Tag Archive | movie screening

Table 19 Movie Review

table-19-posterDo you ever get so completely thrown off by something because you expected it to be one way but it really turned out to be completely different? Like, when you see a really scrumptious-looking dessert that you imagine to taste one way but ends up being a totally different flavor? That’s how Table 19 was for me.

It wasn’t a bad different, by any means. But I had been watching the trailer for so long, waiting for pictures and updates and squealing every time I saw the pretty pink poster that by the time I watched the movie itself I thought…what?

Don’t get me wrong. It was a really good movie. A little odd, but good. Cute. I adore Anna Kendrick. The selection of characters at Table 19 made it completely hilarious. Perhaps it was the storyline that just fell a little short to me. Eloise (Anna Kendrick) and her relationship with the blonde guy (who I disliked from the get-go and furthermore refuse to call by either actor or character name out of protest) annoyed me to no end (if you couldn’t already tell. And unfortunately, this is who a lot of the film is centered around. Their relationship was so unsatisfying to me, and I can’t help but hope that it isn’t as realistic as it eerily seemed. Because yeah, the gorgeous brunette guy in the trailer that anyone watching the 2 minute clip would expect her to run away with after they adorably dance together? Spoiler alert, so skip to the paragraph after the next picture. Don’t get your hopes up about The two of them and all the adorableness between them. They were shorter lived on screen than the actual length of that very movie trailer, and I was (and am still) super bitter about it. b26df04dea30538d19fc75db41ecc067_700x259Ok, non-spoilers, hello again. Another thing that bothered me, yes moving on from Anna Kendrick and her character’s relationships. The other people at the Table seemed a bit jipped to me. It was like, “oh yes, we’re all in this horrible table situation together, let’s bond.” But as a viewer I felt like Anna was the only one I really got to know. Granted, she was the one with whom I, also snarky white female in this general stage of my life, can immediately relate to. (Also helps that I was a huge fan of Anna already. Not sure which came first here, either, chicken or egg. But whatever.) but all of this aside, the other characters were simply not that memorable. They were there for witty banter, there to support Eloise. They seemingly came to realizations about their own lives, grew as individuals by the end of the movie on their own too (oops was that a spoiler). Seemingly. To me they still seemed like static characters that the director tried to make dynamic in order to round out the story and fully tie the idea of the crappy wedding Table 19 as a unifying symbol together with a big pretty pink bow.

img_1889All in all, I appreciate the concept of this movie. I like the whole idea of this odd group coming together. The actors were all excellent, particularly my girl Anna (and yes, future self, I did just refer to her as “my girl Anna” like we’re complete “homies”). I always have to nod to Lisa Kudrow and that awkward kid from The Grand Budapest Hotel. The music was even amazing (I am about to go look it up on Spotify as we speak). And the film was, undoubtably and undeniably hilarious at times. However, I had imagined some cute indie film full of complex characters, thought-provoking storylines and messages, and a solid, satisfying ending. What I found instead was a story about one complex character with a lot of side characters, all bound not by the table, but by a story and relationship that I didn’t like or understand from the get-go. I found that, instead of eating one flavor of cake, Table 19 was a wholly different and rather unexpected one. Then again, I guess cake is still cake.

Rating: 6/10

Before I Fall Movie Review

“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.”

Before I Fall, which comes out in theaters in a couple of weeks, has been one of my favorite books since I read it in ninth grade. It tells the story of a girl named Sam, who is a member of the most popular clique in her high school. She’s sweeter than her three best friends, though; she’s different. (Yeah, yeah, joke about YA I dare you.) It’s set over the course of one day. This happens to be Valentine’s day, but it is also the day that Sam dies, and the day that she relives, seven times, until she can fix what went wrong. Throughout the story, there are mean girls, bullied girls, snubbed boys, popularity contests, and high school parties. It has all the makings of a cheesy YA book to movie adaptation. But it wasn’t one. Aside from some questionable music choices, it was absolutely perfect.

