Review for “Molly’s Game”

Movie poster

Synopsis:  A former Olympic skier becomes a hyper-successful runner of gambling.

Cast:  Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom, Idris Elba as Charles Jaffrey, Kevin Costner as Larry Bloom

 

Did you know there was such a thing as professional gambling?  I always thought that gambling was just a leisurely thing, not some career.  Apparently, it is possible to gamble professionally.  The movie Molly’s Game is about a very popular game runner, Molly Bloom.  Her rise and fall.

Jessica Chastain was perfect for the role of Molly Bloom.  I’ve seen the real Molly Bloom on YouTube.  The mannerisms, the rapid-fire speech, the voice.  The voice!  Everything was spot-on.  It was a captivating performance from Chastain.  Also very good was Idris Elba, who played Charlie Jaffrey.  He was certainly charming and smart.  He and Chastain played off each other very well.  Interesting how his character had a couple of things in common with Molly’s father.  Speaking of which, great supporting performance by Kevin Costner, who plays Molly’s demanding father.  Especially the scene between the two of them at the end.

Aaron Sorkin is new to directing, but not-so-new to filmmaking. He’s written–or co-written–many of the movies people know and love.  This was a pretty impressive directorial debut.  I liked how he used nonlinear storytelling.  Usually, this is confusing for me.  But in Molly’s Game, it wasn’t.  It actually helped me to understand Molly better.  Her motivations and why she did what she did.  That would’ve happened in a more traditional setup, but this was better.  Also, this could’ve easily been a “glitz and glamor” type of story.  There’s certainly glitz and glamor in this movie.  (It is a movie partly about gambling, after all.).  But I liked how it was more a background thing.  The main focus was on Molly’s story.   But the cinematography was pretty good. Good job, cinematographers!

I think Molly was a very interesting character, but there were a few times where I was annoyed with her.  I tried to understand some of her actions, but it was hard to.  But the movie probably needed those scenes.

 

Ultimately, Molly’s Game is a fun, enjoyable ride.  It takes what could’ve been a drab, paint-by-numbers biopic and made it intriguing.  I’ll have to pick up the book sometime.  In the meantime, take a bet and go see Molly’s Game.  I’d give it an 8 out of 10.

Favorite Holiday Movies

HTGAWM: Predictable and Intense?

htgawm-718540758.jpgCan something or someone be predictable and intense at the same time?  I guess it is possible, especially with this show.  That’s exactly how I felt about the winter finale.  Here are some thoughts:

  1.  Connor— He was never really a favorite of mine throughout the series.  But he’s actually grown on me this season.  He was the voice of reason that no one wanted to hear.  I wish so desperately that someone listened to him and aborted this insane revenge plan.  Things could’ve turned out differently.
  2. The Elevator Birth Scene–  This scene definitely burned into my memory, not in the good way.  It was too scary, sad and intense.  Top notch acting from Viola Davis and Karla Souza.  I had to fast-forward the scene because it was too much to stomach.  I was so relieved when the baby started crying.  But I’m also worried about him and Annalise.  I’m afraid she’ll start drinking again and the baby will be kidnapped by Laurel’s evil father.
  3. World’s Dumbest Death Scene–  Connor was on my list as the top victim at first.  But as time went on, I started thinking maybe he wouldn’t be the victim, after all.  Connor was nowhere near happy in this episode, so that meant he was safe.    Simon Drake has been a throne in Keating people’s sides for more than a year.  He was a mild threat to them.  Once Simon confessed his feelings for Oliver, that’s when I knew for sure.  He was a goner.  But the way the death scene happened was so dumb.  The first time I saw it, it made my stomach jump.  But looking back, I think it could’ve been done better.
  4. Annalise and Isaac–  Is it bad that I actually want the two of them to be together?  Sure, this relationship would be a complete and utter disaster that would possibly ruin them both.  But they do seem to care greatly for each other.  They would make a believable, albeit toxic pair.   Sadly, an Annaleve reunion isn’t in the cards.  I don’t want her back together with Nate.  (Why is Nate still on the show again?)
  5. Incomplete–  Despite everything that happened in this episode, it still felt very incomplete.  None of the flashback scenes were shown in the episode.  We still don’t know what going to happen to baby Wes.  But one thing is certain:  Those brats had better not blame Annalise for their problems anymore.  She has always looked out for them, whether she wanted to or not.  They are way more than capable of causing their own problems.  Mommy will end up cleaning up this mess too.  Sadly, the only way she’ll ever be free of these freaks is if they’re dead.  They should kill off everybody except Annalise and the baby.  Find a way to bring Wes back from the dead.  Then the three can live somewhat happily-ever-after.

