Monthly Archives: December 2017

Molly’s Game

Mollys-Game

Aaron Sorkin is brilliant, one of my favorite writers, but he has patterns and traps he sometimes falls into: rat-a-tat dialogue that is sometimes more clever than it should be, a dogged everyman as his central character, unrelenting idealism. It’s why, despite some fantastic moments, The Newsroom was a bit of a failure. And it’s why, despite some missteps, Molly’s Game is a triumph. Based on the book/true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier who sidestepped her future plans to become the host of an exclusive high-high-stakes poker game, raking in millions on both coasts until her eventual arrest. The film jumps around between the case and Molly’s retelling of what lead to her eventual downfall, a bit too similar in structure to The Social Network (which Sorkin wrote), but it’s still a funny, surprising and interesting look at the underground poker world.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under movies

All the Money in the World

allthemoney

A lot of press has been made of Director Ridley Scott, and the other producers of All the Money in the World, and their decision to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in the wake of the allegations against Spacey. Watching Plummer was interesting knowing how quickly his scenes were put together. It’s an amazing feat, but it’s possibly the most interesting thing about the movie, based on the true story of the kidnapping of a billionaire’s grandson and his refusal to the pay the ransom. It aims to be taut thriller, but the stronger element is the character interplay.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

The Post

the-post-2

Meryl Streep. Tom Hanks. Steven Spielberg. It’s so easy to take for granted how good these titans are, it’s almost boring to see them churn out another great film. But the triumvirate at the center of The Post, which details the newspaper’s salvo into political prominence with its publishing of classified government documents regarding the Vietnam war, deliver an exhilarating, thrilling testament to the importance of a free press. The movie is timeless, the fashion and setting of the early 70s don’t choke the film with nostalgia, and yet it’s also, almost accidentally, the perfect movie for our current existence: an aggressive, contrarian president who cultivates a distrust in the media while seeking to bury his own criminal activity (you know, allegedly). It’s also a movie that explores the rise of feminism through Post publisher Kay Graham (Streep) and her authority, as it is questioned, challenged, and undermined by the men that surround her.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under movies

Downsizing

Matt-Damon-Downsizing

A perfect example of a movie that works better as an idea than an actual film. Co-writer/Director Alexander Payne (Election, The Descendents, Nebraska, About Schmidt) always seems to center his films around a loveable loser, and in this case, it’s Paul Safranek (Matt Damon), an occupational therapist from Omaha, Nebraska (my hometown, and Payne’s) whose job, wife (Kristin Wiig) and future are all lacking. Safranek and his wife are drawn to the idea of “downsizing” the new practice of shrinking yourself to reduce your carbon footprint and help save the world. It’s an irreversible process, and when he wakes up five inches tall, Paul learns that made the one-way trip alone.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

Chiang Mai

run1

I’ve gotten a bit distracted by reality so I’m still playing catch-up on my travels. I’ve been back from Thailand for nearly two weeks and am just now getting around to posting the rest of my pictures. While Bangkok was a bit more chill, TravelJonny was out in full force in Chiang Mai. There were hikes, waterfalls, and food, glorious, food.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under life, travels

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

lastjedi

The latest installment of George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away series is an overlong but exciting film that relies less on the nostalgia of the franchise than The Force Awakens did, but is mired in a whole slew of new problems. The Last Jedi picks up right where the last part of the story left us – new heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley) handing a lightsaber back to original trilogy hero Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Across the universe, the rebellion, led by the hardened General Leia (dearly departed Carrie Fisher) is on the run from a First Order attack. And the weakest aspect of the entire film is that very little happens beyond that. The last hour though is an amazing ride that is as thrilling as any sequence in the franchise.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

The Shape of Water

shape

Director Guillermo del Toro is one of the great visual storytellers of the current generation, and The Shape of Water is another fully-realized set piece in his canon. Set in the Cold War era 60s, the film follows mute Elisa (Sally Hawkins), who works at a secret government laboratory, who becomes enamored with the mysterious creature that is housed there. While the government wants to dissect the creature, Elisa begins to communicate with him, and, naturally, feels a deeper connection. The fairy-tale romance is played against a more serious threat looming from the hyper-aggressive government operative in charge of the operation (Michael Shannon being all creepy Michael Shannon-y). While the film is beautiful, and everyone is wonderful, it loses a little steam by playing out completely as expected.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under movies

Call Me By Your Name

callme

Everything about Call Me By Your Name is gorgeous, from the lush Italian setting, to the idyllic 80s backdrop, the nostalgic summer moments, down to the strapping men at the center of it. Young Elio (Timothee Chalamet) is a renaissance teen-fluent in multiple languages, a musical prodigy, avid reader-enjoying his summer when he meets the American Oliver (Armie Hammer), a research assistant working for Elio’s father, and boarding with the family. Elio is fascinated, annoyed, and charmed by Oliver almost instantly and he must struggle through his evolving feelings towards him. Only it’s not that much of a struggle, and that is the beauty of the film.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under movies

The Disaster Artist

disaster

Making a movie about the making of the “worst movie ever made” (aka “The Room” aka “the Citizen Kane of bad movies”), it could be easy to just spend the time making fun of everything and magnifying the weakness. But director-star James Franco obviously has a soft spot for Room writer-director-star Tommy Wiseau and the Disaster Artist is really a paean to the struggling wannabe actor and his friendship between Wiseau and Room co-star Greg Sestero.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under movies

I, Tonya

tonya

The summation at the end of I, Tonya, the he-said/she-said retelling of Tonya Harding’s rise and fall, suggests that we, the public, want it easy. We want our heroes shiny and golden, and our villains, dark and menacing, and we have trouble accepting that the venn diagram that falls over most people has a big overlap in the middle. And most of the movie is spent detailing that middle as it comes to Harding (Margot Robbie), a prodigy in ice skating, spurred on by her cold, hard stage mom, Lavona (Allison Janney), who falls for the wrong guy, abusive dufus, Jeff Gilooly (Sebastian Stan). It’s a credit to the movie that it made me care about a subject (ice skating), characters (Harding/Gilooly), and general series of events (the Nancy Kerrigan incident), that I have zero interest in.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under movies