July Movies

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As one who loves watching movies, it’s good to be back in the theater, watching films on the big screen. To celebrate my return to the movie theater, I joined the Regal Unlimited program. For $18 a month I can watch as many movies as I want.

I’m enjoying popping off to catch a film when I have a couple of free hours. During this recent heat wave, the cool, dark theater offers relief along with entertainment. Check out last month’s films and then grab a snack and a cup of tea and read about the July movies. No spoilers.

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July Movies

I enjoyed another broad range of films in July. Movies included fun animation, English romance, one of my favorite superheroes, a book adaptation and another spooky offering from the brilliant Jordan Peele. The sixth film I hoped to watch in July has not yet arrived at my local theater. I hope Mrs Harris Goes to Paris makes it to Joplin next month.

Here are the five July movies with a brief synopsis and what I love about each one.

Minions: Rise of Gru

Cast: Steve Carell, Pierce Coffin ( who does ALL the voices of the minions), Alan Arkin, Taraji P Henson, Michelle Yeoh, Russell Brand, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Lucy Lawless, Danny Trejo and Julia Andrews.

Rating/Length: PG, 1 hour 27 minutes

Currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis: This prequel in the Despicable Me franchise transports us to 1976 where 12 year old Gru dreams of becoming the world’s greatest supervillain. To pursue his dream, Gru contacts the Vicious Six, hoping to join the nefarious group he idolizes after the leader is ousted. The minions arrive and become Gru’s helpers and friends. Young Gru’s initial interview with the Vicious Six doesn’t go well…and things quickly go downhill from there!

What I love about this movie: I’ve seen all of the Despicable Me films with my granddaughter Aubrey. Even though she is now 13, we declared a girls’ day and watched Minions: The Rise of Gru together along with my sister and her two granddaughters. It’s a cute, fast paced film that kept us laughing. And as a bonus for those who actually lived in the 70s, like me, there are lots of  hilarious nods to that time period.

July Movies girls
July Movies – girls’ day for Minions: Rise of Gru

Mr Malcolm’s List

Cast: Freida Pinto, Sope Dirisu, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ashley Park and Theo James.

Rating/Length: PG, 1 hour 57 minutes

Currently showing in theaters or rent/buy on Prime Video.

Synopsis: This Regency romance features London’s most eligible bachelor Mr Malcolm, who is intent on finding the perfect wife. Ever practical, Mr Malcolm looks for a woman who ticks off all the boxes on his list of desired character qualities. When Julia Thistlewaite doesn’t make the cut, after an evening at the opera with Mr Malcolm, she seeks revenge. Julia discovers what’s on the list and convinces her friend Selina to play the role of his ideal match. Is it the perfect payback? Or is romance actually blooming between Selina and Mr Malcolm?

What I love about this movie: This romantic comedy, an expansion of a 2019 short film, is geared toward the audience that loves the Netflix series, Bridgerton. As a fan of that series, I enjoyed Mr Malcolm’s List. And while critics seem to miss the point of the cast diversity, I appreciate that greatly. It’s a heart warming view of the world, as it could be.

July Movies mr malcolms list
July Movies – Mr Malcolm’s List

Where the Crawdads Sing

Cast: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn, Michelle Hyatt and Sterling Macer Jr.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 2 hours 5 minutes

Currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis: Kya Clark raises herself to adulthood after her family abandons her in the marshes of the deep south. The townspeople call her Marsh Girl and consider her a wild and mysterious outsider.

Marsh Girl is ridiculed, ignored and shunned until the town golden boy is found dead. After a link between him and Kya is discovered, she is accused of his murder. Kya is taken by force out of her beloved marsh and stands trial, defended by retired attorney Tom Milton.

Why I love this movie: Where the Crawdads Sing is based on the best selling novel by Delia Owens. I tried reading the book but got put off by the author’s writing style. Watching the film, I felt glad that I didn’t read the novel first. It is an intense, heart touching story that twists and turns, with the wild marsh as a gorgeous backdrop. Perhaps now I’ll try reading the book again.

July Movies where the crawdads sing
July Movies – Where the Crawdads Sing

Thor: Love & Thunder

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tess Thompson, Taika Waititi and Russell Crowe.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 1 hour 58 minutes

Currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis: Thor’s travels with the Guardians of the Galaxy and his search for personal peace are interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher. After Thor parts ways with the Guardians, he enlists the help of King Valkyrie, his friend Korg and surprisingly, his ex-girlfriend Jane. Jane arrives looking like Thor and wielding his former hammer, Mjonir. Together the eclectic group uncovers the mystery behind Gorr’s vengeance and seeks to stop him before he destroys everything.

