Movies: Sonic the Hedgehog, Fantasy Island, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saacvhan

Movie 1:  Sonic the Hedgehog

This film is targeted to children.  Sonic is a computer generated character by Sega Games and Paramount Pictures.  It’s a challenge to describe if you haven’t seen it.  The story line and script zips along quite quickly.  Jim Carrey plays the kooky villain.  Overall, it’s a well executed silly comedy designed for children. 

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Movie 2:  Fantasy Island

Remember the television series by the same name from the 70’s?  It was intriguing entertainment for its day.  

This version is more or less the same except the plot takes the characters on more of a horror path.  What a shame.  Mainly because the set is modern, feels current and intriguing…until it gets weird and horrific.  Don’t waste your time or money.

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Movie 3:  Shubh Mangal Zyada Saacvhan

This film was banned in much of the Middle East due to its positive portrayal of same sex couples.  It’s the first Indian film about a same sex relationship since India decriminalized homosexuality in 2018.

It’s a huge Bollywood production.  It’s listed as a Comedy/Drama/Romance.  It’s concurrently goofy, graceful, funny, and forgiving.  It’s worth seeking out.  Hindi with English subtitles.

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Movies: Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Downhill, The Photograph

Movie 1: Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Set in 18th century France, this film about an art instructor to young women is subtle and visually stunning.  The dialog is equally impressive, shifting from character to character and scene to scene.

It’s a bit confusing here and there.  Some scenes are blunt and surprising but overall the production is strikingly beautiful and satisfying.  French with English subtitles.

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Movie 2:  Downhill

This movie was apparently based on the 2014 French dark comedy film Force Majeure.  This production takes place in the Austrian Alps.  In this rendition the Mom and Dad with their two boys are on a ski vacation.  

There are moments of beauty, less than ideal parenting, a few horrid locals, and a couple of chuckles.  It’s well acted, well written and focuses on family dysfunction.  This film is anything but a comedy.

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Movie 3: The Photograph

Currently in theaters nationwide, this is a no nonsense story about a man and a  woman who are more than attracted to each other from they moment they meet.

It’s an intelligent, believable love story that feels real.  One critic said it best…”It’s an excellent black movie written, produced, directed and acted by and for black people.”  We agree but believe everyone can feel connected once they see it.

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Movies: Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), The Traitor, Black and Blue

Movie 1: Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

This film is about the character Harley Quinn after breaking up with The Joker.  It’s a bit far fetched considering how many bad guys (and gals) are loose on the streets.  It’s quite entertaining once you adjust to the crude language and behaviors.

You know you are watching something unique once you realize most of the characters are psycho, laced with crude slapstick and sadistic humor.  But all in all what a shame…

Rating 

Movie 2: The Traitor 

 

This is a fascinating true story about Italy’s Cosa Nostra with a focus on Tommaso Buscetta, a mafia boss.  It’s concurrently fascinating and frustrating to watch.  There is a lot of back and forth between time, topic and location.  (The story bounces around between Sicily, Brazil, the US and other unclear venues.)

There’s so much double crossing and the settling of scores around the world it’s almost impossible to follow.  Interestingly the film has stirred up controversy in today’s Italy.  Consider the hefty 135 minute run time if you have not already seen this one.  Italian and Sicilian with English subtitles.

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Movie 3: Black and Blue

It’s a timely and revealing film about law and order in much of the African American communities of urban America.  There are good cops, bad cops, good citizens and some pretty horrible characters.

It’s engaging to watch with inventive cinematography.  It’s also a commentary on social justice and racism.  Excellent acting and lots to consider.

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Movies: Gretel and Hansel, The Last Full Measure, The Assistant

Movie 1: Gretel and Hansel

This film is the retelling of an old fairy tale where the characters are made from gingerbread.  Oops! Wrong fairy tale.  This one is dark, unique, Gothic, and somewhat satanic.  That said it is also mesmerizing, creative and “Grimm.” (oops, couldn’t resist!)

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Movie 2: The Last Full Measure

First, be prepared…this is an immensely powerful film, based on true events, about the horror of the war with Vietnam.  It’s concurrently a film about the long term impact of war in general.  That said, its a disclosure about the realities of that war and ultimately the horrid reality of the time. The ending is uplifting and well worth the admission. 

