Tag Archives: movies

Double Mini Movie Review: Candy Jar and Avengers: Infinity War

I wanted to talk briefly about two very different movies I watched over the weekend, the new Netflix movie Candy Jar, and this little indie project you probably haven’t heard of called Avengers: Infinity War. 😉

Candy Jar

I got an email from Netflix alerting me they just added a movie I might like. I usually look at these emails but don’t take stalk in them, but this one caught my eye with the premise of two teen rivals. As some of you know, I am currently writing a story about two teens who are rivals in their school band, so I was excited to see a movie with a similar concept! And thankfully, I really enjoyed it! It wasn’t perfect… For starters, the name is sort of lame and doesn’t feel indicative of the whole film. It comes from the guidance counselor our two main characters, Lona and Bennett, are always coming to for advice, who has well over a dozen candy jars scattered throughout her office. (Yet somehow neither the guidance counselor nor our main characters seem to gain any weight…) While the counselor plays a small but fairly important role, the candy really doesn’t at all. There were also a couple of moments and characters that I felt could have been developed and fleshed out a little more fully, but it was a well-paced 92-minute-long movie, so that’s not really a big complaint.

I really enjoyed seeing how Lona and Bennett’s relationship blossomed from rivals to friends to the possibility of something more, but without diving deep into a romance. Their interactions feel realistic and mostly organic. I enjoyed all the production aspects of the movie as well. If you’re in need of a quick, fun watch, particularly if you’re a fan of young adult contemporary, I’d recommend Candy Jar!

Avengers: Infinity War

It’s basically impossible to talk about this movie without diving into spoilers, so here’s what I will say first: this movie is well-crafted and unlike anything else you’ve seen from Marvel. I don’t think I can say anything else at all without getting into spoilers, so be warned, SPOILERS BELOW!

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I’m not going to do a deep dive into all the nuances of the film; I’ll leave that to other folks. But at the end, when we see Thanos sit down to watch his sunset and the credits started rolling, I was in actual shock all through the credits and for a little while afterward. Wait, so they just killed off half the Avengers? I knew deep down there this meant there would be a reset down the line (which is not my favorite plot device, but I have allowed it on Star Trek and Fringe), but there is no hope of that in this film, other than Dr. Strange telling Tony, “This was the only way,” and the scene we got at the very, very end of the credits. As one article I read summed it up, this film does not have all the typical beats found in storytelling, in fact, it is acting as the falling action of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe arc. Which, I’ve got to say, is one heck of a way to make a franchise of movies.

I’m still processing how much I like the film. I mean, it can’t stand alone at all. While it’s well-crafted, entertaining, and not overtly dark and gritty, it carries much less levity than other Marvel fare, which was important for the nature of this film. And Thanos means business, unlike nearly every other Marvel villain we’ve dealt with. I think I will have to wait it out and see how everything ultimately comes together before I can properly judge this movie.

How did Infinity War make you feel? I’d love to hear your thoughts about either of these movies!

My Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

As I do each year, I decided to share the top several movies I am anticipating the release of this year! Unlike usual, I decided to discuss them in the order they are set to release in the US rather than in order of most interested.

My Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

Black Panther

I’m excited to get a Marvel movie so early in the year! I thought Black Panther was interesting in Civil War and I’m glad to see him further developed in his own movie. I’m also interested in seeing how Martin Freeman’s character’s role will play into the story.

Avengers: Infinity War

ALL THE YES. The trailer got me pretty stoked to see how everything in the MCU is going to come together.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

I’m really hoping this lives up to all the amazing potential it has.

Ocean’s 8

I really enjoy the other Ocean’s movies and this one looks just as good!

Incredibles 2

I really enjoyed the first Incredibles, so yes, I’ll check out the sequel.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The more Marvel movies I watch, the more I think Ant-Man might be one of my faves of the franchise. I know it’s not the best, but it is so stinking fun and I love the characters. I’m looking forward to more.

M:I 6

I’m a huge fan of M:I 4 and really enjoyed M:I 5 too. I’m sad Jeremy Renner isn’t joining in this time, but I’m still looking forward to another installment.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Jude Law as young Dumbledore = brilliant casting move.

Ashes in the Snow

I almost forgot this one and I don’t see a date for US release other than 2018, but this is the movie adaptation of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septys, which I LOVED. (I think it’s pretty obvious why they went with a title change for the movie…) I definitely want to catch this one when it comes out.

Honorable Mentions/Maybes:

The Commuter

I’m sure this will be like every other Liam Nesson action movie, but I’m sort of intrigued.

A Wrinkle in Time

Even though the book made my top 10 of 2017, I’m not 100% sold on the movie yet. I think I’ll wait to see what others think.

