vox lux

POSITIVES…
- writer/director Brady Corbet definitely gives us a unique visionary take about celebrities.
- Stylistic in many ways, from the narrative to the visuals.
- Natalie Portman absolutely goes all out in her role as Celeste here, and you won’t be able to take your eyes off her, because she completely owns every scene she’s in. Just incredible.
- Raffey Cassidy and Jude Law are really good in this too.
- Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy gets to sing songs written by Sia.

NEGATIVES…
- Depending on your impressions, you might want to actually wish it was Sia singing the songs, instead of Portman or Cassidy.
- Some people are going to say that this movie it too artsy or just pretentious.
- Is this movie provocative for provocative sake?
- Some people are going to get either frustrated, bored, or both frustrated and bored with the narrative.
- Natalie Portman doesn’t show up until well into the movie.

P.S….
- Listening to the soundtrack doesn’t really spoil the movie, so feel free to check out what Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy sounds like singing songs written by Sia.

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vice

POSITIVES…
- You’re watching this for Christian Bale’s amazing performance as Dick Cheney.
- Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, and Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld are awesome in this as well.
- The kinetic narrative style that writer/director Adam McKay uses here is effective in keeping our attention to the screen. Like the meta humor and 4th wall breaking moments.
- There were some funny scenes that I thought were hilarious.
- The story of Dick Cheney is definitely interesting and fascinating.

NEGATIVES…
- I fear this just wasn’t enough to fully capture everything we want from a Dick Cheney movie. It feels like it’s just skimming the surface, which only gives it a somewhat unsatisfying final product.
- The narrative in the final act just falls apart, as if the movie didn’t know where to go at that point.
- I found the tone of the movie to be a bit all over the place.
- Some people will be disappointed with the fact Sam Rockwell as George W Bush isn’t in this as much as they probably hoped he would be.

P.S….
- If there was an award for “Best mid-credits scene of 2018,” then I might just give it to this movie.

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mary queen of scots

POSITIVES…
- Saoirse Ronan, amazing actress as always, and really owns the screen here.
- Margot Robbie is good in this too, although I wished there was more of her.
- Jack Lowden, fantastic performance from him too as Henry Darnley.
- With Beau “House Of Cards” Willimon’s screenplay, the plot is delicious intricate here. The political intrigue, the betrayals, the scheming, the tragedy, the drama, this movie will force you to pay attention to what’s going on, less you get lost.

NEGATIVES…
- Some will take offense at the historical inaccuracies.
- Demanding on how you take in all the information thrown at you, the story can get too convoluted.
- Sometimes it’s feels like the plot is progressing too fast.

P.S….
- Definitely makes me want to know more about Mary Stuart, and just might be convincing enough to get me to watch that TV series “Reign.”

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bird box

POSITIVES…
- Sandra Bullock is great in this, with what was probably a deceivingly challenging role for an actress to tackle.
- Supporting cast from Trevante Rhodes, to John Malkovich, are good in this too.
- The premise is very fascinating, especially considering the vast amount of apocalyptic movies that are already out there, or the growing amount of sensory deprived stories.
- There are some clever things introduced into the plot, that only makes the world building better than it probably should be.
- Manages to successfully create tense suspenseful moments, especially one particular scene involving driving a vehicle without being able to see out the car windows.
- Narrative of this movie does a good job of keeping my attention throughout the whole thing.

NEGATIVES…
- Honestly, they probably could have made this 20 minutes shorter.
- I don’t think the narrative device of bouncing back between the present time and a flashback was necessary.
- Some of the other supporting characters were kinda useless, and served to just be there as typical archetypes.
- Stupid things and plot conveniences still happen.

P.S….
- Before you compare this to “A Quiet Place,” just know that this is actually adapting the 2014 book by Josh Malerman. While you’re at it, look up the 2015 novel “The Silence.”

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Watch It Now On Netflix

welcome to marwen

POSITIVES…
- Steve Carell is good in his role here, as expected of him. He really toes the line between the more dramatic and comedic aspects of his character. As it’s written, it shouldn’t work, but I think Carell pulled it off.
- The World War II fantasy sequences were frankly the most enjoyable parts of this movie. That aspect of the movie even managed to throw in some curveballs that I wasn’t expecting.
- I appreciated the general themes that this movie tries to convey to us.
- I appreciated how the movie tries to mix in the fantasy sequences with the real life parts. The parallel narrative is a solid idea for a premise.

NEGATIVES…
- By the end of the movie, I unfortunately just didn’t think the fantasy sequences and the real world plot really worked that well together in this.
- People will take issue with the many artistic liberties this movie took when compared to the true story.
- People will also probably take issue with how this movie handles PTSD.
- The subplot involving Leslie Mann’s character was just problematic overall. I get what this movie tries to do there, but I don’t think it hit the landing.

