Wonder Woman is the best DC comics superhero movie

Wonder Woman is one of my favorite superhero movies. Unlike the previous movies based on DC comics, Wonder Woman isn’t dark. Diana Prince believes that people are genuinely good. Even when she sees the worst, she doesn’t give up on people. Her only goal is to help. It’s her optimism and compassion that keep the movie from falling into Batman territory in which the world is a dark and evil place to live.

The movie opens with Diana Prince arriving at the Louvre. She sits at a desk and looks at a photograph of her taken in 1918 during World War I. She then reminisces on her life and we are taken back to when she was a child on Themyscira, a hidden island that is home to the Amazons.

Diana wants to learn how to be a warrior like her aunt, Antiope, but her mother, Hippolyta, doesn’t want her to take part in combat training. She’s afraid the more Diana learns, the more likely it is Diana might discover what she really is.

Diana trains with her aunt anyway and, by the time she is an adult, Diana is able to take on the best. It’s in the middle of a mock fight that Diana’s powers come out, but she still doesn’t discover that she’s more than an Amazon.

Steve Trevor crashes in the ocean just off the coast of Themyscira. He’s the first man Diana has ever seen and the movie has some fun with that.

Steve tells her and the other Amazons about the war and Diana decides it must be Aries and she has to leave with Steve to save everyone. They arrive in London and Steve tells the general about the gas Dr. Poison has developed. If it’s used, it will kill everyone. The general denies Steve’s request to go to the front to stop Dr. Poison and Diana is appalled at the general’s attitude. The general believes soldiers are meant to die.

Steve tells Diana that they are going to the front anyway. Diana’s compassion shines through when she comes across a crying woman in No Man’s Land. She tells Diana everything has been taken from her and her people. Steve tries to get her to leave, but she won’t hear of it. What follows is one of the most spectacular scenes in the movie. Diana, dressed as Wonder Woman, marches across the field. She deflects bullets with her bracelets and shield. When she sets her mind to something, nothing stands in Wonder Woman’s way.

All of this leads to the final battle, which is also quite spectacular, even if it is a little unbelievable. Tanks go flying through the air as Wonder Woman takes on the enemy; yet, all of the soldiers carry on with their business as if nothing is going on. In reality, they would drop what they were doing to watch the show. Despite that implausible tidbit, that scene is still enjoyable to watch.

Gal Gadot is fabulous as Wonder Woman. Her martial arts moves are amazing. She and Chris Pine play off of each other well. I can’t really think of anyone else who would have done these roles justice. The secondary characters are good and add a bit of comic relief. If you see the movie, you’ll love the scenes with Etta Candy.

Wonder Woman should not be missed. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Have you seen Wonder Woman?

 

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The Fate of the Furious is well worth the ride

Going in to see The Fate of the Furious, I was skeptical. I wondered how they could possibly keep the story fresh. After all, this is the eighth movie in the series. But the Furious gang managed to pull off another entertaining movie.

In this one, we meet Cipher (Charlize Theron) who enlists the help of Dom to help her get her hands on nuclear bombs. Dom, of course, doesn’t want to leave Letty and turn his back on his team, but Cipher has her hands on some valuable collateral, which forces Dom’s hand. It’s not until somewhere in the middle that you find out what the collateral is and you’ll be surprised.

There are women, very fast cars, and lots of action, including ridiculous stunts. Dom, in particular, pulled off one stunt that had me saying, “There’s no possible way he’d ever survive that.” But it’s a movie so I let it go.

For me, the best part of the movie was Jason Statham who is back as Deckard. He has one of the best fight sequences in the history of the franchise. Not only does that fight sequence give us classic Statham moves, but it also provides a few laughs.

If you’re looking for a good time at the movies, this is the movie for you. It kept me thoroughly entertained and I’m already looking forward to the ninth.

Have you seen The Fate of the Furious?

 

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The Oscars: How did I do?

The Oscars were Sunday night and I thought I’d share with you how I did with my picks. The winner is in bold.

Best Actor

Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea” – My pick

Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”

Viggo Mortenson, “Captain Fantastic”

Denzel Washington, “Fences”

 

Best Actress

Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Ruth Negga, “Loving”

Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Emma Stone, “La La Land” – My pick

Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

 

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” – My pick

Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”

Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”

Dev Patel, “Lion”

Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

 

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, “Fences”

Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”

Nicole Kidman, “Lion”

Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures” – My pick

Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

 

Directing

Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”

Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” – My pick

Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”

 

Adapted Screenplay

“Arrival”

“Fences”

“Hidden Figures” – My pick

“Lion”

“Moonlight”

 

Original Screenplay

“Hell or High Water”

“La La Land” – My pick

“The Lobster”

“Manchester by the Sea”

“20th Century Women”

 

Best Picture

“Arrival”

“Fences”

“Hacksaw Ridge”

“Hell or High Water”

“Hidden Figures”

“La La Land” – My pick

“Lion”

“Manchester by the Sea”

“Moonlight”

I didn’t do too bad. La La Land was obviously my favorite and it should have won Best Picture. I’m still holding out hope that a musical will win Best Picture again. A musical hasn’t won that award since Chicago.

