Tag Archives: spoiler alert saturday

Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Sorry to Bother You

16 Jul

As a rule, one of the most surreal experiences is attending events that you can tell part of the audience isn’t prepared for. This happened at Hamilton, it happened at Janelle Monae, it’s been a theme this year, and it definitely happened today when we went to see Sorry to Bother You.

This is not to say that this movie was for either of us, exactly; it’s not. As mentioned, I’m a white girl, and drift partner is white-passing mixed race/biracial (Chinese/white). But we at least clearly knew what we were there for and were open to and appreciative of it. This is not to say our entire audience wasn’t, or that we were the only people who seemed [insert adjective here] enough to get it, but a great many of them… well, you got the impression they were just there to waste a hot Sunday afternoon in a dark/air conditioned theater. (And we can say this with certainty because we were the first ones there and watched every single person and group enter.) Sitting quite near us was one of several middle-aged or older white couples, and this gentleman felt compelled to pass judgment on each trailer they showed, many of which were also not for “white people” movies; there were also a lot of laughs when things were funny, but probably not the kind of funny that most of us in the crowd were supposed to laugh at.

I describe this in detail because in a way it really complements the film itself, and also because there’s only so much we can say about the film itself without ruining it for you. The basic premise of the movie is this: Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is unemployed, lives in his uncle’s house, and feels inadequate compared to his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson), an anti-establishment performance artist. He ends up scoring a telemarketing job at RegalView, where he flounders for the first few days until an older coworker, Langston (Danny Glover), lets him in on a little secret: Cash needs to use his “white voice” to engage his customers. Once he does this, he begins to rise in the ranks of the company to become a Power Caller. Meanwhile, his coworkers, including Detroit and Squeeze (Steven Yeun) rally to protest their low wages and demand unionization. This is the first thirty minutes of the movie, give or take, and it is literally all we can tell you without spoiling some of the best moments.

What we can spoil: the performances, for one. Lakeith Stanfield was in the ensemble of Get Out last year, in a role that very much prepared him for being able to pretend to do a “white voice” (his “white voice” in the film is literally a white actor, though), and he should probably win a bunch of awards for this movie because he’s really wonderful at carrying it. It feels odd to say Steven Yeun is a delight because it’s not like his character did any particularly delighted or delightful things but it was mostly just a delight to get to see him not in immediate danger and sometimes also to see him get to be funny. And Tessa Thompson, well. Tessa Thompson is… everything. That’s the easiest way to put it. I’m just going to put it out there and say if this was a movie about/by white people, her character would have been written and treated like shit and made as unlikable as possible, and I was worried for half a second about this happening here but I shouldn’t have been. She just got to be an aggressively Afropunk feminist artist with agency and emotional authority, and she is also in fact impossible to stop watching because she’s entrancing and beautiful and her voice is the best thing ever and also, she wore shirts that said things like “the future is female ejaculation” and earrings that said things like “tell Homeland Security / we are the bomb.” (Thompson confirmed on twitter that most of her costumes were shirts she bought for herself.)

The best comparison we can think of is to Get Out, in terms of both social commentary and darkly comedic tone, which is a bit of a shame because the two movies really deserve to stand on their own merits. But there aren’t that many movies in the “dark racial comedy/social satire” subgenre, so here we are. This movie will probably receive similar attention to Get Out come awards season, at least I hope so, but I suspect the ending will be deeply polarizing. There are going to be people who hate it, and it’s possible that it will keep this movie out of the big Oscar races, but I really hope it won’t.

–your fangirl heroines.

taking20no20shit

Advertisements

Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Ocean’s Eight

17 Jun

Full disclaimer: what I know of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise prior to this improved installment is gained from unwillingly half-watching scenes here and there in the background of doing something else while I was growing up. I didn’t give a single damn because, well, that’s so many dudes, and none of them were dudes I had any affinity for. Therefore I went into this expecting: ladies doing things. Heist things. I know very little about heists, but I understand the formula.

And I (drift partner) haven’t seen any of the Ocean’s movies either, but I like heist stories and once my friend Dean and I made up a whole movie plot about two warring heist gangs that were made up entirely of ladies. Weirdly, some of the ladies in our movie were also in Ocean’s Eight, to the point that he leaned over to me during a trailer to whisper “did they make OUR movie?” But I have been in love with Anne Hathaway since I was twelve years old and am fond of most of the rest of this cast, so I was totally on board for this.

