Archive for the Drama Category

The Canyons

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , on January 4, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

While calculating young movie producer Christian makes films to keep his trust fund intact, his actress girlfriend, Tara, hides an affair. But a chance meeting thrusts them into a violent, sexually charged tour through the dark side of human nature.

What people are saying:

“Film noir, absolutely, although in mix of styles that mainly go back to the eighties Michael Mann movies. I don’t understand why anyone would be complaining about the acting, it’s minimal with a dash of natural. The awkward conversations could have done with a slower pace. S*x is the currency of power and trust is the currency of love of what people believe it is. That’s as far as this film goes thematically, it’s neither superficial nor deeply layered. The film starts and ends with shots of derelict abandoned places, like cinema theaters. The world as a rotten stage, and people playing sad parts. And still, this is a chill film, for when you don’t need to remember what you were watching the night before. ” 3 stars

“A tale of young, vapid, sexually insatiable Z-listers in Hollywood had the credentials to be deliciously awful fun but almost every time something tawdry (and potentially interesting) is about to happen, the film pulls its punches and leaves the action.” 3 stars

“This film was doomed from the start when they cast James Deen in the lead part as some kind of cool tough guy when he comes across as a wimp and a geek. He looks a lot like Anthony Weiner former politician from New York. Face the facts the only reason anyone rented this film is because they were told they would see Lohan nude. The most shocking thing about this film is that Paul Schrader directed it, why? This is really a story about nothing!” 1 star

“A perfect depiction of the underbelly of the entertainment industry & Hollywood. Actors doing anything for work, people saying they’ll do something when they never actually do…boring, sad, disturbing, and dull are the elements The Canyons combines perfectly into a raw and deeply meaningful film. Also, the best performance Lindsay Lohan has ever had. She’s better in this than in The Parent Trap, I’m not kidding.” 5 stars

“This fecal lump came & went out of circulation quickly and quietly, like a phart in an elevator. “James Deen” is cast strictly for “let’s get an Adult-film dude to give us some street cred” and he does the same eyebrow-lift & smirk schtick that got him a following among emotionally stunted hairy-palm dudes, which he learned at the Sasha Grey Academy of Fake Cool, and Lohan looks one OD away from the pearly gates. And that’s the good news. The script and acting are stillborn on the operating table. Schraeder’s got a track record that can afford him some mistakes, but this one will forever loom the largest and fetid on his resume’.” 1 star

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Logan

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 2029, no mutants have been born in 25 years. Logan’s healing ability has weakened and he has aged; he spends his days drinking and working as a limo driver in El Paso, Texas. In an abandoned smelting plant in northern Mexico, he and mutant tracker Caliban care for nonagenarian Charles Xavier, Logan’s mentor and founder of the X-Men. Charles, a psychic, suffers from a brain disease that causes him to have destructive seizures unless controlled with medication; a seizure a year earlier killed seven mutants, leaving Logan, Caliban and Xavier as the last of the X-Men.

Gabriela Lopez, a former nurse for biotechnology corporation Alkali-Transigen, tries to hire Logan to escort her and an 11-year-old girl, Laura, to Eden, a refuge in North Dakota. Logan reluctantly accepts, but finds Gabriela killed. He is confronted at his hideout by Gabriela’s killer, Donald Pierce, Transigen’s cyborg chief of security, who is looking for Laura. Laura has stowed away in Logan’s limo, and has powers like Logan’s. She, Logan and Charles escape Pierce and his Reavers, but Caliban is captured and tortured by Pierce into tracking Laura.

A video on Gabriela’s cellphone shows that Transigen created Laura and other children from mutant DNA samples to turn into weapons; Laura was created from Logan’s DNA. As they proved difficult to control and Transigen had found an alternative, the children were to be killed, but Gabriela and other nurses helped some of them escape.

In Oklahoma City, Logan discovers that Eden appears in an X-Men comic in Laura’s possession, and assumes it is fictional. The Reavers arrive, but Charles has a seizure and incapacitates everyone in the vicinity, except for Logan and Laura, who kill the attackers and inject Charles with medication, and they flee. Dr. Zander Rice, head of Transigen, arrives to help Pierce.

Logan, Laura, and Charles help farmer Will Munson and his family after a traffic incident and accept an offer of dinner at their home. Logan drives off enforcers from a corporate farm harassing Will. Rice unleashes X-24, a Transigen clone of Logan, who murders Charles and Will’s family, stabs Will, and captures Laura. Caliban sets off grenades, killing himself and several Reavers while injuring Pierce. Logan fights X-24, but is outmatched. Will pins X-24 with his truck, but dies from his injuries. Logan and Laura escape with Charles’ body.

