Three sentence movie reviews: Intolerance

Do you know what D.W. Griffith is in favor of, aside from white supremacy? Fun!*  If you’ve got three hours, this is an exercise in marveling at immense sets and hordes of extras, and if you have a scratch-off movie poster, you will have the reward of seeing what that grasping hand changes into.

Cost: free from library
Where watched: at home

*In the modern story, it is clearly very bad that social reformers outlaw dancing at cafes, drinking at saloons, and also prostitution.** Griffith was getting a half-side-eye with his overwrought portrayal of women social reformers, until I got the title card that said something to the effect of “women who have ceased to become attractive to their husbands turn to interfering in other people’s lives.”  From that point on, I was full side-eye.  I get that some parts of the social movements run by women in the early twentieth century went too far.  Prohibition is a good example.  But the temperance movement was partially fueled by the fact that alcoholic men could easily wreck havoc on their families and there was no recourse for the women or children involved.  The reforms of the early twentieth century improved a lot of lives, and were run by women with no political power.  That’s impressive.

**And that part bugged me, too.  We’re supposed to be sad that women can’t prostitute themselves anymore?  Given the long, lingering shots of men drooling over the prostitutes as they were escorted from the brothel, this was a terrible, terrible turn.

Here’s our scratch off  for this movie and the two others I’ve already seen.  That Snow White one is one of my favorites. poster from:

Do you want to scratch your movie poster itch? Get the scratch off poster here.

Three Sentence Movie Reviews: Mudbound

Great performances all around, though I especially enjoyed the pairing of Garrett Hudland & Jason Mitchell, especially in contrast to the relationship between Jason Clarke and Rob Morgan.* It was apparent from the midway point things weren’t going in a good direction, and from that point, the movie dragged.  Still, it’s an unpleasant story that hasn’t been told enough, and I appreciate Dee Rees for the film, and also for pushing the ending to the point she did.**

Cost: streamed via Netflix
Where watched: at home

*Carey Mulligan brought it, as she always does, and Mary J. Blige was excellent too.
**I see I’ve got some Dee Rees to catch up on.

poster from:

Song of the Month: Vance Joy “Lay It On Me”

After hearing Vance Joy’s “Riptide” approximately 5000 more times than I needed to, I’m a bit hesitant to make this the song of the month.  But I can’t resist the rising notes of the chorus and the great leap of a few notes on the word “out.”  Plus, this song really cries out to be redone with a heavier horn section.  I see a good pep band arrangement somewhere on its horizon.

It’s catchy as all get out, though.  I’m probably going to get tired of it more quickly because of that.  Matt was even singing it the other day, not really knowing the words, just putting nonsense syllables to the notes chorus.

If you aren’t tired of it already, the below is a good acoustic version, including Australian DJs graciously letting Mr. Joy have a sip of tea before he begins.

Three sentence movie reviews: La La Land

Continuing the December 2017 trend of repeat viewing to loop in the boyfriend comes this film, watched by him because he adores Emma Stone, and by me to see if all the grumbling about the hype made a difference in my liking this movie.  My second viewing I found myself with similar feelings re: singing voices* but overall still enjoyed the film, and really hooked into the musical score (it might be underrated!) this time.

Cost: free from library
Where watched: at home, with Matt

* I wish they would have dubbed them

poster from:

Our “white” Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve morning, and I’m getting some last few baking things done.  The DJ comes on the radio and says, “Thank goodness, we missed all the terrible weather forecast for today.”  I look outside where it’s dark and threatening.  On her next break she says, “I just had a call from Boring and it’s snowing there.  And in Gresham, there is freezing rain.”  And then every break after that she had more bad news about the weather.

Sometimes it’s best not to speak too soon.

What we got at the Orange Door: ice pellets and freezing rain-type stuff.  It was never really snow, just a pain to drive in.  But the fact I drove in it (twice: on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) means it wasn’t too terrible.  By Boxing Day it had faded to an icy sheen, captured here.

Under those tarps are piles of sand leftover from the side yard, which will be used for the back yard.

Three sentence movie reviews: The Parent Trap

A repeat viewing on my part to introduce the boyfriend to Sharon and Susan, and women of all ages being catty.  This is one of those movies I can’t objectively review because I watched it many times during my youth, and thus always find it enjoyable. “The soundtrack tells you what to feel,” was one of the boyfriend’s observations, which left me contemplating when that orchestral mood-setting technique of movie making was dropped.

Cost: streaming via Netflix
Where watched: at home with Matt

poster from:
What in god’s name is going on with this poster?  The header title?  The fact that Maureen O’Hara is in a wedding gown?  The woman who looks nothing like the child bride and her electric hips?

Three sentence movie reviews: Elf

Having never seen this holiday classic, we filled the traditional Movie-on-Christmas-Eve-Afternoon slot with Will Ferrell as-human-raised-as-elf.  The theater was sprinkled with families, so I was clued into the parts that kids found hilarious, and did a lot of laughing of my own. It was a good way to spend the penultimate day of the Christmas season.

Cost: $4.00
Where watched: Kennedy School

poster from:

Three sentence movie review: Manchester by the Sea

A repeat viewing, partially to loop the boyfriend in, and partially because I can’t get enough of Lucas Hedges, post-Lady Bird. This held up nicely on second viewing, remaining as sad and tragic as it was the first time. I’m happy to report that the sometimes overwhelming soundtrack I experienced in the theater had been pulled back to a reasonable level on the DVD.

Cost: free from library
Where watched: at home, with Matt.

poster from:
(My hatred of this poster remains the same. Michelle William’s total screen time?  Like five minues, max.  And who got a best supporting actor nomination for this?  That’s right Lucas Hedges.  At least put him on the poster.  Also, this scene? They were standing by a wall.)

Three sentence movie reviews: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Year two of two I’ve fallen asleep during a Star Wars movie.* However, I enjoyed the parts I was awake for (I missed the First Law of the Jedi, or something like that?) I thought were very well done, especially since the plot divided our main characters for most of the film.  There were some good fight scenes,** the final battle was stunning, and in this “me too” era, it was incredibly empowering to see so many women driving the plot arc of the Star Wars universe.

Cost: Matt paid for us both, because he was tired of my kibbitzing about movie prices and just wanted to see the film.  His total price: $19.90
Where watched: Regal Lloyd Center.  We attempted the Baghdad, but it was sold out. I was angling for our usual Regal Vancouver City Center, which is cheaper on Sundays.  This was the theater in between the two, geographically, with a convenient showtime.

*To be fair, the hours of 1:00-3:00 PM are not the best for me in terms of: alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic.
**This coming from a person who isn’t enamored with fight scenes


poster from:

Three sentence movie reviews: The General

While I had a poor quality print with random classical music songs* (beginning with the graduation earworm “Pomp & Circumstance”) the actual story overcame these handicaps. Buster Keaton’s antics were fun to watch (and exhausting when thinking about filming them.) For a movie that is over 80 years old, this holds up nicely.**

Cost: free from library
Where watched: at home

*Because this is a famous movie filmed in Oregon, it’s not unusual for it to play at one of our many theaters. I’d like to see it again, with a sensible score and a crowd to help fuel the laughter.
**Aside from the fact that if you sympathize with Keaton’s plight you are rooting for the Confederacy, which depending on which side of “heritage not hate” you fall on, might or might not be a minus.

This is also a movie on my scratch off poster. I get to scratch this one, and two I’ve already seen. Here they are:

poster from:
Do you want to scratch your movie poster itch? Get the scratch off poster here.