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MOVIE KETCHUP: Maggie's Plan, Free State of Jones, The Legend of Tarzan, Finding Dory, The Purge:Election Year, Ice Age:Collision & Absolutely Fabulous The Movie

Sunday, July 24, 2016


By Tinsel & Tine Editor, Le Anne Lindsay

Summer is not just a busy time for blockbuster releases, there's always a lot in general released in theaters - indies, horror and everything in between.  So here's a quick run down of stuff I screened in the last 2 months.

MAGGIE'S PLAN (writer/director Rebecca Miller) - I'm a Greta Gerwig fan, I wouldn't say I've seen a ton of her movies, but I liked her in Greenberg, No Strings Attached, Frances Ha, Mistress America, and now Maggie's Plan What I get from Gerwig is she's not trying to be this amazing actress with range who gets transformed by playing someone totally against type or gets lost in a character she didn't know she could play.  She's more like a soap opera character you love watching year after year in slightly different circumstances. 

In "Maggie's Plan" her circumstance is that she's terrible at relationships, but is ready to be a mom. Rather than go to a sperm bank she chooses a cute but strange pickle emporium president to impregnate her, but as so happens in life, you make a plan and fate sends you in another direction. That direction is "ficto-critical anthropologist" John (Ethan Hawke), whose marriage to Georgette (Julianne Moore)- a brilliant Columbia University Professor - is falling apart. John leaves Georgette for Maggie; only a couple years later Maggie wants to throw him back.

Bottom Line: Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader play Maggie's friends, they act as a sounding board to all Maggie's dilemmas but, I really hate all their scenes. This is Julianne Moore's movie, she's fantastically kooky in her soft pink angora and fabulous fur wear. Only problem, she seems like a great character from a Wes Anderson-ish film and the rest are in a cheap imitation Noah Baumbach-ish film. 

T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score:2 outta 5

FREE SATE OF JONES (dir. Gary Ross writer Leonard Hartman & Gary Ross) based on a true story, Matthew McConaughey is Newton Knight who decides he's had enough of the war after witnessing the death of his young nephew and comes back to his Mississippi farm to find out the Confederate Army has plundered everything, leaving his wife and child hungry. So he becomes a Confederate army deserter, but once the general discovers him, Knight's got to hide out in a swamp filled with run away slaves. In time, more deserters join the swamp until it becomes a Militia with Knight leading the revolt.

Bottom Line: McConaughey is cool as Knight, he brings his usual laid back swagger and nonconformist ways to the character. It's not an exciting movie per se, but it keeps your interest and seems historically accurate.  I do think it was released at a very bad time, right on the heels of A&E/History Channels Roots reboot. Really, how much slave narrative can one take in the same month. However, Free State of Jones brings up a point not normally depicted in a Civil War story - the fact that not everyone had a horse in the race; many such farmers didn't own slaves, not out of principal, but because they couldn't afford them. So what stake did they have fighting for a way of life that didn't benefit them?  There's also a B story running through the film (the execution of which I'm still on the fence about) which takes place 85 years in the future, involving a court case where a great grandson of Newton Knight's is being tried for interracial marriage, only he looks totally white (with nice full lips) He's only 1/8 black. The son of a son, of a child Knight had with bi-racial slave Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw Belle & Beyond the Lights) but under Mississippi law he's black. Which begs the question, What would have happened if he'd married a black woman? On the outside it would still look like an interracial marriage, so would he still have been arrested?  I suppose if you were 1/8 black, you could only marry another person who is also 1/8 black to be legal. Sometimes you just wonder where so much ignorance, hate and need to dominate others comes from...

T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score:2.5 outta 5

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN (director David Yates / producer David Barron) Interview excerpts from Den of Geek :

David Yates: Well, I was reading dozens and dozens of scripts, and trying to find something after [Harry] Potter that felt really fun, immersive, and had lots and lots of colours... None of these Hollywood scripts that they kept sending me, had that. They were all very one-note...then this script turned up and it said Tarzan on the front, and I said ‘I don’t think I’m going to read that, because I know what that is.... Reluctantly, I opened the page, and then I couldn’t stop turning the pages, there was something about this human being who didn’t really know where home was. He didn’t know if it was in the jungle, or in his country estate in England, and he was stuck between the two, which I found really compelling.

David Baron: It’s also a very different Tarzan to all the other movies that we’ve seen in the past. For a start, it’s not the story of the foundling in the forest who gets taken back to England by the end, it’s quite the reverse. The character starts in England and goes back to Africa, which is a very refreshing point of view for Tarzan.

Where does Samuel L. Jackson come into it?

DY: He’s a real character. Sam’s character is based on this extraordinary man, George Washington Williams, a preacher-lawyer-soldier, and one of the first people to draw people’s attention to what was happening in the Congo. There’s a level of politics in the movie, with a very small "p", we didn’t want to dwell on it too much but it does give context for what’s happening in our story. So George Washington Williams, played by Sam, wants to try and get to the bottom of what King Leopold is up to in the Congo, which is basically enslaving a good portion of the population. So Sam persuades John, Tarzan, to take him back to the Congo, where they can work together to uncover what Leopold’s up to...READ MORE 

Bottom Line: I saw most of this movie regular, but missed the beginning, so I then saw the full screening in 3D. There's really very little difference, so don't waste the money on 3D if you still decide to see The Legend of Tarzan while it's in the theater.  I love Margo Robbie as I've said before, and look forward to Suicide Squad (Subscribe to T&T Newsletter for a chance to see it in preview). However, I hope that's it for her for a while, she's getting over exposed.  Remember when that happened to Jessica Chastain?  Anyway, the movie in general is eh, something to watch, nothing to remember.

