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Stillwater (2021)
Stillwater (2021)
2021 | Crime, Drama
1
5.8 (5 Ratings)
Movie Rating
The film Stillwater is based upon and exploits the Amanda Knox story. Swapping Italy for the town of Marseille, France, Allison (Abigail Breslin), an American university student is convicted of killing her girlfriend, Lina. Bill (Matt Damon), Allison’s estranged father, visits her regularly in prison, and is convinced of her innocence.
The majority of the film focuses on Bill’s quest to prove her innocence. Bill is a roughneck (oil driller), good ol’ boy Okie from Stillwater. After delivering a letter to Allison’s lawyer with new information, he takes it upon himself to find the main suspect, Akim, with the help of Virginie (Camille Cottin). This is completely against Allison’s wishes, because she sees him, and herself, as a ‘fuck-up’.
Bill develops a relationship with Virginie, and her daughter, Maya (Lilou Siauvaud). After Allison refuses to see him anymore, Bill stays with Virginie, as a friend, helps with Maya, and goes native. Honestly, the subplot of this relationship with Virginie that progresses to a romantic relationship, and the fatherly relationship to Maya, slow the film down to a snail’s pace. The story finally picks up again, when Bill takes Maya to a football game, and he captures Akim. Bill collects DNA from Akim, hands it to an ex-cop, then finally learns the truth of what happened with the murder of Lina. This situation ruins his relationship with his new French family, and he goes back to Stillwater, quickly followed by Allison, after she is released after the DNA matches what was left at the crime scene.
I was originally pretty excited to see the film, but then I read a Vanity Fair interview with the director, Tom McCarthy. McCarthy mentioned that he wanted to be in the shoes of Amanda Knox, or something like that. Knox, who was found not guilty for the murder of Meredith Kercher, was probably very available. Knox came out after the article was published and voiced that her story was being exploited. Reading her responses made me have really icky feelings, and I almost didn’t go see it, because they’re profiting off her story. To be fair, Knox is profiting off her own story as well, but it still isn’t right. This situation hurt the film, in my opinion, and I think the box office numbers in the US reflect that as well. I would have rated this film higher, and enjoyed it more, had I not seen the press surrounding it. I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing.
Damon did well in his portrayal of an Okie roughneck, and you could tell he really did study to nail the role. Breslin was neither here nor there, and I didn’t necessarily sympathize with her at all. So, I didn’t really care in the end if she got out of prison or not.
This film clocks in at 2 hours and 20 minutes, and it felt like a 2 hour and 20-minute film. I didn’t like the subplot, at all. It made the movie so bloated, and I kind of just wanted it to end. I don’t think this film is going to do well outside of the US, at all.
  
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
2019 | Drama
Gentle, slow-paced and full of HEART
The new "Mr. Rogers" movie, A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is gentle, warm, slow, kind and heartfelt - just the type of film that is antithetical to how life is bounding past all of us on a daily basis. It would be well worth your time to slow down, turn off the electronics, and take in this wonderfully loving film.

Tom Hanks, of course, stars as Mr. Rogers - the beloved TV Host of the beloved children's show MR. ROGERS NEIGHBORHOOD and he does a remarkable job of bringing this kind gentle soul to life. Hanks embodies all of what is good and right to this character, while still making him a real person. Hanks, no doubt, will be named an Oscar nominee for this performance - but it is in what category that might be a surprise to most.

For, it will be as Supporting (not Lead) Actor for this is NOT a movie ABOUT Mr. Rogers. It is a movie that Mr. Rogers plays a strong Supporting part.

This film is about the real, true-to-life relationship that Fred Rogers forged with troubled writer Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys). Vogel is assigned by his boss at Esquire (Christine Lahti - who it was GREAT to see in a film) to do a quick "puff piece" on Rogers. This hard-boiled reporter is hell-bent on peeling the layers back on this man. The surface of Mr. Rogers is just "too good to be true" to this writer. What happens, of course, is that Fred Rogers peels back the layers on Vogel to help him understand his troubled relationship with his father (Chris Cooper) - and it is this relationship that is at the heart of this movie.

And heart is what is at the center of this film. This film is filled with love, understanding, warmth and HEART in abundance. Fred Rogers helps Lloyd Vogel to slow down and understand - and deal with - his feelings that are impeding his relationship with his father. And it is this heart and warmth that touched me. I was brought to the edge of tears more than once during the course of the 1 hour and 49 minute length of this film (and I am not a cryer) it was that well done - and emotional - without being cloying.

