Tag Archives: brie larson

Movie Review – Captain Marvel (2019)

She’s just a girl in the world, 3.5 readers.  Is that all that you’ll let her be?

BQB here with a review of Captain Marvel.

Amnesia.  Past lives.  Going back in time.  Shapeshifters.  Aliens.  The 1990s.  This movie has a lot of moving parts and none of it is spoon fed to you.  Instead, you’re trusted to hold on and wait for it all to make sense.  Eventually, it does.

In that respect, this isn’t the typical Marvel movie.  Most superhero origin stories are linear, while this one jumps around more than a Quentin Tarantino script on acid.  At times, I wondered if I had missed something but all I can say is if you feel that way when you see it, just give it some time.

Honestly, I don’t know how to discuss the plot without giving it all away.  Brie Larson is Carol Danvers, but also Kree warrior Vers.  Vers has memories of a life on earth that she doesn’t recall living and can’t make sense of.  Alas, to save the day, she’ll have to go on some earthly escapades during the 1990s.  (I don’t know if this is so much as a SPOILER as it is me giving you help that wasn’t provided me but I spent half the movie thinking Vers time traveled to 1995 only to realize the movie just begins in 1995 and the beginning just looks like the future because it takes place in space.)

Along the way, she teams up with a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who is occasionally helped by a young Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg.)  This movie should get a special effects Oscar because the tech they use to make Jackson and Gregg look younger stays pretty tight throughout the movie.

Part of the film is a buddy cop situation where Vers and Fury team up to track down the alien baddies.  They bust jokes on each other and it is fun.  There are 1990s throwbacks throughout – dial up modems, grunge music, and aliens who are used to super computers are freaked out by a Windows 95 desktop that takes forever to load a file.  Also, there’s a kitty who is pretty much the star of the film.

We live in a political world and unfortunately, sometimes that bleeds into movies.  There’s been a lot of online turmoil about this movie.  Some fans say it’s a great day for women as there’s finally a superhero movie with a female lead role (Wonder Women gets pissed when she hears this.)  Some detractors say the movie sucks and critics are just propping it up to make women happy.

Personally, once the movie started, all that drama went out the door for me.  It grabs you.  It does confuse you but it does eventually make sense.  Typical Marvel action and humor and it does have positive messages for women.

Some detractors have complained that this film doesn’t follow the traditional superhero origin arc and therefore, Captain Marvel isn’t relatable.  In other words, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America are all flawed individuals and they have to figure out a way to do their jobs without letting their shortcomings get the best of them.

Captain Marvel, on the other hand, appears to have no shortcomings.  As Carol Danvers, she was already pretty special as fighter jet test pilot.  As Vers, she’s a skilled Kree warrior.  There’s never really a moment where she’s like, “Wow.  I’m a dick because I have X problem.  I should conquer that problem to be a better hero.”

Eh.  I mean, OK.  That might be a valid point but then again, what are we saying?  Well adjusted people who never picked up bad habits or character flaws should not be allowed to become superheroes?

Plus, she does face adversity, something that all watchable heroes must overcome.  As Carol Danvers, she has to deal with men telling her she shouldn’t become a pilot.  As Vers, she has to deal with her Kree boss (Jude Law) telling her one thing while her conscience tells her another and so on.

One criticism is I could have used more info on the Kree.  Why are some of them blue and others not blue?  Is there a blue race on the Kree planet?  How do they get their powers?  Lots of unanswered questions.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Good addition to the Avengers universe.  And honestly, when there is political drama over a film where some are saying it sucks because it is too political and others saying it doesn’t suck or whatever, I’ll be honest and say whether it sucks or not.  For example, I didn’t think the 2016 all-female Ghostbusters sucked so much as I just thought it was rather basic and forgettable.  Captain Marvel doesn’t suck and I’d watch it again so it is worth your time.

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Movie Review – The Glass Castle (2017)

It is possible for your parents to be dicks…and loveable…at the same time.

I know.  #MindBlown, right?

BQB here with a review of “The Glass Castle.”

Based on the biography of journalist Jeanette Walls, this movie is a family drama/tearjerker/coming of age story/quasi-Oscar bait though it’s a bit too early for award season.

Brie Larson, and her younger alter ego, Ella Anderson star as adult and child versions of Jeanette, respectively.

Her parents, Rex and Rose Mary (Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts) are, for lack of a better description, total buttholes who are utterly incompetent when it comes to parenting.

Rex drinks.  Rose Mary dreams.  Both parents are like adult versions of children with their heads stuck in the clouds.  Neither of them is capable of holding down a job which means they roam the countryside, squatting on vacant properties or living outdoors.  Worse, just when they start to make it in a community, Rex will inevitably do something stupid that requires the whole clan to pack up and haul ass out of town lest they get on the bad side of the law.

Rose Mary fancies herself an artist, spending all her time painting instead of, oh I dunno, making sure her children are fed.  Rex considers himself a great thinker/philosopher and constantly rants and raves about all of his deep thoughts about the world, but can’t figure out how to earn a steady wage.  He’d rather spend his time designing a grand castle made out of entirely of glass, an achievement he hopes will one day prove to the world that he isn’t a total loser.

