Movie Marathon Saturday and the Reviews That Came From That

Last we spoke about reviews, I shared how I spent one Friday all by my lonesome as snow and ice threatened to take down my home state. Because the weather was still uncertain in the days that followed, my husband and I hollowed up inside for "movie marathon Saturday". The following is what we saw:


Plot: Chris Pratt, as Jim Preston, wakes up 90 years too early on board the Avalon, a ship destined to take him and everyone else on board to their new home on planet Homestead II. His first day is pretty typical – he wakes up, gets dressed for the day, emerges from his room … and then discovers no one else is awake! Frustration, anxiety, and stress begin to take over when he realizes how far from Homestead II he is, and worse yet, there is not a single human he can get in touch with to find out what went wrong or how to fix it.

Despite the knowledge that he will die before the ship arrives to Homestead II, Jim decides to take advantage of his freedom on board the ship. He forces access to areas that would typically be off limits so that he can do whatever he wants – play basketball, get drunk, wake up another passenger…

The only thing Jim doesn't realize amongst his play and fun is that he was awoken for a reason. The ship is facing failure, and if it fails, thousands of people will die. Does Jim have what it takes to set things straight? Can he be the hero that Avalon needs?

my thoughts:

1. I hated Jim Preston. What guy in his right mind would wake someone else up 90 years early?! Like no. Be a man.

2. Jennifer Lawrence, on the other hand, was superb. She was emotional and strong … and just superb.

So, if you understand that I didn't like the whole premise of the movie and how Chris Pratt's character woke up another on purpose, you might understand why I hated this movie so much. Why did they have to make Jim Preston so selfish and thoughtless? … And if we are supposed to see real growth in him by the end of the movie, why don't we?

I'm struggling at sharing my thoughts on this movie, because, in my opinion, it didn't come together well. I expected a cute romance with an accidental awakening and a heroic bit at the end. What I got was a selfish character who broke the rules, "apologized" for his behavior, and was forgiven. But would he do it again? Even at the end of the movie, that question is up in the air. Luckily, there won't be a Passengers 2; this ship has sailed. Hopefully Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence will choose better movies in the future.

After my failure of a choice in movies, it was Justin's turn to choose. He opted for:

Dr. Strange

plot: Not yet a superhero, Dr. Stephen Strange decides to "text" and drive, or at least use his phone while speeding down the road. Then Bam! Next thing he knows he is in the hospital where his girlfriend is telling him he will henceforth have limited use of his hands. Angry, Stephen tells his girlfriend to get out of his life; she should never have let them touch his majestic surgeon hands. If he can't do work, then why live?

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Strange pessimistically begins physical therapy. He asks his doctor if anyone has ever recovered under his care. When the doctor says no, but one patient sought out help elsewhere and was cured, Stephen went on a mission: to seek out the patient and discover his secrets. Only the mission didn't stop there. Dr. Strange continued on and on, higher and higher up the pyramid until he found himself in Tibet learning to control his hands and the world through sorcery.

my thoughts: Plausible concept in the sci-fi realm, but the movie was really hard to follow.  Dr. Strange felt really unlikable to me, but perhaps that's because the only movies I've been watching lately feature psychopathic jerks. Aside from that though, the visuals were amazing. In one sequence they were turning New York City on it's head with the scene looking like something you'd see in a kaleidoscope; truly beautiful.

So, Dr. Strange's ultimate personal mission is to visit the sorcerer, learn her secrets, and then return to the "real world" … Only that's not exactly what happens. This is where the movie could use a bit of help. Perhaps because I was tired, or maybe not, I felt like the movie didn't explain why this selfish hard-hearted person did not leave Tibet and return to his world. He just seems like the kind of guy that wouldn't care about the world and whether or not it was in trouble. The filmmakers never provided a clear answer as to why he, all of a sudden, did care. Like, what?

And then there was another issue with the girlfriend just taking him back?

No. Not in my world.

But maybe I'm mean and expect too much from the people I choose to associate with. Either way, unless they come up with a fantastic trailer for Dr. Strange 2 (which it's Marvel, of course they will!), I probably will not be following Dr. Stephen Strange through any more follow-up movies. Unless I get bored. Then who knows?

Finally, I got to watch the movie I have been waiting to see since before Christmas:

La La Land

plot: Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) have a chance meeting on a Los Angeles highway one morning as he heads off to work and she hightails it to an audition. When things don't go quite as well as planned, as Mia walks home from a girls' night out, she hears a beautiful song playing in a jazz club. Upon peeking her head in, she sees the musician being fired. That musician is Sebastian, and despite all of Mia's best intentions and attempts to tell him her pleasure in his playing, things won't work out between the two of them until months later. As it so happens, they run into one another again and this time things click. The rest of the movie is the build up of their relationship and the hard work they put into making their dreams realities with fantastic musical numbers thrown into boot!

my thoughts: La La Land is most definitely a musical, but a modern version of what you might have seen in theatres in the 30s and 40s. The actors and directors have made great strides in allowing the film to come off as natural and easy to follow. The dancing is beautiful, and you can't help but fall in love with Mia and Sebastian's passion for their work.

While I'm not sure that the film is thick with meaning, I did find it to be a beautiful, happy, and light afternoon watch.

If you remember what it was like to be in your 20s struggling to find your career path, if you have ever strived to do an art, I recommend watching this film. You will get it.

If you are looking for a film full of intensity, perhaps something more in the sci-fi or adventure genre, La La Land is not for you.

Have you seen any great movies as of recently? What do you do during low-key afternoons?

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