Sunday, July 31, 2016

Comic Book Review: Jupiter's Legacy 2 #1 - Image Comics - (2016)

Written by Mark Millar
Art by Frank Quitely
Colors by Sunny Gho

Jupiter's Legacy 2 continues to tell the tale that started in Jupiter's Legacy.  I really enjoyed the beginning of the original Jupiter's Legacy but, due to untimely releases, I ended up not continuing to read the series.  There are enough comic book series that come out monthly(or at least when the company says it's coming out).  I received this book in My Geek Box and you can read my reviews for their subscription service at HelloSubscription.com

Mark Millar is a fantastic writer.  Many of his comic books get turned into movies(Wanted, Kick-Ass, Kingsman), even though they are much different than the books.  I could see Jupiter's Legacy as a comic book that would translate well to the big screen or, an even better place, on the small screen via Netflix, HBO or some other service that would allow the amount of adult language, violence and blood.

I was glad that the inside cover of Jupiter's Legacy 2 came with a synopsis giving the reader a glimpse into what happened previously.  This is an excellent story filled with corruption and people wanting power that they feel they deserve.  It also includes heroes that would challenge this new authority and the people they reach out to for assistance surprises everyone.

Frank Quitely is a wonderful artist.  He is amazing with peoples' faces and projecting the emotion incredibly well.  Sunny Gho's colors work remarkably well and add the right amount of depth panel after panel.  Jupiter's Legacy 2 had multiple variant covers.  I received the cover by Rob Liefeld.

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Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth #1

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth #1 was such a quick and fun read. I liked that it's a new story line with enough flashbacks to get me to a clear understanding of what is happening now. Another high point for me was I've heard about the three main characters prior to picking this book up. Don't get me wrong I only know two of them from the wonderful CW version of the DC Universe but I have some knowledge of all three.

This book starts off with Batgirl kicking some butt until she reveals that the bad guys are working on intel from Oracle. Who is the new Oracle, that's the big question because previously Barbara Gordon (AKA Batgirl) was working as Oracle. She suffered an injury at the hands of the Joker and was put in a wheelchair but was able with to walk again with the help of experimental surgery. Anyway, with a new Oracle selling information to the mob she can't sit still but seeks out a trustworthy partner who can pack a punch, Black Canary. The two set out to find Oracle by roughing up a few thugs but are interrupted by the Huntress. The Huntress is armed with the true identities of Batgirl and Black Canary and with that element of surprise the bad guys get away. It's revealed that the Oracle is watching the fight go down and is the only one who knows what is coming next.

With all the mystery and unanswered questions I cannot wait for the next book to come out. This was more like reading a mystery than a comic book. Sure the pictures were great but the writing was fantastic.



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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Act 168: The #SDCC Trailer Park

Masked Blogster, Mandy, Handsome J, Gloryhoundd, KFend, Sam and Kevin talk about the glut of trailers that came from San Diego Comicon including everything from Marvel and DC, Blair Witch, King Arthur and Kong. They also find a disturbing bit of Pokemon porn.

To listen, click here. To download, right click and "Save As..."

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Binge Watcher Review: Stranger Things Season 1 ***Spoiler Free***

Binge Watcher Review: Stranger Things Season 1 ***Spoiler Free***

Creators: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer

Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Matalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Matthew Modine

Anyone with any type of nostalgia for anything 80’s has got to check this show out! Stranger Things takes you back to the 80’s in a small town where Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) goes missing one night on his way home from a friend’s house. Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), Will’s best friends, set out to find him along with a girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) who shows up around the same time that Will goes missing. The adventures and problems these kids face may have you remembering a few films like The Goonies or E.T.



It slowly becomes apparent to the boys that Eleven isn’t a normal girl though. Aside from not talking much and having a shaved head, Eleven also has the ability to move things with her mind and make find people through two way radio’s. As the story progresses we can see how she developed her abilities and how they grow over time.  Eleven joins the hunt for Will with Mike, Dustin and Lucas as they sneak behind their parent’s backs, all while trying to hide Eleven from the Feds who are doing what ever they can to find her. Thanks to Eleven’s special abilities though, they are able to avoid being captured by the Feds. Her abilities prove to be very useful throughout even though they weaken her afterwords. I would not want to make her mad, that is for sure.


