Cinema Parenthesio

Movie Theater

As with most things recreational, I tend to binge.

Books, tennis, pain pills and yes . . movies. It doesn’t matter as to the method,- Amazon Prime, HBO, Redbox or the theater- I tend to gorge myself in concentrated pockets.

My movie binging tends to take the place of regular bi’ness, since I can’t seem to do two things at once. When I ain’t gobbling up a half dozen books in no time flat, I’m a daily reader of blogs, magazine articles and news articles. When I ain’t losing at tennis, I’m going strong with my running and stationary bike regimen. When I make the prudent (foolish?) decision not to pop a happy pill, I’m luxuriating in a three finger salute to my favorite bourbon. And when I’ve had my fill of documentaries and TV series . . I go full length motion pictures.

This past week happened to be one of those movie weeks I speak of, in which I digested several flicks and nibbled on a whole bunch more. I was going to do a top five movies of my week, but the count went a tad bit higher than that. So instead, Imma give a short spill on the virgin entrees I sat down with, by arranging my fare in categories . . from the ridiculous to the sublime.

The Ridiculous:

The Snowman- I went in expecting a horror/psychological thriller and I got a trip to the DMV. In other words, a two hour wait in which I prayed for death (mine). A great cast- Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, Chloe Sevigny and J.K. Simmons coupled with Martin Scorcese as the executive producer? What could go wrong? Apparently, everything. The plot is shit for, the flashback scenes are confusing as fuck and the ending is completely predictable. And now I’ve wasted two hours and two and a half minutes on this flick so let’s move on.

Funny Snowman

The Sublime: (Note, not all of these flicks were perfect. But they were all worth it. Even if they can’t erase . . . yanno.)

The Disaster Artist- I’m usually not into movies about movies but this take on one of the worst movies ever made (The Room) had me from the get. James Franco doesn’t just play Tommy Wiseau- the enigmatic actor/director- he is the guy. The self deprecating theme gives this movie its charm. The idea that you should follow your dreams, even if it takes you right over a cliff, gives this movie its soul.

A Quiet Place- I was mesmerized/intrigued/disturbed by the hook to this movie. I went in expecting a zombie flick, and this wasn’t that. It was actually way better than that. If asked to give a two word description for this post-apocalyptic tale, I’d go with Words Matter. Solid if not spectacular, it’s a story that sticks to its guns instead of overreaching. Which is pretty damn refreshing in an age of cinematic superfluity (say that one time fast). I’m not crazy about the idea of a sequel, but this flick is a lean, mean dish of yes.

A Quiet Place Funny

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri- I already knew Frances McDormand was top of her class, but Jeezusy Christmas! And I ain’t in agreement with the peeps who trashed this flick for its complicated characters. Their censure feels more like censorship, and I’m sorry, but when we start writing shit based solely on a person’s comfort level, we are all doomed. This flick doesn’t pander or pose, it hits you hard and it doesn’t stop hitting you. It ain’t a perfect film, but maybe for this scene . . which became an instant favorite of mine.

Mission Impossible- Fallout- Tom Cruise made me love this franchise. Because the fact that he’s actually bat shit crazy sells this dish at full retail, no matter the plot. Knowing he’s risking life and limb with each new installment is worth the price of admission. I wasn’t in Rotten Tomatoes love with MI-6, but it was still worth the buttered popcorn heartburn. All I ask of my action movie is that it actually gives me, yanno . . action. And that the good guys and the bad guys make the implausible scenarios worth buying into. Sold!

Tom Cruise

Crazy Rich Asians- Now we’re talking. I saved the best for last, because this is a flick I could watch several times over and laugh just as hard every single one of ’em. It’s got everything you’re looking for in a rom/com: Kleenex moments, passion, laughs, deliciously simple scenes dancing in harmony with the great big ones. And yeah, that love and romance stuff too. Constance Wu and Henry Golding shine as the leading couple. Awkwafina upstages the always hilarious Ken Jeong, Gemma Chan is simply stunning and Michelle Yeoh is at her badass best.

Crazy would have scored favorite movie of my week for the wedding scene alone, but it wins best summer flick for checking every box on my movie going list. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and, unlike that (every) visit to the DMV, you won’t want it to end.

That’s entertainment.




33 thoughts on “Cinema Parenthesio

    • Billy,
      Now, you DO understand this is my pale ale attempt at the corner magazine stand movie review now . . don’t you? 🙂
      Three Billboards had some mighty fine writing passages in it, tell you what.


