Watched, Read, Reviewed: November 2017

I’m again starting up a month-in-review post as I can’t find the time lately to do full movie reviews but would still like to at least briefly discuss the things I’ve seen & read each month. Here’s a quick look at the month of November…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Only one movie reviewed this month due to lack of time:

The Untouchables, which was my November 2017 Blind Spot choice. Great film! Glad I finally watched it. My Rating: 8/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

• The French Connection – This is a Blind Spot 2018 choice of mine & I decided to get a head start by watching it now. It’s good but not as good as I was expecting. I definitely preferred The Untouchables. I’ll review this film in depth in January after posting my full list of 2018 Blind Spot films… My Rating: 7.5/10

• Moonlight – This was good. Was it “All-time classic, Oscar-worthy” good? Not really. It’s probably the best of the nominees, though, as it was weak year (La La Land is overrated). Mahershala Ali was very good & had a “presence” that not all actors have. I’m glad he won the Supporting Actor Oscar but was disappointed to find it was quite a small role. I’m also glad that Naomie Harris didn’t win as I feel that exact same sort of role has been played far better in countless other films. I really liked the character of Kevin (especially adult Kevin), who is the one & only friend of the main protagonist, Chiron. But it was very hard to feel a connection to Chiron, played by three actors in three stages of life, due to his traumatic childhood making him extremely shy and reserved. I felt sympathy for him but couldn’t feel much more than that as we never really got to “know” him. Moonlight is a good film but it wasn’t as emotionally powerful as I was hoping. It did pick up in the final half hour or so and I really liked the ending. I think it’s a better film and that the emotions felt much more genuine than in Manchester By The Sea, which I watched as a double feature with this (what a fun time that was!). But this is also one of those “heavy Oscar dramas” that I’ll probably only watch once then never again. My Rating: 7.5/10

• Manchester By The Sea – Hmm. This was okay but it felt a little contrived. I don’t do well with heavy dramas but I especially struggle with ones that don’t come across as fully genuine. I was surprised to find there was a bit of a dark humor throughout the film, especially with how Casey Affleck & his nephew (Lucas Hedges) interacted, which was a welcome relief from all the depressing drama! Hedges was fun to watch as a pretty typical & well-liked teenage boy. Affleck did well as a seemingly emotionless man whose tragic past has forever completely changed who he is as a person. When you find out why, f*^k…. No one should have to go through that and your heart breaks for him while, at the same time, you kind of hate him. And then, of course, it sounds like he may not be the nicest guy in real life. And then you get really annoyed and try to just think of this as the fictional movie that it is. Holy shit it’s depressing. At least Moonlight felt a little more hopeful, I guess. My Rating: 7/10

• Jackie – Erm. I’m sorry but I was thoroughly bored while watching this, which I certainly hadn’t been expecting. I’m terrible when it comes to anything to do with history (it was always my least favorite subject in school) and I truly knew nothing about Jackie O. And, after watching this movie, I still feel like I know absolutely nothing. I know that Portman was supposedly very good only because that’s what people said. Did Jackie really sound like that??? Bizarre. I just found it very difficult to care, which is quite a feat as you’d think such a traumatic true story would create a very sympathetic character. I don’t know. Sorry! I just thought this was a truly weak film considering its powerful potential. My Rating: 6/10

• Sing – Ugh. Sing was shit. I know it’s not Disney or Pixar so I had pretty low expectations anyway. But… Sheesh. I wish they’d stop pumping out crap like this. Kids are smart. They want better than this! My Rating: 4.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst):

• Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – I read this as it’s being made into a television series by HBO & starring my girl crush Amy Adams. Gillian Flynn also wrote Gone Girl, which I reviewed HERE and which I liked okay despite thinking it was a bit f*^ked-up. Holy hell… Gone Girl ain’t got nothing on Sharp Objects!!! These may be the most f*^ked-up characters EVER. And I kind of enjoyed the book. It’s so seriously f*^ked-up and over-the-top that I ended up quite entertained. I guess. I’m not sure if you can take that as a recommendation or not… 😉 My Rating: 3.5/5

• Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – I read this as it’s supposedly going to be made into a film by one of my favorite directors, Richard Linklater. It’s an odd book, told mostly through e-mails and letters between characters. It’s about a teenage girl whose eccentric mother, Bernadette, goes missing. Bernadette is indeed an intriguing character and I can see why Linklater would be interested in putting her on the big screen. I found it very hard to get into this book & its storytelling style, though. The characters are fun but you’d probably either love this book or hate it depending on if you buy into the characters or not. My Rating: 3/5

• The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – This is a Young Adult novel about a teenage girl whose older sister dies unexpectedly. Again, I read this as it looks like they’re planning on making it into a movie but there are no specific details yet. I thought the story handled grief quite well and that the characters were strong but it’s very much a “YA” novel so won’t be for everyone. My Rating: 3/5

Currently Reading: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt – This will be a 2018 Western film starring John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix & Jake Gyllenhaal. I’m struggling to get into this one…

TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Black Mirror: Season 1, Episode 2: Fifteen Million Merits – I’ve finally convinced the hubby to start watching these with me after I recovered from episode 1 (that was seriously f*^ked-up). My all-time favorite TV show is the original The Twilight Zone so I knew Black Mirror would probably be my sort of thing. I liked episode two a hell of a lot more than the first one and now can’t wait to continue. I loved the dystopian future displayed in episode 2 and, of course, the usual morality lessons that were done in the same way in the 1950s with The Twilight Zone (that show was SO ahead of its time!). Daniel Kaluuya, from Get Out, did a very good job in this (I wonder if this role is what got him noticed for that film). I really hope the rest of the episodes are as good…

Stranger Things: Season 2 – As with all things with as much hype as this show, season 2 didn’t manage to quite live up to season 1. I just sincerely hope they know when to quit with this one instead of dragging it out for years (like The Walking Dead!!! Ugh). What I did love was seeing these thoroughly likable characters again and getting to know them even better. I still like this show a lot and think that, if they make just one more season and concentrate on making it a damn good final season, it’ll be seen as a bit of a classic years from now. The story isn’t perfect but the characters and the style make it lots of fun.

• The Walking Dead: Season 8 so far – I’ve fallen behind & not watched the last two episodes that aired. Because I’M BORED!! This show started out strong but has gotten worse & worse every season. I’ve had enough. At this point I’m continuing just because I’ve watched it so long now that I feel like I have to see it through to the end. Meh.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

As December is the month from hell, I have no blog plans. Damn you, Christmas! I sound like Scrooge. All I want to make sure to do is review my December Blind Spot film (Wolf Children). But it’s unlikely that I’ll make it to the cinema to see any films. Other than THE ONLY film that MATTERS…

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Yeah, baby! I’m not missing this one. My ticket has been booked for ages. Can’t wait!!!

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle – Okay, I admit that I want to see this one. I love Jack Black. Since the kid wants to see it too, it’s likely that we’ll make this one a Family Movie Night.

Beyond these two, I don’t even have a clue what’s coming out this month. I’ve fallen so behind on new releases this year. So feel free to make any recommendations on movies I shouldn’t miss! 🙂

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The Untouchables (1987) Blind Spot Review

The Untouchables (1987)

Directed by Brian De Palma

Based on The Untouchables by Eliot Ness and Oscar Fraley

Starring: Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith, Andy García, Robert De Niro, Sean Connery

Music by Ennio Morricone

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team.

My Opinion:

Here’s a list of all the Blind Spot films I watched this year from my least favorite to my favorite:

12. The Last Temptation Of Christ
11. Altered States
10. The Raid
9. The King & I
8. House (Hausu) (1977)
7. The Hustler
6. Jackie Brown
5. Wolf Children
4. Ghost In The Shell
3. The Untouchables
2. Watership Down
1. Rocky

Well, damn. I liked The Untouchables far more than I was expecting. It’s a great film. I have to admit that “crime” drama, especially when based on true crime, is quite possibly my least favorite movie genre. I don’t know why but know I’m probably in the minority. The Silence Of The Lambs? Not a fan. Not that that was exactly true crime. As for true crime, I couldn’t even make it through that Making A Murderer thing that everyone was talking about on Netflix. I don’t know the outcome. I stopped watching halfway through and wondered why it couldn’t just be a two-hour documentary.

