Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Spectacular Feature Sense & Sensibility is a Great Example of Using Big-Name Talent Right

Ang Lee is not content to do just one type of movie. The filmography of this Oscar-winning filmmaker spans all kinds of movies inhabiting a variety of genres and exploring different scopes of storytelling. Sometimes he goes small and intimate, other times he does sweeping visual effects heavy allegorical exercises and other times still he does a Marvel Comics superhero movie that explores the long-term effects of parental abuse. Ang Lee goes in such bold directions as a filmmaker that even a more lackluster film like Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk has individual elements one can admire. No wonder then that pairing this kind of filmmaker with a collection of top-notch British actors and one of the most acclaimed works by Jane Austen resulted in a truly special film.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

In Laman's Terms: Disney And Its Pursuit of a Best Picture Winner

In Laman's Terms is a weekly editorial column where Douglas Laman rambles on about certain topics or ideas that have been on his mind lately. Sometimes he's got serious subjects to discuss, other times he's just got some silly stuff to shoot the breeze about. Either way, you know he's gonna talk about something In Laman's Terms!

In the 1950s and 1960s, musicals were a surefire bet for scoring Best Picture nominations and even outright wins in the case of features like An American In Paris or Oliver! It shouldn't be any surprise then that beloved live-action musical Mary Poppins managed to score a Best Picture nod, the first time ever Disney managed to have a presence in the Best Picture category. Losing to My Fair Lady that year, it was a fleeting moment of Oscar recognition for a studio that, to this day, is still the only one of the major American movie studios to not have won a Best Picture Oscar. Poor poor Disney, let me play a mournful song for you. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Broadway Melody Made Cinematic History By Being The First Subpar Movie to Win Best Picture

Do you hear that? It's the sound of how much impact introducing sound into motion pictures had on the artform of cinema as a whole. So influential was this technological breakthrough that its widely speculated to be a key reason why The Broadway Melody managed to score a Best Picture win at the second Academy Awards ceremony, the first ever ceremony that saw non-silent films competing for Best Picture. In terms of its technological innovations, The Broadway Melody was a breakthrough (though it was far from the first movie to use sound) but unlike other films that pushed cinematic technology forward like The Wizard of Oz or Toy Story, The Broadway Melody as just a movie is pretty lackluster.

A Man For All Seasons Makes For A Great Companion Piece To Fellow Fred Zinnemann Directorial Effort High Noon

Anyone who's read my reviews for even the briefest period of time knows it's not unusual for me to have never heard of a beloved iconic movie. But I feel like my lack of knowledge on the existence of A Man For All Seasons is a tad more common than, say, being ignorant on the existence of Ang Lee's version of Sense & Sensibility until I saw a trailer for it on a DVD copy of A Man For All Seasons. Despite scoring a Best Picture Oscar back in the mid-1960s, I've rarely heard the film discussed or even mentioned at all in cinematic-based discourse. Perhaps this is because its victory at the Oscars that year didn't beat out a movie many consider to be widely superior or because it's widely considered to be an especially dismal Best Picture choice like The Broadway Melody, Crash or Green Book, two attributes that can spur up regular conversation.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Before Sunset Is Top-of-The-Line Romantic Drama Cinema

It took me six years, but I've finally watched all three of Richard Linklater's Before movies. I inadvertently decided to watch these in an order that is guaranteed to understandably make many people's skin crawl as I first watched Before Midnight in its initial theatrical back in July 2013 before finally getting around to Before Sunrise just last August and then finally coming around to Before Sunset on Valentine's Day 2019. This wasn't my long-game attempt to create some kind of Machete Order for viewing these three movies, it was merely my inability to watch the original two movies before seeing Before Midnight combined with me taking forever to get around to watching its two predecessors. 

