My 2 Cents… IO (2019)

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IO

Title: IO (2019)
Director: Jonathan Helpert
Writers: Clay Jeter, Charles Spano, and Will Basanta
Stars: Margaret Qualley (Sam), Anthony Mackie (Micah), Danny Huston (Henry), and Tom Payne (Elon)

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★
Cinematography: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.25)

STORYLINE:
Sam (Margaret Qualley), one of the last survivors on a post-cataclysmic Earth, is a young scientist dedicated to finding a way for humans to adapt and survive, rather than abandon their world. But with the final shuttle scheduled to leave the planet for a distant colony, her determination to stay is rocked by the arrival of another survivor, Micah (Anthony Mackie). She must decide whether to journey with him to join the rest of humanity and begin life anew, or stay to fight for Earth’s survival.

MY 2 CENTS:
IO is not an action-packed Sci-Fi movie, so if that is what you want, you’ll be disappointed. This is a movie about human connection. It’s a movie with heart, emotion, and a desire to make the world a better place. I’m not sure why it got so many bad reviews, and certainly don’t feel like they were warranted. The script is all dialog and very little action, but that was the point. This movie will make you think, ask questions, wonder what if, and wonder if what we are doing to the world today will one day the devastation this movie shows us.

There are only three on-screen actors; Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie, and Danny Huston. They all did a wonderful job, with Margaret Qualley carrying the bulk of the performance all on her own. She was beautiful in her performance of Sam.

I wanted more, but the ending the writers and director gave us was satisfying. They gave the viewers hope, where there was little to be found.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“Don’t underestimate the power of human connection. That’s all there is. There is no bigger meaning. Just human connection.” ~ Henry

“We have learned to fear our planet and fled to the stars in search of a new one. But the fascination for other worlds could not turn my eyes away from the beauty of our home. The waves are crashing on the shore… and the wind is blowing in my hair. Tell them it feels good. Tell them the dark clouds have given way to the ocean mist. Tell them a new world awaits us. Tell them we’re waiting for you. Waiting for you to come back.” ~ Sam

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

https://youtu.be/N6kW0KLqyj0

You can watch the official trailer here:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3256226/videoplayer/vi2167388697

My 2 Cents… Girl (2018)

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

GIRLTitle: Girl
Director: Lukas Dhont
Writers: Lukas Dhont and Angelo Tijssens
Stars: Victor Polster (Lara), Arieh Worthalter (Mathias), and Oliver Bodart (Milo)

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★
Cinematography: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.25)

STORYLINE:
Lara, a 15-year-old transgender girl who aspires to be a professional ballerina, moves with her supportive father, Mathias, and younger brother to attend a prestigious Dutch-speaking dance academy. Undergoing hormone replacement therapy in preparation for sex reassignment surgery, she is frustrated by the slow progress of the treatment. At school, she tucks her penis with tape during ballet practices and experiences transphobic harassment from her classmates. Since the taping has caused an infection, she is denied the surgery for now, so she mutilates herself with a pair of scissors. The film ends with a shot of Lara walking down a street in the sun.

MY 2 CENTS:
• Golden Globes Awards – Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film

It’s hard being a teenager. It’s hard being a teenage girl going through hormonal changes, self-doubt, body issues, and so much more. Throw into the mix the fact that Lara, played by Victor Polster, is a 15-year-old girl who was born in the body of a boy that she doesn’t relate to.

I don’t know, nor would I ever presume to understand, what that might feel like. But I can say this, I know it couldn’t be easy.

Although Girl is not a documentary, or true story, it was inspired by Nora Monsecour, a trans female dancer from Belgium. I’m not sure how much of the story was true to Nora’s life or how much was purely fiction, but it was beautifully told.

I’ve read a number of reviews and articles that have criticized the film for its depiction of self-harm and gender-dysphoria, which I recently learned is the distress a person experiences when the gender they are assigned at birth does not match the person’s gender identity causing them to be transgender. Honestly, I can’t criticize a film for something I don’t truly understand. All I know is that the struggle Lara was going through in the film, felt honest, raw, and real.

VictorGirl was actor Victor Polster’s debut role and he did a beautiful job. I won’t lie, I had to look up the film’s IMDB page to find out if Lara was played by a male or female actor. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know if the director had used a body double for the nude scenes or if the actress was actually an actor. I will say this, I am a bit shocked that the actor was only fourteen at the time of the filming and there were scenes of him with full frontal nudity (with his parent’s permission). That was off-putting to say the least.