How did you do?

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My Oscar predictions – 2017

With the Oscars only a month away, I thought I’d make my Oscar predictions. This year, I’ve made an effort to see as many of the nominated movies as possible. I’ve chosen only the categories I’m most familiar with for my picks.

Best Actor

Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea” – Winner

Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”

Viggo Mortenson, “Captain Fantastic”

Denzel Washington, “Fences”

I believe the winner of this category could be any of these actors because they all did a fantastic job. My pick is Casey Affleck. He portrayed the tragic story of Lee Chandler well. He made me really feel for the character.

Best Actress

Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Ruth Negga, “Loving”

Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Emma Stone, “La La Land” – Winner

Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Emma Stone should win. She really impressed me with her portrayal of a struggling actress.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” – Winner

Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”

Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”

Dev Patel, “Lion”

Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Mahershala Ali is definitely the one to beat in this category. He was phenomenal. I loved Dev Patel in Lion, but I’d be surprised if he’s able to overcome Mahershala Ali.

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, “Fences”

Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”

Nicole Kidman, “Lion”

Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures” – Winner

Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

I loved everything about Hidden Figures and Octavia Spencer’s performance is one of the reasons I enjoyed it. As Dorothy Vaughan, she was tough and didn’t give up. I’m sure if Dorothy Vaughan were still alive, she’d be proud of Octavia Spencer’s portrayal of her life.

Directing

Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”

Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” – Winner

Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”

I know the work that goes into a musical. It is not an easy feat. For that reason, Damien Chazelle should win. He was creative and somehow brought the feel of an old Hollywood musical to a modern one.

Adapted Screenplay

“Arrival”

“Fences”

“Hidden Figures” – Winner

“Lion”

“Moonlight”

As I said before, I loved everything about Hidden Figures. I thought the true story was told well.

Original Screenplay

“Hell or High Water”

“La La Land” – Winner

“The Lobster”

“Manchester by the Sea”

“20th Century Women”

The story told in La La Land was wonderful. I enjoyed every minute of it. The way Mia and Sebastian supported each other and allowed each other to follow their dreams was beautiful.

Best Picture

“Arrival”

“Fences”

“Hacksaw Ridge”

“Hell or High Water”

“Hidden Figures”

“La La Land” – Winner

“Lion”

“Manchester by the Sea”

“Moonlight”

La La Land deserves to win this one. The story, the music, and the choreography all make this one dynamic movie. Moonlight is the only other movie on this list that I believe could win.

What are your picks?

 

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La La Land is a great musical

I finally went to see La La Land this past weekend and it was fabulous. It reminded me of the old Hollywood musicals.

La La Land stars Emma Stone as Mia and Ryan Gosling as Sebastian. They both have dreams. She wants to be an actress and he wants to own a jazz club. In the pursuit of those dreams, they fall in love.

I enjoyed how their relationship was portrayed because they truly supported each other. There were ups and downs, but they always encouraged each other.

Stone and Gosling have a ton of chemistry. They played off of each other well and I see Oscar nominations in the not too distant future.

In the course of the story, there are great musical numbers. Mandy Moore, who choreographs the opening numbers for Dancing With the Stars, outdid herself. The opening number is amazing. I certainly wouldn’t mind being stuck in that traffic jam.

The songs are catchy. Even a couple of days later, I’m still singing some of the songs.

This is a musical that should not be missed. You will love the music, dancing, and Gosling and Stone’s performances.

Have you seen La La Land?

 

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It’s officially the holiday season

Last week, we celebrated Thanksgiving, which means it’s officially the start of the holiday season and my favorite time of year. It means I can break out my favorite holiday movies and books.

One of my favorite holiday movies is While You Were Sleeping. It stars Bill Pullman and Sandra Bullock, and has all of the romance and laughs you’d expect from a romantic comedy. I’ve watched it far too many times to count. An oldie but goodie is A Christmas in Connecticut. I prefer the original with Barbara Stanwyck over the remake. I also enjoy watching Miracle on 34th Street.

I appreciate a good comedy and, when I want to laugh out loud, I put on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Elf.

When I feel like reading, I have a couple of books that I keep on my shelf. I enjoy Christmas short stories and one of my favorite collections is Home for the Holidays. It has three short stories by Leanne Banks, Dixie Browning, and Kathie DeNosky. If you’re looking for a little light reading at this time of year, this is a fun, quick, and romantic read.

I’m always looking for recommendations. If you have any holiday favorites of your own, share them in the comments.

 

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The Oscars: Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins

Like most of you, I watched the Oscars last night. I thought Chris Rock did an incredible job and Lady Gaga had the moment of the night. I also was relieved to see Leonardo DiCaprio finally win his Oscar, even though I didn’t love The Revenant. I’ve always felt he was robbed the year he didn’t win for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

Spotlight won the big award of the night, Best Picture. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, it’s a must see.

Below I’ve recapped the winners in bold.

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

 

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

 

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

 

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

 

Directing

Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

 

Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Carol

The Martian

Room

 

Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Spotlight

Inside Out

Straight Outta Compton

 

Best Picture

Spotlight

The Revenant

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

Room

 

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