before-i-fall-movie-images-zoey-deutch-halston-sage-21The whole premise of Before I Fall is that you never really know how long you have to live. You don’t know how your actions and choices will impact either your own life or, and sometimes especially, those of the people around you. Sam and her friends do not know how their words and actions impact their peers, until horrible things happen because of them. When Sam keeps waking up, she decides to change things; she is kind, embraces and appreciates what she has had but took advantage of. I love this concept, and when I read the book I thought, holy shit, this is serious, this is real. The movie did the same thing, and in a no less impactful way. Whenever Sam narrates, she is reflecting too, working through all of her thoughts and actions and what they mean. Through her life, we are called to think of our own too, whether they are as glamorous and dramatic as hers or not.

“It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It’s never occurred to me before; I’ve never been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different.”

For that was definitely one thing that was interesting to see: how exactly Sam’s life was transformed onto a screen. We lost a lot of details, obviously: we never learned what kind of falling out she had with her mother, nor how horribly her relationship her relationship really was. But we did get to see her friends. The dynamic between Lindsay and the others was extremely authentic. They listened to music, made fun of each other, gossiped and laughed. It was accurate, it was fun and funny to watch, and it reminded me of me. It only felt forced when they mentioned Snapchat or said “bae.” Even then, though, they went right back to being believable high schoolers. (I mean, as believable as the twenty-something year olds and their supposed “senior party” could be.) The movie, though, did this really well.

In fact, the acting in and of itself was really good. I was impressed and pleasantly surprised. Not only were the relationships believable, but the characters were too. Sam was just how I imagined her, as were Lindsay and even Skye. Kent was perfect too, though I don’t actually know if they ever said his name.

“I shiver, thinking how easy it is to be totally wrong about peopleto see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole, to see the cause and think it’s the effect or vice versa.”

Not to go all Read It and Weep here, but I also knew a Lindsay in high school. I was the Sam in a friend group, and could relate very strongly to everything that that happened on screen. This realization about some of my back-stabbing high school girlfriends probably made the movie even more meaningful and realistic to me, to be honest. Since reading the book, I have seen and experienced firsthand just how mean and two-faced girls who claim to be your friends can be. It’s horrible. I didn’t go all Kickass Black Eyeshadow Day Five or Six Sam, which would have been awesome, but I did get the hell out of there after being involved for far too long, like Sam did. I too learned from being around the wrong people, though fortunately no one suffered this much from anything that happened. (That I know of…) I should have thought about this book at the time, but I guess life is funny and unfortunate like that.

“So many things become beautiful when you really look.”

before-i-fall-hd-trailer-stillsAnother thing that I really liked about this movie though, dark serious life thoughts aside, actually has nothing to do with the characters or story per se. And yeah, this is huge media me nerding out. But I absolutely loved how the film’s shots were set up, how the lighting felt, and how time and days passed. The transitions were seamless. I was curious as to how they would repeat one day over and over, reuse the same scenes, and still keep it interesting and new. And they did it so, so well. They picked significant things to focus on, made it just tense and funny enough. Whenever they ran through the woods, I pointed out how hard the light must have been to get perfectly. And the scene where Sam repeatedly wakes up? SO GOOD.

Lauren Oliver and Before I Fall were and are perfect. I highly recommend both the book and movie to any and everyone who likes contemplative stories with surprising, occasionally funny or dark, and thought-provoking twists. Sure, they may seem and feel a little fluffy at times, but the messages certainly are not.

“I realized that time doesn’t matter. Certain moments go on forever. Even after they’re over they still go on, even after you’re dead and buried, those moments are lasting still, backward and forward, on into infinity. They are everything and everywhere all at once. They are the meaning.”