All Hail Toothless As Dragons Not Voiced By Sean Connery End 2019 Domestic Box Office Cold Spell With Great $55.3 Million Opening Weekend

Nearly three years ago, Universal bought DreamWorks Animation, adding a second major animation company to the studios to accompany hit-maker Illumination. This weekend saw the release of the first Universal/DreamWorks Animation feature, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and it kicked off the duo's partnership in style with the biggest DreamWorks Animation opening weekend in seven years. Opening to $55.5 million, the newest Hiccup & Toothless adventure beat out pre-release box office tracking to score the biggest debut ever for a How to Train Your Dragon movie, beating out the $49.4 million opening weekend of the second movie by 12%. It's also the eighth biggest opening weekend ever for a movie opening in February and the eighth biggest opening weekend ever for a DreamWorks Animation feature.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Happy Death Day 2U Is An Admirably Ambitious And Fun Slasher Movie Sequel That Goes For Broke And Then Some

Spoilers for the first Happy Death Day movie follow!

Slasher movie sequels are common. Slasher movie sequels like Happy Death Day 2U?  Less so. Instead of just taking the killer in the Babyface mask to Manhattan or to Hell, Happy Death Day 2U decides to just lean into all the high-concept science-fiction possibilities you could think of coming out of the first movie's premise. Writer/director Christopher Landon is just letting his imagination run rampant in expanding on the world of Happy Death Day and though the resulting motion picture is one of those movies that may work better as individual sequences than as a whole feature, it's also really fun to watch and shows way more creativity than your average slasher movie sequel.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Blue Dahlia Is Competent But Struggles To Stand Out From Other Classic Film Noirs

Like the same year's Best Picture winner The Best Years of Our Lives, the 1946 George Marshall directorial effort The Blue Dahlia deals explicitly with the experiences of soldiers coming home to World War II and trying to adjust a world that's eerily familiar yet oh so strange. That's what's happening to Johnny Morrison (Alan Ladd) and his two friends and fellow soldiers Buzz Wanchek (William Bendix) and George Copeland (Hugh Beaumont) as they attempt to return to reality after enduring all kinds of horrors in World War II, one of which left Buzz with a plate in his head. It isn't long before Johnny's life is tossed into chaos when Johnny's wife is murdered shortly after the two have an argument.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Closes Out This Fantasy Trilogy In Style

DreamWorks Animation loves sequels almost as much as Disney loves remaking classic animated movies as overly realistic live-action movies. When one considers that this is the same studio that produced four Shrek follow-up's in the 10 years after the first movie's release, it's shocking how this is only the second How to Train Your Dragon sequel since the original film was released in March 2010. A more measured approach to producing sequels to this particular DreamWorks Animation feature has certainly paid off, the newest installment in the series, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, is the weakest entry in the series yet it still manages to stand as one of the best things to come out of the studio responsible for "cookies are for closers".

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Shoplifters Is An Outstanding Empathetic Portrait of The Human Beings That Make Up One Chosen Family

The lead characters of Shoplifters are six people that society has tossed aside. Originally, this group merely consists of arried couple Osamu (Lily Franky) & Nobuyo (Sakura Ando), Aki (Mayu Matsuoka),  Aki's grandmother Hatsue (Kirin Kiki) and a child named Shota (Kairi Jo) who all live together in a small house and get their money primarily through selling items they shoplift and through Hatsue's pension. but their ramshackle makeshift family expands to include a little girl previously living in an abusive household that they proceed to name Lin (Miyu Sasaki). Maybe the broader world is done with these people but they aren't done with each other as they create a chosen family unit that tries to support one another, particularly newcomer Lin.

The Lead Criminals-To-Be of The Postman Always Rings Twice Are Fascinatingly Flawed At Actually Being Criminals

The two lead characters of The Postman Always Rings Twice are not very good at being criminals. If the movie had decided to incorporate more doses of dark comedy, they'd probably start to resemble the clueless protagonists of a Coen Brothers movie. But considering that neither of our leads begins this story as world-class murderers, it feels fitting that they wouldn't be very good at the whole criminal game and it ends up being pretty interesting to watch these novices gradually try to pull off a gruesome murder for personal gain. Nothing goes according to the plan these inexperienced souls put together and that element of the story is one of the best parts of The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

In Laman's Terms: Why Are Dragons So Scarce In Movies?

In Laman's Terms is a weekly editorial column where Douglas Laman rambles on about certain topics or ideas that have been on his mind lately. Sometimes he's got serious subjects to discuss, other times he's just got some silly stuff to shoot the breeze about. Either way, you know he's gonna talk about something In Laman's Terms!

