Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bridget Jones's Baby

Today I saw Bridget Jones's Baby, starring Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth.

For a movie based on a character based on a book that doesn't exist, this film hit it out of the ballpark.

Bridget Jones's Diary was the ultimate rom com, based on the best-selling book of the same name. Its sequel, Bridget Jones Edge of Reason followed with a not-quite-as-good-but-still-entertaining book and film. The third book we won't even go into, since many devotees found it to be a sacrilege. This film falls somewhere between those last two.

Our heroine, Bridget (Zellweger, who originated the role), is in her early 40s working as a television producer. She's still quirky, and lovable and disheveled. Also: she's still alone.

Her ex, Mark Darcy (Firth) has moved on and married, though that marriage is in trouble. She runs into him at a Christening for a mutual friend's baby and they fall accidentally into bed.

Jack (Patrick Dempsey) is an American motivational speaker that attends the same music festival as Bridget and her buddy. When Bridget gets hammered and ends up in the wrong yurt, he is there. And they accidentally fall into bed.

A few months later, Bridget learns that one of these interludes has made her pregnant, but because the encounters happened in the same span of time, she doesn't know which.

And here's our second act: Who's the daddy?

An entertaining romp ensues and we're not quite sure who she wants the father to be (though they make Dempsey just plastic enough to have us rooting for Darcy). Both men, instead of running away, enter into an almost "competition" to prove who would make the best papa, and the results are hilarious.

This movie is no Citizen Kane, but it is a comedy that stays faithful to beloved characters and provides pure enjoyment along the way.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

My 2016 Emmy Picks

Tomorrow's the big night—the 68th Annual Primetime Emmys. Here are my picks for who should win...

Best Drama Series

The Americans (about damn time)

Best Comedy Series

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (I also love Transparent, but I see it more as a drama)

Best Actor in a Drama Series

Live Schreiber - Ray Donovan (consistent and complex)

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Keri Russell - The Americans (like Orphan Black's Tatiana, Russell plays multiple characters each week)

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Jeffrey Tambor - Transparent (sad and sweet at the same time)

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Amy Schumer - Inside Amy Schumer (playing different characters each week and making people laugh is not easy)

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Ben Mendelsohn - Bloodline (his Danny infuriates and draws immense sympathies)

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Maura Tierney - The Affair (her pain becomes ours—even if we root for the other woman)

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Tituss Burgess - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (he makes me laugh out loud more than any of the other contenders)

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Allison Janney - Mom (I thought I'd never see her as anyone other than CJ... until I saw her in this)

Best Limited Series

The People v. O.J. Simpson (I was glued to every episode, even though I watched the real trial live when it happened)

Best Television Movie

Confirmation (again, I watched the real trial when it was on; this was no less gripping or infuriating)

Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Tom Hiddleston - The Night Manager (an underrated show, Hiddleston carried it as the lead)

Best Actress in a Limited Series or a TV Movie

Sarah Paulson - The People V. O.J. Simpson (she basically channeled Marcia Clark)

Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

David Schwimmer - The People v. O.J. Simpson (Kardashian without being a cartoon)

Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Kathy Bates - American Horror Story: Hotel (creepy in only a way she knows how to be)

Best Variety Talk Series

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (genius, brilliant, hilarious—EVERY WEEK)

Best Variety Sketch Series

Portlandia (biased because it's my home town)

Best Reality Competition Program

The Voice (constructive criticism and real talent in the spotlight)

Best Writing for a Drama Series

Robert & Michelle King — The Good Wife (I already miss this show so much)

Best Writing for a Comedy Series

Rob Delaney & Sharon Horgan — Catastrophe (everyone should be watching this; so genuine, so real)


Sunday, September 11, 2016


This morning I saw Sully, starring Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart.

Anyone who was around in January of 2009 will remember the "miracle on the Hudson." The day that a US Airways pilot safely landed a plane on the Hudson River after both engines failed following a bird strike. The pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger (Hanks), quickly became a national hero, as there was no loss of life in the incident.

What the public never knew was the extensive investigation after the landing, which came close to implying Sullenberger put lives at risk with his quick reaction to the emergency.

The film examines what it was like for both Sully and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles (Eckhart), to navigate the post traumatic stress disorder from the accident as they were fighting to convince the NTSB they did the best thing possible for everyone on board.

Tom Hanks channels Sully in his portrayal; from the way he furrows his brows to the walk we all got used to seeing as the press fell in love with the real-life captain. He is thoughtful, soft-spoken, concerned and–yes, heroic. As usual, it's hard not to marvel at just how much Hanks can disappear into his characters, being one of the most familiar actors in the world. But he does, and although we know how the flight ends, the scenes where we see what it was like both for the flight crew and the passengers are harrowing.

This suspense is a credit to Director Clint Eastwood, who has a knack for building great tension (see: American Sniper, Play Misty for Me, etc.). Though much of the flight of which the film is focused is shown to us in flashbacks, it's no less frightening.

For over 90 minutes of watching something so forensic in exploration, it's a satisfying, thrilling ride, which will surely serve as a reminder of one of New York's best days for years to come.


Thursday, September 08, 2016

Southside With You

On Sunday I saw Southside with You, starring Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers.

The film tells the story of how Barack Obama (Sawyers) and Michelle Robinson (Sumpter) first fell in love ... long before they would become the President and First Lady of the United States.

We see their different lifestyles right off the bat: Barack is a chain smoker, has a habit of being late to things and drives a beat-up car with a hole in the floor. Michelle is the very definition of poised—treats her parents with great respect, dresses elegantly and carries herself in the classiest of ways.

Michelle and Barack met while working together, and Michelle was his superior. Therefore, she felt it would be inappropriate for them to be anything more than friendly colleagues. Barack saw no issues with the two of them dating and pursued her relentlessly. We all know that he prevailed in the end.

The charming thing about this movie is that both of the actors not only sound like their real-life characters, but capture the essence of their greatness that's made a country of citizens fall in love with them. There's a twinkle in Barack's eye and a spirit to Michelle that doesn't go unnoticed (and also reminds us why they make such a lovely couple).

This film is a pleasant walk through their beginnings (yes, most literally a walk) that is reminiscent of the great Before Sunrise.

I'm just so pleased that they got a happy ending, both in the film and in life.