Thursday, July 22, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #367: Summer Break



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Summer Break

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This was quite tough. Some movies seem like summer movies as the characters go to some place warm...but its not actually summer and the place they go is like somewhere where the climate is warm all year round. So anyway here are three that do take place during the summer.

Jaws (1975)
I saw this for the first time last year and like it. I think I like the first half more rather than the shark hunting second half....the first half was when the islanders were trying to figure out what was happening and some want to close the beach which a lot of the businesses oppose since they rely heavily on the summer tourists that come for the beach...its the whole lives vs livelihood.
 
My Girl (1991)
It starts of super cute, these two best friends spending their summer together...then tragedy strikes.
Saw this as kid. I remember liking it even though it got sad at the end, which is why I think I only saw it once.

Now and Then (1995)
Four childhood friends reunite as adults and reminisce about the summer of 1970...just like My Girl, this is another summer childhood story set in the 1970s...The 1990s must have had strong nostalgia for the 1970s. This is one I do want to rewatch again...I love a good ensemble movie and this has two sets.
 
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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #366: Non-English Language Movies



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Non-English Language Movies

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I've been mostly watching Non-English TV series rather than movies the past year, so I had to search for movies that I've watched in the past and have never picked on this blog before. Which makes them quite hard to write anything about since I haven't seen some of these movies between 10 to nearly 20 years so there's not that much that I do remember to say a whole lot. 

The Princess of Montpensier (2010)
Quite surprise I've never picked this before since I enjoy period dramas and I remember liking this. I also remember it had some very gorgeous costumes and I now learn it had won the C├ęsar Awards for Best Costume Design.
 
I Am Love (2009)
Tilda Swinton plays a Russian woman who is married to a rich Italian family and she speaks Italian and Russian throughout the film. I have no idea how successful she is in speaking the two languages but I thought that it was impressive considering I think she speaks neither of them in real life. I also remember it had great costuming and cinematography. Whenever I watch Succession, especially its poster and opening credits, I am reminded of I Am Love.

The Spanish Apartment (2002)
This may be called The Spanish Apartment, because that is the setting, but it was mostly filmed in French and I think this had been one of the first few Non-English European films I had seen. I had also thought it must be so cool to be an international student hanging with other other international students in a cosmopolitan city. Anyway this is part of a trilogy. I have seen this and its sequel Russian Dolls, which I remember less. I'd like to watch all of the movies back to back one day.

 
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Thursday, July 8, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #365: Female Athletes



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Female Athletes

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Quick post today. I haven't seen some of these movies in nearly 20 years so there's not that much that I do remember to say a whole lot other than there were all really fun and I enjoyed watching them.

Bring It On (2000)
Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Whip It (2009)

 
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Thursday, July 1, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #364: Oscar Winners Edition: Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Oscar Winners Edition: Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects

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BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

As with most of the movies that I picked today, it was hard finding the still that was from my favourite scenes, so I usually tried to find one that was the closest to it.
 
1917 (2019)
The scene that I actually wanted I think came after Schofield encountered the enemy soldier in this still. One where he proceeded to run, weaving in and out of the partly standing buildings trying to hide in the shadows as above the sky is alight from what seems to be a dogfight so the shadows from the buildings seem to move lengthening and receding and lengthening.
 
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
I had liked the sepia tone scenes in this movie, like the one in this scene and the ones in the apartment where K meets Deckard.
 
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
I like scenes that are shot in the dark because of the play of light and shadow, and this I thought was beautiful.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
This movie had some gorgeous vistas of the ocean and the Galapagos Islands. But I also like the shots of the crew at sea during a mist and there were some great action scenes like in this still, plenty of mist and smoke.
 
Road to Perdition (2002) 
The movie had a lot of dark moody scenes. I think this scene had a shot of both Hanks and Newman in the same frame but I couldn't find a still of it.
 
 


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
 
I had been quite confused over the difference between Visual Effects and Special Effects so I had to look it up. Visual Effects are those that are added in post production, like motion capture and CGI. While Special Effects are those effects that are actually filmed like pyrotechnics, animatronics and prosthetic makeup.
 
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
I've said this before, while I'm not a fan of the story, the movie is visually stunning due to the great cinematography and visual effects.
 
The Jungle Book (2016)
The Jungle Book world looked so magical and the animal characters were so lively. The "live-action" Lion King just cannot compete.

Ex Machina (2014)
I like the look of the androids the way you can seen the internal mechanics. The point was to show that they can look human but for Caleb to also clearly see that they are machines, to test him.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
LOTR won each year it was nominated in this category, but I decided to go with the first one as it started it all.

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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #363: TMP Television Edition - Fish Out of Water



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is TMP Television Edition - Fish Out of Water

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So this is a fun theme. I'm picking my most recent watches.

