Beard Blog Movie Review: The Shape of Water (2017)

Academy Award Winner: Best Picture – 2018

shape of water
The beast and the beauty

The Shape of Water is a fantasy love story about an amphibious god and a mute woman, taking place during the Cold War era. It’s a very simple movie that seems to draw some inspiration from The Beauty and the Beast tale. 

The Shape of Water is filled with glorious scenes of cinematography and color.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, and Octavia Spencer. Sally Hawkins plays a mute middle-aged woman named Elisa who lives alone and works the night shift at a Navy research center near DC. Her neighbor, played by Richard Jenkins struggles with both his sexuality and his art career. Elisa and her neighbor Giles find comfort in each other during various struggles in this film.

Michael Shannon plays an eccentric antagonist who is set to torture and kill the amphibian man.

The Shape of Water is filled with glorious scenes of cinematography and color. The story is a little weak in the fact that we have no idea why the government wants this thing or what Elisa’s backstory is. There’s a lot of moving parts put into this two hour movie, but by the end, we’re left wanting more information about what just happened.

It’s easy to see what The Shape of Water won this year’s best picture award, but all in all it proved to be a weak year in terms of everlasting classic movies.

Who should see this movie? Fans of fantasy love stories, people who like the previous work of Guillermo del Toro, and if you want to see what the best movie of the year is.

Who shouldn’t see this movie? People who can’t grasp the fact of a “human” loving a “beast” and children because of sexual content.

Score

8 / 10 – A great movie overall, still not convinced it was this year’s best. After watching The Shape of Water you might find yourself saying “That was weird…”.

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Spoilers

 

Caution! Spoilers ahead.

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Beard Blog Movie Review: The Post (2017)

To publish, or not to publish.

In the early 1970s The Washington Post has to decide whether they owe it to the nation to publish secret White House documents or forever be controlled by the government.

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The Washington Post

Meryl Streep stars a Kay Graham, the first female newspaper publisher, as she navigates through one of the most important times in media / White House relations. The New York Times uncovers a report written by a former member of the Department of Defense that details the why the United States could not win the Vietnam war.

Tom Hanks co-stars as the editor of the Washington Post who desperately tries to get the papers published after the NYT was barred from doing so.

This movie is not that deep, not that complicated, and if you are up on American history, you already know the outcome. That being said, the acting in The Post is superb. Streep and Hanks show off their seasoned skills and Steven Spielberg shines through as usual.

The Post starts off slow giving us background information on how this whole thing came about. It isn’t until about half way through when it pulls you into the suspense.

This is one of the year’s best movies, but I wouldn’t call it the best. True to history stories can be entertaining and rewarding, but most of the time they are just average.

Who should see this movie? People who like American history especially dealing with Vietnam-era details, Fans of Streep, Hanks and/or Spielberg, and lovers of dramatic-suspenseful stories.

Who shouldn’t see this movie? People who find true stories or political dramas boring and viewers who may not fully understand the relationship of the media to the White House.

Score

8 / 10 – The Post tells the story of the Pentagon Papers very well and Streep & Hanks make it entertaining to watch.

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If you want to know what happens, read this Wikipedia article.

Beard Blog Movie Review: I, Tonya (2017)

”It wasn’t my fault.”

The true story of how Olympic ice skater Tonya Harding became one of the most well-known people in the world, for all the wrong reasons.

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Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding

I, Tonya is told from the perspective of Tonya Harding through recreations of interviews over the last 40 years. She always maintains her innocence and we get to see the (supposed) true story of what really went down.

Being a young kind in the early 90s, I wasn’t fully aware of everything that had happened between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. Up until seeing this film, I always believed the narrative that Tonya smashed Nancy’s knee with a lead pipe of some sort. This was incorrect, and I’m glad to know the truth.

This film’s writing is stellar and makes me feel like I’m getting the whole life experience of Tonya Harding. Better than the writing is the acting. Margot Robbie is phenomenal as Tonya; she is perfect for this role. Allison Janney steals the show with her tough love, foul-mouthed, hard working persona. I know Janney is getting a lot of press for this role, but I still think it’s underrated.

The other acting is passable by themselves, but without Robbie and Janney this movie would never leave the cutting room floor.

Before seeing I, Tonya I thought there would be less actual ice skating and more about her life outside of skating. I was wrong and that’s not a bad thing. Turns out, I, Tonya is a biopic that paints Tony Harding in a very good light.

This movie may also help victims in a abusive relationship see how things really look from the outside. Hopefully anyone going through that can find a way to get help.

Who should see this movie? Ice skating fans, people who follow(ed) the Harding/Kerrigan story, and viewers who like a good biopic with dark comedy.

Who shouldn’t see this movie? Viewers who do not like profanity or domestic violence, people who hate ice skating, and those who can’t find the humor in this story.

Score

8.5 / 10 – I, Tonya is a fun, emotional, and riveting tale of one of the biggest news stories from the 90s.

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Spoilers

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Beard Blog Movie Review: The Disaster Artist (2017)

“You are tearing me apart Lisa!”

The Disaster Artist is the (mostly) true story of about how the cult classic movie The Room came to be. Tommy Wiseau’s The Room has been a hit since 2003 for all the wrong reasons. The production, writing, acting, and directing is awful, but that is what makes it so popular. The Room is one of those films where you just shake your head and laugh at the mess you’re watching. Fans now gather around the country at midnight screenings to watch The Room to laugh and carryon throughout the showing. Sometimes Tommy Wiseau stops by, adding to the fanfare.

disaster artist
James Franco as Tommy Wiseau

I went to see The Disaster Artist knowing three things; 1. This movie was directed by and starring James Franco (I love most of his stuff). 2. It was a movie about making a movie. 3. It was a comedy. That’s all. I hadn’t seen The Room and never heard about what makes it so appealing. 

“This is one of those movies you can quote with your friends and always get a laugh.”

In a crowded theater my wife and I sat through roughly 100 minutes of audience laughter and inside jokes we didn’t understand. The movie was very well done and I found a lot of it funny despite not knowing what they were poking fun at. After the movie I was kind of in shock, and continually asked myself, “what did I just watch?”.

I continued to think about The Disaster Artist for three days before writing this review. The more I thought about it, the more I enjoyed it. James Franco was great as always and he seems to have a knack for portraying Tommy Wiseau and his unusual accent.

This is one of those movies you can quote with your friends and always get a laugh.

I highly recommend The Disaster Artist, but please do yourself a favor and watch The Room first. Even if you can’t get through the whole thing, at least watch the first 45 minutes.

Who should see this movie? Fans of the subject matter The Room, comedy fans especially of James and/or Dave Franco, and people who enjoy true stories about movie production.

Who shouldn’t see this movie? People who have never seen The Room or viewers of The Room who thought it was not funny and stupid.

Score

8 / 10 – The Disaster Artist continues to grow on me and I am already looking forward to watching it again.

 

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No Spoilers