What I love about this movie: In the Marvel Universe, Thor is my second favorite superhero, right behind Iron Man. This romp of a film is fun, humorous and filled with action and adventure…and a few touching moments as well. My daughter Elissa accompanied me to this showing and we laughed throughout the movie.

July Movies thor love and thunder
July Movies – Thor: Love & Thunder

NOPE

Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott and Steven Yeun.

Rating/Length: R, 2 hours 10 minutes

Currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis: Siblings OJ and Emerald co-own Haywood Ranch, a facility that trains horses for films, commercials and events. They face tough financial decisions concerning the ranch after their father dies in an unexplainable freak accident.

When an unidentified flying object begins to appear over the ranch, and horses disappear, the brother and sister wonder if this is their chance to create wealth. With the help of a techie salesman, they set out to capture the UFO on film and present the proof for financial gain…before their competitive showman neighbor can do the same.

What I love about this movie: I’m a fan of writer and director Jordan Peele, creator of the films Get Out and Us. While his movies are considered in the horror genre, they are so much more than that. I love Jordan’s movies because there’s always a deeper message there to uncover and examine. His films make me think while also providing riveting stories…and a few jump scares!

July Movies nope
July Movies – NOPE

Have You Watched Any of These Movies?

That’s my July round up of movies.

I sincerely hope Mrs Harris Goes to Paris plays at my local Regal Theater soon. And I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite out of this bunch of films. They all entertained. Where the Crawdads Sing and Nope had the biggest impact. Thor made me laugh the most. Mr Malcolm’s List was pure joy and Minions brought the laughs as well.

Have you seen any of these films? Which was your favorite?

July Movies hollywood theaters
Hollywood Theaters in Joplin MO

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June Movies

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Movies…I love them. They’ve played an important role in my life, providing inspiration and providing deeper life messages. And yet for two years, I rarely enjoyed watching them on the big screen.

I changed that during the month of June. I’m back at the movies and loving it. I enrolled in Regal Cinema’s Unlimited program. For $18 month, I can watch an unlimited number of movies. If I go twice during a month, I save money. This past month, I enjoyed SIX films at the local Regal Theater.

Here’s a brief review of each of the June movies that I saw…no spoilers.

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June Movies

I enjoyed quite a mix of films, from multi-universe fantasy to period piece to dinosaurs roaming present day earth to intense fighter pilot training to a music legend biopic. Four of the films were sequels. All touched me in some way, making laugh, jump, cry or walk away in deep thought.

Here are the June movies, each with brief synopsis and what I loved about it. I’m presenting them in the order that I saw them.

Downton Abbey A New Era

Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Allen Leach, Laura Carmichael, Harry Hadden-Paton, Phyllis Logan, Robert James-Collier and Maggie Smith.

Rating/Length: PG, 2 hours, 4 minutes

Watch on Peacock, with a subscription.

Synopsis: In this second movie in the Downton Abbey franchise, based on the long running television series, part of the Crawley Family goes on an adventure to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa.

Meanwhile, back at Downton Abbey Lady Mary and the staff open the home to a film crew, filming the last of the silent movies. It’s not a smooth process for anyone and Lady Mary finds herself filling in when the silent film suddenly transitions into a “talkie”.

What I love about this movie: I watched the whole Downton Abbey series and the first movie and highly anticipated this sequel. Although there are many characters to keep track of and multiple story lines, I enjoyed the interaction between “upstairs” and “downstairs” and the mystery in this film, that is not solved until the end of the movie. Some of the characters had big moments as well, that I celebrated with them.

June Movies downton abbey
June Movies – Downton Abbey A New Era

Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez and Rachel McAdams.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 2 hours, six minutes

Watch Dr Strange on Prime Video.

Synopsis: Dr Strange teams up with a mysterious teenage girl who can travel across universes. Together they battle threats and encounter other versions of Dr Strange in other universes as they seek to prevent a new adversary from wiping out millions across the multiverse.

What I love about this movie: I’m a big Marvel Universe fan, watching the many films that make up this multifaceted franchise. And although multiverse films can be confusing, I found this one fast paced, fun to watch and easy to follow. I also enjoy thinking about the possibility of there being multiple universes.

June Movies dr strange
June Movies – Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Rating/Length: R, 2 hours, 19 minutes

Watch Everything on Prime Video.