The Rook (2019 - )
A woman wakes up in a park surrounded by dead bodies around her. She has no memories of what happened but finds a letter on her person, a letter written by her informing her that her memory has been erased and that she was targeted by an unknown assassin. The assassin could be a colleague from the secret organization within the British Intelligence whom she works for. So her choices are either to walkaway from everything and assume a new identity or use the identity of the person who's memory was erased to find out who is trying to kill her.
So the fish out of water aspect of the story is of the main character pretending to be the person that was erased, navigating this new world like she already knows it, trying doing her job and meeting the people she used to know. I loved the book this was based on and was sooo excited when an adaptation was announced. Unfortunately the TV series was a disappointment as it changed sooo many things. In the book for example, the main character that woke up in the park has a completely different personality from the person that was erased. The person that was erased was an introvert, into organization and afraid of her own power. The person that woke up is more of an extrovert, is witty, more interested in field work and open to exploring her powers and the TV series completely ignores that aspect of the book. Also the plot is completely different from the book...it is I think unnecessarily more convoluted.

Emily in Paris (2020 - )
A young woman moves to Paris to work for a French marketing firm to provide an American perspective on things. Emily doing her "marketing stuff" is not entirely believable...like she doesn't have much skills and experience. She just mostly seems very juvenile, unworldly and basically not like a working adult at all. I would also say some of the office workplace stuff is also unbelievable...I think it was the second day, where she came early and had to wait outside a locked office building. I mean are we not living in the 21st century where offices (especially for the kind of the firm she is working for...it is not some sort of small family business where only the owner has the key to open shop) use key cards, and she would already have been given a card on her first day by HR. Still I thought this was fun light fluff. Just don't take it too seriously and go into it expecting it to be about a poised young woman crushing it at her career.
 
Ted Lasso (2020 - )
American football coach Ted Lasso, moves to the UK to coach a football team. Emily in Paris was heavily criticised for having a silly expat main character who goes to Paris to work without knowing how to speak French or doing much prep for the position she is about to fill. However, the same criticism for some reason doesn't seem to be directed at Ted Lasso as much, even though he too is a silly expat, one who is expected to coach football but doesn't know anything about the sport (he has only coached American football, which is an entirely different sport), nor did he do any prep work into the culture or language...it is his assistant coach who was hired along with him who basically did all the prep work on learning the sport and briefing him on language differences like how a truck is called a lorry and a car trunk is called a car boot in the UK. But Lasso is this nice and very optimistic character and some of the other characters are just as likeable so the show turned out to be quite funny and I did enjoy watching it. I guess what I just don't understand is the love the show seems to be receiving...because the show is not great great.

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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #362: Natural Disaster



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Natural Disaster

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Quick post today, so I'm just going with recent watches.

Crawl (2019)
During a hurricane, a young woman and her father are trapped when rising flood waters brings in alligators into the lower levels of their house. Natural disaster movie and animals run wild all rolled into one...surprisingly I found this pretty decent. The alligators were scary just being their natural stealthy predator self.
 
Only the Brave (2017)
Based on a true story about elite firefighters battling a wildfire. Straight forward based on a true story kinda movie...rather conventional. Still I like it. Wildfires are scary and it was fascinating to see what firefighters do to control them.
 
Twister (1996)
Storm chasers on the brink of divorce tries to insert a measuring device into the storm to advance future weather warning system. I found it a little boring. Didn't really care for the whole storm chasing thing nor the personal drama between the two leads.
 
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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #361: Worst Book to Movie Adaptations



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Worst Book to Movie Adaptations [Suggested by ThePunkTheory]

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Today's theme is a suggestion from ThePunkTheory. There are quite a number of movies that are based on books that are bad but I'm making this more challenging and only picking movies adapted from books I've read, so my choices are a little limited.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
A man stays ageless as a portrait of him grows older and uglier. I love the book and really really dislike this adaptation. The actor playing Dorian Gray was terrible; he was so wooden and expressionless. I also thought Angela Lansbury way miscast as Sibyl Vane. Even in her youth, Lansbury has a sort of maturity and old soul look to her which did not really fit Vane whom I thought was suppose to be really young, sweet and naive.
 
The Lovely Bones (2009)
A murdered young girl watches the people she leaves behind from an afterlife. I had read this book around the time it was first published. It had been hugely popular and I had liked the book too so I was really looking forward to the movie. Well what a disappointment. If I'm remembering correctly, the story in the book is told from the perspective of dead girl while she is in some kind of heaven...now that there is going to be difficult to adapt...heaven had the potential to be real cheesy on screen. Anyway I don't think the movie did "heaven" too well. I thought it would have been better if they took out all the scenes that showed the girl in heaven from the movie and just let her do the voice over narration of her flash backs and observations on the current state of her family.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
When her mother disappears, a teenage girl learns that she is descended from warriors who protect the world from demons. I read the book before seeing the movie. Not a fan at all. The movie was not any better. And Jamie Campbell Bower being miscast as Jace didn't help; he had looked a little too gaunt for the role.
 
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Thursday, June 3, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #360: Oscar Winners Edition: Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay


Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Oscar Winners Edition: Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay 

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 Here are my favourites:

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Dead Poets Society (1989)
Childhood favourite. It's about a group of people meeting to talk about literary stuff of course I liked it.
 
