Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Quick Film Review: The Burnt Orange Heresy (B+)

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

StrangerCon LA - Stranger Things in April

I'm really looking forward to StrangerCon LA. Apparently it's been going on for a while in select cities. It's a steep cost for the Gold package at around $900 and sold out instantly. But I only wanted and got the Sunday preferred seating ticket at $95. I just want to see Millie and Noah and what they have to say on the stage. These are kids, 16 and 15 respectively. I don't care for a picture with them or an autograph, I just want to enjoy a day at StrangerCon with Stranger Things fans. It's all good.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Film Review: Greed (B-)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Team Sussex: Supporting Harry and Meghan

Two weeks ago, I never would have dreamed that I would witness a blood prince and his new American wife stepping back from their senior royal status, to live part-time in Canada in order to escape the debilitatingly rude, destructive, and relentless racist attacks against the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. I don't have the stamina or interest to rehash everything that has been made public, but it is the things that are being hidden from the public that makes me raise an eyebrow. With all the negative crap that the "Royal Rota" aka British tabloid press has printed to defame and humiliate the Duchess, it begs one to wonder, where are they getting these lies and misinformation, and why are they so obsessed with tearing down this woman?

Based on the fact that Harry is leaving his full-time royal status, this means that most likely the source of so much angst is coming from Kensington Palace and from the three people who have the power and influence to stop all this: The Queen, Prince Charles, and Harry's big brother William. I believe that due to Meghan's natural charisma and go-getter positive attitude, the public has taken a huge shine to her and the media, loving and hating her, is completely obsessed with her to the point that it has rankled the British royal family. This newcomer American girl Duchess did not stay in her quiet and meek lane, and a secret cabal was established to bring her down by any means necessary. But alas, the fools didn't realize that her knight in shining armor, Prince Harry, would go with her.

From their official website Sussex Royal, here is a portion of their statement released in early January 2020:

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. 

In the coming weeks, we should learn more about exactly how much time the Sussexes will spend in Canada and in the UK, and which if any patronages they have will remain theirs. It's my hope that they retain their HRH status and their patronages because Harry and Meghan love their work and responsibilities to the charities they support, and it would not be fair to them or the charities/patronages throughout the Commonwealth if gears were shifted and reassignments occurred. Because of their commitments, they can create a working schedule that will allow them to continue supporting their patronages, and it will continue to reinforce that the Sussexes are here to stay and are serious about supporting the monarchy.

A tweet I posted today (seen below) has gone viral and I'm quite pleased that so many people support what I posted. I have been a supporter of William and Kate since before they married, and I have been disappointed in both of them in how they have not managed this situation. As the future King and Queen, you'd think they would set an example by making a short announcement of support and love for Meghan and attacking the bullying she has been receiving. But like the old adage, 'silence speaks volumes', and through their silence, they condone this attack against the Duchess of Sussex and are reaping the benefits as they enjoy the positive stories and media attention directed at them. The difference in the reporting about them is literally night and day and you have to be either completely dense and ignorant, or a racist to not see what the UK media has done, and will continue to do to Meghan.

As additional evidence of the double standard that Meghan has faced in comparison to Kate Middleton, see the headlines below. Just unbelievable!

Anyone with critical thinking skills and human compassion can see that the British tabloid media has had Meghan in their crosshairs for over three years, and it has taken its toll on her and Harry. This unfair treatment has to have been sanctioned by someone or some persons high up the royal family or who work closely with the royal family. For no one in the Kensington Palace to not speak one sentence condoning these attacks against Meghan leads a sensible person to believe that this has all been orchestrated to run her out of the family. But, there's true love between Harry and Meghan, and this bullshit has only brought them closer, and they'll be a stronger #TeamSussex in the end.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Film Review: Little Women (A)

Beth, Jo, Meg and Amy
Most of us are already familiar with the Louisa May Alcott 19th century bestseller, Little Women novel. A book that has been embraced by little girls, women, boys and men for nearly 150 years, and in its 8th theatrical adaptation by director Greta Gerwig, this beloved story remained true to its roots, but was given a fresh injection of 21st century feminism that today's audience will relate to and embrace its cultural relevance. I have not read the book, but I have seen the 1994 Winona Ryder version, and I thought it was sweet. But Gerwig's version is absolutely gorgeous, funny, spicy, and sad, but it ends with the most fulfilling cinematic scene that these dark days welcome.

