Showing posts with label Bullet Journal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bullet Journal. Show all posts

Friday, March 8, 2019

"Paddleton" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the Netflix original movie "Paddleton" as well as DVDs "Peppermint" and "The Girl in the Spider's Web."  The Book of the Week is "Dot Journaling," vs. "The Bullet Journal Method,"  basically a new way to keep your "to do" lists.  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "David Holzman's Diary."]


Two neighbors form an unlikely friendship that is tested when the younger neighbor discovers he has cancer.

Sometimes there just isn't anything playing at the theatre that you want to make the effort to go out and see especially when you have to sit in a theatre and listen to people crunching popcorn, crinkling their candy wrappers and talking.  So thank you, Netflix.  More and more, Netflix is stepping up and filling that void.  I mean, they are the ones behind "Roma," which just won this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

So this week I decided to stay home and watch a new movie in the comfort of my own home, thanks to Netflix.

Is this a buddy film?  A road trip film?  A bromance?  Yes, yes, and yes.

Michael (Mark Duplass) and Andy (Ray Romano) are neighbors.  Andy lives up and Michael lives down.  The two are lonely misfits who bond over kung fu movies and a game they made up called Paddleton, a kind of paddle ball game where they hit the ball against the wall of an abandoned drive-in movie with the intent of getting the ball into an empty gasoline drum sitting behind them.  They sadly bond further over the fact that Michael has discovered he has incurable cancer, and he wants Andy to help him end his life before the cancer gets too bad.

Andy is the older of the two and somewhere on the spectrum.  Michael is a handsome guy who admits to Andy that he was married once -- for about a year, he's not sure.  Both are misfits in their own way and seemingly lonely loners. 

When Michael discovers that the only pharmacy that will dispense the drugs he needs for his assisted suicide is six hours away, the two embark on a road trip to a cute little Danish tourist town (that we Californians will all recognize as Solvang) where various humorous adventures, of the dark variety, ensue.

And speaking of road trips.  Do you notice that all movie road trips take place on picturesque two-lane roads when there is probably a perfectly good freeway that would get them wherever they need to go much faster?


Written by Alex Lehmann and Duplass and directed by Lehmann, this is basically what the Brits call a two-hander, with the bulk of the film concentrating on Duplass and Romano.  It's an ode to friendship, love and sacrifice and a reminder that most people of a certain age are lonely and most of us are trying to find a connection wherever and however we can.

Andy has no one but Michael so he doesn't want Michael to die.  But he makes the ultimate act of love - sacrifice - in order to help his friend end his life, and in so doing, robs himself of Michael's friendship, leaving him alone.  But the film is not a downer.  Far from it.  It has humor and ends on a note of hope.

And who knew Ray Romano could act?

I mean, really act, like do drama and create a living, breathing, multi-layered character.  I know he starred in the sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond" but that didn't really require anything more of him than playing himself doing his stand-up comic act, which was where he came from to begin with.  However, I got an inkling of his straight dramatic acting ability when he played the father in "The Big Sick." I actually wrote in my review that his performance was a "revelation," but it was a small part.  Here he gets to flex those acting chops even more in a larger role.  He and Duplass practically do a two-hander, and Ray more than holds up his end.  In fact, he is the heart of this film.  His Andy is a fussy, annoying guy who puts people off, but Romano is able to give him a poignant vulnerability that makes us believe how much his friendship with Michael means to him.  Romano was so good that I was thinking Oscar, though it's probably too early in the year for his performance to be remembered, and the film is a Netflix original. Who knows if performances in Netflix originals even get considered for an Oscar. But with "Roma" being another Netflix offering, who knows?

Duplass is a handsome actor, writer and producer who is probably best known for his work on "The Mindy Project" and the two make for a believable and poignant friendship.

Rosy the will never view Ray Romano the same again.  He's an acting contender.

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


Peppermint (2018)

What would you do if you saw your husband and daughter gun-downed in a drive-by, you ID'd the bad guys, they were arrested and then the bad guys got off because of bent cops and judges?  Why you would get buff and go on a revenge rampage, right?

OK, maybe you wouldn't go on a revenge rampage, but Riley North (Jennifer Garner) does.  So here we go again.  Another revenge movie.  We had "Miss Bala" last month, "Mandy" in January and "War for the Planet of the Apes" before that. Actually, I could go on and on. Revenge movies are a thing.

But before I get into the plot, which I have already basically outlined, I have to confess something.  When I saw the trailer for this, I swear to god that when they were giving us the exposition and showing Riley as the happy mother  before all hell broke loose and she was loving on her little girl, she said "Who’s my girl? My girl has love in her heart, and snow in her eyes," and - here is the clincher - I swear she said "and peppermint in her butt!" I am not lying. The actual quote was "and peppermint in her blood," but until I saw the quote in writing, I was absolutely certain I heard "peppermint in her butt," and I thought, Whaaaat? What a great name for a movie...  I need to see this movie. 

