Rogue One and the rest   Leave a comment

I’m trying to round out my movies seen for 2016. This is mainly to help me keep track of what I’ve seen. I just remembered the NY Korean Film Festival as I was typing. I will list those here too. Oh and Doctor Strange and Loving. Let me add those. Then I will be done for the year.

Pop count is still 64 books and 77 movies.

Let’s start with Loving.

Loving (Nichols/16): Incredible that it’s true story conveyed with quiet grace.

Writer/director Jeff Nichols and star Ruth Negga at Loving Q&A @filmlinc #filmliveshere #jeffnichols #ruthnegga #joeledgerton #loving @lovingthefilm

Next, I’ll list the New York Korean Film Festival movies I saw.

Seeing #traintobusan @movingimagenyc #newyorkkoreanfilmfestival #nykff

Train to Busan (Yeon/16): The best of the three I saw. Effective telling of a zombie attack on a train…going to Busan. Definitely a crowd-pleaser. 

Phantom Detective (Jo/16): Highly stylized in pleasant way with interesting enough plot.

Age of Shadows (Kim/16): It was fun to see a currently popular Korean movie. I can’t remember the details but overall it was pretty decent. I thought it would be more Hollywood espionage but it was more Korean historical drama.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Zwick/16): As an avid fan of these books, I had to see this movie. I already made semi-peace with the fact that Tom Cruise is not the embodiment of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. But I like him in his movies and he’s dedicated to entertaining the fans. I can’t compare with the books but I’ll the ones that feature his military police background tend to be strong. So it was good source material and I was entertained enough. 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Yates/16): After I devoured Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Special Rehearsal Edition Script over the summer, I re-read all 7 books, watched all of the movies and re-read the play. So of course I was revved up to see Fantastic Beasts. It was fun but I really enjoyed reading the screenplay afterwards. JK Rowling is such a good writer. I understood more of the plot. Perhaps the stage directions were too subtle (for me). I have also been re-reading her Cormoran Strike books. So, so good

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Edwards/16): I was soooooo excited and pumped for Episode VII last year. The Force Awakens hit the right marks and holds up over multiple viewings. I was interested in Rogue One but less invested. However, for the most part I was into it. K-2SO is clearly the breakout star. No one does droids like the Star Wars universe. I’m glad Felicity Jones’ character had impressive skills, Donnie Yen gets a couple of good fight scenes. I didn’t quite get the dark tone of Diego Luna’s character. I get what they were going for but it didn’t quite gel for me. Now that Princess Leia, in real life, and Han Solo, in the story, are dead, I guess it’s all on Master Luke, C-3PO and R2-D2 and Chewie to carry the torch.

Doctor Strange (Derrickson/16): I liked Doctor Strange but I wasn’t completely enamored by it as I was anticipating. So I need to see it again. My inner hype was too high. I love Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, Khan, Alan Turing and Smaug so I want to love him as Doctor Strange. Give me time.

Posted December 31, 2016 by Michelle in Festival, Pop Books, Pop Movies

New York Film Festival 2016 (9/30-10/16) plus   Leave a comment

Edit: I’m adding my last impressions on 1/8/17.

Probably my final count for 2016:

Pop count:  Books read (and re-read) 64 and Movies seen (and re-seen in a case or two in the theater) 77 

I started to write my NYFF impressions but clearly did not finish. I thought I would first list the movies I saw and collect my pictures here. Then I will add my impressions as I write them.

1) List of movies seen at the 54th New York Film Festival:

September 30th- October 16

-Start of list-

The 13th 

I, Daniel Blake

Gimme Danger

Manchester by the Sea

Toni Erdmann



Projections 1

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail


Personal Shopper 

Bright Lights starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds 

The Unknown Girl


The Unknown Girl redux

Things to Come


The Lost City of Z

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Hermia and Helena

Yourself and Yours

-End of list-

2) Impressions and related pictures of the 54th New York Film Festival:

The 13th (DuVernay/16): Timely, powerful opener for festival by deeply talented Ava DuVernay driven true by creativity and astute impressions of modern life in America. Documentary on Netflix now. 

I, Daniel Blake (Loach/16): After The 13th I watched I, Daniel Blake which underscored the precarious nature of modern society in another developed country, England. 

Screenwriter and longtime #kenloach collaborator #paullaverty and #hayleysquires at passionate Q&A for #idanielblake @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere

Gimme Danger (Jarmusch/16): Fittingly devout homage to iconic music figures. 