Synopsis: With her business and marriage failing, Evelyn Wang struggles to cope with life. Even her relationships with her father and daughter are strained. On her way to meet with an IRS auditor, Evelyn inexplicably finds herself caught up in an insane journey, jumping into parallel realities through a multiverse rift. Through all the realities an evil person pursues her, threatening the existence of everyone.

What I loved about this movie: Talk about taking the multiverse theme to a new level! This film goes there, in an entertaining yet thought provoking way. I loved the growth that Evelyn experienced as a result of her crazy journey and the big aha at the end of the movie.

June Movies everything
June Movies – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Jurassic World Dominion

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Isabelle Sermon and DeWanda Wise.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 2 hours, 27 minutes

Currently playing at theaters.

Synopsis: This sequel takes place four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar. Dinosaurs now live…and hunt…alongside humans all over the world. This unstable balance is reshaping the future and may determine whether humans will remain the dominant species on earth.

What I loved about this movie: After seeing the other films in this series, I HAD to see this final installment. I love the dinosaurs and I enjoyed seeing the return of other cast members from earlier films. It all felt very nostalgic.

June Movies jurassic world
June Movies – Jurassic World Dominion

Top Gun: Maverick

Cast: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer and Jon Hamm.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 2 hours 10 minutes

Currently playing at theaters.

Synopsis: After 30+ years as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is doing what he loves best…pushing the envelope as a test pilot. An urgent situation brings him back to the US Navy Fighter Weapons School, also known as Top Gun, where he must train a group of young pilots for an impossible mission. Among the trainees, the son of Maverick’s deceased best friend Goose.

What I loved about this movie: I enjoyed this intense, fast paced, edge of your seat film and in fact, liked it even better than the first Top Gun. Tom Cruise excels in the role of Maverick and it is very heart touching to see Val Kilmer reprise the role of Iceman. Kilmer is fighting throat cancer in real life and it’s very moving to see him in this movie. I highly recommend re-watching Top Gun before seeing Maverick.

June Movies maverick
June Movies – Top Gun Maverick

Elvis

Cast: Tom Hanks, Austin Butler, Olivia DeJonge, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh and Helen Thomson.

Rating/Length: PG-13, 2 hours, 39 minutes

Currently playing at theaters.

Synopsis: This biopic follows the life of music legend Elvis Presley from his childhood to rock and roll stardom, during a time of great cultural shifts in the US. The story is told from the perspective of Elvis’ controversial manager, Colonel Tom Parker, a complex relationship that spanned 20 years.

What I loved about this movie: Although I enjoyed all six of June movies, this one was the best. I did not consider myself a huge Elvis fan, however I am a big fan of the writer/producer of the film, Baz Luhrman. I appreciate the high energy way that he tells a story. And now, after seeing the film, I am also an Elvis fan. I learned things about the musician that I didn’t know and felt deeply moved by his story. The impact was so great that I sat through the credits, tears in my eyes, thinking big thoughts, and then immediately played the movie soundtrack via Amazon Music on my Echo Dot when I returned home. I’ll see this one again.

June Movies elvis
June Movies – Elvis

Have You Seen Any of These Films

That’s my round up of June Movies! I look forward to taking full advantage of my Regal Unlimited Card to watch movies all summer and share the lineup each month. It feels so good to be back front of the big screen again.

Have you seen any of these films? Which one was your favorite?

June Movies unlimited

 

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You might also enjoy this review of JoJo Rabbit.

 

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2022 Best Picture Nominated Films

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The Academy Awards air this month, on Sunday, March 27. As is my custom, I enjoy watching as many of the nominated movies as possible, plus the short films. Pre COVID, more opportunities existed to watch the films. My local theater brought in all of them for special viewings during Oscar Week.

However, for the second year in a row, that didn’t happen. Instead, for the first time ever, I caught all ten of the 2022 Best Picture Nominated films at home, on various streaming services.

It’s not necessary to see all of the films before Oscar night. But in my experience, it gives extra meaning to the award show plus I end up watching movies I wouldn’t otherwise.

Check out my brief, spoiler free summaries of each film and my prediction at the end of the post.

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Ten Movies Nominated for Best Picture

It’s a large group of films this year and they are extremely diverse, ranging from sci-fi to biographical to satire to off beat. I’m listing them in the order I watched them.

Dune

Rated PG-13  Run time: 2 hours 35 minutes

Screenplay written by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth, based on the novel by Frank Herbert. Directed by Denis Velleneuve. Nominated for 10 Oscars,

Stars Timothee Chalomet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa and Stellan Skarsgard.