After burying Charles, Logan passes out. Laura takes him to a doctor and persuades him to take her to Eden, where they find Rictor and other Transigen children preparing to cross to Canada. Laura finds an adamantium bullet Logan has kept since his escape from Weapon X, which he once considered using to commit suicide. Logan decides his job is done and chooses not to accompany them, much to Laura’s dismay.

The children are captured by the Reavers. Logan takes an overdose of a serum given to him by Rictor that temporarily strengthens his physical and healing abilities. With Laura’s help, he slaughters most of the Reavers, but the serum wears off. As Pierce holds Rictor at gunpoint, Rice tells Logan, who killed Rice’s father years ago while escaping from Weapon X, that no new mutants were born due to a Transigen virus that Rice created. Logan shoots Rice dead and attacks Pierce. X-24, enraged by Rice’s death, fights Logan. With their guards distracted, the children kill Pierce and the remaining Reavers. Rictor uses his seismic powers to flip a truck onto X-24. X-24 frees himself and impales Logan on a tree branch, but Laura shoots X-24 dead with the adamantium bullet. Before he dies, Logan tells Laura not to become the weapon she was made to be, and Laura finally tearfully acknowledges him as her father. After his burial, Laura turns the cross on his grave on its side to create an X, to honor him as the last X-Man and then departs with the other children.

REVIEW:

Ever since he first appeared on the big screen, way back in X-Men, fans worldwide have longed to get that raw, uncut Wolverine that is more akin to what we see in the comics, rather than what we’ve seen in shows like X-Men: The Animated Series. Logan looks to be the film to finally accomplish this. Let us find out if the goal was achieved.

What is this about?

In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X, somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world, and his legacy, are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.

What did I like?

What’s old is new again. Many years ago, Charles Xavier and Logan first met. While their relationship hasn’t always been the best, you can tell from the beginning that there was a mutual respect between them. That respect is perhaps why we find Logan as a sort of caregiver for Xavier. Sure, some may say this is done just to give Stewart one last shot at being the professor, which may have been rue before Disney bought the rights last week, but that’s a whole different post altogether. As we watch these two in their old age, severely slowed down due to the passage of time, wear and tear on their bodies, and various ailments, it is good to see their friendship last all these years, even when one has to change the other’s adult diaper!

Bloodsport. Go read a Wolverine comic, especially one released in this day and age. Logan does not hold back with the spillage of blood. As a matter of fact, I remember when I was growing up, I had to hide my Wolverine comics because my parents thought they were too violent and that I would turn into some mass murderer or something. Unless you count the endless lives I’ve ended in video games, I haven’t hurt a fly! Back on topic, though, we finally get to see Wolverine kill people with blood squirting out. This seems like a small thing to non-comic fans, but if you know truly know the character, its a huge thing, tbh. Also, we are privy to a bit more of the berserker rage that made Wolverine such an unstoppable force. Such a shame we had to wait for the last film to get all this.

Comic relief. This is a dark and serious film. As such, it was nice to get a few moments of levity to lighten the mood. Most of these came from Caliban, played by comedian Stephen Merchant. When I saw this casting,  I questioned it, but it makes sense now. Not only does the guy fit the character’s description, but he also provides a few much needed jokes in dire situations.

What didn’t I like?

Sabretooth? One of the antagonists is a clone of Logan, a younger, more powerful version of Logan, with a healing factor that hasn’t been slowed down. He actually makes for an interesting enemy. What I wonder is if he was originally supposed to have been Sabretooth. Wearing all black and with his hair cut the way it is, I was reminded of Liev Shrieber’s Sabretooth from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, you know that movie that everyone seems to hate for whatever reason.

Another family. At a point in the film, Logan says something along the lines of “bad things happen to good people who get attached to me.” A few scenes later, a family that has taken him, X-23, and Professor X in for the night is under attack. What is my problem with this? I guess it just feels a bit like the old couple in the first Wolverine film. They were just doing what was right, being good human beings, and found themselves 6 ft under. I guess the writers just wanted to take the bloodlust R-rating as far as they could and kill everyone just because they could.

Like father, like daughter. Ever daughter has certain mannerisms that they take from their parents, that’s just nature. X-23 is a clone of Logan, though, so she really takes after him. I don’t know much about her in the comics, but I do know she has a violent temper and is a bit of a loner, just like her “father”. What’s wrong with this? I guess I just expected something more from the film version. Not necessarily a sassy teen with attitude, we got that in X-Men: Evolution, just something other than a silent assassin type that speaks very little, broken English.