 

Oh well.  Until next time……

HTGAWM: 48 Hours to Go…..

htgawm-718540758.jpgMan, this show is like a drug.  You know it’s bad for you, but you just can’t help yourself.  I watched the latest episode of How to Get Away with Murder a few hours ago.  And I had a bunch of theories bouncing around in my head.  Who is the victim?  Who is the killer?  Is there even a killer or victim?  Here are a few guesses……

 

  1.  Possible Victim#1:  Connor.  One of the few highlights of the season is Connor, surprisingly enough.  He usually tap-dances on my last nerves with his whining and constant complaining.  But he’s been…..okay so far. He’s matured a little this season. His depression over not working was understandable.  As were his daddy issues.  He and Annalise actually made a formidable team.  Who knew that would happen?  He seems like he’s very happy for once.  But happy people never last on this show.  Plus, Connor’s whereabouts for that night are still unknown.  Which means he’ll likely die…….
  2.   Possible Victim #2 : Simon.  Everyone knows Simon, one of the latest thorns in Former Keating Students’ sides.  Always around for a scornful remark or holier-than-thou attitude.  He is so annoying!  Why he even here?  Maybe he finally insults the wrong person and pays for it with his life?  From the looks of the latest promo, whatever happens happens at the party.  Maybe the killer is another coworker…
  3. Possible Victim #3:  Nate.  Speaking of useless characters, let’s talk about Nate.  Like Connor and Simon, Nate’s location during that night is also unknown.  Practically every time he’s appeared this season, it’s been about Annalise.  Talking about her, obsessing over her.  Usually with Bonnie.  But Annalise looked pretty traumatized in the last few minutes of 406.  Washing the blood off of her.  Is it Nate’s blood?  Did she see who killed him?
  4.   Laurel.  This season, I’ve officially jumped on the “I hate Laurel” bandwagon.  They’ve assassinated her character so much, I don’t think anything can be done to make me like her again.  As first I was excited about the “Justice for Wes” plot.  I wanted–and still want–someone to pay for murdering my poor Wes.  But as we later find out, it isn’t about justice for Wes or for the baby.  Why even bring up the paternity thing again?!  Ugh!!!  It’s all about her.  And she’s endangering the lives of everyone around her, including Frank.  But I don’t care about Frank. (Why is he even here again?).  There’s a possibility that the blood in the elevator is Laurel’s.  That she went into labor and/or had the baby in there.  But there were drugs in her system, right?    Annalise lost her son all those years ago.  PTSD flashback?
  5.  Asher.   Asher is basically the new Connor in some ways.  He’s gotten more annoying this season, I initially thought.  But then his  behavior is warranted.  Michaela has kept him out of the loop for most of the season.  You’re not supposed to do that with someone you care about.  Plus, Asher is always out of the loop!  That sucks.  Anyways, back to Murder Night (?) 4.  I don’t think Asher hurt anyone this time.  I think he just witnessed it.  Maybe one of the powers that be at the party caught him with Tegan’s key card.  That’s why he’s in jail.
  6.   Tegan.    It better not be her.  That’s all I’ll say about that.

 

Those are my thoughts about next week.  Until next time…….

HTGAWM: Annalise & Hargrove Team up Again

This week’s episode was somewhat… watchable. But there were a few highlights.  They are:

 

  1.  Poor Wes….  Even in death, Wes is getting screwed over.  It’s pretty rare for me to feel this emotionally attached to a character.  But with Wes gone, it feels like watching an entirely different, yet inferior show with the same actors.  They might as well find Wes’ ashes and spit on them.  Now there’s the possibility that Wes’ baby may not be Wes’ baby?!  What more are you going to do to Wes?!  This makes me so pissed off.  How could they do that to him?  Are we ever going to see Wes get real justice?  Does Laurel even care about the baby at all?  Killing Wes was the biggest mistake Nowalk and co. have ever made, and they know it.
  2. Annalise vs. Michaela.  I didn’t know how much I needed this confrontation until this episode.  Annalise is clearly a very damaged individual, but at least she’s honest about it.   My top moment of this episode was their last encounter at the elevator.  Michaela’s new boss offered Annalise a job offer.  This infuriated Michaela to no end.  So she confronted Annalise at the elevator as the latter was leaving.  Blah, blah, blah.  Michaela goes on about having a ‘real mentor for once’, telling Annalise not to ruin this for her.  That’s when our queen went in for the kill.  “You’re doing it again–looking for a mommy everywhere you go.  Me, Tegan, whatever woman you encounter next.  You want us all to be the mother yours never was.”  And she left Michaela stuttering, because she knows it’s true.
  3. Connor’s dads.  When Connor’s father showed up, I was convinced that he would be some sort of bully.  That he’d demand that Connor go back to law school or give back the tuition.  Surprisingly, none of that happened.  Jeff actually turned out to be a very nice guy, and so did Ted. Jeff was very proud of Connor for being the person he was.  Was is the operative word here.  Before he turned into the annoying mess he is now. He was obviously disappointed in Connor, but he did try to be supportive of him.  A lot of people also gave Jeff crap for saying that Oliver is wrong for him.  But he wasn’t wrong.  Connor clung to Oliver because of the stability he provides.  He spent most of the relationship lying to Oliver, and they’ve never properly dealt with their issues.  If not for Murder Night #1.  Or if they called 911 like they should’ve done, Connor wouldn’t be dealing this.  Plus, Wes would still be alive……
  4. Annalise & Hargrove.  I almost screamed at the screen when Annalise went back to Middleton.  Why would Annalise want to go back there?!  But thankfully, she went to Hargrove for a different kind of job.  Hargrove and her ex-husband are still in a bitter custody battle, with millions of dollars at stake.  Annalise is obviously happiest when she’s working.  And despite a few hiccups, she won Hargrove’s case.  Got her joint custody of the kids.  Does this mean that all is forgiven with Annalise and Soraya?  Maybe, maybe not…..

