Call Me by Your Name (2017)

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

Call Me by Your Name is a 2017 coming-of-age romance film directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer. It’s a very overrated movie.

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We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things

faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty

and have less to offer each time we start with someone new.

But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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So the film is about a 17-year-old boy named Elio who enters a romantic relationship with Oliver who is much older than him. This all happens during the eighties in Northern Italy. Basically the film is your regular, old-fashioned romance but just with added gay characters. And by regular and traditional, I mean that it is very much an Oscar bait movie and an extreme case of it.

The film relies so much on its beautiful scenery for one. Another point is that it is sprawling, overlong and very deliberately paced. And of course you get those typical “artistic” and “weird” scenes such as the last scene as well as the peach scene which is more ridiculous than anything else. And also the titular scene annoyed me. Whenever it tried to be deep, the film failed miserably and was actually more funny than sophisticated.

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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That is not to say that Call Me by Your Name is a bad film. It is perfectly solid but I expected greater things from it given all the hype that it received. It is in no way better than all the famous gay movies that came before it and even in 2017 we got a better gay film in ‘God’s Own Country’ in particular.

What I liked here is its first half which was deliberately paced but not boring, it was filled with good attention to detail and it chronicled their growing feelings and sexual confusion and repression so well. But the second half ruined all of that for me as it became very slow and boring plus it was never as romantic as it promised us.

So the two characters aren’t particularly likable to me personally, but the acting is undeniably phenomenal and the biggest reason to see the film. Armie Hammer is excellent here and very sensual and charismatic in the role. He was superbly cast here. Timothee Chalamet is also very strong in his first major role. He killed it and gave a very nuanced, complex and powerful performance which was deservedly Oscar nominated.

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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Michael Stuhlbarg is also terrific and should have been nominated as well. He was superb and wonderful in that major scene where the father has a talk with his son about romance and life. That scene is honestly fantastic and the only truly deep, sophisticated part of this entire film. It stole the show for me and was perfect in every way.

Call Me by Your Name doesn’t state clearly enough that this is the eighties and that is why they are hiding their feelings. Some of the scenes here are very unrealistic and highly cliched for this type of film. The filmmakers made it seem too universal when in fact it is a very specific film. By that I mean that it is a film about two gay men living in 80s Northern Italy who are rich, artists and scientists and who have had very specific life experiences. Nothing about this film spoke to me as relatable or universal and that’s why I was distanced from it emotionally.

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Call Me by Your Name Movie Review

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There is no denying that the film is gorgeous to look at as the Italian scenery is lovely and some of the scenes are beautiful to behold and very well shot and constructed. The direction from Luca Guadagnino is also solid and the score is definitely very strong. I also really liked the tone of the film and some scenes are undeniably effective in what they are trying to accomplish. But some are silly and pretentious or even preposterous. The film is too slow to be enjoyed more and too much of an Oscar-bait made for gay people and especially women alone with no universality to it whatsoever. And it needed much more dialogue in it. These are smart people so why do we not hear them talk more??

Call Me by Your Name has undeniably gorgeous scenery, a strong first half, one very powerful scene and terrific performances from Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg. It’s a solid film. However, it’s far from great as it’s basically an extremely overrated and incredibly obvious Oscar-bait with too many silly, pretentious and even preposterous scenes, an extremely slow pace and a tendency to focus on scenery and sensuality instead of dialogue and true romance. Watching this film felt like watching a three-hour 80s Oscar-bait and it is just a very specific film with a very limited appeal.

My Rating – 3.5

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Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017)

Olaf's Frozen Adventure ReviewOlaf’s Frozen Adventure Review

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is a 2017 animated short film which ended up being a television special. It is a second ‘Frozen’ short.

So the film is basically just one giant celebration and promotion of Christmas and the holidays which is done for better and for worse. It was obviously commercialized, but still very charming. Elsa and Anna do not have a family tradition and it is up to Olaf to find one but he gets lost and they have to find him. Eventually they realize that he is their family tradition. Yes, this is a very sugar-coated children’s film which is particularly cloying in its third act.

But I still liked the emphasis on Olaf as he was very endearing here. Elsa and Anna are okay but not too present. Sven actually stole the show for me as he was hilarious. Kristoff is solid and this duo is very amusing, but Sven in particular is hilarious in the scene where he tries to explain to him that Olaf is in danger. The animation is excellent and definitely theater-worthy. I loved its attention to detail and colorful approach. But the score is only medium and its songs are for the most part very forgettable and typical with only That Time of Year being even remotely memorable.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is cloying, commercialized and with a weak soundtrack, but great animation and some funny and charming scenes leading to a solid film which is an improvement over ‘Frozen Fever’.

