On the Basis of Sex

First movie of 2019! And oh boy did it start out with a bang.

The film follows Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the Notorious RBG and then future supreme court justice, as she gets her start. Beginning with law school, then her first big case hoping to tear down the patriarchy and outlaw gender discrimination, it’s a film that many are comparing to a superhero origin story. And rightly so.

For me, this film felt as riveting as any action movie. It’s funny, cause the day before I saw Vice, and was so disgusted by what I saw. It made me hate politics and the corruption and greed in our country. Then the next day I see On the Basis of Sex, and I’m wishing I was a lawyer. I’m wanting to be in the thick of this fight with RBG (No, I don’t actually wanna be a lawyer, but for two hours I thought I did). The pacing was so quick and our lead Felicity Jones was full of so much fire, that it was impossible not to cheer her on and feel a rush of adrenaline.

The movie even came close to getting real tears out of me with its final shot. A couple days later I’m talking to someone about this, and their first comment was how it made them cry. Guess I’m not the only one.

I also really loved Armie Hammer in this, as RBG’s husband Marty. He was so loving and supportive and smart. In one of his best roles, he highlighted how important an equal partnership can be. Especially in this world that’s weighted in favor of the men folk, having one of them in your corner can make all the difference.

But of course, the real superstar here was RBG. Jones captured her well, but it was more RBG’s actions than Jones’ performance that riveted me. I’ve known she was a political hero and a feminist icon, but it was mind blowing to see on screen exactly what all she did to get there’. And she’s brilliant too. I think what most impressed me were the early scenes where she was in school AND helping Marty thru his classes, while taking care of a little one. How long until she gets a spot in the MCU?

On the Basis of Sex – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

2018 Recap

Another year in the books, another crazy amount of movies watched. Just as a refresher, last year’s numbers were 134 movies minus 5 specials and minus 6 repeats for a grand total of 123 distinct new movies in 2017, beating the previous year’s record by one. Spoiler alert, I blow those numbers outta the water this year. Again, a reminder that for me it counts for 2018 if I saw it in 2018, regardless if it was officially released in an earlier year. 2018 movies seen after the calendar flipped count for next year.

But first, the list:

The Post Phantom Thread I, Tonya The Commuter Proud Mary Paddington 2 The Greatest Showman 12 Strong Three Billboards Outside Ebbing MO The Greatest Showman Singalong Molly’s Game The Maze Runner: The Death Cure Winchester Peter Rabbit The 15:17 to Paris Fifty Shades Freed Black Panther Early Man A Fantastic Woman Samson Annhilation Game Night Death Wish Red Sparrow Gringo Thoroughbreds A Wrinkle in Time Ready Player One Love, Simon Tomb Raider Pacific Rim: Uprising Unsane Ready Player One Ready Player One Ready Player One Isle of Dogs Sherlock Gnomes Rampage A Quiet Place Ready Player One Blockers Beirut Chappaquiddick A Quiet Place I Feel Pretty The Death of Stalin You Were Never Really Here Avengers: Infinity War Disobedience Avengers: Infinity War Avengers: Infinity War Tully Overboard Bad Samaritan Terminal Deadpool 2 Solo Deadpool 2 First Reformed Solo Solo Upgrade The Room American Animals Hotel Artemis Won’t You Be My Neighbor Hereditary Ocean’s 8 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom The Incredibles 2 Deany Bean is Dead Tag Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Skyscraper Sicario: Day of the Soldado Uncle Drew Leave No Trace Ant-Man and the Wasp Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot Sorry to Bother You Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Blindspotting Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again Teen Titans Go To the movies The Equalizer 2 Mission Impossible: Fallout Christopher Robin Blindspotting The Spy Who Dumped Me BlackkKlansman The Meg Eighth Grade Crazy Rich Asians Mile 22 The Miseducation of Cameron Post BlackkKlansman Searching 2001: A Space Odyssey Operation Finale The Happytime Murders Papillon Selena The Little Stranger Peppermint The Nun Three Identical Strangers A Simple Favor Lizzie The Predator White Boy Rick The House with a Clock in Its Walls Assassination Nation Bad Times at the El Royale Night School Maniac A Star is Born Venom The Sisters Brothers Smallfoot The Hate U Give First Man Halloween Mid90s Beautiful Boy Can You Ever Forgive Me Wildlife Suspiria (1977) Bohemian Rhapsody The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Boy Erased Suspiria (2018) Bohemian Rhapsody The Girl in the Spider’s Web The Grinch The Front Runner Overlord Destroyer Bohemian Rhapsody Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Instant Family Green Book Widows Creed II Anna and the Apocalypse The Favourite Ralph Wrecks the Internet Robin Hood Roma Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse Ben is Back Mary Queen of Scots Vox Lux Once Upon a Deadpool The Mule Second Act Mortal Engines Mary Poppins Returns Aquaman Bumblebee Welcome to Marwen Vice Holmes and Watson

