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Wonder Woman (2017)
It passed the Bechdel test!
And that definitely isn't the only positive about this wonder-movie.
It is a well told origin story. It tells us where Diana is coming from, how she became who she is and why she's doing what she's doing. It paints a very clear picture. It makes you invested. Diana is the main focus but we get a sense of who the main supporting characters are as well. Especially Steve Trevor who is treated way better by the script than his female counterparts from similar movies. I really liked the merry band of misfits accompanying Diana on her quest. They gave both a face and perspective to the war and to humanity. Etta was my favorite.
The casting was amazing as well. Gal Gadot gave Diana strength, certain arrogance coming from trusting one's abilities but also innocence, naivety and vulnerability. Chris Pine was charming as a spy should be while not threatened at all by Diana's abilities and his feelings for her. And the Big Bad? Maybe I should have figured it out on my own but I like surprises, so why bother. They were sufficiently threatening and it was easy to understand and fear their monstrosity.
The action sequences were really cool as well. Though there were a couple of instances where the CGI was a little too on the nose. My favorite was the very first fight on the beach. So beautiful and heartbreaking.
Visually it was also very appealing. The costumes, scenery, camera work. And also the music was well picked.
Overall, it was everything one could wish for from such a movie. Compelling story-telling, interesting multi-dimensional characters, humor and emotions, stunning visuals. Well done, girls, well done.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Moo Moo (2017)
They tackled a very serious topic in a wonderful, sensitive and clear manner. They didn't vilify, they didn't sugar-cote and they didn't make it into a joke. The episode was still amusing but the fun came from other places in the show. Such as The Adventures of Jake & Amy in babysitting.
I applaud the writing and the acting, especially of Terry Crews and Andre Braugher.
La La Land (2016)
It is flashy and colorful and the acting is good - the dancing and singing not so much, some of the music is really well placed if forgettable. But it is a movie that pretends for 128 minutes to be something it is not.
It is not a musical. It tries to be. But it forgets 20 minutes in and then remembers in the end for one wonderful classical musical scene that would be brilliant if it was all that La La Land was. But the rest, is not really a musical. Mostly because while it doesn't lack music it lacks music numbers. And the ones it has feel mostly out of place and there only so a bland love story can be called something more interesting. It is a movie with music. Not particularly good music either. There are two numbers that stuck with me for longer then the length of the movie. The rest might work within the story but doesn't manage to stand on its own.
The movie also pretends to be original. Which it is not. There has been stories like that. And better ones.
The characters are not sympathetic either. He is snobbish and self-centered and even in his growth remains a jerk. She has no idea what she wants and while she pretends to grow she remains a child. If the actors were any less charming and worked less well together I would be rooting for them to get slapped for half the movie. It made caring if they stay together or not and watching their struggles and their happy moments much less involved. And uninvolved audience is not something you are striving for as a story teller.
And the ending of the movie, don't even let me start on that. I was somewhat looking forward to it despite the movie's flaws and then the movie slapped me in the face and spit on itself and me as well. I ended up feeling lied to and took for a fool.
I have seen two wonderful movies that same week and going out of La La Land it was everything a movie should not make you feel. Disappointed. Mislead. Empty. Just like the movie is.
Conviction: Enemy Combatant (2017)
Who watches the watchdogs
What I really appreciate about this show is how it doesn't shy away form current and tough topics and the way it handles them without being preachy. It is also nice how at the beginning of each case you have different opinions in the team. And it is not always the same person pro or contra. Which helps to paint each character further. And all the characters are full fleshed and have dimensions and flaws and are a delight to watch.
This episode was a look into the flaws and prejudice in the so-called war on terror as well as a further look into who Hayes is and why she is the way. Im not sure we were suppose to be sympathetic with her father because he came out of the story as self-serving and uncaring. Just like with her mom I believe they love her. I just don't think they care about her. Or Jackson. It puts a lot of her behavior into perspective.
I really enjoyed the few team moments we got. Their reactions to papa Morisson, Fankies story, Sam calling Hayes bug.
The case was heart-breaking on many levels. It showcased how for some groups the acts of few affect many. And how sometimes the people who are supposed to protect you do the exact opposite. And that sometimes doing a good deed is nothing more than a political decision.
Very very strong episode. And Hayley as always delivered an incredible performance. I love the whole team but she is the linchpin.
What a Treat
This is such a funny, spooky, action-packed, well-acted movie. Except for one scene I enjoyed every little bit of it. It pays homage to the original but doesn't rely on it. Though the cameos are adorable.
Besides ghost, the main theme to me is feeling under-appreciated and discouraged when the world can't or won't acknowledge your talents and skills and knowledge. Which is something most of people can relate to.
And it is also about friendship. The four women are very different but they just fit. And then there is Kevin. The acting is on spot. Every second.
I liked all the references. There is a lot of amusing lines and several genuinely funny jokes. Without the need to tear anyone down.
I also liked the villain. Unappriciated man healing his ego by destroying the world. I enjoyed myself immensely. And I really hope there is a second one.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)
What a sweet sweet movie
Nia Vardalos took all the ingredients that made the first big fat Greek wedding such a joy, put a little bit more of this and little bit less of that, added a little extra, stirred and the end result is a sweet, funny and touching movie.
