Movies over the Summer

I can’t believe it’s September already! I’ve only seen four movies since Oceans 8. Three of them are good if you’re into the subject/style of film, but the last one is so disgustingly misogynistic, I can’t believe I sat through it.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

This was the second movie that my group of women from work had decided to see. When Mamma Mia! first toured North American cities in 2000, I was lucky enough to see it in Toronto. But not being a big Meryl fan,  I hadn’t seen the first movie and was now tasked with watching it as homework. Good thing I left it until the tickets were already bought, because I’m not sure I would have gone through with it based on that first movie! It had its moments and a great upbeat happy ending, but overall, MM1 did not make it to my favourites list.

In any case, I did go to see MM2 with the gang and enjoyed it well enough for what it is — a feel-good movie with lots of little-known ABBA songs and a few well-known ones thrown in for good measure. The movie shows the parallel stories of Donna’s daughter Sophie, now pregnant with her own child and wanting the three grandfathers there, and young Donna going through her adventures leading up to Sophie’s birth.

The two standouts are Amanda Seyfried as Sophie and Lily James (she was Rose on Downton Abbey) as young Donna. Pierce Brosnan as Sam is still a heart-throb even at 65 and, while his singing is not fabulous, he sure can emote during his musical scenes. I also was pleasantly surprised to see Hugh Skinner as young Harry (or young Colin Firth), doing a good comedic turn. (I’ve had a good laugh watching him play Prince William in the over-the-top parody of the British Royal Family, The Windsors.) And I have to say that Cher as Sophie’s grandmother is awesome and has a perfect song to sing — and she looks astonishingly young, given that a lot of her is 72 years old! So, all in all, a fun film if you liked the first one or if you just want to experience some feel-good musical comedy.

Christopher Robin

My younger son has fond memories of watching The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (as do I), and I also loved the books when I was a child. So, while we were in Toronto, we went with my sister and one of her adult daughters to see Christopher Robin.

Ewan McGregor (who I’ve liked since seeing him in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) does a good job as the adult Christopher Robin who has forgotten how to enjoy life, being preoccupied with trying to make a success of it at work. Meanwhile, Winnie the Pooh (“silly old bear”) can’t find his friends and goes through the last place he saw Christopher Robin, out into the world to find him so his human friend can make everything right again.

The story is of course predictable, in that it is the stuffed animals who really end up saving Christopher Robin, helping him to find joy again. Along the way in this quiet movie, the characters are true to their canon personalities and we hear familiar phrases like “stoutness exercises” to remind us of the original. I especially liked how when Christopher Robin says that he doesn’t know the answer, one of the animals always says, “Of course you do! You’re Christopher Robin!” We left the movie smiling and I would recommend it if you are a fan of Winnie the Pooh.

Deadpool 2

If you saw and liked the first Deadpool, this movie does not disappoint. Ryan Reynolds (who co-wrote the movie) is hilarious as the fowl-mouthed mercenary who reluctantly turns super-hero. (He also voices a CGI role as Juggernaut.) These irreverent movies don’t take the superhero genre seriously, and often break the fourth wall, an example being when Deadpool signs a picture for a kid, writing “Ryan Reynolds”. As a bonus for me, the movie was filmed in Reynolds’ native Vancouver, so it is fun to see familiar locations popping up behind the action. A new villain from the future is introduced in Cable, ably played by Josh Brolin. The movie is fast-paced and really funny, but you have to be prepared for lots of fowl language and related humour, as well as action-oriented violence.

Caution: Trailer is R-rated for language, humour, and violence

As an aside, the theme song is beautifully sung by Canadian Celine Dion, and the music video has Yanis Marshall dancing as Deadpool in high heels, a funny idea from the mind of Ryan Reynolds. The dancing starts at about 1:45.

Red Sparrow

I’ve enjoyed watching Jennifer Lawrence’s career, since seeing her years ago in The Hunger Games trilogy with my younger son. In addition to her acting ability, I like her confidence and the seemingly unedited personality that she shows in interviews. And I appreciated her essay in Lenny entitled Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?

