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Philomena (viewed 22 February 2014 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2014)
Ireland! Evil nuns! Selling babies for profit! Awkward talks about sex! “Human interest” stories! Travel abroad! What more could you want? I was angry by the end, and I’m glad Sixsmith (male protagonist) wasn’t able to forgive the nuns, either, because I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to. Best lines:

Philomena: And after I had the sex, I thought anything that feels so lovely must be wrong.
Martin Sixsmith: Fucking Catholics.

Saving Mr. Banks (watched in theaters 26 January 2014)
Mrs. P.L. Travers was a handful, wasn’t she? Yes, but so was Walt Disney. Ugh; double standards. I liked it, I guess; I liked Colin Ferrell’s character, and then I didn’t like him because he was a drunk and a dick to his wife. Watched this for a family night; Grandma’s choice. Travers had a hard time in Los Angeles with Walt Disney (not to mention he didn’t respect her repeated request to be called “Mrs. Travers” instead of “Pamela” or “Pam”), but in the end it felt like he got what he wanted anyway? I don’t know; I like a woman who’s hard to ignore, and I don’t like a man who disrespects that, so. And now I have to watch Mary Poppins again just to see if there’s any red in the film at all.

Frozen (viewed in theaters 29 December 2013)
Saw this with family: Johnny and Trish, Mom and Dad, Bunny, and Grandma. As for my thoughts? Honestly? No. It was… not that great. It really had nothing to do with the story upon which it was based, and I just don’t even have time to go into how I really feel about the film overall. The snowman sidekick was terrible. The two men characters (Kristoff and Hans) aren’t even in the original story to begin with, the two women characters (Anna and Elsa) are suddenly sisters (really?), and the only decent character was Sven (Kristoff’s reindeer—I’m not even kidding) even though he wasn’t in the original story either. Ugh. Here, just read this. It’s how I feel.

Ender’s Game (viewed in theaters 29 November 2013)
The family saw this on a whim one Friday evening with some extended family (paternal aunt and her wife), but we weren’t exactly organized in our travel and other arrangements and we missed the first half hour. My sister and grandma saw all but the first few minutes, though, and they said that if you’d read the book, the beginning wasn’t particularly necessary since it’s basically setting up the scene and characters for audience members who have not read the book. Best line: [impatiently] “This is basic rocket science, people.” Also, I agree with the Slate review. Also, Orson Scott Card is a heterosexist dickwad.

Gravity in 3D (watched in theaters 26 October 2013)
Really good. My dad and I saw this together in 3D. Sandra Bullock basically carried the entire movie by herself. My dad works as an engineer at JPL and his primary concern, of course, was the complete lack of scientific accuracy in the main character’s traveling between the various space ships. (It was related to relative orbits around the Earth, etc., but don’t ask me to be any more specific than that.) As a civilian/commoner, however, I thought the film held up really well; artistic liberties had to be taken so that the audience wouldn’t have to sit through an astrophysics lesson, after all.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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