Promoted as part one in a two part series, Dune tells a hero’s  journey story about a gifted young man born into a destiny beyond his imagination and understanding. He must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to guarantee the future of his people. The hostile desert planet contains an exclusive supply of a rare resource that has the ability to propel humanity to its greatest potential…if it is in the right hands.

Fun fact: Director Denis Villeneuve read the Dune novel at age 12 and saw the first adaptation in 1984. His lifelong dream to do a new adaptation came true after he did two other science fiction films, so he possessed sufficient experience for the project.

Dune is available to watch on HBOMax.

Don’t Look Up

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 18 minutes

Screenplay written by Adam McKay and David Sirota. Nominated for 4 Oscars.

Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry and Timothee Chalamet.

This comedic drama…with sci-fi overtones…has been called satire at its best. Two unknown astronomers discover that an approaching comet is on a collision course with Earth. However, no one…from those in highest government positions to religious leaders to scientists…seems to care. The pair embark on a whirlwind media tour, trying to convince those with the power to make changes to do something before it’s too late. What does it take, to get people to look up?

Fun fact: Jennifer Lawrence filmed most of her scenes with a broken tooth. Due to COVID restrictions, she couldn’t get it fixed. In post production, the missing tooth was added in.

Don’t Look Up is available on Netflix.

2022 Best Picture Nominated Films don't look up
2022 Best Picture Nominated Films – Don’t Look Up

The Power of the Dog

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 6 minutes

Screenplay by Jane Campion, based on the novel by Thomas Savage. Directed by Jane Campion. Nominated for 12 Oscars.

Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Durnst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

In 1925 Montana, the Burbank brothers carry on the ranching legacy handed down to them by their parents. Phil is charismatic, cruel and manipulative while George does damage control in the wake of Phil’s brutality.  When George marries and brings a new wife and her teenage son to the ranch, Phil takes great pleasure in bullying both. However, when the abuse abruptly shifts to befriending the boy and teaching him about ranching, concerns grow even more. (Read a more in depth review HERE.)

Fun fact: To get into the character of Phil and stay there, Benedict Cumberbatch did not bathe for two weeks and adopted chain smoking. He did not speak to co-star Kirsten Dunst outside of filming.

The Power of the Dog is available on Netflix.

Nightmare Alley

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Screenplay by Guillermo del Torro and Kim Morgan, based on the novel by William Lindsay Gresham. Directed by Guillermo del Torro. Nominated for 4 Oscars.

Stars Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Rooney Mara, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman and Mary Steenburgen.

An ambitious carnival worker with the ability to easily manipulate people, learns to perform as a mentalist. He hooks up with another performer named Molly, to develop their own two person act. They experience success on the road, until greed drives him to con a dangerous tycoon, with the help of a mysterious female psychiatrist.

Fun fact: COVID suspended production of the film after some of the scenes were shot. Bradley Cooper used that time to lose 15 pounds so as to appear younger for scenes at the beginning of the film.

Watch Nightmare Alley on Hulu and HBOMax.

2022 Best Picture Nominated Films power of the dog
2022 Best Picture Nominated Films – The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Rated PG-13  Run time: 2 hours 36 minutes

Screenplay written by Tony Kushner, based on the stage play and book by Arthur Laurents. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Nominated for 7 Oscars.

This adaptation of the 1957 musical stars Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose and Rita Moreno.

West Side Story explores the threats of two warring gangs and the city’s wrecking ball in a decaying neighborhood in Manhattan. While the two gangs fight for supremacy, an unexpected and forbidden love develops between one of the gang members…and the sister of the leader of the other gang.

Fun fact: In spite of the 60 year gap between adaptations, three actors who appeared in the original musical play different roles in this new film: Rita Moreno, Harvey Evans and David Bean. Sadly, David passed away two weeks after this film’s release.

Watch West Side Story on HBOMax.

Drive My Car

Unrated  Run time: 2 hours 59 minutes

Screenplay written by Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, based on the short story by Haruki Murakami. Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Nominated for 4 Oscars.

This Japanese film stars Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura and Reika Kirishima.

Two years after his wife’s unexpected death, a well known stage actor and director agrees to direct a production of Uncle Vanya at a theater festival in Hiroshima. The young woman assigned as his chauffeur helps him face his grief and confront painful truths from his past.

Fun fact: This film is also nominated for Best International Feature Film, at the Academy Awards.

Watch Drive My Car on HBOMax.

2022 Best Picture Nominated Films drive my car
2022 Best Picture Nominated Films – Drive My Car

Belfast

Rated PG-13  Run time: 1 hour 38 minutes

Written and directed by Kenneth Branagh. Nominated for 7 Oscars.

