Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

 Jake (Asa Butterfield) makes sure Emma (Ella Purnell) stays relatively down to earth. Photo Credit: Jay Maidment.

 

 

RosieMeter: 40% Wilted wilted-white

Review:

This is a relatively sweet movie that had more pizazz than the book in my opinion. Just like all of Tim Burton’s films, the production and costume design are exquisite and this may be Burton’s best film since Big Eyes.

Eva Green plays Miss Peregrine with poise and alacrity. Asa Butterfield as Jacob makes for a very relatable and likable character. The supporting actors are all very capable and well-cast.

The story gets a bit convoluted in the second half as it tries to make sense of time loops and strange people who exist only in their own dimension. The fun in the film is the reveal of each person’s peculiarity, and I wish they had taken it even further.

I do like how Miss Peregrine and Miss Finch (Judi Davis), are shown as powerful protectors of children.

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Score breakdown:

  1. There are four prominent female characters in the film: 14 pts.
  2. The movie shares some of the story of the female characters, but it’s mostly focused on Jacob (Asa Butterfield): 10 pts.
  3. Written and directed by men, the film does have two female executive producers, Katterli Frauenfelder, Ivana Lombardi: 4 pts.
  4. Quality of filmmaking: 12 pts.
  5. Does not pass the Bechdel/Wallace test: 0 pts.

The Dressmaker

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RosieMeter: 100% Full Bloom rose-clipart-60x60

Review:

Set in a small town in rural Australia in the 1950s, The Dressmaker is a delicious tale of revenge with a large dose of heart and high fashion. Tilly (Kate Winslet) returns to her hometown after becoming a famous clothing designer in England to care for her ailing and mentally unstable mother, Molly (Judy Davis). The most thrilling part of the story focuses on Tilly as she discovers her power by using her sewing machine as a weapon to right the wrongs that happened to her when she was just a girl. Tilly is a survivor who relies on her creativity to make it through the tough times.

Winslet is at her best and the costumes are simply gorgeous. Shot in the style of a Spaghetti Western in rural Australia, this is one of the best films of 2016. Beyond the superficial sets and costumes, this is a love story between a mother and daughter that will bring tears to your eyes.

Score breakdown:

  1. Two very complicated female protagonists, both are wonderfully written and acted: 20 pts.
  2. Tells the story of two women: 20 pts.
  3. The film is directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, who also co-wrote the script based on the book by Rosalie Ham: 20 pts.
  4. Quality of filmmaking: 20 pts.
  5. Passes the Bechdel/Wallace test: 20 pts.

Bridget Jones’s Baby

Film Title: Bridget Jones's Baby

RENEE ZELLWEGER reprises her role in “BRIDGET JONES’S BABY”   

RosieMeter: 100% Full Bloom rose-clipart-02 copy

Run time: 2 hours, 2 minutes

Review:

This movie was hilarious. Hands-down, it’s the funniest movie I’ve seen in a  long time and Renee Zellweger proves she’s just as relevant now as she was 15 years ago.

This time, Bridget is in a love triangle between Mark (Colin Firth) and McDreamy Jack (Patrick Dempsey) with a baby on the way. What I loved so much about this film was how the male characters were portrayed. Neither Mark nor Jack fall into the stereotype of the man-child who runs away from responsibility. Both men step up and present the best version of themselves to Bridget, both wanting to be the father. It was just lovely.

Score breakdown:

  1. A wonderful female protagonist: 20 pts.
  2. The film tells a woman’s story: 20 pts.
  3. The film is directed by Sharon Maguire and written by Emma Thompson and Helen Fielding (and Dan Mazer). There are four female producers: 20 pts.
  4. Quality of filmmaking: 20 pts.
  5. Passes the Bechdel/Wallace test: 20 pts.

Score: 100% Full Bloom

Sully

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RosieMeter: 25% Wilted wilted-white

Run time: 96 minutes

End credits: Photos of the real event are shown through the credits.

Review:

Tom Hanks plays Captain “Sully” Sullenberger with understated grace and humility, making for a very realistic telling of the true-life story about the plane that was forced to land in the Hudson River due to a bird strike. Screenwriter Todd Komarnicki uses the investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board as the villains in the story, making the investigation process a living hell for Sully and co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart). In real life, the NTSB claim their portrayal as the bad guy is completely fictional and that they had much respect for Sully and his ability to save all 155 souls on board the plane.

