I watched the 2020 film “Antebellum” last night. It was a good film and I recommend it. There were some scenes that I thought had gratuitous violence but there was a pay off at the end.
I’m going to spoil the film a bit but I’ll try and save as much of the plot as I can if you are interested in “Antebellum” and haven’t seen it yet. “Antebellum” takes place in modern times. A successful, affluent, sophisticated Black woman gets kidnapped by an overzealous Civil War reenactor. She and other kidnapped Black people are forced to live on a plantation by a group of reenactors.
The movie stars Janelle Monet and Jena Malone and a few actors with familiar faces. Gabourey Sidibe played a supporting role. All the actors did a great job especially the gorgeous Janelle Monet who has established a solid career. Jena Malone has been an actress since childhood and put a very good performance.
It’s hard to describe a film like “Antebellum” as good because it is disturbing and there are some upsetting scenes in the movie. But it is thought and conversation provoking. It’s worth your time to check it out.
“Kingdom of Heaven” is a 2005 Ridley Scott film starring Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons and Eva Green. “Kingdom of Heaven” is a good movie and you will enjoy it if you like these kind of movies. By that I mean historical, action packed historical dramas, involving warfare.
“Kingdom of Heaven” is about a young French widower, Balian de Ibelin who joined The Crusades in the 1100s. Balian was the illegitimate son of a nobleman Godfrey de Ibelin. Due to the high status of his father Balian was allowed in elite social circles once he reached Jerusalem. Balian became a military leader in the Christian army against Muslims in the battle for Jerusalem.
I decided to start slowly reviewing films from the early 2000s. The early 2000s was a golden era of cinema in many ways. I enjoyed “Kingdom of Heaven” both times I watched nearly twenty years apart. This movie has been on my mind recently because of current events in Israel. The fight over the Kingdom of Heaven continues.
Falling Down is a 1993 film starring Michael Douglas and directed by Joel Schumacher. It’s an interesting film and I think you would enjoy it. The film features a character named William Foster. William represents the common American man and the pressure of modern, urban life. The film depicts how William copes with his pressure. He didn’t handle the pressure he was under well.
William is in his late forties, has financial and family problems. William was divorced and didn’t make enough money to pay child support for his daughter. He drove a raggedy car. William is White and feels displaced by immigrants to his area. Oddly he identifies with a Black man that he saw protesting in front of a bank for being denied a loan. The Black man was arrested for protesting with a sign on the side walk after being told he wasn’t financially viable.
William coped with what he sees as injustice by going on a violent rampage throughout LA for an entire day. William was upset with things such as not being given change without buying something first and not being able to buy breakfast a few minutes after a fast food restaurant shifted to the lunch schedule. William was going through a recent break up with his wife. I’m sure marriage to William was no pic nic but his wife seems like what we now refer to as a Karen. They were likely a perfect match for each other but didn’t get along.
“Falling Down” is an interesting film especially from the current day lens. William snapped and went on a violent, armed rampage. It’s debatable on whether some of his actions were justified. Regardless of our judgement on his actions only a White man would be given the space he was given. For instance, the shop owner would have likely called the police on him immediately. I remember when “Falling Down” was a new film. The idea of going on a shooting rampage was shocking and sensational. It’s now commonplace. It seems to me that people use to manage pressure and emotions a lot better.
I recommend “Falling Down” it’s an interesting movie and a great film to analyze especially considering it was made thirty years ago.
My Spoiler Policy: If the media is old or based on a book it is fair game but I will still warn you of spoilers. M3gan is a new release that is currently in theaters so I will give my review with sparse details as to not spoiling the plot.
I saw M3gan over the weekend. I recommend the film and I enjoyed it more than I expected I would. M3gan is about a nine year old girl named Cady who moves in with her career oriented Aunt Gemma who lives along and is a designer at a toy company. Aunt Gemma gave Cady a robot named M3gan (Model 3 Generative Android) as a companion. M3gan is Gemma’s creation and a prototype for a mass production of M3gans at her toy company.
The underlying theme of M3gan is that technology undermines parental authority in modern times. Institutions also challenge parental influence. A child and her toy are the center of this movie but adults can see themselves in Cady and ponder how much they are attached to technology and influenced by it.
Social media facetiously debated who is better between Chucky and M3gan. I think the better comparison is between M3gan and T-1000 from T2. M3gan is not a result of paranormal activity, demonic possession or witchcraft. She is a piece of technology with a purpose. M3gan is an action film and an old fashioned slasher movie.
Violet McGraw does great work playing Cady. Ronny Chieng did a nice job playing David, Gemma’s terrible boss at the toy company. He gave Mr. Spacely vibes throughout the film. Two actresses play M3gan. They are very talented as well. I was surprised to find out humans brought the android to life. I kind of thought it was a robot or CGI technology.