Anyway. This is a pretty formulaic plot, but that’s not a bad thing. The formula isn’t the point. The point is watching everything come together and watching the characters be their own respective kinds of awesome. Is it a perfect movie? Nah, but it’s sure entertaining. Also it’s funny without being mean (except to the obvious douchebags) and that’s always appreciated.

We’re going to go character-by-character because the plot is… what it is. Not “what will happen” but “how will it happen.”

  • Our leader is Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock). She’s apparently the sister of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean (was she ever mentioned before? I have no idea, and I don’t care), and Danny Ocean is now dead. Of what? We don’t really know. But he’s dead and she just got out of jail after being framed by a shitty ex (Richard Armitage) and she has a Plan, dammit. She’s gonna Do A Heist. She’s at her Sandra Bullockiest best for much of this film, doing funny voices and delivering intensely elaborate deadpan explanations of things and expressing emotion with equal aplomb. It’s really great that Hollywood finally figured out that she’s at her best when she’s a) surrounded by women and b) unencumbered by dumb romance plots. She’s a little less straight man than usual here, which is fun.
  • Next up is Lou (Cate Blanchett). She was previously Debbie’s partner. In crime? Yes. In romance? I don’t know, probably. She spends the film dressed in what might be described as “butch couture,” if that’s any clue. She helps Debbie put the heist team together and is unbelievably everything while doing it. The best part was how she had chemistry with literally everyone, because she’s Cate Blanchett, and also how she seemed like at any moment she might ascend to the next level like the terrifying Elf queen she is.
  • Anne Hathaway’s character Daphne was the unwilling participant in this heist, a somewhat vacuous actress. It was great because it was definitely playing into the stereotypes everyone associates with actresses, and for some reason especially with Anne: vain, vapid, selfish, and above everyone else. But then it turns out that she’s been onto them for awhile and has just been biding her time until she knows they’re, as she says to them, fucked. Then it adorably turns out that she really just wanted female friends all along! I think she was maybe my favorite.
  • Mindy Kaling’s character Amita is useful because she knows about jewels. Like, she knows a lot. She appraises gemstones for her family’s company and she’s miserable, so Debbie snags her to help them convincingly replicate the jewels they’re going to steal. She’s not particularly a criminal mastermind, she just knows her shit and she’s also really excited about the prospects of getting out on her own and also going to the Met Ball where they’re doing the heist.
  • Next comes Tammy (Sarah Paulson). A former criminal cohort of Debbie’s, she’s now retired to the suburbs (where she still fences stolen goods out of her garage, apparently) and is trying to have a family. She’s very bad at this and takes exactly the cursory amount of persuasion to join the team, which she in turn is very good at being part of. A big part of what’s funny about this is that it’s always funny watching Sarah Paulson pretend to be heterosexual and normal (was she maybe also Debbie’s ex? Possibly). Also I (drift partner) definitely thought she was part of a pyramid scheme rather than fencing stolen goods out of her garage for about five seconds, which was pretty funny.
  • Lou suggests a pickpocket she knows from running street scams, Constance (Awkwafina). She’s quick and clever and rather less sophisticated than the others but very eager to do this thing. There’s also a very cute bit where Constance shows Amita how to use Tinder, and the only way it would have been cuter is if it was gay.
  • Their requisite hacker appears in the form of Nine Ball (Rihanna). She’s chilled out, smoking pot, wearing overalls, just ready to do this shit. Her character is one of those characters who goes by a silly nickname and then another character who knows her by a different name comes in and refers to her as such – in this case, her little sister. I honestly wanted a movie about the two of them, they seemed like a fun pair.
  • And finally, there’s Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), an eccentric fashion designer on the verge of financial and emotional ruin. They get her to design a dress for Daphne to wear to the Met Ball, and she’s just… well, she’s also at her Helena Bonham Carteriest. She’s a weirdo but in a picture book way, like “The Most Nervous Little Pixie” or something. She’s using her normal accent or at least something close to it here, which I’ve never heard in a movie before, so that was fun.

This movie is a great summer movie because it’s just a really nice time where a bunch of ladies hang out in pretty dresses or cool outfits being competent and talking about things that are not men. And I definitely support that.

