entertainment
Licorice Pizza
Movies  |  January 23, 2022

Licorice Pizza

After a lot of thought, I gave this film a 2.5/5. On the one hand, I wanted to give it a 4 out of 5; on the other hand, a 1 out of 5.  I go into greater detail at the end of the review, but for now, I will just say that I had a significant issue with the story and how it was handled. There has been a lot of coverage about the handling of some dialogue and nearly “racist” comments in the film. I found those moments to be problematic, but in a way that you could tell it was to show the time and just how bad some acceptable things were. You could then argue my more significant issue with the film was the same, but I couldn’t look past it. I feel like somewhat of a hypocrite, and I am still processing a lot of the film. Please keep in mind that there are many dated things in this movie; it takes place in 1973 and doesn’t shy away from portraying how it was. The film itself was excellent, from the cast to the direction; that’s why it’s a shame that it had the issues it did. For a movie that runs a little over two hours, I was locked in the entire time; there weren’t a lot of slow moments. Throughout, some oneliners were brilliant, and the story itself was simple yet very effective. Alana Haim (who has a successful musical career with her sisters in the band “Haim”) and her co-lead Cooper Hoffman are both pretty much newcomers to the acting world. They manage to both be brilliant onscreen and play well off each other. Haim has some more experience with her music videos and different limited roles.  Sean Penn, Tom Waits, John C. Reilly, and Bradley Cooper all have more minor roles. Each manages to make the best of their time on screen. Reilly is a blink, and you’ll miss it, cameo, thankfully his voice is iconic and hard to miss.  One of the most complex parts of film critique is when you both enjoy and dislike a film, regardless of the reasons. Some say a 2.5 is a terrible rating, but by definition, it’s right in the middle (for me at least!) People will disagree with me, but I feel the 2.5 rating is when you’re entirely crossed and can’t decide. I usually don’t do this, but I need to explain my reasoning. If you haven’t seen the movie, please don’t read below because I hate the idea of spoiling anything for anyone. BE WARNED,  SPOILERS BELOW: So in the film, the lead actress (who is now 30) played a 25-year-old. Cooper Hoffman, the lead actor (now 18), played a 15-year-old. They have a “romance” in the film, and I can’t quite explain how uncomfortable it made me feel. Had these roles been reversed, people would be up in arms. The double standard here is beyond comparison. Could you imagine a film with a 25-year-old male and a 15-year-old girl? Ultimately director Paul Thomas Anderson said this was done intentionally. However, it made the film hard to watch. There was a chance to redeem the film in the end, yet he went in the opposite direction and just nearly ruined the entire experience. I’m sure I’ll receive some hate for this section specifically. Still, I feel Hollywood has enough issues to deal with right now without glorifying this type of relationship (which is also terribly toxic.)  READ MORE...

Movies  |  January 16, 2022
Encanto

Encanto

Are we in the midst of another Disney renaissance? Disney has had a couple of ups and downs in their time; it usually comes in waves. Lately, I feel like Disney and Pixar both have had a lot of mediocre films; they have potential but never blow me out of the water. “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Frozen,” and “Big Hero 6” were the last of the newer wave that impressed me. “Encanto” is more of the same; I feel like “Moana,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and now this were all good but not great. I don’t think any of them will become “classics” in the long run. There is a magic formula to a genuinely magical animation; Disney is hit or miss even though they created the recipe themselves. It’s hard to describe; I watch these films and enjoy them, but I walk away from them just feeling “eh,” which draws conflict from within myself. I want to enjoy them, but sometimes it feels like they’ve just been trying too hard. It’s become the norm for Disney to have beautiful animation (even though I still prefer hand-drawn to computer animation); however, there’s more to it than just some pretty visuals. I liked that this one didn’t have the traditional “villain” but more so the battle with living up to “your own potential” and family conflict. As per usual, Disney knocked it out with a fantastic voice cast. I can only assume that they have people lined up at the door to work on a Disney film. So to some extent, that’s almost unfair, but I will still give credit where credit is due. I was incredibly impressed with Stephanie Beatriz (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) as the lead Mirabel and John Leguizamo (“Spawn”) as Bruno.  I’m a big fan of the Oscars, but Disney/Pixar usually always win; my issue is that they win for the wrong reason. A mix of them “paying” for the victory with promoting it to voters and their films get a more significant release area. Cartoon Saloon has released four animated films, all four have been nominated for an Academy Award, and all four lost to either Disney or Pixar. I realize that the Oscars have their issues, but it would still be nice not to be that predictable. I also feel like I need to point out that the Oscar-shortlisted song from the “Dos Oruguitas” sounds very much like “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid.” Which ultimately makes sense, Lin-Manuel Miranda helped score, compose, and write the lyrics to “Encanto.” He’s credited “Under the Sea” as the moment he decided what he wanted to do in his life (and also named his son Sebastian.) On a somewhat unrelated note, Pixar’s film “Turning Red” will be released on Disney+ instead of in theaters as initially projected. It will be available on March 11th, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing my thoughts on it shortly after that! If you’ve been to a movie in the last few months, you’ve likely seen a trailer for it (a girl that changes into a giant red panda.) I will say that the trailers have sold me, and it’s one of the first films that I’m looking forward to from either Disney or Pixar!

