‘Bao’: A Brutally Meaningful Showstarter

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you like movies and aren’t completely ignorant, you’ve definitely heard of the seamless Incredibles 2. But we aren’t here to talk about that movie – we are here to talk about what comes before it.

Prior to the Disney Pixar sequel, a short film titled Bao was featured. It was a short with no talking and very minimal sound, but brilliant animation. This, of course, can be expected of the mega animation company behind it.

The creator was a woman by the name of Domee Shi, who wrote and directed the entirety of it. This was the only produced piece on her filmography, but still made her the first woman to direct and create a Pixar short.

The story itself revolves around a woman who is making dinner for her husband – dumplings, specifically – and as her husband leaves for work, the woman is left alone. That is, except for one dumpling that sprouts arms and legs. Don’t worry, it’s not creepy, it’s cute.

It zooms through the life of the woman and her dumpling as he grows up into a bigger dumpling and eventually wants to leave home. This leads to the tragedy of the woman *SPOILER ALERT* eating her child dumpling. Once again, it’s not creepy. Seconds after, it’s revealed that, all along, the dumpling was her son. A son that abandoned her and distanced himself, creating tension when he comes back. It all ends happily when the love of a mother overpowers the fear of him leaving again.

This short film had me in tears before the main attraction even started. I was left shook and half-tempted to leave the theatre to call my own mom. Shi knew how to tug at the heart strings with a self-understood passion that she clearly demonstrated, telling a story with a moral that can only be described as undebatable and astounding. Family is around for a reason, and you shouldn’t cut that unless it’s necessary and healthier.

Even leaving Incredibles 2, I was thinking about this short. The story, the metaphors within, and all the thought that Shi must’ve put into the – for a lack of a better word – incredible journey of a mother and her child.


My Rating: 97.5%

Animation: 3.9/4

Direction: 3.9/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

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100th Day of BFS: The Best and Worst of 2018

To celebrate the 100th day of Basement Film Society, we’ve decided to take (nearly) every single movie that’s come out this year and put them in a list of top 10 and bottom 10.

The lists are based on the ratings that they have been given in our reviews. Percentages will be included in this post, as well. 

Anyways, let’s get started and thank you so much for joining us in our 100 day celebration! We cannot wait for 100 more!

Top 10 Best Movies… so far.

  1. First Reformed (98%)
  2. Hereditary (98%)
  3. Won’t You Be My Neighbor (96%)
  4. You Were Never Really Here (96%)
  5. Tully (96%)
  6. Adrift (95%)
  7. American Animals (94%) 
  8. Game Night (93.7%)
  9. Incredibles 2 (93%)
  10. Veronica (93%)

Top 10 Worst Movies… so far.

  1. 7 Days in Entebbe (56%)
  2. Overboard (53%)
  3. Red Sparrow (50%)
  4. Super Troopers 2 (46%)
  5. Taco Shop (39.4%)
  6. Truth or Dare (36%)
  7. Step Sisters (35%)
  8. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (33%)
  9. The Week Of (19%)
  10. The Kissing Booth (18%)

 

Film Forecast Friday: June 29th

On June 29th we have…

1. Sicario: Day of the Soldado

2. Uncle Drew

3. Escape Plan 2

4. Black Water

5. Woman Walks Ahead

6. Leave No Trace

Julia’s Prediction:

This week there aren’t really any big blockbuster movies coming out.

The movie I have seen the most marketing for is definitely Uncle Drew, and it has a lot of big names in it like Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, and more. So based on that I think this could be the biggest movie out of those coming out this week.

However, there have been so many big releases this month I doubt any of these movies will make a big impression at the box office. Between Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom these movies will have a hard time coming anywhere near the top of ticket sales.

Anthony’s Prediction:

I’ll start with Uncle Drew, which will make the most at the box office this weekend due entirely to its insane marketing and constant advertising on every platform.

Then we have Sicario: Day of the Soldado which is a sequel, so it’ll make nearly as much as Uncle Drew, even if it’s horrible.

Those two are going to be pretty much the only relevant ones this week, given that there hasn’t been much advertising or anticipation for the sequel to Escape Plan or whatever the heck the other movies are.

‘Boundaries’ Beautifully Depicts the Ups and Downs of Family

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Finally, a road trip movie worth watching.

For some reason road trips are often used in movies for both comedic and dramatic uses, and in most movies that feature them that is all they are about. But Boundaries is about so much more than that. It shows the sacrifices that we make for our family, despite the emotional turmoil that they may cause us.

Boundaries tells the story of Laura (Vera Farmiga), a single mother who rescues every stray animal she sees, and her troublesome relationship with her father Jack (Christopher Plummer). After avoiding her father for quite some time, Laura ends up having to drive him from Seattle to LA so he can stay with her sister Jojo (Kristen Schaal) after he is kicked out of his nursing home.

On this road trip they are accompanied by Laura’s son Henry (Lewis MacDougall), a socially awkward teenage boy, and some of the many dogs Laura has rescued. Unknown to Laura, Jack also has brought along large amounts of marijuana that he has enlisted Henry’s help with selling throughout their journey.

Boundaries is different than most road trip movies because it has so many different layers with some intricate character development. There is a lot going on with each and every character that intertwines itself with the story, making you very invested in all of them.

There is Laura and her relentless love for everyone around her, even when it hurts her. Henry with his issues at school and being able to interact with other people. And finally Jack, who has never been there for his children and is trying to figure out how to change his ways.

This really is a character driven piece which is why it was aided so heavily by the fact that the actors were brilliant. They were each able to portray the complexities of their characters in a way that brought you into the story so effortlessly.