Stars Jude Hill, Lewis McAskie, Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds.

Set in the 1960s, this historical drama tells the story of Buddy and his family as their working class neighborhood experiences increasing turbulence and violence. Nine year old Buddy does his best to understand “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland as friends and neighbors flee Belfast and his own family faces life altering decisions.

Fun fact: This film is based on the true events from Kenneth Branagh’s childhood.

Rent Belfast on Prime Video HERE. Start your FREE Amazon Prime trial.

King Richard

Rated PG-13  Run time: 2 hours 24 minutes

Written by Zach Baylin. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. Nominated for 6 Oscars.

Stars Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton.

This biographical drama follows Richard Williams, father and tennis coach of Venus and Serena. Armed with a clear vision and a bold 78 page written plan, Richard is determined to write his daughters into history. His commitment, balanced by his wife’s grounded perspectives, defies the odds against his daughters as they pursue their dreams of being the best female tennis players in the world.

Fun fact: Saniyya, who portrays Venus, is left handed and had never played tennis before. She trained five days a week, followed a strict diet and exercise plan, and watched hours of Venus, who is right handed, playing in major tennis tournaments.

Rent King Richard on Amazon Prime HERE.

2022 Best Picture Nominated Films king richard
2022 Best Picture Nominated Films – King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 13 minutes

Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Nominated for 3 Oscars.

This romantic comedy stars Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman and Sean Penn.

In 1973 San Fernando Valley, 15 year old Gary meets Alana when she arrives to take photos at the high school. With a wide age gap between them, Gary and Alana form a friendship that takes them through various start up businesses and brief romantic relationships with others. However, is there more than friendship developing between them?

Fun fact: Alana Haim’s on screen family members are all played by her actual family members. The Haim sisters have a Grammy nominated rock band. Paul Thomas Anderson met the Haims when he was a young boy. This film is inspired by the crush he had on Donna Haim, the mother of the girls.

Purchase Licorice Pizza on Amazon Prime HERE.

CODA

Rated PG-13  Run time: 1 hour 51 minutes

Screenplay written by Sian Heder, based on the previous motion picture “La Famille Belier”, written by Victoria Bedos, Stanislas Carre de Malberg, Eric Lartigau and Thomas Bidegain. Directed by Sian Heder. Nominated for 3 Oscars.

Stars Emilia Jones, Marlee Martin, Troy Kotsur, Eugenio Derbez and Daniel Durant.

Ruby is a CODA…Child of Deaf Adults. She is the only hearing person in her family of four. From early childhood, Ruby interprets for her parents in the hearing world while helping her dad in his business and helping her mother and brother communicate with the community. Ruby’s passion is music and singing. When she joins the high school choir, her teacher encourages her to apply for college, on a musical scholarship. How can Ruby share her love of singing with her family, when they have no place for music in their world? And how can she leave them and go away to college?

Fun fact: Ruby’s deaf father, mother and older brother are all played by deaf actors. Emilia, who played Ruby, spent nine months learning American sign language, taking singing lessons and learning how to operate a fishing trawler.

Watch CODA on Apple TV+

2022 Best Picture Nominated Films coda
2022 Best Picture Nominated Films – CODA

My Prediction

I think this was the most interesting group of best pictured nominated films ever. Often, in past years, I like one or two of the films and can barely watch others in the group, usually due to extreme violence. You perhaps noticed that many of this year’s films are rated PG-13. The captivation lies not in the shock value of these films but in powerful stories, clever satires and real life inspired tales.

I enjoyed all ten of these movies. Don’t Look Up made me laugh the most.  Drive My Car, at almost three hours long, appealed to me more and more as the story unfolded. And ironically, my favorites were the last three I watched. King Richard is inspiring. Licorice Pizza is so quirky. And CODA is an incredible film…funny, insightful and heart touching. It’s the movie I loved the most.

However, I’m selecting The Power of the Dog for the win on Oscar Night. It is such a layered, complex film with a gripping storyline that stays with the viewer for a while. The Academy loves such weighty films.

How many of the 2022 Best Picture nominated films have you seen? Do you have one you are cheering for on Oscar Night?

 

 

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2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films

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With the 94th Academy Awards airing on Sunday, March 27, we are deep in award season. I try to watch as many of the nominated films as possible, before Oscar night. For the third year in a row, my local indie theater, Bookhouse Cinema, offered showings of all of the Oscar nominated short films…live action, animated and documentary.

I enjoyed a day at Bookhouse, watching the shorts and savoring vegan food.