The most prominent female character in the film is Sully’s wife, Lorrie (Laura Linney), but she isn’t given much to do, other than talk to Sully on the phone.

The most exciting parts of the film are the landing of the plane in the river, and watching Hanks play the tension of an average man put into an extraordinary circumstance.

Score breakdown

  1. The main characters are men: 0 pts.
  2. The film includes Sully’s wife, Lorrie and the female flight attendants, but they are secondary characters: 7 pts.
  3. Sully was written and directed by men, but there is one female producer: Allyn Stewart, and two female co-producers: Kristina Rivera and Jessica Meier 4pts.
  4. Quality of filmmaking: 14 pts.
  5. Does not pass the Bechdel/Wallace test: 0 pts.

RosieMeter Score: 25%

 

Morgan

MORGAN
 Morgan’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) unhappy and unfulfilling solitude will soon trigger a seismic shift for “her.” Photo Credit: Aidan Monaghan.

RosieMeter: 67 % Rose Bud rose-bud-40x40

Runtime: 1 hour, 35 mins.

There is nothing after the end credits.

Review:

This is the story of an artificially intelligent robot whose creators set out to come as close to replicating a human being as possible. Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) is the pinnacle of technology. At five-years-old, Morgan has the physical appearance of a teenager, the intellect of a computer and the temperament of of tiger. Her only flaw? She’s just too human.

When corporate troubleshooter (Kate Mara) is sent to evaluate Morgan after an accident, we learn the tech team has a lot more invested in Morgan than just millions of dollars in R&D – it seems many human emotions come into play,  and that’s just not good business.

This movie addresses something most sci-fi movies ignore about AI. While movies like Ex Machina and Her explore the question of humanity in a non-human being, they forget to examine why the AI exists in the first place. No robot asks to be created. Frankenstein’s Monster didn’t ask the doctor to stitch him together and jolt him with electricity. These machines are created by humans to fulfill our needs and in the case of Morgan, it exceeded expectations.

Writer Seth W. Owen creates a taught, believable sci-fi world with two very strong female characters and we love that, especially since many sci-fi movies create female androids to be little more than romantic or sexual objects.

Anya Taylor-Joy, whom you may remember as the stunning lead actress in The Witch, brings Morgan to life in a way that is calculated, endearing and relatable in this very difficult role.

 

RosieMeter score breakdown:

Morgan has both a female protagonist and antagonist: 20 pts.

Tells a woman’s story: Technically the movie tells the story of a machine that looks like a woman, but the fact that it includes the stories of several real women as they interact with the machine, earns it a good score: 18 pts.

The film was written and directed by men, but does list one female executive producer, Elishia Holmes. The editor, Laura Jennings, is also a woman: 4 pts.

Does pass the Bechdel/Wallace test: 20 pts.

Wildcard: I’m adding 5 points because the film didn’t turn female robots into sex objects: 5 pts. 

RosieMeter score: 67 %

 

Yoga Hosers

yoga-hosers-1280x720RosieMeter: 51 % Rose Bud rose-bud-40x40

Runtime: 1 hour, 18 mins.

After the end credits: There were no extra scenes when I saw the film in January at Sundance.

Review:

Set in a small Canadian town, Yoga Hosers stars Harley Quinn Smith (director Kevin Smith’s daughter), and Lily-Rose Depp (Johnny Depp’s daughter) as teen besties, both named Colleen, who work the counter at the local convenience store called Eh to Zed. When their town is plagued by “Bratzies,” racist little sausage people, the Colleens use their supreme yoga training to vanquish evil.

Depp, who is nearly the spitting image of her gorgeous French mother, actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, is a cinematic natural, especially when it comes time to fight off bad guys using yoga.

Smith, naturally blessed with comedic ability, has a strong visual presence and is able to communicate the will of a young woman caught in a situation bigger and more dangerous than your young life has prepared her for.

My problem with Yoga Hosers isn’t the lead actresses. It’s the script. It seems to derail into stoner land about half-way through and neglects to harness the power of these stunningly talented young women. Both Depp and Smith give their all to the movie despite the childish journey Kevin Smith sends them on. Though Kevin Smith has been a fierce protector of his daughter, I’m looking forward to Harley and Lily’s next film without him.

