Review: Cutie and the Boxer

FJ Rating: Big Screener/Renter

Cast: Ushio Shinohara, Noriko Shinohara, Alex Shinohara, Ethan Cohen

Director: Zachary Heinzerling

R, 1 hr 22 min

Ushio and his artist wife, Noriko, struggle to make ends meet in New York City.  Known as the renowned “boxing” painter, Ushio treats his wife more like his personal assistant, putting his needs before hers.  After 40-years of marriage, Noriko decides it’s finally time to put her talent and independence at the forefront.

Cutie and the Boxer” is a film about love and sacrifice.  The film really gives its audience a deeper look into the struggles and hardships that come with marriage.  For most of their 40-year marriage, Noriko has been more of a personal assistant/cook/maid to Ushio than the hardworking, talented wife that she is.  Throughout the film, the roles change and Noriko begins to establish her own independence and sense of self through her art.  “Cutie and the Boxer” is eye-opening, funny, and will make you reflect on what’s important in your life.

Check Fandango to see if “Cutie and the Boxer” is playing in your area.  If it isn’t being shown in your area, you can rent or buy it on Amazon or iTunes.

-FJ

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Gravity companion short: Aningaaq

For those of you who have seen “Gravity,” you’ll definitely want to check this out.

Jonas Cuarón, the son of “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuarón, wrote and directed a beautifully done short film that gives viewers a look into the other side of Dr. Ryan Stone’s distress call in “Gravity.”  Also a co-writer of “Gravity,” Jonas Cuarón’s short film could potentially be up for an Oscar nomination at the 86th Academy Awards next year (nominations will be announced on January 16, 2014).  And according to The Hollywood Reporter, if both “Aningaaq” and “Gravity” are nominated for an Oscar, it would be the first time in history that a film and its spin-off are up for a nomination in the same year.

Click on the link below to watch the full short film (7 min 8 sec):

The Hollywood Reporter: Aningaaq

-FJ

Review: Gravity

FJ Rating: Big Screener

Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

PG-13, 1 hr 31 min

Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission.  Teamed with composed veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), all hell breaks loose when their shuttle is hit by debris.  Losing all communication to Earth, the struggle to return home becomes their newest, most important mission of their lives.

First off, I need to admit that I’m extremely disappointed in myself for not having seen this in IMAX 3D when it was available to me.  Epic fail.  However, I did see it in regular 3D (phew!). I must say, I really enjoyed it.  I was nervous, with my feet up on my chair, hands up near my mouth out of worry, and I even forgot at times that I had a free popcorn waiting for me to munch on (compliments of Marcus Theatres’ Free Popcorn Tuesdays – see below!).

Sandra Bullock’s character is on her first shuttle mission, and although she’s gone through extensive training, I still felt like I was on my first shuttle mission right alongside her.  I felt what she felt – nervousness, worry, frustration, fear.  In my opinion, this role really proved what Sandra Bullock is capable of and I will be shocked if she isn’t nominated for an Oscar (among other awards). Although George Clooney didn’t have as much screen time as Sandra Bullock, the time he was on screen impressed me as much as it possibly could.  The story focuses more on Sandra Bullock’s character anyways, so if you’re planning to see “Gravity” in hopes to see sexy astronaut George Clooney steal the show, don’t get your hopes up.

As for the film itself, critics can go on and on about how certain details of the film weren’t realistic or possible, but I guess I see things in a different light.  I don’t get all technical when watching a film.  I share my opinions based on whether or not the film was enjoyable and the acting up to a certain bar.  If a film is a drama, I want to feel sadness and pain and sympathy while watching it.  If a film is a comedy, I want to laugh and be entertained.  If a film is an action film, I want to be on the edge of my seat and feel my heart beating faster and faster.  These are all the things I take into consideration when giving my opinion of a film.  With that being said, I enjoyed “Gravity.”  I thought the graphics were phenomenal, Sandra Bullock did a great job, and it kept my attention.  I must admit that the film is more graphics than an extensive storyline, so my only piece of advice would be to see “Gravity” in 3D.

MONEY SAVER: Check “Gravity” out while it’s still playing at a Marcus Theatres near you.  Marcus Theatres’ newest promotion lets you see ANY movie for $5 on Tuesdays.  If you want to see a movie in 3D, it’s only a few dollars more.  Not only that, but Tuesdays through December you also get a free 44 oz. popcorn.  That means you could go see “Gravity” in 3D and get a 44 oz. popcorn for next to nothing.  Take advantage of it!

I’m not sure how much longer “Gravity” will be in theatres, so check Fandango to see where “Gravity” is playing in your area.

-FJ

Review: Dallas Buyers Club

FJ Rating: Renter

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée

R, 1 hr 57 min

It’s 1985 in Dallas, Texas, and Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) has just been told he’s HIV+.  Homophobic and uneducated about the disease, Ron’s initial reaction is denial.  Given 30 days to live, he eventually comes to the realization that his diagnosis is probably true and he begins doing research of his own.  After quite a few unsuccessful attempts at smuggling non-FDA approved drugs from Mexico into Texas, Ron starts up a Buyers Club with Rayon (Jared Leto), an HIV+ transvestite he meets while in the hospital.

I’ll start off by admitting I thought Jared Leto made this film.  Jared Leto played the frail HIV+ transvestite, Rayon, who meets Matthew McConaughey’s character in the hospital.  Rayon is free-spirited, flirtatious, sometimes coy, and the drug addict/business partner of Ron Woodroof. Jared Leto did an excellent job at his portrayal of Rayon.  I think it’s safe to say he will definitely be on the nominee list for Actor in a Supporting Role for the 86th Academy Awards (which will air March 2, 2014, so mark your calendars!).  I’m sure Matthew McConaughey will also be nominated for an Oscar – for Actor in a Leading Role – I just wasn’t as impressed with his portrayal of Ron Woodroof as I was Jared Leto’s character.  If I’m being brutally honest, I think the physical transformation was really the only thing that blew me away in regards to Matthew McConaughey’s role in the film.  Certain parts of the film seemed to drag on and lacked to keep my interest, so I’d save your money and wait until “Dallas Buyers Club” is available to rent.

Check Fandango to see when “Dallas Buyers Club” is playing in your area.

-FJ

Review: The Book Thief

FJ Rating: Big Screener

Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse, Ben Schnetzer, Nico Liersch, Barbara Auer, Rainer Bock, Oliver Stokowski

Director: Brian Percival

PG-13, 2 hr 7 min

Taking place in Nazi Germany during World War II, a young girl (Sophie Nélisse) is sent to live with her new foster parents (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson).  Through her fascination of stealing books and curiosity with life, the young girl touches the lives of everyone she meets, including the Jewish refugee hiding in the basement of their home.

“The Book Thief” made me laugh, cry, and kept me captivated throughout the entire film.  I thought the acting was phenomenal and the film beautifully done.  Sophie Nélisse is a newcomer you’ll definitely want to keep your eyes on.  The story was touching, heartbreaking, and will make you want to pick up a book (instead of a Nook) again.  Definitely a great film to check out during the holiday season.  I left wanting to go back in the theatre and see it again.

Check Fandango to see when “The Book Thief” is playing in your area.

-FJ

Happy Veterans Day!

First and foremost, Happy Veterans Day to all of the brave individuals who have served for our country.

After watching the Packers lose on Sunday, it’s back to the grind.  Mondays are always long and tiresome, but hopefully this news will cheer all you FFLs up:

For those of you who weren’t aware before, Marcus Theatres used to offer $5 select movies every Wednesday and Thursday.  As awesome as that was, their newest promotion is even more amazing.  Now, Marcus Theatres has a new promotion where ALL movies are only $5 on Tuesdays.  As a bonus, you also get a free 44 oz. popcorn on Tuesdays through December.  I hope all you film lovers take advantage of this deal, I know I’m going to!

Image credit: Marcus Theatres

To keep up with all the latest from Marcus Theatres, follow them on Twitter!

I hope everyone has a great Monday!

-FJ

Happy Friday, FFLs!

What are everyone’s plans for the weekend?  Do they involve checking out “Thor: The Dark World” or “About Time“?  I may try to squeeze in a trip to the movie theatre, but I’m not quite sure I’ll have enough time (I’ll be freezing my ass off at Lambeau Field on Sunday).

Although I would eventually love to check out “About Time,” I have a feeling this will be a Renter*. On the other hand, I would love to check out “Thor: The Dark World” in theatres, so I may have to find some time next week to visit Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman on the big screen.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe weekend!

-FJ

*What’s a Renter?  Big Screener?  Time Waster?  Check out my page FJ Lingo to find out!

Well, hello.

Happy Thursday, soon-to-be Friday (!!!), and first post for Film Junkette.

To give you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I’ve been wanting to start a film blog for a while.  I’m not quite sure what was holding me back before (maybe I’ve been busy cooking meth in a run-down RV), but I’m glad to have finally gotten this up and running.

FJ (Film Junkette) will be a place to discuss all things film-related: upcoming films, memorable movie quotes, how to host an award show get together, and whatever else I come up with.

Please feel free to suggest an idea for a post, and/or follow me on Twitter!

-FJ