November Offers Moviegoers A Much Needed Escape: Thoughts on Dr. Strange, The Accountant and Arrival (Don’t Worry, We Didn’t Spoil Anything!)


No matter what your views are on the recent U.S. election, we here at RiceBall want you to know that we will always provide an open and inclusive space for all. No matter what color you are, where you come from, what you believe in, or who you love….WE will always welcome and accept you. Nerds, non-nerds, UFOs, whomever! Always spread love over hate.

Sooo, it’s that time of the year where S.A.D has set in for most of us on the east coast, and in 2016 we’re finding it very hard to cope. Not only is it cold out, but it also gets dark at 4pm, holiday season is being forced down our throats (in the nauseating form of pumpkin spice and peppermint mocha), ANNND we’re still dealing with the results of a very emotional election season. I. AM. STRESSED. All I want to do these days is snuggle up on a couch somewhere (most likely as Bae’s inner spoon) and sip a hot, chocolate, possibly alcoholic drink. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking “How the hell did we get here???” To be honest, I’m more than ready to be done and over with 2016. Worst. Year. Ever. And it’s not even frick’in over yet.

Ugh. Slowly counting down to when I give the realest “Cheers” of my life on New Year’s Day to a bigger, better and brighter 2017 — I’m keeping hope alive.

~ To learn how to ease the symptoms of S.A.D., click here ~

Although I haven’t been in the best of spirits all month, I can say that November movies have been ON POINT! I’ve unapologetically spent every weekend in the theater so far and there’s no stopping me. I’ve become a weekend theater bum, watching as many new movies as I can. It’s been worth it. My $10 have been very well spent, every time.

So, what did I watch? Well…

Movie #1: The Accountant – Where Autism Kicks Ass (Literally)

Watch the trailer:

I saw this movie on a whim. It was this or Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Tim Burton. After reading his negative comments about diversity, I couldn’t stomach tossing him my hard earned dollars, SO I decided to go and support Ben Affleck instead. Separate from the rest of us, Ben has been having one of the best years of his life! When everyone doubted him (even me) he successfully pulled off his role as Batman in Batman vs. Superman — shocking us all! The movie itself might have been disappointing, but Ben as Batman just wasn’t. If you haven’t seen the movie yet (why haven’t you??), go see it just for Ben.

In The Accountant, Ben plays an autistic man named Christian Wolff who is impeccable with puzzles, specifically when they involve solving math problems. By day, he’s a normal tax accountant, but by night…well…you’ll see. Christian is socially awkward, due to his mental illness, and throughout the film we see how he overcomes his weaknesses by focusing mostly on his strengths.

The movie is action packed. There are several lull moments, but when it gets going, it keeps going. If you’re into the Bourne series, definitely check this out. It seems, Ben may have taken a few pointers from his bestie Matt Damon on shooting and hand-to-hand combat.

The plot is…somewhat…well-written. A few turning points in the movie left me confused, like…”wait, how did…?”, and I never really found the answer. If you can get past the spotty plot, the story is intriguing. Autism is a sensitive topic for many. A lot of people do not understand it and its complicated spectrum. This movie helps bring this condition to light. What the parents may go through, what the children endure, and even siblings. It also has an anti-bullying message — you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. We all have our flaws and its how we overcome and find the strength to go forward that make each of us unique. We’re all trying to find our place in this world. Being normal is relative.

The cast is phenomenal. Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal, J.K. Simmons, just to name a few. Everyone works so well together, especially Anna. Jon, though, he kind of plays the same type of roles. When watching him, I kept reminding myself…”No, he’s not Shane from TWD. Stop it.” They were all enjoyable, but Ben really made the movie. He played Christian so well. I don’t know too much about autism, so I can’t say he accurately played someone on the spectrum, but the performance was believable. Made me think of the Ben Affleck and I used to know and love pre-JLo. I’m telling you guys, Ben has his groove back!

Overall, the movie is fun to watch and an eye-opener for those who know nothing about autism. It shines a light on an illness that so many care about. I’m glad it was able to get such a positive spotlight.

RiceBall Score: 7.5/10

Movie #2: Dr. Strange – A Trippy, Mediocre Adventure

Watch the trailer:

RiceBall was invited to an exclusive early premiere of Dr. Strange hosted by Blogxilla at Regal Cinemas in New York City near Time Square. It was a 3D showing of the film topped off with complimentary popcorn and a medium drink. Just delightful. There was even an after party where we discussed the movie with fellow fans while sipping Hennessy. It was lit! Shout out to @Blogxilla and his team for the invite! We had an amazing time.

My special ticket got all crumpled in my back pocket – but had to snag a pic!