Final verdict on Logan. People have been praising this film as the best superhero film since The Dark Knight and that it is sure to be a game changer for the genre. I can see why people would think this, but for me, this was just a very well made conclusion to Wolverine’s story and, with the Disney acquisition of the X-Men rights, sets up perfectly for a reboot of the character, whether through X-23 or bringing someone else in as Logan. That said, this is a beautiful, powerful film that will tug on your heartstrings in a couple of places. You feel the consequences in this picture more than any of its predecessors, perhaps because we’ve known these characters for so long. Do I recommend it? Yes, very much so! If for no other reason than to see Stewart and Jackman play these characters for what they have said is the final time.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Dressed to Kill

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this entry in the Michael Shayne detective series, the smart-alec sleuth is at the altar with his bride when shots ring out from a nearby theater. He immediately runs to investigate. He soon finds a series of murders with one thing in common. They are all related to a single stage production. Each victim is discovered wearing a costume from the drama. Shayne soon discovers that the killer is a jilted porter whose actress-lover dumped him. Unfortunately for the enthusiastic gumshoe, his fiancee, disgusted by his love of solving mysteries, dumps him.

What people are saying:

“At just 74 minutes Dressed to Kill is innocuous fun, though like most of Fox’s mysteries from the period it leans heavily on the charm of its actors rather than the ingenuity of its writing” 3 stars

“…benefits from a powerhouse supporting cast and the effectively moody cinematography of Glenn MacWilliams” 3 1/2 stars

“Alright, this wasn’t fantastic or gripping as a mystery, but it did make me laugh more than most comedies, so I did end up liking it. The abundant smugness was fun to watch by itself, and there were so many witty quips…and it was full of clothes-porn; I probably would have liked just watching it without the dialogue, or the dialogue without the movie. Basically, I liked pretty much everything about this. And the stork line, I copied that down.” 4 stars

“Ohh it was not good. Poor acting, uninteresting characters, and of course I don’t love the hysterical woman/suuuper-awk racial stereotyping…yikes.” 1 1/2 stars

Dressed to Kill is one of the most enjoyable ‘B’ movies I’ve ever seen. Lloyd Nolan is terrific as Michael Shayne, detective, and his supporting cast is superb to say the least. William Demarest is the best hapless police inspector this side of James Gleason, a youthful Henry Daniell plays a stuck up prig to perfection, Milton Parsons is a bad baddie, and we even get small turns from Mantan Moreland and Billy Benedict. The story is reasonably well written, fast paced, and a lot of fun.” 3 stars

The Hateful Eight

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In Quentin Tarantino’s stylish Western set in post-Civil War Wyoming, eight travelers stranded at a stagecoach way station — including bounty hunters, outlaws and former soldiers — become enmeshed in a duplicitous plot as a savage blizzard rages outside.

What people are saying:

The Hateful Eight is a parlour-room epic, an entire nation in a single room, a film steeped in its own filminess but at the same time vital, riveting and real. Only Tarantino can do this, and he’s done it again” 4 stars

“The closing scene, amidst harrowing brutality, is poetically powerful and is without a shadow of a doubt, Tarantino’s crowning achievement as an auteur” 5 stars

“While this movie is definitely worth watching, even at nearly three hours in length, I found it too mannered and self-indulgent to give it any more than three stars. I realize that Tarantino likes to pay homage to his favorite old movies, but sometimes he overdoes it. For example, the lighting in the interior scenes is extremely unrealistic, and I’m sure that was done on purpose because it makes it resemble those old movies. But let’s all remember that they lit scenes that way not because they wanted to but because the technology at the time did not allow them to do it in the more realistic way that we are now able to do. Oh, and then there’s the unnecessary narration that jumps in well after the movie has begun. A silly affectation, at best. But if you do watch it, you will certainly enjoy the many fine performances. I especially got a kick out of Jennifer Jason Leigh.” 3 stars

“Pure Trash! Filthy, nasty language-none of it necessary. I don’t believe people talked liked this during this time period. Overuse of the “n” word. Loads of blood and gore which was totally unnecessary as well. It is like the producer is trying to cover up how awful the story is by splashing blood, guts, and gore around. Very slow moving and it looks like the actors/actress cannot deliver timely lines. You are led to believe it is a movie about the Civil War but it turns out to be about a gang out west. Writer definitely wants to deliver a huge negative bias on Southerners by building a belief that these are post-Confederate soldiers gone wild, but in the middle of the film you learn they are an unlawful gang in the West. He leads the viewer to believe the woman had ties to the Confederacy but it turns out she is the sister to the lead gang member who has come to save her from hanging. I was thoroughly insulted and would not recommend this movie to anyone. ” 1 star