Arieh Worthalter, who played Mathias – Lara’s father, was amazing. He was so natural on-screen. He wore his emotions on his sleeve… on his face… in his eyes. Half the time, I just wanted to hug him and tell him everything was going to be alright. You could see that he, as much as his daughter, was struggling just to keep himself together. The love he felt for both of his children was so pure and you could tell he would do anything for them. Enough so that he uprooted his family so that Lara, the oldest of the two children, could attend an elite dance school and be treated by doctors who could really help her. He supported her 100% through the process of preparing for sex reassignment surgery and was there for her every step of the way even though he was worried sick about her.

It was a beautiful story of family, love, pain, growing up, and discovering yourself even when you have to look through the mud to find out who you really are.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

https://youtu.be/1JqjW0wUtFA

You can watch the official trailer here:

https://youtu.be/Kdzu26tnUTc

My 2 Cents… Set it Up

Would you prefer to watch the video , instead of reading the review? CLICK HERESet it up

Title: Set it Up
Director: Claire Scanlon
Writer: Katie Silberman
Stars: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu, and Taye Diggs

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★ (The only reason this is 4 stars and not 5 is because of the predictability of the script).
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.66)

 

STORYLINE:
Two young assistants in New York City realize they can make their lives easier by setting up their workaholics bosses to date. While trying to perpetuate this romantic ruse between their nightmare bosses, the assistants realize they might be right for each other. Written by https://teaser-trailer.com

MY 2 CENTS:
I was in the mood for a fun, predictable, romantic comedy… Set it Up did not disappoint! I loved the chemistry between Zoey Deutch and glen Powell who played off of each other perfectly and looked great together. Even the supporting characters; the guy in the elevator, the best friend/roommate, and the waiter played their characters perfectly.

The script was tight, with little to no plot holes our unanswered questions. Although I had predicted the ending, long before, I was still crossing my fingers and rooting for the characters.

This film has a little bit for everyone… romance, humor, sports, etc. It is a feel-good film that is perfect for a rainy day.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video

https://youtu.be/RhphTXUVotM

You can watch the official trailers and video clips here:

https://youtu.be/X-eRc9PF3TU

My 2 Cents… Bohemian Rhapsody

Queen

Title: Bohemian Rhapsody
Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Anthony McCarten and Peter Morgan
Stars: Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), Lucy Boynton (Mary Austin), Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon), Aidan Gillen (John Reid), Allen Leech (Paul Prenter), Tom Hollander (Jim Beach) and Mike Myers (Ray Foster)

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.66)

 

Storyline:
Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his band mates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day. Written by Twentieth Century Fox

My 2 Cents:
My husband and I both really enjoyed this film. I’ve been a Queen fan for years and believe this is a beautiful tribute to the band and to Freddie Mercury. Rami Malek was perfectly cast. He showed no hesitation to dive right into such a dramatic and charismatic role.

I enjoyed learning more about Freddie Mercury, the band, and the origin of many of the songs. Although, I wish the movie had included his struggle with AIDS and his death, not because I think he needed to die in the movie to give closure, but because I had hoped to see the relationship between him, his band mates, and Mary throughout his last few months. With the strong acting and wonderful script, I believe they could have brought the movie full circle with his life. This was the only reason I didn’t give it a full 5-star rating… the story was lacking a conclusion… I wanted more!

Even if you aren’t a Queen fan, this movie is worth your time. I wish I had seen this one on the big screen. If it’s still available, I highly recommend going to the theatre… see it on IMAX… get the full concert effect and enjoy every minute of this masterpiece.

You can watch the official trailers here:


Watch the original Queen Bohemian Rhapsody music video here:

https://youtu.be/fJ9rUzIMcZQ

My 2 Cents… Bird Box

Bird Box

Title: Bird Box
Director: Susanne Bier
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay) and Josh Malerman (novel)
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★
Story: ★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★ (3.66)

Blurb:
Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety.

Storyline:
In the wake of an unknown global terror, a mother must find the strength to flee with her children down a treacherous river in search of safety. Due to unseen deadly forces, the perilous journey must be made blindly. Directed by Emmy winner Susanne Bier, Bird Box is a thriller starring Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, and Trevante Rhodes. Written by Netflix

My 2 Cents:
I wanted to love this film, I really did. Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses and although I didn’t love this film, I did LOVE her performance. Let me explain. I felt that the writing left to many things open-ended… without a clear picture of what happened to cause the mass suicides or a clear understanding of how, or even if, everything was resolved, everything in the middle was just filler.

If you’ve seen ‘The Happening’ or ‘A Quiet Place’ then you need not bother with this one. However, if you don’t care about plot and you just want to be startled and see Sandra Bullock at her best, despite a sub-par script, then sit down with some popcorn and watch.