Fantasy has been well-worn territory for movies going all the way back to the days of Alice Guy-Blanche. Cinematic fantasy became especially prominent once stop-motion visual effects and refined puppetry allowed beloved otherworldly creatures that were staples of fantasy literature to be brought to life. Fairies, ogres, dwarves, they've all been common staples of fantasy cinema all around the world for decades. But my personal favorite fantasy creature has been far more scarce in fantasy cinema throughout the ages, for a multitude of reasons, dragons just aren't as commonly seen in fantasy filmmaking as nearly every other type of fantasy creature you can imagine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Keep The Change Creates An Engaging Romantic-Comedy By Treating People on the Autism Spectrum Like People

I've been waiting for years for a movie like Keep the Change. As an avid lover of cinema who resides on the Autism spectrum, I've been dying to see more movies with characters on the Autism spectrum who actually seem like real people instead of variations on Rain Man or Sheldon Cooper. Aside from the rare burst of Autistic authenticity seen in figures like Christian Bale's character in The Big Short, it's hard for me to recognize any sense of reality in conventional pop culture approaches to people on the Autism spectrum. This unfortunate trend has left me waiting for eons for a motion picture that actually tackles people on the Autism spectrum in a thoughtful manner and finally, the wait has paid off with the arrival of Keep the Change.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Douglas Laman's 18 Best Films of 2018

Every year I tell myself two things: the first is that I'll get my Best Films of the Year list up earlier than the year before that and I'll manage to whittle that list down to a more reasonable number compared to years past. I always fail to meet these goals and my Best Films of 2018 list was no exception. But can you blame me for extending this from the usual top ten to top eighteen? Heck, I had to leave out so many excellent films even while extending it to eighteen! 2018 was a treasure trove of cinema across all countries and genres and it was a difficult task to just pick eighteen of the films from last year to represent the best that 2018 cinema had to offer. Nonetheless, I did manage to make too many tough calls to mention and eventually picked out eighteen of the 184 2018 movies I've seen for my Best Films of 2018 list.

Like in years past, this list is done in alphabetical order save for one movie I've declared to be the best of the year. Without further ado, here are the eighteen best movies of 2018, as picked by yours truly.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

It's No Wonder The Excellent Romantic-Comedy Roman Holiday Launched Audrey Hepburn As A Movie Star

There's something exciting about going back to an iconic movie stars first breakthrough lead performance. Whether we're talking about early films starring Tom Hanks, Toshiro Mifune or Katherine Hepburn, that sensation of going back to a time when a revered household name was merely an up-and-comer looking for their big break is uniformly incredibly exciting. The same can be said for going back in time to the 1953 romantic-comedy Roman Holiday, an elegantly simple affair that served as the first star vehicle for Audrey Hepburn. Though now recognized as one of the pivotal figures of the American cinema scene, there was a time in the middle of the 20th century where Hepburn wasn't a widely well-known leading lady, though, of course, Roman Holiday changed all of that!

2019's Quiet Domestic Box Office Continues As Alita: Battle Angel Has An Underwhelming Opening Weekend Over Meek President's Day Frame

Note: All figures discussed in this piece are for the three-day weekend unless stated otherwise. 

20th Century Fox, the studio behind Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, Alien and The Sound of Music, got to release their last movie before they're absorbed into the Disney conglomerate. At least they got to top the domestic box office one last time with Alita: Battle Angel, which grossed $27.8 million this weekend. Having grossed $36.5 million since its Thursday launch, this one's actually managed to beat out box office tracking that suggested it wouldn't be able to top $25 million in its first five days of release and came in ahead 50% of the opening weekend of Ghost in the Shell despite burning off demand on Thursday, but it's still a far from ideal showing for a movie that cost $170 million to make.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Reader Is A Staggeringly Tone-Deaf And Poorly Executed Endeavor