Toula starts the second movie just like she started the first one - stuck. She is just stuck in a different place. And as she faces her daughter's imminent departure form the nest, her crazy family and the fact she doesn't seems to be able to find time for a date with her husband, she will yet again have to take her life into her own hands.
The movie is about importance of family without ever being preachy. And you do laugh at the ridiculousness but from every word and look and hug it is clear that while the family is driving both Toula and Nia up the wall at times, they both love their families fiercely. And that is what makes this little movie so different from others. It is not meant as a joke about an overbearing family. It is a little exasperated love letter to them.
And yet again, it works.
Scorpion: Super Fun Guys (2015)
Super Fun (Guy)
This was one of the best episodes ever. And if you could hand-wave the ridiculousness of the bomb disposal it was pretty much perfection.
It was really funny. Ray brings an interesting element to the show. And while I miss Adriana I like Katherine. She fits right in. Also seeing the team in the costumes was nice.
It was suspenseful but I didn't feel like they were on a brink of a catastrophe. And while their mishaps were plenty they felt natural, not made up just to up the ante.
And I love how the episode also centered around relationships. Be it romantic or friendships. I like Toby and Cabe finding something to bond over. I love how Walter is with Sly and his sweet if heart-breaking steps towards maybe possibly acknowledging what he feels for Paige. I absolutely adore Sly and Megan. The relationship is beautifully written and while it was clear from the start it can't really end well and was always more in the background than Toby's in-your-face crush or Walter and Paige's one-step-forward-two-steps-back, it painted a clear picture right from the start. And it made me believe and care for them.
I enjoyed myself very much, my heart broke for them all a little bit. And the last scene was pure genius.
Scorpion: Fish Filet (2015)
Always with just seconds to spare
I understand that the concept of Scorpion is about the team being able to do things that mere mortals are not able to but it would be nice if they didn't always have to run against a clock and achieve their goal with only seconds to spare. They could shake the formula once in a while.
Other then that I quite enjoyed the episode. I so felt for and with Sly. But he did such a good job.
I like that his relationship with Megan, as low-key as it is, is the most functioning one on the show. Walter and Paige are slowly learning from each other. And poor Toby. He often comes across as pushy but it can't be easy to be so self-aware and also aware of the others to understand what is happening and knowing there isn't much you can do about it. Though I have the feeling all is not as it seems with Happy's gentleman caller.
I really enjoyed the subplot with Ralph. He found an effective solution and he is aware enough to know how messed up his friends are in some regards.
I also liked Cabe playing father to both Toby and Sly though I hate that they threw an interesting female character under the bus to prop him. That is just lazy writing.
Overall an entertaining and suspenseful episode.
And it was nice to see Wade Williams in prison again.
Magic Mike XXL (2015)
A Movie for Women
This was such a lovely, fun and feminist movie. Its main objective was to bring a smile to woman's face and make her feel appreciated and worshiped. And the movie managed it.
For the Kings of Tampa, more than the last ride, this was a way to escape their mold and create their own path. To face their dreams outside of the stage. It was really great to get to know the characters more and to see their friendship. It is clear the boys spent some time not only in the gym but also in a dance studio in preparation for this movie. And it was appreciated. A lot :)
I love how this movie concentrated more on showing the stripping is for the woman. And while I don't think I would feel comfortable in those situations, it was clear the women enjoyed being cherished and it was also wonderful to see so many different women and different ways appreciation can be shown.
I also liked the character of Rome and Jada did a wonderful job with her. She was all about the women.
This is a movie for women in a way that very few movies are. And that is why women should go to see it. For pleasure. And men should go see it as well. For education.
Hawaii Five-0: Kuka'awale (2015)
Heart to Heart
This was one of the best episodes of the show. It had a good flow, action, laughs, cute little subplots with Jerry and the dealer-dude, kick-ass Kono and most of all, it had Danny and Steve being friends and partners and an actual married couple.
The creators often try to pretend otherwise but the McDanno relationship is the heart of the show. You take that away you are left with a half eaten stale bagel. I'm not saying every episode should focus on them as much as this one did. But the carguments, their friendship, the antagonism, their love for each other, those are the salt or the roots the show needs to grow and to taste.
The case was interesting enough and provided little pauses from the therapy session that were Danny and Steve being cooped up in an apartment on a stake out. And those talks, all of them were just brilliant. Some were fun to watch, others were just a thing of beauty. That couch talk about why Steve is not playing guitar anymore was beautifully written, shot and acted. Kudos to Alex and Scott, and kudos to Daniel too. He really did a great job.
I loved how absolutely non-plused they were when Ruth mistaken them for a couple. Well, when I say mistaken, and then Danny suggested they "go with the gay thing to keep their cover". And everyone repeatedly called them married. It might have been just throwing a bone to fans but that is the relationship they have been writing from the start. They love each other and they are married, with the good and the bad.
I also liked Steve with the cat, the return of the therapy session more of that, please, Danny actually doing the homework, seeing Arden Cho, Kono arresting Mia and obviously the ending with the guitar and the car keys.
Episodes like this are the reason why I started to watch H50 again. I hope they keep up the good work.