Saturday, May 19, 2018

Deadpoll 2: Review (2018)

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Overall Deadpool 2 was very good and I enjoyed the majority of the movie. If you liked the original Dealpool (2016), you will definitely enjoy this one. It continues on in the same vane as the original, with a rated R comedy that breaks the forth wall; uses juvenile-adult humor, and hyped up moments which get pulled together with a bit of a plot.

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Deadpool 2 follows the events of Deadpool (2016) with Ryan Reynolds playing Wade Wilson a.k.a Deadpool, a.k.a the Merc with the Mouth.  He has been continuing to work as a mercenary and killing people he is hired to do.  He gets pulled into a scenario where he get connected with a mutant kid Russell a.k.a Firefist, played by Julian Dennison, and has to get together a team of others to protect him from Cabel, played by Josh Brolin, a man who has come back in time from the future to kill Firefist.  Returning from the first movie are Wade's girl Vanessa, played by Morena Baccarin; his friend Weasel, played by T.J. Miller; fellow Mutants, Colossus, voiced by Stefan Kapicic; and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, played by Brianna Hildebrand; and taxi driver Dopinder, played by Karin Soni.  Also introduced is Domino, played by Zazie Beetz, a mutant who signs on to help Wade.

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I enjoyed Deadpool 2 and it definitely met my expectations and wants, which for a sequel of an enjoyable, wildcard movie is a very good and not so easy thing.  Although it is not as good as the original Deadpool (2016) it brings back the same energy and overall mood of the original.  It is not as natural in some of the delivery, seems a bit more lazy with the story and "twists," at times seems a bit forced (they thought it was funny/clever and continued to go with it, instead of looking at how it could be better or tweaking different moments). Although it was not as good as the first, it is still very good and fun and will satisfy those who have been anticipating this sequel.

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The big complaint I have with the movie is that there is no real development of any of the side characters or build up of their motivation.  Cable's motivation is told to us as the audience but there isn't a chance to feel or connect to it.  They use Colossus and Negasonic but these two seem more just there to be there and to go "hey, I remember them from the first movie."  I didn't really care for this rendition of Colossus in either Deadpool movie and Negasonic was overshadowed by Yukio, played by Shiolo Kusuna. Domino was brought in and she was fantastic, I really liked this character and thought she was fantastically cast.  I just wanted more of her.  Basically the supporting cast could have been used much better. I do not know anything from the comics or background of these characters so cannot already bring in knowledge or connection about these characters. They are a clean slate for me and I only know what the movie shows me.

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Although some of the characters are more flat than I liked. They all were well casts and overall played well together and off of each other. The few things I didn't like were script/ direction/ production choices and in no way stop me from wanting to see more of all of them playing off each other. I saw all the potential and the little glimmers and wanted more.

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The plot of the movie is enough to keep the story going but there were some issues with putting things in that were thought of as being needed for one reason or another but just gummed up the works or were very predictable. There was only one thing that I didn't see coming but it was one of those unnecessarily added items. Unfortunately for the flow of this movie, I liked the middle part the best. The beginning was a bit much for me with trying to force its meta angle and being a bit feeling like the production thought they were being clever with what they were doing but that smugness came across in the movie. This is excluding the opening credit sequences as this was done really well.  And the ending was just predictable and seemed a bit like a cop out. When the middle of the movie outshines the beginning and end it ruins the flow.  Also I would have liked more jumping around with the order of events like in the first Deadpool.

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I knew going into Deadpool 2 that there was going to be the gross and rated R type juvenile-adult humor, but I could have done without the butt stuff. It was too much for me and seemed more lazy than anything else. It could have still had the gross out and "really, they did that" feel without it being that.  This of course is my personal opinion and is how I tend to feel about any type of joke like this in any movie (see any of my reviews about modern OTT gag comedies).

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While watching Deadpool 2 I could see that the they were having fun with it and that the production team, and actors, specifically Ryan Reynolds were continuing to have fun with these character and glad to be making a second film.  There was high production value and I could see the care and effort that was put into everything in the movie.  At times this resulted in the unnaturalness/forcedness of some moments but overall resulted in a well make and put together movie.