Will’s friends are not the only one’s looking for him though, his mother Joyce Byers (Wynona Ryder) and brother Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) both search for him along with Jim Hopper (David Harbour) the local sheriff. At first it appears to everyone else that Joyce is going crazy as she tries to communicate with Will with Christmas lights. Jim though is on the hunt and soon finds himself working with Jim to find Will in a mysterious world while Jonathan and Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), Mike’s sister, try to kill the monster that kidnapped Will.



Over all the show is just fun to watch. It is very easy to see the influences for this show, it flows with a very Stephen King/Steven Spielberg type vibe that makes the show both thrilling and delightful.  A big part of that is because of how amazing the young actors in this show are. The chemistry between the whole cast made up for what little we actually see of the monster in the series. While I did like all of the boys, Dustin was probably my favorite and definitely the funniest. I was most impressed with Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, with very little dialog, she was able to convey so much emotion in her performance. Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer created a fantastic show that was captivating and over all just a lot of fun to watch. Honestly with the shows that Netflix has been putting out, there should really be no doubt that it is worth watching.

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Book Review: "The Essential Guide To The Creator of Watchmen, From Hell and V for Vendetta. Alan Moore"

Being the movie enthusiast that I am my first introduction to Alan Moore was through three films adapted from his writing. Two of those films I knew he was responsible for writing but as I later discovered, "From Hell" starring Johnny Depp was also his creation. I must admit that like many of you, I'm sure, we are introduced to artists and writers one piece at a time and it is through those works that might inspire us to enjoy more of their creations. "V for Vendetta" and "Watchmen" were my introduction to Moores work. From there, Masked Blogster recommended I also check out Alan's run on "Swamp Thing" and that sealed the deal. I was all in for Alan Moore. Shortly after I discovered this biography and that catches you up. So let's dive in and take a look at my thoughts on this biography of Alan Moore as written by Lance Parkin. 


The book is a look more at the works of the man than the man himself. Within these pages we are treated to some behind the scenes occurrences with his publishers, artists he worked with and some personal stories. As I read page after page I grew increasingly curious about Alan as a person but by the end I realized that more of Moore would be the opposite of this writer who seem to enjoy a certain air of mystery. He kept a distance, it felt, as I read but one could speculate that distance helped him observe the world as only he has been able to. 

As the book progresses we discover there has not been a shortage of works by Alan. For decades this man has written stories that range from the supernatural to the probable future to dystopian societies all filled with rich characters, developed plots and memorable storylines. I'm happy to say that my personal collection of his work is steadily growing and I feel enriched because of it. While this book may not give you the same effect reading Moores actual work may, it certainly will help you appreciate the intelligent writer that he has been for so long. 

There's a bibliography towards the end which feels a bit redundant in that the book itself is practically that, a bibliography of his works with some professional stories peppered about. However, it was nice to have a condensed recap of his works with a slightly adjusted story to tell on each of his creations. The book is not many pages. The language is simple and direct. If you are an avid reader you might start and finish this book within the day if not before lunch (depending on your reading level). It's a fun read about a writer who has inspired so many other writers & artists. If you enjoy his works or have a curiousity to learn more about Alan, I'd recommend this book. 


 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Act 167: Masked Blogster Likes Creepy Women

Masked Blogster is joined by Mrs. Blogster, Handsome J, Gloryhoundd, Mandy, Kevin Moyers, Jeff Dolniak and Heather jump on to talk about serial killers, comedians they love, Criminal Minds and other procedurals and Mandy and Gloryhoundd get deep into some board games.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Podshort! - DC Rebirth

Masked Blogster, Handsome J and Gloryhoundd get into detail on the new DC Rebirth titles.

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Comic Book Review: X-Men #138 - Marvel Comics (1980)

"Elegy"

Written by Chris Claremont
Pencils by John Byrne
Inks by Terry Austin
Colors by Glynis Wein

Cyclops mourns the loss of Jean Grey as he looks back at the life of the X-Men.