Book: 5/5 stars

Movie: 9/10 stars

Star Wars at Bobby Dodd

On July 8th, my friends and I attended a screening of one of my favorite movies, Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens, at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

I had been excited about this for weeks. Star Wars, on an enormous screen, in the grass on the field, with all of my new friends. It sounded ideal.

I studied and was a good little student the day before. I wasn’t even distracted by Buzz, who came and stole my computer for a moment in the middle of my Social Movements readings. (Well, maybe for a minute.) I got my work done so that I could enjoy everything fully.

Then the protests downtown started.

And, in my case, downtown meant down the road.

I have no opinion on the Black Lives Matter protests. Not what was being protested, not the tactics used, nothing. This isn’t going to be a political expose of any sort. I’m also not going to pretend that I’m informed about everything that was going on enough to make a comment that isn’t self-incriminating in some manner. So don’t get offended or read too much into any of this, please.

(Also understand that this is my blog and you are a voluntary reader. Also I’m like the biggest Star Wars nerd, so that’s where I’m comin’ from here.)

I was really disappointed that the helicopters overhead interrupted the movie.

There were at least fifteen coming and going, and they were so infuriatingly loud. Every scene, even the quiet ones, now featured war-movie sound effects, the sound of spinning blades and beating drums. My head pounded…or was it the laser blasts on screen?

It was mildly upsetting. I’d seen the movie before, but it still wasn’t what I had been expecting or hoped it would be.

Even excepting the helicopters, everyone around me only discussed what was happening on the news throughout the entirety of our stay. They weren’t even watching the movie. They had friends that they were worried about, wanted to check on. Two people even left the stadium to join the protests, mostly to say that they had been involved. (Again, this is just what it seemed like to me.) It was crazy.

I was disappointed, but not long after this, it was all in the past. Everyone moved on. When I went home, I rewatched the movie with my brothers in our living room, on a normal-sized TV. Sure, it wasn’t a jumbo-projector, sure it wasn’t outdoors, didn’t feel like a festival. There weren’t tons of new people to talk to.

But being cozy, being with my family, not having anything dangerous happening down the road, not having ten helicopters right above me, being able to enjoy the movie that I love? This was much more fun.

Buzz caught us studying!

Friends in a Field, oil on canvas, 1879 AD

The sky was gorgeous.

“Stop taking my hand!”

Mike and Dave Movie Review

A week before the movie premiered, my friends and I received free screening tickets to see Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates at Atlantic Station. As I have been following Anna Kendrick on Twitter for…forever, the movie has long been on my radar, my “to-see list.” So see it I did.

img_5124(No but I jumped on those free screening tickets, let me tell you.)

The movie was absolutely hilarious. It was of the same branch of film as Neighbors, only funnier. It was like Grown Ups, but younger. Bridesmaids, but…well, I wouldn’t know, I  haven’t seen Bridesmaids. Well, Mike and Dave was a little similar…but very different.

It was just as raunchy as these movies are. There were just as many sex and drug references and scenes, if not more. No, what made this movie great, hilarious, was the acting. Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick, Adam Devine…together, they were perfect. They were all friends already, so I’m pretty sure that the movie and jokes came naturally to each of them. It felt believable—even the ridiculous stuff.

img_5139(Because yes, even though it’s “based off of a true story,” the idea of two guys looking for dates to take to Hawaii (all expenses paid) to their sister’s wedding and ending up with two bad-girls-posing-as-good-girls is pretty ridiculous. So are most of the drug and sex and Rhianna concert ticket parts, but hey.)

Another thing that made this movie excellent was how well my friends and I were able to relate to it. This probably sounds like it’s because we’re all wild, devil-worshiping college students. But no, it’s solely because we are college students. We got the jokes. We got the actors. We got the music, the scene, the ironies. It was as though the movie was made for us.

Maybe, if you think about it, it was. Sure, it was really gross (to a point of being offensive) at times. But it was funny. It was honest, natural. It was like life. And definitely, beyond the shadow of a doubt, like college.

Rating: 7/10