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I will continue to complain about up close and too tight in action sequences and this movie upped the anti with just regular closed up shots as well.  This movie didn't need it and could have used with wider shots and seeing more of what was occurring then just the focused focus. The CGI was alright but still obviously CGI.  I don't like fully CGI characters and this along with thinking it unnecessary added to the noticeable CGI at the end oft he movie.

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I would really like to see where Deadpool fit in with Marvel overall but as it is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I don't see this happening. After the movie I realized that something about all the other Marvel movies was missing (comment below what you think that is)

Overall, I enjoyed this movie and will most likely see it again but it is not the gem which the original was, but I would definitely recommend this to anyone who liked or even just enjoyed the first movie. Don't expect it to be what the first one was, as emotionally we cannot experience without comparing it to the original. 

My Rating = 3

P.S. There are extra scenes so make sure to watch these. I don't really like them but can anything compare to the extra scene from Deadpool (2016)?

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Ready Player One (2018): Review **Spoiler Free**

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I have been very excited to see Ready Player One and it has been difficult for me to keep my excitement in check because I am a big fan of the book.  I discovered the book, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline earlier last year when it was recommended to me by a librarian when I was looking for something new to read. I feel in like with it immediately and read through it in one day. It had been a while since I found a book that I immediately loved so much and I have read it several times in the last year.  Because I am a big fan of the book, I tried to not expect too much because movie adaptations of books tend to change a lot and this can be really frustrating.  Overall Ready Player One was a great movie, visually stunning, with a good pace, and amazing production value.  The majority of my critiques about it are the changes and deviations it made from the book. I will go into this in more detail in a later review that I will link here once completed (this will include spoilers).  Anyone who hasn't read the book will probably really enjoy this movie and I think that those who really like the book or are fanboy/girls of it, will get frustrated with the changes.

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Ready Player One is based on the 2011 book by Ernest Cline, it is set in a future would where basically everyone in the world spends the majority of their time in a computer game called the Oasis.  This is a simulated multiplayer world that has become the escape for people and most lives are centered around their time in the Oasis.  It was created by James Halliday, played by Mark Rylance, who upon realizing that he is dying and doesn't have any heirs, creates a quest within the Oasis which is hunt to find a hidden "Easter Egg" where the person who first finds it will become the owner of the Oasis and inherit all of Halliday's money.  Wade Watts/ Parzival, played by Tye Sheridan is one of the "gunters" or egg hunters who have dedicated their lives to understanding Halliday, all of his interests (which is basically anything 80's), and finding the egg. Parzival must work out Halliday's puzzles, find the three hidden keys and open the three secret gates.  Also hunting for the easter eggs are fellow gunter's Ache, played by Lena Waithe, who is Parzival's best friend; Art3mis, played by Olivia Cooke; Sho, played by Phillip Zhoa; and Daito, played by Win Morisaki. The stakes for finding the egg are high because IOI a corporation run by Nolan Sorrento, played by Ben Mendelsohn, has created a division of the company where all the "Sixers" are working together and will do anything to win the hunt to take over the Oasis. Also starting Simon Pegg as Og, Halliday;s old partner; and T.J. Miller as I-R0k another gunter who is helping Sorrento.

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This movie starts with quite a lot of explanation and exposition, but this is required to understand the world of the movie and set up what is going on.  I think it would be very confusion to understand what was going on or how the bits fit together. if this time wasn't spent on set up.  Although the movie makes lots of changes with some of the components of the movie the basic structure of the plot carries on over into the movie and because of this the movie makes sense and moves from one thing to another in a streamlined way.  The first key must be found before the second, and that one before the third.  What is happening makes sense and there isn't a whole lot of other things focused on.  There is a bit more added, as the book follows the point of view of Wade so anything not with him in it is added to drive the movie forward.  The movie didn't follow a Wade point of view so it makes sense that some of the things he has to deal with are shown from the other side, as well as needing to bring into the story items/ plot points that are needed later on. It seems like enough information is given that even if you don't know anything about the book or the basis of what is going on beforehand you will be able to follow and understand the movie.