Ready Player One

I was very excited when I heard Steven Speilberg was adapting this fun book to film, but the previews don’t feel like the book to me at all. I’ll wait and see what people say about this one too.

The Jungle Book 

This is more of a “probably” because I love Christian Bale and Benedict Cumberbatch, but I was never interested in the other recently released Jungle Book movie, so we’ll see if this one sparks my interest any more.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Again, I’m mostly interested in this one for the talent involved: Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Macfayden… but the trailer piqued my interest too. I love stories about getting lost in another world, so I’ll be curious to hear if the reviews for this one are good.

Mary Poppins Returns

The idea of Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins intrigues me… we’ll see.

And the 2017 Movies I Want to Catch this Year…

Darkest Hour

The first I heard of this movie was January 1 of this year, when a friend told me about a good movie she watched where Gary Oldman portrayed Winston Churchill. Then, I saw a trailer playing for the movie, and even though the TV was far enough away for me to barely see or hardly hear, I was intrigued. And then I learn the director is Joe Wright, the director of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, so sign me up, please!

The Greatest Showman

I’ve only heard positive things about this movie and it does look like fun.

Which movies are you anticipating to see in 2018?

My Ranking of 2017 Movies

I saw nine 2017 films this year, including all seven of my most anticipated. Below is my ranking of what I saw.

9. The Space Between Us

I wanted to love this movie so much more than I did. It was OK, just not quite as great as I hoped.

8. All Saints (tie)

This movie was filmed locally and my father-in-law was an extra, so I was honestly expecting this to feel like a budget film, but it didn’t. It’s well-done and the story (which is true!) is great. I technically rated this one a little lower than the next film, but my feelings for this one are a little more fond several months later than my next pick…

8. Dunkirk (tie)

Oh Dunkirk. The movie everyone loved expect me, my husband, and about three other people. I LOVE Christopher Nolan. Two of his films are in my top four favorite films of all time list. This movie was so hard to watch; it was very realistic, for starters. But the lack of dialogue KILLED ME. I could not connect to anyone and it was hard to understand a lot of the plot. I’m sure this was a theatrical masterpiece and I am just an uncultured swine who didn’t get it. I want to rewatch it though to see if I can connect with it any better the next time, but I still don’t think it’s ever going to make my list of Nolan favorites.

6. Wonder Woman

While everyone was raving about this one, I was trying to stay strong on my anti-DC stance (based 100% on Batfleck, because see above love for Christopher Nolan). But I did finally catch it on Redbox and thought it was solid. Not the most amazing superhero movie ever made and the way it all resolved was eye-roll-inducing, but I absolutely loved Diana’s character, how she was fierce and strong but feminine and incredibly kind. More characters like her, please.

5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I have some issues with this movie in terms of how it chooses to continue the storyline, but I enjoyed it overall. I’ll be curious to see how this movie and The Force Awakens are reconciled in the third installment. Also, while I liked Rey in The Force Awakens, this movie gave me a deeper appreciation for her.

4. Thor: Ragnarock

This movie was a lot of fun… but there was also some really heavy stuff that almost feels glossed over, which is a shame.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2

My initial thoughts were that I enjoyed this one more than the first… I’ll have to see if I still stand by that upon a rewatch. But it was fun and I enjoyed the theme of found family. Also, BABY GROOT.

2. Spider-Man: Homecoming

I sound like a broken record with these Marvel movies, but this one is just so much FUN. I love all the high school stuff, how Peter’s character develops, and the fresh feel on a tale we’ve heard a million times before.

1. Beauty and the Beast

We all know there are a couple weird things with this story, but this movie was nothing short of magical. The costumes, the music, the acting… all spot on! Emma Watson was fantastic and Luke Evans as Gaston was perfect. I’ve always loved the animated film, but dare I say it, I love this one even more.

Bonus: My Top 3 Favorite Backlist Films of the Year

I didn’t see a lot of new-to-me-films from previous years, but out of those I did see there were three stand-outs. In no particular order:

1. We Bought A Zoo (2011)

I didn’t love Elizabethton by the same director, so I was slightly wary, but the premise looked really cute. While this film didn’t become a new favorite, I really enjoyed it and some of it resonated with me.

2. Arrival (2016)

This film was intense and surprising. It’s not the sort of movie I want to watch over and over again, but it was incredibly thought-provoking in the way that the best sci-fi is. I really want to read the story it’s based off of now.

3. Sing (2016)

My husband and I randomly watched this one night while on vacation and I honestly was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. It was cute but also had depth, and I would definitely recommend it!

What were your favorite films of 2017?

