Monday, January 22, 2018

Tag: Octavia Spencer

Shape of Water, The (2017)

Title: The Shape of Water
Rating: R
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by: Guillermo del Toro, and Vanessa Taylor
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg,
and Octavia Spencer

Release Date: 12/8/2017
Running Time: 123 minutes

Official Site
IMDb
Buy on Amazon

What did you think of this film?
An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Special thanks to Steven for this submission


Shack, The (2017)

Title: The Shack
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Stuart Hazeldine
Written by: John Fusco, Andrew Lanham and Destin Daniel Cretton
Based on the book by: William P. Young
Starring: Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer and Tim McGraw
Release Date: 3/3/2017
Running Time: 132 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

What did you think of this film?
After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips [Sam Worthington] spirals into a deep depression causing him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa [Octavia Spencer]. Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths that will transform his understanding of his tragedy and change his life forever.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No


Gifted (2017)

Title: Gifted
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Marc Webb
Written by: Tom Flynn
Starring: Chris Evans, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer and Mckenna Grace
Release Date: 4/7/2017
Running Time: Unknown

IMDb

What did you think of this film?
Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Special thanks to Frank for this submission


Hidden Figures (2016)*

Title: Hidden Figures
Rating: PG
Directed by: Theodore Melfi
Written by: Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
Based on the book by: Margot Lee Shetterly
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge, Glen Powell, Kimberly Quinn and Kevin Costner
Release Date: 1/6/2017
Running Time: 127 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

What did you think of this film?
The incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? Yes

Click to see whats: during the credits

 

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Is this stinger worth waiting around for? Vote DownVote Up (+13 rating, 21 votes)

Special thanks to Diana for this submission


Great Gilly Hopkins, The (2016)

thegreatgillyhopkinsposter

Title: The Great Gilly Hopkins
Rating: PG
Directed by: Stephen Herek
Written by: David Paterson
Based on the novel by: Katherine Paterson
Starring: Sophie Nelisse, Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, Octavia Spencer and Julia Stiles
Release Date: 10/7/2016
Running Time: 99 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

Wisecracking, gum-chewing 12-year-old Gilly is well known in the foster system. Totally unmanageable, she has stayed with more families than she can remember and has outwitted them all. After all, how can she settle down when her real mother, the beautiful and glamourous Courtney, might be out there waiting for her?

When Gilly is sent to live with the Trotters, the weirdest family yet, she isn’t planning to stick around. But cheerful, affectionate Maime Trotter isn’t giving up on Gilly just yet – she is sure there’s a hurt little girl in there somewhere. Gilly knows she has to escape, and if she can’t run then she’ll lie her way out. But her grand plan doesn’t go as intended, and she starts to think maybe she was wrong about Trotter. Maybe wrong about everything.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No

Memoriam: In Memory of Susan Smith

Special thanks to Frank for this submission


Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1, The (2016)

TheDivergentSeriesAllegiantPart1Poster

Title: The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1 (aka. The Divergent Series: Allegiant: The IMAX Experience)
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Written by: Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage
Based on the book by: Veronica Roth
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Jeff Daniels, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller
Release Date: 3/18/2016
Running Time: 121 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

After the earth-shattering revelations of INSURGENT, Tris must escape with Four and go beyond the wall enclosing Chicago. For the first time ever, they will leave the only city and family they have ever known. Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths. Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust as a ruthless battle ignites beyond the walls of Chicago which threatens all of humanity. In order to survive, Tris will be forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No

Was seeing The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Part 1 in IMAX worth the cost?

Zootopia Review – 4 out of 5 Stars

ZootopiaPoster
With the recent issues in our country, you would expect a lot more mainstream films to tackle race in America. Between smaller issues like #Oscarssowhite and larger problems like the shooting in Ferguson, racial equality is a serious discussion that needs to happen in our country. But besides maybe Straight Outta Compton, it’s rare to find big budget movies that are willing to tackle this story head on in a competent way. This may seem like an odd way to start to a review for an animated kid’s movie but believe me when I make this next statement. Zootopia is a fantastic movie not just because it’s a funny children’s film and a clever addition to the mystery genre, it’s also a fantastic movie because it manages to create one of the most intelligent and bold discussions on race that I’ve seen a movie do in years.

In the city of Zootopia, the buildings, jobs and attitudes very much resemble the world of our own. The only major difference is that this world is run by anthropomorphic mammals rather than human beings. Predators and prey must live together under the same roof and deal with each other despite their differences.