Now we crunch numbers. That is a grand total of 162 movies watched minus 6 specials minus 20 repeats, equals 136 distinct new movies in 2018.

Holy [expletive] that’s a lot. I blame running my work movie night for some of those repeats. Plus Ready Player One (we’ll get to that). I also blame MoviePass (and later A List) for some of those exceptionally high numbers.

Moving on to the nerdy stats no one else cares about but me

Star ratings (out of 4):
4- 38
3.5- 24
3- 29
2.5- 13
2- 21
1.5- 9
1- 2
Yep, one could still argue I’m overly generous with my star ratings. Whatever, don’t @ me.

By location:
Alamo Drafthouse Laredo – 2
Hollywood THeaters Laredo – 1
Cinemark Mall Del Norte Laredo – 2
(5 total in Laredo)

AMC Century City – 19
AMC Dine in Marina – 12
AMC Downtown Disney (RIP) – 1
AMC MArina Classic – 15
AMC Universal – 1
(48 total at AMC, expect that to go up next year as I rely solely on A-List)

Arclight Culver City – 3
Arclight Hollywood – 8
Arclight Santa Monica – 1
(12 total at Arclight)

Cinemark Howard Hughes – 12
Cinemark Playa Vista – 6
(18 total at Cinemark in LA (plus 2 in Laredo), numbers that dwindled as MoviePass died)

Director’s Guild of America – 1
Eat See Hear – Autry Museum – 1
Egyptian Theater – 1
ipic Westwood – 1
Laemmle Monica – 3
The Landmark – 30
(It was so nice while MP lasted there)
Pacific Theaters at the Grove – 30
RealD Theater – 3
(Stardust screenings!)
Regent Landmark – 1
TCL Chinese – 3
The Ace Hotel – 1
Walt Disney Concert Hall – 3

157 Total in Los Angeles
Much less travel this year than previous ones.

Movies by month. I had a goal of at least ten a month
Jan – 12
Feb – 10
Mar – 14
Apr – 15
May – 10
Jun – 13
Jul – 12
Aug – 14
Sep – 14
Oct – 14
Nov – 20
Dec – 14

Now on to the fun stuff, the ranks. I seriously considered doing a Top 20 and Bottom 10 (as opposed to the usual 10 and 5) because I really did have that much great (or not great) material to pick from. This was a super solid year, and except for a couple of locks, I was unsure how this list would turn out until the last minute. I ultimately decided to stay with 10 and 5 simply because I was super happy with where things fell. Oh and obligatory reminder that these are favorites, or most enjoyable for me personally. Not gonna be presumtuous enough to declare something “best” or “worst”, and also acknowleding that it’s all subjective anyways. We start at the bottom

