Indie Gems: The Lunchbox

Special delivery.

Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) is a lonely man living in Mumbai on the brink of retirement. When he's not dodging training in his replacement, the very excited Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) he's going through the motions. Meanwhile elsewhere in Mumbai, Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is also going through the motions. She's a lonely housewife with a husband who is too busy to pay attention to her or her daughter. She decides she's going to make his lunch as part of a company's lunchbox delivery service, only Saajan ends up getting her box instead. Impressed with her cooking, they write notes back and forth to each other delivered each day in the lunchbox.

I'm having a fair bit of deja vu here. I swore I wrote and published this review already, but apparently that wasn't the case. Maybe like Ila and Saajan, I fantasized about writing it. It's been a while since I've rooted for a couple as much as I did these two. Not even to be romantic, but just to be friends. They needed it. It falls under that grey area of "should I be rooting for a married person to leave their spouse?" which has happened before in movies such as Little Children. Regardless, I loved these two and wanted them to meet so badly.

I sometimes forget how satisfying PG rated movies can be. Most of the films I watch end up being rated R, but this one is so sweet and well acted. I loved every minute of watching it. This film is also a testament to how wonderful Wandering Through The Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks blogathon is, as that's where I first heard of this film. 

Grade: A

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "Salt was okay today." - Saajan. (Irrfan Khan)

Thursday Movie Picks: Police - TV Edition

This week is another TV edition from Wandering Through The Shelves. This week she asks us to pick three shows about police officers. I might be one of the few that have never at any point in their life got into CSI, NCIS, or Law and Order, so there go all the easy picks. Luckily there's still some great shows that deal with protectors in blue. 

1) The Wire

This is my all time favorite show about police officers. I got a late start to this one. It was recommended to me by several people who said I'd love it since I loved Breaking Bad and they were right.

2) Luke Cage

Cage used to be a police officer, but the one I'm going to single out is Detective Misty Knight who is absolutely amazing. She's my favorite part of this show.

3) Walker, Texas Ranger

I watched this show a lot when I was a kid even though nearly all of it went over my head. I'd probably hate every minute of it if I saw it now. 

Review: Free Fire

Shoot outs for all.

It's 1978 and two Irish men, Frank (Michael Smiley) and Chris (Cillian Murphy) meet up with their contact Justine (Brie Larson) to buy some guns. They bring along Bernie (Enzo Clienti) and Steveo (Sam Riley) to help load up the goods. They meet the arms dealers, Ord, (Armie Hammer) Vernon, (Shartlo Copley) Martin, (Babou Ceesay) Gordon (Noah Taylor) and Harry. (Jack Reynor) What should be an easy exchange goes wrong in just about every way possible.

I estimate that about 75 of this 90 minute movie take place in an active shoot out. No one gets to stand upright for more than 2 seconds after that. These characters all manage to get shot in some part of their bodies so the spend the rest of the film crawling, hiding, and you guessed it, shooting. It's a hard narrative to keep interesting but the cast are so charismatic that they make it work. Mostly.

Larson, Murphy, Ceesay, and Reynor were my favorites. Armie Hammer was the one that surprised me the most. This role really suit him well. But I need to take a second to complain about billing. And yes, I realize I'm being the pettiest person who ever pettied right now, but I have no idea why Hammer and Copley are billed above Murphy and Larson. I mean, technically I know why, contracts and what not but it makes no sense. Hammer and Copley are arguably slightly lower on the popularity scale than Larson (an Oscar winner) and Murphy. (A Golden Globe nominee) Screen time wise, I think Larson and Murphy slightly edge the other two out as well. But isn't the point of winning and being nominated for awards to kind of bump you up on the billing list? I hope Larson made as much as these other dudes. She deserves it. 

Rant aside, like I said. This movie is mainly a shoot out, there's not a whole lot to elaborate on without getting spoilery. It's a far from perfect film but made for an enjoyable watch.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "You take what you want, girl." - Chris (Cillian Murphy)


Indie Gems: Ceremony

Maybe it's meant to be?

Sam (Michael Angarano) and Marshall (Reece Thompson) are going on a weekend getaway. Marshall thinks its to re-establish their friendship after he's been holed up in his apartment suffering from depression for a year. Sam has other plans. These plans include crashing a party at a beach house to stop his lover, Zoe (Uma Thurman) from getting married to Whit. (Lee Pace)

This isn't the typical love triangle. Zoe isn't marring an asshole. In fact, Whit seems pretty decent, and they look like a good pair. Sam just can't accept being - as Marshall puts it - "a mistress." 

Angarano gives a very energetic performance. He and Thompson have great chemistry and their back and forth banter was great. They would get close to talking about their feelings, then get side tracked with something else. It felt very realistic. Thurman, Pace, and Jake Johnson give good performances in their supporting roles, but it's Angarano and Thompsons' show.

For lack of a better word, the film is a bit spazzy but that made me enjoy it even more.

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "If you would've told me the truth I would've listened to you." - Marshall (Reece Thompson)


Thursday Movie Picks: A Disappearance

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is about disappearances. I could probably do a theme within a theme using Julianne Moore movies alone, but I'll try to avoid that.

1) Brick

Brendon attempts to uncovering the story behind the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend in this high school noir. This is one of the few movies that is so amazing that I can excuse the fact that most of these actors don't look like teenagers. 

2) Changeling 

I loved this movie. Angelina Jolie may be kind of ridiculous in real life but I thought she was great here. The only low point was Jeffrey Donovan and his ever changing accent. 

3) Oldboy

Dae-Su disappears for 15 years and he's understandably pretty pissed about it. This movie is exactly as good as everyone says it is. 

2017 Blind Spot Series: In The Bedroom


What I knew going in: I had seen bits and pieces of this movie before, just never in the right order.

Matt and Ruth Fowler (Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek) are not thrilled that their college age son, Frank (Nick Stahl) is dating an older woman, Natalie with kids. (Marisa Tomei) Although their relationship is a happy one, Frank is showing signs of wanting to skip out on college, and Natalie has an abusive ex-husband, Richard (William Mapother) who is proving to be a problem. 

In The Bedroom is a good film that could've been great. I feel a bit strange saying this, because I think Wilkinson and Spacek are very talented actors, they're just not very exciting ones. After Stahl and Tomei stop appearing on screen consistently, the film ends up dragging a bit. It's not that the story isn't there, because this is a very interesting character study on Matt and Ruth's marriage and lives after tragedy strikes them. But it just felt like it was missing something after starting off so well.

The acting is very good all around, Tomei being my favorite. Wilkinson gets the most to do and carries the film well. The editing was very choppy. I think they were trying to avoid being grittier than they could've been, but the result is that this film that was released in 2001 feels like it could've came from the early 90's. It just needed a bit more polishing to match how strong the story itself is.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "If he's like this now we're gonna be in trouble." - Frank (Nick Stahl)

Indie Gems: Paterson

Observe.

Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. Yes, he's aware of the irony. He leads a quite life that is so routine he literally wakes up at the same time every day without an alarm clock. He loves to write poetry, but he doesn't share it. His wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) is his biggest supporter, but also his polar opposite. She's spontaneous and ever changing. She encourages him to step out of his box.

I love Adam Driver. I love that he's getting so much attention lately as he's a very fine actor and he gives a wonderful, understated performance here. This type of film needs an interesting actor like him. I'm not trying to insult the film itself when I say that nothing happens. This is just a day in the life type film. We see Paterson writing, listening to the other people on the bus talk. (Bonus, the two teenagers talking about anarchy are the leads from Moonrise Kingdom and it's so perfect)

Films like this are tricky because you need the sense that the lead character is going to change, and we get that with Paterson. His future could be bright if he wanted it to be. He would start something grand. 

Grade: B

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "If it's for you, it's a love poem." - Paterson (Adam Driver)