–your fangirl heroines.

please

Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War

20 May

So Infinity War has been happening to the world for about a month now. We went opening weekend, but suffice to say I thought it needed a repeat viewing before we discussed it and said repeat viewing… well, we timed it to follow the SHIELD s5 finale, just in case of something. (We’ll be discussing that tomorrow, and boy howdy, stuff and things, even if it didn’t actually pertain to Infinity War like we were worrying it might.)

Part of the thing about this movie is the official call for No Spoilers. Well, it’s been a month and that’s been broken plenty of times on the internet by now, but just in case you’re my mom and haven’t seen it yet we’ll keep the endgame stuff to ourselves. (Except for to say: it’s comics. Little is permanent.)

Instead, one of our regular lists of things we had opinions about, because overall, it was functional but I was mostly there for details, let’s be real.

  • This movie is, in my (drift partner’s) opinion, much more watchable than Civil War, which I think is a dumb exercise in misery. The main conceit of Civil War is that nerds like it when superheroes fight each other for some reason, so here is a threadbare reason for them to fight each other I guess. Oh, now everyone is mad and sad and half of them are in boat jail (and I, not drift partner, have some Opinions about boat jail that are not good and get stronger whenever I think about it). Infinity War made fandom sad, but in my opinion, prior to the last sequence, the movie understands how to tell a comic book story better AND it understands how to juggle more than five characters at once. Civil War was also very bad at this. Infinity War mixes up some of the character dynamics and throws our favorites and least favorites into new and exciting situations like: what if Thor met the Guardians! What if Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man met… IN SPACE! What is it like when some of our core heroes are in Wakanda, in awe and varyingly out of place and getting shit done! It bounces back and forth between 4-5 different groups and does so with enough variety that you never really have time to get too tired of any one scene. (Unless Doctor Strange is in it. We do not like him.) There are a few groan-worthy moments and some deeply dumb plot contrivances, but I did not feel like my soul was being sucked slowly from my body while watching it, which was at times the case with Civil War.
  • Let’s talk about those three what ifs, shall we? What if Thor met the Guardians! Well, it turns out that if Thor (Chris Hemsworth) met the Guardians it would involve wacky shenanigans. Thor quite literally smacks into the Guardians’ ship as they’re going to answer his (now demolished) ship’s distress call and they bring him aboard, and it goes pretty much exactly like you’d expect. Quill (Chris Pratt) is jealous of Gamora’s (Zoe Saldana) favorable impression of Thor and Drax (Dave Bautista) makes a lot of blunt comments that can only be described as the rapid development of a massive crush. Thor ultimately goes off on a mission to get a new hammer, accompanied by Rocket and Groot, and Gamora, Quill, Drax, and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) go off to get one of the Infinity Stones. This is the first rearrangement of people.
  • What if Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man met… IN SPACE! Well. Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) gets shot out of space and down to Earth before the Asgardian ship goes boom and lands in Doctor Strange’s (Benadryl Crinklepants) house to alert him of the danger of Thanos. Then Doctor Strange goes to get Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and they piss on each other for a while before battling some of Thanos’ minions, a battle Spider-Man (Tom Holland) eventually joins. Then Doctor Strange is a large box and Iron Man and Spider-Man are both on the same “flying donut” of a spaceship and wackiness ensues. Doctor Strange and Iron Man pretty much just piss on each other whenever they talk (and this only gets worse when they meet up with Quill et al), but at least once Spider-Man is there he makes things better.
  • What is it like when some of our core heroes are in Wakanda, in awe and varyingly out of place and getting shit done! The group that ends up in Wakanda is: Steve (Chris Evans), Sam (Anthony Mackie), Natasha (Scarlett Johansson), Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany), Rhodey (Don Cheadle), and Bruce, and of course when they’re there so are T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Shuri (Letitia Wright), and a newly rehabilitated Bucky (Sebastian Stan). And pretty much what happens is shit gets done. Shuri does a lot of science, there’s a giant battle, Bruce doesn’t know how to behave around T’Challa, Rhodey and Sam are best buds, Steve and Bucky are boyfriends, Wanda does cool shit… y’know. The usual. But better, because it’s in Wakanda and everything is better there.
