Tag Archives: emily blunt

MARY POPPINS RETURNS (2018) – My rating: 8.5/10

Mary Poppins Returns is a musical fantasy directed by Rob Marshall, screenplay written by David Magee and story by Magee Marshall, and John DeLuca. Mary Poppins Returns is based on the book series, Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers.  The film is a sequel to the 1964 original film, Mary Poppins and was released in the United States on December 19, 2018, making it one of the longest gaps between film sequels in cinematic history at 54 years.  While I always got Nanny McPhee mixed up with Mary Poppins, I now know the absolute difference, thanks to the sequel.  I didn’t particularly want to see MPR but I’m glad I did — it’s truly a fun, feel good movie.

Mary Poppins Returns, (MPR) is set in the 1930s London, twenty-five years after the original film. Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), the former nanny of Jane and Michael Banks, returns to the Bank’s household after a family tragedy:  In 1935 London, Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) lives in the home where he grew up and married Kate and now has three children, Annabel Banks (Pixie Davies), John Banks (Nathanael Saleh), and Georgie Banks (Joel Dawson). Tragady befell Michael and the children when his wife, Kate died a year ago. Ellen (Julie Walters), the house keeper  and Jane Banks (Emily Mortimer), Michael’s sister are helping him to raise the children. However, Michael has taken a loan from the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank where his father formerly was a partner before passing, to cover their living expenses.

William “Weatherall” Wilkins (Colin Firth) sends his associates to warn him that his house will be repossessed if the loan is not repaid in full by Friday. Michael and Jane remember their father left them shares in the bank that can cover the loan, so they searched the house for the certificate proving their ownership of the shares. During the search, Michael finds a kite for which he finds as worthless and puts it out in the trash.  While the children were off to purchase a few groceries for dinner, Annabel, John and Georgie, having taken the park route, separates from Georgie who finds the kite and tries flying it. He ends up being pulled into the sky, but then comes down with Mary Poppins, who decides to take care of the three children as their nanny and starts off by drawing them a bath, which magically leads them down to an oceanic world. Of course, Mary Poppins denied anything fantastical happened.

Michael goes to the bank to see if he can find proof of his father’s shares, but Wilkins denies there are any records of the shares. As Michael leaves the office, Wilkins tears the record of proof out of the official ledger and burns it in the fireplace. That evening, Annabel and John decide to sell their mother’s “priceless” bowl to pay off the debt. Georgie tries to stop them, and the bowl ends up damaged while the three were fighting over it. Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), an official Cockney Lamplighter, greets Mary Poppins and joins her and the kids on a trip inside the painting on the side of the bowl. The group meets the talking animals drawn on the bowl, and Mary Poppins creates the Royal Doulton Music Hall. However, Georgie is kidnapped by a gang consisting of a wolf, a weasel and a badger, causing Annabel and John to try and rescue him . They successfully do so, but end up going out of the painting and later wake up in their beds, thinking their experience was a dream.

The next day, Mary Poppins and the children go to see Mary’s cousin Topsy/Tatikana Antanasia Cositori Topotrepolovsky (Meryl Streep) to get the bowl fixed only to find out the bowl has little monetary value. They then go to the bank to give Michael his briefcase that he left home earlier that morning. When the children get to Wilkins’ office, hoping  to ask him for help, they overhear Wilkins planning to take away their house. Georgie started to see parallels between Wilkins and his associates and the animal gang who kidnapped him, so he interrupts the banker’s meeting. When Michael arrives, he does not believe the children and becomes angry with them for putting the house and his job at risk, as Michael worked part time at the bank. Mary Poppins takes the children home. They are guided by Jack and his fellow lamplighters. Without the shares and no hope for an extension on the loan, the Banks family make preparations to move out of their house.

How the Bank’s family and Mary Poppins resolve the loan issue is very exciting.  The family, Jack and all of Mary Poppins fantasy characters share in exposing the truth about Mr. Wilkins.  There are many more magical characters and adventures to come in this highly appraised sequel.  Right to the very end, there is magic in the air. Mary Poppins Returns received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its acting (particularly Blunt’s performance), direction, musical score, musical numbers, costume design, production values, visuals, and sense of nostalgia. It was chosen by both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute as one of the top ten films of 2018 and received numerous award nominations, including four at the 76th Golden Globe Awards. Children will love it and as an adult, I loved it too. The performances were outstanding, I particularly liked the character Jack, who was just simply marvelous.  You can’t go wrong with this one — Check It Out!