ZOOTOPIA. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

For our main character Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), her lifetime goal was to become a police officer. This proves to be a challenge because she’s a rabbit (prey) in a workplace dominated by bears, lions and wolves (predators). When she finally gets recruited, she finds out that the job isn’t exactly what she hoped it would be as she has to face discrimination and scrutiny from the other officers on the force. A missing person’s case gives Judy 48 hours to prove to her colleagues that she has what it takes to solve a crime. If she doesn’t get the job done in that time, she has to resign. With the help of a con artist fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), Hopps searches the wide, massive city of Zootopia for clues.

Before I explain my opening statement, I want to address some of the other things that made this such an entertaining film. For starters, the world inside of Zootopia gives directors Bryon Howard and Rich Moore a lot of leeway to create this expansive and ambitious landscape. I love it in movies and shows when you can tell how much detail went into the world building. The way they use the different animals is endlessly unique and there’s so much layers to the city of Zootopia from the billboards to the cities to the newspapers. You can find everything from a shrew that’s a crime boss protected by security guard polar bears to a sloth that runs a DMV. There’s an ice cream shop where elephants scoop ice cream with their trunks and there’s a drug lab that’s run by rams. I’m really reminded of something like Brazil or even Futurama where everywhere you look you can find concepts and characters that you want to learn more about. You can literally point at one area of the screen at one point in time and find something that deserves further acknowledgement. It helps that the animation for this film is the best I’ve seen for a Disney film since Wreck-it Ralph. One of the amazing things cinema can do is that it can build places that you can explore from multiple angles on repeat viewings; Zootopia has definitely succeeded at this.

The voice acting for this film is wonderful. Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman have great chemistry as Hopps and Wilde and they infuse there characters with charm and sincerity. They nail the funnier lines of dialogue and when the film gets darker, they make the drama feel sincere and warranted. In a particular scene, Wilde has to tell Hopps about a dark thing that happened to him in his past and it feels as authentically tragic as the darkest moments of a drama like The Big Short or Boyhood. They’re supported by a huge supporting cast who make the most of the wide variety of characters. Tommy Chong playing a stoner yak and Idris Elba playing a stern buffalo that’s the chief of police are only two of several wonderful choices they made with the ensemble.

Finally, I have to discuss the outstanding score done here by Michael Giacchino. Between this and Inside Out, Giacchino has quickly become one of my favorite film composers working today. Whatever he does, he manages to make huge, breathtaking compositions that fit perfectly with the films without becoming too sentimental or overbearing. The music he does here reminds me of those old scores from the Hitchcock films and it helps to give Zootopia the feeling of one of those classic, large scale mysteries. The use of drums and a huge orchestra makes the movie sounds big and grandiose in a way that can’t be found in most major studio blockbusters today. I would personally take one soundtrack by Michael Giacchino over twenty of Thomas Newman’s sappy, phoned in soundtracks any day.

So now that I have gotten these basic things mentioned, what is it about Zootopia that makes it such a daring discussion on race? First off, the movie takes place in a world that doesn’t have any of the same people as our own. This allows them to take on race in a way that’s more abstract and less restrained. They can talk about the problems of the time while creating a work of art.

ZOOTOPIA – Pictured (L-R): Nick Wilde, Judy Hopps. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

And the problems in Zootopia do a great job presenting the problems in the US today. They present these animals of different types being forced to live and work together and they show the different misconceptions and beliefs that these animals have with other animals. For example, the rabbits see the foxes as savage liars who can’t do anything right. Hopps’ parents tell Hopps at the beginning that it was scientifically proven that foxes are born dangerous because it’s in there DNA. In a scene where Hopps and Wilde are arguing, Hopps’ immediate reaction is to pull a weapon on him when he moves towards her in a specific way. On the other side of the coin, the rabbits are seen as weaker and more pathetic. They can’t be police officers because they aren’t as strong and powerful as the other officers around them. When the officers do get a rabbit officer, they celebrate it as this big achievement but they don’t put her in the line of duty or give her a job that isn’t invisible. As Hopps puts it, they make her the token rabbit. Hopps and Wilde are only two animals in a city of prejudices lying underneath the disguise of thousands of animals living together in harmony. The movie constantly mirrors how people of different genders and colors are viewed in America but it does so using a blank canvas of opportunity for its world. The movie is totally different yet totally accurate at the same time.

