Thursday Movie Picks: Television Edition: Book to TV Adaptations

Welcome back, welcome if you are new, to Thursday Movie Picks, the wonderful series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. This being the last Thursday of the month, we are picking TV series, specifically those adapted from a book. 

Period. End of Sentence. (2018)

Earlier this year, I watched PadMan, an Indian featuring film focusing telling the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, the Indian man who invented the machine to make cheaper sanitary pads for women. Netflix's short documentary Period. End of Sentence. deals with the same subject, which still is one of the most taboo topics in India.

Set in the rural village of Hapur, outside of Delhi, India, the documentary follows a group of women as they band together to install and use sanitary pad-making machines in hope to make feminine hygiene supplies easily available to all women as only 10 percent of women in India, as stated as the beginning, have access to affordable sanitary products.

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

As I'm yet to read James Baldwin's work —hopefully I'll get to read something soon— and I was not a fan of Moonlight when I first saw it —I rewatched it recently and it definitely worked better for me the second time—, I didn't care about Barry Jenkins's If Beale Street Could Talk. It getting a Best Supporting Actress nomination is the reason I watched it anyway. 

Set in 1970s Harlem, the story follows a young African-American couple, Tish (Kiki Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James). Shortly after Fonny is falsely accused of the rape of a Peurto Rican woman (Emily Rios), Tish learns that she's pregnant with Fonny's child. As childbirth approaches, Tish and her family try to prove that Fonny is innocent.

End Game (2018)

I don't know why since I like documentaries —and shorts are right up to my alley as I don't have a lot of time lately—, but I skipped all the Oscar nominees this year and I started watching them only last week. Netflix's End Game was my first pick because of its sensitive subject. 

As you probably guessed either from the title or the poster, this documentary follows a few terminally ill people in the last days of their lives as they and their loved ones decide under what circumstances they'll leave this world, whether in a hospice, at home, or somewhere else. 

Wildlife (2018)

I really like Paul Dano as an actor and Zoe Kazan is really growing on me, so the two of them co-writing a script and Dano directing the movie is definitely something I cannot overlook. If you have Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal, you get a movie one an idiot can pass. So yeah, I had huge expectations for Dano's directorial debut, Wildlife

Set in 1960, the story follows the Brinson family, Jeanette (Carey Mulligan), Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) and their teenage son, Joe (Ed Oxenbould), as they move to Great Falls, Montana. When Jerry loses his job and refuses to take it back out of pride, he decides to join a group of volunteers to fight fires. As soon as Jerry leaves, something awakens in Jeanette and Joe is suddenly forced into the role of an adult. 

Mt. Rushmore of Movies Blogathon '19

Although most of the nominations are bullshit and the ceremony is going to be an awful disaster, I'm still staying up all night to watch the Oscars. It's a long wait though and what a better way to not fall asleep, other than drinking countless cups of coffee, than rewatching Dirty Grandpa because I'm a slut for Zac Efron? Well, actually there's a better way, googling shirtless hot actors.

Shoplifters (2018)

Hirokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters (Japanese: 万引き家族 Manbiki kazoku) was at the top of my Cannes 2018 watchlist not because it won the Palm d'Or as there's plenty of winners I didn' love but because many people in the blogosphere loved it, but my cinema didn't bother showing it so I had to skip it. I finally had the chance to watch it the other day and now I feel like I cannot recommend this movie enough. 

The film follows a family of small-time crooks. One cold February night, one their way home after a successful day of shoplifting, Osamu (Lily Franky) and Shota (Jyo Kairi) see a little girl, Yuri (Miyu Sasaki), sitting out in the cold, shivering, and take her home. At first, Osamu's wife, Nobuyo (Sakura Ando), is not keen to take the girl, but when she hears the girl's parents quarrelling, she and the family decide to take care of her and Yuri becomes part of the family.

The Wife (2017)

It's Oscar night tomorrow —actually, it's early Monday morning here but nevermind— and since I'm going to lose one night of sleep and sit through the hostless ceremony that is going to award Bohemian Rhapsody and Roma, I figured I should also watch all the movies that split under the radar that somehow made it to the Oscars. The Wife is one of those movies as Glenn Close is up for Best Actress. 

The story follows a charismatic writer, Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce), and his devoted wife, Joan (Glenn Close). When Joe is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his acclaimed body of work and they travel to Stockholm to attend the ceremony, Joan begins to question her life choices and her forty-year marriage built upon uneven compromises and sacrifices.

Vice (2018)

While I thought The Big Short was an okay film, I was not a fan of Adam McKay's direction. To be honest, it didn't work for me at all. Despite that, I still decided to give Vice a shot because of Christian Bale's critically acclaimed performance and Sam Rockwell. 