But back to The Untouchables. I have NO clue how true it is to real events. Okay – I looked into in a bit and it looks like this film is almost entirely fiction. That’s fine – true crime upsets me anyway. Well, however much of it is true or not, I thoroughly enjoyed this film as a work of art & entertainment. It deserves more acclaim. And I was probably further drawn into it thanks to the Ennio Morricone score as well. Man I love that f*^king genius. I’d say I’m also a fan of quite a few of Brian De Palma’s older movies and I think this is his best film (that I’ve seen, that is, but I’m pretty sure I’ve now seen all those worth watching). I prefer it to Scarface but, since I’m always completely honest, Carrie is still my personal favorite of his although I know it’s flawed.

As with all the movies that I like the most, The Untouchables is full of strong characters and relationships. In this case, it’s the camaraderie amongst the team put together by Federal Agent Eliot Ness to bring down criminal Al Capone. That team was nicknamed The Untouchables, FYI, as it was claimed that they never took bribes and were incorruptible. These guys here – I loved ’em:

Yeah! Even Sean Connery was likable. Anal bum cover! He was the main partner to Ness and my favorite character. His Irish(?!) accent seemed a bit dodgy but that’s Connery for you. He won an Oscar for this role anyway (yay!) so I guess it didn’t matter. And I’ve never been a huge fan of Andy García but he was super cool in this. To be honest, I thought the only weak one in this film was Robert De Niro as Al Capone. I liked that his part was smaller than I expected (this is meant to be the story of Ness & The Untouchables, after all). He’s just done the gangster thing much better in other movies. Sorry, De Niro fans!

There are some great iconic scenes in this film as well, such as the bit with the baby buggy that most of you will have seen in clips over the years as I had. Oh, and I’ve not even mentioned Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness… I think we all got pretty sick of Costner by the mid-90s, right? I honestly would happily never watch him in another movie again, which is probably a little unfair but, f*^k it, he won’t be reading this. However, I have to admit that he was pretty perfect in the role of Ness so I have zero complaints. Good job, Kevin Costner!

I just want to end this with what my hubby said about the movie when we were discussing it & I think Costner ties into this a bit: This movie would be considered more of a classic up there with the likes of The Godfather if it had been made in the 70s instead of the 80s. As much as I love the 80s, it didn’t produce a lot of all-time classics and the gritty look & feel of Seventies filmmaking would have really given this film the extra edge it seems to be missing. Plus there’s the fact that Kevin Costner is in it… He just doesn’t scream “star of all-time gangster classic!” to me. Why am I so anti-Costner?! I have no idea. He was good in this. I liked this a hell of a lot and find it odd that it isn’t more highly rated (it’s not even in the IMDB Top 250, which I think it deserves to be). Quite frankly, it deserved a Best Picture Oscar nomination as well. These were the nominees that year: The Last Emperor, Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction, Hope and Glory & Moonstruck. Whaaat? Okay – I’ve not seen winner The Last Emperor but The Untouchables is better than all the other nominees (although I have a soft spot for Fatal Attraction). Stupid Oscars. If you haven’t seen The Untouchables and you’re interested in doing the Blind Spot thing, I’d recommend adding it to your list. It’s well worth the watch.

My Rating: 8/10

My 2017 Blind Spot Choices


Last year I really enjoyed joining in on the Blind Spot series so many bloggers choose to do each year. You can see my final ranked list & review links to my 12 Blind Spot Movies Of 2016 HERE. I won’t be doing quite as much on this blog this year but I do like the thought of at least selecting another 12 films that I’ve been wanting to watch & finally making myself get around to watching them. So here are my choices for 2017:

Wolf Children

Jackie Brown

The Hustler

Watership Down

The Raid

Rocky

Fritz The Cat

The Last Temptation Of Christ

The King And I

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Zodiac

House (Hausu)

Some Alternates (depending upon availability of the above & free time):

El Topo
The City Of Lost Children
Tetsuo (1989)
Solaris (1972)
Altered States
Ghost In The Shell
The Untouchables
Gandhi
The Right Stuff
Once Upon A Time In America