And losers these parents are.  Rex and Rose Mary (but mostly Rex) are constantly making bad decisions that put their children into harm’s way but the rub is at the end of the day, they love their children and both have their high points where they endear themselves to children.

Thus, a quartet of young cherubs, lead by young Jeanette, are put in a tough position.  They hate their parents for putting them through hell…but they also know their parents are doing their best that their limited, roomy brains will allow and the harm they cause is unintentional.

In short, Rex and Rose Mary suck…but they can’t help it.  And there’s the lesson that maybe a lot of viewers can relate to.  Unless you have super awesome perfect parents who are great at everything then at some point in your life, you might just have to suck it up and admit that your parents aren’t always right about everything, so sometimes you’ll have to learn to tell them no and strike out on your own (when you’re adult, of course.)

The film moves back and forth between young Jeanette dealing with her young parents shenanigans, and an older, more mature Jeanette who has overcome a life of poverty and parental stupidity to become a well-to-do gossip columnist.

As older Jeanette looks back on her youthful memories, she must come to terms on whether or not to make amends with her elderly parents now that they are, God help her, squatting in an abandoned New York City building because…poor Jeanette…her parents just won’t leave her alone.

Perhaps you don’t have parents as crazy as these two, but I think many people have a love-hate relationship with their families.  Perhaps they have said or done things that have harmed you in some way…and yet they have probably also done things that have helped you along the way.  Such is the deal with Rex, whose drunkenness, day dreaming and constant failure has ruined the lives of his children and yet, at times, he offers words of wisdom or provides grand gestures that helps them.

Sometimes it is possible for parents to suck…and yet be loveable…because they don’t mean to suck.  They just can’t help but not suck.

Brie shows off her acting chops and she’s still holding strong as the hot new actress to beat.  We see a more fragile side of Naomi Watts than we’re used to as she appears as a weathered old lady at some points in the film.

Woody Harrelson steals the show as the Dad you love to hate…or even…hate to love.  He’s a dick…he’s nice….he’s mean…he’s evil…he’s a drunk…but he wants to change….he’s a failure….but he has it in him to be a success…he sucks…he doesn’t want to suck…he’s a walking contradiction in terms.

Overall, the suggestion seems to be that to ever be truly free of all the family drama in your life, you need to move the fudge away as soon as your eighteen and not look back.  Forgive your parents for their failings and love them for their goodness because, chances are, yes, there were times they failed you but maybe they didn’t mean to or they were trying their best but were limited by their own personal issues.  Still, was it all bad?  Surely, you can rustle up some love for them too.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Room (2015)

Ugh.  I’m so depressed now 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of the Oscar nominated sadness fest that is Room.

SPOILER ALERT – That it will make you sad is just one of the many spoilers ahead.

I may be a movie buff but that doesn’t mean I watch everything.

I have a general rule about movies.  My life is already depressing enough that I don’t need to add to it with a story about other people being sad.  Ergo, I gravitate toward movies that are fun, action packed, adventurous, funny…situations that I can imagine myself in to escape the hum drum nature of my own existence.

But then again, movies like this one remind me and maybe all of us that as bad as we think we might have it…there’s always someone who has it way worse.

Rejoice and be happy with what you have.

Room, an Irish/Canadian film, stars Brie Larson as “Ma.”  Literally, that’s the only name you get for her character in the entire movie.  That’s the only name her five year old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), knows her by.

At the start of the film, Ma is a young woman who has obviously been kidnapped and held captive in a room for a long, long time.  It has been so long, in fact, that she has even given birth to Jack, a son she has with her captor, and has been raising him inside the room for years.

“Old Nick” (Sean Bridgers) aka the captor, enters room once in awhile, drops off some food, demands acknowledgement from Ma about how lucky she is to have him (which sadly, she’s learned over the years to feign in order to avoid a beating).

Without giving too much away, the first half of the film surrounds an escape attempt and the second half deals with…well, the aftermath.  If I tell you much more you might as well not watch it.

Jack has never known life outside of the room so needless to say, he’s had a less than usual upbringing.  Inanimate objects i.e. “plant” and “chair” and “lamp” are his friends.  He gets to watch TV but he thinks its magic.  He doesn’t believe Ma’s stories about life outside of the place he calls “room.”

There are a lot of themes.  Mother’s love triumphs over all, life is short so when shitty tragedies derail our plans it totally sucks, as bad as you think you have it, there’s someone else who has it worse so appreciate what you have.

Oh and then it obviously sheds light on the plight of people who have been kidnapped and held hostage.  A shitty situation to be in for sure.  Viewers might watch it and instantly be reminded of the terrible Cleveland kidnapping case in which a man held three women hostage for years.  It is actually based on a novel by the same name written by Emma Donoghue.

Not sure what else to say.  Brie Larson earned her best actress win in this one for convincing me as a viewer that it really sucked to live in that room.  It’s not a feel good flick by any means and you’ll end up feeling depressed.  Here’s where someone will tell me that I shouldn’t feel depressed about it, that it is a story about how a person stuck in a hopeless situation found hope or whatever but yeah, it made me sad.

Maybe I’m just a glass half empty kind of guy.  I’m not knocking it of course.  It is an emotional premise and it punches you in the gut.

I guess I just prefer movies with CGI and crude humor because I prefer my gut to remain unscathed.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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