movies

“I, Tonya” is a Tour de Force for Margot Robbie and Allison Janey (Mini-Review)

mv5bmji5mdy1njyzml5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjizndaxndm-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_I don’t know that I, Tonya (written by Steven Rogers and directed by Craig Gillespie) every fully comes together as a film, but it’s a massively enjoyable two hours, for sure.  It’s mainly due to extraordinary performances from the cast – especially Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding and Allison Janey as her mother, LaVona Golden – that the film ends up being as good as it is. Narratively, it’s a bit all over the place. Both the framing of the story – as though the filmmakers are interviewing the people involved in the plot – and the occasional literal interruption of scenes by the various characters breaking the fourth wall to address the audience are very clever and give the film a sense of humor and narrative thrust the whole film. I wanna be clear that I, Tonya is a very enjoyable film. The actors are great, the dialogue is witty and sharp, the script is often very clever and very funny, and the cinematography is frequently stunning – especially during the scenes reenacting one of Tonya Harding’s figure skating performances.

mv5bnjm5n2y1nzutmju4os00nda3lwfhymytnjrhotq3zjg5njc0xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjuwnzk3ndc-_v1_sy1000_sx1500_al_I just don’t know that the actual plot of the film ever fully comes together. I’m not sure what the movie was trying to say about the whole Nancy Kerrigan incident. I think the film was operating under the assumption that Harding, herself, was mostly innocent, and the whole thing was the fault of her ex-husband Jeff (Sebastian Stan) and his idiot friend Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser). This thesis would make sense in the context of the film as a frequent, recurring theme is how Tonya never takes responsibility for her own actions. Her poor scores are always someone else’s fault; anytime anything goes wrong, it’s never her fault. So, maybe the film is extending that theme to cover the Nancy Kerrigan incident. It’s not Tonya’s fault that it happened, even though she knew about it. I just don’t think the film really makes that clear. Still, even if the film doesn’t ever completely come together narratively and thematically, it’s still a lot of fun. It’s funny, beautiful to look at, filled with impressive performances from talented actors and actresses, and it’s a good way to spend two hours.

(3.5 out of 5 wands)

An In-Depth Behind the Scenes Look at a “Fairy Tale for Troubled Times” (“The Shape of Water: Creating a Fairy Tale for Troubled Times” REVIEW)

81wgzinxhzlEveryone loves a good making-of documentary in the bonus features of the DVD of a film. Well, this book is the next best thing. Written by Gina McIntyre, The Shape of Water: Creating a Fairy Tale for Troubled Times details the making of director Guillermo del Toro’s latest film, The Shape of Water. From the Publisher: From master storyteller, Guillermo del Toro, comes The Shape of Water—an other-worldly fairy tale set against the backdrop of the Cold War-era United States circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and coworker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Doug Jones. Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water: Creating a Fairy Tale for Troubled Times chronicles the entire filmmaking journey, from development to design to filming. Featuring interviews and commentary from key actors and members of the creative team, the book also showcases the amazing concept art and design work created for the film. For del Toro fans and movie lovers everywhere, it’s the perfect way to explore this exciting new movie from a master filmmaker known for his poignant storytelling and visual grandeur. (more…)

A Movie Worthy of an Amazonian (Wonder Woman – Review)

wonder_woman_poster2b252852529If this is what it’s like to be a Greek goddess, sign me up. This movie has it all! Interesting mythology, great characters, amazing fight sequences, a well thought out plot, and an atmosphere that just makes you feel good. It’s exactly the kind of superhero movie that’s both wanted and needed right now. The latest film in the DCEU has finally come out! Directed by Patty Jenkins with a screenplay by Allan Heinberg (from a story by Heinberg, Zack Snyder, and Jason Fuchs), Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot as the titular Amazon warrior as she makes her way through a war-torn Europe during the first World War. With the aid of Steve Trevor (a US Military Pilot who washed onto the shores of Themyscira, played by Chris Pine), Diana Prince (as she’s referred to in the movie – they never actually call her Wonder Woman) sets out to bring an end to the war before any more atrocities can be committed. But, it’s never as simple as that, is it? (This review strives to be spoiler-free, but for anybody really averse to spoilers, you might wanna wait to read this until after you’ve seen the movie. I’m not gonna go into too many specifics, especially about the latter half of the film, but regardless, this is your warning.)  (more…)