T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 2 outta 5

FINDING DORY (Writer/Director Andrew Stanton & Dir. Angus Mclane

Ty Burrell, Kaitlin Olson, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ed O'Neill, from Finding Dory, as well as director Andrew Stanton and producer Lindsey Collins, talk about what imperfections they have that their friends could help them make up for the way Dory uses her friends to help her with directions.

Bottom Line: If I were to answer that question, I think it would be that I rely on my friends to plan the majority of our social activities. I really hate being in charge of making decisions that involve others.

In terms of my thoughts on "Finding Dory", well, I know Disney made much moolah from it and must have been slapping themselves for waiting so long to make it; but I liked Dory better in Finding Nemo, because her forgetfulness was funny. In Finding Dory, it's like she's a special needs child who grows up to be a special needs adult, whose kind of a burden on others, that made me sad.

T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 3 outta 5

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR (Writer/Director James DeMonaco)
It’s been two years since Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) stopped himself from a regrettable act of revenge on Purge Night. Now serving as head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell (TV series: Lost, V & Revolution), his mission is to protect her in a run for president and survive the annual ritual that targets the poor and innocent. But when a betrayal forces them onto the streets of D.C. on the one night when no help is available, they must stay alive until dawn…or both be sacrificed for their sins against the state.

Bottom Line: I'm usually not much for extreme violence and horror, but I make exceptions for DeMonaco's Purge movies (click for T&T posts: The Purge and Purge Anarchy) and anything by Quentin Tarantino. I think it is cathartic to watch a little blood spilled now and again. In the movies that is; but what has always struck me to the core about The Purge is how real it all feels. The personalities that revel in the killings and torture and those trying to stay safe from the night of hell, are so on the money.  This time they even added Purge tourists - privileged, snot nosed foreigners coming to the States to Purge our citizens, although it's not a practice in their own country.  And you always feel so good when the most annoying of the purgers finally meet their demise.

Really loved the old guy in The Purge Election Year who said he only really thinks about "pussy and waffles".   I don't know if I could really narrow it down to just two things, of course film and food would be most logical, but I think my two would be The Beach & Cake!

T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 3.5 outta 5

ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE (Directors Mike Thurmeier & Galen T. Chu / Writers: Michael J. Wilson & Michael Berg)

Allied Philly and Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal offered a Breakfast screening for Tinsel & Tine Subscribers for Ice Age: Collision Course, the Saturday morning before the movie opened.  This was a great food and film tie-in and much appreciated :)

Bottom Line: This was my first intro to the Ice Age franchise. My favorite scenes are The non-verbal acorn antics of Scrat in space. But I liked the overall message of resilience, the movie shows that even when forces seem beyond your control, you should keep moving forward, cause there's always hope!

T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 2.75 outta 5

Last but certainly NOT least - ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS THE MOVIE (Director: Mandie Fletcher / Writer: Jennifer Saunders)

I really found this show to be a hoot in the 90s, then kinda forgot about it and haven't seen it for years; yet watching the movie brought me immediately back into Eddie (Jennifer Saunders) & Patsy's (Joanna Lumley) world of over the top glamour, name dropping, slap stick, and talent for living above ones means. Poor Saffy (Julia Sawalha) still must play the reverse role of parent to Eddie, her self-serving mother, and hold her own against Patsy, who despises Saffy almost as much as Saffy loathes her. Only now, Saffy has to also protect her daughter Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) from falling into the clutches of these two boozy, ambitious, old glamour whores.  Lola is bi-racial and at one point Eddie (her grandmother) leaves her in the South of France to join the hotel's housekeeping staff. This could be construed as terribly racist, in any other movie, but with Eddie & Patsy it's just the way they roll; they would have, and I think did, the same to Saffy when she was growing up.  That's all part of the glee to Absolutely Fabulous the two of them only do what works for them, yet are strangely loyal to each other.

Some cameos include: Gwendoline Christie, Jon Hamm, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Joan Collins, Stella McCartney, Suki Waterhouse, Dame Edna, Emma Bunton, Jerry Hall, Poppy Delevingne, Chis Colfer and Rebel Wilson.

Bottom Line: The movie is what "Ab Fab" fans have been waiting for, without know we were waiting for it, at least that's how I feel ... I don't think the movie appeals to many who were not a fan of the 1990s British sitcom, which aired on cable in the US; but who cares, or as Edina and Patsy would say - "Piss off, sweetie darlings".

T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 4.5 outta 5

Whew! Got through all of those, but ...  

Actually, there's more STAR TREK BEYOND posted a fan event photo album to T&T's facebook page. And my initial thoughts on this summer blockbuster can be heard on The Black Tribbles podcast  

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 | THE NEON DEMON | GHOSTBUSTERS all received their own posts. 

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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