So you can guess that I was disappointed when I found out what the quote actually was.  But I wasn't just disappointed because her daughter didn't have peppermint in her butt. I was basically disappointed because this was yet another classic revenge movie that started with the first "Death Wish (the original one)" - family mercilessly murdered, no justice, the one left behind dedicates his or her life to getting buff and then all hell breaks loose as the bad guys get what's coming to them.

Riley North is married to Chris (Jeff Hephner) and Chris has gotten himself involved with some bad guys who think it would be a good idea to rob a big drug cartel kingpin, Diego Garcia (Juan Pablo Raba).  Though Chris backs out at the last minute, Garcia finds out about the planned robbery and decides to make those guys examples, including Chris.  Chris, Riley and their daughter Carly are gunned down, with only Riley surviving.  She is able to identify the shooters in a line-up and they go on trial.  All of the evidence points to them but a crooked judge, who is on the cartel's payroll, lets them off.

Well, that ain't OK with our Riley and she starts to make an example of all of them! 

I am glad that Jennifer Garner is getting on with her life after putting her career on hold and devoting herself to family when she was married to Ben Affleck, so this film is a kind of fantasy revenge of its own kind, but I wish it hadn't been this movie.  I know the powers that be were capitalizing on her action stint in "Alias," but wouldn't it have been a better fantasy revenge on Ben if she had starred in a hugely successful, big production romantic comedy where she was the successful CEO of a fashion company wearing really great clothes and a really handsome, much younger, guy knocks her off her feet and they fall in love in real life?  Oh, wait, that's my fantasy.  Whatever...

Written by Chad St. John and directed by Pierre Morel, I didn't really like this, though I certainly like my revenge movies from time to time. But this just isn't a very good one.  It's one of those films about the very, very good against the very, very bad with nothing in between. Though I did like the fact that Riley didn't let any of the bad guys make speeches before she killed them.  No chance they were going to distract her. She just walked up to them and let them have it.  That was satisfying. And some of the take-downs were spectacular.  But those were the only things I really liked. Plus Garner wore a really bad wig, much of the film was predictable and over the top, and I am just sick of the bad guys being Mexican drug lords.  How about getting closer to reality with the very bad guys being politicians and government officials (and I won't name names but you know who I mean)?

Rosy the Reviewer says...the ending smacks of a sequel but I hope not.  I would rather see Jennifer in that romantic comedy I mentioned instead.  She needs a happy ending.

The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018)

This film is yet another badass woman kicking men's butts.

Sadly, Claire Foy is horribly miscast and the convoluted plot adapted by David Lagercrantz from his own book (he is carrying on the series started by Stieg Larsson) makes for a confusing story.  This is the fourth in the series that was started by Swedish writer Larsson, though the first three formed a trilogy and this story wasn't written by him.  And it shows.  If you have not read the books or seen the earlier films, this one could be quite confusing, not to mention if you have seen the trailer. And if you saw the trailer and expected the movie to be about a tough woman exacting revenge on men who mistreat women as the trailer implies, you will be disappointed.  This movie is basically about spies, cyber criminals and yet more corrupt government officials.

The film begins with a back story about Lisbeth Salander (who most of us already met in the film version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" which started out as a Swedish film starring Noomie Rapace and then was remade in an English version starring Rooney Mara - the Swedes continued the film trilogy with the other two).  

Lisbeth Salander is a tough cookie, tatted up and pierced, punk hair and wearing lots of leather. She doesn't take any crap from men and has been known to exact revenge on men who do give women crap. Even at a young age, Lisbeth stood her ground against men, even from her own father who was a pedophile.  She tried to get her sister, Camilla, to leave home with her, but when she chose her Dad instead, Lisbeth jumps out of the window, a really tall window, very high up, which made it difficult for me to suspend my disbelief, so right there, I thought this wasn't going to be very good.  And I was right.

When next we see Lisbeth, she is all grown up and saving a woman from her wife-beating husband so we are led to believe that this is what Lisbeth is doing now, a one-woman vigilante saving abused women.  But you would be wrong. She did that in the other films but now appears to be spending most of her time with her other sideline, computer hacking. That first scene was a just a little cameo to show what a tough cookie Lisbeth is. I wish the film had stuck to that premise, because after that first scene, the story goes off the rails.

This film is just another one of those films where someone invents some software that could end the world and it could fall into the wrong hands - this time it's something called Firefall and the evil Spiders want it - and Lisbeth, along with journalist Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason), who also figured in the earlier films, must use her cyber skills to make sure they don't get it.

Directed by Fede Alvarez, the movie is very stylishly filmed with great production values, but for all of the good actors and what should have been a compelling story, the film is surprisingly dull with all kinds of things taking place coincidentally and conveniently for the plot, such as the little boy figuring out the needed password so easily, the NSA guy conveniently also being a sharp shooter and the final reveal of who was really the brains behind the bad guys (hint:  someone once very close to Lisbeth). I get bugged by so many coincidences used to further the plot.