So, when I heard she was doing a movie about a strong female Russian spy, I was excited. Somehow I never expected this movie to be as it actually is (even though my older son said I should have expected it from the trailer). As far as I’m concerned this is a horribly violent, misogynistic, disgusting movie, and I can’t understand why Jennifer Lawrence would have agreed to be in it, and in fact to make this the first time she had agreed to do full nudity.

Apparently, Lawrence trained daily for three months to master the bearing and the arm and head movements of a ballerina, for one of the opening scenes. She performs the dance (upper body) well. The movie is also very stylish and has some additional big-name players in Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, and Matthias Schoenaerts.

However, it uses a lot of stereotypes in depicting the Russian spy world, hearkening back perhaps to the Cold War era but not belonging in a story taking place in the modern world. Lawrence plays a Sparrow, one of a group of spies specially trained to use their bodies to manipulate men (or women). According to author and former CIA agent Jason Matthews who wrote the novel on which the movie is based, Sparrow schools existed at least during the cold war, but may or may not exist now. I’m not sure how much of this I believe, especially since I couldn’t find any corroboration of this except by him when I looked, albeit briefly. I’m sure, though, that I don’t believe that they could have been run in the way they are depicted in the movie.

**SPOILERS FROM HERE** There are two violent rape scenes and a violent gory murder in the first 15 minutes or so alone. At the Sparrow school, the students are forced to strip in front of the class and to watch pornography together, and one young women is humiliated in an attempt to force her to perform oral sex on a man for the edification of the other students. I kept watching, waiting for Lawrence’s character Dominika Egorova to start interacting with the American spy (Joel Edgerton) she is supposed to work with and fall in love with. But it doesn’t get better. There are brutal scenes of torture of both men and women, and if there is actually a love story, I couldn’t see it — unless you call a couple of minutes of having sex while sitting on top of someone a love story. I still kept watching, hoping for at least something redemptive and to see Dominika triumph over the brutal way she has been used over the course of the movie. Again, though they seem to think they made a movie that shows this, I really couldn’t see it.

Just disgusting and offputting — and guess what? Apparently this book is the first of a trilogy! My respect for Lawrence has taken a deep nosedive, and I certainly won’t be seeing the sequels.

104 thoughts on “Movies over the Summer

  1. Thank you for your movie reviews! I thought MM2 coming out 10 years almost to the day
    was bittersweet. I totally agree w you that Amanda Seyfried who I thought looked apprehensive and nervous in the first movie (I would be too acting next to Meryl) really shined in MM 2 . Pierce was great charming and debonair in MM2 still singin off key but even better looking in some ways than the original. I
    also agree w you there are some obscure ABBA songs in MM2 which I loved, lily James was good the camera just loves her. I won’t
    discuss the plot but a big part of the original
    was sorely missing in the sequel. I found myself way more emotional in MM2 but I liked
    that and Cher totally rocked as grandma.

    I have not seen C Robin but your review is
    is very touching and I’ll see it on Pay PerView
    Deadpool no way never, I lasted 20 minutes into the first one and I didn’t get his humor didn’t get what was going on. The director of DP2 did Atomic Blonde last year which I saw in the cinema and liked esp bec of the rad 80s music and it was set in Berlin in 1989.
    I appreciate your total honesty on Red Sparrow
    I flatly refuse to see these type of films where women are raped or exploited. The movie tanked at the box office. I saw Siberia on OnD
    Demand in July which I ended up hating bec it crossed 2 boundaries that are no nos w me
    animal cruelty and women being exploited sexually although no rape in Siberia plus bad
    acting also😉.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pierce Brosnan has always been a favourite of mine, since his Remington Steele days. You have to admire someone who gets out there and sings, despite not having the best voice. I read that he said he loves to sing but realizes that not everyone may love hearing him sing. I think that in general, the women in both movies sing so much better than the men.
      The Deadpool movies I’m sure are not for everyone. I watched it with the three men (almost) in my house and we all enjoyed it.
      I haven’t seen Atomic Blonde or Siberia. I could most definitely have loved without seeing Red Sparrow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My brother and sister in law liked Deadpool and Infinity War which they took the twins to. I’m on the fence about Mr Reynolds I mean he’s popular but he just doesn’t come alive on the screen for me. I liked Atomic Blonde really for the setting and music. James McAvoy was funny and Charlize was well Charlize.