Bottom 5 of 2018
5-Sherlock Gnomes
– While I’ve been more discerning about which kiddie movies I see, my love of the first drove me to this one and it did not measure up at all. Not even Elton John could save it.
4-Gringo – This was a mess of a movie and a waste of talent. I’d completely forgotten about it until sorting thru my spreadsheet, but I didn’t forget how revulsed I felt after.
3-The Maze Runner: The Death Cure – This has to be the thinnest movie I saw this year. Its simplistic action sequence after simplistic action sequence with minimal story holding it together. It could have been told in 15 minutes and been more satisfying.
2-Holmes and Watson – Entry right at the buzzer that almost took the bottom spot for being almost unwatchably unfunny. That little bit of watchability is what spared it from a worse fate.
1-The Little Stranger – I was more bored watching this than anything else. And I get that it was based on some prestigious work and some praised it’s accomplishments as a gothic horror. That means nothing if I can’t stay awake for it tho.
Dishonorable mentions: Winchester, Equalizer 2, Red Sparrow

Top 10 of 2018
10-Won’t You Be My Neighbor
– Wait whoa whoa whoa, there’s a documentary on this list? One big theme of 2018 was changing my perception of docs and this one was so moving and beautiful. I still get emotional thinking about it.
9-Searching – What could have been a cheap gimmick created the most suspenseful movie of the year (and we know I love my thrillers). Plus, I later learned that if you watch for the secondary news storys there’s a whole subplot about some sorta alien invasion. The BluRay is sitting in my pile, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for that when I get to it
8-Anna and the Apocalypse – Zombies + Christmas + Musical = the most “me” movie I saw this year. I love a good genre mashup, esp when it’s an unexpected combination, and watching it was pure joy.
7-BlackkKlansman – If you forced me to pick a “best” movie this year, this might hafta be what I go with. Every element is perfection: the entertaining screenplay with scathing social commentary, the performances across the board, and the masterful direction from Spike Lee.
6-Tag – I’m fully aware this may not make many people’s lists, but I just completely connected with the comedy here. The punchlines were unexpected, which is a key element in making me laugh heartily. And the cast was having so much fun, I just wanted to play with them
5-Upgrade – We know I’m primarily an action movie girl, and this was the best action movie of the year. Plus it had elements of scifi, thriller, even some dark comedy. Those practical fight scenes with their unique physicality are going down in the movie history books
4-A Quiet Place – I’ve always said the best horror movies are about something other than horror, and this story about a family that happened to be scary was something unique and revolutionary.
3-Bohemian Rhapsody – The Live Aid sequence was enough to get it on my list, and the reason I saw it 3 times. So close to bumping it up another spot, but it has a few unfair advantages that I couldn’t do it. I don’t care if it’s a formulaic biopic, it hits all the right notes (figuratively and literally) and was an incredible movie experience
2-Blindspotting – Best screenplay of the year. It was insightful, funny, creative, tense, all at the same time. The penultimate scene blew me away, and I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. This would be so deserving of awards love if it got a bigger push.
1-Ready Player One
– I know I knocked off points for unfair advantages elsewhere, and this one has the unfair advantage of me having waited for it for 6 ( I think) years. It lived up to my ridiculously high expectations (all 5 times I saw it–those are LOTR numbers there), and was an incredible piece of cinema

Honorable Mentions: The Hate U Give, Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, Game Night
Special Honorable Mention: The Greatest Showman. Technically I first saw it at the end of 2017, but it wasn’t until early 2018 that I became obsessed with the soundtrack and saw it two more times in theaters. Had the calendar shifted slightly, it would have easily made my top ten for either year since it took time to grow on me.

Aaaand that’s all folks. Some record setting numbers, without breaking the bank thanks to Movie Pass and A List. Most years, my goal is to beat last year’s numbers. This year also had the monthly 10 movie goal, which I hit. However for 2019, my goal is less movies for a couple reasons. One, the monthly quota drove me nuts. I was getting anxious about release schedules and moving things around if the month changed on a weekend and seeing things I really didn’t want to. Not worth it. Not gonna do it. Also, even with A List being wonderful, there’s no way I can top last year’s numbers without MoviePass being reliable. And I kidna don’t want to. My goal is to only see things because I want to, not out of obligation (unless that obligation is Oscar related, I’m not changing that much). Don’t worry, there’ll still be a crazy amount of movies. And with that, it’s time to move the 2018 spreadsheet to the archive folder. 2019 will mark the ten year anniversary of ExpletiveDleted, so I’m psyched to see what’s in store.