If you haven’t seen this year’s nominated shorts, no worries! I have you covered with a brief summary of each short. No spoilers. I also give my predictions on which shorts take home the Oscar.

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films title meme

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – Live Action

The following five live action films received nominations:

Ala Kachuu – Take and Run

Country of origin: Switzerland

Writer and director: Maria Brendle

A young Zyrgyz woman named Sezim is kidnapped and forced to marry a man she’s never met. Sezim struggles with her desire to study at the university and pursue her own dreams and the loss of freedom dictated by the Kyrgyz culture she’s grown up in.

My thought: It’s shocking and eye opening that this practice still occurs for thousands of young women every year.

On My Mind

Country of origin: Denmark

Writer and director: Martin Strange-Hansen

In this gently humorous short, Henrik arrives at a bar shortly after it opens, with a strange yet urgent request. He must sing the song “Always On My Mind” while the sympathetic barkeeper films the performance. Although he’s reluctant to say why, it’s a matter of life, death and karaoke.

My thought: This short is sad, funny and sweet with a hint of the supernatural. I loved it a lot.

Please Hold

Country of origin: USA

Writers KD Davila and Omer Levin Menekse, diretor KD Davila

A young man’s life is inexplicably turned upside down when he’s arrested and jailed by an automated justice system. He knows he’s innocent…if he can just find an actual human to talk to.

My thought: This one made me think about our current justice system and where it’s heading.

The Dress

Country of origin: Poland

Writer and director: Tadeusz Lysiak

A lonely woman working in a dead end job in rural Poland feels hope when a truck driver shows interest in her. Before they meet up for drinks in four days, she must find the perfect dress to wear…and work through many conflicting emotions.

My thought: Ahhh…this short tugs at the heart, in painful ways.

The Long Goodbye

Country of origin: UK

Writers Riz Ahmed and Aneil Karia, director Aneil Karia

A typical day for a close knit British Pakastani family goes horribly wrong when the chaos playing out on their television screen arrives at their own front door.

My thought: Wow. While it’s the shortest live action film, it packs the most powerful punch. I’m still thinking about this one.

Predicted Oscar winner: The Long Goodbye

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films - the long goodbye
2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – The Long Goodbye

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – Documentary

Not usually my favorite short category, this year’s documentaries all impressed me. I enjoyed watching each one and had a hard time picking a projected winner.

Audible

Country of origin: USA

Director: Matthew Ogens

Maryland School for the Deaf football player Amaree and his teammates attempt to preserve their years long winning streak while coming to terms with the tragic loss of a classmate and friend.

My thought: I loved this look at how Amaree and his teammates learn to thrive in the hearing world while creating their own unique ways of perceiving it.

Lead Me Home

Country of origin: USA

Directors: Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk

This documentary follows several people living on the streets of three West Coast cities. We not only learn their stories but see the challenges they face in changing their homeless situations.

My thought: I am still thinking about this documentary. My city is currently working to do something to help the homeless in my area and this doc shone a stark light on the growing epidemic.

The Queen of Basketball

Country of origin: USA

Director: Ben Proudfoot

Lucy Harris is one of the greatest living basketball players. She led her college team to three national trophies, scored the first basket in women’s basketball at the 1976 Olympics and received an invitation to play in the NBA.

My thought: This is a fun, heart warming documentary about an amazing woman who followed her dream.

Three Songs for Benazir

Country of origin: Afghanistan

Directors: Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei

Shaista is a young man newly married to Benazir. The couple lives in a camp for displaced people in Kabul. Shaista struggles with wanting to be the first in his tribe to join the Afghan National Army and wanting to care for his growing family.

My thought: I appreciate this inside look at what life is like living in a displacement camp. People struggle with pursuing dreams and building security while simply trying to survive.

When We Were Bullies

Countries of origin: Germany and USA

Director: Jay Rosenblatt

A series of amazing synchronicities leads a documentary maker to track down his fifth grade class and teacher back in Brooklyn to examine a memory of a bullying incident the whole class took part in against one boy.

My thought: It’s so interesting to see what people remember about the bullying incident that they all took part in and how they react 60 years later. Plus I loved how Jay followed sychronicities to unravel the past.

Predicted Oscar Winner: I’m torn between Lead Me Home and When We Were Bullies…with the latter edging ahead for the win.

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films when we were bullies
2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – When We Were Bullies

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – Animated

Although animated, these shorts are not intended for children. In fact, three of the animated shorts came with warnings about nudity, violence and/or disturbing images. Like the live action and documentary shorts, these films look boldly at humanity in all of its conditions.

