I’m late to the game, but recently I was sick in bed and doing what you do – scanning movies on Netflix. I saw they finally added Bradley Cooper’s 2015 movie Burnt. It’s a bit intense, but I really enjoyed it. The acting is fantastic, the score is moving, and it had great energy. The film follows Adam Jones, a chef who’s downward spiral into drugs and jerky behavior cost him his career, and a slew of burned bridges. Adam is determined, after getting clean, to gaining respect in the industry again, and chasing the ever elusive three Michelin stars. With some charm and hustle, he puts together a pretty great team, and is on his way to working through his issues, and achieving his goals. One of the things that tugged on my heartstrings the most was the relationships people had with Adam. Even though he’d burned them in the past, there were people in his corner rooting for him to be the best version of himself, they knew was possible. Such an example of unconditional love and forgiveness, even on a friendship level. Burnt was refreshing because it was a little bit different than anything I’d watched recently. Plus, make the setting London for any film and you’ve definitely got my interest. If you haven’t seen Burnt already I say, check it out!
My oh my, I don’t even know where to start with the Judd Apatow’s incredible documentary on The Avett Brothers, May It Last. When it was first announced that the film would have a one night showing in theaters nationwide, prior to the release of the film on HBO in January, I was still living in Florida. The closest theater playing it was about two hours away, and it was a Tuesday. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to swing that, but the temptation was real. Well, I moved to Nashville Labor Day weekend, so it turned out that I was lucky enough to be about fifteen minutes from a theater playing it last week. From reading tons of posts of praise across social media, I knew I was in for something special, but I wasn’t prepared for how amazing it was. As a viewer in the audience, it felt like these people invited you into their homes (well, they did literally,) and gave such an intimate glimpse into their lives. The rawness and realness that is portrayed in the film is just something entirely unique. I have chills just trying to write about it. There are so many scenes in the film that made me love them even more than I did, prior to seeing it.
At this point you can probably peg me for what types of movies I go for. (Usually some intense or sentimental drama, perhaps a dark comedy, or just a quirky indie.) It’s the beginning of a new month, so Netflix spits out some different flicks to check out. Upon a weekend search, People Places Things caught my attention, so I settled in for a watch. I was intrigued from the get-go with hand-drawn opening credits, and a cute song to start off. Plus, the film just dives right in – it’s the main character Will’s daughters fifth birthday and his partner Charlie, (Stephanie Allyne) is no where to be found at the party – he hustles upstairs after checking in with several guests, only to discover…well, you probably guessed but there she is in the middle of the act with some other guy. Like I said – it jumps right in. I like films that are basically like life – a glimpse into a period of time, a chapter, of someone’s story. People Places Things unfolds just like that. Will (Jemaine Clement) writes and teaches the art of the graphic novel. He has a roomful of passionate students. He’s a passionate guy, but he’s also plagued by the heartbreak of the crumbling of his relationship. He finds comfort in the joy that comes from spending time with his adorable daughters (Aundrea and Gia Gadsby). The girls are so ridiculously cute, and amusing – they add a definite soft element of entertainment to the story. Will has several quippy one-liners, delivered so dryly that I found myself in stitches with laughter. People Places Things is a story about the complex trials of parenting, learning to let go of lost love, and exploring new relationships while trying to find some sort of stability in a life of chaos. The characters are endearing in their honesty and realness. As odd as it may sound, I think this film is heart-warming in it’s genuine portrayal of the messiness of life. If you’re looking for a cute, original film that will pleasantly surprise you with its uniqueness, then I definitely recommend giving People Places Things a watch.
I think I’ve mentioned before my odd habit of watching all the trailers on the Apple Quicktime trailer page. (I’ll admit, for some of these – the trailer was more intriguing than the actual film.) Anyway, I remember the first time I saw the trailer for About Alex. One of my parent’s favorite movies is The Big Chill (I think their appreciation for it rubbed off on me, even though it’s before my time) and About Alex immediately seemed reminiscent of the film. I was dying to see it but it never made it to a theater near me, so I was super excited when I saw it in the “recently added” section on Netflix. In the movie, a group of young adults who were best friends in college reunite for the first time in years, after one of them attempts suicide. It’s kind of like a modern update of The Big Chill (though if you read the IMDB message boards this is a controversial topic.) The emotional drama directed by Jesse Zwick is extremely dialogue driven, (which I guess is really appealing to me in a lot of movies.) And like The Big Chill the music is fantastic. (Hello, one of my absolute favorite songs “Funeral Beds” by The Districts!) And that would be thanks to Joel P. West, who apparently also was responsible for the music in another movie I’ve geeked out over here before Short Term 12. Let’s not forget to mention that Marshall Herskovitz is an executive producer (yes, the one who produced My So Called Life and Thirty Something!) The movie boasts a stellar cast including Max Greenfield, Aubrey Plaza, and Jason Ritter to name a few. The chemistry between the characters is charming and realistic; there was a genuine sense of nostalgia in their reunion. Over the course of a weekend, the group navigates all sorts of trials in the post-grad “real world” from relationships, choices between career and family, examining their personal successes against their once predicted futures, and recognizing how the decisions they made in college shaped the adults they would grow into. Of course, there’s an open dialogue that explores the effect of social media and smart phone addiction on the intimacy of human connection – the true difference in knowing what’s going on with one another based off a news feed, versus honest attempts at keeping in touch. Ultimately the group’s original foundation of friendship lingers on in their adult lives, proving their bond is strong enough to carry on. Perhaps you’ll notice a sappy trend in my response to dramatic film, but I found myself laughing and crying while watching this. I definitely think this is an underrated gem, and definitely worth you’re time so go ahead and check it out! (And if you’ve already seen it, as always – I’d love to hear from you!)
(Image from IMDB.)
Movies about space fascinate me, and I have a soft spot for Matt Damon so with a combination like that why wouldn’t I check out The Martian? A few weekends ago, my cousins and I got together and we debated between this and Pan (which I am sure I will still end up seeing because c’mon PETER PAN, guys!) but based off of my brother’s enthusiastic suggestion The Martian won. So, I expected some blood pressure raising, probably me having trouble breathing and peaking between my fingers as my hands shielded my eyes while watching this film. (I love that feeling when you don’t think you can stand a second longer of the intensity of suspense, but it also always causes inevitably dramatic bodily reactions.) BUT I was surprised by how much I laughed. Seriously, laughed. It’s not just the writing of the dialogue, but also the way Damon delivers. (And Jeff Daniels because he’s great at it, too.) While this film is futuristic, it’s also so believable – the whole idea that in the not so distant future, we’ll probably be sending astronauts to go hang out on Mars. (Okay, I know they’re not like living it up at happy hour out there, but you know – space exploring and stuff!) It’s kind of mind blowing. And not to spoil anything, but I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of some ABBA in this movie. It’s on the lengthier side, but it didn’t feel like it at all. I’ll admit, amidst the laughter, and the shallow breathing, I did find myself shedding a few tears as well. It’s just a beautiful film. Also, it really put things into perspective for me, too. I mean if this man can be the only inhabitant stuck on an entire PLANET alone and still find a way to muster up hope and hang onto inventive ingenuity – then what’s stopping me from handling some average earthly struggles? If you haven’t seen The Martian yet, I suggest adding it to your to-do list. Might I add try and see it in theatres, it’s one of those that I think the big screen enhances the experience.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, check it out from YouTube here:
Did you see The Martian yet? What did you think? Did you enjoy or think the film is overrated? I’d love to hear from you!