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I am finding it very hard to separate my complaints about the changes to the book (which I think many were pointless: come on why change the name Shoto to Sho) but from my sister and friends who attending the movie with me, none of whom have read the book, all of them said they really liked the movie and therefore it is my conclusion that the frustrations are just it being different from the book.  Trying to take away this frustrations, I liked what they did and enjoyed the movie.  It was good and fun, and the spectacle was great to watch.

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There were moments that I felt like they kept small details the same but changes big details, and there where moments where they kept bigger things and changes pointless little things.  I know I said I would keep the ranting to a minimum, but I would settle in for a few minuets where the movie was doing good with the changes and them "wham" change.  Oaky I think I'm done now.

The CGI was amazing in this movie, if you have read any of my other reviews, you will know that I am very critical and quick to judge CGI.  It was done and used fantastically in this movie. I went and saw it in 3D and I thought it added to the movie going experience.  This is definitely a movie worth watching on the big screen and I believe one of just a few I would recommend to see in 3D.  Although the CGI when it is one is mainly CGI on CGI and it is obviously CGI, this works well with this movie because everything is happening in the Oasis, which is a computer game.  Everything came together and I really, really liked the shot where Wade first logs into the Oasis and you go through the tunnel. I was thinking, YES they are going to do this right, and I continued to think that through the entire movie.  It was easy to enjoy those moments that looked fake because I knew they were suppose to look fake.  The only thing that I found a bit distracting with the CGI were the drones in the "real world" of the movie, and this could have been made better with changing the color of their lights.

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There wasn't much character development in this movie or growth, and the connection between Parzival and Art3mis felt rushes as the time frame of the movie happens over what feels like just a few days.  With trying to put so much into the story and spending time on each individual action sequence this went out the way.  There were some nice points thought-out the movie, I especially enjoyed Aech and Sho.  Except for at the very end I liked Sorrento and how he was used in the movie. I liked the casting of the movie although some of the people where not how I would picture them.  Wade could have been a bit less dopey feeling but I liked him when he was Parzival.

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Overall this was a pretty good big budget, family friendly, big budget movie and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys these types of movies. If you are a fan of the book and will be disappointed about significant changes (that feel pointless as the original world have worked) you are warned to check this at the door as there are changes to almost every single location and task.

My Rating = 2+

My Production Rating = 3

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Black Panther (2018): Review

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I am super excited to say that I really enjoyed the most recent Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Black Panther.  I have been looking forward to seeing this movie and was intrigued to see what they would do with this character Black Panther after introducing him in Captain America: Civil War (2016). Although the MCU character Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, was introduced previously I do not believe that it is necessary to have watched Civil War prior to seeing Black Panther. For the most part it stands on its own within the MCU. It was very good and besides a few things I really liked it and thought it was worth the hype.  At times, it became a bit preachy with its message, which isn't what I am seeing a big budget action/ superhero movie for, but it wasn't too much to take away from my enjoyment of the movie.

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Black Panther follow the newly crowned King T'Challa of Wakanda, as he takes the thrown following his father King T'Chaka's, played by John Kani, death.  The movie explores that background of the Wakanda and how it has developed it technology and secrecy from being over a mine of Vibranium.  After becoming King, T'Challa works to keep the secrets of his county while seeking down a man who previously store some Vibranium during the reign of his father. Secrets come out and the future direction of Wakanda is uncertain. Also staring; Letita Wright as T'Challa's sister Shuri; Danai Gurira as General Okeye, the head of Wakanda warrior women; Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia; Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger; Andy Serkis as Klaue; and Martin Freeman as Agent Everett K. Ross.

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Black Panther has an amazing overall cast and I love the interplay and chemistry between the different actors and characters. There was the right amount of serious characters and those who made jokes. Those who added comedy or drama were consistent with their characterizations and all their actions felt natural  and made sense for who they were.  There was some development for the main characters and the motivation of the supporting characters was there enough to drive forward what was happening. There were a few missteps but they were minor like with W'Kabi played by Daniel Kaluuya.  I didn't liked Zuri, played by Forrest Whitaker but this probably has more to do with my not particularly caring for Forrest Whitaker as an actor and that he always seems to be these weird characters that take me out of the movie and story as it has been set up with tone and feel.  Angela Bassett as T'Challa's mother Ramonda was fine, but I don't really see what she added to the movie and nothing would have changed with her being completely removed.  The one thing that she actually does could have easily been done by someone else more integral to what was happening. 

