)

As I've said the other day, my resolution for 2019 is to watch all those movies I've been meaning to watch since always but kept putting off for a reason or another. Dogville I put off because of the length and because, being honest, you have to be in the right mood to handle Lars von Trier. 

The film focuses on Grace Margaret Mulligan (Nicole Kidman), a beautiful young woman on the run from the mob who seeks refuge in Dogville, a small mountain town with a tight community of people who look after each other. The residents are reluctant at first, but, persuaded by the town’s philosopher, Tom Edison Jr. (Paul Bettany), they agree to hide her. In return, Grace agrees to work for them but nothing comes without a price and soon the people of Dogville begin to abuse her.

Hateship Loveship (2013)

Hateship Loveship is yet another of those movies that has been on my watchlist for such a long time I forgot everything about it, even the reason I was interested in seeing it —it was Guy Pierce, as it turned out.

Based on a short story from Nobel winning author Alice Munro, the film follows Johanna Parry (Kristen Wiig), a middle-aged repressed caregiver after she is hired by an elderly man, Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte), who needs help in the house and to watch over his teenage granddaughter, Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld), who lives there since her mother was killed in a car accident blamed on her irresponsible father, Ken (Guy Pearce), who lives in a motel in Chicago. During one of his visits, Ken meets Johanna and leaves her a friendly note. She writes a reply, Sabitha and her best friend Edith (Sami Gayle) pen fake love letter from Ken and Johanna is led to believe Ken has feelings for her.

Collateral Beauty (2016)

This year I'm seriously committing to watching all those movies that have been on my watchlist since the dawn of times because I always put them off. Collateral Beauty is one of them and since it was on TV some nights ago, I  finally watched it. 

The film mostly focuses on Howard Inlet (Will Smith), a successful advertising executive who has completely lost it after the death of his daughter. Building domino chains and writing letters to Love, Time, and Death, is all he does, and he's driving his company on the verge of bankruptcy. His three friends and business partners, Whit Yardsham (Edward Norton), Claire Wilson (Kate Winslet), and Simon Scott (Michael Peña), fear for the future of the company so, in order to save/sell it, they hire three actors, Amy (Keira Knightley), Raffi (Jacob Latimore), and Brigitte (Helen Mirren), to play Love, Time, and Death respectively, and convince him that nobody else can see them so to prove he's mentally unstable. 

Thursday Movie Picks: The Cold

Welcome to another week of Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves that anyone can join, you just need to pick three to five movies —TV series on the last Thursday of each month— to fit the theme, which this week is the cold. So cover yourself, have a cup of tea handy, and keep reading to find out which movies I'm picking today.

License to Wed (2007)

I added License to Wed on my watchlist many years ago because of Robin Williams but, like it always happens, if I don't watch it shortly after, it falls into oblivion and I watch it years later, with no idea how the movie ended up on the list nor what it is about.

Well, this one follows Sadie (Mandy Moore) and Ben (John Krasinski), a happy couple who, after only six months, feel ready to get married. It's always been Sadie's dream to be married at the family church with her family minister, Frank (Robin Williams), officiating it. Before they get married, Frank forces them into a rigorous premarital counselling program to see if they are really ready for marriage.

First Reformed (2017)

I’ve been wanting to see First Reformed since it premiered last year in Venice but, no matter how much I love Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, Hawke plays a priest, I can’t stand priests, and I’ve been putting this off since its release. I read some positive reviews recently so I finally decided to give it a shot.

The story follows Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke), the 46-year-old lonely and depressed pastor of a small historical church —the First Reformed Church in Snowbridge, New York— who decides to keep a diary for a year, after which he intends to destroy it. One day, a young woman, Mary (Amanda Seyfried), asks him to counsel her husband, Michael (Philip Ettinger), who is dealing with anger and environmental activist issues. Toller agrees to help him but Michael soon takes his own life.

Mute (2018)

I’ve been putting off Duncan Jones’s Mute for such a long time, I even forgot what the movie was about. Or which actor I like was in it. I soon remembered it was the one with a tiny Sam Rockwell cameo, and I also remembered why I skipped it in the first place, the bad reviews I read. And they were right, the film is terrible.

Set in 2035, the main storyline follows Leo (Alexander Skarsgård), a mute Amish bartender who is in love with a cocktail waitress, Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh). When Naadirah disappears, Leo embarks on a quest to find her which takes him deeper into the city’s underworld. Meanwhile, two American surgeons, Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd) and Duck (Justin Theroux), makes quick bucks by performing surgeries for the mob.

