Tag Archives: Movies

Movie Review – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

An angry woman’s descent into madness!  A total dick’s redemption!

BQB here with a review of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Seven months after the rape and murder of her daughter, Mildred (Frances McDormand) provides the town’s police department with a sign (actually, three) of her displeasure in their handling of the case.

In doing so, she calls out Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) by name, much to the anger of the townsfolk who love this pillar of the community.

As the conflict ensues, Mildred’s righteous anger causes her to engage in increasingly worse activity.

Meanwhile, Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a total douche of a human being, locks horns with Mildred due to his loyalty to Willoughby.  Along the way, his behavior gets better.

Thus, the main questions of the film.  Is it possible for a grieving mother to go too far in the name of righting a wrong?  Is it possible for a man who has been horrible his whole life to redeem himself in a single act of bravery?

The movie is definitely unique in its ability to weave drama with dark, dark, incredibly dark (nearly pitch black) comedy.  At times, there are plot holes.  Frankly, one wonders how Dixon and Mildred are able to get away with all the mayhem they cause as their bitter feud unfolds.

I’ve heard some negative reviews from movie critics, but I enjoyed it and found it to be a good study of the difficulties of the human condition, how life is difficult, how we often think we need to do things to “get even” before we can move on but how those things rarely improve a bad situation.

While “Darkest Hour,” in my opinion, tells a historically important lesson about resilience against an enemy, I think “Three Billboards” is the most moving film I’ve seen out of the Oscar nominated pack.

Still, they’ll probably give the gold to the film about the fish fucker.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Rent it today.

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Top Ten Romance Movies

Is your girlfriend a romance movie fanatic?

Only this BQB Top Ten List will help you know for sure.

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Movie Review – Darkest Hour (2017)

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

BQB here with a review of “Darkest Hour.”

You know 3.5 readers, modern politics suck.  They’re messy and brutish, a blood sport on all sides.  Amidst all this kerfluffle, where is the man who is willing to stand up, not for what is popular, but for what is right?  Where is the man who is willing to slap his balls down on the table and be prepared to lose them to the naysayers if they’re proven right?

Sigh.  That man (or woman) is working the drive-thru at Arby’s or some such bullshit, because let’s face it, people without polish and pizzazz (or money) can’t get a foot through the political door these days.

Luckily, such wasn’t the case for Sir Winston Churchill.  An old mumbler who looked like a bald bull dog, he drank to excess, took most meetings in his bathrobe, and chain smoked cigars and drank bottles upon bottles of booze all day long.  Moody, unpolished, rude, but he had balls.  Oh, how he had balls.

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) sought peace with Hitler.  The result?  At the start of the film, Hitler’s armies stand ready to overrun Belgium and take over France, where, without intervention, they’ll push British forces into the sea at Dunkirk, effectively ending the UK’s ability to defend itself.

It’s a hopeless situation and the political types in parliament are more interested in saving their careers than the nation.  No one even wants the position of Prime Minister now, as defeat seems imminent and no one wants to go down as the leader who handed England over to Germany.

Thus, Churchill, who had long been the lonely canary in the coal mine, warning England and the rest of the Europe that Hitler was up to some serious shit and he should met not with appeasement but early attacks before he gets too far, is placed in charge.

Chamberlain and Viscount Halifax (Stephen Dillane or Roose Bolton to “Game of Thrones” fans) want to double down on a new attempt to appease Hitler, oblivious to the fact that earlier attempts to satiate the Nazis just made them that much stronger.

Together, they make moves to force Churchill into peace talks, putting the bulldog into a grave position.  The 25,000 lives he lost under his military command years earlier weigh heavily on him, and the prospects of victory against a war machine that has conquered the rest of the continent seem grim.

Ultimately, it’s up to Churchill to make some tough choices and outfox the foxes in his hen house at their own game.

SPOILER ALERT – because, I mean, it’s history, so you should know already, but Churchill chooses to fight Hitler rather than make a peace.  He’s certain it would be a lame ass peace, one that would leave the swastika flying over Buckingham Palace and a Nazi controlled puppet government running the show.

But it was definitely an unsavory roll of the dice.  Had Germany prevailed, the puppet government would have looked better than a defeated, decimated Britain…and thus Gary Oldman as Churchill gives us a front row seat to how the proverbial sausage is made, how leadership requires the bold to make a tough decision and to stay the course, no matter how far away the light at the end of the tunnel may seem.

