Beauty and the Beast and more   Leave a comment

Pop count: 15 Books 16 Movies

Beauty and the Beast (Condon/17): As a fan of the 1991 animated version, I had high hopes for this version. The casting seemed delightful. I was thoroughly pleased with the live action rendition. 

Your Name (Shinkai/16): My family loved this animated movie and saw it before me so I was greatly anticipating it. I made sure I saw the subtitled version in the theater although I will absolutely see it again on small screen. I don’t want to build it up too much but it is a lovely, engaging, thoughtful creation. The premise is simple – a boy and a girl switch bodies through some unknown phenomenon. The execution is sublime. The story builds and builds to a point where the viewer feels the weight and joy of the developments as the characters. Not surprisingly Shinkai cited Miyazaki as a personal influence. Wondrous and wonderful!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Gunn/17): The first one was delightful. Groot won my heart forever. Chris Pratt proved his superhero worth. The band came together and I couldn’t wait for more. Vol. 2 worked for me; it was more juvenile than I remembered but it was okay. Overall it did the trick and entertained me and now I’m waiting to see how they mesh with the rest of the Marvel Universe. Avengers Infinity War, anyone?

Risk (Poitras/16): Laura Poitras is an excellent documentarian. She also seeks out and is sought out by people who have stories that draw viewers in whether they thought they were interested or not. “Risk” is successful in presenting a story in a way it is not available to anyone else. Stirs up thoughts, feelings and opinions in a special Poitras way. Thought-provoking and well-crafted.

Posted May 21, 2017 by Michelle in Pop Movies

La La Land and I Am Not Your Negro   Leave a comment

Pop count: Books 5 and Movies 10

I had a funny double header right before the Oscars last month. I am just catching up here.

La La Land (Chazelle/16): I loved Whiplash so I was looking forward to La La Land. Then I kept putting off seeing it and then heard extreme reactions from family and friends from love to hate. I liked it a lot. The two leads are immensely appealing. The story spoke to me. It made an impression especially the last sequence. That really sold it to me.

I Am Not Your Negro (Peck/16): This one I kept making plans to see and even got sold out of a showing when I got to the door. I was determined to see it in the theater. Solidly constructed with meaningful and timely source material. James Baldwin probably would not want to be relevant in 2017 but he is. His words are full of personal weight but speak to the people.

Posted March 20, 2017 by Michelle in Pop Movies

John Wick: Chapter 2   Leave a comment

Pop Count: Books 2 and Movies 6

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Stahelski/17): Is it worth leaving your house to see this? Heck, yeah! I will re-post my impression of John Wick after this because it applies to Chapter 2. Is it possible that Keanu is in even better shape and does cooler stunts in better clothes? Another resounding yes. I think the level of violence is the same. Escapist action movie at its best. And more dog as loyal companion appreciation. This time there is no doubt there will be another chapter. Also, even though this is only a week after the first movie leaves off, Keanu’s hair and sideburns are more badass too.

John Wick (Leitch & Stahelski/14): Who better to direct Keanu Reeves in an action movie than his longtime stunt double (Stahelski)? Keanu looks great. He wears 50 like a pro. One must completely suspend disbelief but then it’s pretty entertaining. Looks like a video game but hangs together long enough to tell very simple story with big action set pieces. I actually tried to keep a body count because I read there were 84. I only got to 77. The other 7 must’ve gone by fast. I know that only 4 of them were NOT made by Keanu’s character.

Posted February 12, 2017 by Michelle in Appreciating the past, Pop Movies

The Salesman   Leave a comment

Pop count: Books 1 and Movies 5

The Salesman (Farhadi/2016): Fireworks Wednesday (Farhadi/2006) which had a theater run last year impressed me. Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi has proven his talent to distill meaningful, cultural yet universal issues of lives of women, relationship expectations between partners, family members and friends through his body of work to date. I expected nothing less than similarly spot on story-telling in The Salesman and was more than satisfied. Challenging issues about societal, political and interpersonal rules coming into play when reality strikes and puts ordinary individuals in unexpected and really undesirable circumstances are explored without telling the viewer whose side to take. Familiar players from his other movies give compelling performances.

Posted January 29, 2017 by Michelle in Pop Movies

Gleason   Leave a comment

Pop count back to zero for 2017.

Pop count: Books 1 and Movies 1

Gleason (Tweel/16): Well-worth seeing. Fascinating, touching, impressively personal and revealing documentary about living through and with the gifts, obstacles and challenges of a family’s remarkable existence as a unit and as individuals.

Director #ClayTweel introducing #Gleason @filmlinc last night (1/3/17) #stevegleason #als #teamgleason #filmliveshere

Posted January 9, 2017 by Michelle in Pop Movies