I went back in time with this comic book review.  I had picked up my X-Men: Days of Future Past graphic novel that I received from Comic Bento(review of the entire subscription box can be viewed here).  The book collects Uncanny X-Men  #138-143 and X-Men Annual #4.  I was so pleased with the first book in the series I had to do this blog for it.

It's a sad time for the X-Men as they have lost Jean Grey and we start at her funeral.  Like most funerals, a person tends to think back to the past.  We journey into the mind of Cyclops as we get a look into the early days of the X-Men.  This is what I found incredibly interesting as I thought there was going to be some mild explanation of Cyclops' power and then move forward with an X-Men tale.  What actually happens, is Cyclops goes back to the events that happened in X-Men #1 and then moves forward.  This comic book chronicles the major events of Marvel's mutant heroes from their inception all the way through what was the present day(1980) and the introduction of the newest student of Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters; Kitty Pryde.  Reading this book, a person could see why I make the argument that the X-Men have some of the most brilliant stories in all of comics.  It would be great if more comic books could give a rundown of their history like this, especially if the companies want to restart at #1 but then don't really start over.

Another awesome part of this book: John Byrne.  Byrne's art is beyond incredible in the world of comics and having him draw the scenes that were so iconic through the history of the X-Men was a visual treat.

There's something else that was different about this comic book.  There are so many words to it.  I feel this is really lacking in comic books today.  Each panel has extraordinary artwork and brilliant writing.  While, yes, sometimes I like a quick read, I also truly enjoy getting lost in the wonderment of excellent writing and really feeling what has been written.  Perhaps those books are still being written; I just don't know where they are.

What are your thoughts on X-Men?  Do you enjoy the more wordy and sometimes philosophical comic books?  What are some of your favorite books that you like to go back and read.  Please comment below or find us on social media.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Infiltrator - Box Office Review


Drugs, sex, violence and beaches are all pretty common key words when you're discussing the cocaine fueled era of Florida in the 1980's. The volume of cocaine being shipped into America during this decade was unprecedented and it started an entire "war on drugs" led by our (at the time) president Ronald Reagan. So, were Bryan Cranston and John Leguizamo able to make us believe their U.S. custom's agency status? Let's dive in and take a look at "The Infiltrator" in this box office review...


Considering this film was based on real events I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw on screen. It's more procedural than action packed but that's not to suggest this film lacks action scenes. The entire movie is one man's journey to stop a drug kingpin from continuing to build his empire on the Florida coast and in America. That one man is Bryan Cranston. Most people are familiar with his role as a drug king pin in the tv show "Breaking Bad" so to see him on the other side of the coin wasn't much of a stretch. He's a talented actor and that talent is present on screen. He brings a wide range of emotions to this film and it's his performance that rises above the fray. 


The remaining cast was adequate with their performances. It felt like most of them were doing their best to portray terrible people or US Customs agents pretending to be terrible. Leguizamo had one really good scene where he's confronted with a man being shot in the head at point blank range. His face gave me all the believable emotion I could want in that scene.  Also, it's unfortunate Olympia Dukakis didn't have more screen time because her character was enjoyable. She plays Cranston's aunt and her very brief screen time was fantastic. She's an incredible talent though so it wasn't a surprise. Also, who is Benjamin Bratt's agent that he keeps getting cast as a drug dealer or a character within that world? It's almost like studios discover they need a drug lord and call Bratt's agent. He played the same role in "Ride Along 2" which also came out this year! 


Overall, the story is pretty compelling despite how weird the film ends. One could almost believe that Hollywood chose the ending to be dramatic but it was more confusing. I have a difficult time believing people would react in that way to that situation considering how they reacted to previous, and similar, situations. It was an odd choice but if it is revealed that in reality that is what took place I will be just as ok with the film. 


"The Infiltrator" is theaters now! If you enjoy movies based on real events this is a good film to see on the big screen. If true life crime stories aren't your preferred films, you can catch this on Redbox of VOD. It's definitely worth watching but it doesn't necessarily have to be in the theater. There's one weird voodoo scene that didn't make much sense but other than that it's entertaining and it keeps your attention. 