Writing is Jo's life and source of independence
Of the four March sisters, in order of age, there's Meg (Emma Watson), Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Beth (Eliza Scanlen), and Amy (Florence Pugh). All have different personalities and temperaments, but have a strong love for each other that is heartwarming. Little Women has a non-linear narrative style spanning a seven year time frame that has a steady flow to it once you make note of the length of the girl's hair (hint). In this version, we see how all four girls are on their own journey to what they believe will lead to their personal happiness. In this version, Jo is especially spunky in her desire to be a fully independent woman who earns her own money from writing, without the support of a man, so that she can take care of her family. Her Aunt March (Meryl Streep) is wealthy and tried to take Jo under her wing to marry well, but she soon deems Jo a lost cause and focuses on nurturing Amy's talent for painting and presenting her to society so that she can marry a rich man.

Laura Dern as Marmee March has a modernized touch of a 19th century homemaker whose husband, played by Bob Odenkirk, is at war fighting for the Union. So Marmee is both mom and dad, as well as a community leader in that she looks out for the poor and war torn families, even at the risk of the limited comforts and food for her own family. The most pronounced enhancement of Gerwig's Little Women is that all the girls, save for poor Beth, have moments of where they clearly state their future goals in life. Jo doesn't want to get marry, she just wants to write and earn money; Meg yearns to get married, and have kids and be a housewife; and Amy wants to travel to Europe, become a famous painter and marry rich, in that order! Beth dies young due to complications from Scarlet fever, but even she seems content with accepting that she's going to die, but not before she asks Jo to write for her. And this dying wish energizes Jo to write with conviction, For Beth.

Laurie and Amy
Timothée Chalamet as Theodore 'Laurie' Laurence, is the secret weapon for Little Women. His Laurie, under Gerwig's smart direction, is used in this film much more than any other Laurie, and he has a connection with each sister, and key private scenes with each sister, it's as if he's their brother and counselor who offers supportive words of wisdom from a boy's perspective to keep them on track of what is more ideal for them. He's flawed, he's irresponsible, a dreamer, a wanderer, and could be curt with the sisters, but he's a good young man who needs a strong woman in his life. Chalamet easily conveys the complex nature of Laurie magnificently. Laurie is told he's beautiful, twice by Amy and Jo, and his love at first sight affections for Jo is cute and obsessively sweet. She only sees him as a cute neighbor boy who is fun to do things with. But he's also a man who could get in her way of maintaining her fierce independence if she were to allow herself to love him back. However, Amy has been smitten with him since she first saw him as a child, and seven years later, after Jo doesn't accept his marriage proposal, the chance encounter of meeting Laurie in Europe and her looking at him with all her love ignites their inevitable smart union. 

I enjoyed Little Women much more than I did with Gerwig's Lady Bird. Her writing and direction on Little Women is much stronger and gives us a glimpse into her future as her becoming an Oscar winning director one day. Along with the beautiful costume designs by Jacqueline Durran; the set decoration by Claire Kaufman; cinematography of Yorick Le Saux; and the timely, lovely music by Alexandre Desplat, this is an Oscar caliber film that is stand out with prestige quality in all these categories. So that's why it is all the more shocking that in this past week as the Golden Globes only gave Little Women two nominations, and the Screen Actors Guild totally shut it out. I won't dwell on the reasons why, but moving forward, Sony will need to have multiple screenings in the coming days, and have screeners sent to each Oscar voter so that Little Women has a chance to be nominated in the previously mentioned artisan groups, but also Best Picture, Best Actress (Ronan), Supporting Actress (Pugh), Supporting Actor (Chalamet), Adapted Screenplay (Gerwig), and Best Director (Gerwig).

In this unusually strong year of so many excellent films, I fear that no female director will make the cut for Best Director, and that just kicks me in the gut. Therefore, I strongly feel that if there is a huge FYC campaign for Adapted Screenplay, this is where Gerwig could become an Oscar winner. It'll be a spectacular consolation prize from the industry in shutting out Greta, and other women directors, from the Best Director line up.

Little Women opens on December 25th, Christmas Day, appropriately. But in this shortened Oscar season, it opened too late (and without the promotional benefit of a film festival screening), I'm hopeful that Little Women can garner several high profile Oscar nominations, and take home all or at least one Oscar, so that Gerwig & Co. won't go home empty handed like they did in 2018 after six nominations for Lady Bird. The time has come, especially this year, to celebrate a woman filmmaker and writer for the brilliant work women have done this year!

Grade: A

Garrel, Ronan, Gerwig, Pugh and Chalamet at Paris Premiere 12 December

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Quick Film Review: 1917 (A+)

Friday, November 29, 2019

Quick Film Review: Knives Out (A)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Quick Film Review: Dark Waters (A-)