“Crossing a Whodunit with a Western, ‘The Hateful Eight’ is full of completely over-the-top violence and profane language, so much so that it is almost laughable – it’s undoubtedly a Tarantino film. With a running time approaching 3 hrs, there are more than a few lulls and an absurd amount of (unnecessary) dialogue, but with its beautiful cinematography and rising tension, there’s always something going on and it’s never truly boring. The biggest problem here is that it’s in need of some serious editing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining providing you’re not put off by Tarantino’s ridiculous style.” 3 1/2 stars

The African Queen

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on November 15, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart), the booze-guzzling, rough-hewn captain of a broken-down East African riverboat, teams with a straitlaced, iron-willed missionary (Katharine Hepburn) to take on a menacing German gunboat during World War I.

What people are saying:

“This movie is in the DNA of rom-coms and buddy-cop comedies and fish-out-of-water tales and Indiana Jones (he bickers and fights Germans too! Plus, dirt beard!).” 5 stars

“Not a moment of film is wasted in this finely-crafted story of adventure and unlikely love. Humphrey Bogart is the drunken captain of the river-running heap, the African Queen. Katherine Hepburn is the prim spinster missionary he offers to take to safety when the Germans invade. Learning that there’s a huge German ship on the lake at the end of the river, Hepburn decides it’s their duty to destroy it – although no one has ever successfully navigated the river.” 5 stars

The African Queen breathes authenticity. Tumultuous at times but calmer at others, Bogart’s and Hepburn’s voyage on an African river is always an exciting adventure, surrounded by a colourful, luxuriant jungle. Yet, the brightness of Huston’s film also lies in the remarkable, contrasting pairing formed by the two stars. The African Queen is a very pleasant occasion to meet two of the most superb actors that Hollywood ever knew.” 4 stars

“I am not particularly fond of Katherine Hepburn and Bogart is not my favorite male cast in a romance. However, in this film, both excel to such a degree and the storyline was so good, that I couldn’t help but love the movie. It’s tough to cast older actors into a 1st-time romance, but the background of the story made it possible and realistic. The special effects were a bit flimsy as you might excpect for a 1951 movie, but overall, I felt like I was there. I appreciated the descrection between the two, making it a clean movie throughout. This is definitely an all-time classic and one of Bogart’s best” 4 1/2 stars

“Heard so much about this movie and have finally seen it. Excellent script, casting, portrayals, and cinematography. If anything, this could have been 20 minutes longer. Shows what effect a distant war can have when a few become patriotic – or romantic.” 4 1/2 stars

The Wayward Bus

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 24, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

This drama was adapted from a novel by John Steinbeck and chronicles a fateful bus ride. Much of the tale centers around the interactions between the passengers and the driver as he attempts to safely navigate the bus through a series of potentially dangerous storms.

What people are saying:

“Rather good adaptation of the Steinbeck novel although Victor Vicas’ direction is somehow nondescript, but the film is worth seeing for its cast. Jayne Mansfield was a good actress and she shows it in this unglamourous role.” 4 stars

A motley group of passengers travel in a rundown bus from a small bus stop town called Rebel Corners to San Juan De La Cruz, another small town but with a mission that attracts tourists. The journey proves quite intense, both physically (landslides, floods) and emotionally (romance and conflict). Based on a lesser John Steinbeck novel, the film plays out like one of those 1970s disaster films: a group of disparate characters are thrown together as fate toys with them and by the end of the journey, they’ve all learned a lesson. The execution is rather trite and, as written, the script doesn’t deal a fair hand to its cast. The 23 year old Joan Collins looking quite lovely is hopelessly miscast. Clearly, the role was written for an older woman (probably late 30s) whose looks are fading and has turned to booze. The part cries out for a Jan Sterling or Ann Sothern. Jayne Mansfield as a stripper involved in a tabloid scandal surprisingly gives the film’s best performance. The film could have used more grit instead of polish.” 3 stars