CW: Discussions of sexual assault 

Did nobody when making The Reader stop to think that the plot of this movie was more than a touch icky while they were making it? While I'm aware they didn't make this story up since it's based on a 1995 book by Bernhard Schlink, surely somebody had to look around at what they were spending about $32 million on and think that maybe, just maybe, it could be better spent elsewhere. I suppose not though, which is a tragically likely scenario given how people all over the world tend to minimize sexual assault experiences of any kind. After all, in 2018, the President of the United States openly mocked a sexual assault survivor, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that, a decade prior, a feature film like The Reader was made that treated the sexual assault of an underage boy as the topic of a weepie conventional romantic drama that doesn't seem to realize how disturbing its central premise is.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Lead Character of Alita: Battle Angel Packs A Wallop, The Movie Overall, Less So

After more than two decades of production, Alita: Battle Angel has finally made its way to the big screen. A long-time passion project for James Cameron, the filmmaker behind Avatar has turned over the directorial reins of Alita: Battle Angel to Robert Rodriguez, though a number of fixtures of Cameron's 21st-century artistic passions can still be found in the film (after all, Cameron still wrote the script), primarily the use of a protagonist brought to life through motion-capture animation. Fusing together the sensibilities of the director of Titanic with the director of Machete turns out to result in a movie that's agreeable but not quite outstanding.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Best Years of Our Lives Mostly Works As An Ambitious Contemplation of Post-WWII American Society

Where was American cinema supposed to go in the wake of World War II? In the broader sweep of history, 1950's American filmmaking emphasized grandiose spectacle intent on keeping the masses distracted from reality and those new-fangled television sets, but in the wake of World War II ending in 1945, we did have a handful of movies that offered up reflections on real-world wars instead of pure and simple escapism. These kinds of films would be far more prominent in the 1970s and 1980's when it was time for American cinema to come to terms with the Vietnam War and would struggle to gain much of a foothold in the modern-day American cinema landscape where less challenging reflections on war like Lone Survivor or American Sniper tend to win out over more thoughtful meditations on the subject.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Make Sure To Spend Some Time With The Creative Horror Comedy Happy Death Day

Though so many popular horror films (namely the Evil Dead movies) fall under the categorization of horror comedies, they haven't been much of a moneymaker at the domestic box office. That might be because too many modern-day examples of the trend are helmed by filmmakers who don't have the sense of tonal balance as, say, Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson and end up going too far in embracing the comedy side of that genre pairing, which can leave the horror feeling underwhelming. Then again, functioning more of a wacky dark comedy than as a straight-up horror film can have its benefits, just ask Happy Death Day.

Merging The Direction of Steven Soderbergh With An Excellent Tarell Alvin McCraney Script Make High Flying Bird A Winner

Steven Soderbergh may have "retired" for a brief period in the mid-2010s, but he's now managed to deliver three more directorial efforts in the span of 18 months starting with 2017's delightful comedy Logan Lucky. The newest effort in his return to directing see's Soderbergh going to the land that so many filmmakers are traveling to these days to get their movies made: Netflix. After his attempt to shake up theatrical distribution with is last two films and the Fingerprint Releasing label, Soderbergh's decided to just unleash his newest movie, High Flying Bird, as well as his next directorial effort (the Meryl Streep vehicle The Laundromat) for the streaming service that managed to really kick its original movie game into high gear last year.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Things Are Far From Awesome For LEGO Movie 2 As It Opens To Only $34.4 Million Over Weak February 2019 Box Office Frame

Heading into the weekend, it looked like The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part was a surefire box office hit. Even given how The LEGO Batman Movie came in a bit behind expectations in 2017 and The LEGO Ninjago Movie outright flopped the same year, it still looked like the newest LEGO adventure was on track for a strong bow in the $45-50 million range. Instead, The LEGO Movie 2 ended up opening to far lower numbers than anyone could have predicted. This feature took in only $34.4 million this weekend, down about 50% from the opening weekend of the first LEGO movie and down 36% from the opening weekend of The LEGO Batman Movie. It did hold on decently well throughout the weekend with a massive Friday-to-Saturday increase, but that doesn't help much when those day-to-day holds still only result in a $34.4 million bow.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Cold War Follows In The Footsteps of Au Hasard Balthazar and Silence In Being A Compelling Story of Human Anguish

