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Baby Driver (2017) Trailer

The new Edgar Wright movie, Baby Driver, is right around the corner (well, about five months) and I couldn’t be more excited. After The Worlds End (2013), which wasn’t terrible, but the jokes didn’t quite land as well, this movie looks fantastic. Just the right amount of car chases, violence and an eclectic mix of music is just what the doctor ordered. 

Oh, and the cast? Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx, make up quite the hilarious ensemble of which only Edgar Wright could bring together.

The movie premiered at SXSW yesterday, as well as the trailer. First reactions are making me more excited for the movie, and five months is just way too long a wait.

I guess we will have to watch the trailer over and over again.

As for me, I will be watching some of my favorite Edgar Wright movies until this movie hits theaters in August.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) was directed by Mel Gibson. The screenplay was penned by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey and Vince Vaughn.

The film is about the heroic true story of Army Medic Desmond Doss, who, because of religious beliefs, saves the lives of many men during battle without shooting a single weapon.

I know, I finally saw this movie. Took me long enough. It won two Academy Awards this year, Film Editing and Sound Mixing.

Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss is spectacular. Not only does he absolutely nail the southern accent, his emotional presence is fierce and makes you empathize with his character, religious or not. The trauma he experiences even before he experiences battle is awful and he portrays all the scenes with wonderful tenacity.

Vince Vaughn, well, he feels like every character he has ever played, himself. Just not as funny.

What I liked the most about the film is Andrew Garfield. His performance was the best part of the whole film.

I do not necessarily think that this film was as good as other movies that came out in 2016 that weren’t nominated for Academy Awards, but it was a fine film. 

Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015)

Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015) is a documentary directed by Kent Jones. Jones wrote the documentary along with Serge Toubiana. Many famous directors are interviewed during the documentary including: Wes Anderson and David Fincher.

The documentary centers around the famous interview of famed horror/suspense director Alfred Hitchcock by French director Francois Truffaut. Who later published one of the most influential books on film ever published.

The documentary does a fantastic job at portraying how important and influential the book is to many directors. The documentary cuts from exclusive photographs taken during the Hitchcock and Truffaut interview along with audio recordings. As well as using visual pages of the book of the interview Truffaut published.

The documentary gives fantastic insight on how influential Hitchcock was to cinema not only with his ideas but with his creative direction and cinematography.

Arrival (2016)

Arrival (2016) was directed by Denis Villeneuve. Eric Heisserer penned the screenplay based on the story, “The Story of Your Life’, written by Ted Chiang. The film stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.

The film is about a linguistic professor who is enlisted by the Army when unidentified spacecrafts make first contact with Earth. Louise (Adams) and Ian (Renner), a scientist work together to communicate with the aliens and figure out their purpose.

Adams performance is nothing short of spectacular. She is able to convey such complex emotions, as any human would, when seeing and experiencing something dramatic as communicating with another life form. Renner also does a wonderful job as her co worker and their chemistry is perfect. 

The films atmosphere does a fantastic job at increasing the paranoia of the situation not just within the confines of where the main characters are, but all over the world with news reports. The news reports that seem so scary because you actually imagining that happening in real life if a similar situation happened. Paranoia and mistrust are conveyed perfectly, and really bring a sense of urgency to the film.

What I liked most about the film is the little twist that I thought was done beautifully with cut scenes. 

If you have not already seen this, I highly recommend it.

Throwback TV Review: Fawlty Towers

Fawlty Towers (1975 and 1979) was a British television show written by then married John Cleese and Connie Booth. The show was about a hotel in England, the owners, its guests and the hilarious situations the owner (Cleese) would get himself into (mostly because he was a snob).

The show only had twelve episodes total, premiering in two six episode seasons. 

I honestly wish that they had made more episodes, because this is British humor at its best. The jokes are always a hit and who doesn’t love slap stick comedy with a tall, lanky and awkward man? Especially man that is exceptionally snobbish. 

Each character was terrific and all played off each other well. As smart as Connie Booth’s character was, she sure let Basil Fawlty (Cleese) wrap her into such hilarious and awkward situations.

Prunella Scales as Basil Fawlty’s wife is typical of not putting up with Fawlty’s crap. She always gives the guests at the hotel what they need, to Basil’s chagrin (he sees some of the guests as lower than others). 

Andrew Sachs as Manuel, is one of the funniest performances. He doesn’t understand nor speak English very well and that often gets him into trouble.

I highly recommend this show if you haven’t already seen it. 

New Clip: Beauty and the Beast

As March 17th draws near, more and more trailers of Disney’s live-action feature Beauty and The Beast are coming out. Most recently, a :58 clip of Emma Watson and the townspeople singing the original song ‘Belle.’

There is no question that the creators are staying true to the original animated Disney film, and that Emma Watson can sing. 

As a little girl, I grew up with Disney movies, so I am looking forward to this film and am excited that they are staying true to the original, but adding their own flair.

If you missed the new clip, here it is:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nT1VQkTTT7M

Holy Self Awareness, Batman!