Movies  |  January 9, 2022
The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Resurrections

So I’m going to start by saying I still don’t know how I feel about this movie. I saw it, tried to let it sink in, and I’m still wholly crossed. My first DVD was “The Matrix” I was the perfect demographic when the film came out, and I loved (and still do) everything about it. Not only was it a beautiful film but it also gave you something to think about. It takes you down a rabbit hole, one that you honestly can’t answer. I mean, are we in a computer simulation? If we are, and it’s a good one, no one would ever know. So I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I honestly don’t believe we are, but I found it interesting that the question really can’t be answered.

Best of 2021  |  January 2, 2022
WandaVision is Must See TV

WandaVision is Must See TV

WandaVision – 2021 (Action/Adventure/Comedy)     Mini-Series    |    

Television  |  December 19, 2021
Christmas Favorites

Christmas Favorites

Monday, December 20 5:15am – The First Christmas (1975, Rankin/Bass) (AMC) 10:30am – Home Alone (1990, Macaulay Culkin) (Freeform) 3:35pm – Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970, Rankin/Bass) (Freeform) 4:40pm – Frosty the Snowman (1969, Rankin/Bass) (Freeform) 5:15pm – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964, Rankin/Bass) (Freeform) 6:20pm – The Santa Clause (1994, Tim Allen) (Freeform) 7:00pm – The Wizard of Oz (1939, Judy Garland) (TNT) 7:13pm – Prancer (1989, Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, Rebecca Harrell) (Starz Encore) 8:00pm – Annie: Live! (NBC) 8:30pm – The Santa Clause 2 (2002, Tim Allen) (Freeform) 9:15pm – The Wizard of Oz (1939, Judy Garland) (TNT) 12:00am – The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006, Tim Allen, Martin Short) (Freeform)

Movies  |  December 12, 2021
Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

“Who ya gonna call?” The answer is the 1980’s; in the never-ending rush to capitalize on proven franchises, we get to revisit (again) a franchise that was so iconic that it needed to be handled with baby gloves.

Movies  |  December 5, 2021
House of Gucci

House of Gucci

“Father, son and House of Gucci.” What is possibly one of the most memorable lines in recent movie history for me. Star of the film Lady Gaga (“A Star is Born,” “American Horror Story”) ad-libbed the line. She said, "I would do it in the trailer all the time. I was doing it in the trailer and then something about that scene when we were doing it felt right. We did it, and it's a testament to [director] Ridley Scott as a director because he uses the stuff. He uses the creativity. He uses the love."

Movies  |  November 28, 2021
tick, tick...BOOM!

tick, tick...BOOM!

While not 100% accurate, this semi-autobiographical film about American composer, lyricist, and playwright Jonathan Larson (“Rent” Broadway production) played to its strengths. It hit every note just right.

Movies  |  November 21, 2021
Spencer

Spencer

“A fable from a true tragedy,” and honesty those words were one of the film’s most significant faults. I have a hard time calling this a "biography." I’ve always been a fan of Diana, Princess of Wales. She indeed was the "People's Princess," and although her life was tragically cut short, she cemented her place in history as an icon.

Movies  |  November 14, 2021
Eternals

Eternals

Another week, another Marvel film (I swear Disney has something releasing weekly, on the big screen or Disney+.) I’m a big Marvel fan, and I usually try to keep myself from reading anything from other reviewers or aggregator sites such as Rotten Tomatoes. I intentionally do this so that I don’t have my view of a film skewed. Sadly I was unable to avoid the response to the Rotten Tomatoes critics scores on this one. Usually, I wouldn’t care, as I often disagree with the popular critics.

Movies  |  November 7, 2021
Last Night in Soho

Last Night in Soho

I have so many things going through my mind right now! Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Baby Driver”) does it again, and this time in a mixed genre film that was everything I wanted it to be and more. Let me preface this review with the fact that if you have any desire to see this, please don’t read other reviews or anything about it. As always, my reviews are spoiler-free and mainly my thoughts and feelings about the film, cast, and crew. A word of warning, the film has a lot of horror elements and flashing lights, so just in case either of those bothers you.

Movies  |  October 31, 2021
Dune

Dune

“Dune” has long been considered an “unfilmable” work, and honestly, after watching this, I may have to agree. To be fair, I’ve never seen the 1984 version by David Lynch (although I do own it, so I need to get on that.) Previously the film was in preproduction by the director Alejandro Jodorowsky; this was such an infamous achievement that an entire documentary has been made just on the work he had put into a film that was never made.

Movies  |  October 24, 2021
Halloween Kills

Halloween Kills

I’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started! First, I’d like to bring attention to the fact that my Facebook page was deleted (I’m trying to appeal, but I’ve heard the odds aren’t in my favor.) Anyway, make sure to go follow my new page; you should still be able to find it by searching “Overly Honest Movie Reviews.” Make sure to visit my link at the bottom of the page and follow my other social media accounts.

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