The film tells the story of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), an unassuming bureaucratic who silently made his way through the United States' political hierarchy and ended up having more power than anyone in his position as Vice President to George W. Bush. 

Thursday Movie Picks: Starring Real Life Couples

Welcome back, welcome if you are new, to Thursday Movie Picks, the wonderful series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. If you want to know more about, and/or participate, you can find everything you need to know here. This week we are picking movies starring real-life couples. It was not an easy week as I'm yet to see many of these films —Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Green Lantern, to mention a few— so I had Mr. Google help me. Which made me realise how dumb I am for not thinking about my second and third pick. 

Fyre (2019)

I guess most forgot about it, but I had never heard about the Fyre Festival before Netflix's Fyre and Hulu's Fyre Fraud dropped and everyone started comparing the two documentaries. I didn't care much about the subject so I decided to skip them. Fast forward to mid-February, people were still talking about Netflix's documentary so I decided to check it out. 

Chris Smith's film gives a behind-the-scenes look into the Fyre Festival, a failed luxury music festival in the Bahamas that was created by entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule with the intent of drawing attention to Fyre, an app/website for booking famous artists for private parties and that kind of stuff.

The Favourite (2018)

Though I haven't seen all of his non-English language films, I really liked all of Yorgos Lanthimos movies I've seen so far, especially The Lobster, one of the most striking films I've seen —it's been more than two years since I watched it and I still find myself thinking about it quite often. The Favourite stars one of my favourite actresses, Emma Stone, and an actress I really like, Rachel Weisz, so saying that I was excited about it is a bit of an understatement. 

Set in early 18th century England, the story follows Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), who occupies the throne, and her close friend, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), who actually rules the country through her influence on the Queen. Soon Sarah's younger cousin, Abigail Hill (Emma Stone), starts working as a servant and quickly makes her way into the Queen's favour as she sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots. 

Burning (2018)

I've done it again. I saw a movie, Lee Chang-dong's Burning (Korean: 버닝 Beoning), knowing absolutely nothing about it other than it received a lot of praise at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and that many people I follow on Twitter loved it. I guess I should stop following those people because this movie is trash. 

The story revolves around Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in), a deliveryman who, while out on a job, runs into Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo), a girl who used to live in the same neighbourhood as a kid. They catch up on old times and she asks him to take care of her cat while she's away on a trip to Africa. When she returns, she introduces to Jong-su Ben (Steven Yeun), an enigmatic young man with an odd hobby. 

At Eternity's Gate (2018)

I've been a fan of Van Gogh for as long as I remember —I can't put into words how wonderful it was for me to see some of his painting in the National Gallery— so of course I wanted to see At Eternity's Gate. If you add Willem Dafoe's acclaimed performance, it turns into a movie impossible to pass for me. 

This biographical drama follows the final years in the life of Vincent Van Gogh (Willem Dafoe) during a self-imposed exile in Arles (South of France) and Auvers-Sur-Oise (near Paris, which is in the North) in which he developed his unique style and friendship with French artist Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac) while struggling with mental illness and people's rejection. 

Best F(r)iends: Volume 2 (2018)

I watched Best F(r)iends: Volume 1 last November and it turned out to be way better than anticipated. Don't get me wrong, it still is a bad movie, but it's not terrible and I've been waiting for Best F(r)iends: Volume 2 ever since as the first left me wanting more. 

This one picks up right where its predecessor left, and sees Jon (Greg Sestero) as he makes a run for it with Harvey's (Tommy Wiseau) ATM and his girlfriend, Traci (Kristen Stephenson Pino). On his journey across the Southwest to find someone to crack open the ATM, he encounters wild and crazy characters. In the meantime, there's something pursuing him to take Harvey's money back.

A Private War (2018)

I completely forgot about A Private War but then an old lady I know said it was worth seeing and since we apparently have similar tastes —I suggested her Cold War and she loved it— I checked it out. 

The story follows Marie Colvin (Rosamunde Pike), an American journalist who worked as a foreign affairs correspondent for the British newspaper The Sunday Times from 1985 to 2012, the year of her death. Alternating between brief moments of Colvin in war zones to cover a story and equally brief moments of Colvin celebrating her journalistic accomplishments with her bosses, the film shows how Colvin was personally affected by the horrors of war.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

I like Melissa McCarthy but saying that her latest films have been nothing but disappointments is an understatement. So when Can You Ever Forgive Me? started to get praised for McCarthy's performance —and Richard E. Grant—, I knew I had to give it a chance. 