Will there be more Churchills in the future?  Honestly, I feel television really screwed our collective political pooch.  As long as elections are decided based on who has the most polish and pizzazz, perfect looks and fabulous hair, the ornery old bald foul mouthed drunk who’s willing to put his balls on the line and to tell the enemy to eat a dick doesn’t stand a chance at election.

Hell, even Churchill didn’t.  Once his big balls one the war, his reward was to be thrown out of office.  But, he was able to walk away knowing he and his balls had stood up for what was right.

Worthy of Oscars all around but will probably lose to the movie about the fish fucker.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Rent it today.  Props to the women behind the man, i.e. his wife Clemmie (Kristin Scott Thomas) who reigned him in and got him to focus on shit.  Meanwhile, scenes with his personal secretary, Elizabeth Layton (Lilly James) who has to undergo the stress of taking Churchill’s cigar smoke cough laden, booze fueled, mumbling rants and putting them into actual words to be typed and dispatched are particularly touching.

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Movie Review – Hostiles (2017)

Christian Bale…so moody…basically playing himself.

BQB here with a review of “Hostiles.”

I love a good Western.  The general movie going public doesn’t, but I appreciate it whenever Hollywood gives me one just the same.

In 1892, Captain Joseph Blocker (Bale) is nearing retirement as one of the U.S. Army’s most notorious Native American killers.  He is firm in his belief that his actions were justified, and can recite countless tales of horror perpetrated against settlers.

Meanwhile, Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) is a prisoner at the Army fort in New Mexico, where Blocker is stationed.  He’s one of the West’s most notorious killers of settlers and he can recite countless tales of horror perpetrated against his people.

In short, both men feel they were justified and yet, you guessed it…road trip!  (Horse trip?)  The Chief, due to his old age, is granted a pardon and Blocker is ordered to escort his longtime enemy to his ancestral homeland in Montana.

The setup seems intriguing enough.  Blocker and Yellow Hawk are not friends, yet they’ll need to come to an understanding because the Comanche are nearby and as Yellow Hawk warns, they don’t discriminate and will kill natives and settlers alike.

But alas, from there, the story wanders.  Rosamund Pike enters the picture as a widow who lost her family to a Comanche attack.  Various subplots ensue – a sergeant who has lost his faith, an African American corporal who is grateful that Blocker treats him as an equal, a prisoner who argues that Blocker is just as guilty as he is, and so on.

“Pick a plot already!” That’s what I found myself saying half-way through the film.  While there is sporadic, gruesome action, there are long periods of hum drum, drawn out talking.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy, but I’d say wait to rent it.  It runs at least a half-hour too long.  There were various parts where I was like, “Oh here’s a good part where it could end and…oh, no…it’s still going.”  No one needs to sit in a stiff movie theater seat for that.

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Movie Review – American Assassin (2017)

Guns! Bombs!  Treachery and intrigue!

BQB here with a review of “American Assassin.”

It’s not easy to take a popular book series and bring it to life on the big screen.  While Tom Cruise’s efforts to breathe cinematic life into Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher” have fizzled (watch one and it feels like an extended episode of “Law and Order”) there appears to be hope for the late Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp character.  Flynn left the world much too young, but Mitch lives on.

In this film, Dylan O’Brien stars as Rapp, a happy go lucky graduate student whose life is changed for the worst when his girlfriend is shot during a terrorist attack on a beach resort.  Trading in text books for knives and martial arts training, Mitch sets out to take on terrorists all by himself only to be recruited by the CIA and given formal training by the gruffy and surly Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton, back as part of the Keaton-aissance.)

Rapp is a walking contradiction and difficult to control.  He’s got a personal grudge, a fact that the CIA believes it can exploit in the form of an agent who can be pushed to the brink.  On the other hand, the personal grudge means he doesn’t take orders and is willing to put the mission at risk, which causes Mitch and Hurley to lock horns often.

Ultimately, Mitch will be forced to face Ghost, a former trainee of Stan’s who went rogue. If you’re a nerd, you might see the Stan as Obi Wan, Ghost as Darth Vader and Mitch as Luke Skywalker parallel.

Many thrillers are satisfying on the page only to come out as blah on screen, but I think Hollywood has something here in the form of a young, angry American anti-James Bond character.

Let me put it this way.  I’ll probably watch “American Assassin 2” before “Jack Reacher 3.”