PS – Don’t forget to find me on Stardust for all my reactions on a much quicker timeline!

Holmes and Watson

I had been warned how bad Will Ferrell and John C Reilly’s take on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson would be, but I am loyal to both (either together or apart). Surely the duo behind Talladega Nights could pull something together, right?

Nope. This film truly was awful. I had precisely one audible chuckle come out of me, and that was due to a quick cameo at the end of the film. There were a couple of kinda smart anachronistic jokes sprinkled in or hidden in the background, but not enough to pull the film thru all of the rest of the crap layered in. Honestly, it felt like I was watching a college theater production (and I say this having participated in many). Often times when doing a show that’s on the farce side of things, you end up bringing in random props or adding in stupid jokes that seem hilarious to you in your head at the moment. However, once you bring that in front of an audience, it simply doesn’t land and looks kinda dumb. That’s how the majority of the movie felt.

And look, it pains me to say all of that so bluntly. I do adore Ferrell and Reilly, and putting their spin on this classic seemed like a good idea. I just didn’t feel the same quality as their previous work. It felt lazy and rushed.

Don’t believe me, take a look at some of the editing. Poor Kelly Macdonald in particular got the short end of that stick. That Scottish treasure has a pretty thick accent, so naturally some voice over work was needed to rerecord some of her lines. They didn’t even bother to match up her words with her mouth in a few places. It was so unacceptably sloppy and this wonderful actress deserves much better.

All that said, there is one bit that I appreciated. Hugh Laurie had a scene as Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. Laurie’s House MD is my absolute favorite interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, and will be a tough one to ever beat. The scene wasn’t particularly great, but I liked seeing his connection to the material celebrated. But you’re prolly much better off watching a couple episodes of House than this film. What a way to end 2018 at the movies

Holmes and Watson – \m/

Vice

I had a couple of failed attempts to see this in Texas. There was the day I spent waiting around to do something with Mom that never happened, when I’d had it in the back of my mind that I’d run off to see this. There was the slim chance of seeing it on Christmas day. Then there was my last day in town where I went to see it and it wasn’t available on the kiosk and I wasn’t about to stand in line to possibly only find it sold out so I saw Marwen instead. As soon as that last fiasco happened, I got on my AMC app and used A list to reserve the very first possible show the day after I got back in to LA.

Christian Bale pulls off yet another physical transformation, this time to play US VP Dick Cheney for writer/director Adam McKay. We follow Cheney’s rise thru Washington and how he ultimately gamed the system to become one of the post powerful and surreptitiously influential Vice’s in US history.

I absolutely love McKay’s quirky style (which we previously saw in The Big Short). I don’t even know how to describe it for someone who hasn’t experienced it. There’s an almost out of place comedic element, with seemingly random stock footage, and unexpected celebrity cameos, all used brilliantly to further the story and keep you on your toes. It did feel more effortless in The Big Short than here, almost like he was forcing it in because it was expected of him, but it still makes for some fascinating storytelling. I would have been completely relishing in the sinister undertone if I wasn’t completely enraged by the events going on. What can I say, I’m very much a liberal, driven by my empathy for others, and seeing people act out of their own interest in a way that has no regard for how others are affected is appalling.

While on paper, Christian Bale may have been a puzzling choice to play Cheney, this may in fact be one of his best ever performances (of which there are many to choose from). He had the physicality and mannerisms down and just commanded every frame of the screen. There were a couple scenes where I saw some hints of Patrick Bateman slip thru (which I’m fairly sure were unintentional) which just heightened my interest and my disgust all at once.