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Secret Life of Pets - Box Office Review

This film had so much positive press and word of mouth before it even released in theaters. I heard children, teens and adults sharing their enthusiasm for this film and it felt like this film was going to perform well in theaters. The voice casting for this film is remarkable and that can only help raise the bar of excitement. So let's dive in and take a look at my thoughts on "Secret Life of Pets" in this box office review...


If I could summarize this film with two words they would be, adorable & humorous. About twenty minutes into this animated movie and I was disappointed that I couldn't be watching this with my dog, Austin the Dog. It's the first time ever I have felt compelled to watch a movie with my dog. I'm fairly certain that means the writers and creative team behind this movie did their job well to make me think about my dog while watching their depictions of animals on screen. The captured essence of the animals was fabulous. When you see this film you'll notice how each animal (dog, cat, bird, snake, gerbil, etc.) all have specific mannerisms particular to their animal. It was fun watching how the smaller animals maneuvered versus the larger ones. How the snake and birds moved around the downtown versus the dogs and cats. 


The cast in this film seem to have a background in comedy. Since there are so many talented actors lending their voices for this film I'll recommend you follow the hyperlink to the IMDB page and see there. If they aren't stand up comedians, they're television actors who were part of successful sitcoms or comedy movie actors, primarily. It's a great cast that all know how to work their voices to create feelings of excitement, curiosity, anger, fear, adoration and more. I find myself laughing along with everyone else in the theater so often. It was such a great moment to share with so many strangers who all just wanted a fun movie to laugh along too.


The story is layered pretty well, considering it's a film about animals. The driving motivations behind each character is unique to that pet and while the movie has several it never felt crowded. Each one stands on their own and adds something fresh to the story and actually feels appropriate and not forced. Wether it's a squirrel who exists simply to torment a dog or a hawk who is trying to befriend smaller pets instead of eating them, it all works.



"Secret Life of Pets" is in theaters now. If you have kids or not, this is a fun film to see in theaters. There's a magic that occurs when you sit in a room with people and share laughter. You'll feel that magic while watching this movie. If you love your pets, you'll also appreciate this film. I walked out of the theaters smiling and felt a warmth in my heart from how good I felt after seeing this film and laughing so much. It's definitely worth a big screen ticket price and could potentially be a fun date movie too if you both still maintain some level of child-like amusement towards the world at large. If not, just go find some kids and treat them to a movie. I'm kidding! Do not kidnap children to see a movie.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Our Kind of Traitor - Box Office Review


While looking for a morning film to see I noticed this one had high marks on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also one of the only films out I hadn't seen while at the movie theater. So I purchased my ticket and into the theater I went. I hadn't seen a trailer, didn't know anything the film except what I saw on the one sheet. So let's dive in and take a look at my thoughts on "Our Kind of Traitor" in this box office review...


The film stars Ewan Mcgregor, Stellan Skarsgard and the incredibly beautiful and talented  Naomie Harris. Stellan plays a defector from the Russian mob and he is leaning on the assistance of Ewan and Naomie to try and get his family out of town and safeguarded in England. The film takes the route of a spy thriller meets drama. I feel like there should be a level of surprise on how entertaining and engaging the story was. There wasn't any gratuitous sex, unnecessary foul language, over reaching violence and yet the entire time the movie is going I'm so hooked on the characters and what they're going through it didn't hit me until after the movie. This movie felt like a Bond film meets dramatic thriller and it was very enjoyable.


The entire movie is based on and revolves around the characters and the situations they're in and how the they solve the issues. There's some clever plotting that occurs once the British secret service are introduced as they are cleverly manipulating the situation to ensure that the intel promised to them is in fact of value. Every single actor in this film had me believing they knew their characters inside and out. Plus, it was nice seeing Mark Gatiss in something other than the BBC's "Sherlock". His delivery of lines is always timed just right and delivered with such a tone/attitude that I appreciate his talent. His role wasn't too different than on "Sherlock" but it was still nice to see him branching out into more film. 



