Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What's New on Netflix

When the Oscars nominations came out I felt like I hadn't seen many of the movies and few were out on DVD yet, well now I'm finally catching up. There's a lot of great new movies released on DVD this month that you should see.

Brooklyn
Nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

In late 1951, Eilis Lacey, a young Irish girl, emigrates to Brooklyn. Sponsored by Father Flood, a priest from her native town Enniscorthy, she is assured to find a full-time job there. But the early days are tough, seasickness being soon replaced by loneliness and homesickness, two feelings all the more acutely felt by Eilis for having had to leave behind her widowed mother and her dear sister Rose. She nevertheless little by little manages to find her footing by adapting to her job as a salesgirl, by studying bookkeeping at Brooklyn College.  I read the book  so I couldn't wait to see the movie and it didn't disappoint. I would really encourage you to read the book first because so many things are not touched in the movie, yet just shown for a second and you wouldn't notice its significance had you not read the book. For instance, you see her stocking pantyhose in the store and the box has a face of a black woman on it. Well, the store had just integrated and Eilis was the only one willing to sell the brown pantyhose to black women.

The Danish Girl 
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard Won Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and Best Achievement in Costume Design

Copenhagen, 1926 Danish artist, Gerda Wegener, painted her own husband, Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne), as a lady in her painting. When the painting gained popularity, Einar started to change his appearance into a female appearance and named himself Lili Elbe. With his feminism passion and Gerda's support, Einar - or Elbe - attempted one of the first male-to-female sex reassignment surgery, a decision that turned into a massive change for their marriage, that Gerda realized her own husband is no longer a man or the person she married before. I have to say the scenary of Denmark was amazing!


Creed
Starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone who was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Adonis Johnson is the son of the famous boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died in a boxing match in Rocky IV (1985). Adonis wasn't born until after his father's death and wants to follow his fathers' footsteps in boxing. He seeks a mentor who is the former heavyweight boxing champion and former friend of Apollo Creed, the retired Rocky Balboa. Rocky eventually agrees to mentor Adonis. With Rocky's help, they hope to get a title job to face even deadlier opponents than his father. But whether he is a true fighter remains to be seen. If you haven't seen the four Rocky movies, here's a recap which is useful since this movie refers to their history.





The Big Short
Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling Brad Pitt Won - Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay; nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Three separate but parallel stories of the U.S mortgage housing crisis of 2005 are told. Michael Burry, an eccentric ex-physician turned one-eyed Scion Capital hedge fund manager, has traded traditional office attire for shorts, bare feet and a Supercuts haircut. He believes that the US housing market is built on a bubble that will burst within the next few years. Autonomy within the company allows Burry to do largely as he pleases, so Burry proceeds to bet against the housing market with the banks, who are more than happy to accept his proposal for something that has never happened in American history. The banks believe that Burry is a crackpot and therefore are confident in that they will win the deal. Jared Vennett with Deutschebank gets wind of what Burry is doing and, as an investor believes he too can cash in on Burry's beliefs. An errant telephone call to FrontPoint Partners gets this information into the hands of Mark Baum, an idealist who is fed up with the corruption in the


Spotlight
Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams Won Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Writing, Original Screenplay. Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

When the Boston Globe's "Spotlight" team of reporters dives into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston's religious, legal, and government establishment. The focus is on unveiling the continual sexual abuse by hundreds of predatory priests and cover-up of scandal by Boston Archdiocese in 2002. The central figure, Cardinal Law, who was actively participating in the covering of was summoned to retirement at the Vatican. The movie is very slow and a lot of it taking place in the cubeland of their office. However, it's an eye opening storyline that of the scandalous behavior of priests in the Catholic Church.  The movie has increased my admiration for journalists who work I didn't know can work up to a year to find the truth behind serious stories.


Bridge of Spies 
Starring Tom Hanks & Mark Rylance; Won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role and Nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year; Director: Steven Spielberg

Based on the true story of an American lawyer, James B. Donovan, who during the Cold War was recruited by the CIA and involved in an intense negotiation mission to release and exchange a CIA U-2 spy-plane pilot, Francis G. Powers. The pilot was arrested alive after his plane was shot down by the Soviet Union during a mission and stays in the company of a KGB intelligence officer, Rudolf Abel, who was arrested for espionage in the US. This is a slow moving movie where parts are filmed in black and white and most of the movie is dark.




Joy 
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper; Nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

In 1995 Joy has always been fascinated by creating things, this pursuit always supported emotionally by her maternal grandmother, Mimi. Joy feels that lack of practical support has led to others making fortunes on ideas she had come up with years ago but could not act upon manufacturing. Despite being broke, Joy is the person in her extended family to who everyone has always turned, in the process forgoing her own life, including not having attended college to help see her parents through their divorce. She works in an unsatisfying job as an Eastern Airlines ticket clerk, and lives with her mother Terry who spends all day in bed watching soap operas, her ex-husband Tony, a less than successful aspiring Latino Tom Jones wannabe, and their two children. Added to this mix is her father Rudy, the owner of a failing heavy-duty garage, which is managed by Joy's older half-sister Peggy, with who she has somewhat of a strained relationship, and for which Joy does the books. This movie is coming out next month on DVD.

Okay so these three weren't nominated for anything but worth watching.

Concussion
Starring Will Smith (with a Nigerian accent) and Alec Baldwin, this is the movie Jada Pinkett Smith said she was boycotting the Oscars because her husband wasn't nominated for one. Based on the true story of a Nigerian doctor in Pittsburgh, Dr. Bennet Omalu, who uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play. He's a brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known while criticizing the NFL. Omalu's emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institution in the world. I thought it was an interesting movie to bring this topic to light.



Secret in Their Eyes 
Based on a book and later an Argentinian movie that won an Academy Award, this is the remake starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts without makeup. The movie constantly switches between 2002 and the present which makes it a bit hard to follow except for the subtle differences in hair styles. The movie has two investigators in a private police unit led by the DA who receive an anonymous tip about a girl raped and killed. In 2015, the former detective says that after 13 years, he has found a lead and convinces the DA to reopen the case. They find clues and leads unknown to them, and secrets from the past come to light as they start discovering the real, chilling truth. The movie is dark and starts off slow, but wow the ending was such a twist I wasn't expecting!




Bessie
The story of legendary blues performer, Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s. Queen Latifah auditioned for this role 20 years ago, that's how long it took to make this movie which was fantastic! It's directed by an African-American woman named Dee Rees and also stars Tika Sumpter, Michael Kenneth Williams, Mike Epps, Khandi Alexander, Mo'Nique, and Charles S. Dutton. The costumes and the scenery really take you back in time.


Sisters 
Starring the SNL crew Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Rachel Dratch. The storyline is that sisters Kate and Maura Ellis are summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family house. Looking to recapture their glory days, they throw one final high-school-style party for their classmates. Unfortunately this movie ended up being 40-year-old adults in a teen comedy with the party taking up 75% of the movie. From the commercials, I thought this would be a funny movie, but I'm afraid to say it was cheesy and boring. I forgot that I didn't care for the last Fey/Poehler film either, remember "Baby Mama"? yeah probably not. lol

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