#jimjarmusch and #iggypop at #gimmedanger screening @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere #thestooges

#nyff first? #jimjarmusch #iggypop intro #gimmedanger @filmlinc by gleefully giving us the finger. #filmliveshere #thestooges #iggypopandthestooges I’m so happy I got this shot!

I’m going to add Danny Says here because I saw it before the NYFF and it’s a good companion piece.

Godfrey Cheshire moderates Q&A @ifccenter with Writer-Director Brendan Toller and his shiny shoes live-streamed after 40-theater screening of Danny Says for Art House Theater Day 9/24/16. #brendantoller #dannysays #dannyfields #godfreycheshire #arthousetheaterday

Manchester by the Sea (Lonergan/16): The best movie of the festival and of the year. I’m taking the liberty of posting a picture from a screening that occurred at a later date.

The talented, lovably loquacious #kennethlonergan gives fully informative and inspiring Q&A after his exquisite #manchesterbythesea @movingimagenyc.

Toni Erdmann (Ade/16): Like nothing you’re expecting. Touching, humorous and memorable family story.

Peter Simonischek & Maren Ade at Toni Erdmann Q&A @filmlinc #nyff #petersimonischek #marenade #filmliveshere #tonierdmann

Moonlight (Jenkins/16): Artful. Impressionistic. Surprising. Kids are a great find. 1/8/17

#moonlight out in full force @filmlinc #nyff #barryjenkins #tarrellmccraney #mahershalaali #alexhibbert #janellemonae #naomieharris #jadenpiner #ashtonsanders #jharreljerome #trevanterhodes #andreholland #filmliveshere

Paterson (Jarmusch/16): Quietly engaging. It’s Adam Driver’s movie. 1/8/17

Rounding off my stellar quadruple feature day @filmlinc #nyff with #jimjarmusch’s #paterson. #filmliveshere and now “I live here.”

#adamdriver got his commercial driver’s license & read a lot of poetry to prepare for #paterson to #jimjarmusch’s approval and enthusiasm @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere

Projections Program 1 reflects filmic experimentation as it captures and ponders existence. For me highlight was “Real Italian Pizza David Rimmer, Canada, 1971, 16mm, 13m Scenes outside a Manhattan pizza joint, shot over eight months from a fourth-floor apartment window. Men stand eating their slices and drinking their sodas alone; groups of friends and neighborhood acquaintances, mostly black, hang out, talking and laughing; a few cops, all white, march a man away in handcuffs; summer turns to winter. Preserved by the Academy Film Archive.” This really speaks to value of film preservation. @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (James/16): High recommend for this documentary about mortgage crisis that has elements of intrigue, a courtroom drama with a charismatic cast of characters. 1/8/17

#amytaubin moderates Q&A with #stevejames and #markmitten after incredible doc Abacus: Small Enough to Jail #abacus #abacussmallenoughtojail @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere @abacusmovie @kartemquin_films

Q&A after Abacus: Small Enough to Jail with entire Sung Family who allowed #stevejames access to document their ordeal to let history judge it as Thomas Sung eloquently shared. #amytaubin #markmitten @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere #abacus #abacussmallenoughtojail @abacusmovie @kartemquin_films

Julieta (Almodovar/16): Nice and steady filmmaking by Almodovar. 1/8/17

After #julieta audience applauds #pedroalmodovar #AdrianaUgarte #emmasuarez @filmlinc #nyff #pedroalmodóvar #emmasuárez #filmliveshere

Q&A for #julieta #pedroalmodovar #AdrianaUgarte #emmasuarez @filmlinc #nyff #pedroalmodóvar #emmasuárez #filmliveshere

Personal Shopper (Assayas/16): Kristen Stewart keeps this weird, curvy movie interesting even if we don’t get much resolution. 1/8/17

Q&A for #personalshopper #olivierassayas wasn’t sure if #kristenstewart would make movie because it was a bit weird but she jumped on board as soon as she read it. #nyff @filmlinc #filmliveshere

Bright Lights starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (Bloom & Stevens/16): Intimate look at celebrity, mother-daughter adult life and Gary Fisher that is heartfelt, funny and intriguing. I am writing this the same week both of them passed away so it is a bittersweet memory seeing this documentary. Having seen it, I knew they lived next door to each other and had daily contact. They leave their pop legacies behind.

