Posts Tagged ‘Lupita Nyong’o’

Media Update 6/21/18

June 21, 2018


Hearts Beat Loud

I have been a big fan of Nick Offerman since I first saw him on Parks and Recreation. I subsequently became a bigger fan watching his stand up and his appearances on talk shows. He is a highly intelligent performer and very charismatic. When I found out that he was starring in a feel-good independent movie, I was excited. I heard right away that it was getting good buzz but I stopped checking up on it because I did not want to spoil myself. The movie is about a single father who is on the cusp of changes in his life just as his daughter is about to go off to college. During that last summer, they write a song together. Offerman is great in the movie. There were parts where he did so much with his face and his eyes without even saying a word that made me laugh or made me feel for him. He played a less grumpy character than on Parks and Rec and he was really sweet. The other star of the movie is played by Kiersey Clemons, who plays the daughter. She is so amazing and fun and the soul of the movie is her interactions with her father. Also, her singing (and it really was her singing) is really great. I had not really known about her before this movie but I will be on the lookout now. She reminded me a little of Tessa Thompson in Creed. There were also great supporting roles from Toni Colette, Sasha Lane, and Ted Danson. The movie was really sweet and funny and the soundtrack is one of the best I have ever heard. A lot of the original songs were a mix of electronica and live instruments and the rest is an eclectic mix of more obscure artists. I definitely recommend it as I could not stop smiling all the way through.


Queen of Katwe

This movie is based on a real story of a young woman from a slum in Kampala, Uganda who tried to escape poverty by playing chess in tournaments. Her name was Phiona Mutesi and she was apparently a brilliant mind in chess. That is one of the things that I have always loved about chess is that as long as you dedicate yourself to it, it is a game that poor and rich people alike can succeed at. That is the main message of this movie. Phiona is an inspiration and a great role model for kids. The movie is also about what happens when you find the greater world beyond what you have known. Those in poverty and those in wealth live in entirely different worlds and, although my life has never been of great wealth, I have not wanted like Phiona must have wanted. When you move between two worlds, all sorts of identity problems start cropping up as you wonder where your worldview may take you and how it might change. The kids in the movie have great performances and Phiona herself is played unknown Madina Nalwanga. David Oyelowo is so amazing and warm as their coach who sees something in Phiona and the other children and does his best to shepherd them educationally and emotionally. The always great Lupita Nyong’o plays Phiona’s mother with both warmth and ferocity. I definitely recommend this one as well.


Paddington

I vaguely remember reading a Paddington Bear book when I was little but I realized that I have it confused with another famous British bear, Winnie the Pooh. I thought Paddington was a teddy bear as well but I was mistaken. He is an actual bear from Darkest Peru and speaks proper Queen’s English. I was a little worried about this one despite the good reviews because live-action adaptations of older properties have not been so kind lately. I worried that it would end up like bad adaptations like the recent Peter Rabbit. This was not the case. This movie was absolutely charming and the acting was top notch. Every joke came from a place of plot and character and there are no random, non-sensical gags that do not fit the source material. And yet, the movie updated the story to fit modern London instead of the fifties when the first book was written. The heart of the movie is in Ben Whishaw’s performance of Paddington but also Hugh Bonneville’s performance as the father of the Brown family. Their relationship felt so natural. Paddington was so warm and his fish-out-of-water story felt so genuine and heartfelt. Nicole Kidman was great as the villain. She was so over the top but oddly charming while doing it. There were also great character actor performances from Jim Broadbent, Michael Gambon, Peter Capaldi, Julie Walters, and Sally Hawkins. Apparently, a good deal of credit should also be given to Emma Thompson who gave the script an uncredited polish. Also, of course, Director Paul King who was also the director of the brilliant The Mighty Boosh. I definitely recommend this.