This film was also quite funny. Although the story it presented was more dramatic in its nature, the dialogue and the interactions between the characters gave it a very cleverly thought out humor.

To be honest, I liked this film a lot more than I thought I would. I am always skeptical of road trip movies because they are usually all the same, but I was very pleasantly surprised by this one.

Boundaries tells an intricate and entertaining story of family and the complex emotions that go with it. Between the enthralling story mixed with both drama and comedy and the brilliant acting, I would highly recommend this film.


My Rating: 89%

Acting: 3.7/4

Cinematography: 3.4/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4

 

‘Tag’ is Ridiculous in the Best Way

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

I have to say I have been very impressed with a lot of the comedies this year. Films like Blockers, Game Night, and Life of the Party were such pleasant surprises. And now we have Tag, which I am pleased to say has only added to what a good year for comedy 2018 has been.

Tag follows a group of friends, played by Jeremy Renner, Jake Johnson, Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, and Hannibal Buress, as they play their annual game of tag. Their friend Jerry, played by Renner, has never been tagged, and this year they are determined to change that.

The premise of this movie may sound absurd and far-fetched, but it is actually based on a true story. There really is a group of friends who are able to stay in each other’s life by playing a very extreme version of tag one month out of the year. Personally, I find the concept very touching.

One of the things that this movie does really well is it owns up to how ridiculous it is. It does this through slow motion shots and narration when they’re in the middle of the game and about to tag someone. The element of being self-aware, and the knowledge that this is based on a true story makes this movie that much funnier.

The acting in this movie was absolutely amazing, which is not surprising considering the star studded cast it features. These actors are what really drive this movie home and make it as funny as it is. From their chemistry and the way they interact, to their impeccable comedic timing they are what make this movie.

Tag could have very easily been stupid and cringy, but it wasn’t. It owned up to the absurdity of its premise and had some amazing actors who had me laughing the whole movie. This is one of those movies that is so ridiculous that it works. It also has the underlying story of friendship that makes you want to keep watching even if just to see that unfold.


My Rating: 84%

Acting: 3.5/4

Cinematography: 2.8/4

Story: 3.5/4

Enjoyability: 3.7/4

 

‘Mean Girls’: The Movie that Defined a Generation

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

 
Happy Time Warp Tuesday everyone! I hope you’re getting your pink outfits ready for tomorrow because today we are talking about Mean Girls.

If you were alive in 2004 when this gem came out then I am sure you have seen it, but just in case, I will give you a rundown of the plot.

Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) has lived in Africa and been homeschooled her entire life until her and her biologist parents move to the suburbs of Illinois, and she has to get acquainted to the world of high school.

Once she arrives at North Shore High she is quickly scooped up by best friends Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese) who let her in on everything she needs to know about all the cliques at North Shore High. The most important and infamous being The Plastics. The Plastics contain massive deal Regina George (Rachel McAdams), secret holder Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), and ditzy Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried).

After The Plastics invite Cady to sit with them at lunch, Janis, Damien, and Cady devise a plan to take down the queen herself, Regina George. From that point on all kinds of chaos and girl world warfare ensues.

This movie is truly iconic. It has one of the funniest and most well written scripts, written by the amazingly talented and funny Tina Fey, which is evident in the fact that the script is often used as an example in film classes. And if you need any more proof of its icon status just look at how quotable it is. I mean practically the entire movie is quotable. Even if you have never seen this movie I am sure you could think of dozens of quotes from it because people are quoting it all the time.

Now I have seen this movie honestly probably hundreds of times, and it never gets old. October 3rd is a sacred day for me, Glen Coco is my personal hero, and if Regina George ever punched me in the face I would be truly honored. If you also were growing up in the early 2000s then I am sure you feel the same way because this is the movie of our generation. This is like the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or The Breakfast Club of our generation.

Mean Girls came out 14 years ago and it is still one of the most talked about and quoted movies. It is so amazing in fact that it is now also a Broadway Musical – which is absolutely fantastic, and if you haven’t listened to the soundtrack yet that is what you need to do for the next hour and a half.

All in all this movie is a timeless classic about high school life and an honest to God gift to this world.

‘Superfly’ Was Nothing Special

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Superfly is a remake of the 1972 film Super Fly. It follows Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson) who is a cocaine dealer who wants out of the drug world. His process of doing so ends up inciting a drug war and creates tensions with dirty cops.

Superfly is interesting in the fact that it was directed by Director X, who is famous for directing music videos for artists such as Rihanna and Drake. This definitely shows through as a lot of the imagery in the film feels like a music video.

Honestly, I really wasn’t a huge fan of this movie. To be fair, I have never seen the original and this isn’t really my kind of movie in the first place, but I do have specific reasons for why I personally did not like it.

First, the plot just felt like your typical drug war movie to me. There was nothing special or different. Everything that happened I expected to happen and saw coming.

Also, there were certain moments where it felt like the movie was maybe trying to make some kind of social commentary about police brutality, but stopped before it really finished doing so. I think had it went in that direction it would have added an extra element that would have made it far more interesting and compelling than your typical drug war kind of movie.

Visually, the movie was interesting with its imagery that was similar to that of a music video. But for me, that just wasn’t enough to compensate for a plot I wasn’t very interested in.

I think that for some, this movie would definitely be entertaining. Mostly, it is just violence, sex and drugs. If that is the kind of movie you are into then I would definitely recommend Superfly. But if not, maybe skip this one.


My Rating: 58%

Acting: 2.5/4

Cinematography: 2.8/4

Story: 2/4

Enjoyability: 2/4