[Mary Poppins Returns is Oscar nominated for Best: Production Design, Costume Design, Original Score and Original Song]


A QUIET PLACE (2018) – My rating: 8/10

A Quiet Place is a horror film directed by John Krasinski and produced by Michael Bay’s company, Platinum Dunes, which is also run by Andrew Form and Bradley Fuller. The screenplay was written by Krasinski, Bryan Woods, and Scott Beck, based on a story by Woods and Beck.  In A Quiet Place, a family must live life in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt exclusively by sound. While I don’t like horror movies, I opted to see this one because I was told it was a different kind of horror film that didn’t involve anything demonic, wicked, nor the usual teenagers screaming and scheming in the woods.  My information was good and I enjoyed A Quiet Place.

Over a three month period in 2020, most of Earth’s human population has been wiped out by sightless creatures with hypersensitive hearing and a seemingly impenetrable armored shell that attacks anything that makes noise. The Abbott family consisting of Lee (John Krasinski), the husband and an engineer, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), the wife and a doctor, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), the daughter who is congenitally deaf in real life, Marcus (Noah Jupe), the oldest son and Beau (Cade Woodward), the youngest son, silently scavenge for supplies in a deserted town. Though skilled in American Sign Language, the family must be vigilant in their quietness to ensure they don’t make any accidental noise. Something as innocent as a battery-operated space shuttle toy is forbidden which their four-year-old Beau is drawn to, causing his father to take it away. His sister Regan returns the toy to Beau, who unbeknownst to her has also taken the batteries his father removed. Beau activates the shuttle when the family is walking home through the woods, near a bridge. After putting the batteries back in the toy, Beau becomes an instant target for a nearby creature.

A year later, Evelyn is in the final stages of pregnancy, and Lee is fruitlessly trying to make radio contact with the outside world. Lee attempts to upgrade Regan’s cochlear implant but the device fails to restore her hearing. Later, Lee takes Marcus to a nearby river to teach him to fish and explains to Marcus that they will always be safe from the creatures so long as louder sounds mask their audible movements. Their basement is specially modified soundproof but they still have to tread softly. The creatures are huge and scary.  They have also rigged lights that surround their house and change to red at the flip of a light switch.  This signals any of the family outside, there is danger and/or an impending catastrophe inside the house.

I must say there are a couple of things that made no sense to me but overall, A Quiet Place is a pretty good movie.  There’s a lot more substance to this movie as well as many twist and turns.  There are no other characters in this film and John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are married in real life. The movie was brilliantly acted, as they had almost no dialogue.  I couldn’t understand why a couple would allow themselves to become pregnant in an impossible situation like they were in.  Babies cry and women make a lot of noise in labor.  I also didn’t understand Lee’s priorities — some of his decisions down right sucked. Despite my few quirks, I do recommend that you see A Quiet Place, it’s one of the better horror films.  Check it out! BTW: A sequel is currently in the works.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (2016) – My rating: 7/10

thegirlonthetrainThe trailers really did serve their purpose marketing The Girl on the Train. I didn’t know whether to expect a sexy, psychotic women out of control or a female peeping tom with an obsession. The Girl on the Train wasn’t a big hit with movie fans (only achieving 6.7 on IMBD). Some people told me the movie was too predictable. I, on the other hand, felt The Girl on the Train was pretty good. I like to think of myself as above average figuring out who done it. While I briefly suspected who the guilty party was, I dismissed my resolve because I couldn’t completely make it stick. The Girl on the Train, Rachael Watson (Emily Blunt) turns out to be an alcoholic who divorced her husband, Tom Watson (Justin Theroux), after catching him cheating on her with their real estate agent, Anna Boyd (Rebecca Ferguson). The train Rachael rides appears to be the Metro North running through White Plains.

Rachel grows a fascination with Tom’s neighbors, a young couple, Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett), who she believes has a perfect marriage. Having seen the couple engaged in the throws of passion, which could clearly be seen from where she sits on the train, helped her come to this conclusion. In reality, Scott is aggressive and controlling, while Megan is detached and unfaithful for which she is seeking help from her psychiatrist, Dr. Kamal Abdic (Édgar Ramírez).  As the story progresses, we began to learn Rachael’s story. We learn she has a self esteem problem in addition to her psychotic behavior and shares an apartment with her friend Cathy (Laura Prepon). We also learn she often stalks her former husband, Tom along with his new wife, Anna and their newborn daughter Evie.