Before you think I just completely hated this film, let me give props to the cast. You already know I enjoyed Bullocks portrayal of Malorie. Trevante Rhodes was excellent as Tom, John Malkovich was creepy good at Douglas, Sarah Paulson blew the small role of Jessica out of the park, and the children Vivien Lyra Blair (Girl) and Julian Edwards (Boy) were wonderful.

You can watch the official trailers here:

https://youtu.be/MPWMBITCudM
https://youtu.be/INJ2bPFy108

My 2 Cents… Ocean’s Eight

Oceans Eight

Title: Ocean’s Eight
Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Gary Ross and Olivia Milch (Screenplay)
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★
Story: ★★★
Acting: ★★★
Overall: ★★★ (3)

Blurb:
Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.

Storyline:
Danny Ocean’s estranged sister Debbie attempts to pull off the heist of the century at New York City’s star-studded annual Met Gala. Her first stop is to assemble the perfect all-female crew: Lou, Rose, Daphne Kluger, Nine Ball, Tammy, Amita, and Constance. Written by Coors71

My 2 Cents:
Let me just say up front that Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses. As an actress myself, I’ve always wanted her career. I obviously don’t have it. With that said, I was sad to give this movie only a 3-star rating, but it just didn’t live up to my expectations. If I’m honest with myself, it probably shouldn’t have even been a 3-star rating, but I refuse to give it any less because it did keep me minimally entertained on the airplane… and it kept my mind off the fact that I was nauseous and hate to fly.

Admittedly, the cast lineup was fantastic. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, and even Anne Hathaway.

However, what this movie proved was that even with an AMAZING CAST, you wont always end up with an amazing film. The directing was subpar – trying to live off the success of the previous Ocean movies… The script was predictable. It wasn’t humorous, the characters weren’t likeable, and worst of all there was no suspense. It was supposed to be a heist movie, where was the thrill, danger, suspense?

All in all, I’d say, if you’re really bored and there is nothing else on – go ahead and watch Ocean’s Eight. However, I wouldn’t rent it. Save your $3.99 and watch it when it becomes free on Netflix.

You can watch the official trailers here:


 

My 2 Cents… Ex Machina

ex m

Title: Ex Machina
Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Stars: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Sonoya Mizuno

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★ (5)

Blurb:
A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breath-taking humanoid A.I.

Storyline:
Caleb, a 26-year-old programmer at the world’s largest internet company, wins a competition to spend a week at a private mountain retreat belonging to Nathan, the reclusive CEO of the company. But when Caleb arrives at the remote location, he finds that he will have to participate in a strange and fascinating experiment in which he must interact with the world’s first true artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a beautiful robot girl. Written by DNA FILMS

My 2 Cents:
OK, I’ll admit – I did not see this one in the theatre. Big surprise, right? I mean it did come out back in 2014 and I’m just now reviewing it. I had never even heard of Ex Machina until the image of it scrolled across my Netflix feed.

I had no clue what to expect, but I tend to like AI movies so I gave it a shot.

Ultimately, this movie is about a computer programmer, Caleb – played by Domhnall Gleeson, who “wins” a chance to be flown to the estate where the owner of the company he works for, Nathan – played by Oscar Isaac, lives. Caleb gets there… to what is basically this massive, underground bunker where Nathan lives, works, and creates. His boss makes him sign an NDA and then shows him this beautiful AI woman, Ava – played by Alicia Vikander, that he created and keeps locked up – secluded from the outside world. He explains that the reason he brought Caleb there was to spend a week talking with Ava, questioning her, etc. to see if she is a real AI or just another robot.

Tension… tension… tension…

This really was a tension filled movie. Basically, because the acting was fantastic!!! I was captivated by the acting AND the dialogue. I have to hand it to Alex Garland, the writer and director, for such a well thought out, thought-provoking script. I was so surprised to find out that this was the first movie he had ever directed. WHAT?!?! Yup, its true.

As the viewer, you don’t know who to trust… who to believe… who to care for. That is part of the genius behind the writing. It also gives credit to the execution of the acting and directing.

I’m not going to tell you what happens, and I really won’t tell you the twist at the end. Yes, there is a twist. What I will tell you is – this is an EXCELLENT MOVIE!!!! If you haven’t seen it, you need to rent this one, it will not disappoint.

You can watch the official trailers here:


 

My 2 Cents… The Nun

The Nun

Title: The Nun
Director: Corin Hardy
Writers: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay)
Story by: Gary Dauberman and James Wan
Stars: Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, and Bonnie Aarons

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★
Story: ★★★
Acting: ★★★
Overall: ★★★ (3)

Blurb:
A priest with a haunted past and a novice on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.

Storyline:
When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in ‘The Conjuring 2,’ as the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned. Written by Warner Bros.

My 2 Cents:
I was hoping for more. More scares, more story, more plot, more acting. Just more.

