Three sentence movie reviews: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

This movie does a couple of thing very well. For one, it’s very gripping, what with all the things going on.* Also, every time I thought I had a good bead on them, each of the character would take a small turn, making for the most well-rounded characters I’ve seen in film this year.**

Cost: $9.00 (I know!  I was invited, though, and I don’t mind throwing $$ to this particular theater.)
Where watched: at the Hollywood Theater with Kelly.

*It would make a nice study in upping the dramatic tension.
**For a very funny film, I did also walk out of the theater with a very dark feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I think Martin McDonagh excels at tapping into something icky about the human condition.


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Three sentence movie reviews: What a Girl Wants

This movie purports to be a remake of the play the Reluctant Debutante, rather than a remake of the 1958 movie, and I can see why.  Very little remains of the 1958 plot.  This was clearly developed as a vehicle for Amanda Bynes and she does her Amanda Bynes best, as does Colin Firth,* but nothing is going to save this mediocre movie.**

Cost: $2.99 (I could have watched it for free on some site called bmovies, but I feel less okay about finding free versions of movies from this century.
Where watched: on my computer.***

*Apparently, there was a time in Hollywood when Amanda Bynes got top credit and Colin Firth wasn’t even mentioned on the poster.
**I do always appreciate a sighting of Anna Chancellor, whom I first encountered in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
***This will probably be the last movie watched on my desktop computer.  I bought us a brand new TV the next morning on Black Friday.

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Three sentence movie reviews: The Reluctant Debutante

Set your mindset to 1958 to enjoy this delightfully funny film.*  Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall show off their physical comedy skills, and Sandra Dee is perfect as the slightly bored American being put through the debutante wringer.**  Aside from having a great selection of 1958 fashion to take in,*** it also clips right along, avoiding any of that “old movie” slack.

Cost: free, because I wasn’t going to pay to watch a movie from 1958.  I googled “Reluctant Debutant free” and used one of the services.
Where watched:  at home, on my computer.

*Because if you don’t do this, you won’t enjoy it, given the 17-year-old girl paired with a 23 year-old-man. There’s also several instances where a girl being wrestled into a kiss is played off as a minor irritant/no big deal.
**If a trivia note in IMDB is to be believed, she was 14 when this movie was filmed.
***I first encountered this movie at quite the impressionable age, maybe 12 or 13?  The scene is set early on with a title card saying simply:  London: The Season.  I can remember quite clearly thinking with awe, “What is the Season?”  I could tell from the title card it was a Big Deal.  From that point on, I would intermittently wonder what my life would be like if I had a big debut when I was 17. (Which, given that I was an American middle class teenager, was never going to happen, even if I suddenly was transformed to a British citizen, but I didn’t know that.)

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Three sentence movie reviews: A Street Cat Named Bob

Based on a true story, and a good movie to watch with your mom on Thanksgiving.* I could have done less with the prominent use of camera angles from the cat’s perspective, but those fade by mid-movie.  Luke Treadaway’s performance was solid, and he did a good job sharing a screen with a cat.

Cost: Netflix
Where watched: at Mom’s house.

*She picked it out.


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Three sentence movie reviews: Lady Bird

Good depictions of mother-daughter relationships are hard to come by in film.* That makes this coming-of-age story a rare gem that manages to capture the senior year attempts at growing up, as well as lay the patchwork for the eventual mother-daughter separation.** Ronan & Metcalf are brilliant as the mother-daughter pair, and props also must go to Beanie Feldstein as the stalwart best friend, and Odeya Rush as the vapid rich girl.

Cost: $9.00 (pre-Thanksgiving treat!)
Where watched: Hollywood Theater. My showing sold out. (!!)

*This is partially because of the general absence of women in film, but also because it’s hard to get the nuance of loving someone who also drives you crazy.
**It’s also a very funny film.

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Three sentence movie reviews: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

I came prepared to not like this movie, as it was not reviewed favorably, and thus I was less than impressed.  The main problem for me was that there was even more violence in this film than in the first one and it was spread throughout, so I spent a goodly amount of time covering my eyes.*  I was in it for Channing Tatum, and he had maybe five minutes on screen.

Cost: $5.00
Where watched: Jubitz Cinema

*Most of the first film’s run time consisted of training sequences; the violence was mostly saved for the end.

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Three sentence movie reviews: Spider-Man: Homecoming

I put off seeing this, due to superhero fatigue, but thank goodness I caught up with it, as this movie is an exercise in excellent storytelling.  As someone who loves a good high school film, I can say that this is an quality high school film, with bonus superhero elements. Tom Holland is a great Spider-Man, but special props go to Jacob Batalon as Ned, who aspires to be “the guy in the chair.”

Cost: $1.50 from Redbox
Where watched: at home, with Matt (his second viewing)

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Three sentence movie reviews: Victoria and Abdul

This starts as an amusing cross-cultural romp, but makes an abrupt and harrowing turn halfway through, making for an uneven (and unpleasant) film.  The performances by Dench and Fazal were quite good, and the costumes nice.  Overall, the uneven nature made for a very disjointed movie experience.

Cost: free due to Regal Gift Cards
Where watched: Regal City Center Stadium 12, with mom.

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Three sentence movie reviews: Thor: Ragnorak

Chris Hemsworth is already quite stunning in the looks department,  is a fine actor, and thus, it seems unfair that he would also have great comedic timing.*  But he does, and this movie is delightful in a wacky way most Marvel movies aren’t.  Tessa Thompson is also fun to watch, as is the director as Korg.

Cost: free due to birthday gift cards
Where watched: Regal City Center Stadium 12, with Matt

*I mean really, must he be good at everything?

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Three sentence movie reviews: Hell or High Water

When one spends several hours doing hard labor in service of a landscaping project, one does not have the gumption to do much else.  So it was that this film got a re-watch, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first time.  The causal “funny” racism of Jeff Bridges character still irked, but I still loved the layers of this story and how well it is told.

Cost: free from library
Where watched: at home with Matt, who really enjoyed it.

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Fun fact:  Comancheria was the original title of this film. It seems that it worked better for the French people than the idiom Hell or High Water.