The film tells the true story of Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy), an author struggling with financial troubles, writer's block and alcoholism. When her cat gets sick and she doesn't have any money for veterinarian care, Israel is forced to sell her possessions, which includes a personal letter Katharine Hepburn wrote to her. When Israel realises how much money she could make with this kind of memorabilia, she begins to forge letters typed up and signed by famous people. 

The Solitude of Prime Numbers (2010)

It's been seven, maybe eight years since I first saw The Solitude of Prime Numbers. I hadn't read the novel at the time as I was not into reading, I was expecting a film about math, I was disappointed because it wasn't, and kind of hated the film. This year I finally read the book and, while it still has its flaws, I enjoyed it, so I decided to give the film another chance. Saverio Costanzo directed it after all, I loved his miniseries My Brilliant Friend, so how bad could this film be, right? Apparently a lot. 

The story follows Alice (Alba Rohrwacher) and Mattia (Luca Marinelli), two exceptional and yet inadequate people, rejected by their peers. Both traumatized as children (Martina Albano and Tommaso Neri), they meet while teenagers (Arianna Nastro and Vittorio Lomartire) and become friends, only to lose contact when Mattia accepts a three-year college scholarship in Germany. 

Thursday Movie Picks: Romantic Comedies

Happy Valentine's Day! Or happy Thursday in case you don't give a damn about the commercialisation of love or you just single (pringle). Either way, it's Thursday Movie Picks time, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves —you should know how this works at this point, but if you don't, you can find here all the info you need. This week's theme is romantic comedies, probably my least favourite genre as they all are tremendously clichéd and predictable and never work for me. Unless when they do because, you know, I occasionally enjoy them. Even if they are clichéd.

Leave No Trace (2018)

I love Ben Foster and, after reading Brittani's review on Rambling Films, I was really looking forward to seeing Leave No Trace. Unfortunately, like most of the times I want to see a movie on the big screen, there wasn't a single screening in my city so I had to wait. In the meantime, my expectations kept rising as I've read nothing but great things about the film only to be crashed while watching it. 

The story follows Will (Ben Foster), an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD, who lives off the grid in an urban park in Portland, Oregon, with his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin McKenzie). One day, Tom is accidentally spotted in the woods by a jogger, and soon after they are picked up by social services and forced to integrate into society. While Tom begins to connect with others, Will struggles to adapt.

6 Balloons (2018)

I stumbled upon 6 Balloons while searching for films to add on my already very long watchlist on Netflix. It sounded interesting and it had Dave Franco so I decided to give it a chance. 

The story follows Katie (Abbi Jacobson) as she is finishing organizing a surprise party for her boyfriend, Jack (Dawan Owens). When she goes to pick her up brother, Seth (Dave Franco) and his young daughter, Ella, Katie finds out that Seth has relapsed on heroin, and embarks on a journey to help her brother while at the same time dealing with her own life. 

Split (2016)

After watching and loving Unbreakable, I followed Sid's suggestion, and I checked out its (standalone) sequel, Split.

The story follows Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), a teenager with a traumatic past, and two of her classmates, Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula), who are kidnapped by Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder. While the three girls try to find a way to escape, Crumb's psychologist, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley), delves deeper in his disorder and realises there's something wrong with him.

The Tale (2018)

I've been meaning to check out The Tale for quite some time as it stars Laura Dern and I've heard great things about it —not sure if on Twitter or Letterboxd— but I kept putting it off because I thought it was a horror movie and I'm rarely in the mood for horrors. Turns out it is a horror film, but not a conventional one.

Written and directed by Jennifer Fox, the film follows Fox (Laura Dern) as she is working on a documentary about rape and abuse. While researching for the documentary, she gets a call from her mother (Ellen Burstyn) who is alarmed after discovering an essay Fox wrote when she was thirteen in which she depicted the relationship between her (Isabelle Nélisse) and her adult riding instructor and running coach Bill (Jason Ritter), and she starts investigating the nature of it. 

Boy Erased (2018)

I was very looking forward to seeing Boy Erased as it deals with a very difficult and important subject and has many good actors —Nicole Kidman, Lucas Hedges, Joel Edgerton, who is also directing, and Russell Crowe. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a disappointment.

Based on Garrard Conley's memoir of the same name, the story follows Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges), the son of a Baptist preacher (Russell Crowe) and a religious woman (Nicole Kidman) in Arkansas. When he comes out as gay, his parents send him to a church-supported gay conversion camp to cure him of his homosexuality.

You Were Never Really Here (2017)

If I have to be completely honest, I had no intention whatsoever in watching You Were Never Really Here as I'm not a huge fan of Joaquin Phoenix. But I've heard such incredible things about it over the past months, I decided to check it out. 