This is also one of Amy Adams’ best, and there’s a very good shot at this finally being her long overdue Oscar glory. She too takes on different visual characteristics than we’ve seen before, and brings a power to a supporting role. So much power, that at times I wondered what this story would have been if it was told from her perspective. She made it perfectly clear that her husband would never have gotten as far as he did without her handywork involved.

In another signature McKay move, there were so many great actors popping up throughout. Sam Rockwell, Steve Carrell, Allison Pill, Tyler Perry. Sometimes I think half the fun of his films is waiting to see who’ll pop up next.

Oh and I know I called the hair and makeup Oscar race for Mary Queen of Scots, but now I’m not so sure. Mary wins on hair def, but Vice has a strong makeup game. Again, the gorgeous Christian Bale ends up looking exactly like the dumpy Dick Cheney. Amy Adams is aged beautifully as Lynne. Hell, even Sam Rockwell ended up looking strikingly like George W Bush, a statement I never would have expected.

Vice – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

Welcome to Marwen

I had considered this for Christmas Eve with Mom. It looked rather whimsical and hopeful, and the first couple reviews I saw were positive. Then the positivity dropped, and most critics panned it. I don’t mind seeing a bad movie, but I’d hate to subject someone else to one, esp when they’re solely trusting my judgement. As it was, I was gonna wait on this one until I got back home to LA (where I’m writing this now), but my attempt to see Vice on the last day was foiled (sold out , I think) so split second decision I bought a ticket to Marwen instead.

Directed by the legendary Robert Zemeckis, Steve Carrell plays Mark Hogencamp. Hogencamp is the victim of a hate crime, having been brutally beaten outside a bar three years earlier for making a comment about how he loves to wear high heels. He barely escaped with his life, but the same can’t be said for his memories. Everything pre-attack is wiped. As a form of art therapy, the former illustrator (who can now barely write his name) has turned to photography, taking photos of the dolls and sets he’s constructed in his back yard. These items form the town of Marwen, a fictional German city during WWII, and the dolls that inhabit Marwen are based on the people in his life–primarily the women who have given Mark strength in his own life.

This is kind of a tricky one to talk about. There’s so much about it that I loved and so much that fell short. I loved Mark’s art. The photographs were stunning, and the world he created was so beautiful. The dolls looked exquisite and the way they came to life in his mind was so moving. I also felt tremendous empathy towards Mark, which is what kept me most connected to the movie. Here was a broken man that the rest of the world may have forgotten about, but he’s found a way to pick his life up and try to move forward.

I also loved the ladies alongside him, although some of them were criminally underused. While we see them in doll form throughout, there’s very little real life Janelle Monae or Gwendolyn Christie. But the ladies who are more prominent, Leslie Mann and Merrit Weaver are absolutely delightful.

So if all of that was great, why don’t I think the film ultimately worked? The storytelling was off. Even knowing most of the premise, it still took me some time to piece together what was going on. I feel like if I had gone in completely cold, I would have been completely lost for at least half of the movie. The plot itself was moving forward, but it felt stunted, like it was holding back from moving as forward as I could. I suppose that could be a statement about Mark’s state of mind, but you still expect a film to be watchable and exciting.

Ultimately, I think it was missing the level of whimsical Zemeckis charm that I’ve come to expect and love. I had hoped that this would have a Forrest Gump sorta vibe, but it was nowhere near that level of heart and feeling, making the whole thing kinda frustrating.

Welcome to Marwen – \m/ \m/ \n

Bumblebee

I broke my little corner of the internet. Specifically the one that revolves around Stardust. I found out one of my virtual besties on the app lives close to my hometown, so of couse that meant that we had to meet up and catch a movie together. And we had to do so at the Alamo Drafthouse where we split a few apps and saw the weirdest funniest preshow of obscure Transformers clips.

Wait, but I thought the Transformers franchise was dead, or at least worthy of dying a horrible fiery death? Well kinda, but this one is different. I realized while watching this what most of the Transformers films were missing was the heart. Luckily, Bumblebee is ALL heart. In this prequel, sorta origin story, we get a film that’s sweet and endearing and really funny. Plus, it’s set in the 80’s so there’s a good dose of nostalgia and a great retro soundtrack.