  • Ultimately, the standouts to us in this movie were Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth Olsen, and Tom Holland. Zoe Saldana got to show about three times more emotion in this film as in either Guardians film, which was cool, and even though they shoehorned in some needless Gamora/Quill romance to add to the angst or something, she got to shine as an individual and that was so welcome; Gamora’s arc deals with her relationship with Thanos (Josh Brolin) and also to a much lesser extent Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Saldana just gives it her all, performancewise. Elizabeth Olsen comes in with a slight advantage since we both love Wanda to bits and pieces (while acknowledging the flaws with the MCU’s setup of her character, but while also acknowledging that she is our girl) but regardless, there is a scene toward the end of the film that is just a solid 90 seconds of her emoting and I wanted to give her an award immediately; Wanda’s arc deals largely with her relationship with Vision, which let me just say is a lot weirder when Paul Bettany actually looks like Paul Bettany and not a purple robot, and his relationship with the Infinity Stone he carries and the disaster this obviously could create should Thanos get it, but it also gives her a lot of good moments with the team (we’ll discuss this in a minute). Tom Holland…someone told him this was a real movie and he brought it. Spider-Man has been a favorite of mine since I was sixteen and I’ve been waiting since 2009 to see a good Spider-Man again (the last one was Josh Keaton as the animated Spectacular Spider-Man, and prior to that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield both had something just “off” about them in one way or another). Holland brings a charm and sincerity to the role that has been missing, while remembering that Peter is, deep down, kind of a sarcastic little shit. And in this movie he matches the more experienced actors in terms of performance at every turn (and in one particular case, definitely surpasses them – Holland is British, as is Curdledmilk; however, Holland’s American accent is flawless, and Crabapple’s is…not).
  • My standard for this movie was how well-written characters would be when interacting, particularly those who had not previously met. Turns out Thor makes a much more agreeable companion for Rocket and Groot than the other Guardians, even though I still didn’t care about the two of them (there were a couple of throwback jokes regarding Rocket’s penchant for stealing prosthetic body parts, though, and that was sort of funny). Spider-Man is a very good boy and wanted to help all of his new friends in battle, and they were definitely his new friends even if he was afraid they were going to implant him with eggs not ten minutes prior; both times we saw this I flailed joyfully when he sprung forth to make sure Mantis didn’t fall down in a battle. As mentioned, Wanda has some really great little moments and the ones we cared about most were the ones with Natasha: they pick Wanda and Vision up and Natasha promptly scolds them for what amounts to being out past curfew, which is hilarious; there’s a bit in the final sequence that also involves Okoye that’s the most triumphant ladies-supporting-ladies thing I’ve seen in a Marvel movie in a long while (I’m purposely not spoiling the details because I flailed about them, too, in a way I hope some people can still also do).
  • Another highlight of this movie (say, over Civil War) is that there are a lot more amusing things sprinkled throughout. Pretty much everything Mantis says (or does, honestly) is comedy gold, particularly if it involves her scary face. At one point when Quill meets up with the douchebag duo and their scene-saving Spider-Man, he shouts, “Where’s Gamora?” and Iron Man replies “Who’s Gamora?” and Drax, while being stepped on and nearly shot with a laser gun or something, adds, “I’ll do you one better. Why is Gamora?” and this is the funniest thing I don’t even care that is my humor. And then…
  • That brings us to the villains. There’s Thanos, of course, who isn’t funny. He’s just some big asshole who looks, as Quill aptly points out, like Grimace (from McDonalds). But then there’s also the Children of Thanos, the ones who didn’t wise up like Gamora and Nebula. These fuckers are hilarious space garbage. Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) is like a weird Gothic skeleton version of the Shape of Water fishman if it in turn bred with Slenderman, and weirdly his maw is not particularly prominent, nor is it ebony. Better still is Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon), who is just the worst. She’s the one who talks the most after Maw, and every word out of her mouth is a hilarious cliche about fighting or war or victory or something to that effect. She’s sort of insinuated to be the most powerful of Thanos’ children, at least of the bunch that appear together (Ebony Maw is usually by himself). But every time she’s onscreen she is impossible to take seriously. Also, her name is Proxima Midnight and that is objectively funny.
  • SPACE

–your fangirl heroines.

you20did20not20just

Spoiler Alert Saturday :: our thoughts on Love, Simon

21 Apr

We have been quite bad at keeping up with things lately. In our slight defense, things keep happening on the nights we need to write things, and/or we’ve just been busy and/or tired lately. It’s been an eventful month.

All of which is to say that our review of Love, Simon is grossly belatedly written and posted. Sorry, you guys.

That said, we were definitely not late in writing or posting it out of any dislike, because it’s a charming and important piece of cinema. Yes, it’s a teen movie, it’s very teenage in fact, but it’s the best kind of teenage, earnest and endearing and not dumbed down.