Monthly Recap: July

Books I Read

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (reread)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick (finished July 1)

So I read A Wrinkle In Time for the first time. And I can see why it’s so beloved and classic. However, some of it was too on-the-nose for me and some of it was a hair too out-there. It’s like when I watched Interstellar for the first time, and I was pretty sure where it was going and I watched as this movie teeter-tottered on the fine line between interesting sci-fi and going off the deep end. I wanted to feel just a little more invested in the characters and could have done with less unnecessary riddles. I also watched the trailer of the new movie coming out the same day I finished and felt a little disappointed. I guess I wanted the movie to feel more classic, but to me it already screams: THIS WAS MADE IN 2017, so I don’t see it enduring as a movie. But that’s based off a two-minute trailer, so what do I know? Maybe it will be amazing.

A New Favorite…

Baking mix! Though don’t let the fact that it comes in a box fool you, this is almost as involved as made-from-scratch, but just as delicious and so worth it!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

For some reason, it feels really momentous to have finished Deep Space Nine again. Probably because I love the show so much and the end is just so satisfying for me. As is reflected by my top episode of the season, the Nog arc really did it for me. But of course there are also the great arcs we see for Kira, Bashir, Damar, Sisko… It could be talked about forever, which is why there are podcasts dedicated to such. (If you’re a fan of DS9, be sure to give The Orb podcast a listen.)

#bookstagram Images of the Month

I think that both Caraval and Wall-E have made it onto my #bookstagram images of the month before, but they’re just so photogenic!

Movies I Watched

My husband and I saw Spider-man: Homecoming and Dunkirk. I reviewed Spider-man here, and I’m still sorting out my feelings for Dunkirk. It’s incredibly raw and intense, but without much of a narrative it was hard for me to appreciate it as a story. It’s a beautiful film, that’s for sure, but I would have loved to have gotten to know the characters onscreen better. I mean, in a way we know them because we see them when they’re afraid, but… I just wish I could adequately describe how I respect what Nolan was doing but just don’t really love it but I desperately want to. I actually want to try to see it again, preferably in film, now that I better understand what happened, thanks to the movie’s Wikipedia page that spelled it out.

In Case You Missed It…

I was featured on Andi’s ABCs talking about what decision I wish technology would make for me!

Plans for August

Switchfoot concert! I’m so excited. I lost count on how many times I’ve seen them long ago. It’s got to be around the dozen mark at this point. It’s also my husband’s birthday month! Which means CAKE! Oh, and celebrating my wonderful husband. 🙂 It also means my birthday is around the corner SOS I don’t want to get older.

Potential July TBR

It Started With Goodbye by Christina June (already started)

These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker

Without a Summer (Glamourist Histories #3) by Mary Robinette Kowal

(yes I know those last two were on last month’s list… shhh…)

How was your July? What are you looking forward to in August?

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

It’s been a while since I’ve really posted a review, especially a movie review, and I felt like sharing my thoughts on the MCU’s latest offering: Spider-man: Homecoming.

Spider-man: Homecoming is probably not going to be lauded by most as the best Marvel has to offer, but I think it’s safe to say most will consider it the best of Spider-man. Tom Holland nails his role as a nerdy and quirky Peter Parker, who is a total Hufflepuff by day, and Spider-man-with-training-wheels-but-doesn’t-know-it by night. Even if you feel burned-out on Spider-man after so many reboots, if you had any love for the character in Civil War I’d definitely recommend checking out Homecoming.

A few of my favorite things about the movie:

  • Peter’s such a good guy. He hasn’t been jaded and I love his pure enthusiasm. His main desire seems to be to do the right thing.
  • Peter’s not a perfect Spider-man. He really has to work to develop his abilities. 
  • High school awkwardness. So much on-point high school awkwardness and I loved it. 
  • Captain America PSAs. Enough said. 🙂
  • Peter’s friend Ned. Ned feels like such a real high school student, rather than a glamorized version of one, and I really appreciated that. Plus he is a good friend to Peter. 
  • Peter makes a choice that gives him a nice little arc. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Peter shows some maturity towards the end of the movie that I thought was a nice touch.

Also, not necessarily a favorite thing about the movie, but something I did appreciate, is that there isn’t really a romance. Peter does pine after a girl, but they never kiss or go on a real date, and at the end he doesn’t “get” her. It was refreshing and felt more realistic!

But it wasn’t perfect…

  • The villain. I appreciated a certain aspect that I won’t spoil, but overall he was really pretty boring. Villains that aren’t named Loki really are Marvel’s Achilles heel.
  • Really… that’s the main thing.

Right now I feel Marvel is trying to walk the tightrope between taking itself too seriously and being too light with their movies since Civil War. While I really liked the turn of Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron fell a little flat, and Civil War never completely worked for me, so I’m enjoying the levity. Right now, I’m enjoying the high-quality popcorn entertainment Marvel provides, but I am curious to see how this might ultimately tie together for a deeper storyline.

Have you seen the latest Spider-Man? What are your thoughts?