The other terrific thing Zootopia does in handling race is in how it humanizes racists. In a lot of movies about race, it feels incredibly easy to make all the racists these big monsters and the oppressed these wonderful, beautiful angels who are practically perfect in every way. Don’t get me wrong, racism is a horrible thing and it would be incredible if we could live in a world without it. At the same time, it’s always seemed ineffective and hypocritical to me to simply portray racist people as the one dimensional villains. These are people who are very misguided, but they’re still human beings. They have friends, they go to work and they love just like the rest of us. And even though we might not personally want to believe it, sometimes we can all in one way or another be unintentionally racist to someone else. Racism is a struggle humans have to deal with, but if there is happy ending to our struggle with racism, the answer isn’t to attack and ignore every single person who disagrees with our world beliefs. Everyone has the potential be racist and the world doesn’t exist in black and white.

At first, Hopps seems like the clear hero who has to fight against discrimination. But as the movie goes on, her prejudices are revealed and it turns out that she can be just as judgmental as the people who were attacking her earlier on the film. The movie has no clear hero when it comes to racial tension, both sides are equally bad. And at the same time, both sides can be equally enlightened. A bully who beats up Hopps in her childhood is shown later on the movie to be a farmer working with her parents. So as the movie goes continues, the answer to the problem isn’t a fight or a self-righteous speech. The solution is the admittance of our errors and the hope that through simply hanging out and talking with each other, the misconceptions in our society can go away. Like Mannix and Warren in The Hateful Eight, the difficulties of racism are thrown away by the ability for two largely different people with different viewpoints to work together and see beyond their own opinions to share a common goal. Hopps and Wilde have demeaning opinions of each other that are solved by not just ignoring the problem until it hopefully goes away, but by solving the mystery. It’s bizarre to have to say this, but like the bloody Tarantino movie, the Disney film has found an honest and helpful way for us to view race in this country. In the ending, Hopps view of Zootopia isn’t as perfect and clear as she had originally thought when she was child. But at the same time, she sees it as a place where amazing things can still get accomplished.

Zootopia is a movie that I continue to love the more I consider it. Beyond the weighty stance on race, the film is a clever buddy cop movie set in a beautiful, complex world that I wouldn’t mind returning to time and again. Let me put it this way, I would watch the hell out of a TV show involving these two characters going around the city solving crimes. And it only adds that the film brought up racism in a kids movie with more nuance and depth than Crash, The Blind Side and Driving Miss Daisy combined. Every year we need one movie to come along to be the first amazing movie to get released. In 2014 it was The Grand Budapest Hotel, in 2015 it was Ex Machina and in 2016 that film is Zootopia.

Rating:(4/5)

Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 3/4/2016

Rating: PG

Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk and Shakira

Directed by: Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush

Screenplay by: Jared Bush, Phil Johnston, Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jennifer Lee, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon and Dan Fogelman

Zootopia (2016)*

ZootopiaPoster

Title: Zootopia
Rating: PG
Directed by: Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush
Written by: Jared Bush, Phil Johnston, Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jennifer Lee, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon and Dan Fogelman
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk and Shakira
Release Date: 3/4/2016
Running Time: 108 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde, to solve the mystery.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? Yes

Click to see whats: during the credits

 

After Credits? No

Is this stinger worth waiting around for? Vote DownVote Up (+88 rating, 188 votes)

Special thanks to Frank S. for this submission

Was seeing Zootopia in 3D worth the cost?

Black or White (2014)*

BlackOrWhitePoster

Title: Black or White
Rating: PG-13
Director: Mike Binder
Writer: Mike Binder
Stars: Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Gillian Jacobs and Jillian Estell
Release Date: 1/30/2015
Running Time: 121 minutes

IMDb

A grieving widower is drawn into a custody battle over his granddaughter, whom he helped raise her entire life.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? Yes

Click to see whats: during the credits

 

After Credits? No

Is this stinger worth waiting around for? Vote DownVote Up (+16 rating, 18 votes)

In memoriam: In loving memory of J.J. Harris.

Fruitvale Station (2013)

FruitvaleStationPoster

TITLE: Fruitvale Station

RELEASE DATE: 7/12/2013

RATING: R

The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.

What did you think of this film?


Official Site

Amazon

IMDb


During Credits? No

After Credits? No


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