RosieMeter score breakdown:

There are two female protagonists: 20 pts. 
The film tells a two women’s stories (as they relate to men): 10 pts.
Kevin Smith is the writer/director. Out of 32 (!) producers listed on the IMDb page, Elizabeth Destro, Jordan Monsanto and Jennifer Schwalbbach Smith are listed as producers,  Tara Finegan is listed as associate-producer and  Kim Ledford is listed as executive producer: 6 pts.
Does pass the Bechdel/Wallace test: 10 pts. 
Wildcard: I’m giving the film 5 points because Kevin Smith wrote this for his daughter and that’s lovely. 5 pts. 

RosieMeter: 51 %

 

 

Southside with You

Southside-with-You

RosieMeter Score: 66% Rose Budrose-bud-40x40

Runtime: 1 hours, 24 mins.

No extra scenes after the credits

Review:

This was a surprisingly smart and very sweet film about the beginning of a romantic partnership that would change the world. Based on the first date between Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson, writer/director Richard Tanne stays surprisingly close to the very public true events: a visit to the Chicago Art Institute, dinner, going to see Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, running into a co-worker from the prestigious law firm where Michelle served as Barack’s advisor, to eating ice cream and sharing a first kiss.

While the movie explores racial boundaries and expectations, there is nothing overtly political about the message. Tanner wisely focuses on the origins of the special connection neither Barack nor Michelle could deny, even though she tried.

Actress Tika Sumpter does a great job expressing the difficulties of being a black woman at a mostly white law firm and the need to ignore Barack’s charm if she wants to be taken seriously. She tests Barack on their date by telling him “This is NOT a date,” to find out how he handles a challenge. Or perhaps, to see if he can give up an ounce of control. Or to slow things down enough to determine what his real intensions are. Is he just a “smooth talker” or a man with integrity? Lucky for her, and us, he was the latter. And then some.

If you don’t feel a kinship for the first family, you probably won’t like the film, but it excels at highlighting the seeds and potential of two amazingly strong Americans and how they came together and shook up the status quo.

That’s what we here at Rosie Movie Ratings are all about.

Score breakdown:

A female protagonist: 15 pts.

Tells the story of a young Michelle Obama: 15 pts.

The film has two female executive producers Tracey Bing and Carrie Holt de Lama, and Tika Sumpter, who was a producer in addition to starring in the film: 6 pts.

Quality of filmmaking: 20 pts.

Does not pass the Bechdel/Wallace Test: 0 pts.

Wildcard: We’re adding additional points because the film honors an African-American female public figure who’s a fantastic role model for young women: 10 pts. 

RosieMeter: 66 pts.

War Dogs

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RosieMeter:  14% Wilted wilted-white

Runtime: 1 hr. 54 mins.

There are no extra scenes after the credits.

Review:

War Dogs is based on the true story of Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz who became international arms dealers during the Iraq War by  exploiting a little-known government initiative that allows smaller businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts. Starting with very small contracts, they begin raking in millions of dollars and indulging in a hedonistic, drug-fueled lifestyle. But when the pair gets a $300 million contract to arm the Afghan military, things start to go awry and the US government begins to investigate.

Director Todd Phillips (The Hangover franchise), is great at mining the comedy of privileged white guys who act very irresponsibly (Hey Ryan Lochte, can you relate?). There are many funny moments in the film, but the bottom line is that the movie is about two douche bags who endangered US troops just to make a buck to blow on sports cars and blow. Is the film as funny and ironic as The Wolf of Wall Street? No. But this is probably the most challenging role Jonah Hill, who plays the ballsy, if not demented, Diveroli, has ever taken on. Both Hill and Miles Teller, who plays Packouz, give engaging performances but the film most likely won’t make a lasting impression at the box office.

There is one female character, Iz, Packouz’s girlfriend, played by Cuban-born actress Ana de Armas. She reminds me of a young Valeria Golino in Rain Man who exhibited a depth and range as Tom Cruise’s girlfriend that helped ground the film. It was recently announced that de Armas will be joining  the cast of the Blade Runner sequel.