Affairs of the Art

Countries of origin: UK and Canada

Writer Les Mills, director Joanna Quinn

This quirky animation features Beryl, a female factory worker past her prime with strong artistic inclinations…and her lovable, eccentric family. Their obsessions range  from drawing to conspiracies to taxidermy.

My though: This humorous look at the eccentricities of artists is indeed quirky and beyond the edges! I laughed…and also cringed.

Bestia – Beast

Country of origin: Chile

Writers Hugo Cavarrubias and Martin Erazo, director Hugo Covarrubias

Ingrid works for the Chilean Intelligence Directorate in 1975. Her bizarre life, intertwined with relationships with her dog, her own body and her fears reveals a fractured mind and the atrocities that damaged a country.

My thought: This dark film is difficult to understand completely, without doing some additional research after viewing.

Boxballet

Country of origin: Russia

Writers Anton Dyakov and Andrey Vasilyev, director Anton Dyakov

Talented ballerina Olya encounters tough, rough boxer Evgeny, An incredible relationship begins between these two opposite personalities that goes beyond philosophies and perspectives.

My thought: There’s sweetness in this unexpected pairing.

Robin Robin

Country of origin: UK

Writers Daniel Ojari, Michael Please and Sam Morrison, directors Daniel Ojari and Michael Please

When an egg falls from its nest during a storm, a family of mice raise the baby robin that hatches as one of their own. This sweet tale follows Robin’s journey as she discovers who she really is and what she can do.

My thought: This is the only animation in the group that children could watch. It’s a heart warming tale of self discovery and family.

The Windshield Wiper

Country of origin: Spain

Writer and director, Alberto Mielgo

This film offers a beautiful collection of scenes featuring the complexities of love, after a man sitting in a café asks the greatest of questions, “What is love?” As the vignettes and situations show, it’s not an easy question to answer.

My thought: This animation made me smile. Not all of the situations portrayed are ideal and yet they showcase the many facets of love in today’s society.

Predicted Oscar winner: Although Robin, Robin is a sweet, feel good film, I’m going with The Windshield Wiper for the win.

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films the windshield wiper
2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – The Windshield Wiper

See Which Short Film Wins at the Oscars

I so appreciate that Bookhouse Cinema brings in all of the shorts for viewing. I love these unique perspectives of life and humanity, as seen through the creativity of talented writers, directors, artists and film makers.

In between film sets, I enjoyed a vegan lunch, a vegan afternoon tea and a light, vegan dinner at Bookhouse’s pub. What a fun day for me, a film buff who looks for the deeper messages within those stories on the big screen.

I’ll update this post with the winners, after the Academy Awards airs. Watch for my upcoming Best Picture Nominations as well, with brief summaries of each film.

Have you seen any of the Oscar nominated short films?

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films bookhouse cinema
Bookhouse Cinema and Pub

Create your own at home Oscar Party with these Amazon finds:

 


 

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Being the Ricardos

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I grew up watching the wildly popular sitcom, “I Love Lucy”. If you are a child of the 50s or 60s, you are familiar with the half hour comedy that originally aired from 1951 until 1957. Although the series ran before my birth, it continued on in syndication for many, many years.

I Love Lucy captured the hearts of Americans, ranking as the most popular show on television for four of its six seasons. The series won five Emmy Awards including Best Situation Comedy and Best Actress for Lucille Ball.

Honestly, over the top comedy is not my favorite genre. And make no mistake…I Love Lucy was over the top, physical, slap stick style comedy. However, I watched it anyway, falling in love with Ricky from Cuba and his unpredictable wife, Lucy, who always seemed to land in a spot of trouble.

When I saw the previews for Being the Ricardos, I was instantly intrigued. Here is my movie review.

Being the Ricardos title meme

Being the Ricardos Cast

Being the Ricardos stars Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, JK Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, Madelyn Pugh and Jake Lacy. Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay and directed the biographical drama. This Amazon Studios film carries an R rating, for mild profanity, alcohol use and smoking, and has a run time of 2 hours and 11 minutes.

Oscar nominations were announced this morning. Being the Ricardos picked up three nominations: Best Actor for Javier Bardem, Best Actress for Nicole Kidman and Best Supporting Actor for JK Simmons.

Being the Ricardos at home
Being the Ricardos – early in their marriage

A Week with the Ricardos

The film unfolds in 1953, during a week in the lives of Desi Arnaz (Bardem) and Lucille Ball (Kidman). The successful couple faces challenges that could upend their careers and their marriage.

Lucy a Communist?