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Movie 3: The Assistant

Wow!  What a timely and powerful expose about the private sectors business culture including workplace harassment and oppression.  How appropriate given current events.

That said, it’s a fresh peek at the current climate in both corporate and public environments.  It’s a bit like the horror films from 30 years ago and the myopic movies that allows workplace monsters to survive in plain sight.

Rating   

 

JimJohn.net’s 2020 Oscar Picks

Good day to all our family and friends.  This coming Sunday, February 9 is this year’s 92nd Academy Awards, 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Below are our PICKS for all the Oscar nominations.  It reflects our predictions for this years categories.

Feel free to print this e-mail or use the following link to a printable voting sheet that you can use on Oscar Night.

Here’s a BIG SHOUT OUT to our blog host JOHN for his efforts on our behalf. 

We would love to hear back from you about your experiences this year.  Last year we set a new personal record of seeing 243 movies.  Here is hoping to break that record this year!

Best wishes and thanks to all our friends and family.  J&J

2020 Oscars

John & Jim

Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood X
Parasite

Best Director

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Todd Phillips, Joker
Sam Mendes, 1917 X
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker X
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Best Actress

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy X

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood X

Best Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story X
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Best Original Screenplay

Knives Out
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood X
Parasite

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women X
The Two Popes

Best Costume Design

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women X
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Original Score

Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917 X
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best Original Song

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman X
“I’m Standing With You,” Breakthrough
“Into the Unknown,” Frozen II
“Stand Up,” Harriet

Sound Editing

Ford v Ferrari
Joker
1917 X
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Sound Mixing

Ad Astra
Ford v. Ferrari
Joker
1917 X
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Klaus
Missing Link X
Toy Story 4

Best Animated Short

Dcera (Daughter)
Hair Love X
Kitbull
Memorable
Sister

Best Live Action Short

Brotherhood
Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors’ Window
Saria X
A Sister

Documentary Feature

American Factory X
The Cave
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama
Honeyland

Documentary Short

In the Absence
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
Life Overtakes Me
St. Louis Superman X
Walk, Run, Cha-Cha

Best International Feature Film

Corpus Christi
Honeyland
Les Misérables
Pain and Glory
Parasite X

Best Production Design

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
1917 X
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite

Best Film Editing

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit X
Joker
Parasite

Best Cinematography

The Irishman
Joker
The Lighthouse
1917 X
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Visual Effects

Avengers: Endgame X
The Irishman
The Lion King
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Bombshell X
Joker
Judy
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
1917

 

Movies: 2020 Oscar Nominated Live Action Short Subject

Brotherhood (Canada, Tunisia, Qatar and Sweden)

This 25 minute film delivers a big package and a lot of tension and family drama when one brother comes home with a new Syrian wife.  It was originally released in 2018 at the Toronto International Film Festival.  Arabic with English subtitles.

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NEFTA Football Club (France)

This fascinating 17 minute film tells a tale of how a cartload of narcotics ends up…not on the street…but on a football field.  Charming and inventive.  Arabic with English subtitles.

Rating: 

Saria (USA)

This was a difficult film to watch.  The focus is on two orphaned sisters, 12 and 14 years old, at a “Safe Home” where they faced daily physical abuse by the institution designed to protect them.  In 2017 41 girls died when a fire broke out in the school.  Finally the girls escape and find shelter in the US.  23 minutes.  This is our pick for the Oscar.  Spanish with English subtitles.

Rating: 

The Neighbor’s Window (USA)

It’s exactly what it sounds like.  Neighbors harbor envy, voyeurism and grief when they become obsessed with the activities from their neighbors windows.  It’s concurrently funny and embarrassing.  The run time is 20 minutes.

Rating:

A Sister  (Belgium)

This is a spooky film where a woman is being kidnapped and pretends to call her sister to check in on her children, but is actually on the phone to a help line.  It’s an intense psychological thriller packed into a 17 minute film.  French with English subtitles.

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Movies: 2020 Oscar Nominated Documentary Short Subject Films

This is the 15th consecutive year for the Documentary Shorts.  The total combined run time is 160 minutes.