My Rating – 3.3

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Ryan (2004)

Ryan ReviewRyan Review

Ryan is a 2004 Canadian Oscar winning animated short film directed by Chris Landreth. It is a bad film.

This is the kind of drug-oriented films which I just dislike tremendously. It is only intended to appeal to people who had these issues and to me it is thus very annoying. The film is your regular documentary about a Canadian animator Ryan Larkin and is basically a typical documentary with nothing interesting happening in it. It bored me quite a lot.

Of course its approach and animation are original, but I still did not like this animation as it feels ridiculous and too odd and unappealing. It is fitting to the subject matter I guess, but it still doesn’t change the fact that it looks bad. I also disliked its narration and dialogue quite a bit. Even if the film is to some technically innovative, the fact remains that it’s very problematic in terms of storytelling and dialogue.

Ryan is such an undeserved, poor Oscar winner with unappealing animation, dialogue and approach.

My Rating – 2

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Pokémon (Battle Frontier) Season 9 (2005)

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Pokémon (Battle Frontier) Season 9 Review

The ninth season of Pokémon is Battle Frontier and it’s actually one of the best, most entertaining seasons of this show so far.

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I don’t know who to cheer for.

Then cheer for both

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I really liked this season. It isn’t great as it still has its annoying episodes and unfortunately more than a couple of its total 47 episodes are annoying detours, fillers and stupid episodes with no point to them whatsoever with rehashed Pokémon and adventures.

But thankfully most episodes are the opposite of that. The season is great as it finally focused a lot on the actual battles and duels and not just on childish fillers. Thus we got a lot of excellent fights which were very well imagined and executed. The action is very strong in this season and the animation is quite improved as well. I just wish that the score was better as the opening is the weakest so far.

Harley is good as a villain, but is such a gay stereotype that he really annoyed me. Team Rocket is somewhat forgettable in this season which is unfortunate of course as they are always my favorites, but the heroes thus got some needed spotlight. Brock and Max are solid and both got some fine moments to shine, but Ash and May are the highlights for sure.

Ash finally got to battle as he hasn’t done it for a while and those episodes are excellent and of course May is terrific as she has experienced a lot of growth throughout these seasons and became a much stronger fighter.

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Pokémon (Battle Frontier) Season 9 Review

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Some of the highlights of the season include the fights between May and Brock and especially May and Ash which ended with a tie which was wonderful to witness for both of them. I also loved the final episode as it was a moving conclusion of this entire ark which hasn’t been all that great, but this season fixed that as it is probably the best Pokémon season since the very first one.

Overall, I was quite happy with the outcome of Battle Frontier. It has its detours that offset the quality overall seriously, but mostly the episodes were a lot of fun and pleasantly action-oriented. I am quite excited for the Fourth Generation and Sinnoh and I hope the new characters are strong.

 

Worst Episodes: Reversing the Charges, Harley Rides Again, Duels of the Jungle, Overjoyed and Gathering the Gang of Four.

Best Episodes: Curbing the Crimson Tide, Pokémon Ranger! Deoxys Crisis! Part One, The Ole’ Berate and Switch, Once More with Reeling and Home is Where the Start is.

My Rating – 3.6

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Three Billboards (2017)

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Three Billboards Movie Review

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a 2017 crime drama black-comedy film directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. It’s fantastic.

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Well, who the hell else would it be?

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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I expected great things from this film judging by the premise and those terrific trailers and for once I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, the film exceeded my expectations and is in my opinion the best film of the year! It is that great and that important so let’s talk about it in length.

The plot is fantastic. This screenplay is very original and very well thought out with no flaws to the story whatsoever. The film is famous for having a lot of twists and turns and although none caught me by surprise too much as I know my movies, they were still phenomenally executed and made the film very exciting and entertaining. I rarely like crime films, but this one is so amazing that I ended up loving it. It is also a strong, moving drama and a terrific black comedy.

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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The character development is superb across the board as is the acting. Mildred is such a great character and one example why this film is so brilliant – I rooted for her at first and actually got her as I think I would react the same, but as the film went by, I started to question her actions and thought that she was going too far. That goes for the whole movie – you never know whether or not the actions are justified and that grey area presented here is like real life so the film is as real as they come.

Red Welby serves his purpose and Willoughby of course is the most likable person here and I really liked his character. Robbie is also quite realistic and likable. And of course Dixon is phenomenal as this racist, redneck, abusive policeman and one of the film’s highlights. Many accused the film for being racist when it comes to his character as he did not get his proper due, but that is a stupid argument and the film is just very realistic. It portrayed policemen as they are and most get away with their hatred. But I really liked his character growth or the beginning thereof.