Ok, before you get the wrong I idea, I do still think this movie is worth watching. Rent it, don’t buy it. The story is subpar and the acting is just ok, but there were a few good jump scares – my favorite part of scary movies. Although, the best part wasn’t the movie at all – it was who I was watching it with. My daughter says she loves scary movies, but she screams the whole time. THE WHOLE TIME – even when it isn’t scary. So, her fear and excitement at being scared made the movie that much more fun for me too.

So, find a friend or a loved one who loves to be scared and jumps at everything and watch this movie with them.

I guess the only other things I can say about the movie is that the special effects were better than I expected and Bonnie Aarons, the actress who played The Nun, was awesome! I’m not going to lie – she was pretty creepy scary looking.

You can watch the official trailers here:

My 2 Cents… Brain on Fire

Brain on Fire

Title: Brain on Fire
Director: Gerard Barrett
Writers: Gerard Barrett (Screenplay) & Susannah Cahalan (Memoir)
Stars: Chloe Grace Moretz, Thomas Mann, Richard Armitage, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jenny Slate, and Tyler Perry

 

 

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★ (5)

Blurb:
A young, capable professional cannot explain her newly erratic behavior.

Storyline:
The film follows the harrowing experience of a writer struggling with a rare neurological disease from when she first suffers symptoms to the many attempts at diagnosing it and the eventual discovery of the real cause of her illness. Based on the book, ‘Brain On Fire’, the true story of Susannah Cahalan, a journalist for the New York Post. Written by Danny

My 2 Cents:
WOW! I can’t say enough good things about this movie.

First let me start by explaining something I didn’t know when I hit play… This movie is based on a true story. It’s not fiction and wow did the actors and director nail it! I wish there were more movies being made that touched on such important topics as mental illness in such a way that people can relate and yet learn.

The acting was amazing – breathtaking. Chloe Grace Moretz was perfectly cast and brought her character to life in such a heartbreaking way. Richard Armitage and Carrie-Anne Moss played Chloe’s parents, a divorced couple struggling to move on from their failed marriage and still support their sick daughter through her time of need. They fought valiantly for their daughter’s rights and to provide her with the best treatment available.

I’m not going to give anything else away. However, I think it needs to be said that the negative reviews I’ve read online seem so miss placed. This movie is definitely a MUST SEE!

You can watch the official trailers here:

My 2 cents… Riverdale

Riverdale

TV Show Title: Riverdale
Creator: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Stars: K.J. Apa (Archie Andrews), Lili Reinhart (Betty Cooper), Camila Mendes (Veronica Lodge), and Cole Sprouse (Jughead Jones)

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Acting: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4)

Blurb:
A subversive take on Archie and his friends, exploring small town life, the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.

 

Storyline:
After the death of one of the rich and popular Blossom twins on the 4th of July, the small town of Riverdale investigates the murder. The series starts in September, the beginning of a new school year, that brings with it new students, relationships, and reveals the mysteries of the past 4th of July. Written by ahmetkozan

My 2 Cents:
I grew up reading the Archie comics… I loved them! The characters were fun, relatable, and I enjoyed the banter back and forth and the constant rivalry between best friends Betty and Veronica to see who would Archie liked best.

Although I am enjoying the show, Riverdale, which is based (loosely in my opinion) on the Archie comics, it seems to be missing something.

In the comic, the character of Archie, was a clumsy teen boy who loved music and girls.
In the show, he still loves the girls and music, but he seems more teen angst than anything else. He had an affair with his teacher, Ms. Grundy who the show cast as a pretty young woman. Let me tell you – if you don’t already know – Ms. Grundy was an old, grey haired, mean woman in the comics. Weird choice for casting if you ask me.

Betty Cooper – The girl next door. Yeah, the show got her right. The actress, Lili Reinhard even looks like the Better Cooper in the older comics. She, and jughead, are probably my favorite characters in the show.

Veronica Lodge – She was a snooty, rich girl in the comics and she is a snooty, rich girl in the show! She says she is Betty’s best friend, but just like in the comics there are times where she treats her terribly. She is the stereotypical ‘Mean Girl’.

Jughead Jones – Probably the most different in terms of character changes from comic to show. In the comic he was a lazy guy who didn’t care about girls, relationships, working… anything. In the show, he writes – all the time – and is in a relationship with Betty (Spoiler Alert). He even joined a gang… Didn’t see that once coming.

I don’t remember the comics having nearly the amount of crime either. Sure, there were small things, but they always worked themselves out. Riverdale is full of sex, murder, cover ups, drugs, and mob activity. Not the most wholesome show to be presenting to kids and yet it is marketed as a kid show – pre and young teens.

You can watch the official trailers here: