Monday, December 2, 2019

Movie Review Monday!

Hello neighbor! It's time for another Movie Review Monday. This week is special because we have two movies to review: "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" and "The Kitchen." Isn't that wonderful? 

"A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" (Director: Marielle Heller)

First off, let me do away with anyone thinking this might be another documentary: it's not. While I have not had the chance yet to SEE the documentary (something that I need to remedy very soon), please do not think you are getting a documentary with this movie. It's inspired by true events as well as the article "Can You Say...Hero?" that appeared in Esquire magazine by Tom Junod. This is all very well and good, but Mr. Rogers (played absolutely perfectly to a T by Tom Hanks) is merely a side character in this movie. Think of Mr. Rogers as Jiminey Cricket, coming in to offer life lessons when they are most needed, to the jaded writer who is interviewing him, Lloyd Vogel (played by Matthew Rhys). This story is more about Vogel, and how he takes the lessons that Mr. Rogers offers him, all the while seeing the effect that Mr. Rogers has on all those around him.

The whole movie is meant to feel like an episode of "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" and it definitely gives off that feel: from the transitions that show travel on sets that are done in the likeness of the miniature landscapes that you can recall from the old show, down the details of the puppets like Daniel and King Friday. And to be honest, I SOOOOO wish that Mr. Rogers was still on, because a lot of his lessons make me feel like they could be relevant to our children today, especially in schools trying to incorporate SEL and Mood Meters. If you don't know what those things are, ask a teacher. It feels VERY much like what Mr. Rogers always tried to teach, about expressing your feelings. In today's day and age, this is something that a lot of us do not do, and it's something we should. Many of us don't take time to talk about how we feel, or someone doesn't listen properly because you have a hard time expressing your feelings. And expressing emotion is exactly what this movie is about, trying to get Lloyd to change his outlook on his relationships with his father, and his wife and newborn son.  This is something we should all take a lesson from and perhaps, open our ears a bit more and make ourselves be heard just a little bit louder.

There were many times when I started getting choked up, although the part that got me the most was the part when Mr. Rogers was talking about special items from childhood, which seems extremely silly, but it's something I think many of us can relate to. I immediately thought of the teddy bear that I have had since I was 3 days old, Big Brown Bear, that still goes with me everywhere because I am so used to it's presence that this thing has caused the occasional fight between me and previous boyfriends--I was told by one that any time he tried to take away my bear when I had passed out, I would start beating him with it! LOL! 

Either way, this movie is well done, in my opinion, and a good way to enter into the season of giving.


"The Kitchen" (Director: Andrea Berloff)

This was a movie I missed in theaters, but honestly, it was in and out of theaters so quickly, I wondered how it did. Cut to this holiday weekend, when I have a bit of time to relax, I decide to rent this movie. In doing so, I realized quite quickly WHY this movie seemed to go in and out of theaters quickly: it wasn't that great. It was very fast moving, which is the sort of thing I appreciate in a movie, but in this case, I felt like I was missing pieces because of how fast it was moving. Perhaps I should have looked into the graphic novel of this first before I watched this (that's right, apparently this is based on a graphic novel and NOT true events, like it appears to be.)

This movie has some great actresses (Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss) who are mob wives, whose husbands get sent away cause they get caught doing a job. The wives are told that while their husbands are away, they will get taken care of, but that doesn't amount to much. And when they try to get a little more, they get told to shove off, but only AFTER hearing that the reason their payments are light is because some people are not paying their fees. To get to the bottom of this, the wives head out to try and find out what's happening. Turns out, the mob isn't doing much to keep the neighborhood (set in 1970s Hell's Kitchen, NY), from having problems, and people don't like that. At this point, the women start to take over, and things seem like they are going good for a while. But things begin to take a turn, almost as quickly as their rise up the mob ladder.

While the movie itself has some great performances and great chemistry between the actresses themselves, and it's always great to see Melissa outside of a comedy role, this movie honestly is better if you just rent it. After seeing it, I am glad I didn't waste the money on a theater ticket, because it's pretty much like any other mob type movie. Decent if you want something to just put on, but not really something to go out of your way for. 

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