Credit Writers Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (both of TV's TRANSPARENT) for adapting Tom Junod's real life Esquire article on Rogers in such a way that it is powerful, thoughtful and effective. They accomplished this by placing the events of this film, loosely, in the format of Rogers' beloved TV show and it worked well.

What also worked well was the Direction of Marielle Heller (CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME) like her previous film (which garnered Melissa McCarthy a well deserved Oscar nomination), Heller keeps her camera relatively still and lets her actors act - relying on tight. lingering close-ups and lingering, quiet pauses for the full effect of the emotions behind the words to land on the audience and resonate.

She would not be able to do this without a strong cast - and a strong cast she has. Besides Hanks, Matthew Rhys (TV's THE AMERICANS) is a steady calm. angry presence that anchors the film in the "no way Mr. Rogers can be that nice" mindset that almost all of us have at the beginning of the film to be slowly peeled away to reveal what is really causing the anger and cynicism emitting from his character. The always reliable Chris Cooper (Oscar winner for ADAPTATION back in 2002) brings pathos and regret as Jerry Vogel, Lloyds father. The relationship between these two is the balancing point of this film and it is balanced well. They are joined by a strong list of Supporting Actors (like Enrico Colantoni, Susan Kelechi Watson and Wendy Makkena) that bring strength and warmth to the proceedings without stealing focus on the main players. They all are SUPPORTING players and they SUPPORT the events of the film wonderfully

I strongly urge you to see this film in a "closed environment" - a movie theater, in a darkened room - without distractions (turn off your phone, close the shades if you are home) and let the warmth, gentleness, humanity and slow-pace wash over you. You'll be glad you did.

Letter Grade: A- (Did I mention that this film is paced VERY slowly)

8 stars (out of 10) and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
  
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Sarah (7793 KP) created a post in Bookworms

Apr 3, 2018  
A couple of years ago Goodreads posted a list of their 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, as voted by users. We may have moved on a little, but personally I think this list still stands.

What do you think? How many have you read?


1. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
2. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
3. The Diary of Anne Frank - Anne Frank
4. 1984 - George Orwell
5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - JK Rowling
6. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
7. The Great Gatsby- F Scott Fitzgerald
8. Charlotte's Web - EB White
9. The Hobbit- JRR Tolkien
10. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
11. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
12. Jane Eyre- Jane Austen
13. Animal Farm - George Orwell
14. Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
15. The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
16. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
17. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
18. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
19. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
20. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
21. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
22. The Lord of the Flies - William Golding
23. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
24. Night - Elie Wiesel
25. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
26. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
27. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
28. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
29. Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare
30. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
31. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
32. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
33. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
34. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
35. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling
36. The Giver - Lois Lowry
37. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
38. Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein
39. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
40. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
41. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
42. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
43. Macbeth - William Shakespeare
44. The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
45. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
46. The Holy Bible: King James version
47. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
48. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
49. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
50. East of Eden - John Steinbeck
51. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
52. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
53. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
54. The Stand - Stephen King
55. Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
56. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling
57. Enders Game - Orson Scott Card
58. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
59. Watership Down - Richard Adams
60. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
61. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
62. A Game of Thrones - George RR Martin
63. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
64. The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
65. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle
66. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
67. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - JK Rowling
68. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
69. The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
70. Celebrating Silence: Excerpts from Five Years of Weekly Knowledge - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
71. The Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
72. The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
73. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
74. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
75. Dracula - Bram Stoker
76. The Princess Bride - William Goldman
77. Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
78. The Raven - Edgar Allan Poe
79. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
80. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
81. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
82. The Time Travelers Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
83. The Odyssey - Homer
84. The Good Earth - Pearl S Buck
85. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
86. And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
87. The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough
88. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
89. The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls
90. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
91. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
92. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
93. The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien
94. Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse
95. Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut
96. Beloved - Toni Morrison
97. Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese
98. The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
99. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
100. The Story of My Life - Helen Keller
  
Show all 14 comments.
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Angelicalynnn (21 KP) Jul 6, 2018

I’ve read 30 not to bad but still plenty I would love to read!

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iamsara (130 KP) Jul 19, 2018

14 ?