Was it an Upgrade?

Earlier this week a friend on Facebook posted that he believed the new sci-fi film, Upgrade, was better than Solo. “Interesting,” I thought, and decided to do some research.

I’ve seen Solo twice now, so I bought a ticket for Upgrade, along with a gigantic pretzel and a large strawberry lemonade, and settled in for the movie. Counting me, there were six other folks at the 12:30 showing. I was the lone female representative in the place. I see a lot of sci-fi films on my own, so I’m used to carrying the flag for my gender.

After approximately 9 trillion trailers for upcoming films the feature attraction began. Right off the bat the movie caught my attention when the opening credits were spoken instead of projected onto the screen. Cool, eh?

The initial scenes are pleasant. The almost handsome protagonist, played by Logan Marshall-Green, is a throwback to an earlier era relative to the film’s setting. His character’s wife, portrayed by Melanie Vallejo, works for a firm specializing in cyborg-type prosthetics for wounded veterans. He’s old school, she’s new-fangled.

For once, the future doesn’t look like an apocalyptic nightmare. Cars are self-driving, homes are voice-controlled, and everyone seems well adjusted. I felt pleasantly surprised and eager for lots of upbeat future fun.

And then all hell breaks loose. There’s a bunch of slicing and dicing of human bodies with a boatload of blood to boot. I was NOT amused. I felt hoodwinked.

Now I know how Studly Doright felt when many years ago we tricked him into seeing Alien by telling him it was a lot like Star Wars. Hoodwinked, that’s how he felt. There’s no way in hell that Upgrade is a better film than Solo.

If I’d known in advance that the Australian director, Leigh Whannell, best known for his work on the first three Saw movies, also directed Upgrade I might have been better prepared for the gratuitous gore. As it was, I just felt ill, and as I’ve said before, hoodwinked.

Don’t see this:

See this:

Trust me.

Peace, people.

Jury Duty and “Lady Bird”

On Tuesday morning I had to report to the Gadsden County Court Annex for jury duty. Looking around at the 60 or so folks assembled in the courtroom I figured I had a fairly good chance of avoiding being chosen to serve. They only needed six jurors and an alternate, after all, so what were the chances I’d be chosen?

Long story short, I was one of the first 18 people called forward, and then after the lawyers’ questions or voir dire (literally “to speak the truth”) I was one of the lucky ones selected to serve on a trial this week. That’s all I can say, other than, “crap.”

We didn’t have to report until Thursday, and since I had a free afternoon on Tuesday, and Studly Doright was out of town, I decided to go see the film, Lady Bird. I’m so glad I did.

Lady Bird struck so many chords. I saw myself in the mom, played brilliantly by Laurie Metcalf, and in the quirky daughter, played by Saoirse Ronan. I giggled and cried and laughed out loud. There were moments so heartbreakingly familiar that I cringed. I wanted to wrap both mother and daughter in my arms and hug the hurt away.

I want my daughter to see this film. And someday, I want my granddaughters to see Lady Bird. It’s about as honest a portrayal of mother/daughter relationships as I’ve ever seen, and that’s the truth. Wonderful.

Call your mom. Hug your daughter. Give yourself a pat on the back. We’re all doing the best that we can.

Peace, people.

Addendum: The trial was fairly cut and dried on Thursday, and I was home by noon. Civic duty done.

Sort of a Review: “Hostiles”

Rain interfered with Studly Doright’s Sunday golf game, so he took me to brunch at Southwood Golf Club where Chef Mike makes the world’s greatest egg white omelette. Mine was a fluffy concoction of bacon, onion, tomato, and cheddar cheese that was so light it appeared to float above my plate. Okay, maybe the mimosa I ordered was responsible for the special effects, but it was a stellar meal.

Afterwards we went to see the film Hostiles starring Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike. Ten minutes into the film I turned to Studly and asked, “What in the world have you brought me to see?” The beginning is so brutal I thought I was going to need to leave. But I stayed, and while violence is a main theme of the film, a storyline did develop.

Christian Bale is intense as an Army captain charged with escorting Chief Yellowhawk, played by Wes Studi, and his family to Montana from New Mexico where they’ll be set free after seven years in captivity. Along the way the small band of soldiers and Native Americans face one trial after another, including their encounter with Ms. Pike’s character.

Studly joked on the way home that he wondered if there had been more than four pages of dialogue for the entire film. I told him there was, but it was uttered in such a mumbling fashion that at least two pages could be discounted.

What is it with actors mumbling dialogue? One bearded character was so difficult to understand that I tuned out all of his dialogue. At least let me read his lips, for pity’s sake. If I were grading Hostiles I’d deduct ten points just for the mumbling.

The story was okay. There was nothing new here, as far as I could tell, but I did appreciate the way Bale’s character evolved. The scenery was beautiful and the film felt real. Just don’t go see it if you’re at all squeamish!

Peace, people!

Loco for Coco

With Studly Doright out of town on Wednesday evening I treated myself to a movie that I was fairly certain he’d never go see in a theatre. It was a spur of the moment decision to go, and I was still trying to choose which film I wanted to see when I approached the ticket kiosk.

