Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The last of the reviews (for awhile) PART ONE

Jackie Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband's historic legacy.: Okay, so the "plot" of this revolves around an interview Jackie Kennedy gave to a LIFE magazine reporter a week or so after the assassination of JFK. It's a real interview that she gave and the magazine printed, but it's told with many flashbacks, and Jackie is understandably emotional/not emotional (she's grieving, DUH). But there's a lot we're told that the reporter is not allowed to print. The moment that stands out for me, that made me question the script source (is it real or fantasy?), is when the reporter reads back to her something along the lines of "as she lit another cigarette, she...", Jackie responds "I don't smoke" (even though we and the reporter have been watching her chain-smoke). So, has the statute of limitations run out on Ms. Onassis' control over the subject matter, that we somehow now have access to the original notebooks the reporter filled? Because if so, maybe there should have been a tag "based on true events" or even a more complete "disclaimer" in the end credits. Hell, there may have been one, and I just didn't see it, because the movie left me feeling... meh. Natalie's portrayal of the new widow was fine. It was probably rather harrowing for the actress to embody such an iconic figure, capturing her speech patterns and other mannerisms, whilst also GRIEVING on camera.

But this film season has shown us plenty of GRIEF. I'm tired of it. Particularly in this one. Jackie is neither protagonist nor antagonist in this flick. She just happens to be the title character, living her life (or at least, we are led to believe that). So, if you happen to be a huge fan of 1) history 2) 1963 in American history 3) Jackie Kennedy (Onassis) or 4) Natalie Portman, then you will probably enjoy this movie more than I did. Most of the grief movies I've watched this season, I've shed a tear or two with the protagonist. Not during this one. I just didn't know if I was supposed to like her or not. Tough call. I can't recommend, but see ^above^ to decide for yourself.

Arrival When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.: The first time we saw this one, we saw it in a theater (at a screening), knowing only that it had to do with space aliens arriving, with all that wonderful "First Contact" stuff that sci-fi fans (like Stephen and myself) love. We LOVED this movie. The opening sequence had us (well, maybe us but possibly only me) crying, and then everything got so complicated and interesting from there. The lead characters are Louise (Amy Adams) and Ian (Jeremy Renner), so shout-out to my Daddy's neighbors and besties, Ian and Louise! Y'all are heroes!

Um, sorry (to the rest of you who are not Daddy or Ian and Louise). Where was I? Oh. How AWESOME this movie is! Yes, it is sci-fi. Yes, it's set in "present day". No, you can't just let it wash over you, even though there are some very interesting special effects here and there. You have to use your brain. You WILL root for the good guys. ALL of them (and there are many). After the film ends, you will have questions and thoughts, and you will discuss it amongst yourselves.

Recommendation: Hells, yeah. Just see it with at least one other person, so you don't have to discuss it alone with yourself (unless you're into that sorta thing).

The Crown The early reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is portrayed.: This is a series on Netflix, which we had managed to view the entire first season of prior to my attendance at the screening with Claire Foy and John Lithgow, as well as prior to our receipt of the very cool Netflix boxed set. We were riveted by every episode, so we managed to blaze through the series pretty quickly (without binge-watching in two or three nights). Epic.

At most screenings in LA, the guests who are featured in the Q&A that follows typically do not sit through the screening; rather, they wait in a green room somewhere away from the show. This can be for any number of reasons, including flight or drive-times delaying their arrival at the theater/screening room, having seen that particular episode or film so many times they are personally sick of it and to be gracious would be painful, not ever watching themselves on screen ever (like that Kylo Ren dude at the Paterson screening), etc. So no one expects the guest to have joined you, the audience, in the audience seats for the screening. But John Lithgow did, at the screening I attended. And he and Claire were incredibly gracious and funny and fun, and we all felt badly that Winston Churchill won't appear (much? #FingersCrossed he appears #AtAll) in Season Two. But we are looking forward to Season Two, and beyond, so if you need a recommendation, here it is: Hells, yeah. Check it out on Netflix, at your own pace.

Stranger Things When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.: This one is another Netflix original series, and because it's set in the 1980's, it speaks on numerous levels to my generation. Winona's one of US, ya know? Portraying one of our MOMS, right? I mean, it's weird or meta or something not grody to the max.

But we loved this series. Season One is only eight episodes, so if you have the time and the energy, you can totally binge-watch it in, like, two days. Totally. I think that's what we did. The main story arc is compelling; the characters are very real; the acting and direction are superb. We can't wait for Season Two. So, It's Bitchin', Dude. Totally rad.

Here are #ThreeGoodThings (in no particular order):

  1. I have watched all of the screeners I intend to watch this awards season. I thought I wanted to be on the Nominating Committee, but frankly, who has the time? I'm surprised I got through what I got through!
  2. I have voted for the SAG Awards. My electronic ballot was due by this Friday at noon, and I got 'er done this afternoon. Yay, me!
  3. I have made a pretty penny on set this week (short day on Monday, lots of "bumps" today;I could still book work on Friday or get rush-called for tomorrow). #IAmBlessedToWorkInThisBizILove
Whatcha got? Sumthin'? Ennythin'? C'mon! I love hearing from you!


  1. Arrival was great. Loved the ending. I guessed part of the plot almost at the beginning but I didn't realize it flowed in with the ending plot point. I don't know how to say that any better then I did without giving away spoilers. :)

    1. Yeah, that one is really hard to talk about without spoilers. It was good to see AGAIN, even knowing all the nuances.


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