In the Absence

This 28 minute film from South Korea explains what happened to the MV Sewol passenger ferry that sank off the coast of South Korea in 2014.  It’s heartbreaking to watch.  Korean with English subtitles.

Rating: 

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

This film from Afghanistan is about a skateboarding program exclusively for girls.  Most young girls in Afghanistan are not permitted to have such activities, especially those from poor neighborhoods.  The program has resulted with a new generation of young ladies who believe they can do anything.  Run time is 39 minutes.   Afghan Persian with English subtitles.

Rating: 

Life Overtakes Me

This is an amazing story about parents with children from the old Soviet Block countries who sought refugee status from Sweden.  Over 400 children suffered from a coma like illness.  The story is breathtaking and haunting.  Run time is 39 minutes.  Russian and Swedish with English subtitles.

Rating:

St. Louis Superman

This outstanding 28 minute film chronicles the life of Bruce Franks Jr. Black activist and rapper elected to the Missouri House of Representatives.  It’s an intimate and powerful story about politics, perseverance and community.  This is our pick for the Oscar.

Rating: 

Walk, Run, Cha-Cha

Thus 21 minute film from the US tells the love story of two teenagers who fell in love in Vietnam during the war.  Years later they reunite in California. The filming occurred over 6 years.  It’s a charming story.  Vietnamese and English with English subtitles.

Rating: 

 

Movies: 2020 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Subject Films

This year’s nominated Animated Short Subject films are not to be missed.  Each is unique with powerful messages in their short duration.

Dcera (Daughter)

It’s a somber look at a strained relationship between a father and daughter spanning several years.  Czech Republic.

Rating: 

Hair Love

This is a delightful family story that is uplifting, funny and emotional.  USA.  This is our choice for the Oscar.

Rating: 

Kitbull

A stray kitten and a pit bull discover a friendship with each other.  Another Pixar home run!  USA.

Rating: 

Memorable

An aging painter and his wife struggle with his advancing dementia.  France.

Rating: 

Sister

It’s the touching story about a Chinese family growing up under the ‘one child policy’.  China/USA.

Rating: 

Movies: Weathering with You, Color out of Space, The Rhythm Section

Movie 1: Weathering with You

Thank goodness for international films.  It’s almost assured you’ll have a unique movie experience.  This film is an animated production touching on a variety of global issues.

This film was a huge hit in Japan and is now enjoying global distribution.  The overarching theme is the change in global weather.  It’s inspiring, clever, and quite down to earth.

Japanese with English subtitles.

Rating  

Movie 2:  Color out of Space

OK, now we are talking about a serious movie experience.  This film reinvents modern horror films involving contact from outer space.  Surprisingly this movie is based on a short story dating back to 1927.

Be warned! This film is beautifully produced.  It’s realistic to an uncomfortable degree.  Thank goodness it’s all just awesome imagination…(or is it?!)

Rating   

Movie 3: The Rhythm Section

We were surprised with the tepid reviews of this film.  While the story is a bit confusing at first, it quickly becomes intense and ultimately powerful, unique and thought provoking.

The cast and the production are intriguing.  The script is filled with lots of surprises.  There is a lot to think about once the film ends.  We liked it a lot.

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Movies: The Gentlemen, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Spies in Disguise

Movie 1: The Gentlemen

This latest film from Guy Ritchie is a Crime Action film set in the United Kingdom.  It is equally gritty, often violent, graphic and crude.  The scenes involving lots of children are brutal and difficult to watch.

To be frank, the entire film was difficult to watch.  It’s yet another film about illegal drug dealing by horrible people in horrid conditions simply trying to survive.

Rating  

Movie 2: The Personal History of David Copperfield

One critic characterized this film as “both more or less than the original Charles Dickens story”.  It is exactly what the title of the film declares.  It’s a study of comedies based on the 1850 writings by Charles Dickens.

It’s intelligent, beautifully filmed with an excellent cast.  It is concurrently old fashioned and contemporary at the same time.  We thoroughly enjoyed it. 

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Movie 3: Spies in Disguise

This is a clever computer animation film with unique characters, interesting concepts and some very funny episodes.  It’s the first Blue Sky Studios film and part of Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

Will Smith is the voice of the lead character.  It’s a funny, goofy, action packed story with a very funny pigeon.

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