It used to be common for a movie to manage to score a Best Director nomination without managing to capture a Best Picture nomination, but ever since the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences re-expanded the amount of Best Picture nominees from five to anywhere from five to ten in 2009, only two movies have managed to achieve this feat. The first of this duo emerged four years ago with Foxcatcher, which managed to score a Best Director nod and two acting nominations but got snubbed from Best Picture. The other movie was Cold War, director Pawil Pawlikowski's first directorial effort since his acclaimed 2014 feature Ida, and it actually got nominated for Best Director without scoring a simultaneous Best Picture nod just a month ago.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The LEGO Movie 2 Works Well As An Allegory, Less So As A Comedy

Considering how many modern-day American computer-animated movies primarily concentrate on how much dabbing, celebrity voice-overs and Minions going "BANANA!!" they can shove into their runtime, it feels like declaring that the biggest problem with The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is that it leans too heavily on its central allegory at the expense of humor should be a compliment disguised as a critique. Can something like The Emoji Movie even spell allegory, let alone execute one? But The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, though not devoid of entertainment, does feel like a movie so wrapped up in its central allegory that its attempts at humor feel more obligatory rather than actually entertaining.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Attack The Block Provides A Clever Twist On Alien Invasion Movies

2009 to 2012 was a strange era for American indie cinema. To make a long story short, back in 2008 a number of high-profile American movie studios, like Warner Independent Pictures, Miramax and Paramount Vantage, dedicated to releasing limited release fare shut down. The major studios did not move to take over releasing such films and there were no new indie-centric studios created to fill the gap. While 2013 saw a comeback of sorts begin for American indie fare, mainly because of a number of sleeper hits at the 2013 box office that reinvigorated limited release fare and especially the creation of studios like A24, Amazon Studios and Netflix, indie features that tried to break through the American marketplace from 2009 to 2012 were the ones who suffered due to this dark period for indie fare at the domestic box office.

We The Animals Chronicles The Process of Growing Up In A Troubled Childhood

Note: For full disclosure, I am friends with Kat Hess, the first assistant director of We The Animals. 

After spending a decade helming documentary features, short films and documentary short, director Jeremiah Zagar embarks into the territory of narrative movies with We The Animals, an adaptation of a 2011 novel of the same name by Justin Toores. The film chronicles the troubled childhood of Jonah (Evan Rosado) and his two brothers, Manny (Isaiah Kristian) and Joel (Josiah Gabriel), who grow up under the same roof as their troubled parents who we only know as Ma (Sheila Vand) and Paps (Raul Castillo). Paps especially is a troublesome presence in Jonah's life given how often he turns to violent and aggressive behavior that takes its toll on Jonah and his siblings over time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

In Laman's Terms: Six Movies Based On Toys That Never Got Made

In Laman's Terms is a weekly editorial column where Douglas Laman rambles on about certain topics or ideas that have been on his mind lately. Sometimes he's got serious subjects to discuss, other times he's just got some silly stuff to shoot the breeze about. Either way, you know he's gonna talk about something In Laman's Terms!

Yes, two weeks in a row where In Laman's Terms used the "Listicle" format of writing. Sorry about that, I'll try to get a traditional editorial essay going next week, but I did wanna try out the "Listicle" format again today to talk about movies based on toys. Hollywood has had an on-again/off-again infatuation with these types of films over the past 12 years, with Transformers (in 2007) and The LEGO Movie (in 2014) each starting a mini-wave of studios announcing new movies based on toys in hope of capturing the box office success of those titles. Some (like the two G.I. Joe movies or the upcoming Playmobil Movie) actually got made, while others languished.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Great Performances And A Thoughtful Script Come Together Nicely For Frost/Nixon

Except for 2013's underappreciated racecar drama Rush and an acclaimed Beatles documentary from 2015, Ron Howard has spent most of the last decade doing genre work that's ranged from solidly diverting (Solo, Angels & Demons) to outright dismal (Inferno, The Dilemma). That's a shame since I'd say Howard actually works best as a filmmaker when he's doing more grounded dramas. Not every foray into this field works for him, as seen by the messy A Beautiful Mind, but he does tend to have a better track record here since, among other factors, he's usually working with better scripts on the likes of Rush or Apollo 13 than when he's helming mechanically crafted movie adaptations of The Grinch of The Da Vinci Code.

