Dog Day Afternoon (1975) might be the best non-heist movie of all time

by Banned Library in

A group of criminals with a plan find themselves in problem solving mode when everything goes wrong. That's the definition of most heist movies. The leads are charismatic, the side characters are quirky, and the plot often leads with a slow clap. That's how they did it, you say, and walk from the theater thinking if only you could be that cool. Dog Day Afternoon is what would happen if you actually did try a heist.

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Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1 (2010) will teach you a lot about the man in the seams

by Banned Library in

What would happen if you had to write an autobiography? Would you start at the beginning? You ain't dead yet, so you won't finish. And what do you say? Tell stories about people that might not be dead yet and have a damn awkward Christmas until Uncle Rob get drunk and decides to tell MawMaw exactly what happened in the coat closet in fourth grade? You could see how it could be a problem.

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Art of Asking by Amanda Fucking Palmer (2014) taught me to just give up sometimes and do whatever

by Banned Library in

The image of standing in a square, a tall bride all in white, money piling up around her feet. The image of a woman at a piano, half naked, fans voices and her voice mixing in a chaotic chorus. The image of someone driving at night, listening to the story of an artist, throwing a newspaper at a deer because fuck that deer. Life is weird.

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17. I, Tonya (2017) Movie Review: We All Abuse People We Don't Think of As People

by Banned Library

When Margot Robbie looks you dead in the eye three-quarters of the way through I, Tonya, when she looks right out and speaking as the white trash queen Tonya Harding she says we're all her attackers, she's damn right. We took a person, guilty or not, and judged and beat on her as a world. As a tribe. The audience, even by watching the movie, made Tonya Harding the spectacle and we loved it.

    Tonya Harding (Robbie) grew up abused and abandoned by her parents, her overbearing mother forcing her to be the best using the worst means necessary. Growing up, she finds in her husband Jeff (Stan) both a companion and abuser. The two go down in the history books, along with their dim witted "bodyguard," as the ones that brought violence to figure skating. Nancy Kerrigan will never forget, that's sure.

    Knowing winks are the center of this picture. Because the history of everyone involved is contradictory and full of holes, the filmmakers decided to place knowing asides and glances as well as "to-the-camera" style interviews. We are all in on the joke that everyone involved lied. And we are all in on the abuse Harding felt and still feels.

    When the subject of a story has to ask, to let the audience know, that she's a good mom… Well, that's a button right there.

7. Darkest Hour (2017) Movie Review: One Actor Verses the World

by Banned Library in

Gary Oldman for years has been the guy you look at and think "Hey that guy's really damn good," and then just forget about him until the next time. He's been a Harry Potter, a punk rocker, a drug kingpin, a space guy, and everything in between. Now he's in a fat suit and we're supposed to be impressed. Spoiler alert, I was impressed.

    In case he comes out as some kind of evil bastard with sex problems or is an armoured car robber, I must say I know next to nothing of him as a man. You know what, more actors should become awesome thieves. Not like when people shoplift and claim it's an acting thing, but more like that Kevin Bacon commercial when nobody can believe it's him. If Ray Liotta came in with a gun to the library and said, "Gimme the cash drawer," I'd be telling the cops "Some guy looking like Ray Liotta robbed me" instead of "Ray Liotta robbed me."

    Just saying.

    If you want a movie in between King's Speech and Dunkirk that has some heart, see this flick. It's more about the acting than the story. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but everything goes for broke and does well. Worth a matinee for some of the good shots or a rental if people keep talking about it for awards.

6. All the Money in the World (2017) Movie Review: Worth the Controversy and Mark Wahlberg

by Banned Library in

What do you get the man who has everything? Not a grandson, that's for sure. 

Michelle Williams stars as a lady who existed and married into the Getty family. Christopher Plummer plays JP Getty, the world's first billionaire and total asshole (not Kevin Spacey). Mark Wahlberg is there, too, kids. They all come together when Williams's son, Plummer's grandson, and Wahlberg's... person of interest gets kidnapped in this biopic about events that proved rich people suck hard and that's why they're rich.

Look, this is Michelle Williams's movie. She's amazing and at no point did I think "man, I wonder what Dawson's up to on the creek?" Not so with the other actors. Every time I see Wahlberg I hear "feel it, feel it" and can't take him seriously. Plummer at this point is simply the embodiment of Scrooge and while he's damn good at it there's nothing new here.

Overall, the story is fascinating. I mean, what kind of asshole is so tight fisted with his money he won't pay his grandson's ransom? It's not even a crazy amount for him. $17 million when you're worth billions is like not dropping change into the tip jar on a $50 coffee order.

Despite the crazy reshoots with Plummer after Kevin Spacey became an asshole and Wahlberg being the only person on the shoot paid for those reshoots (yeah, Michelle Williams was paid around $1,000 to his $1.5 million).

A definite rental that will make you want to read a biography of this monster.

American Made (2017) Movie Review and Tom Cruise didn't do that

by Banned Library in

I have a problem. I had the same problem in Valkyrie. I like Tom Cruise. Whatever personal shit he deals with, he's a likeable actor who always delivers. As Tom Cruise. I call it Movie Star Syndrome. Tom Cruise will always be Tom Cruise no matter if he's a super spy or a janitor. I can't buy Tom Cruise as a Nazi or a drug smuggler, though.

    Barry Seal was a real guy that the CIA used as a pilot. He made a lot of money because while taking pictures and running guns to contras he also ran cocaine and other illegal crap for the South American drug cartels. It caught up with him in the end and we know about the man because of declassified intelligence.

    Tom Cruise plays Barry Seal but Tom Cruise was never Barry Seal. He's charismatic and open, running around as a family man and a small town businessman. He should have been a real scumbag, though, and I just can't see it in Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise saves the day, he doesn't get shot in the face.

    For the overall experience, the movie is good. Stunts and writing are on point. The acting is well done and the story holds together with a feel of realism that never made the outlandish things feel fake. However, it just kinda drops near the end with a payoff that doesn't work.

    And he's always Tom Cruise.

Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) Movie Review that f*&king cheated, that silly old bear

by Banned Library in

When do you let a movie get away with shit? We all like a twist ending, right? Something that redefines a movie and the characters in context. Even a bad twist ending makes a movie memorable. But at what point do we call bullshit?

    A.A. Milne has a bunch of problems. He came back from the Great War with his head all crazy, he has a wife that's a bit on the materialistic side, and the kid they had to save their marriage is just a pain. So his wife ditches him in the woods with the kid and Milne has to play "make-em-ups" to entertain the kid. Those "make-em-ups" turn out to be Winnie-the-Pooh, an international sensation that ruins the kid's life.

    So where does the cheating come into play? The movie starts with a military man delivering a letter and Mama Milne crying. Spoiler alert: The kid is fine. When the story flashes back and catches up, turns out the kid walks home from World War 2 like a boss. Except he's annoying now.

    Really, though, that's just the second worst part of the story. The worst is the grown up Christopher Robin. To be honest, even he's not bad. The acting is solid, the movie is charming, and I really did enjoy my time. Check it out when you want a slow drama.