It came down to a tossup between three movies: the third Pitch Perfect movie, the one about Winston Churchill, and the Pixar film, Coco. In the end I chose Coco because it had an earlier starting time.

Coco was wonderful from start to finish. I’m no movie reviewer because I’m such a pushover, but I’d put this film up against anything I’ve seen in many years. The music is wonderful, the animation is outstanding, and the story so sweet that the grandmother sitting next to me sobbed as much as I did through the last five minutes.

On that note, I must warn you that the story is pretty intense and might be hard for some children to handle. Plus, there are dead people in it. Well, dead cartoon people, but it might be a bit scary for some young viewers.

Let me know if you’ve seen Coco. I’d like to discuss it with others.

Battle of the Sexes

Every now and then it’s good to remember that even though women are still fighting battles to control our own bodies we have come a very long way on the road to equality. The film Battle of the Sexes starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell as tennis stars, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, provides viewers with some pointed reminders of just how far we’ve progressed, and who we should thank for that progress.

I remember watching the hype leading up to the big match between King and Riggs, as well as sitting glued to the tv to view their epic match from start to finish. I was 16 when Riggs and King faced off on the court. My family made a big deal of the match and my dad said from the beginning he thought Billie Jean would beat Bobby Riggs. Is it any wonder why Daddy was my hero?

The movie recreates the vibe of the 70’s perfectly: The hair, the clothing, the music, the misogyny. Carell and Stone are wonderful in their roles. I give this film 10 thumbs up. Yes. Ten. I’m not much of a movie reviewer, but I know what I like.

Peace, people!

Pitching an Idea

If an average person had a brilliant idea for a movie based on a true story what course of action should that average person take?

One can hardly call up Mr. Scorsese or Mr. Spielberg and say, “Hey man, you don’t know me from a hole in the ground, but I know of this story from the early 1900’s that has the potential to be as big as Forrest Gump.

“It’s got everything audiences clamor for: action, adventure, inspiration, obstacles, and humor.”

So what does the average person do? I’m not a screenwriter, and have no desire to be, but I would love for someone to tell this story. Any advice?

  
Peace, people

Dipstick and a Movie

I went by myself to watch the new James Bond movie today. Our newly renovated theater is cushy, featuring oversized reclining seats and assigned seating. Since I decided on a whim to see the movie my seat choices were limited. There were a couple of seats way up front and one near the top. Of course I selected the one furthest from the screen and settled in to watch the endless procession of trailers.

My seat was at the end of an aisle next to a man and his pre-teen children. Not long after I took my seat I realized the man was looking at me. I gave him a brief nod and a smile and put my attention back on the screen. 

Through the movie he’d periodically make a comment intended for me to hear. Once he told me he’d driven in Rome. Another time he told me Daniel Craig’s suit was too tight (as if THAT could happen, duh!)  I’d nod or say, “hmm,” hoping he’d get the message. But during a lull in the action the man leaned into my personal space and asked, “So what’s a pretty lady like you doing all by yourself at the movies?”

The creep-o-meter spiked past ten on the dial. I couldn’t get my seat back into the unreclined position quickly enough, so I simply scootched to the edge and left. At first I intended to pretend I was going to the bathroom, but then I thought, “screw it” and found an unclaimed seat in the front of the theater. 

I left as soon as the credits began rolling and made a beeline for the car. Disgusted with myself for letting some random stranger get to me I sat and wondered if I’d overreacted. Maybe I’ve watched too many Criminal Minds episodes….

Peace, people!

Dipstick and a Movie

I went by myself to watch the new James Bond movie today. Our newly renovated theater is cushy, featuring oversized reclining seats and assigned seating. Since I decided on a whim to see the movie my seat choices were limited. There were a couple of seats way up front and one near the top. Of course I selected the one furthest from the screen and settled in to watch the endless procession of trailers.

  
My seat was at the end of an aisle next to a man and his pre-teen children. Not long after I took my seat I realized the man was looking at me. I gave him a brief nod and a smile and put my attention back on the screen. 

 

Too bad creeps don’t dress the part.
 
Through the movie he’d periodically make a comment intended for me to hear. Once he told me he’d driven in Rome. Another time he told me Daniel Craig’s suit was too tight (as if THAT could happen, duh!)  I’d nod or say, “hmm,” hoping he’d get the message. But during a lull in the action the man leaned into my personal space and asked, “So what’s a pretty lady like you doing all by yourself at the movies?”

The creep-o-meter spiked past ten on the dial. I couldn’t get my seat back into the unreclined position quickly enough, so I simply scootched to the edge and left. At first I intended to pretend I was going to the bathroom, but then I thought, “screw it” and found an unclaimed seat in the front of the theater. 

I left as soon as the credits began rolling and made a beeline for the car. Disgusted with myself for letting some random stranger get to me I sat and wondered if I’d overreacted. Maybe I’ve watched too many Criminal Minds episodes….

Peace, people!