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Brewster’s Millions (1985)

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So much money to spend, so little time.  BQB here with a review of the 1980s classic, “Brewsters Millions.”

What’s the best way to break yourself of a disgusting habit?  To do it to excess until you’re completely sick of it.

Montgomery Brewster (Richard Pryor) and his buddy Spike (John Candy) are a couple of bums who play on a lousy, broken down, minor league New Jersey baseball team.

As luck would have it, Monty’s long estranged Uncle Rupert (Hume Cronyn) kicks the bucket, and in his will, leaves Monty with a quite a challenge.  Uncle Rupert recalls a time when he caught Monty smoking a cigar as a boy.  Uncle Rupert forced Monty to smoke all the cigars in the box until he got sick, thus making it so Monty would never want to smoke again.

Thus, the point of the challenge is clear.  Uncle Rupert put a lot of work into making $300 million dollars and he doesn’t want to leave it to an idiot who will squander it.  So, he challenges Monty to spend $30 million in one month, the idea being that by the end of the month, Monty will become so disgusted by the idea of money being wasted that he will become a stalwart caretaker of the remaining fortune.

More catches – Monty can’t tell anyone about the deal, so he has to deal with everyone thinking he is an idiot for spending his inheritance of 30 million so recklessly.

Further, he must spend the 30 million completely and have no assets left behind.  He can’t just by a $30 million house or something that he can convert back to cash at the end of the whole ordeal.

Thus, this leads to so many flunkies on his payroll.  A personal photographer.  A money manager who gets $100,000 a week.  A personal marching band.  Oh, and he spends it on fun.  He finance a game between his lousy team and the Yankees.  He buys rare bottles of champagne and drinks them.  He funds a campaign to ask New Yorkers to not vote for anyone for mayor because both candidates are stupid.

The highlight of the film comes when Monty buys a rare, 1.2 million dollar stamp.  The villainous banker types who want Monty to fail so they can get Uncle Rupert’s money laugh because they believe Monty has just bought an asset…until they get a postcard from Monty with the rare, cancelled stamp on the card.

It’s a lot of fun to watch as Monty comes up with new ways to waste cash, and the idea that taking your worst habit to the extreme might help you to hit the rock bottom you need to hit in order to avoid doing the habit forever is intriguing.

Makes me sad that Pryor and Candy are both long dead before their time.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy

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Movie Review – The Shape of Water (2017)

If there’s a better movie out there about a woman who fucks a fish monster, I’ve yet to see it.

BQB here with a review of the Oscar front runner, “The Shape of Water.”

I don’t think the line above counts as a spoiler.  If you check out the poster for this film, it shows a woman locked in a passionate embrace with a fish man sooo…I mean I don’t know about you, but when I saw that my immediate reaction was to realize that this movie was probably going to feature some human on fish man fucking.

Beyond that, I can’t begin to discuss this film without mentioning SPOILERS so if you don’t want to read SPOILERS then don’t read on below.   SPOILERS!!!

Here’s the deal, 3.5 readers.  I’ve been a movie buff for as long as I can remember.  I have seen so many movies that I deserve an honorary degree in film studies.

I’m usually able to collect my thoughts after I see a film…but I’m not sure what I saw here.

It was good.  I’m just unclear as to the point of it all.

Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer play Elisa and Zelda, a duo of cleaning ladies who keep a top secret 1960s Cold War era research facility spotless.  They dust satellites and clean bizarre machines and are aware that their continued employment (and freedom) requires them to keep their mouths shut about anything they see.

That’s easy for Elisa as she’s mute – unable to speak.  Elisa lives on the periphery of life, always enjoy movies and television, which she watches with her elderly, unemployed neighbor, a mopey ex-advertising artist named Giles (Richard Jenkins.)

Elisa is content to stick with the same old life until she learns that one of the lab’s test subjects, a fish man comparable in appearance to “the Creature from the Black Lagoon” is regularly tortured by Strickland, a clandestine CIA type played by Michael Shannon.

Long story short, Elisa feels sorry for the fish monster, so she enlists Zelda and Giles to participate in an breakout scheme.

And then once the creature is free, he and Elisa fuck.  Oh my God.  There is so much fish monster on human woman fucking its crazy really.

Sooo…I’m unsure of a number of things.  My first thought is surely this film, about a woman who falls in love with and fucks a fish man, must be a dark comedy.  The Academy never touches sci-fi, but the film makes use of typical French romance music, so one is left to wonder if this is all just a parody of classic romance films, but instead of two French people who lose their ennui after they meet, this is about….human on fish man fucking.