Music of the Week:
Ash – Annabel

Dilated Peoples – Worst Comes To Worst

Dua Lipa – IDGAF

Ratatat – Breaking Away

We’re Not a Band – Hearts Beat Loud

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “The Start of Something New”
– I watched more Wynonna Earp Season 2
– I finished Supernatural Season 13
– I watched more Riverdale Season 2
– I watched more Gurren Lagann
– I watched more Hemlock Grove Season 1
– I started Agents of Shield Season 5
– I watched more Barry Kramer on YouTube
– I am psyched for some other movies this weekend

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Media Update 2/22/18

February 22, 2018


Black Panther

When my friend texted me saying that they had gotten our group tickets for a Friday showing of Black Panther, I was excited all week to see it. I had heard such good things not only from critics but also from celebrities whose tastes are aligned with mine who got to see it early. Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther was one of the best parts of Captain America: Civil War. The intelligence and emotion of the character were just as important of all the cool flippy stuff he did in battles. His movie is an even deeper dive into the character and his world and it also confronts a lot of social issues that always need confronting. It explores a lot of themes that include but are not limited to the black experience in the United States, the black experience in Africa, imperialism, isolationism, and foreign aid. There are also more intimate themes of family, doing what is right, honoring your past while looking to the future, dealing with the sins of the past, and so on. Boseman was even better than he was in Civil War. He was joined by the powerhouse team of Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett as possibly the strongest female characters I have seen on film. I am talking physical, emotional, and mental strengths by the way. It was awesome to see Daniel Kaluuya again and he gave a great raw, vulnerable performance. Michael B. Jordan earned his place as one the best Marvel villains so far if not the best. Andy Serkis was really fun (and not mo-capped!) and it is always nice to see Martin Freeman. The movie is nonstop enjoyment and I definitely recommend it.


Black Lightning

I was inspired to check out this show after coming home all jazzed from seeing Black Panther. I had heard good things and I love the relatively recent trend of good DC Comics shows. This show is more similar to Black Panther or Luke Cage than it is to the Arrowverse. The show is an adaptation of DC Comics’ first African-American superhero. Jefferson Pierce is a school principal by day and a superhero by night. The show explores a lot of what it means to be Black in an urban setting with all of the traps laid in the paths of America’s Black youth. Within the first few episodes, the show introduces a lot of great characters from the comic books. There are even Outsiders references as a nod to Black Lightning’s association with Batman and his daughter’s association with future iterations of the team. While the superhero stuff is compelling, watching Pierce and his family try to navigate personal relationships is just as interesting. I cannot remember another television show that attempts to capture the experiences of a school principal, at least not with the strong community connections Pierce has. Every character so far is deep and nobody is completely good or evil. I definitely recommend this one as it is just getting started and it is self-contained for now.


Sleight

I was not sure what to expect with this movie but I did know that it shared a producer with Get Out. Of course, producers are facilitators, not artists themselves. I knew that it was kind of heralded as a new kind of superhero movie. What it ended up being was much more than that. It definitely feels like a superhero origin story in certain ways. It has science fiction/science fantasy elements but it is really about a kid who has to take care of his little sister after their parents die. It felt a little bit like a Miles Morales/Peter Parker story because of that. The kid gets caught up in a bad scene and has to figure it out. Aside from the fantasy elements, the movie really felt like a great story about surviving as a young black man on the streets of Los Angeles. There are drug dealers, cops, and gangsters all around. Jacob Latimore plays the main character and he just obviously has a good heart and I found myself really rooting for him. Dule Hill plays the villain of the movie which was really cool because I have never seen him play a bad guy before that I can remember. I really liked the movie as it was and I would not be mad if this ‘superhero origin story’ was just a one shot. However, if they could come up with a good sequel I would be hungry for that as well. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
George Clinton – Atomic Dog

Kendrick Lamar, SZA – All The Stars

Migos – Stir Fry

Future – You Da Baddest ft. Nicki Minaj

Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Black Superheroes”
– I watched more of Happy! Season 1
– I watched more of Criminal Minds Season 11
– I watched more of Peaky Blinders Season 1
– I watched more of Mad Men Season 1
– I watched more of The Librarians Season 4
– I watched GT Live, Critical Role, Game Grumps, and KittyKat Gaming