“You would expect a total bitchfest with a movie starring both legendary bombshell Jayne Mansfield and soap opera diva Joan Collins….but what you get is a fascinating film based on the John Steinbeck novel of a bus driver and his passengers and their adventures as they get detoured and sidetracked…both on the bus and in life. Joan Collins is the wife of driver Rick Jason (so gorgeous). It’s a small and run down little bus that makes side trips. Joan Collins is the owner of a little restaurant who likes the bottle a bit too much. Unhappy with what has become of her life, she decides to “surprise” husband Jason mid-way through his bus trip. Jayne Mansfield is the shamed burlesque dancer on the way to a heavy paying gig in San Juan and gets caught up in the flirtation by a traveling salesman, played by Dan Dailey. Delores Pritchard gives a great performance as the “fast” daughter traveling with her parents on this trip” 5 stars

“This is not a terrible movie, but I would not recommend it if you’re looking for a classic Steinbeck story. The book was a fascinated nuanced look into how people perceive themselves and others, often wrongly. A big part of the book was exploring the thoughts of the various characters as they are judging each other silently (or openly!). All of this in a story of a crowd of completely different people stuck on a bus. Making a movie of the book must have been a hard task, and it seems like they opted to go for streamlined versions of the characters, focusing on the melodramatic aspects of the book. However, without the thought of the characters explaining the motivations behind their actions, the movie ends up being about Thing Happening. Because there’s such an ensemble of characters involved, you only briefly get to know each character. I know I’m judging this movie a bit harshly, and it’s unfair to hold the movie up against the book – after all, the book is (almost) always better. But when the movie misses the point of the book and only keeps the uppermost layer of it, it’s doing itself (and the book) a great injustice.” 3 stars

“Well done! This is 1957 black & white movie and it has everything! Thrill, comedy, romance, danger, action, sad, shock and surprise!” 5 stars

Hidden Figures

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1961, mathematician Katherine Goble works as a human computer in the segregated division West Area Computers of the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, alongside her colleagues, aspiring engineer Mary Jackson and their unofficial acting-supervisor Dorothy Vaughan.

Following a successful Soviet satellite launch, pressure to send American astronauts into space increases. Supervisor Vivian Mitchell assigns Katherine to assist Al Harrison’s Space Task Group, given her skills in analytic geometry. She becomes the first black woman on the team; and in the building, which has no bathrooms for non-white people.

Katherine’s new colleagues are initially dismissive and demeaning, especially head engineer Paul Stafford. Meanwhile, Mitchell informs Dorothy that she will not be promoted as the bureaucracy is not planning to assign a “permanent supervisor for the colored group”. Mary is assigned to the space capsule heat shield team, and immediately identifies a flaw in the experimental space capsule’s heat shields. With encouragement from the team lead, she submits an application for an official NASA engineer position and begins to pursue an engineering degree more assertively.

At a church barbecue, widow Katherine meets National Guard Colonel Jim Johnson, and they are attracted to each other, but she is disappointed when he voices skepticism about women’s mathematical abilities. He later apologizes, and begins spending time with Katherine and her three daughters.

When Harrison invites his subordinates to solve a complex mathematical equation, Katherine develops the solution, leaving him impressed. The Mercury 7 astronauts visit Langley and astronaut John Glenn is cordial to the West Area Computers.

Katherine becomes better acquainted with her colleagues. Harrison finds Katherine not at her desk one day, and is enraged when she explains that she must walk a half-mile away to another building to use the colored people’s bathroom. Harrison abolishes bathroom segregation, personally knocking down the “Colored Bathroom” sign. Regardless of Stafford’s objections, Harrison allows Katherine to be included in their meetings, in which she creates an elaborate equation to guide the space capsule into a safe re-entry. Despite this, Katherine is forced to remove her name from all the reports, which are credited solely to Stafford. Meanwhile, Mary goes to court and convinces the judge to grant her permission to attend night classes in an all-white school to obtain her engineering degree.

Dorothy learns of the impending installation of an IBM 7090 electronic computer that will replace her co-workers. She visits the computer room to learn about it and successfully starts the machine. Later, she visits a public library, where the librarian scolds her for visiting the whites-only section, to borrow a book about FORTRAN. While congratulating Dorothy on her work, Mitchell assures her that she never treated her differently due to the color of her skin; Dorothy is unconvinced. After teaching herself FORTRAN and training her West Area co-workers, she is officially promoted to supervise the Programming Department for the IBM, bringing 30 of her co-workers to do the programming. Mitchell eventually addresses Dorothy as “Mrs. Vaughan,” indicating her new-found respect.