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I really liked that there were kick ass women in this movie, that the little sister was the tech person, and that T'Challa aka Black Panther was supported by two amazing strong women; one who was basically a spy and the other the head of his secret service and band of Amazonian-esk warriors. It is always nice to see well develop, strong, stand on their own women.

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Usually with the MCU movies I complain about the opening action sequence and think it is too much, too hard, too fast, but I liked how it was done with Black Panther. There is a bit of backstory and set up so it takes a few minuets to get into the action sequences and it is on a smaller scale, with a single purpose so it doesn't become too more or feel like I want to know why this huge action sequence is happening and why cant I see that.  I actually liked all of the sequences and even later on in the movie when there are jumps between different locations within the climax it works with how it is weaved together.  I will complain that I didn't not like the close up, quick jumping editing during most of the fighting sequences. I feel like I have complained about this type of editing and filming of fight sequences and I will continue to complain about them because I  think they are distracting and lazy.  Show me the sequences and the cool choreography. The tech during the sequences was really cool and I enjoyed how technology was incorporated and not really addressed, just treated as normal and a tool.  

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The main thing that I was not impressed with in Black Panther was the CGI.  I expect more from a Marvel movie and this CGI was not up to par. It was obvious and at times distracting. CGI is suppose to make the shot better not distract me because it jumps out as computer generated.  There were quite a few CGI on CGI which to me makes it look more fake and distracting. This is where the things in the foreground and background are both CGI, it works better when it is one or the other. Also the people on the terraced cliff looked crap.  Although a lot of the CGI was obvious there was a lot a scenes and shots that were beautifully done and gorgeous, especially when it was background sky/landscape. Overall I liked the cinematography and when the focus was on drama and enhancing what was going on it was done really well. Just stop with the everything on screen is CGI, movies are not video games.

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I liked the music and how the movie used both more modern and more traditionally themes.  It added to what was happening on screen and helped me to be drawn into the story.  The story made sense and was pretty straight forward. There was nothing shocking about what was happening but there was a plot that kept a forward momentum.  I really appreciate this. There are lots of action/ superhero/ big budget movies that try to do too much and go off in too many directions that it doesn't make sense or feel like one cohesive story. Even thought the movie stands on its own it had a nice transition to how it will be incorporated into the MCU.  I also really liked that it makes sense why other superhero's or the Avengers were involved in what was occurring in this movie. 

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Overall, I really enjoyed this movie and am looking forward to seeing it again. I was focused on what was going on and didn't notice the time slipping by. This is a must see for fans of the MCU, action/ super hero movies. This is a good MCU movie to watch even if you have not been keeping up with the complicated multiple movie/different character storylines. 

My Rating: 3+

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P.S.  I liked the Stan Lee cameo and how it was worked in.

P.P.S. This is a Marvel movie so make sure to stay to the end as there are two extra scenes. One midway through the credits and the other at the very end.

What do you think?  Did you like this movie as much as I did or is it one that will fade into the middle for you? 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Fifty Shades Freed (2018): Review

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*** Contains some spoilers***

This weekend the last installment of the Fifty Shades movie trilogy came out and it was basically exactly how I expected it to be. High production value, poor chemistry between the leads, bad dialogue, and cringe worthy sex scenes. If you don't know anything about the story or haven't seen the previous movies, I would recommend seeing the other two movies first as it expects you to know and remember what has already happened, who all the characters are, and it moves quickly through the story which doesn't give time to figure out the holes.  It really seems like these movies in general and this installment in specific is really made for someone who has read the books and know basically what is going on.  There is no suspense to what is happening and even myself, who has read the books and is familiar with the story, had difficulty following the jumps and no build up pace of this movie.

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Fifty Shades Freed continues where Fifty Shades Darker (2017) leaves off and begins with the wedding of Anastasia Steel, played by Dakota Johnson, and Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan. It follows them on their honeymoon and then back into their lives as they adjust to being a married couple and Christians want to control Ana, and Ana wanting to be independent and live her life. While they are working on this the situation with Jack Hyde, played by Eric Johnson, comes in as he is mad at Ana for getting him fired in the previous movie. 