      • Pale ale or not, your words always hit me between the eyes, and that is testament to someone who has the ability to write. The French author, Marguerite Duras always argued that Jean-Paul Sartre did not really know how to write. Sartre, obviously, did write, but the point of Duras, Sartre did not suffer either over word placement, or syntax/grammar. Sartre was a moralist, he was an academic, Sartre very much knew about what he was writing. Sartre always had a philosophical argument to make, it did not develop out of a story he was creating. Albert Camus, a Nobel laureate was a writer, André Gide, another Nobel laureate was a writer, Patrick Moniano is a writer, and Nobel laureate. Now, yes, Sartre won the Nobel prize, but refused it, and in 1985 Claude Simon won, but Simon was more known outside of France, than within French borders, and it is up to the reader to decide what Claude Simon was, other than a grumpy old man. Hence . . .

        Liked by 2 people

        • It all comes down to your method. Admittedly, I’m not the writer who would ever go to a conference or workshop with other writers. It’s just that, I have a very solitary involvement with my writing and I am not much for crowds. What’s new? What’s next? I don’t care. I write . . end of story, lol.
          We all bring something different, no mater the method.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m intrigued by A Quiet Place but haven’t seen it yet. I saw Three Billboards in a classic old theater here in Sacramento. I think it was a really incredible movie, but I’m not thrilled with the last couple of minutes of it. 😉

    Most important is that the title of your post reminded me of the movie Cinema Paradiso. An all-time great movie that I now need to go back to and watch again. Along with Into the Wild. Sheesh. Who has the time?

    Liked by 1 person

    • King,
      Those last couple minutes drove me up a wall! But tell you what, there were certain passages in this movie, that as a writer, I was just gaga.
      I do so agree! It was my blast from the past nod to an all time great! And that flick will have to be chased with his sister’s book, thanks to your recommendations on the topic.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I agree. I try never to look at the length of time the movie has left because I want to give myself that “theater experience” where I have no idea where the movie will end. But I knew it was close to the end and I was thinking to myself that I hope they don’t leave it right there . . .


  2. Sonovabitch! I hit my “airplane mode” by accident and lost my whole comment. Sigh. Lemme try to do this again…

    I dunno why I avoided “Three Billboards” despite absolutely adoring France McDormand… there was something that was holding me back. However, that clip – that I’ve never seen – sealed the deal. Imma watch it now.
    Gimme action movies any day. Tom Cruise rocks ’em. Love him or hate him, you must admire him for doing almost all of his own stunts. Fool.
    As for the others, ‘cides the Snowman (really? All those fab peeps were in there? Plus executive produced by Scorcese? I’m almost tempted to see it anyway. Not. I’ll definitely have to put them on my list…

    You rock!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Q,
      Three Billboards isn’t a great film, but man, it does have some great scenes! That one . . just wow, right? Frances is a force of nature. I’ve always judged an actor based on roles that were not Michael Shannon scream your guts out crazy. I ask . . what can an actor or actress do with a role that is downright placid? Anthony Hopkins in “Remains of the Day”, one of the greatest on screen performances by an actor. Ever. And McDormand here. Her character is a powder keg that doesn’t ever let it blow. Being able to show her seething rage that lies right below the surface . . that’s pure magic. And as a writer, you will appreciate certain passages in this one. Strong.
      Tom Cruise, action. I’m there, yanno.
      And I know right?????!!!!! All those actors AND Scorcese turned into this shite?! It was a matter of whoever put this story together had no blessed idea what they were doing. It’s a shame really.
      CRA is gonna give you the feels. And the soundtrack is a ton of fun.

      No . . . YOU ROCK! In airplane mode, in regular mode, in apple pie a la mode. No matter the mode . . .


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Any movie with the lovely Chloe Sevigny is gonna have its share of weird (the only weird in “Shattered Glass,” though, was the way she pronounced “Chuck.”

    As for Three Billboards, that movie still annoys me. I don’t like when I can see things coming, and I saw everything coming. Also, I had a difficult time believing Frances MacDormand’s character was afraid of anything, let alone an ex-husband she could easily toss over her head at any given time. I loves me some Woody Harrelson, though.

    Have you seen The Mountain Between Us? If not, please add it to your next binge-fest and do let me know what you thought of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I recently watched The Snowman (um…Michael Fassbender was in it!) and while I ‘enjoyed’ it, you’re right…those schizoid flashbacks made it confusing. Three Billboards was an AMAZING flick! No wonder Frances McDormand won Best Actress. Complex, flawed characters, but so rich with realistic life characteristics. Hoping to catch Tom before it goes to DVD. Those Mission Impossible movies are much better seen on a BIG screen. And everything I’ve heard says Crazy Rich Asians is THE film to see this summer. Happy binging!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The flashbacks didn’t distinguish the different time periods at all. It was strange, and herky jerky.
      It’s funny how polarizing Three Billboards is. You loved it, and so did I. And then I’ve had several people tell me, nah! Including Tara in a comment just now. One thing’s for certain, all that buzz must have been good for its bottom line, because peeps were talking.
      Yes, Mission was indeed meant for the big screen. Crazy Rich was crazy good!

      Liked by 1 person

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