Edge of Seventeen- Awkward Time in Life and awkward movie. I’m giving it a C.
Nadine has grown up in a small town but felt wealthy with her one friend. This best bud has gotten her through horrible hairdos and the death of her father. But now, when her best friend and older brother hook-up, Nadine flounders.
Hailee Steinfeld plays Nadine with angst and extensive drama. She’s grown up from True Grit but still says just what she wants. She uses wise cracks to hide her own pain and insecurity, thereby insulting those who most want to help her.
Woody Harrelson as Mr. Bruner, the HS History Teacher is the bright spot in the movie. His sarcasm and cold, dead heart hide the caring soul of a true teacher.
Edge of Seventeen is poignant and painful to watch as Nadine crashes and burns while trying to find a connection to another person. Her dad had been her rock, always getting her. Nadine’s diarrhea mouth, spews unkind and unthinking words all the while thinking she knows it all. People reach out to her but until she lets go of her own anger, she isn’t able to see it nor embrace them. Fights with mom is a standard of female teenagerhood, but Nadine doesn’t spare her teachers or the cute boy trying to show how amazing he is.
Edge of Seventeen has a similar feel to the fabulous John Hughes movies of the 80’s but lacks the fun soundtrack. It’s updated to reflect the atmosphere of students today. Certainly, it’s a movie which will have you appreciating your mortgage and 9-5 job as you are now older and wiser.
Looking for a Fantastic fantasy movie, Fantastic Beasts is sure to hit all the right notes. I’m giving it an A-.
It’s 1926, seventy years before Harry Potter and Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) is visiting New York in order to help one of his beasts return to its home. Sadly things go awry and he is embroiled in a war between Magic’s and No-Maj’s.
Newt is a unique character who is more comfortable with the animals he protects than people. Unfortunately, his case which is filled with magical beasts opens and some of them escape. It’s up to him and his new friends, a No-Maj named Jacob and two magical sisters to recover all the beasts and defuse the escalating danger situation in New York.
Fans of Harry Potter will LOVE this movie since it features some of the wonderful beasts and nods to the Harry Potter world. Applause filled the theater as the credits rolled. If you aren’t familiar with the series, you will enjoy the movie but not get all the extra hints within the storyline. Either way, the beasts steal the movie. I left wanting some of my very own!
Sadly, I was able to figure out who the bad guy was early on, but there were still some big surprises. I jumped and squeezed my husband when I saw one of them. It had been kept very hush-hush! Keep your eyes peeled for hints at future stories. The cinematography leaves somethings to be desired as the wizards jump from place to place during a fight scene, it’s hard to keep up. Certainly, don’t blink or you will miss some of the action.
As the first of six movies based on Newt and his beasts, this movie is sure to be referenced again and again. It will be interesting to see how they end up tying in more of Harry’s world.
A movie based on a real life hero, I’m giving Hacksaw Ridge an A.
World War II was underway when Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) decides to enlist. He’d grown up in an abusive family, with a father who’d served in WWI and suffered from PTSD. Desmond’s beliefs as a Seventh Day Advent wouldn’t allow him to touch or carry a weapon. As a Contentious Objector, Desmond stood firm in his beliefs in the face of harassment and persecution.
At the Battle of Okinawa, Desmond’s patrol needed to secure Hacksaw Ridge, which was hell’s battlefield. The Japanese were encamped in caves and bunkers. To get to the field, the Desmond and his unit had to climb a rope ladder. When the US troops had to pull back, Desmond stayed behind and helped rescue at least 75 men, lowering them down the ladder to the safety below.
Hacksaw Ridge takes liberties with the true story of Desmond Doss, the first contentious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. With a realistic feel of war, the only thing missing is the smell. I jumped in my seat at times and squirmed with the images of death and destruction. A Vietnam Vet who was seeing the movie told me that the movie reminded him of his time in Vietnam. The realistic feel enhances the story of one man who stayed true to his morals.
While the movie does focus on his religious beliefs, it is more about staying true to yourself and doing what you believe in. In spite of resistance and persecution, Desmond stays true to himself and the promises he made. Because of this, the people who were against him, change their minds and begin to see that heroes aren’t necessarily those who fight but those who fight for what they believe in.
With the harsh war images, this movie isn’t for children. However, true history buffs and viewers who love movies with action and compelling characters will love it. The end of the movie features some real interviews with Desmond and his former CO, giving us a chance to see the real man behind the movie. After watching the movie though, I did some more research on Desmond and his story. It’s a story which should be shared.
Another cog in the Marvel Universe, I’m giving Dr. Strange an A-.
Doctor Stephen Strange is a world-renowned neurosurgeon who is pompous and conceited. When a car accident permanently damages his hands, he seeks to find a way to regain the use of his hands by any way possible. Finally at the end of his rope, he finds a magical new world in Kamar-Taj in Nepal. With the teachings of the Ancient One, Dr. Strange learns the mystical arts and must save the universe from a Dark entity who longs to take over Earth.
It’s hard to like Dr. Strange. He’s not always very nice and acts better than those around him. Life has always come easy to him and when it finally requires a challenge, he struggles. Benedict Cumberbatch plays him wonderfully, so much so that I wondered where Dr. Strange ended and Benedict began. Snarky with a sense of humor, wit and brains…Did you know that Benedict has always played genius characters?
Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) is an anti-hero who wants an end to suffering for everyone and knows that the Ancient One isn’t all that she shows. However, he makes a bargain with someone who also doesn’t play fair and really, we like our world just the way it is… Sort of like the evil Bond villain Mads played in Casino Royale. Also don’t blink or you will miss the nod to his Hannibal Lecter character!
The mind-bending imagery of twisted landscapes and ladders to nowhere will remind you of MC Escher. I worried the twisting city would cause nausea for me but I did fine, but I don’t recommend it in 3D if you are susceptible. While I’m a huge Marvel girl, I found this movie, good but not extraordinary. And with Marvel, we want amazing.
My favorite part was the first of the two post credit extra scenes. We get to see where Dr. Strange ends up next- with Thor! I was so tempted to stand up and yell at the people leaving before the credits. They always miss the best parts. With Dr. Strange, there are two! And both give viewers a heads up about where Dr. Strange will appear!
A good movie for fans of the Marvel Universe but if you aren’t a fan, you can wait to see it on DVD.
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