The Commuter (2018)

There was a time when I loved watching action flicks, especially those starring Liam Neeson. I don’t know why but I just loved the man. I no longer am a fan of those movies and I think Neeson is at his best when he is far away from the action —Schindler’s List, Love, Actually— but I decided to check out The Commuter anyway as it looked like a silly movie to enjoy during the holidays. Silly, it is. Enjoyable, not so much.

The film follows Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson), a former cop turned insurance salesman. He goes through the same routine every day, a routine that includes taking the same commuter train and interacting with the other commuters. One day he’s fired from his job and, on his way home, he is approached by a woman (Vera Farmiga) who offers him £ 100,000 to identify which passenger does not belong.

Alright Now (2018)

I really like Cobie Smulders, I like her energy, her presence on screen. So whenever I stumble upon one of her movies, I just can’t pass on them, especially if they are indies as Unexpected turned out to be such a nice little film. Alright Now is far from being charming. It is also far from being alright.

The story follows Joanne (Cobie Smulders), an American rock musician who was big in the 1990s. When her band falls apart and her boyfriend, Larry (Noel Clarke), breaks up with her, she gets drunk with her old friend Sara (Jessica Hynes), and drunkenly enrol in a Welsh university where she bonds with the shy admissions clerk, Pete (Richard Elis).

Bird Box (2018)

I’ve been living of mobile data —aka limited GB— for the past three weeks which translated in pretty much no Netflix. A day before its renewal, I realised I still had many data left so, being a fan of Sandra Bullock since always and being intrigued by the plot, I decided to watch Bird Box, or as I like to call it, how I decided to waste data and miss the interactive Black Mirror movie.

Just in case you haven’t heard of it, Bird Box follows a woman, Malorie (Sandra Bullock), as she tries to find a way to guide herself and two kids, Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair), to safety. The catch? They must remain blindfolded the entire time as there are some unseen deadly forces that cause whoever that looks to commit suicide.

Thursday Movie Picks: Place in Title

Happy New Year guys! Just like last year, and the two years before it, this year I'll be joining Wandering Through the Shelves' weekly series Thursday Movie Picks, which consists in picking three to five movies —TV series the last Thursday of each month— to fit the week's theme. This week we are picking films that have a place in their title. I hope you like my theme within theme!

Dumplin' (2018)

With a few exceptions —Annihilation and Apostle are the only I can think of right now— Netflix originals have been quite disappointing this year —Outlaw King, in particular— so I wasn't sure whether to give Dumplin' a chance or not, especially since there's Jennifer Aniston. But then some other blogger, I don't recall who, said it was fun so I gave it a try. 

The film follows Willowdean (Danielle MacDonald), the plus-size daughter of a former beauty queen, Rosie (Jennifer Aniston) who was raised by her Aunt Lucy (Hillary Begley). After an argument with her mother —Will accuses Rosie of being resentful of her for her looks, and Rosie insinuates that Lucy would still be alive if she had taken better care of herself— Will signs up for the Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant, preseeded by her mother, as a protest which escalates when other misfits, Millie (Maddie Baillio) and Hannah (Bex Taylor-Klaus), follow her footsteps and sing up for the pageant. 

Aquaman (2018)

I love superhero flicks but usually, I'm more excited about MCU than DCEU as the latter often turn out to be not so good while the first, while pretty much all identical, are entertaining. It's different with Aquaman. I was over-the-top excited about it —entirely because of Jason Momoa at first; also because of James Wan after watching some of his horror flicks. 

The story follows Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), the son of a lighthouse keeper, Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison), and the princess of Atlantis, Atlanna (Nicole Kidman). When he learns that his half-brother, Orm Marius (Patrick Wilson), seeks to unite the seven underwater kingdoms to declare war to the surface world, Arthur must step forward and fulfil his destiny of becoming king.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

I was looking for a perfect movie to review on the first day of the year and it turned out that I've already reviewed all the New Year's Eve movies out there. Or at least the most popular. So I decided to watch something completely different, and I went with Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's What We Do in the Shadows, a mockumentary horror comedy. And let me say, what a hell of a way to start the new year! 

The film, or rather a documentary crew, follows the everyday life of Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), three vampire flatmates in Wellington, New Zealand, who struggle with the most mundane things in life like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, overcoming flatmate conflicts, and getting into nightclubs, the latter being quite a serious issue since they need to be invited in order to get in.