        I totally loved Remington Steele and Pierce is a working actor I think he has really made his career last bec he’s a class act. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any bad press about him and he handled his first wife’s death in the mid of late 80s w such grace. I think the singing improved in MM2 bless his heart.

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        • I’ve kind of had enough of the Avengers, myself, at least as an ensemble. My husband and son liked it though.

          Pierce does seem to be such a wonderful husband and family man, with his second family as well. I don’t like all the movies he does (there was one terrible one where he and Jessica Alba get together – “Some Kind of Beautiful”), but I appreciate that he is always working and that he does independent films as well.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes I agree w the Avengers I asked the twins last night babysitting them do you both want to watch Avengers Infinity War and they said no Aunt Michele we didn’t like it! We ended up watching Guardians of the Galaxy

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with your son that the Red Sparrow trailer looked revolting. I haven’t seen any of these — but it was a weird summer. I’ll probably eventually see Christopher Robin on TV sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Revolting is a good word for it. I didn’t realize that the movie would go as far in that direction as it did. There was one torture/murder of a woman that we were shown only the aftermath of. So excessive, I was shocked and disgusted.

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      • Uch. Uch.

        For my last Labor Day discount movie deal I picked an indie called “Farmer of the Year.” I really, really liked it. (A Minnesota farmer sells his farm and goes on a roadtrip with his granddaughter.) Excellent, but not something you’d have to see on the big screen to enjoy.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw Christopher Robin and liked it. the stuffed animals looked so real and were endearingly funny. I thought Ewan McGregor did really well in the part too, so I’m not so mad at him anymore…. (he was my celebrity crush through most of my 20’s. I moved on to others but I still enjoyed him. when he recently left his wife for a younger woman, I was very disappointed.)

    I saw the new Mission Impossible movie with my son yesterday. I always enjoy Tom Cruise in action movies but I’ll admit I went to see this one for Henry Cavill. neither of them disappointed me 🙂

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    • Eeyore has always been my favourite. I wasn’t quite sure about the new voice (Brad Garrett) at first, but it grew on me.

      Apparently, I am not up-to-date on my celebrity gossip! I didn’t know that about Ewan McGregor. The two women look quite similar, actually, but 15 or so years apart. Huh.

      I haven’t watched the last couple of MI movies. The last Cruise movie I saw was American Made and I enjoyed that.

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  4. lol, I haven’t seen any of them! Don’t ask, I don’t know what happened to my summer. I love reading your reviews though! I agree that J-Law has made recent movie choices that make me wonder what I thought was so wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I saw only 3 movies during my holidays but I strongly recommend all of them, to you. They were played in the native language.
    – number one: “Ocean’s 8”, two VOSTF and one VF
    – number two: “Woman at war” VOSTF 🙂 🙂 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7279188/
    – number free: “Silent Voice” VOSTF https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5323662/?ref_=nv_sr_1
    – number xyz: “The Guilty” is now the only movie I would like to watch in the near future.
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6742252/?ref_=tt_rec_tt

    Liked by 1 person

      • “Mary Pippins” was the first movie I ever saw at the cinema. The cast of that one looks good and I like Emily Blunt’s work. The premise sound similar to”Christopher Robin” in a way. And like “Hook”, too.

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      • Iceland is on my travel bucket list!! I’m really hoping Richard does a play in London next year so I can go (with advanced notice when it will run) and run up to Scotland (ie Elsinore among other things) also!
        Did your nieces like Iceland? I’ve heard a lot of positives about it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • On my travel bucket list too.
          You will need many good hiking shoes and 2 or 3 weeks holidays in summer. I hope you have no fear about haunted places with fantastic creatures like trolls, ghosts, elves, monsters, demons …I hope that you like: viking history, volcanic geology, Eurasia and North American tectonic plates mechanic, fishes, sheeps, bugs and birds….