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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Three Billboards is undoubtedly the best acted film of the entire year. There is just no question about it. It’s the ‘Fences’ of 2017. Everyone did a terrific job with Woody Harrelson stealing the show when it comes to supporting roles. He got a couple of moving moments and he sold them so well with a powerful, nuanced and believable performance.

But its two leads are the big reason why the film is amazing in the first place. Frances McDormand is simply superb. Always believable and nuanced and consistently enthralling, her character is fascinating because she acted the hell out of her. Whether scary and dangerous or heartbroken and confused, she sold all of it and gave what is arguably the best female performance of the year.

Sam Rockwell is just as strong and I did not expect that at all. At first I thought he was miscast and he definitely was miscast as he rarely plays this type of pig character, but his performance is so real and powerful that I ended up believing him in the end. And that is a testament of a great performance. He particularly sold those emotional scenes as well as the humorous one-liners.

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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Three Billboards is brilliantly edited and paced with never a single rushed or prolonged moment. The film is honestly incredibly engaging to watch and for me it just flew by. That’s how involved and invested in this story I was. And I have to congratulate Martin McDonagh who shamefully did not get his Oscar nomination. His direction is amazing. He not only directed all these phenomenal actors to give spectacular performances, but he also directed the whole movie to flow really well and to send its open questions and confusion to the audience successfully.

Speaking of the Oscars, the film received seven nominations but it honestly deserved more. The acting nods are all very much deserved as are the screenplay, editing and picture nods. Just the director nod is lacking unfortunately. As for its score nomination, it is earned of course but I have mixed feelings about the score. On the one hand, it doesn’t quite fit this film and the genre, but on the other hand, it is undeniably memorable and wonderfully old-fashioned in its feel. I also really liked the songs they used in the film.

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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One of the scene highlights is the ending which is one of the best film scenes of the entire year: it is moving, ambiguous and also very funny and emotionally rewarding. It’s a perfect conclusion to a great film. But I also loved the letters scenes as well as the hospital scene which is very emotional and simply beautiful.

Three Billboards is a very funny film which most people have also pointed out. It is mostly a crime drama, but sometimes the humor is pretty evident and the film uses its humorous tone to counteract the more serious scenes so well. It is tonally a very diverse film and thus is like real life – it can be tragic, sad, heartwarming, brutal, hilarious and serious. Its black comedy worked for me stupendously as it made me laugh more than a couple of times with the highlight being that Dixon’s line in the final scene. It’s a very smart, observational humor which I love.

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Three Billboards Movie Review

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The dialogue is stupendous as well. It is very much grounded in reality as is the whole film and it’s believable and sophisticated. The film is not only moving, but also thematically rich and it doesn’t give easy answers to its difficult questions. Life is messy and unforgiving and so is this film which has its many twists and crazy turns which to some may be off-putting but to me felt fresh and they gave edge to the film. I can see how some may dislike the film as it isn’t for everyone but for me it’s the year’s finest achievement.

Dark and violent yet also heartbreaking and sweet, dramatic and serious yet also very funny at times, Three Billboards is such a tonally diverse film which fires on all cylinders and succeeds both as a terrific crime drama as well as an effective black comedy. It is undoubtedly the best acted film of the year with the performances from Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell being the powerhouse standouts. It has a number of memorable scenes, it deals with complicated issues in a sophisticated manner and it’s superbly directed by Martin McDonagh while also being very well scored and brilliantly paced. Consequently, Three Billboards is the very best film of 2017.

My Rating – 5

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Fresh Fish (1939)

Fresh Fish ReviewFresh Fish Review

Fresh Fish is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a weak short.

It is one of those Merry Melodies where we have a narrator who explains stuff and we are to be acquainted with a culture or this time around a setting which is the sea. The film showcases life of the fish and it follows various groups of fish with the only highlight being that fish teacher with the rest being all boring and forgettable.

The narration is okay and not too annoying. The animation is definitely solid with pretty good character design. But the score is forgettable and the film fails when it comes to humor and action as it is boring and never at all funny as it has no gags whatsoever. It is an old-fashioned Merry Melody with all that comes with it.

Fresh Fish is one of those narrated Merry Melodies which are okay, but dated and not particularly entertaining.

My Rating – 3.3

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Doctor Who Season 24 (1987)

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Doctor Who Season 24 Review

The twenty fourth season of Doctor Who is a return to weaker quality after the last solid season. It’s short, but pretty mediocre.