There are definitely dark comedy undertones yet there is a lot of drama and in many parts, a serious tone.  What exactly is the overall theme?  The best I was able to come up with is that it is very difficult to find true love so when you find it, you must embrace it, even if you and your partner have differences – say, differences in race, religion, background…or you know, if one of you is a human and one of you is a fish man.

From a writer’s standpoint, I am amazed.  I write so many outlandish, ridiculous, absurd things but never once would I dream of having a woman and a fish monster get it on.  Honestly, take out the French romance music and some of the dramatic flourishes and serious scenes and this movie could double as an April Fool’s episode of the X-Files where the producers decide to let their hair down and be silly.

Meanwhile, Michael Shannon is skilled at playing psychos and he excels here.  This is his best performance since “Boardwalk Empire.”  I was left to believe that he really wanted to apprehend the fish man at all costs and was not moved by the romantic undertones of human on fish man coitus.

Jenkins also deserves recognition.  I bought him as a sad sack whose only friend is Elisa and thus he’s willing to do anything to retain her friendship.  By the way, don’t get old because if a woman has to choose between an old man and a fish man, she will choose the sushi penis every time.  Scaly balls, yes.  Wrinkly balls, no.

Is it worth an Oscar?  I mean, I enjoyed it, I had a good time, it did make me think about love and how it can bloom in the strangest places under the most unexpected circumstances.

Is it better than the other nominees?  I’ll have to think about that one, though I’ll note that at this point, I really just want the news to be talking about how a movie about a woman who fucks a fish man was made best picture and to the best of my knowledge, none of the other films feature a woman banging a fish man.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  If you ever figure out what it’s about, tell me.

 

 

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New York Times Article – Uma Thurman Talks About Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino

Hey 3.5 movie buffs.

BQB here.

The New York Times interview of Uma Thurman is a must read for fans of 1990s cinema.  Alas, our darling Uma, who wowed us as the foxy Mia Wallace, with those two fingers being dragged across her face in that song and dance routine, was, alas, also having to deal with Hollywood uber perv Harvey Weinstein.

I’ll let you read the sordid details but alas, she was perved upon by the Harv-ster and perved upon big time.

Meanwhile, when I saw that the article also talks about Tarantino, my heart sank.  Tarantino is an inspiration for any 1990s kid who wanted to be a writer.  He is, after all, the writer who told us all that it’s ok to not start your story at the beginning.  You can start at the end or even in the middle.  Give us the big ending up front then show us how it all happened.  Here’s some candy up front, but now you’ll have to eat your dinner.

Tarantino has always been very eccentric, almost kind of manic in the over energetic way he speaks, plus I mean, all of his movies are blood and sex galore so I was like, “Ugh…yeah he’s like my writing hero so please I hope he didn’t do anything pervy but oh God, he does fit the pervy profile and…..”

Anyway, SPOILER ALERT, he’s not alleged to be a pervert.  Uma, however, says on the set of Kill Bill, he made her drive an unsafe car that wasn’t put together well and despite warnings the car was unsafe, she was required to drive it and it ended up in a big crash that left her with life long knee damage.

We’re in a sorry state of affairs when you’re like, “Oh thank God my writing hero Quentin isn’t a shameful pervert, he’s just an overzealous, totally negligent jerk who put a good shot over a human being’s safety.”

 

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Wind River Snub

Hey 3.5 readers.

So first, let me say up front I realize why “Wind River” was snubbed this Oscar season.  That is to say I think I know.  I am a lowly peon blogger for a website with 3.5 readers and the Academy does not share any insider info with me….but my best guess is because this was a Harvey Weinstein film.  To nominate the film would be to reward Hollywood’s most notorious pervert.

I get that but I’m not sure it’s fair to punish the director, the actors, anyone else involved who could have been nominated.  I mean, the film was made before news of Harvey’s pervy ways become public knowledge.

So, there you go.  Maybe grandfather in anyone involved in Harvey’s last movies and then I assume Harvey isn’t making movies anymore.  Hell, if he is and you’re an actor, then at least you know up front you’re getting involved in a movie made by a perv so maybe you want to take your acting skills elsewhere.  Now you’re on notice of Harvey’s alleged perversions.

Oh, my lawyer says I have to note Harvey’s perversions are only alleged.  Don’t assume he was a perv just on my ramblings.