#carriefisher’s dog #garyfisher comes on stage first but then waits for his mom before sitting @filmlinc #nyff

#toddfisher #garyfisher #carriefisher #alexisbloom #fisherstevens #kentjones listening to Debbie Reynolds on phone after Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere

​Another throwback to Bright Lights: Starring #carriefisher and #debbiereynolds @filmlinc #nyff. Debbie Reynolds singing on phone. #garyfisher #toddfisher

The Unknown Girl (Dardenne Brothers/16): The Dardennes once again strive and succeed in presenting compelling stories about how we value one another as fellow humans. 1/8/17

I was pleased to get “Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne” on screen with the real #Dardennes after #unknowngirl @filmlinc #nyff #dardennesbrothers #jeanpierredardenne #lucdardenne #theunknowngirl #filmliveshere

Luc talks while Jean-Pierre listens. Q&A for #unknowngirl #theunknowngirl @filmlinc #nyff #jeanpierredardenne #lucdardenne #thedardennebrothers #filmliveshere

From my second viewing: Jean-Pierre talks while Luc listens @filmlinc #nyff #unknowngirl redux #dardennes #filmliveshere

Jackie (Larrain/16): Luscious and gut-wrenching. Great performance by Natalie Portman.

Guess what I saw? @filmlinc #nyff @jackiefilm #natalieportman #pablolarrain #pablolarraín

Intro to #Jackie @jackiefilm @filmlinc #nyff #pablolarrain #pablolarraín #natalieportman #petersaarsgard #maxcasella #noahoppenheim #filmliveshere

Things to Come (Hansen-Løve/16): Inspired by her philosophy professor divorced parents, Mia Hansen-Løve tells a story of seeking and finding meaning in one’s existence in modern life.

#miahansenlove introduces #thingstocome #lavenir last night with #isabellehuppert #romankolinka @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere

Elle (Verhoeven/16): Revenge tale Verhoeven style with unique and dynamic lead Isabelle Hubert.

#paulverhoeven #isabellehuppert #elle Q&A last night @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere

#paulverhoeven takes a bow next to his star #isabellehuppert after #elle last night @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere

The Lost City of Z (Gray/16): Great tale of the draw of adventure, real and symbolic treasure and role of brotherhood/familyhood. 1/8/17

Closing Night: The Lost City of Z @filmlinc #nyff #thelostcityofz #lostcityofz – Although I have 3 more movies tomorrow! #filmliveshere and I lived here.

#robertpattinson after #lostcityofz #thelostcityofz @filmlinc #nyff – Though this isn’t the clearest I am pleased with the heart throb aw shucks pose I caught of this talented actor who I can’t help referring to as “Edward” even as he has moved far beyond Twilight. I am a fan of it all.

#jamesgray #lostcityofz #thelostcityofz @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere

#robertpattinson #siennamiller #tomholland #angusmacfadyen #edwardashley #lostcityofz #thelostcityofz #jamesgray @filmlinc #nyff #filmliveshere #charliehunnam

#jamesgray @filmlinc starting intros with #charliehunnam’s video from movie set in Montenegro #lostcityofz #thelostcityofz #nyff

#robertpattinson #siennamiller clapping for their crew being named by #jamesgray for #lostcityofz #thelostcityofz @filmlinc #nyff closing night

3) I still had 3 more movies to see after the official closing night. The NYFF has been showing the more popular movies on Sunday. Wonderful practice.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Lee/16): I seem to be in minority of finding movie effective as individual’s internal journey being conveyed visually to audience. 1/8/17

#billylynnslonghalftimewalk #anglee #4khd #120frames #120framespersecond battle scenes – to be experienced shortly @filmlinc #NYFF outpost @amctheatres

Hermia and Helena (Piñeiro/16): Challenging in a charming way. Paying attention pays off. Nice homage to Shakespeare. The picture below and hearing is apropos of I do say say so myself. 

I usually have one (fun) stalkerazzi picture from the festival. Here is Matías Piñeiro #MatíasPiñeiro #matiaspineiro chillaxing in the lobby of an encore screening of his delightful #hermiaandhelena @filmlinc #nyff. Blurry because I was walking in line into the theater as I noticed him standing there.

Yourself and Yours (Hong/16): Of interest for oddity but has similar themes of fantasy and unreliability of characters as Hong’s other movies. 

