Here are movies I watched in February.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back - as you know...I am a BIG Tom Cruise fan. I loved the first Jack Reacher. This one was really good too but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first one, which surprised me. I was rather tired though when I was watching it so maybe that had something to do with it.
Bridget Jones' Baby - I have read all the Bridget Jones books and have seen all the movies. This one wasn't actually a book first, which was a bit different than the previous movies. However, it was still a great movie and true to the story and character. Funny, sweet, and it ended just like I wanted it to end. Great movie for a girl's night. PS: I love Renee Zellweger too and wish she made more movies.
Each year, I try to see all the best picture nominated movies but I hadn't seen any this year so I was happy when Regal Cinemas had an "Oscar Film Festival" and I got to see these movies for one low price. It was awesome!!
Lion - this movie was so good!! The first half of the movie is subtitled because it takes place in India when a young boy, Saroo, finds himself separated from his family and 1,600 kilometers (roughly 1,000 miles) from home. He basically takes care of himself and lives on the streets of Calcutta for 2 years before he is adopted by a family from Tazmania. After college, memories of his life in India haunt him and he does what he can to try to find out where he is from and to find his family. This is based on a true story - very, very good!! So glad I saw this.
La La Land - while this movie takes place in the modern day, it has an "old Hollywood" kind of feel. It is a musical, which use to be so popular in the 1940s and 1950s but you don't hear of them anymore. In a nutshell, it is about a jazz pianist and an aspiring actress in Los Angeles, who fall in love. Besides the great music and beautiful story, I loved the colors - the cast wore all solid colors, no prints - just solids and all the colors of the clothes, cars, murals, etc were just so colorful and bright! It is pleasing to the eye and pleasing to the ears and pleasing to the heart and soul. Great movie and I hope it wins best picture!!
Moonlight - This is told about the same man, in 3 different stories. Part I when he is a young boy, we find out that dad isn't in the picture, mom is a crack-head, he gets bullied at school (even his own mom calls him a homo-sexual but she doesn't use a nice word for it) and an adult male and his girlfriend take an interest in him and kind of become parent figures for him. Part II occurs when he is a teenager - still getting bullied, but worse. His mom's drug use has gotten worse and he often gets kicked out of his own home and goes to say with his parent figures. Something happens between him and his long time friend (his only friend) both sexually and then later in a situation with the bully, that ends up sending him to jail for a period of time. In Part III, we see him a an adult, his mom is now in rehab and trying to get her life together. He has modeled himself after his father figure but isn't in the best line of work. He gets a call from his old friend and decides to drive to see him. One thing I didn't like is that the movie just kind of ended abruptly. Just - black screen and it was over. Another thing that I didn't like is that the male characters constantly called each other the "n" word. Do black guys really do this in real life? I sure hope not but after seeing this movie (and another one), I wonder if they do. I did like the story line and the acting was very good but at times, I just wanted the story to move along a bit faster. It was good overall and I am glad I saw it.
Arrival - This movie was really good. Amy Adams was excellent. It had me on the edge of my seat pretty much from the beginning and through the whole thing - it wasn't a thriller, but you could just put yourself in the place of the characters and can imagine how scared you would be if you had to face what they were facing. It had a plot twist that was reveled towards the end of the movie but it was reveled quickly and in a bit of a strange way. Many people left the movie crying. I didn't. There was a group of people sitting in front of me talking about "why didn't the aliens do this if they knew that" and they had some good points. The ending just felt rushed and forced and didn't answer a lot of questions but the overall message of the movie was good and the acting and special effects were excellent. Glad I saw this too.
Fences - The acting was good, most of the time but Denzel Washington's acting was just over-the-top at times. There was a LOT of dialogue. About 85% of the move takes place in the family's back yard. Basically is it about a crotchety middle aged man who is a bit of a of S.O.B. and his relationships with the people in his family. It takes place in 1956 and the main character is a WW II survivor. For most of the film, I felt like I was watching a play instead of a movie. It just had that "play feel" to it and when the credit rolled, I understood why - it was based on a play - no wonder! It was a good movie, good story but some over the top acting and had the feel of a play. I am glad I saw it but it isn't anything that I would watch again. Once again, the male characters (especially the main one) used the "n" word about a thousand times. Really? Do black men talk to each other this way? Did they do that in the 1950s? How can they use this word when the great civil right leaders fought so hard for them so that no one called them that word anymore. It made me a bit sad that they were using that word for each other without even a little thought as to what they were saying. Viola Davis was super good in this movie (she always is anyway) but I didn't like one scene when she had on an apron AND was holding a dish towel, yet she had snot streaming down her nose - really, woman, wipe your nose/face (she finally did but with her hand - what was that about?).