 

 

So there’s that.  I wish Annalise would move to an island far away from these brats….

 

HTGAWM: Annalise Still Can’t Catch a Break

htgawm-feat2111859018.jpgLast week, in the should’ve been season premiere of How to Get Away with Murder, Annalise finally came back!  After what felt like an eternity, Annalise was back in court and fighting hard, like she did in Season 1 & 2.  Her first client back was Jasmine Bromelle, her friend from prison.  She won the case, but it seemed to be all for naught in Annalise’s mind.  This week, poor Jasmine is found dead and Annalise had to identify the body.  Of course, Annalise pretended not to care.  You could tell she was very upset and Jasmine was important to her.  They were points in the scene with her therapist where I thought she would cry.  I liked Jasmine and I wish they didn’t kill her off.  Let her have the fresh start she was deprived of her whole life.  But you know what happens to interesting characters on this show……

 

Speaking of being deprived, we meet a man called Ben Carter.  He’s been in prison for 12 years for murdering his fiancee’.  Of course, he insists that he didn’t do it.  Annalise takes his case, and she gets part-time work with the Public Defender’s office.  In this case, she has to go up against Nate Lahey in one scene.  Nate was her on-again, off-again lover for 3 seasons.  Now they’re definitely off. He understandably hold a grudge against Annalise. In fact, he and Bonnie–who I never really cared for–convince Oliver to hack against Annalise. At first, Oliver is reluctant to do so, but snake Bonnie manipulated him into doing it. I don’t condone violence, but I wish Annalise kicked the crap out of annoying Bonnie.  The weird thing is what they said during their brief screaming match was true on both counts.  Bonnie’s emotions always got in the way, and except in one particular season 1 case, she’s proven to be a not-so-good lawyer.  And we know that Annalise has a big ego and can’t stand to fail.  I wish Nate hadn’t gotten in between then.

 

And then there’s the not-very-Keating group.  God, they are all so annoying. Spoiled, entitled brats who bitch about Annalise every chance they get.  I guess I have to include Oliver in this bunch.  Seeing all of their scenes, I find myself just missing Wes more and more.  At least, he was truly loyal and appreciative.  He could be whiny, but not like the others.  Frank pissed me off even more, calling Wes ‘the dead puppy’.  I wanted to smack him for saying that.

 

Well anyways.  Adding even more to the annoying pile, the group is pissed off at Connor for dropping out of law school.  That wasn’t too hard to guess.  Last week, it was pretty much confirmed that Connor never really wanted to be a lawyer to begin with.  He did it to please his dad, who’s apparently a hotshot lawyer himself.  They were all so unsupportive with their nagging and whining. Trying to force himself back into law school.  After everything they went through in the past 3 years, they should at least be empathetic to Connor’s plight.  Can anyone really blame him?  It’s Connor’s decision and they should respect it.  But I still wouldn’t call what the Not-so-Fantastic group a friendship.  More like a toxic waste dump, like Connor said.  Then a surprising development—we meet Connor’s dads.  I was under the impression that Connor’s dad was homophobic.  He certainly didn’t have nice things to say about his father.  I’m pretty sure that Connor’s father will try to force him back into law school.  It’ll probably work since Connor is kind of weak.

Annalise won her case, but I didn’t like how she did it.  Someone left a package for Annalise at her door.  She assumes it was Frank because he’s the only person who knows where she lives.  But Frank insists that it wasn’t him.  The package contained on old DVD that confirmed that Kym really did kill herself.  Annalise asks Frank to find out who sent the tape.  It was her boss, Miss Cross.  Annalise shouldn’t have showed that DVD in open court.  Why?  Because Ben’s daughter was there.  She had to watch a video of her mother killing herself!  I felt so sorry for her and Ben.  And Miss Cross.  She said that the lawyers, including herself, have up to 200 cases at a time.  200 cases?!  That would overwhelm a robot!  I almost didn’t blame her for spitting on Annalise.  I guess it’s safe to say they won’t be working together anymore.

Laurel finally came across a key piece of evidence in operation Justice for Wes.  She persuaded Frank to persuade Bonnie to get her a job at the DA’s office.  While there, she found out that her father landed in Philadelphia the night Wes was killed.  Dominick was likely on the flight with him.  Finally, it feels like she’s one step closer to getting her revenge.  But what’s going to happen to Wes and Laurel’s son?

 

All in all, a very watchable episode.  Not as good as last week’s episode, but definitely better than the season premiere.