If you’re going to watch Dr. Strange, you MUST do it in 3D. There’s just no other way to watch. I was blown away by the CGI and SFX, especially in the scene where he meets the Sorceress Supreme. It was sooo trippy! Reminded me a lot of Inception and the dream sequences. For the mind-blowing effects alone, this film is worth the watch.

In the movie we learn Dr. Strange’s story – his history and how he came to be.  The story line isn’t perfect. The plot tends to be a bit slow and uninteresting. The comic book references weren’t clear and came off as incomprehensible jargon. If you knew nothing of Dr. Strange, the terms confuse you and just leave you that way. They offer no support to make the terms stick. Also, the acting wasn’t up to par. Chiwetel Ejiofor tries but just doesn’t cut it. He’s not believable at all. Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange is a great casting choice. He was fun to watch from beginning to end, and really brings the character to life. Tilda Swinton also did well. Although, I don’t necessarily agree with her casting, she delivered. The character was believable and even relate-able at times. I love the way she moved. It was graceful, yet so powerful. Rachel McAdams was also one of my favorites. She might have had a minor role, but her character added value to the story. What really made the movie great was THE CLOAK OF LEVITATION!!! Dude. Can you say, hilarious!? Just wait til you see it.

There isn’t anything really special about Dr. Strange. It felt like Marvel needed to make a Dr. Strange movie, soooo, they made one. It was unique in its SFX, but fell short of amazing when comparing it to its predecessors. I mean, Civil War is STILL the action movie of 2016. People are still talking about it, thinking about, writing about it, and are just twiddling their thumbs for Infinity War to drop. It feels like Marvel needed this movie just to add Dr. Strange to the mix.

Overall, it was a blockbuster, making millions in the box office — like it was supposed to. If you want a preview to Dr. Strange’s backstory, go see it. If you’re willing to wait for him to join Marvel Universe, well, you can do that too. He’ll be around for awhile.

RiceBall Score: 6/10 

Movie #3: Arrival – Don’t Discriminate, Communicate!

Watch the trailer:

I’m ALL about new sci-fi movies, so this was a MUST SEE!

Arrival is about aliens coming to earth and how us, humans, react to it. Yea, it’s not super original. If you’ve ever seen an “alien-based” sci-fi movie, you can probably imagine just how “humans” reacted. What’s different about it is the perspective. Most alien movies start off with destruction and demise where aliens come to destroy all life on earth (mostly so they can take over the planet and its resources). The aliens usually have better technology and are more in sync with each other than humans are, giving them somewhat of an advantage. Arrival is very similar, but has more of a realistic view of how humans, specifically the government, would act if our planet ever encountered beings from outer space. Communication is literally the key to understanding.

The plot moves VERY slow. So if you plan to watch, make sure you’ve had some coffee or a Red Bull first. If you tend to fall asleep watching slow paced movies, just wait to see it at home. THIS IS NOT AN ACTION MOVIE. The trailer may make it seem that way, but it’s totally a drama. Amy Adams is amazing, as always. She plays Dr. Louise Banks who is the heroine of the story. She is thrust into the alien situation because the government needs a communication expert. So, she acts as a translator, trying to both understand the aliens while also preventing an all-out war. She is accompanied by physicist, Dr. Ian Donnelly, who is played by Jeremy Renner. Forest Whitaker who plays Colonel Weber is their boss and recruits them both. I had no issues with this cast. Everyone worked well together to make believable characters. Amy, though, takes the cake. The entire time watching, I was rejuvenated by the girl power being seen on the screen. Dr. Banks took risks even when she was terrified and managed to be leader when many doubted her abilities. Her character mirrored the common struggle of educated, intellectual women. Needed only when necessary, but doubted until results are gained.

I don’t want to give anything away since there’s a twist to the plot, but I will say PAY CLOSE ATTENTION to what’s happening. It’s not particularly easy to follow at first, but everything comes clearer towards the end. You’ll enjoy the SFX in the movie and how you see the aliens communicate. It blew my mind, and made me think outside the box when it came to language and comprehension. I will say that humans need to stop being so damn sensitive to things we don’t understand. We usually kill first, think later. It made me realize how important educators and scientists are. They’re willing to take on subjects/topics beyond our initial understanding. It’s through them that we have a better view of the world. Their willingness to explore phenomena in the beyond has significantly helped human life prevail.

RiceBall Score: 7/10

Next up — Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Watch the trailer:

This weekend, Fantastic Beasts is on deck. I’m so ready. The conclusion of the Harry Potter series has left a huge hole in my heart that was originally filled with pure joy. I’m happy to be  filling that void again with magic from the Wizarding World.

It’s even more exciting because I know NOTHING about this. I read every Harry book before each movie (yep, one of those nerds), so I was completely aware of what to expect. This time, nada. I’m psyched!

Look out for a spoiler-free RiceBall Review about Fantastic Beasts in my next update!

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