Media Update 12/8/2016

December 8, 2016


Suicide Squad

I went into this movie with incredibly low expectations. I still have not seen Batman V. Superman and, at this rate, I may never see it. It helped that the movie was written and directed by a more competent man in David Ayer who made Training Day. The movie apparently had a lot of studio meddling in it. A lot of the movie felt like a music video with supervillains in it. I clocked at least three different popular songs in the first four minutes which just reeks of trying to be more like Guardians of the Galaxy. The highlight of the movie is Margot Robbie who is the highlight of most movies she is in. Her portrayal of Harley Quinn was heavily quotable and brought a lot of life and comedy to what otherwise could have been a much darker movie. A lot of people complained about Jared Leto’s Joker but I really think he did a fine job. What really bothered me was that he did not really need to be in the movie because he barely impacted the plot. They could have reduced his role even more, made the movie shorter and saved him for when he would have more impact later. Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman also really stood out as Amanda Waller and Rick Flag. Davis was especially great with her nearly sociopathic performance. While it was dark, it was in line with the comics and previous portrayals of the character in media. Kinnaman had a tough job of trying to stand out and remain likable but he really pulled it off. Will Smith should not play bad guys. He just was not believable as a contract killer to me. He was fun but he was not the one for that role. Overall, I liked the movie and I really think they should continue with this franchise instead of the Superman franchise. I recommend it but realize that it is still connected to the current DCU movies.


Yoga Hosers

I never saw Tusk (the first film in this trilogy) because it never appealed to me and I also listened to the podcast where Kevin Smith detailed pretty much the whole concept. I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith. Amid all the dick and fart jokes, a lot of Smith’s movies spoke a lot of truth about life. This movie was written and made while Kevin Smith was smoking a lot of pot and it kind of shows. However, that is not quite a horrible thing. It is a love letter from the US to Canada and also a family affair. This movie is very playful and has a lot of meta, self-referential humor similar to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The movie also has a similar kinetic energy to that movie. The power of this movie comes from the chemistry between its stars Harley Quinn Smith (Kevin Smith’s daughter) and Lily-Rose Depp (Johnny Depp’s daughter). The two of them have been best friends in real life since kindergarten and that was definitely channeled into the movie. Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp are also in the movie. Smith is like a Looney Tunes character and his joke gets old but then suddenly gets funny again. Depp transforms into a character from Tusk, a pathetic French detective who enlists the young girls to combat evil. Finally, there was Ralph Garman who managed to work his celebrity impressions into the movie despite it not making any sense but he was still fun. There are also a ton of fun cameos. The movie really makes me want to see Lily-Rose in more stuff. I definitely recommend it for Kevin Smith fans and fans of goofy movies.


Jungle Book

I have been wary of watching this movie because the original was such a good movie on its own. It has some really good Disney music and some really good animation. It is a classic for a reason. When I saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it looked pretty but it was clear that it was not a musical. I kept hope that it was still a musical but it was not to be. Strangely, there is one single music number almost halfway through and again over an hour in. I would have rather they just left it out at that point. While I kind of missed the musical aspects (the score is nothing special) the movie is stunningly beautiful. It is incredibly hard to believe that this was shot with one child actor and a boatload of computer generated animation. The animals are all so lifelike and well-animated that they feel almost like real animals (except for the speaking perfect English part). The kid, Neel Sethi, is really good for his age. He put in a lot of work and does a lot of good acting and some stunt work. The voice work of all the famous actors they hired is fantastic. Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley and Lupita Nyong’o especially were fantastic. Scarlet Johansson was also excellent but she was only in the movie for less than two minutes. I think they should have cast somebody besides Christopher Walken. Bill Murray was good. I think what I liked about this is how much better the writing is from the original story. It added more lore to the story as well, drawing more of Kipling’s work. I recommend this one for sure.

Music of the Week:
Red Sun Rising – Amnesia

The Record Company – Off The Ground

Eli “Paperboy” Reed – Come And Get It

Blackalicious ft. Chali 2na & Lateef the Truthspeaker – 4000 Miles

Getter – Rip N Dip

Weekly Updates:
– I am now on Season 2 of The Office
– I continued to watch Season 2 of Dark Matter
– I am caught up on Season 2 of Ash vs. The Evil Dead
– This week’s theme is “Unlikely Heroes”
– I continued Season 2 of Parks and Recreation
– I continued Season 1 of Luther
– “Not expecting much but being surprised and happy” is probably a secondary theme this week


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