I still felt like there was something missing. Hailee Steinfeld was a great lead. John Cena felt like a bit of a waste (he really didn’t do anything special, for which I blame the writing). The third act dragged on. But it was fun, and certainly more enjoyable than the last couple movies in the franchise put together (sorry Mahky Mahk). I read something comparing this film to ET, and I can kinda see it. The feels are similar, but don’t make me chose which alien friend I love more

Bumblebee – \m/ \m/ \m/

Aquaman

I waited a lil while after this was released so I could watch this back home with a couple of little sea monkeys (by which I mean, the little cousins). Afterwards, they told me that while they enjoyed it, I shoulda taken them to see Spider-verse instead. Whoops. Big cousin fail.

My disdain for the DCEU has been no secret. Although I have come to realize that most of hte problem lies with Zack Snyder. Wonder Woman, which he had no involvement in was a stunning film. Justice League which he had some involvement in was fine. His movies are crap. So I had some cautious expectations about Aquaman, being helmed by James Wan.

I also had the utmost faith in star Jason Momoa. Aquaman has been the butt of many jokes throughout the the life of DC Comics (and the whole Entourage thing did not help matters at all). But here you’ve got Momoa, Khal effing Drogo, one of the toughest and most bad ass men to have walked the earth. He’s pratically daring you to make fun of him. But the thing is, he’s not a dumb meathead. He’s a big goofball. He knows that Aquaman is silly and he tackles the role with a gleam of mischief in his eye. That humor and willingness to make fun of himself (because lets face it, this is cheesy) first carries the film. Wan carries that tone throughout the film, making it much more fun than anything else in this otherwise unnecessarily dark comic universe has seen.

The film itself mostly played out like typical superhero stuff. I’ll admit, I was actually rather proud of the little cousins for pointing out plotholes afterwards, tho I was surprisingly more forgiving during the film. What makes a superhero film special is the way it differentiates itself from the others. This one does so in two ways, the humor which we’ve talked about, and the visuals of fighting underwater. I thought it looked pretty cool. It also helped that the film color palate of blues and sea greens basically hovered around my absolute favorite end of the rainbow.

So maybe we would have been a bit better off with Spider-verse. I still like the direction this one is taking the mega franchise, showing that there is still some potential to save this universe. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have fun watching.

Aquaman – \m/ \m/ \m/

Mary Poppins Returns

Mom usually takes me to the movies on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day. She doesn’t care for it too much, but she knows it’s my happy place and the rest of the week is spent with her dragging me around to various family events I usually don’t wanna go to. If there’s a musical, that’s usually what I pick for us. Last year, she fought me so hard on The Greatest Showman because she “doesn’t like the circus” but loved it so much, it’s all she talked about for the next three days. This year, the most obvious choice, even if it wasn’t an enthusiastic one, was Mary Poppins Returns.

I’ve never quite gotten the appeal of Mary Poppins. I know some people adore her (I was dragged to the Broadway show by a close friend in Boston, tho it was kinda worth it to see Bert tap dance on the ceiling), I just don’t get it. The original does have some great songs (again, love the chimney sweeps) but it’s on the lower end of Disney for me. I realized, how you feel about “Feed the Birds” determines your love of the film overall. I know people who cry hearing that song, and that’s cool, they LOVE her. I would always fast forward or take a snack break during it.

Anyways, now she’s back some 20 years later or so, still taking care of the Banks children. Although this time, they’ve got their own children to take care of. Jane has moved in with her brother Michael after his wife passed, to help watch his three children. He’s fallen on hard financial times and is days away from losing their home. Mary arrives to help the kids who have grown up too much in the past year to be children and play, while still providing order to the house.

The whole thing was rather delightful. Yes, very juvenile, but still delightful. I found myself chuckling throughout the film, and heard similar reactions coming from mom. I loved the whimsy of it, especially as that extended to the costumes and the set design.