Gosford Park (2001)
I think I saw this the first time when it was released on DVD and thought it was the most boring thing ever; like what were these dull old timey people doing. I guess I had been too young to pay any attention to it. A few years later I decided to give it another try and loved it. It's this sharp and often darkly funny upstairs downstairs drama and murder mystery that takes place in a manor house. Also it has a great ensemble cast.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
It's has this super weird but unique premise that I thought I wouldn't like but I did. It's this great funny, quirky, quite sci-fi-ish and emotional movie about a man trying to forget an ex-girlfriend and then later trying desperately to hold on to his memories of her.

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
 
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
I like dialogue heavy movies and this having been adapted from a play is just that as it follows Thomas More trying to navigate the political minefield of sticking by his principles without offending the king and losing his head.
 
The Departed (2006) 
I've said this before, mob movies bore me but this tension filled adaptation of a Hong Kong film was interesting and thrilling to watch.

The Social Network (2010)
Adapted from a book about the founding of Facebook, this was adapted by Sorkin so of course it was sharply written and had entertaining verbal sparrings. 

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Thursday, May 27, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #359: TMP Television Edition - Globetrotting (Scripted, Non-reality, Non-travel, Non-docu series)



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is TMP Television Edition - Globetrotting (Scripted, Non-reality, Non-travel, Non-docu series)

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Today's theme has a long subtitle because I wanted to be clear that it should not include Lifestyle/Educational/Travel type of shows nor Reality TV type shows. Basically your picks have to be scripted drama, action, thriller or whatever genre that has characters globetrotting that is they travel around the world to many countries (not just on some trip within America). Here are the 3 TV series I like. (My post today is sans TV Posters...I can't seem to upload any images. Anyone experiencing this problem on blogger today?)

Outlander (2014 - )
The series follows Claire, the Outlander in the story, a WW2 nurse who while in Scotland got sucked into an opening of some time portal and is spat back out in 18th century Scotland.
Yes this is about a time traveler but she also does travel around the world while she is stuck in the 18th century. The story starts off in Scotland but in the other seasons Claire would travel to France, Jamaica and America.

Patriot (2015 - 2018)  
An intelligence officer assumes a non-official cover in order to facilitate the purchase of a foreign election. An easy pick for today's theme are spy series because the characters are sure to do a lot of traveling. Now this series was a surprise because neither the title nor the plot particular interested me but it had good reviews so I gave it a watch and I like it. Patriot is a dark comedy drama thriller. Think spy drama and you'd imagine charismatic characters, undercover costume changes, cool gadgets and slick action. Not so much here. Nothing is really cool, it's more about the things that can go wrong will probably go wrong. The main character is probably a good undercover agent but he gets terrible support from his support team so he finds himself endlessly trying to fix one problem that is a consequence of receiving bad intel which only causes other unexpected problems that further need fixing. All of it is taking its toll and he is spiraling into depression and suicidal tendencies. That all sounds very bleak but its is also quirky and funny. And yes the main character does of course travel; he goes to Amsterdam, Milwaukee, Luxembourg and Paris.
 
The Flight Attendant  (2020 - )
A flight attendant, an alcoholic, after a night of heavy drinking wakes up in a bed in a hotel in a foreign country beside a dead man. Unable to remember what happened and fearful of being held up in a foreign country, she goes on to her next flight and does her job like nothing has happened until they land in New York and the flight crew is brought in for questioning by the FBI. This is another surprise because I had read the book this was adapted from and it had been more of a drama thriller, but this TV series totally change the tone of it making it more of dark comedy thriller but it still works well. Since the main character is flight attendant, travel is a given; she travels to Bangkok, Seoul, New York and Rome. This has been renewed for a second season so I'm looking forward to what new adventures or trouble the main character gets herself into.

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Thursday, May 20, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #358: Cyberpunk



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Cyberpunk

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This was quite tough. I had a general idea of what cyberpunk was but had to look it up just to be sure. So basically it's "science fiction sub-genre where the protagonists, usually antiheroes, are trapped in a futuristic dystopian society dominated by computer technology". I'm picking three of my most recent watches that fit the sub-genre.

Upgrade (2018)
After an attack that killed his wife also left him a quadriplegic, Grey is offered a secret experimental operation where he receives a chip implant that allows him to regain his mobility. Disappointed that the police investigation of the attack that killed his wife hasn't gotten anywhere, now secretly mobile, he begins his own investigation. I really really like this. Great story and the action is very slick. I highly recommend this if you like dark futuristic Black Mirror-esque type of stories.
 
Mute (2018)
Set in the same world as Moon (2009), a mute bartender goes up against shady characters to find his missing girlfriend. This is a disappointing spinoff sequel. The crime drama story is so-so but my main complaint is that the story just isn't that embedded in the futuristic tech world and thus the setting seems unnecessary. The story could have worked just as well set in the present day.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
 A current Blade Runner, K, discovers a secret that leads him to track the missing former Blade Runner, Deckard. Visually this movie is so stunning to look at. However, I don't feel as invested in the story and characters as I was in the 1982 Blade Runner.
 
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