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This movie in no way will stand on its own and it is truly necessary to know what has happened in the previous movies and remember the other characters to know who is who and what their relationship is to either Ana or Christian.  These characters are there but there is no real development or anything that doesn't really matter. The only one with real lines or involvement are Kate, played by Eloise Mumford; Elliott, Mia, played by Rita Ora; and Elliott, played by Luke Grimes;.  They are needed for some of the plot or they would probably been treated like Grace, played by Marcia Gay Harden; and Jose, played by Victor Rasuk.  If you don't remember who these characters are or what they have done, I recommend watching Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) [read my review here http://myreviewsbyjane.blogspot.com/2015/02/fifty-shades-of-grey-2015-review.html ] and Fifty Shades Darker (2017) [read my review here http://myreviewsbyjane.blogspot.com/2017/02/fifty-shades-darker-2017-review.html ] before going to this one.

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Fifty Shades Freed is on par with the previous two movies so if you liked/ enjoyed them you will like this one. I do need to continue to criticism and state how there is NO chemistry between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan and it felt like it was worse than in the previous two movies but I will. I remember thinking that the two of them didn't play well off each other but were at least okay when they weren't together in the first movie and the second one was a bit better as an overall movie, but in this one there just isn't anything.  Dakota Johnson continues to be alright as Ana and you can see her trying to make it bearable but Jamie Dornan was just horrible. I couldn't find anything appealing or likable about him as Christian and this is the movie where he is suppose to finish his transformation/ rowth and became "freed" from his background and issues. I was part of the #NotMyChristian group but I at least wanted him to do well in the role as I want all movies to be good.  You know that it is  really bad when there is more chemistry between Ana's bodyguard Sawyer, played by Brant Daugherty, and her assistant Hanna, played by Ashleigh LaThrop who were only on screen together for the most a few minuets.  Their chemistry was instantaneous and showed through immediately, I wanted more of them.

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One of the things I didn't understand in the book and it also appears in this movie, is that is has less sex scenes then the previous two.  Fifty Shades Freed gets to one faster but then doesn't show the whole thing.  It is just a total let down for me in this department.  I did think the movies had gusto for some of the shots there took it really close to actual pornography to the point where it was like really they are going to allow that in a Rated R movie. I will admit that I am more aware of this type of thing ever since I started reviewing movies and am more familiar with what determines each category of movie ratings. If you liked the sex scenes in the previous two movies you will probably like the ones in here, but again if you don't know the story and don't understand what is going on with the dynamic of the characters at the points in the story of each scene you may not understand what they are doing. The movie as a whole felt rushed, this includes the sex sequences (except maybe the ice cream one).

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The production value of this movie is great and it was beautiful to watch. I an tell that a lot of time, effort, and money went into the filming the movie and its locations. During the honeymooning there is a lot of nice locations and it shows how great it would be to travel with money and be swept away by a rich, handsome millionaire to travel the world in style.  I also liked how music was used in this movie and it added to the atmosphere of what is going on on screen and how you should be feeling as the story goes on.  This is consistent with the previous two movies.

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There is little growth for the main characters and as it is suppose to be how Christian is able to leave his past issues behind and find comfort with Ana as his motivation to better himself, it doesn't show this.  He continues to be as he is and then Ana makes weird choices.  Something that really doesn't matter but I noticed was that Ana wears power suits/ clothes in this movie.  This is against what she does in the books because she mentions needing to get some flowery skirts to better fit in with her work environment and that this is the feel of the office that drew her to SIP. I also liked how the female bodyguard Prescott, played by Kristin Alter, got to be the one who kicked some ass.

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Overall this movie is exactly as I expected it to be.  If you liked the previous movies you will enjoy this one.  It continues with the story but expects you to know what is going on.  To anyone already planning or excited to see Fifty Shades Freed, you will like it. If you didn't like the previous ones you wont like this one, and if you haven't seen either of the previous two movies I highly recommend seeing them first.