During the week time line in the film, the Los Angeles Herald-Express runs the shocking headline, “Lucille Ball was RED in 1936”. The story poses a real threat to Lucy’s career and Desi’s as well, through his association with her.

Lucy and Desi meet with the show’s producers and network executives, in an attempt to control the potential damage. Lucy did register to vote in 1936 and listed an affiliation with the Communist Party, primarily to appease her socialist grandfather. She supposedly never achieved active member status. And she appeared before the House’s Un-American Activities Committee and was cleared. That doesn’t stop the newspaper from releasing the article.

Desi first wants Lucy to state that she simply checked the wrong box. When she’s uncomfortable with that fib, Desi decides to meet the accusation head on, with the backing of the network. The tension mounts all week, as the cast and crew head toward the taping of the episode “Fred and Ethel Fight” before a live audience. The response of the audience likely foretells the response of the rest of the country and decides the fate of the show.

Being the Ricardos lucy
Being the Ricardos – Lucy’s voting registration threatens her career

Lucy Is Pregnant

While smoothing over Lucy’s Red Scare, the Ricardos surprise the executives and writers with an announcement: Lucy is expecting a baby. The couple already parent a young daughter, Lucie. The news of this second pregnancy is not welcomed by the executives or the story writers, Jess (Hale), Alia (Pugh) and Bob (Lacy).

In the 1950s the word “pregnancy” cannot even be spoken on a television show. The show writers scramble to come up with ways to hide Lucy’s pregnancy behind props and carefully planned camera shots. To their dismay, Desi proposes a different idea…make the pregnancy part of the show.

Desi and Lucy stand united in making their personal story Lucy and Ricky’s story as well. And Desi is willing to take his demands to the top studio executives.

Being the Ricardos on set
Being the Ricardos – fighting to make Lucy’s pregnancy part of the show

Is Desi Cheating?

During a week already fraught with challenges arises one that does more than threaten careers or the television show. A tabloid photo of Desi with another woman threatens the couple’s marriage.

Although it turns out that the photo is an old one, taken at an event with both Lucy and Desi in attendance, old insecurities trouble America’s favorite red head. Desi often comes home late, after performing with his band. Or he does not come home at all. Desi and Lucy rarely spend time together, other than on set or at the Desilu Productions Company they co-own.

Lucy turns to her co-stars, William Frawley (Simmons), who plays grouchy Fred in the series and Vivian Vance (Arianda), who portrays Ethel. Although Frawley drinks too much, and takes delight in arguing with Vivian, he cares about Lucy and Desi. And a tendency to compete with her co-star aside, Vivian is Lucy’s friend. “Help me save my marriage,” Lucy quietly pleads to them.

All three challenges come to a head at the end of the week as an audience gathers for the filming of the I Love Lucy episode, Fred and Ethel Fight.

Being the Ricardos fred and ethel
Being the Ricardos – Fred and Ethel

My Thoughts on Being the Ricardos

This beautifully created documentary style film gives an emotional peek behind the scenes of I Love Lucy…and into the lives of its two stars.

I felt like I learned new things about both Desi and Lucy. She is portrayed, accurately so, as brilliant, creative and a perfectionist in her work. There’s a huge difference between Lucy in the show…and Lucille Ball. Her style of kinesthetic comedy provides the slap stick humor that made the show so appealing to viewers. Lucille however is more quiet, intentional, introspective and demanding of herself and others than her tv counterpart. I can appreciate the woman behind one of the most successful series of all times.

And Desi truly is the one with the drive, passion and knowledge to bring the show and technology into new territory. Bardem and Kidman superbly step into their roles and deserve their Oscar nominations.

I appreciate too, the deeper glimpses into Frawley and Vance. I knew they did not exactly like each other, on set. However, their support of Lucy and Desi is endearing.

I loved too seeing the process of scenes coming together that I remember from my childhood.

Being the Ricardos wine making
Being the Ricardos – a familiar scene

Home

Perhaps the most poignant part of this movie, for me, is Lucy’s desire to have a home. A traumatic childhood and years of struggling as a B movie actress create a deep longing for a happy oasis where she and Desi can raise their family and insulate themselves from the world.

That desire shapes all that Lucy does…even to insisting on doing I Love Lucy with her real life husband rather than a more well known actor. I confess to teary eyes when Lucy finally realizes where home truly exists and the cost of maintaining it.

See this movie, if you grew up watching I Love Lucy. It’s currently playing on Amazon Prime, free for Prime members. Click LINK for film. I’d love to know your thoughts about it!

Being the Ricardos i love lucy

Check out my movie review of The Power of the Dog. It picked up 12 Oscar nominations.

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Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.