The film tells a good story about Wyoming, a state you likely don’t think about unless you live there – the wide spaces where you are miles away from civilization, how Native American women are often kidnapped and killed and the crimes are never solved because the wilderness is so vast and Native American reservation lands aren’t given much funds to hire a bigger police presence.

Graham Greene who plays the long suffering tribal police chief who passes much needed survival knowledge to the newcomer/green around the gills FBI agent played by Elizabeth Olsen.  Greene’s character is tough, his advice is wise, almost to the point that those who don’t follow it do so at their peril.

Meanwhile, Gil Birmingham plays Martin, the grieving father of the film’s victim.  SPOILER ALERT – there’s a scene at the end where Martin paints his face blue in sort of a native ritual to somehow aid his grieving process but the look of pain on his face is so pure that it’s clear that the fear there is no higher power looking out for us and we are all alone to process our sadness and no one is looking down on us to help us get better is clear.  The presence of Jeremy Renner’s character, assumedly a Christian and himself another grieving father, shows that this pain crosses many cultures and perhaps we all have more in common with one another than we think.

At any rate, Greene and Birmingham are Hollywood’s go to actors for Native American roles.  You probably don’t know their names but you’ve seen them in something.  I never knew their names until I looked them up to write this.

I just think there was a rare opportunity for Greene or Birmingham to receive a rare (has it ever happened before?) nomination for a Native American actor and if that opportunity was lost due to Harvey’s pervyness then that is a shame.

Oh well.  See the movie anyway.

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BQB Does the Oscars – 2018 – Best Picture

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Hey 3.5 movie buffs.

BQB here.  The 2018 Oscar nominations are released, so first, let’s talk about best picture.  The nominees are:

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I have to say, 3.5 readers, every year it’s about half and half.  I’ve seen half the movies nominated and not the other half.  This year, I only saw “Dunkirk” and “Get Out” so Hollywood is really pulling the obscure stuff out of the closet, which is what the Oscars are typically known for anyway.

Predictions?  It’s hard when you haven’t seen most of them.

“Get Out” gave us a glimpse of how black people feel living amongst white people.  I assume that was director Jordan Peele’s goal.  I’ll SPOIL it because you’ve had a chance to watch it by now, or look away if you haven’t but the general gist is that a family of white people have figured out a way to take the minds of ailing white people and insert them into the bodies of black people.  Via hypnosis, the black person’s mind is buried into a deep recess, so it’s like he’s there and can see what is going on but can’t participate.

All in all, the film uses horror and science fiction concepts to begin a discussion about race relations and I mean, a more historic and or dramatic approach might have been taken, but let’s face it.  Moviegoers are more interested in horror and sci-fi.  The movie entertains, while slipping us some thoughts about how we could all be better to each other at the same time.

In short, this would be a rare opportunity for Hollywood to give the aware to a commercial success.

“Dunkirk” tells an important story that is often lost in the annals of history.  The Germans are sweeping through France.  British and allied troops are stuck between the sea and the incoming Nazis.  Churchill has done the math and decided he can’t afford to lose his Navy to pick up the soldiers, so the soldiers are on their own….until a fleet of commercial fishermen save the day.

In these trying times, it’s a story about how we can all come together to achieve a greater good.

Speaking of Churchill, I’ve been meaning to see the “Darkest Hour.” I have always been a Churchill fan.  The short primer on Churchill is that he was one of the earliest politicians in Europe to try to ring the proverbial alarm bell and be all like, “Uh, hey, fellow Brits, I think this Hitler chap might be a bad egg” but alas, no one would listen to him.  As the war carried on, England became the last country in Europe to not come under Nazi rule, though it came pretty close.  Churchill took a lot of abuse. Many wanted to negotiate with the Nazis or worse, just let him have England without a fight but Churchill slapped his big brass cajones down on the table and took the hard way out and England, nay, the rest of Europe survived because of it.

I know little about the other films.  “The Post” seems like a manufactured Oscar movie, designed to get awards.  Maybe it’s good but the whole Pentagon papers/press vs. Nixon has had its time on film before.

“The Shape of Water” intrigues me because the poster shows a woman hugging some kind of lizard creature and it sounds like there’s great buzz about it, like the critics are calling it the film to beat so…as a sci fi buff I’m interested.  Plus, I want to know if the lady bangs the lizard creature.

Who do you think will win, 3.5 readers?

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