          Liked by 2 people

          • Hope you like cold windy weather, wearing waterproof attire clothes, drinking cold water (hot water tastes of sulfur), going out to party from 2 a.m. riding or walking on marked trails in geothermal areas, sleeping when the sun is shining, cleaning volcanoes dust before driving…

            Liked by 2 people

          • 😊👏 I may need you along as my travel guide
            buddy bec I’m a learn as you go type of girl
            I do research some ahead of a trip but in all
            honesty I love to put the itinerary together although sometimes it doesn’t end up as I planned it. Couldn’t some of the travel be done in Spring or Fall? I actually don’t like traveling in the summer unless I went to New Zealand or Australia which are on the DREAM travel bucket list. Your list of things sound intriguing!!!

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            • I never went there! The best trips, journeys are those that are improvised, where the natives advise you. //”So very different from any Irish tourism board advertises (a mishap not scheduled of course per day”) I wrote to Servetus, last year about our family holidays in Connacht: Mayo and Galway .//
              But YOU HAVE to pay attention to be careful with the changing weather and the wild hidden nature dangers. In summer the country is better to travel through (july and august), but now with climate changing revolution???? ; but in winter for NZ and Australia, for sure.

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              • Oh yes I agree with you on improvising a lot when travelling. I went to Ireland in 10/00 by myself to run the Dublin Marathon ( admittedly an excuse to go and travel) and wound out seeing County Cork where my dad’s father was from and Galway and Cliff of Moors which were marvelous. My dad’s family is from Ireland and Scotland. I loved Ireland a lot and did train tours when I went. That was my first time really on my own travelling so I didn’t have the confidence to just improvise and wing it so I structured the tours with a travel agency. I wouldn’t do that now a days bec I’ve travelled by myself a lot and like the versatility of doing whatever I feel like when I wake up that particular day. Yes I would go to Aus and N.Z. in June/July/Aug US time of the year bec it would be cold or cooler and I’ve heard the Aussie/N/Z summers are very hot. That sort of trip I wish I could trek with somebody but my sister wouldn’t go because the trip takes too long and she can’t sit on an airplane for more than 6 hours.
                I get the impression you’ve travelled a lot and would have insights that not the average traveler would possess which would make you an ideal travel buddy.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I did not travel a lot. I have not enough holidays. But however, I’m curious, I like to study those interesting strange countries with legends or geographic, history particularities. My sister in law works in “Air France”, so with my brother and nieces have been traveling all other the world (my customers too). So …

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                  • Yeah I know what you mean. I’ve been to Europe and did Sweden, Denmark and Norway but I’ve not
                    been to Japan or Thailand or anywhere in the Far East. I’ve got a rather long travel bucket list but I too like strange and interesting countries and try to see unusual sites when I travel. Your knowledge is so vast on so many things, quite impressive!!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • No, don’t worry! I am only a 50-60 years old woman who now understand that she should have been a teacher and regrets that time flows in only one direction (sandglass). But perhaps, in future, I would travel to join or to move in my 2 students. They would study in a foreign country.

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                    • I love that phrase “time only flows in one direction” so so true. Hey I regret a lot but I think some of what I am able to do these days is because of my job and ability to afford some things so I think things are meant to be and we learn from all experiences good and bad. I think you are pretty dynamic from what I read on these blogs from your comments!!

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                    • Thanks you! Regular holidays on the Atlantic coast brought me to study rising sea levels destructions. One year and a half ago, I wrote an article about artistical, physical and geological aspects of sand on beaches, on dunes or in rivers. The title was: ”How could we not silly, blind sunbathe at the seaside?” The French Nobel Prize in physics Pierre-Gilles de Gennes reportedly told his students: “The day we really understand the physics of the pile of sand, we will have taken a giant step”.
                      My memory drove me to mix the words for the sentence I created and you like.