This movie is based on a 2015 young adult novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I (drift partner) listened to the audiobook back in September, knowing that this movie was due to come out and having been meaning to read it for literally a year before that. The movie is actually a really stellar adaptation of the book, one of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. I generally prefer to read books before seeing movies, but I would say that reading the book before the movie in this case actually spoils too much. It’s probably better to go in cold and be surprised.

This is a funny, sweet, poignant story about a sixteen year old named Simon (Nick Robinson)  who is closeted and anxious about coming out. He has been secretly emailing someone in his town, a fellow closeted gay teen codenamed “Blue.” (The movie changes this a bit, having Simon reply to Blue’s initial post on his school’s gossip blog about Blue being secretly gay. It was a tiny bit jarring but not a huge deal in the long run.) Simon is wracking his brain trying to figure out who Blue could possibly be, when disaster strikes in the form of Martin (Logan Miller). Martin has a crush on one of Simon’s best friends, Abby (Alexandra Shipp), and blackmails Simon to help him get in good with Abby: if Simon doesn’t, he will reveal Simon’s secret to the whole school.

I (drift partner) wasn’t exactly a closeted gay “teen” since I didn’t figure myself out until college, but I have a soft spot for YA stories with closeted characters because I can relate. Simon is actually one of the tamer ones I’ve read: unlike The Miseducation of Cameron Post or Autoboyography, there’s not really a religious element driving the conflict around coming out. Instead, it’s just that Simon is afraid his dorky, loving family and friends won’t actually be all that accepting. It’s the kind of conflict that might seem silly to non-queer people, but most queer people, even those who had the most accepting and affirming upbringings, will be able to relate. That fear and anxiety comes from the idea that you might share something that is such a big part of you with someone you care about, and they might not be okay with it. With you.

(I [original heroine] was definitely in a similar situation to his; I didn’t figure myself out until college either, although I honestly should have done, but even though I grew up surrounded by relatively socially liberal friends, many of them drama nerds like Simon’s pals, and an immediate family that I figured probably wouldn’t have a problem with it, coming out was always an adventure in anxiety. I’ve been fairly lucky, but I admit that there’s a scene dealing with Simon’s dad’s reaction to his coming out that got me, both because it was lovely and something every queer kid deserves and because it was an experience that I never realized I’d missed.)

This is only part of the movie’s story, though. Another huge part of the movie – and one that we won’t be spoiling in this review – is Blue’s identity, which, yes, does get resolved. This is one thing that I feel the movie majorly improved on, too. I need to read the book again, but I remember feeling sort of…underwhelmed by the reveal, because I didn’t feel like the character Blue turned out to be had been set up quite enough for me. I might be totally wrong here! It was months ago. But the movie deliberately added in a few more scenes with this character interacting with Simon and I really appreciated that. It also kept in the single most harrowing scene in the whole book, and I don’t feel bad spoiling this because I’m doing everyone a favor here: Martin claims to be Blue at one point. It’s not Martin. Thank me later.

There are a bunch of little things this movie does right, but my favorites are the scenes with Simon’s mom (Jennifer Garner) and dad (Josh Duhamel) after he’s told them he’s gay. I’ve had a soft spot for Jennifer Garner ever since Daredevil, even though that was certainly a movie, and I can’t imagine a better fantasy mom character to give an affirming speech to the queer audience. It made me cry and non-animated movies rarely-to-never make me cry. The dad’s scene is mentioned above, and it was one of the best scenes from the book to me, so I’m really glad they kept it.

Also, like we said, the movie is just a really endearing, nice teen movie. The teenagers act like teenagers; sometimes they are frustrating and emotional and messy, and the narrative lets that happen. They’re not perfect. It’s really well-done. Also watching the ending in a theater full of real teenagers was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, because they were eating it up, and then at the romantic reveal at the end they burst into literal cheers and applause and my heart grew three sizes. I hear this happened at dozens of other screenings too. (They also had a very loud enthusiastic conversation once the credits started rolling about how “now we need more movies about gay teens! And trans teens too!” It was the cutest damn thing.)

I haven’t on-purpose gone to a movie theater for a movie about teenagers marketed to teenagers since 2013. (That was The Host. Yeah, I know.) I can’t think of a better movie to have broken that streak for. Even if this isn’t your usual genre, I can’t recommend this movie enough. It’s sweet and affirming in a way that I think a lot of us really needed this year.