The film follows Joe (Joaquin Phoenix), a Gulf War veteran suffering from PTSD who takes care of his frail, elderly mother (Judith Roberts) and whose job is now to track down missing people, specifically teens. When the 13-year-old daughter (Ekaterina Samsonov) of a Senator (Alex Manette) doesn't return home, he is hired to bring her back and make the sex traffickers who took her pay.

Thursday Movie Picks: Revenge

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. This week's topic is revenge, which kinda feels appropriate because of Liam Neeson's controversial interview. It's not racism that moves the characters in my picks though, but pretty good reasons. 

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Although I love many of their songs, I wouldn't call myself a Queen fan as I barely know a thing about the band other than Freddie Mercury dying of AIDS. That's the reason I wanted to see Bohemian Rhapsody, to learn more about them. But Bryan Singer happened to direct it and, having no intention of giving that "man" money, I skipped the theatrical release and waited for it to be online. And I'm glad I did that because I'd rather burn my money than pay to see this. 

Anyways, as you probably guessed, the film tells the story of the legendary British rock band Queen, from their very rapid rise through their revolutionary sound and songs that were destined to become classics to the band's struggles to find a way to keep the band together as Freddy Mercury's (Rami Malek) wild lifestyle starts to spiral out of control.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

As you probably know if you have been following me for a while, I'm not the biggest fan of westerns, which is why I decided to pass The Ballad of Buster Scruggs when it released. Yes, even though the Coen brothers made it. And the cast is stellar. It's been popping out in my Netflix homepage quite often lately so I decided to give it a shot.

It is a western anthology that features six stories taking place in the Old West: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs follows a cheerful and singing gunslinger (Tim Blake Nelson); Near Algodones follows a nameless cowboy (James Franco) who gets caught in a bank robbery; Meal Ticket follows an impresario (Liam Neeson) and his armless and legless young artist (Harry Melling) who travel from town to town to recite classics; All Gold Canyon follows an elderly prospector (Tom Waits) at a remote creek; The Gal Who Got Rattled follows the journey of a young woman (Zoe Kazan) on a westward-bound wagon train; The Mortal Remains follows the five passengers of a stagecoach.

Ashes in the Snow (2018)

It's been two years since I read Ruta Sepetys's novel Between Shades of Gray, one of the most emotional as well as difficult to read books I've read. So when I heard it had been adapted into a movie, I was pretty excited to see it. Unfortunately, Ashes in the Snow —they changed the title to avoid confusion with the Fifty Shades series— is a disappointment. 

Set in the 1940s, the story follows Lina (Bel Powley), a sixteen-year-old Lithuanian girl who is preparing for art school, first dates and all that summer has to offer. But one night, the Soviet secret police force into her house, and her mother, Elena (Lisa Loven Kongsli), her little brother, Jonas (Tom Sweet), and she are deported to a Soviet labour camp.

Widows (2018)

Huge doesn’t even come close to describe how big of a fan I am of Steve McQueen, the British director not the American actor. It comes without saying that I was very looking forward to Widows, his fourth feature film. Unfortunately, my cinema didn’t show it so I had to wait for the home release to watch it.

The story follows three women who don’t know each other, Veronica Rawlings (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), and Amanda (Michelle Rodriguez), and whose only connection is their criminal husbands who got killed by the police during a heist. When Veronica learns that her husband, Harry (Liam Neeson), stole $2 million from Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), a crime boss and politician, and that Jamal wants her to give him his money back, she enlists the other widows and decides to carry out a $5 million worth heist planned by his late husband.

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

I loved Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler and specifically adored Jack Gyllenhaal's performance in it so I was really looking forward to seeing them team up again. And it finally happened with Velvet Buzzsaw, a horror film about the art world.

The story mainly follows Morf Vanderwalt (Jake Gyllenhaal), a pompous and feared art critic who can make or break an artist with a single review and is connected with artists and other people in the art business, including Josephina (Zawe Ashton), the young assistant of Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo), a big name art dealer. When Josephina steals the paintings left behind by her deceased neighbour to show Morf and Rhodora and eventually sell them, Morf becomes obsessed with finding out more about the painter. Meanwhile, the people who are profiting from the dead artist's art are targeted by a supernatural entity.

Unbreakable (2000)

Believe it or not, I was completely unaware of the existence of Unbreakable until a couple of weeks ago when it came up in a conversation about Glass and me not being interested in seeing it. I wasn't that interested in seeing Unbreakable either, to be honest, but then I saw it on Netflix and decided to give it a chance. 

The story follows David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a security guard who not only is the sole survivor of a horrific train crash that killed 131 people but also got away without a single scratch on him. As David starts to wonder what has happened to him and why he was able to walk away like that, he is approached by Elijah Prince (Samuel L. Jackson), a mysterious stranger who has a very far fetched theory about it, that David is unbreakable.