Gender equality wasn’t always equal.
On the Basis of Sex tells an important part of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life (Felicity Jones) from her first days at Harvard Law School through her appearance at the 10th Appellate Court, fighting for Charlie Moritz’s tax case.
Like many recent biopic’s, On the Basis focuses on a small period of Ruth’s life—the part which set her on the road to the Supreme Court. We see the strong woman who took on not only law school as a wife and mother but attended both her classes and her husband’s (Martin Ginsburg- Armie Hammer) classes when he developed testicular cancer. This is a woman who no matter what setbacks she faced, she pushed through them.
First time screenwriter, Daniel Stiepleman, is Ruth Bader Ginsburg's nephew and met with her and Jane (Ruth’s daughter) to go over the details in the script. But even with the first hand insights, artistic license was taken with the story. However, Daniel’s lack of experience shows in the storytelling. As well, director, Mimi Leder, has more experience with TV dramas (ER and China Beach) and On the Basis of Sex comes off more as a made for TV movie.
Even with these glaring issues, On the Basis of Sex is an important look at an iconic woman and the battle she began for equality for all, but especially for women. You should see it with your tribe of women and celebrate the huge changes which came about due to the work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
A good movie is one that you still talk about long after the movie finishes. Green Book will have you talking way into the next day.
Set in 1962, Green Book tells the tale of an interesting friendship between an Italian nightclub bouncer, Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) and an African American pianist, Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali). Dr. Shirley hires Tony to chauffeur him during a record tour set in the Deep South. As the two men travel, an unlikely friendship forms which leads to changes in Tony’s understanding and treatment of African Americans.
The movie gets its title from a popular travel book which was a bible for African Americans traveling across the United States. "The Negro Motorist Green Book," also known as "The Negro Travelers' Green Book” was published from 1936-1966. It was a guide that helped African-American travelers find lodging, restaurants, and other businesses that would serve them during a time when segregation was rampant. Being caught on certain roads after dark in Sundown towns would precipitate African American being jailed or worse.
Much like last year’s Hidden Figures, Green Book is a movie that provides an interesting look at a time in America’s history which we need to revisit in order to stop it from repeating. While based on two real people, the movie is mainly from Tony’s point of view. It is his character which grows and changes. Written by Peter Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something about Mary) and Nick Vallelonga (Tony’s son), the screenplay was developed from actual audio tapes from Tony about the events that happened while he worked for Don Shirley. Featuring Octavia Spencer as executive producer and featuring many of Tony’s real life family members portraying his family in the movie, Green Book has hutzpah.
Sadly the producers didn’t get Dr. Shirley’s family’s input and they have dismissed the movie as just another “white hero” movie. Yet, the movie does a nice job portraying the isolation of Dr. Shirley and the unique dynamic between the two men. Not meant to be a biography, Green Book does what it set out to do—showcase the horrible time in America’s history and how one man changed his feelings and behavior towards African Americans based on his relationship with one man.
After winning three Golden Globes, Green Book is an odds on favorite for taking home at least one Oscar. This is a movie you will want to see again and again as you walk away with hope that if one man can change, then the world has a chance as well.
Based on a true story, The Upside leaves warm fuzzies.
Philip (Bryan Cranston) is a quadriplegic billionaire, who is not willing to live anymore. He hires an ex-con to care for him, hoping Del (Kevin Hart) will help him end his life. Along the way, Del helps Philip care about living again, while Philip helps Del reconnect with his son and become a better man.
A French movie, The Intouchables won awards for telling this true tale of a wealthy French businessman who hired an ex-con to care for him. Set in New York, not Paris, The Upside stays true to the original tale. Also featuring Nicole Kidman as Philip’s assistant, she’s much more believable than she was in Aquaman. While Kevin Hart really doesn’t have to act for his role, Bryan Cranston is outstanding as Philip. Unable to move more than his head, he uses his chin to move his wheelchair and viewers will forget he’s not disabled.
Featuring music by Aretha Franklin, the movie will appeal to Motown audiences who grew up listening to the Queen. The Upside uses humor to draw the viewer into the world of Del and Philip. Most of the jokes are made at the limited abilities of Philip with a laugh-out-loud scene with a catheter. As well, the movie doesn’t hit you over the head with the message to live each day to the fullest.
The Upside isn’t one you need to see in the theater. The message comes through as well on the small screen but it will give you a much-needed boost during the winter months.
Movies can entertain and inform. It’s a good director who brings the written word to life on the screen.
Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa) is a child born of two cultures. His father is a lighthouse keeper. His mother is an Atlantean Queen who had been promised to another. In order to protect her child, Queen Atlanna returns to Atlantis and marries another man. While Arthur has always known he was of two worlds, he never had an interest in the people who murdered his mother. But when his half-brother sets out to turn the Earth into a water paradise, Arthur must gain the trident of the previous king in order to keep peace between Atlantis and Earth.
Campy dialogue but rich, lush world-building make this a fun movie sure to entertain. Mamoa seems born for the role of Aquaman and makes it hard to tell when he’s acting and when it’s just the way he is. The violence is over the top with giant monster-beasts last seen in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The storyline is predictable and seems to mimic Black Panther with the five tribes and outsider fighting a death match. With amazing actors like Nicole Kidman and William Dafoe (even Julie Andrews voiced a character), the acting should be stellar but comes up floating like dead fish. It’s one to see for fans.
Vice tells the story of another family-the Cheney’s- from his drunk-driving and fist-fighting years working as a lineman through to Washington’s political fishbowl. Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) rises to the second highest political seat in the nation. All it takes is some friends like Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) and George Bush (Sam Rockwell).
Christian Bale put on forty-five pounds to play the larger statesman and does so convincingly but he still has that mole by his eye, he should really get it looked at. Lynne Cheney (Amy Adams) is the strength behind the man, bolstering his resolve as he does everything to make her proud of him. Vice can’t make up its mind if it’s a drama or comedy as it takes pot shots at everyone, down to the people watching the movie. The soundtrack is the best part. You’ll find yourself humming along to many popular songs. However, the subject matter is gritty and in-your-face, making you wish for a bleach shower after watching it. Vice sets all the current world problems from the California wildfires to Donald Trump’s presidency at the feet of Dick. Luckily, Will Farrell and Brad Pitt have acting to fall back on as Vice’s box office struggles over the holiday showings. This is the only movie I have considered walking out on. It left me feeling nauseated and dirty. Better to leave for those who are fans.
Two very different movies. Vice has been nominated for six golden globes as well as Australia’s premier award but is dragging at the box office while Aquaman has beat many movie sales records, earning more than fifty million dollars in its opening weekend. Which would you rather see?
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