MOVIE REVIEW: THE IMITATION GAME (Morten Tyldum, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Imitation Game:

1. I just have this certain affinity to insufferable genius characters like Dr. Gregory House (House), Sherlock Holmes (Elementary), John Nash (A Beautiful Mind), or even Tony Stark (Iron Man). The more loathsome they get, the more I love them. You can now add Alan Turing to that list.

2. I absolutely abhor Math and any mention of binomials and factorials make my head spin faster than Michelle Kwan on ice. Props to all programmers around the world.

3. If ever they would choose a clip for the Oscars, I hope it’s the job interview of Alan. The excellent writing just sparkled in that scene.

4. To quote one character, “To pull off this irascible genius routine, one has to be a real genius.” The same can be said of Benedict Cumberbatch who was simply brilliant in this movie. He was great in 12 Years a Slave and August: Osage County but this was definitely his best performance to date.

5. I have a new catchphrase that will replace my favorite Miranda Priestley “By all means move at a glacial pace, you know how that thrills me” bitch quote: “It’s highly technical, you wouldn’t understand.” Boom panes!

6. I think I may be successful in breaking the Enigma code as well since I separate the food on my plate and usually by color. Everything goes together only in my stomach.

7. Did Keira Knightley have her teeth fixed? Her crooked smile was what made her completely adorable. Why?!

8. Must remember to use the word “indecorous” one of these days.

9. “I know it’s not ordinary. But who ever loved ordinary?” Mega feels!

10. Sure you can nitpick about the lack of depth on Turing as a gay character, or how far off the story was from real events, or how it got preachy in the end but it was still a solid and completely engaging film all-throughout.

11. Who run the world? Gays.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published February 10, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: HIDDEN FIGURES (Theodore Melfi, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Hidden Figures:

1. Jimmy Kimmel in the recent Oscars telecast said it best when he introduced the amazing trio of actresses in this film as Algebra’s Angels.

Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae portrayed Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson respectively, the real-life brains behind NASA’s space exploration program in the early ’60s. These women’s admirable display of courage and resiliency (and basically kicked ass!) amidst the blatant racial and gender discrimination in Virginia during that time was a story that needed to be told (“Every time we have a chance to move ahead, they move the finish line”).

As expected, I cried my heart out throughout the movie’s entirety. Surprisingly, none of it was because of the mathematical equations (elliptical vs parabolic!) written on the board.

2. Katherine was obviously a gifted child because at a young age she could identify all the various shapes (rhombus! tetrahedron!) on a window design even if I could only see pointed shapes and a swirling blob pattern. She reminded me so much of John Nash, another genius that saw symbols float from windows that led to his Nobel Prize.

As the adult Katherine, Taraji dialled her famous feisty persona several notches down and it effectively worked in her favor. Cookie Lyon would never run half a mile just to pee in a colored bathroom so it was a pleasant surprise when this plucky side showed up in that outburst scene where Katherine, fully drenched from the rain and probably 10 pounds lighter from all the running, stood up to her supervisor (Kevin Costner) who questioned her long bathroom breaks (“I have to run to Timbuktu just to relieve myself!”).

Still surprised she didn’t get an Oscar nomination for that brilliant scene which fully summarized the hurt and embarrassment caused by segregation (colored bathrooms, colored coffee pot, colored fountain, colored seats at the back of the bus, colored entrance in buildings, unbelievable!!). And yes, I cried even more when Costner took a sledgehammer and knocked down that bathroom sign (“Here at NASA, we all pee the same color”). Bring a box of tissues!

3. Given the heavy and serious themes, the movie still managed to wring out laughs from all of the tension. Most of the humor came from the scenes with Janelle (who actually channeled Cookie) and whose character Mary couldn’t care less what the others thought of her liberal ideals (“I have the right to see fine men regardless of color”).

Weirdly enough, I couldn’t hold back my tears even if some scenes were played for laughs (again, all the running done to the bathroom was just heartbreaking). This inspirational film couldn’t be accused of emotional manipulation if all of my pain was self-inflicted, right?

4. “No shoe is worth a life.” This obviously happened pre-Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo.

5. If there was one thing I wasn’t too fond of, it was the amount of time devoted to Katherine’s lovelife. I knew it was meant to humanize her considering that she was a walking computer, but we could have done without it. At 127 minutes, the movie obviously needed a bit of trimming.

6. I really loved the slice of pie reference made to Octavia. I probably held off on eating chocolate pie for a full year after seeing Minnie’s recipe on The Help.

7. Were those huge contraptions the first IBM computer models? They actually looked like the scariest dialysis machines. Kids these days are just way fortunate (read: entitled).

8. Kirsten Dunst played her bitchy supervisor role so well that I wanted to slap her Legal Wife-style when she made Dorothy look like a custodian and asked her to push those heavy files back using a steel cart. Oh, the nerdddddd!!

Speaking of, Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) naturally played the head engineer. Not surprised at all that the cast won the SAG for Best Ensemble.

9. So happy to live in a time when these women are hidden figures no more. Nothing can trump that feeling. Oh, wait…

Rating: ★★★★☆