-End of NYFF-

Seen October 19, 2016

Trumpland (Moore/16):  #MichaelMoore @ifccenter Q&A for #michaelmooreintrumpland. 12 days ago this movie didn’t exist. The world learned of its existence on Monday. Michael Moore contacted IFC and asked to show it. IFC gave free use of the theater and free tickets were given. 100’s were turned away. IFC and vicinity was described as being reminiscent of Lollapalooza. He does not have a distributor. He has asked IFC to distribute it. For now it is playing there all week.

Posted December 31, 2016 by Michelle in Festival, Pop Culture, Pop Movies

Under the Shadow   Leave a comment

Pop Count: Books 52 and Movies 67

I will comment on NYFF movies soon but here is one non festival movie worth catching in the theater.

Under the Shadow (Anvari/16): Lots packed into taut thriller set in post-revolution Tehran. I’m not easily scared and I felt the wind knocked out of me in one scene – in a fun horror movie way. Great child actor whose face and demeanor keeps one guessing til end. I wanted to comment and recommend on the one non-NYFF movie I’ve seen recently while it is out on theaters. Well-worth the investment of 84 minutes of undivided attention. #undertheshadow #babakanvari #nargesrashidi #avinmanshadi

Excellent #jonathandemme concert movie for #jt #JT2020Tour #justintimberlake on Netflix. Cute & fun #belbivdevoe Poison encore. I admit while I like and appreciate the talent of JT, the decision to watch was my admiration for Jonathan Demme. Stop Making Sense is an iconic concert movie of an iconic band (Talking Heads). JT is lucky to have worked with a master. But it is clear Demme understands JT’s innate talent and effective hard work as both are captured expertly on film.

Posted October 16, 2016 by Michelle in Pop Movies, Pop Music

Happy Banned Books Week 2016!   Leave a comment

I read banned books. Here’s a fascinating list: #happybannedbooksweek #bannedbooks #bannedbooksweek2016 #bannedbooksweek

Happy Banned Books Week 2016! Classics on the list include books Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, The Bluest Eye, Animal Farm, The Lord of the Rings. 

Here’s one of many lists: (I think I shortened it to fit it on Instagram hence the missing books)

 1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

6. Ulysses, by James Joyce

7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison

8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

9. 1984, by George Orwell

11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov

12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

27. Native Son, by Richard Wright

28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey

29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London

36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin

38. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren

40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence

49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

57. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron

64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence

66. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles

73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs

74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence

80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer

84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Millerke

88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser 

#bannedbooksweek #thelordoftherings #lotr

Related links:

From ALA site

Posted September 27, 2016 by Michelle in Just because, Pop Books, Pop Culture

Southside with You and more    Leave a comment

Pop count: Books 48 and Movies 45

I’m trying to get up to date with my movie impression before the New York Film Festival starts on Friday, 9/30/16.

Southside with You (Tanne/16):
At this point difficult to watch without keenly comparing real-life counterparts to actors portraying them. Fairly engaging tale depicted best with silences. Very convincing young POTUS-to-be. Real FLOTUS’s lightness missing but other aspects effectively suggested. 

At Q&A writer-director Richard Tanne said most of the events really occurred on the day portrayed with one exception (community meeting occurred on different day). Dialogue imagined based on writings and other materials out there for public consumption.

Little Men (Sachs/16): Kids are the star of this movie. They are on-screen for much of the story and charmed me. 

Writer-Director Ira Sachs self-moderated informative and cheery Q&A after Little Men @filmlinc #irasachs #littlemen #filmliveshere

Bridget Jones’s Baby (Maguire/16): Nice reminder of Renee Zellweger’s acting chops. I started the movie rooting firmly for Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth’s character but was surprised to have my faith swayed a bit by the new Patrick Dempsey character. Plus, Bridget kind of gets it together.

Danny Says (Toller/15): Intriguing individual presented in entertaining way using his archives, other existing resources and new interviews. Idea of drive and creativity explored in Danny Fields’ life of believing in talent and importance of music and musicians in his world.

Godfrey Cheshire moderates Q&A @ifccenter with Writer-Director Brendan Toller and his shiny shoes live-streamed after 40-theater screening of Danny Says for Art House Theater Day 9/24/16. #brendantoller #dannysays #dannyfields #godfreycheshire #arthousetheaterday

Posted September 25, 2016 by Michelle in Pop Movies