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                    • If you like the subject: to summarize simply: the drawings formed by the sand are called wrinkles (Ripple-mark).
                      – a river flows in a single direction from upstream to downstream. At the bottom of the water the wrinkles are asymmetrical, we speak of wrinkles of current.
                      – waves on a beach make a movement back and forth. Wrinkles are in this case symmetrical, we speak of oscillation wrinkles.
                      – the wind blows the sand in all directions, it can even fly, jump or crawl.
                      Also, they study the direction, the height, the distance, etc … of the wrinkles. For the sand they study the cohesion of grains, the way it flows like a liquid or independent beads. They study sedimentation, for example the transformation of sand grains into sandstone. In other cases, the fixation of dunes by plants, animals (hermes anelides), wooden ganivelles, rocks .For fun this video with Pierre Gilles de Gennes…..http://matiereengrains.fr/index.php/2017/04/25/la-physique-du-sac-de-billes/

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        • My nieces did like Iceland. They did Airbnb. Although they’re in their 20s, they just got their licenses. Brave souls that they are, they drove on the twisty narrow roads on the edges of cliffs, but not as fast as the Icelanders!

          Liked by 1 person

            • I didn’t ask them, but I assume so or they would have mentioned. I think they’ve done Airbnb a few times. Once my niece arrived in Chicago at around midnight only to find no one home. She was all alone and had to find herself another place to stay. So I guess it doesn’t always work out.

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            • Airbnb was great for my family, nothing to break, often alone but sometimes some beautiful encounters:
              – first in NY city, sleeping in Upper East Side, not far from Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Consulate General of France (for LLL) and
              – second journey in Ireland. Day by day my son and husband chose those with good appreciations.

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                • The closer the location of the apartment is to the west, closer to CP or MMA, the higher the standard is. On the other hand, the further away it gets to the east, the more modest the housing is, in a laborious living district with numerous stalls (hairdresser, dry cleaner, organic shoe salesman, modest grocery store, gym, clothing store. ..). But it was nice to walk in front of the luxurious hotels and upscale houses, at the time of Halloween to join the metro on the 2nd or Central Park.

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                  • Yes Squirrel, quite right. I haven’t tried to stay in the East Village yet (hmmm) so my next trip to NYC for a long weekend maybe in the Spring or early next year I’ll look into Airn Bnb there. My favorite stretch of NYC is down 5th Ave near 72nd street by Central Park. The houses and architecture are brilliant near MOMA. My ideal/fantasy place to live if I ever move to NYC. My three pups would love that area… I too like to look at the fancy hotels and upscale houses just walking around the city and neighborhoods.

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      • 🙂 I agree with you. Only big screans for great movies and great actors are FOREVER required.
        Iceland, Ireland or West Kanada landscapes would remain for feeding our polluted brains.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. MM2 was alright but I liked MM1 far more. I think I missed Meryl too much in this… Also, I’m not a fan of Lily James either, although for the first time I actually enjoyed watching her, so that is something. 🙂
    And I wish they’d give Harry a real love story, Colin Firth would be so good at it! Read an article to that effect a little while ago and I totally agree: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/07/mamma-mia-2-colin-firth-harry-gay-love-interest

    Christopher Robin – my mother & daughter went to see it together when my daughter spent a weekend there and loved it! I’ll probably watch it too, in time.

    Sparrow – saw a trailer of that and it had zero appeal at the time, despite me quite liking Jennifer Lawrence as well. Looks like I’m really not missing anything there!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes I agree I really missed Meryl in MM2 and I thought Colin Firth was wasted on the second go around as was Stellan Skarsgaard. I think the magic of those characters really played better in MM1 even Dominic Cooper’s character was a throwaway in MM2 but different director, different writer so maybe different vision. I’m a huge ABBA fan so those obscure songs in MM2 were terrific for me. I had to go research where to find them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, Meryl of course was in it, just not as much as in the first one (not to give spoilers).

      Colin Firth was funny, though, and he sure does wheee a white dress shirt well. He did seem to be having a moment at least with someone at the very end.

      I was pleased with how they were true to the original characters in Christopher Robin. But yeah Red Sparrow is just a turn-off.

      Like

      • Yeah I thought Meryl was the heart and soul of MM1 so seeing her um less in MM2 was disappointing to me. I thought MM2 lacked the magic that the first one had but Amanda Seyfried really came into her own in MM2 so I was happy for her. I think they filmed this movie last year after she had her baby but not 100% sure about that. I grew up with Christopher Robin so I will definitely check that out maybe on Pay Per View since it takes a long time for stuff to hit HBO now. Murder On the Orient Express is on HBO as is Darkest Hour-have you seen either of those?

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