"Our Kind of Traitor" is in theaters now! If you enjoy dramatic, spy thrillers that will keep you guessing on who is good, who is bad, who survives and who dies, this is your film. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and wasn't even sure what the movie would be about upon walking into the theater. It's definitely not as violent as "Eastern Promises" but it is just as intense but in a different way. This movie really gets you to invest in the characters, despite some of them being linked to people doing terrible things. I definitely recommend you see this film. If you decide to wait for VOD or Redbox, that's totally understandable. This movie doesn't really have a lot of special effects or vivid scenery. It's a character film which means the big screen might not be necessary. If you enjoy these types of films, however, I encourage you to see it while it's in theaters. It's definitely an engaging time at the movies. 

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ghostbusters - Box Office Review


The wonderful thing about reboots is that no matter what you think of the reboot you will always have the original. The 1966 Adam West Batman didn't disappear because Ben Affleck is now Batman. We live in a time that allows us to enjoy the past and present while still being excited about the future. So was the Paul Feig reimagining of the beloved franchise "Ghostbusters" enjoyable or will it haunt movie goers as another failed reboot? Let's dive in and take at a look at my thoughts in this box office review...


The cast of this film is fantastic. I'm not limiting "cast" to just the stars. I'm talking about the cast as a whole. The film starts with Zach Woods giving a tour of a haunted mansion in New York and only goes forward from there. If you aren't familiar with Zach go back and watch "The Office" for a look at his comedic timing early on. His delivery of lines is done so well that even simple reactions were funny. From there we get to meet all the ghostbusters, their receptionist and even the Chinese food delivery guy "Bennie" played by Karan Soni (who you might remember as the taxi driver in the Deadpool movie earlier this year). This cast is packed with comedy goodness and that only makes this film more enjoyable. 

The overall story was surprisingly more thought out than I was anticipating however I did feel like all of a sudden in the third act of the film everyone realized we need to up the risk factor. The movie is moving along at an even and delightful pace then suddenly, the world is in chaos. It felt a bit rushed towards the end but in all honesty that's really my only complaint. The characters were great and even "Slimer" was entertaining despite the fact he appeared to be a hillbilly. That was kinda odd but I didn't think too much on that during the movie and won't here in this review.


I am not familiar with Kate McKinnon or Leslie Jones at all. This film was my first introduction to them as actors and comedians. I was bothered by how Jones was portrayed in the trailers because she appeared to be a stereotypical hollywood movie black person which I'm not particularly a fan of because it feels a bit degrading as a main character to be so one dimensional. I am happy to report that her character is much more involved and developed in the film and the trailer does her an injustice. McKinnon had some of the best one liners in the film. One of my favorite comes towards the very end where she talks about who the new president is and how far into the future we are. Also, you can't have Melissa McCarthy without her enduring some physical struggle/slapstick humor. Thankfully that only lasts for one scene and then her character is actually something to enjoy on screen. 



"Ghostbusters" is in theaters now! Overall, I enjoyed this movie a lot. It was a fun time in the theater and it mixes action and comedy very well. After seeing this movie one has to wonder if Paul Feig makes intentionally bad trailers to lower people's expectations or if he just doesn't realize how poorly made the trailers are for his films until it's too late. Either way, go see this film on the big screen. The special effects are pretty solid and since I'm always honest in my reviews you might consider seeing it in 3D. I know that you're probably shocked by that statement if you follow my reviews. You already knew how much I can't stand 3D. However, I did see this in 3D and it was incredible. If you're wondering why I saw it in 3D it's because the only time I could get to the theater to see this film was for a 3D showing. I'm glad I went. It is remarkable in 3D and the movie itself is entertaining. It's nothing like the original and it doesn't have to be. It stands on its own and I'm looking forward to a sequel if one is made. Lastly, the cameo’s from the original cast was a fun time.


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Friday, July 15, 2016

Act 166: Put This in Your Mouth

Masked Blogster is joined by Mrs. Blogster, Handsome J, Gloryhoundd, Mandy, Kevin Moyers, Jeff Dolniak and Heather for a show about the new Ghostbusters, Pokemon Go, a possible Marvel phase four and things you can put in your mouth.