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That’s the problem with young people today

– no spirit of adventure

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Doctor Who Season 24 Review

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It is basically of similar quality as twenty second season which of course means that it’s pretty subpar. Thankfully it only has four serials and in total fourteen short episodes and thus it flew by pretty quickly.

Time and the Rani is such a disappointing, pretty mediocre first turn for the seventh incarnation of the doctor. I will talk more about him later, but first let’s say that this serial is the weakest of the entire season. It starts off abruptly and it ends disappointingly. Both the script and the action are silly and dull.

Paradise Towers is actually rather solid. It is definitely the best story of this season which isn’t really saying much but still it was a lot of fun and very moody. The episodes are uneven in quality, but at least they transport you to this world very well thanks to solid attention to detail and an interesting scenario.

Delta and the Bannermen is quite weak. The premise was promising, but the execution is typically subpar leading to a mediocre, entirely forgettable serial which is the second worst when it comes to this season.

Dragonfire is concerned too much with fantasy elements, legends and treasures for my taste, but it is an undeniably entertaining and even at times charming serial with a particularly fun last episode.

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Doctor Who Season 24 Review

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So let’s talk about the doctor. Sylvester McCoy is very odd. This actor just doesn’t suit the role of the famous doctor in my opinion. He definitely became better in later episodes as he was quite frustrating and annoying in the first story, but still he remains odd, unappealing and way too physically different – too short with a much different than usual voice and also personality. Let’s hope that I get accustomed to him sooner rather than later.

Overall, this season is definitely pretty weak. It is actually rather fun and entertaining at times plus it’s refreshingly short in length, but still the stories are mostly disappointing and the Seventh Doctor did not get a proper start at all.

 

Worst Serial: Time of the Rani.

Best Serial: Paradise Towers.

 

Worst Episodes: Time of the Rani Part One, Time of the Rani Part Two and Delta and the Bannermen Part One.

Best Episodes: Paradise Towers Part One, Paradise Towers Part Three and Dragonfire Part Three.

My Rating – 3.2

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Justice League (2017)

Justice League Movie Review

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Justice League Movie Review

Justice League is a 2017 superhero film directed by Zack Snyder and starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot among others. It is a very flawed, but pretty solid team movie.

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What are your superpowers again?

I’m rich

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Justice League Movie Review

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As DCEU’s fifth film and the culmination of all previous ones, Justice League obviously still came out too early and once again it would have been a better choice to see most of these characters in their own solo films first as this way they are pretty underdeveloped.

The film is extremely simplistic for better and for worse. On the one hand, it is so simple that it doesn’t have any surprises to it which is quite troublesome and it plays too much like a regular comic-book or a simple video game storyline. But on the other hand, that led to a much better crafted and much more entertaining film than usual for the DCEU.

Let’s talk about the characters. I liked seeing the Amazons once again and especially seeing the Atlanteans was a lot of fun and those underwater sequences stole the show. Alfred is still boring, Martha serves her purpose and Lois Lane is somewhat dull here. Amy Adams is underutilized way too much.

As for Steppenwolf, he is a pretty bad villain. He was competent and menacing enough, but he looked ridiculous with bad CGI on his face and no motion to the face whatsoever. The lips also did not move too well. The character is your typical superhero bad guy who wants to conquer the world.

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Justice League Movie Review

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Batman is pretty good once again and I like Ben Affleck in the role even though I did not expect it. He had too many comedic moments here which doesn’t suit the character, but otherwise he was quite good. Superman obviously came back from the dead which was typical, but at least he was memorable and him unleashing power and beating up the rest of the team was one of the action highlights.

Wonder Woman is not as good as she was in her own movie, but she still did get a lot to do here and Gal Gadot is still quite charming in the role. As for the new characters, the highlight is Flash who is quite funny at times and should have been used much more. Ezra Miller was so well cast in this role. Cyborg has an interesting backstory, but is very underutilized unfortunately and overall forgettable. And Aquaman is your typical Jason Momoa character with some fun moments, but overall he’s forgettable.

Justice League has a very short runtime and it definitely needed more build up, but still we got here a couple of calmer moments and not every scene was an action scene which I appreciated. The scenes with the team members talking were the funniest and most impactful with some great lines of dialogue.

The film is definitely very comedic and too much like a Marvel film, but because it was at times quite funny, it worked and it brought a lot of charm and playfulness to the whole affair. The acting is mostly very good and I have to say that most of the action scenes are excellent and a lot of fun.

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Justice League Movie Review

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However, some are pretty bad and they reminded me too much of games. Couple that with very unfortunately visuals and you get a video game look here which is ridiculous for such a high budget. They poured so much money into this film and what we got is a video game movie with too many saturated colors in its third act (which is again bombastic and annoying in typical DCEU fashion) and too much use of CGI and a bad one at that. It truly was baffling to witness.