P.S….
- Marwencol - A Film About Being Beaten and Left For Art with Jeff Malmberg

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mary poppins returns

POSITIVES…
- Turn on your suspension of disbelief on full blast, and just enjoy the whimsical magic that only Mary Poppins is able to bring to you.  
- It’s not above being silly and a bit unbelievable, but that’s what you should expect from a movie like this. As Mary Poppins would say, "Some stuff and nonsense could be fun! Can you imagine that?" 
- Emily Blunt does a fantastic job as Mary Poppins, and is different enough to make it her own version when compared to Julie Andrews. Some would say Emily Blunt’s version was actually closer to what the character was in the books.
- The rest of the cast were great in it as well, from Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Mortimer, Joel Dawson, Nathanael Saleh, and Pixie Davies. I have to give extra props to Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks, who arguably has the most complex character out of all of them.
- The plot seems to deal with more heavier topics in this one, which I suppose I appreciate them making the effort to push the story further than before.
- When I was a kid watching Mary Poppins, the animated sequence was one of my most favorite parts from that movie. It’s the same thing with this installment.
- Movie is charming overall, and should put a smile on your face. It does it’s best to recapture that magic of the 1964 original. Prepare for a huge nostalgia trip.
- The songs are perfectly fine and are catchy enough when watching the movie. I appreciated the cleverness of the lyrics and how the songs can be very intricate.

NEGATIVES…
- Simply put, the songs in this one just aren’t instant classics as with the 1964 original, and it’s likely because they are more complicated to sing along to.
- The story is somehow not as memorable as I hoped it would be, and this is even though this movie attempts to follow the same story beats as the previous one. Some would say that it’s a direct copy.
- There is also one particular tired plot trope that this movie uses, which only makes things more derivative than it needed to be.

P.S….
- After seeing the movie, listen to the soundtrack. What’s your favorite song? Mine involves balloons ;-)

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aquaman

POSITIVES…
- As he’s already proven in another movie, Jason Momoa is just charming as heck, in the role of Arthur Curry, AKA Aquaman. He is without a doubt the most entertaining character to watch here.
- The rest of the supporting cast are good too, from Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and more. Plus we get to see Nicole Kidman kick ass.
- The world building is good!
- In terms of spectacle, adventure, and action, this movie absolutely hits it’s marks.
- There’s a particular action set piece in Italy that is just a complete joy to watch.
- The fight choreography is also quite excellent here.
- Director James Wan does wonders with how certain scenes are shown on screen. Plus there are a lot of clever scene transitions too. Amazing work.

NEGATIVES…
- The CGI are hit or miss, especially when it came to some of those de-aging effects, or some of the location work.
- Stupid things still happen here and there.
- There’s one plot development that kinda just never developed, and seemed totally ignored.
- Follows some very derivative plot tropes.

P.S….
- This movie acknowledges and also ignores some of what was introduced during the Justice League film.

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the mule

POSITIVES…
- Clint Eastwood turns on the charm all the way up, to make us feel sympathy for Earl Stone, this old man with huge character flaws.
- This is a leisurely told movie that takes it’s time, which borders on the edge of feeling just right or feeling way too long.
- Although you probably have an idea on how this is going to end, you’re going to want to see it all the way through anyway.
- Part of the appeal of this story are the small little encounters that Earl runs into on his runs, as they add a form of levity to an otherwise dangerous occupation.

NEGATIVES…
- Those small little encounters also feel rather questionable if you consider all the subtext those scenes represent. Depending on that, those scenes might feel very distracting. In fact, I would argue that they really were distracting.
- Simply put, some people might find this movie too slow and too long.
- While some of the supporting cast are given some character development, the only one you’ll truly feel invested in is Earl Stone.

P.S….
- If I was to simply use this movie as a basis, then Clint Eastwood must really hate smartphones.

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bumblebee

POSITIVES…
- Finally we have a live-action Transformers movie that is directly targeting those of us who are big fans of the “Generation 1” animated series. The opening scene alone is quite the huge treat.
- The fact that they manage to get Bumblebee to show different emotions just from his voiceless face is still a marvel to me.
- Hailee Steinfeld continues to prove to us what a great actress she is, and her chemistry with Bumblebee is at the heart of what makes this movie absolutely worth watching.
- John Cena is so very entertaining in this as well.
- Has some excellent set pieces that ranges from scenes involving Hailee Steinfeld interacting with Bumblebee, to full on action sequences. There are some good chase sequences here too.
- This is essentially a fish out of water premise, mixed in with Spielberg’s “E.T.”
- Story and Characters versus just some mindless action sequences. Yes, Director Travis Knight and screenwriter Christina Hodson understands what it takes to make us care about and be invested with what happens in a Transformers movie.
- You will believe a girl can have a robot friend who can transfer to a volkswagen beetle, and it might just provoke some positive emotions from you.
- Easily the best live-action Transformers movie, especially compared to the Michael Bay directed installments that are filled to the brim with stupid things happening.

NEGATIVES…
- Some silly and stupid things still happen in this movie that will test your suspension of disbelief.
- There’s a recurring plot device that is used on Bumblebee far too many times to the point of being almost a parody.

P.S….
- Seriously, can we please be done with the whole “Bumblebee talks via clips from pop songs” gimmick?

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ben is back

POSITIVES…
- This is a heartbreaking and emotional story about how drug addiction affects more people than just the drug addict.
- From the very first scene, all the way until the end, this movie just grabs you and doesn’t let go. The pacing is fantastic.
- Amazing storytelling here, that contains very excellent ways of giving exposition in the most efficient ways.
- The plot goes places, some predictable, but still capable of giving us surprises.
- If you needed a reminder about how good of an actress Julia Roberts is, then see this movie.
- If you needed another introduction to how good an actor Lucas Hedges is, here is yet another movie to showcase his incredible talents.
- The chemistry between the two primary leads are so palpable, it’s hard not to feel invested with them.

NEGATIVES…
- Some of the emotional moments might seem melodramatic for some people.
- Some of the plot developments might seem to go too far depending on your suspension of disbelief.

P.S….
- Learned something new in this movie. Naltrexone.

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