Score breakdown:

Female heroine or villain? No. This is a dude’s movie about dudes and the messed up war created by dudes: 0 pts.

The main characters are all male with the exception of Iz, David’s girlfriend: 3 pts. 

Women behind the camera? There is one female associate producer, Julie Donovan. The writers, director and other producers are all male: 1 pt.

Quality of filmmaking/Entertainment value: 10 pts.

Does not pass the Bechdel/Wallace test: 0 pts.

RosieMeter: 14% Wilted 

 

Sausage Party

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Brenda (Kristen Wiig) and Frank (Seth Rogen) in Columbia Pictures’ SAUSAGE PARTY.

RosieMeter: 36% Wilted wilted-white

Runtime: 1 hr. 29 min.

There are no extra scenes after the credits.

Review:

Sausage Party is funny, surprising and ground-breaking in that I promise you’ve never seen food have an orgy the way it does in this movie. If you like to smoke pot then light up, call an Uber and enjoy the hilarious scatological teen-boy humor the film has to offer. The film lambastes everything – from religion to immigration to Pixar – nothing is sacred here.

The movie uses the grocery store as a metaphor for everything that is wrong with America. If only Donald Trump had been running for President when the film was written, he would no doubt be depicted as a giant orange  tub of Sunny Delight – all sugar and artificial colors with no real substance.

The highlight of the film is Teresa the taco (Salma Hayek) and her infatuation with Brenda the bun (Kristen Wiig). Teresa is witty, charming and makes a real connection with Brenda, despite Brenda’s love for Frank (Seth Rogan).

The real humor in the film comes from crossing boundaries never before crossed in animation. It will likely become a cult classic.

Score Break down:

The main characters are male, but there are two notable female characters, Brenda the bun and Teresa the taco: 6 pts. 

The film tells two very limited female stories: 6 pts.

Women behind the camera: one female producer, Megan Ellison and three co-producers, Pilar Flynn, Alex McAtee and Jillian Longnecker: 6 pts.

Quality of filmmaking/Entertainment value: 10 pts.

Does pass the Bechdel-Wallace test (believe it or not!): 8 pts. 

RosieMeter: 36 pts.

Pete’s Dragon

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Oakes Fegley is Pete in Disney’s PETE’S DRAGON.

 

RosieMeter: 30% Wilted wilted-white

Runtime: 1 hr. 35 mins.

There are no extra scenes after the end credits.

Review:

If you have fond memories of the original Pete’s Dragon from 1977 and are wary of seeing the remake, don’t worry. Both films are great on their own, but very different. The new Elliot, created by the special effects master, Eric Saindon, who created the dragons for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films, is a giant furry dragon who’s both sweet as a puppy and intimidating when he wants to be.

There’s no singing in the new version, and instead of setting the film in Passamaquoddy, an Eastern seaside town with a lighthouse, the new film is set in 1980s Pacific Northwest. The fictional town of Millhaven is dealing with a de-forestation crisis that is threatening to destroy the land where both Pete and Elliot live.

The reboot trades in the psychedelic camp of the 70s film for a strong message about the environment. Elliot becomes a metaphor for humanity’s relationship with nature – suggesting we protect the earth before it’s too late.

I like this message and I suspect kids will, too. But I do miss the silly, prankster reptile with his pink and green scales. Today’s kids have grown up on CGI and Pixar and would most likely scoff a the Elliot of yesteryear, however.

petes-dragon-1977

I do have to give the filmmakers credit for adding the character of Natalie (Oona Laurence), a young girl who befriends Pete (Oaks Fegley), and becomes an important ally to both Pete and Elliot. This attempt at on-screen gender parity is what I hope we see more of in upcoming remakes.

Score breakdown:

Both the protagonist and the antagonist are male, but this is Pete’s story, so there’s no surprise there.  0 pts.

The writers/director are all male, but there is a female editor, Lisa Zeno Churgin: 2 pts.

The film does tell the story of two females with their own arcs, Natalie and Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who serves as Pete’s protector: 8 pts.

Quality of filmmaking: 10 pts.

Does not pass the Bechdel/Wallace test: 0 pts.

Wildcard: I’ve added 10 points to reflect the fact that the filmmakers added a new female character, Natalie, in an attempt to create more gender parity on-screen: 10 pts.

RosieMeter: 30%