Moonlight (2016)

Hello all:

When I rewatched this movie I was in a better place than I was when I first watched it, but nothing had truly changed. I was still down, I was still crying at the same scenes, and at the end, I was sent scrambling again to find out any more about the movie’s ending.

I haven’t had the guts to review a movie I haven’t liked yet, and Moonlight (2016) dir. Barry Jenkins is no exception. Moonlight was one of the first LGBT movies I had seen, and the first one to really get to me. In fact it would be one of the first to get to me at all, tears and all. The way Chiron changes, yet stays the same throughout the movie shed a light on parts of my own life.

Positives:

  • The scene in the diner was the first time I cried during a movie, but it wouldn’t be the last
  • All three actors for Chiron gave great performances
  • The scene with Chiron’s mom (the slow one!) made me cry too

Negatives:

  • None that I can recall

The verdict:

5/5 stars

Next week? We’re going through The Vengeance Trilogy

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Love, Simon (2018)

Hello all:

I have to confess that I read the book (or tried to) before watching the movie. This was a year or two prior, and I had picked up Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agena by Becky Albertalli from the local library, thinking it was a book about Simon a lesbian character. Simon is, of course, not a lesbian, and I returned the book in anger and betrayal. None of this was towards Albertalli, almost all of it came from my inability to think.

After I watched the movie, I would pick up the book again, this time with less anger, and fewer expectations for lesbians.

Love, Simon (2018) dir. Greg Berlanti was great, and I enjoyed most of it, save for most of second act. I feel like the distrust and disgust felt towards Simon is more realistic in the book. In the movie, it felt almost over-the-top and cheesy, though it was still handled well. I think I’ll excuse it though, given how much I liked the rest of the movie.

I think one of the greatest travesties of the LGBT movie genre is its focus on tragedy, and this traces its roots to early literature on the subject which often gave protagonists untimely deaths and tragic ends. This, however, has no place in our society now, and I’m glad that gay kids can enjoy a kitschy rom-com that’s just about two girls or two guys falling in love.

The positives:

  • I loved Keiynan Lonsdale in his role as Bram
  • the set design was pristine, if a bit unrealistic
  • great adaptation of book to movie

The negatives:

  • the girl across from me laughed at my twink joke–that was for my friend and I only, ma’am!

The verdict:

5/5 stars

 

Up next:

Moonlight (2016) dir. Barry Jenkins

The Big Short (2015)

Hello all:

My AP Macroeconomics teacher recommended I watch The Big Short (2015) dir. Adam McKay to help in my project about the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis.

I was tense watching most of the movie because of the time crunch I was under–I had to leave the house to volunteer at the local cat shelter, but as you know, you never leave a movie half finished.

I started the movie filled with optimism (my teacher had called my project “cool” and recommended me the movie. neat!) but as the movie drew to a close I was filled with the hollow feeling of depression that I hadn’t felt since sophomore year, an ever-growing gnaw in the recesses of my stomach. I imagine it was what most people felt through the subprime mortgage crisis.

That day was without a doubt one of the worst days volunteering. As I cuddled the kittens, my head was filled with thoughts of the subprime mortgage crisis and how we were still feeling the ramifications to this day. Afterwards, I sat in the shower sobbing for about an hour.

I didn’t end up using a bulk of the material I had on the movie in my project, but it did help me to look up what I didn’t know. As they say, such is life.

The positives:

  • my project was cooler
  • Steve Carell as Mark Baum
  • Selena Gomez helped me

The negatives:

  • there is without a doubt that even a movie about the 2007 mortgage crisis can make me cry

The verdict:

4/5 stars

The Handmaiden (2016)

Hello all:

I had waited for아가씨 (2016) dir. Park Chan-Wook (or The Handmaiden) since I first saw a post about it in what I assume to be late 2015. When I remembered the movie, shortly after watching Moonlight (2016), I felt a jolt run through my body as my excitement ran a lap through my body. I quickly googled “korean lesbian movie” and waited for the results. It wouldn’t be until 2017 that I would find a place to watch it.

I’ve rewatched this movie countless times, looking through the cinematography, the colors, the costumes, the history, the music, the dialogue, and I have yet to find a part that I do not like. Even the sex scenes, normally a begrudgingly accepted aspect of a movie were funny and not as bad as I thought they would be. They left something to be desired, from the hyper-real switch in camera to the awkwardness, but hey! it could be worse.

When I first watched this movie, I watched half of it and I went to bed so I wouldn’t be too tired for my large calculus test the next day. I guess it backfired because I couldn’t sleep waiting for the twists that awaited me in Part II and wondering how Sookhee would get out of the mess, and I couldn’t focus on the calculus test because I was too busy thinking of the…cinematography.

When I first watched Saving Face (2004), I was shocked to find a lesbian romantic movie with not one but two Asian leads, though they were Chinese (I’m Korean). It was beyond my dreams to have one with two Korean leads (Korean and Japanese?) and to have it be good.

The positives:

  • the shots
  • the colors!
  • the usage of history and the Korean audience to shift the way we view characters, especially Hideko’s Uncle
  • the scene in the bathtub
  • the music

The negatives:

  • somebody was talking about this movie and I looked like a nerd in front of her. Yikes.

The verdict:

5/5 stars

The Movie to Forget Your Sorrows To

Hello all:

There’s not quite a movie like What We Do in the Shadows (2014) dir. Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement.

When I first watched the movie I was depressed after a college rejection and I almost couldn’t see the screen through my tears. I’m sorry to say that I missed most of my favorite parts of the movie (the music! the character design!) through my loud sobs and my wet eyes. The jokes gave me a chuckle or two but everything else flew right over my head.

After getting my head cleared and my eyes dried up, I rewatched the movie to fully take in all that was going on. The music work is top notch, with the greatest combinations of music and visual. I’m not good enough at either to explain it correctly, but to see a fight play out with funny music in the background brings a bit of joy to my dried up heart.

It got me through a tough time, why can’t it again? Recently I started sobbing (again) because of my ex (again) and I thought to myself, “Hey! If What We Do in the Shadows (2014) made me happy then, it can make me happy now!” so I rewatched it, the screen a blur through my tears.

The positives:

  • good comedy
  • all jokes land
  • music is good and I love that it doesn’t fit quite right but also it fits perfectly
  • doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is really earnest
  • Stu

The negatives:

  • forever associated with sobbing

The verdict:

5/5 stars

 

Welcome!

Hello all:

I’m a fan of movies of all genres, and I thought I’d start a little blog for my movie reviews. Here’s a list of all the movies I’ve watched (and rewatched!) from June 2017 to June 2018. I’m planning on reviewing at least half of them so keep your heads up!

  • IT
  • Black Panther
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • What We Do in the Shadows
  • Saving Face
  • The Handmaiden
  • Love, Simon
  • The Skeleton Twins
  • The Big Short
  • Ichi the Killer
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • Moonlight
  • Remember the Titans
  • Tuesdays with Morrie