The Thoroughly Delightful Stan & Ollie Makes An Iconic Comedy Duo Proud

By the early 1950s, famous comedy duo Stanley Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) were looking to revitalize their careers by way of a Robin Hood motion picture that Laurel had written. In order to both help secure funding for the prospective project and prove that there was still a viable audience for their comedy, the pair embarked on a tour across Europe that saw them reuniting for the first time in ages. Why had they split off? Well, that's in the past now, though over the course of their extended trip across Europe, turmoil from years gone by just might resurface as they come to terms with what the future might hold for each of them.

Monday, February 4, 2019

An Animated Short About A Ball of Yarn May Just Point To The Future of PIXAR

For well over thirty years now, PIXAR has been producing short films and the studio is doubling down on their dedication to that format of storytelling by starting up the PIXAR SparkShorts program. Basically, this institution will now have people from all over the studio coming to helm animated short films that occupy various mediums of animation. The possibilities for SparkShorts are endless, especially since it's been made clear that the directors for these shorts will be made up of a more diverse group of artists than the predominately white male filmmakers behind past PIXAR feature films and shorts. The first of these shorts debuted today and is entitled Purl. You can watch the Kristen Lester directorial effort below!

The Past Looms Large Over The Chilling Goth Horror Feature Rebecca

Another review of a classic movie by yours truly, another instance of me finally getting to watch a widely acclaimed actor I've somehow never seen in a movie before! This time around, it's Laurence Olivier and my introductory foray into Olivier's work as a performer came via his work in one of the two lead roles of Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock's lone directorial effort to score a Best Picture Oscar. Like Steven Spielberg, it's puzzling to contemplate how Hitchcock managed to direct only one Best Picture winner given his illustrious career as a filmmaker, but at least a darn good movie like Rebecca managed to take home such a prestigious award.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Slow Super Bowl Weekend See's Glass And The Upside Topping The Box Office And Miss Bala Flopping

Why did Hollywood give up on Super Bowl weekend? Sure, the big game on Sunday saps a lot of business out of the box office, but we've had a whole bunch of hit movies opening over this unique weekend that proved that it wasn't an instant box office death sentence to open against the big game. Starting with the gargantuan $31.1 million bow of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour 3D in 2008, the subsequent five years saw five different movies (Taken, Dear John, Chronicle, The Woman in Black and Warm Bodies) all opening to over $20 million. Once 2013 came and went though, studios just stopped releasing enticing titles in this timeframe (the biggest weekend gross for a Super Bowl weekend new release since 2013 is the $13 million bow of Rings), leaving the box office a ghost town just like it was over this frame that saw Glass securing its third straight domestic box office victory.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Art Comes To Dangerous Life In Velvet Buzzsaw

The main characters of Velvet Buzzsaw are just not good people. With the exception of supporting players Damrish (Daveed Diggs) and Coco (Natalie Dyer), most of the people we meet here are utterly rotten, acting selfishly for personal gain in their quest to get ahead in the Los Angeles art scene. Most prominent among these characters are art critic Mort Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Josephina (Zawe Ashton), the latter of whom gets her big break after breaking into a deceased painter's apartments and stealing some paintings that the painter wished to have destroyed. Josephina decides to go in a different direction and proceeds to champion them as an exhibit that immediately becomes massively successful.

Friday, February 1, 2019

On the Basis of Sex Is A Standard But Agreeable Biopic About RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets her very own biopic with the Mimi Leder directed motion picture On the Basis of Sex. After the first half-hour or so chronicles Ginsburg's formative years at a Harvard law school, we flash-forward to 1970 New York where the majority of our story takes place in. Ginsburg, now a professor, is hungry for the chance to be a lawyer in a case that could make a difference in the world, particularly on the front of gender-discrimination, a cause she's immensely passionate about. She gets her chance in the form of a tax case that says an unmarried man cannot be given a tax deduction for nursing care. If she breaks through with this case, she could set a precedent that helps make a giant leap forward for gender equality in American society.