M3gan is an entertaining and thoughtful film with relevant commentary on modern society. It’s well acted and a good action and slasher film. I think you’ll be entertained by it. It’s worth your time and money if you’re looking for something to see at the theater.
This weekend I watched “The Laureate”. It was a little dry at times because I don’t care for films in this setting but it was an interesting story. “The Laureate” is about an English writer named Robert Graves who suffered from PTSD after fighting in WWI. At the start of the film he was a married man with a young daughter. His career and family life was respectable but he wasn’t satisfied.
Robert and his wife Nancy allow an American poet named Laura to move into their home and act as a tutor for their daughter. Laura is manipulative and a user. She also has mental delusions. Laura says she likes to challenge societal conventions but she is really just a selfish social climber. Her ambitions are more important than morals or family.
Laura thought she could position herself near Robert in order to achieve greater success for herself. Robert was in the flop era of his career. Nancy use to be cool but now she was a mousy housewife with a young daughter.
Nancy is a sucker who wants to be edgy so she opened her home and slowly her marriage to Laura who wreaked havoc on her life and ultimately destroyed her family. However, Laura was an effective muse and Robert’s career took off after meeting Laura. He is a writer of influential works from the WWI era.
The draw back of ” The Laureate” is that I don’t care for stories that take place in England around the 1920’s. Shows and movies like “Downton Abbey” and “Atonement” are very boring dark, quiet and dry to me. “The King’s Speech” would be an exception.
There was a point in this film that remind me of “The Color Purple” due to the exotic and exciting woman that moves into a married couples house. Both films take place around the same time period but the parallels end there. “The Laureate” is a good film. It’s interesting and it could start some good conversations. I recommend it.
I watched “Umma” starring Sandra Oh over the weekend. This is a great movie and I highly recommend it. “Umma” is a psychological thriller with many layers. This film touches on matters of family dynamics, particularly the mother/daughter relationship, ethnic identity, spirituality and paranormal activity. It would be a great film to watch with a friend or group because it could initiate interesting conversations.
Amanda and her daughter Chris live in isolation in what seems to be rural California. They raise bees for a living on a farm. Chris grows up believing her mother is allergic to electricity. This is a great setting and set of circumstance for an eerie film.
Chris grew up without modern conveniences and technology which makes her a social outcast among her peers. She is home schooled and her only companion is her mother. Chris later finds out with the help of a visitor to the town she befriends that her mother’s allergy is a lie. It’s unclear if the lie is deliberate or a figment of Amanda’s imagination.
Amanda had a tense relationship with her domineering Korean mother. In an effort to be different from her she distanced herself from her mother, extended family. In the process she rejects society as a whole. Amanda never married. She had her daughter with a White man who played little to no part in Amanda and Chris’ lives. She didn’t teach her daughter anything about her Korean heritage.
Amanda’s attempts to not be like her mother failed. She was similar to her mother in some ways and had a complicated and controlling relationship with Chris. She also had old world expectations of her daughter who was born and raised in California.
I hadn’t heard of this film at all before running across it at the library. This is a great film that I think you will enjoy. It is creepy and has scary moments so it’s suitable for this time of year. It’s also an interesting commentary about family relationships especially the ones we have with our mothers. I highly recommend it.
This will be short. This movie is terrible. I don’t have much to say because I can’t really tell you what happened in the movie. It was about Vikings doing Viking stuff but I don’t know why they were doing it.
I thought I would enjoy this film because I enjoyed the TV series “Vikings” but this isn’t that. The movie had an impressive cast with well known actors. They couldn’t help. It was terrible and a waste of time.
I watched the film “American Gospel” over the weekend. I would recommend the film but wouldn’t describe it as good or enjoyable. The film is sad and disappointing but it is informative and eye opening. “American Gospel” is worth the watch.
“American Gospel” does a good job of presenting the gospel. Then it goes into the way the gospel is shared by well known American pastors. There are sharp differences. America’s most well known pastors are sharing a false gospel and their message gets shared around the world.
This movie shows clips from celebrity preacher sermons. The sermons can be described as blasphemous. They can also be described as scams. There are testimonials from people that have followed the teachings of mega church pastors and their regrets. A nephew of so called faith healer, Benny Hinn, who worked in his uncle’s ministry also tells his story in hindsight.
I don’t follow the ministries of celebrity pastors but for the most part I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt and hope that some good comes from their ministry. The exception is Benny Hinn who is obviously a long time charlatan. The revelations by his nephew are worse than I imagined. They are heart breaking.
There were people in “American Gospel” who shared their experiences following mega church teachings. One woman ruined her career and financial standing. I don’t think she worked for the church but she followed the teachings of a popular preacher and quit her job believing she would be miraculously provided for. She wasn’t.
The bottom line of the film is that the popular American Gospel isn’t following scripture at all. They preach a message that is designed to sell books, get clicks and views and garnish donations, not teach the Bible and save souls.