–your fangirl heroines.

watching

Spoiler Alert Monday :: our thoughts on Black Panther

19 Feb

It was a weird weekend and we’re posting this now so deal with it. It can’t wait.

First of all: we are not the people whose opinions about this movie matter at all. Even if we had both hated Black Panther, that wouldn’t have mattered. Black Panther is a superhero movie with a worldwide release by a major studio directed by, written by, starring, and designed by a largely black cast and crew, about a fictional African country that has never been colonized and has the greatest technological achievements of any country in the world. That is groundbreaking. (If you’re reading this and wondering why it’s such a big deal, I really recommend seeking out black writers’ thoughts on the film.)

Of course, the movie is also just really great. If you’re tired of superhero movies about the same old hero’s journey, I think you’ll be pleased with the places this movie goes. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his home country of Wakanda shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War to be crowned king after the tragic death of his father, T’Chaka. He wants to be a good king, but he is faced with a choice: keep Wakanda’s secrets and remain sequestered from the rest of the world, or use their country’s resources and power to help the oppressed around the world. Things become more complicated when a newcomer appears, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who challenges T’Challa’s leadership

I don’t want to give too much away, but here are some non-spoilery (or the vaguest of spoilers) highlights:

  • Shuri (Letitia Wright) is the smartest person in the world, and she’s a sixteen-year-old princess who loves her brother and gives him lots of shit. She is probably going to be my favorite character of 2018 and if we don’t get a movie about her I will flip a desk. She’s this weird ball of teenage girl energy and the absolute pure essence of the Afrofuturism that this movie is bringing to the forefront (check that out, it’s super interesting), from her clothes to her multitude of inventions to her attitude to her technology.
  • T’Challa himself is a great character, much more dimensional than the (delightful) glimpses of him we got in Civil War as a quiet but skillful warrior trying to avenge the death of his father. His arc in this movie is a bit different from the typical superhero arc, and it’s wonderful to watch.
  • Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) fills the “love interest” role, but oh, thank goodness, there’s a brief glimpse of good het in a Marvel movie again, because she and T’Challa are great. It could be a dangerous setup, the exes who work together (goodness knows Marvel has messed that up before), but they work so well together. They’re still obviously on good terms despite the ambiguous breakup in their past; she can fight alongside him, he can confide in her, she protects him and his with all of her heart. She’s also incredible in her own right, multitalented and fearless and outspoken.
  • Then there’s Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje. They’re Wakanda’s elite all-lady warrior group, but that even seems like an understatement. They’re just fantastic at everything. Okoye is their general and she’s very driven by tradition and justice but also capable of snarking. (Ayo [Florence Kasumba], who had one little moment in Civil War, is still around as well, so that’s nice.)
  • Also on the kickass women front is Ramonda (Angela Bassett), T’Challa’s mother and Wakanda’s queen (mother). She gets to grieve for her husband without it being treated as a weakness, exemplify what it means to behave like royalty, have a great relationship with both of her kids… she’s pretty damn awesome.
  • ALSO M’BAKU (Winston Davis). I don’t want to spoil anything but he has one of the best lines in the movie and I love him.
  • W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) is an interesting character that I wanted to see more of. He went in a different direction than I was expecting, but Kaluuya does incredible things with his face and there’s one particular scene that is iconic.
  • Erik Killmonger is a great villain, one of the best the MCU has had, and Jordan gives an incredible performance. He’s also a terrible person, but at least he’s more interesting and fun to watch than most of the villains have been.

Go see this movie as soon as you can. It’s worth it.

–your fangirl heroines.

a20simpler20time

Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

21 Jan

We finally went a second time!

So, I absolutely get why people dislike this movie, or have problems with it. I’ve read multiple people’s takes on why it’s not good, and/or why they found it harmful or hurtful, and/or why they think it shits all over established Star Wars canon (it doesn’t). I think many of them are valid interpretations. I’m also really not interested in debating the merits of it. I had fun, I like it, I think it’s a pretty good, flawed movie, and I’m not really interested in fighting about it.

Having said that, here is a spoiler-minimal list of things that are (in our opinions) good about this movie.

  • Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) is a great character and I’m going to fight anyone who says otherwise. She’s brave and clever and loyal and has the best scene ever, where she basically turns into the audience surrogate fangirling over Finn (John Boyega). It’s adorable. I’m very mad I can’t find a T-shirt with her on it because I love her.
  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) is still also a great character. She’s stubborn and determined and optimistic and she try. Also it’s fascinating because you can read every emotion on her face and the progressions of those are everything. (Regarding something Kylo tells her about [spoiler], I’ll be very interested to see if the third movie addresses it, because I don’t believe it but I also don’t not believe it. Kylo is a liar and I want to see this plot explored a little more because I don’t know that Rey’s emotional arc re: this thing is done yet.)
  • Leia (Carrie Fisher, bless her) is practically perfect in every way and there is pretty much nothing that can stop me loving her aggressively. Of course, the movie yanks you around with her at a few different points, which is particularly heartwrenching now, but you also do have the security of knowing: she is in IX. That helps. Pretty much everything with her causes, if not tears, then watery eyes, at least. The strain of the instrumental theme is officially a killer of my soul. But I’m proud of our space mom, and I will say I pretty much cheered the first time around when she used the Force. Because, to hell with you, fake nerd boys. Leia’s got the damn Force.
  • Finn (John Boyega) continues to be a good man who is doing his best and who loves Rey very much. He’s not in it as much as he should be, but he’s wonderful anyway. The saddest thing about this movie is that Finn and Rey spend most of it apart.
  • I am also very proud of Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern). Also, Amilyn is a beautiful name, if kind of born of modernist nonsense etymological conventions, but I don’t care I still like it. But the point is, Holdo is great. Also, Holdo is canon bisexual (thanks to some of the literature). She’s this beautiful soft colorful light in the darkness of this war who does what she can and takes no shit and her moments with Leia killed us hard.
  • It is also nice to see so many girls in the (quasi-)background of the Resistance scenes! And a few in the First Order, too (my mom was especially thrilled about Kate Dickie, which was charming), but that’s not as exciting. There are some characters you see semi-regularly (Lieutenant Kaydel Ko Connix [Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher’s daughter] gets more screen time this go-round, serving as a strong auxiliary member of the Resistance and its new guard; there’s a pilot named Tallie [Hermione Corfield], who mostly factors in the first fight scene but is definitely there; Rose’s sister Paige [Veronica Ngo] has a moment in that scene as well; Commander Larma D’Acy [Amanda Lawrence] seems to be one of the primary officers of the ship and does a lot of explaining) and a lot of other semi-regular background characters.
  • Finn and Poe (Oscar Isaac) continue to be extremely gay, although they don’t interact as much as in the first movie. Poe is fond of referring to Finn as “buddy” and “pal,” and when Finn first wakes up from his coma and he is wearing next-to-nothing, Poe definitely sneaks a peek south before leading him off to get changed. They also touch way more times than is strictly necessary. The m/f also continues to be very good, particularly Finn/Rey, as those two spend a decent chunk of the movie worrying or thinking about each other.
  • There are many excuses to laugh one’s ass off at Kylo (Adam Driver) and/or Hux (Domnhall Gleeson). This is very good.
  • The porgs are cute and all, but I love the vulptex (crystal foxes) and I want a plushie.

–your fangirl heroines.

hung20the20moon20of20my20life

Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Proud Mary

13 Jan

Basically, there is no good reason to throw a fit about this movie.

It’s the exact same revenge fantasy we’ve seen 20 times before, but instead of starring some middle-aged but trim/fit white fellow it’s got Taraji P. Henson being the one taking down all the bad guys. And she does, spectacularly. It doesn’t end up being much of a bloodbath, in that you don’t see all that much blood, but the kill count is high.

It doesn’t pass the Bechdel test (there are no scenes that are just between two women, let alone where they speak to each other about something other than a man) but it definitely passes the Mako Mori test (“a) at least one female character; b) who gets her own narrative arc; c) that is not about supporting a man’s story”) so that’s definitely good.

The only love story in the film is a platonic/familial one between Mary (Henson) and Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), the adolescent boy she ends up taking in. They learn how to trust each other and forgive each other and do good for each other despite neither having a good track record with people or specifically families and it’s very touching!

The style is also on point. Not only is Mary a stylish lady (understated but clearly sleek) but there’s just a really good overall vibe, one that respectfully edges toward blaxploitation without veering into anything sketchy.

It’s kind of nonsense in parts, but you know what? It’s the kind of nonsense that I will gladly watch a million more hours of.

–your angirl heroines.

hopeful20explaining