I will not tell any more about this story because it’s too easy to give away the bottom line. I have given enough spoilers away. The Girl on the Train, in my opinion, is a descent movie with a tad too many twists and turns. The ending was acted out a little like a horror movie when the audience yells for the trauma victim to do something other than stand there.  I still thought it was entertaining and not as unworthy as some others I’ve seen.


SICARIO (2015) – My rating: 8.8/10

SicarioSicario has gotten a lot of buzz as an Oscar front runner. The movie deals with a Mexican drug cartel, the FBI (International and Domestic divisions) and other law enforcement agencies. Sicario is brutal and shows us drug enforcement from a different perspective. Deceit and dangerous procedures, along with cleaver legal maneuvers were incorporated to achieve common goals. Admittedly, whatever we’ve been doing in the past has been an unworkable disaster. The amount of drugs coming into the US, via Mexico, is astounding. In Sicario, several FBI agents come together to break the pattern and make a difference, even if they all are not on the same page.

Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) and her partner Reggie Wayne (Daniel Kaluuya) have been going through the same routines with the same results — rounding up a bunch of dead hostages and victims of the drug war while the drugs are safely smuggled into the US. In the opening scene, over 30 bodies were discovered within the walls of a small house along with a bomb in the backyard that kills two officers. A big operation with little payout for the team. When Kate’s boss, Dave Jennings (Victor Garber), recommends her to Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), a CIA Special Activities Division officer who is undercover as a supposed US Department of Defense adviser, Kate volunteers to join forces, eager to make a difference. Their goal is to search for the men responsible for all those dead bodies and the murderer of the two officers, which includes cartel boss, Manuel Díaz (Bernardo P. Saracino). While on a plane to El Paso, Texas, Kate meets Matt’s partner, Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro) who plays a major role in Sicario. She begins to learn that things are not what they seem and definitely not what she’s been told.

Sicario breaks all the rules and is intense, violent, bloody, thought provoking and well acted. The story is deep and demands your attention every step of the movie. As usual, I’ve left out most of the story, as not to spoil it — I think Sicario has been under the radar for the most part. You should try to see it before it goes away. It’s worth seeing on the big screen.

[SICARIO is nominated for Cinematography, Original Score and Sound Editing]


INTO THE WOODS (2014) – My rating: 7.5/10

IntoTheWoodsFor one, I love these new fairy tale fantasies. Into the Woods is well done. Into the Woods sort of reminds me of “Once Upon a Time”, which I watch on TV. There are a couple of similarities however, Into the Woods is big budget and brought to you by Disney.  Need I say more.  There’s not even too much more I can say about Meryl Streep except that she is a phenomenal actress.  Into the Woods is a delightful musical fantasy that takes Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), Little Red Riding hood (Lilla Crawford) and Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone),  and merges them together to make a new fairytale, with a twist.  It all starts with the Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) that live in a house that was cursed many years ago.  The witch (Meryl Streep) will reverse the curse if the baker and his wife bring her 4 items that they must retrieve from the woods.  From this point, everyone is engaged with doing their part to get the job done.  Many lessons are learned and many penalties are paid.  If you see Into the Woods, you’ll love Meryl Streep as well as the rest of the cast.  Tracey Ullman played Jack’s mom and Johnny Depp played the wolf.  Christine Baronski played Cinderella’s step mom and was also great.  Everyone seems so much younger than I thought they should be — good make-up.  I found this movie to be entertaining with a good message.  The singing was fantastic.  Worth seeing!

[Into the Woods is nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Costume Design and Production Design]


EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014) – My rating: 8/10

EdgeOfTomorrowI’m impressed.  Tom Cruise still has it.  Edge of Tomorrow was pretty good.  My initial feelings about this movie was it’s gonna suck, but it didn’t.  The special effects were awesome and the story line was excellent.  It starts out with Tom Cruise as Major Cage, an officer in the Army who promotes equipment to the higher ups.  While meeting with a General, Major Cage gets assigned into combat which he is unable to accept.  After trying everything to change his orders, Major Cage finds himself in the very situation he has always avoided by having a position that he thought would keep him safe and out of harms way.  He now has to fight an alien race which he is ill equip to handle.  Additionally, unknown to all but 2 people, the major finds himself in a time loop caused by the alien.  Together with a Special Forces Warrior (Rita) played by Emily Blunt, he gets the training he needs and because of the time loop, he also gets the experience needed to defeat this alien race.  I think this story was brilliantly written and well acted.  Edge of Tomorrow is definitely worth seeing on the big scene.