Emily Blunt was simply divine as Mary. She provided her own spin while still making it believable that she was the same person Julie Andrews portrayed. Although to be honest, I was mostly excited to see Lin-Manuel Miranda up on the big screen post-Hamilton. He was all heart and wonder (just like Lin IRL).

There were some fun cameos as well. Meryl Streep chewed scenery in an over the top(sy turvy) silly song. Dick van Dyke appeared and tap danced on a desk. And in a spot that was originally meant for Andrews (who declined, not wanting to upstage Blunt), Angela Lansbury had a moment.

As I’m writing this, Mom calls out to me across the room “I liked the first Mary Poppins better. Did you?” “Yeah, the first one has better music, but this one looked AMAZING, and I love the cast” “Yeah it was good, but still I like the first one”

Mary Poppins Returns – \m/ \m/ \m/

Mortal Engines

This movie literally made me sick. Okay, it was more likely the seafood I had before the movie, but I’m sure the beer shake I had during didn’t help matters. Nor did watching this piece of crap.

I don’t even know how to explain what this is about. It’s a post apocalyptic waaaay future (our time is referred to as the screen age, over 1000 years in the past). Cities are these giant mobile steampunk robot things that people live on. A girl with a scar tries to kill Hugo Weaving, and he kicks her off the city along with a nice guy who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Weaving is trying to destroy the world for some reason, and they’re trying to stop him.

There’s a couple things this movie gets right. The world building is incredible. I really like the idea of the traveling cities and the visuals and effects look really really good. The mythology of it all is interesting and I’d love to learn more about “the 60 minute war” and everything that led the world to this place. Unfortunately, what happens afterwards isn’t so interesting.

It was such a slog. The plot that should have driven the film didn’t. The dialog was terrible, both in what was written and how it was said. And there were a couple of terrible jokes that did not fit the tone of the rest of the film at all.

All of the cast looked just enough like someone well known, but weren’t actually known or that good (except Weaving, but hes’ had much better to work with).

And the whole thing felt like they were trying really too dang hard to make something EPIC and it felt that much more cheap and half assed. Just don’t bother

Mortal Engines – \m/ \m/

Second Act

It’s opening night of the big Christmas movies and this is what I choose to see? Well, I was hoping to save the good ones to see with family. Take the little cousins to Aquaman and Bumblebee and leave a couple Christmas options for mom. Turns out, I shoulda saved this one for mom.

Jennifer Lopez has spent 15 years working her way up at a local grocery store. The problem is, without a college degree, there’s only so far up she can work ,and she sees a promotion he was eyeing given away to someone who has had more opportunities than she has. A friend (Leah Remini)’s son creates a fake resume and online persona for her and submits a job application at a big name cosmetics firm. JLo is offered a big shot job that she may not actually be qualified for on paper, but she thinks she has the street smarts to pull it off. So she’s gonna try and hope it doesn’t all blow up in her face.

I read something criticizing this movie for trying to be three films in one. It’s not untrue, there are several major storylines. But you know what I say to that criticism? Women are complicated. And we should be presented in films that are more complex than simple rom coms. Yes, one of the subplots was a romantic one, but that was not the primary story. And even then, it was more about her learning to accept herself so that she could let someone else in than trying to define herself by him.

Speaking of that romantic storyline, her love interest was played by Milo Ventimiglia, who JLo personally requested after he stole her heart (as he did everyone else’s) on This Is Us.

I very much enjoyed this one. Yes, it was super implausible and cheesy, but it was uplifting and funny. I’m ashamed to say that I’d forgotten how great JLo is (besides Selena, I’d never forget that), but she reminded me that she is one of the best. And she had some great women surrounding her. We already mentioned Leah Remini, but I was surprised to also see Annaleigh Ashford and Charlene Yi. This is the girl power movie that I’ve been living for lately. I think Mom woulda liked it too

Second Act – \m/ \m/ \m/