Sunday Summary | November 17

My family all went to the cinema to see "The Current War." (Yes, because of Tom Holland.) Unfortunately, it's a film that definitely doesn't live up to its premise. The story doesn't really tell the story of the men it's about and while the acting is good, it's otherwise fairly poorly made.

I watched "The Beguiled" to write my review for In Their Own League's Top 50 Films of the Decade directed by women list. I love Sofia Coppola's films and was so impressed by how atmospheric this one is.

Of course, there was no way I would miss a biopic starring Cynthia Erivo, Joe Alwyn, and Leslie Odom Jr. I went to see "Harriet" with my friend, Lexi, and while it's not a perfect film, I think it's a lot better than many are giving it credit for. It is formulaic, but it also has gorgeous performances and is a really important story to be told. Read my full review here.

I'm a big fan of Aidan Turner's, so I thought I ought to give his new indie film "Love is Blind" a try. Unfortunately, while I appreciated that it had a unique view on grief and relationships, it is a bit of a mess. You can read my full review here.

As part of our preparation for our upcoming DisneyWorld trip, my family finally watched "Avatar." Yes, ten years late. I was so impressed by the technology and the message of the film and it made me so excited to go to Pandora in Animal Kingdom.

I reviewed my first national tour at DPAC earlier this month. I got to see "A Bronx Tale" and was surprised by how much my dad and I both enjoyed it. It's a really lovely show about family and ambition and love with fun retro-inspired music. You can check out my full review here.

I also got to see "Having Our Say" by North Carolina Theatre, a really wonderful two woman show about two actual African-American women who grew up in Raleigh and went on to become trailblazers. It was fascinating to hear their stories, based on actual oral history given to a journalist when the two ladies were still alive, especially about their father who was born a slave. You can check out my review here.

This month, I've been listening to Anthony Ramos's new album, "The Good & The Bad." You might know Anthony Ramos from Broadway smash hit "Hamilton" or his role in last year's "A Star is Born." It's a really solid first album, full of bops. You can listen on Spotify here.

1) Ashley from bestdressed has made a gorgeous look-book of office attire, with the help of Amazon Prime Wardrobe. I always love seeing fashionable people put together work-friendly outfits. .

2) I loved the teaser trailer for Pixar's upcoming movie, "Soul." I'd watch anything with Daveed Diggs, but it looks really great!

3) Carrie Hope Fletcher's vlog from her trip to Disneyland Paris earlier this year isn't new this month, but I finally got around to watching it. It brought back such great memories of my trip to Disneyland Paris last year!

Sunday Summary | October Edition

Yes, I know. It's not a Sunday. And it's no longer October. But I saw tons of wonderful movies during the month of October that I didn't want to get lost. So normal Sunday Summaries will resume soon, but for's my catching up on October and in particular everything I saw at Film Fest 919.

The opening night film for Film Fest 919 was "Marriage Story," a film I still haven't recovered from. It's currently my number one film of the year and I can't say enough good things about it. It's hilarious and heart-breaking and features some of the best acting of the whole decade.

While I didn't love "Honey Boy," the performances in it (by Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, and especially Noah Jupe) are undeniable. It's definitely a cathartic work by LaBeouf who wrote it during rehab based on his own relationship with his father and his childhood as a young actor. You can read my full review here.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked "The Report," a grueling look at the creation of the Torture Report that detailed what the CIA did in Afghanistan. It features a great performance by Adam Driver and really opened my eyes to things I only partially knew. You can read my full review here.

I also saw two French films, "The Truth" and "Portrait of a Lady on Fire." I thought that "The Truth" was a fascinating look at an aging actress and her relationship with her family, even if it did drag at points. "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" is one of my favorites of the year. It's a gorgeous period drama, a beautiful lesbian love story, and just an incredibly well-made film. Reviews for both are coming to Next Best Picture soon.

"The Two Popes" will drop onto Netflix late December and I think it'll make quite a splash. Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins play Pope Francis and Pope Benedict and a fascinating look at two opposing factions of the Catholic Church follows. The two are clearly some of the best actors of their generation and it's a movie that challenges its audience just as it delights them.

I saw two movies about the death penalty at Film Fest 919: "Clemency" and "Just Mercy." While I thought that Alfre Woodard's performance was stunning, I didn't much care for "Clemency." (Review coming later to Next Best Picture.) However, I absolutely loved "Just Mercy." It has a really touching story, fantastic performances, and it got me all fired up and wanting to help change the way the justice system is failing our country.

One of my favorite movies I saw all month was Netflix's "The King." (In fact, I loved it so much that I've watched it again this month!) It's a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's Henriad, starring Timothée Chalamet and Joel Edgerton, who also co-wrote it. Chalamet really continues to prove his skills in it and it's a great medieval epic that questions if a ruler can ever really remain uncorrupted by power and paranoia. You can hear more of my thoughts on the NBP podcast.

The closing film of Film Fest 919 was "Jojo Rabbit" and it absolutely blew me away. Taika Watiti is absolutely a genius and this film proves it. It's the perfect anti-hate satire while also being a really heartfelt story about a boy who has been brainwashed by those around him discovering that his beliefs might not be what they seem.

The two films that I saw outside of Film Fest 919 in October were rather disappointing. Renee Zellwegger is absolutely outstanding as Judy Garland in "Judy," but the film around her doesn't live up to her performance. I truly don't have anything good to say about Netflix's "The Laundromat." It's currently clocking in as my least favorite film of 2019. If you want my full thoughts, you can find them here and on this podcast.

Mostly in October, I listened to a lot of different versions of "Sweeney Todd" to prepare for our Next Best Theatre podcast episode about it. I'm not sure I realized before just how clever this show's lyrics are. I also made a playlist of tons of spooky musical theatre albums in honor of Halloween that I listened to a lot. 

I got to see a darling family show, "80 Days Around the World" by Theatre Raleigh. It was a really charming adaption of the well-known classic and well adapted to be enjoyed by children and adults alike. You can read my full review for BroadwayWorld Raleigh here.

1) I went cruelty free with my makeup and skincare a few months ago and this guide by Lucy Moon on how to go cruelty free is super helpful. If anyone ever wants to hear more about my decision to go cruelty free or my favorite cruelty free products, let me know.

2) This interview with Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet on the set of their Entertainment Weekly photoshoot is probably my favorite thing to hit the Internet all month. I couldn't possibly be anymore excited for "Little Women"!

3) This one's rather NSFW, but man is Anthony Ramos's music video for his new song "Mind Over Matter" hot. It features his real-life girlfriend and former "Hamilton" co-star Jasmine Cephas Jones. The song's also an absolute bop.

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