As the final arrangements for John Glenn’s launch are made, Katherine is informed she is no longer needed at Space Task Group and is being reassigned back to West Area Computers. As a wedding and farewell gift from her colleagues (Katherine is now married to Jim Johnson), Harrison buys her a pearl necklace, the only jewelry allowed under the dress code.

The day of the launch, discrepancies arise in the IBM 7090 calculations for the capsule’s landing coordinates, and Astronaut Glenn requests that Katherine be called in to check the calculations. Katherine quickly does so, only to have the door slammed in her face after delivering the results to the control room. However, Harrison gives her a security pass to the control room so they can relay the results to Glenn together.

After a successful launch and orbit, the space capsule has a warning light indicating a heat shield problem. Mission control decides to land it after three orbits instead of seven. Katherine understands the situation and concurs that they should leave the retro-rocket attached to heat shield for reentry to which Harrison agrees immediately. Their instructions prove correct and Friendship 7 successfully lands in the ocean.

Following the mission, the mathematicians are laid off and ultimately replaced by electronic computers. Katherine is reassigned to the Analysis and Computation Division, Dorothy continues to supervise the Programming Department, and Mary obtains her engineering degree and gains employment at NASA as an engineer.

An epilogue reveals that Katherine calculated the trajectories for the Apollo 11 and Space Shuttle missions. In 2015 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The following year, NASA dedicated the Langley Research Center’s Katherine G. Johnson Computational Building in her honor.

REVIEW:

We all know that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have worked for NASA over the years, many of which were instrumental in getting the space program off the ground, as it were. With that in mind, I would be willing to bet no one knew about the three remarkable women that Hidden Figures is about. Let’s find out if the film taught us something about them, or should have left well enough alone.

What is this about?

As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as “human computers”, we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history’s greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.

What did I like?

Who knew? As I said in my opening, the amount of people who know anything about these women can probably be counted on your hand. This film brings their story to us and also shows little girls that they too can grow up to work at NASA. It truly is amazing how this part of history has never been taught or even mentioned. Sure, they aren’t up there with the likes of George Washington, Martin Luther King, and Walt Disney, but these women paved the way for future generations!

Music. I was digging the soundtrack, I must say. On top of the score, we have some soulful period music, a couple of new tunes that were composed for this film and fit the era and, most importantly, there is some jazz on the side. A little something for everyone and these tunes aren’t depressing and morose, but rather upbeat and fun. I’m going to go track down the soundtrack and just sit back and listen to it. If I can keep from dancing, that it.

Tonality. Most biopics these days tend to focus on the negative side of a person’s life, totally ignoring that they did enjoy living at one point. These are human beings. Are you seriously going to tell me that they didn’t joke around with some friends at least at one point in their lives? Thankfully, this film takes note of that and shows these women in a way that represents who they were as human beings, rather than just characters in a movie. The film itself has an almost comedic tone at parts that I’m sure some will not care for, but it works for me, at least.

What didn’t I like?

Is that you, Sheldon? I feel bad for Jim Parsons. The guy has created a character so iconic and recognizable that he can’t play anything else without comparisons being brought up. His role as the head engineer, at least to me, felt like what Sheldon would have been doing were he “normal”…and then throw in the racism and sexism that this guy displays. I don’t want to say that he shouldn’t have been cast, because he did a fine job. I just couldn’t help but make the obvious comparisons to his character from Big Bang Theory

Race. I have two opposing viewpoints on how race was handled in this picture. On the one hand, I am glad it wasn’t the focal point of the film. On the other hand, we have here a picture set in the 60s, some things just can’t be ignored. This is the problem with this film. Race isn’t a big issue for the film, and I applaud it for instead focusing on the main characters, but there are times when we get some heavy stuff, such as any scene with one of the women’s husband, who seems to be more of a militant than the caring, peaceful types in the rest of the film.

Make it personal. I keep praising how the film focused on our 3 leads, Taraji P. Henson’s character, especially, but I can’t help but be a little disappointed in how we were shown their lives outsides of work. It is almost like they go to work and back home with maybe a side trip to church if it was convenient. A few more scenes of their home life would have been nice. The whole romance angle with Henson’s character could have been shown, rather than an introduction in one scene, a second meeting, and then they were getting married. Where was everything else?

Final verdict on Hidden Figures? Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect going in. I assumed this would be another one of those films that pushes the race angle down our throats. That was not the case as this turned out to be a fun film in which I learned something about these women and the space program, as well as had a few laughs. Do I recommend this? Yes, very highly! This is the kind of flick that everyone can enjoy and learn from.

4 out of 5 stars