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Click here to listen or right click and choose "Save As..." to download.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Free State of Jones - Box Office Review


This film takes a surprising twist in story telling that isn’t shown once in the trailers leading up to its release. It’s a film that felt oddly placed in the season of summer blockbusters but did well to break up one major action or science fiction film after another. This movie challenges you to step outside your comfort zone and examine social issues relevant still today. So let’s jump in and take a look at my thoughts on “Free State of Jones” in this box office review…


The overall story felt similar to Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot” in that Matthew McConaughey doesn’t realize his purpose to fight the system until after his son is killed. This is not a spoiler either because it’s in the trailer. It’s also a period piece set in early America during the Civil War where we see the South fighting not only the Northerners but also their own people in the South as they tax and over tax to support the war effort. It’s one perspective the film gives that is certainly entertaining as we see the internal struggle McConaughey has knowing he must fight but isn’t a fighter, he’s actually a nurse. He’s also probably the most strategic nurse of all time and seemingly born with a fighters instinct as we see later on in the film. His role changes from that of abandoner to leader of a rebellion and a southern “Robin Hood” of sorts. 


The writing in this film really challenges the audience to take a look at racism as it existed and persisted even after the Civil War. Often times, we’ll read in history how the war ended and the slaves were freed and that’s it. However, the culture of slavery didn’t end with the conclusion of the war and this movie explores that side of southern living well, even decades after the war concludes. I was pleasantly surprised at how the time lines jump to tell the story and what could’ve been muddled and confusing wasn’t. This film deals with slavery and post slavery America so there’s some intense scenes and because of that I need you to be mentally prepared for some of the atrocities displayed in this film. This won’t be an easy film to watch but it’s worth the viewing at least once. 



Free State of Jones” is in theaters now! If you enjoy historical films and period pieces this is a film to consider seeing on the big screen. It’s good but not great which leads me to believe that its release during the summer season instead of Oscar season was well timed. Also, McConaughey gives an incredible performance as a man at war with himself as he struggles to identify what his role is with freeing slaves, fighting his countrymen, saving lives, being a family man and a leader. It’s complex and challenging but he’s talented enough to pull it off and really show us and help us feel the burden his character is working through. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets nominated for an Oscar even if the film doesn’t. I also won’t be surprised if he’s overlooked because there’s a lot of good movies out that you’ve been reading about here in these box office reviews.

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Movie Review: The Great Beauty (aka La Grande Bellezza) (2013)

The Great Beauty(La Grande Bellazza) is an Italian film centered around the character Jep Gambardella(Toni Servillo), a journalist who is among Rome's social elite class.  Jep has turned 65 years old and the movie shows his interactions and his view of life after his birthday.

Toni Servillo as Jep is brilliant in this film.  He needs to be as this is all about hi as Jep and the way he navigates his life in Rome.  The film starts at Jep's 65th birthday and it's quite the party.  The beautiful people of Rome's social elite are there and it's a wild time filled with music and dancing.  This is where we start to see Jep pondering life.  Jep is in the social elite, not because he is a journalist, but because of a novel he wrote.  As the movie progresses, we see Jep's character progress and his sharp wit is on display when he grows tired of the elitism displayed by some of his counterparts.  I also really enjoyed when Jep decided to bring an unlikely someone into his inner circle.  The choice had some ramifications on his own psyche.  Again, Toni Servillo is brilliant.

The Great Beauty is directed by Paolo Sorrentino and you can see this is his homage to Federico Fellini.  The way Sorrentino was able to navigate through all of these lives but keeping Jep the central focus was wonderful.  I took notice in the focus on faces.  There were scenes of people at parties and we were treated with the focus on their faces which visually told you what was going on.  The film takes place in Rome so the backdrop to every shot had exquisite beauty.  Thhe Great Beauty was truly a pleasure to view.

I received this film in the Boxwalla Movie Subscription Box.  You can read my box review at HelloSubscription.com.

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