Justice League is baffling when it comes to its special effects. They poured enormous money into this production and the end result looks like a video game with too many saturated colors and an over-reliance on (bad) CGI. But it’s still a pretty solid team movie which is overly simplistic, but that also led to a much more entertaining than usual film. The villain is poor, but most of the action is a lot of fun, the humor is quite solid and in terms of characters Wonder Woman, Batman and especially Ezra Miller’s Flash stole the show.

My Rating – 3.5

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Pied Piper Porky (1939)

Pied Piper Porky ReviewPied Piper Porky Review

Pied Piper Porky is a 1939 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a very strong short.

Porky here is the Pied Piper, but the film actually happens after that famous story which was a nice, really fresh idea I liked a lot. He gets tormented by a mouse and then calls a cat to help him with the mouse but with no results. In my opinion, Looney Tunes entries are getting very problematic in their insistence to use the character of Porky Pig. If they use him, let him have a bigger role, but here once again he gets to have a very small impact on the story which was unfortunate.

Pied Piper Porky is nonetheless one of the strongest Looney Tunes of the late 30s mainly because of that mouse who is absolutely hilarious. His line about the trap stole the show as it was perfectly delivered and so funny, but the ending is also memorable and incredibly dark. The cat fearing the mouse was also quite funny. There are a lot of quality gags here and the mix of Tom and Jerry with the series’ crazy antics worked in its favor.

Pied Piper Porky needed more Porky as he is useless here, but the film is hilarious with a lot of terrific and such funny moments.

My Rating – 4.2

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Lady Bird (2017)

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Lady Bird Movie Review

Lady Bird is a 2017 coming-of-age film directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. It is a hugely overrated film.

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The only thing exciting about 2002 is that it’s a palindrome

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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The film basically follows the life of a 17-year-old girl and especially focuses on her turbulent relationship with her mother. Now I liked that relationship and it was very well done, but it was obviously the highlight of the film so they should have focused entirely on it as the rest could just never compete.

The rest of Lady Bird is your typical coming-of-age flick – she experiences her first sex, she is hanging out with her best friend, she is attending a theatre production and she is getting ready for university. All of those things are everyday things that most of us get through meaning that the film should be universal but it just wasn’t in my opinion.

It was meant just for teenage girls and those girls like Lady Bird herself which is why someone like me couldn’t possibly love this film. Its limited appeal hurt it in the long run. It was too detailed and it focused on all the uninteresting things such as theatre and complicated relationships with her friends and school life. The film just wasn’t deep enough, it was rushed and it never explored any of its themes properly.

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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The protagonist could be annoying at times, but overall she is a very well developed and utilized character. Kyle is quite boring and Danny’s problems are well explored but somehow his story felt like a detour and it wasn’t really needed here. Of course Marion is excellent and very realistic as this tough, complicated mother. As I said, their relationship steals the show and I wished that the film relied more on the two of them and it would have been much better.

I am not a fan of Saiorse Ronan if I am to be honest. However, I couldn’t deny that here she gave such a strong performance that she entirely deserved her Oscar nomination. Her performance in ‘Brooklyn’ is much inferior to this one. Some of her scenes are just wonderful to witness. And of course Laurie Metcalf also stole the show with her terrific, nuanced performance in an interesting role and she also deserved her nod.

Nonetheless, apart from those two nominations, the rest of its three nominations are ridiculous to me. Of course the Best Picture nomination is ludicrous as the film is just solid and so far from great that I do wonder why it got 99 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes when it is such a standard teen flick. But the screenplay nod is even worse as the film is quite weakly scripted and Greta Gerwig shouldn’t have been nominated as well.

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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I am a big fan of her as an actress, but as a director I’m not. Unfortunately she did not make a smooth transition and this film is quite clearly a work from the debut director. Her direction is very problematic as the film felt rushed and oddly paced and structured and her only strength is that she got two excellent performances from these two ladies, but other than that, the film is very weakly directed and when it was over, I asked for more as what I got was just not enough to deem it very good, let alone great.

Lady Bird features two terrific, deservedly Oscar nominated performances from Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf and the relationship between the two is so well realized and it steals the show here, but the rest of the film is uninteresting and your regular coming-of-age flick with nothing new to offer. The film is rushed and it thus doesn’t explore its themes to the fullest extent plus Greta Gerwig’s direction is not great. It’s a solid, but incredibly overrated film which is immensely inferior to much better and criminally underrated ‘The Edge of Seventeen’.

My Rating – 3.5

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