The film also includes the testimony of a family where the wife is terminally ill and their faith and studies of the Bible. Their story isn’t miraculous and wouldn’t make anyone feel like a special snow flake. But they share what God’s word did for them and their family.
I would recommend watching “American Gospel”. It’s well researched and presented. I think it is fair. I think that viewers can learn a lot about the gospel and the difference between what the Bible says and the message being shared by popular preachers.
One of my rules for spoiler are that if a book or film is based on a historical event there is no spoiler.This is a courtesy spoiler alert if you don’t want your expectations of “Spencer” influenced by my opinion.
“Spencer” is the 2021 film about Diana (Spencer), Princess of Wales. The film takes place during Christmas season 1991. The film illustrates the burden Diana carried as the wife and mother of the future kings of England. The movie takes some patience but I enjoyed it overall.
Spencer was a bit slow moving in parts. It used symbolism which I don’t enjoy in books and movies. The musical score was also very dramatic and kind of loud. It was a symphony and it was overbearing in some scenes. The director was very artsy fartsy and indulgent at times. It made the story move like molasses.
You will be rewarded if you stick with it. The story comes together and begins to make sense midway through. “Spencer” is filmed like it’s a psychological thriller. The look is similar to that of “The Shining”, “Get Out” or even the “Friday the 13th Series”. It’s dark and hazy.
The film makes the claim that Diana was on the verge of or perhaps already having a nervous breakdown in late 1991. She had been in her royal position for over a decade. She was lonely and isolated. Diana was constantly surveilled and controlled.
At thirty years old all of her choices were made for her including where she lived and her clothes. She had little control over parenting her boys. Diana was treated well and respectfully but it was a matter of protocol. Everyone around her was loyal to tradition, patriotism and The Crown. There wasn’t much interest in Diana as a person.
Her only genuine interactions were with her sons. The scenes with the young mother and her two boys were charming and gave the film warmth. Her older son William was also loyal to royal protocol and tried to keep his mother on the straight and narrow. The boys were protective and seemed to see their mom as mentally fragile.
Diana’s relationship with her husband Charles was a matter of royal business. In one scene Charles justified his affair with Camilla by saying he needed two women because there were two of him; one public and one private. Charles was basically Diana’s boss and she was his employee.
The people around her including the queen played subtle psychological tricks on her. The queen made decisions to quietly let Diana know she was in charge and Diana was a political prisoner of sorts. Diana was the focus of intense media attention and she was not protected or sympathized with by her husband or anyone else except her sons. They were the only people who saw her humanity. It’s easy to believe that someone would lose their mind in that situation.
Kristen Stewart did a nice job as the princess. The casting was great and all the actors performed well. The 80s and 90s costumes were great. Diana was known for her short hairdo so the wig Kristen wore could have been better. It didn’t look bad but I could tell it was a wig. The stylist probably should have tried a weave cut into a short style so the hair would have more movement.
Overall, I recommend the movie despite it moving slowly in some parts. I don’t know if the movies claims are verifiable but they are believable. I like that the film maker was on Diana’s side and told her story.
I recently watched “The Batman”. It’s the newest installment from the Batman movie series that was released earlier this year. I’ve seen all of the Batman movies including “The Joker”. I wanted to like the movie but I didn’t.
The movie is very long and had about four or five different undeveloped plots and an undeveloped. The director was indulgent and threw in action sequences that are unnecessary and and others that are unrealistic. I understand that it’s a super hero movie but within suspended reality things need to make sense. There were gun fights in pitch darkness and an entire police precinct shooting upward on a flight of steps at Batman but no officers got shot. The writers and director probably just thought it was cool so they just threw it in.
This film had about four different underdeveloped plots. The movie just kind of meandered along. There was a kidnapping and a hostage taken, there were shootings, there were explosions and at the end there was a flood. It didn’t tie together very well.
Zoe Kravitz played Catwoman. I’m not sure she was even referred to as Catwoman in “The Batman”. I think she went by Selina Kyle throughout the story. She wasn’t very cat like and her depiction of the character was kind of flat in comparison to other actresses who played that role. Catwoman is usually over the top.
There was also an underdeveloped love story between Batman and Selina. There was a point where she kissed him and it seemed to come out of the blue. Zoe Kravitz and Robert Pattinson didn’t have a lot of chemistry as a couple.
Paul Dano is a great actor but his talents went to waste in “The Batman”. That’s the most I can say about that. Paul played The Riddler but there really isn’t much to say about that role or Paul’s performance. His face was covered during a lot of his screen time and it was hard to understand what he was even saying.
I kind of liked Robert Pattinson as Batman. The best way to describe his performance is Emo and it works out of the bat costume. However, his vehicles and tools weren’t as cool in this movie and this version of Batman isn’t as macho as others. I think he needed more machismo in the Batman outfit. But then again I’m old and kids are different these days.
If you’re a fan of the movies or comics it may be worth it for you to watch “The Batman” but it’s not a very good movie.