My Rating = 2-

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

I, Tonya (2017): Review

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***Some spoilers for the story, but it is based on real life so you probably already know them***

Of all the movies that have been hyped up a lot recently, I am glad to say that I, Tonya absolutely stands up to that hype and deserves all the positive things being said about it.  This movie was fantastic; from the casting, to the acting, to the pace, to the production value, to the editing; almost everything in this movie was fantastic done and put together.  It is not a perfect movie but overall it was stellar and I not just enjoyed it but think it was really good.

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I, Tonya is the telling on the Tonya Harding story. How she came up in the world of ice skating, her relationships with her mother and husband, how she became an Olympic athlete and was the first to land a triple axel in competition, and the "incident" where Nancy Kerrigan get attacked during the lead up to the 1994 Olympics. Starring: Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding; Allison Janney as LaVona Golden; Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly; Julianne Nicholson as Diana Rawlinson; Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn; and Bobby Cannavale as Martin Maddox. The movie starts with the characters talking to the camera interview style, in the present, and telling the story. As they are talking about the events the movie goes back to Tonya starting out in ice skating and following her story up to the point of the interviews. The movie jumps between these re-tellings of the story and the chronological story following Tonya.  I liked how there were comments about what was being told in the main Tonya storyline, and how the different characters pointing out what they say did or didn't really happen.

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One of the things that I think works well in the movie is that is a true life story so it makes sense and is logical.  The downfall of some based on real events movies is that the pacing and story arc can not be correct for the movie going experience, but with I, Tonya's story leading up to the "incident" it has the right feel of set up, build up, climax, and ending that works very well  in a movie. The direction and production choose a great way to tell this story, with giving enough information about different moments in Tonya's life and all the things she was going thought. I really liked the pacing and was waiting for what I knew was coming and surprised at the little things that I didn't really know about the whole story. The whole journey of the story felt interesting and although I was anticipating the part that everyone was waiting for, I still engaged with what was happening at the moment.

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The casting of the movie was fantastic,  all of the actors were perfect in their roles and I really believed how they were and how they interacted with each other. They embodied the motivations of the characters with enough development to be pulled in but not too much to muddle up what was going on.  I think that Margot Robbie and Allison Janney deserve all the praise they are received for their roles but I also think Sebastian Stan deserves to get more love about him as Tonya's boyfriend/husband, he was brilliant. Each character that was focused on drew me in, I understood what they were doing and their viewpoint. Their interplay and interactions felt real and believable.

I could tell that a lot of effort was put into the details of the time that the movie was set in and it felt like the 80s/ early 90s.  I appreciated how the sets were staged and the look of some of the shots felt like they were older and fitting in with the time it was set it. It felt like it was actually that time and place not a stylized version that some movies do.  It helps that it was not my era so I cannot be super judgy of the details just that it felt right to me.  The music enhanced the experience as I noticed the songs in the background but they didn't become everything and take over what was happening between the characters.

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The only real criticism I have for I, Tonya is the actual ice skating sequences.  As Margot Robbie is not an Olympic level ice skater and whoever did the difficult ice skating sequences didn't look like Margot, the sequences felt produced and put together. It looked like it was produced and not preformed.  If you have every spent any time actually watching ice skating it is noticeable that she didn't really preform it well and even the dancing parts looked forced.  The cuts between her top half, her feet, and some of the full body shots just didn't look right and I could tell that they didn't really fit.  It also didn't help that they showed some real footage of Tonya Harding ice skating at the end which just emphasized the fakeness of the sequences during the movie. It also didn't help that the routines felt like they were shown in real time, adding to the produced not performed feel. I did really like getting to see the ice skating sequence at the end and also the snippets of interview with the real people.

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Overall this movie was fantastic and deserves all of the hype that it has.  It is not perfect but pretty close. It felt like a lot of effort was put into the movie and the casting was perfect, but it didn't feel like the movie was too stuck on itself. It was telling a good story (the movie, not the actual plot), that drew you in and was paying attention to details, but not that it expected you to know that it knows that it is trying to be fantastic.

There is a lot of swearing and abuse in the movie so it may not be suitable for younger children but I think it was fantastic and recommend seeing it to anyone with the slightest interest.

My Rating: 4-

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