But the biggest weakness of the film was the casting of Claire Foy as Lisbeth. As an actress, it makes sense that she would want to rid herself of her Queen Elizabeth image ("The Crown") but she did not need to go this far to prove the point. Much as I love her and think she is a really good actress, this was not the right part for her.  Her Swedish accent was annoying and she just didn't have the edge that Noomie Rapace and Rooney Mara, the earlier Lisbeth's, were able to project.  Despite her tough talking, I just didn't believe her.  She just looked too soft, like a young girl trying to act tough.

Rosy the Reviewer says...loved the earlier films so had high hopes for this one.  Sadly, I was disappointed.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

104 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

David Holzman's Diary (1967)

David Holzman (L.M. Kit Carson) is a filmmaker who decides he needs to film his own life in order to understand it better (it's the 60's, what can I say)?

But what starts out looking like a documentary is actually a movie about making a documentary. Holzman is full of angst about his life and its meaning.  Like I said, it's the 60's and everyone was existential and full of angst then.  As he looks directly into the camera trying to explain what and why, he quotes Godard (oh, god) who said, "Film is truth 24 times a second."  So Holzman thinks that if he documents his life through film, he will understand himself better.

So he takes a week out of his life and films everything, his neighborhood (71st Street, on the Upper West Side of New York City), his friend, Pepe (Lorenzo Mans), his girlfriend, Penny (Eileen Dietz), a model, who doesn't want any part of it, the woman in the apartment across the street who he spies on and an odd assortment of other people he runs into.

Directed by Jim McBride with only a $2500 budget, this is a movie pretending to be a documentary that explores the difference between fiction and reality over a period of one week in July 1967.  It's also very 60's with all of that trying to get in touch with ourselves stuff we did back then.  We were also very tolerant of filmmakers, too.  I mean, how else would Andy Warhol have gotten away with all of those films like "Eat" and "Sleep," which were exactly what the titles described - one of a man eating mushrooms and the other of a man sleeping. It was important to be "deep" in the 60's and finding meaning in films like that was considered "deep," I guess.

This film isn't quite like that, but close, and I found David to be quite obnoxious and so did everyone else he came across in the film.  He alienated everyone around him.  He also didn't find what he was looking for.

"I thought this would be a film about things...about the mystery of things.  I thought I would get this stuff on celluloid and I could control it and rearrange it until I could see what it meant. My life, on film, and I could understand, and I could see what was going on.  And I could make the connections and see what I was going to do. That didn't happen."

And that's the problem with this film.  Nothing did happen.  But I think that was the point.  It was a "mockumentary" about making a documentary and the self-indulgent naval gazing so prevalent in the 60's.

Holzman went on to say at the end,

"You haven't told me anything.  This is ridiculous."

And I thought, "I know."

But McBride's intent was interesting, especially since it was a precursor to what we have now in social media, with people over-sharing even the most mundane aspect of their lives, but as a whole this was not a particularly satisfying film experience.

Why it's a Must See: "Far from a standard 'mockumentary,' [director Jim] McBride's recreation of the stages of this audiovisual diary is peppered with dramatic ellipses, emotional suspense, and a pleasing, always surprising set of variations.  The result is remarkably prescient.  The cinema-verite obsessions of the 1960's targeted here were to reach their full flowering much later, in the eras of video and digital."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Rosy the Reviewer says...a cautionary tale to social media fanatics reminding them (and us) just how boring our and our friends lives really are. 
(b & w)

***The Book of the Week***

(Well, two actually)!

Dot Journaling -- A Practical Guide - How to Start and Keep a Planner, To-Do List and Diary That'll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together by Rachel Wilkerson Miller (2017)

Helping us get our lives together?  That's a tall order.

Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll (2018)

Order the present and design the future? Another tall order.

But I am now obsessed.

I actually am a firm believer in planning, to-do lists and diaries so these two books are right up my alley. And I am old school.  I mean, I have an IPhone but I never use it as my calendar or to-do list.  I still use my old Filofax.

So a planner, a diary, a to-do list, and then places to be creative, etc.?  I'm in.  But which is better?  Dot journaling or bullet journaling?

Let's compare.

How are they the same?

  • Both use a dot journal (that means the pages are dotted which supposedly makes it easier to use your ruler to create calendars, columns and to write in straight lines)
  • Both instruct you to add page numbers to your journal and make an index
  • Both have keys so you know the status of everything you list

  • Both have you title each page
  • Both recommend that you set up future spreads (or logs), monthly spreads (or logs), weekly spreads (or logs) and daily spreads (or logs)
  • Both instruct tracking habits, bills, debts, ideas etc. and making food diaries, to-do lists, shopping lists, etc.
  • You can add lists of quotes, thoughts and anything else you want to jot down
  • You can get creative and spend tons of money on colored pens, stickers and other art supplies

So how are the two methods different?

Except for some differences in jargon, they aren't.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I am going to give it a try, but as for which book?  The Miller book is easier to use, more colorful and fun (and would't you know, she also has one called "How to Bullet Plan!") But I also discovered there are journals out there that are already set up! Why not just do that?

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


Tyler Perry's

"A Madea Family Funeral"


The Week in Reviews
(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See

Before I Die Project" 

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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.