Mancester by the Sea -very good movie but depressing as all get out. I am not normally a Casey Affleck fan - he is a good actor, but I generally don't care for his movies (mainly because I know that it is going to be FULL of the "F" word). This movie was an exception though, in terms that I did like it (although it WAS still fully of the "F" word). He really did a great job in this movie - very believable and you felt for him. Good story. I know he is from New England so his accent probably wasn't much of a stretch but the other actors did great with their accents. Good movie but sad. F-word count by the was 84 (unless I missed a few) - also several "s"-words, GDs and using the Lord's name in vein in various ways. It is a shame, the movie didn't need all that but I excepted it considering the lead actor.
Hacksaw Ridge -great movie - great! I loved it. I general do not care for "war" movies but this was much more than that. I was surprised the Vince Vaughn was in this movie too - different kind of role for him and he was super good. I tell you - this movie makes you REALLY appreciate the military and all those men who died for our freedom. It is sad how much we take our freedom for granted but so many sacrificed so much for our country and I know they do every single day! It was gory, during the war scenes, of course but...war is gory - it really is and I think this was a true depiction of that. Great acting and amazing story about a true hero. This was based on a true story and at the end just before the credits, it showed the real people talking - loved that they included that. This is very close 2nd to me for best picture.
Hidden Figures - also based on a true story (third one - along with Lion and Hacksaw Ridge). It is funny because I watch the show Timeless and heard about Katherine Johnson back in November 2016, when they did an episode involving her. I never knew about her and the other "colored" women (as they were referred to back in the 1960s) that worked on the space program. I read up about her because of the show Timeless and then low and behold, 2 months later, a movie comes out about her. What a fascinating woman she was - a genius. The other women were too - an engineer and another that basically taught herself how to write computer programs using Fortran and the first IBM computer - which took up a huge room. I just can't help but wonder what these women would have accomplished if they didn't live in a segregated and sexist world and were able to be like the women of today - wow! They were incredible. Loved this movie, loved the fashion, the sets, and the cars too. Thank the Lord for these woman and what they did for our country and for NASA.
Hell or High Water -everyone kept saying "oh, that western movie" when I mentioned this movie, but is is NOT a western, I guess the title sounds like it would be and it takes place in Texas so maybe that is why they think that. However, it was a story about 2 brothers that rob banks in an effort to get money to save the family ranch. One is a divorced father of 2 boys, the other is a career criminal who was released from prison. It was a good movie, a little predicable but pretty good. Not one I would have seen and personally not Oscar-worthy to me (which I think the other 8 were and deserve their nominations). I wouldn't watch it again but I am glad I saw it.
MY OSCAR MOVIE RANKING
This isn't necessarily who I think will or should win but this is the ranking of movies in the order that I liked them, personally.
1. La La Land - Old Hollywood feel, great music, dancing and colors!
2. Hacksaw Ridge - Makes you grateful to be an American and appreciate our military
3. Hidden Figures - Amazing story, great acting, makes you realize how far we've all come.
4. Lion - Beautiful story, happy ending, touching.
5. Mancester by the Sea - while sad and tragic and too much foul language, still a good movie
6. Arrival - great effects but the message of this movie has stayed with me and I can't stop thinking about the message of it, which left such an unexpected impact on me. Really makes me think about life and loss, love and loss. I can honestly say, the message of this movie, has made me re-evaluate many things. Who would have thought an "alien" movie could do that? Not me, that is for sure.
7. Moonlight - well told trilogy, great acting - I almost ranked this 6 because I thought the movie was better overall than Arrival, but the message of Arrival struck me so, which is why I made this #7 instead of #6)
8. Fences - good story, a of a downer. I would have loved to have seen this as a play (which Denzel won a Tony for) but as a movie, it just felt like a play and seemed a bit over-acted.
9. Hell or Highwater - just because it is last on my list, doesn't mean it wasn't a good movie. It was, but it isn't my particular favorite genre of movies. It was good, but just don't see why it was nominated for an Oscar.
Did you see any of these movies? What did you think? Who do you think will win the Oscar?