The Lego Batman Movie (2017) directed by Chris McKay,  stars Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Ralph Finnes, Rosario Dawson and Zach Galifianakis. 

The film is a continuation of the Lego Batman character from The Lego Movie (2014). 

The film is self-aware, chock full of self referential humor and references to classic pop culture.

The message was clear, however, the film started to drag by the second act. And the constant pop culture jokes over and over, made each joke less and less funny. 

The film also (like everything else nowadays) referenced 80s music and film. Hollywood obviously knows what is selling right now, 80s nostalgia. And quite honestly, (for better or worse), it’s working.

‘How’s ya Chinese Food?’ 

My Cousin Vinny (1992) stars Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei and Ralph Macchio. Directed by Jonathan Lynn and written by Dale Launer. 

Marisa Tomei won Best Supporting Actress Award for her absolutely fantastic and hilarious portrayal of Mona Lisa Vito.

The film is about two men while driving across country from New York to California are accused of murder in a rural Southern town. One of the men’s cousin, Vinny Gambini (Joe Pesci) drives down with his fiancée Mona Lisa Vito (Tomei) to represent the men at trial. 

Gambini has never represented anyone at trial and finally passed the bar exam after 6 tries. Not only that, but the Southern town, judge and prosecutor doesn’t take to kindly to what they presume is a big shot fancy New York lawyer. Obviously being from New York and having no experience, hilarity ensues.

Being from New York myself and moving to the South, I related to this film. The opening scenes of Pesci and Tomei driving into the town and they stick out like ‘a sore thumb’ as Pesci’s character says, hits the nail on the head. Not understanding people because of their accents, and people not understanding me! 

However, this film is also a great representation of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ And that message is never, ever too old to remember.

I love how relateable this film is for me. It’s a perfect explaination for people who ask me what it was like to move to the South. 

And my never ending search for good Chinese food and pizza.

My Trip to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida

All Photographs are taken and edited by me. 

I had the pleasure of “vacationing” at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure last week. I use the word vacation very loosely; I am absolutely exhausted. And all I could think of is the scooter tipping episode of South Park. Well played, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, well played.

Besides the scooter tipping, it really was a great time, and the Harry Potter parks are absolutely breathtaking. The amount of detail is impeccable. Even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, you can appreciate the detail and hard work that went into these parks.

As a self-proclaimed film buff, it was fun for me to find some Easter eggs. I am not talking the obvious Hogwarts castle or the Jurassic Park entrance, I am talking the subtle references to films found in the New York side of Universal.

1. Mel’s Drive-In:

Okay, so this is probably one of the biggest landmarks in Universal. But I have to say, most people did not know (especially young kids) knew where this reference came from. And for those of you reading this article, it’s from American Graffiti.

2. Kitty Kat Club: 

Another ode to classic films is the Kitty Kat Club, or the Kit Kat Club used in Cabernet.

3. Stillman’s Gym:

Stillman’s gym is a real-life famous boxing gym in New York City, known for its unsanitary facilities and the famous boxers who trained there. However, this gym is also a reference to two classic films Somebody Up There Likes Me, the autobiographical film about famous boxer, Rocky Graziano. And was also host to a musical number in the film, Its Always Fair Weather.  

4. Louie’s and Genco Imports:


 

Louie’s and Genco Imports are references to the Godfather Trilogy. Scenes where the rise and murder of the mafia and corrupt police officers take place.

5. Hudson Street Home for Girls:


The Hudson Street is not only a home for girls, but is home to one of the most famous redheaded orphan, Annie. Hudson Street is a reference from the musical and movie, Annie.

6. Priscilla Hotel:

 

The Priscilla Hotel is home to the film Thoroughly Modern Millie. Millie moves into the hotel for single ladies in hopes to marry rich. Times never do change, do they?

7. Adrienne’s Pet Shop:

 

I stared at this for a long time, convinced that this was a definite reference to a film. I looked it up, and found out that this (although, a terrible reference) is a reference to the film Rocky. In the film, Rocky’s future wife Adrien works at a pet shop. I appreciate the effort, but her name is spelt incorrectly and the pet shop she work at was called J&M Tropical Fish. 

8. Embryo Books:

This reference is a tricky one. Embryo Books is actually a reference to an Audrey Hepburn musical, Funny Face. In the film, she is a book store clerk at an obscure bookstore, Embryo Concepts. Hepburn’s character is discovered by a fashion magazine photographer and is catapulted into the modeling industry with her unique, somewhat nerdy look.

9. Blues Mobile:

I know, just like Mel’s, I’m kind of cheating. But, this is a classic prop and, admittedly comes from one of my all-time favorite movies. The Blues Brothers, is a film based on a Saturday Night Live skit, and would have to be the best film to come out of SNL.

After visiting Universal and seeing all these references, I quickly came home to sit down and watch them. Next time you are in Universal, check out all the old references, I bet you can even spot some Jaws references in Harry Potter.

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