Friday, January 26, 2018

Masons 2017 Top Ten Movie List

#1 War of the Planet of the Apes

Caesar: “I did not start this war. I offered you peace. I showed you mercy, but now you are here to finish us off for good.”

This movie claimed the number one spot this year because I saw it multiple times in the theater and at home. And also because usually with a trilogy they get worse and worse. This one however got better and better. I write this as I look at my Pop bobblehead of Casesar the leader of the apes. His character progression from the beginning to the end had me at hello. Or whatever his first words were. You could literally see the weight of leading his apes to freedom in his face. Which leads me to mention the special effects in this were nothing short of incredible. Andy Serkis deserved an oscar nom. I love how this third movie played somewhat like a classic western. Such parallels to todays topics. I could go on and on.

#2 Mollys Game

Molly Bloom: “I was raised to be a champion. My goal was to win. At what and against whom, those were just details.”

The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target. From the writer of greats like a few good men, moneyball and social network. This was Aaron Sorkins first time directing and i was impressed. Jessica Chastain drew me in from her opening narration to the very end. I so badly wanted to know who player X was. I researched more about the real Molly and who played as soon as I could. She was a go getter and not affraid to put herself in intense situations. Fascinating story that was written and directed in a way that just kept my attention alert.

#3 I, Tonya

Tonya Harding: “America. They want someone to love, but they want someone to hate, and the haters always say. 'Tonya, tell the truth!' There’s no such thing as truth. I mean it’s bulls***! Everyone has their own truth.”

Oh man i loved this movie. It was weird and hilarious and traggic and sad all at the same time. It had such a style to it that I found refreshing and made what could have been a tv movie into something way more entertaining. Loved Margot Robbie as Tonya and especially loved Allison Janney who played her mom. I hope she wins the Oscar. The clothes and hairdos were straight out of the 80’s. I especially loved when the guy sitting next to me opened a can of soda. I looked over and it was TAB. Paired perfectly with this crazy film. Her bodyguard...I have no words. I will remember this movie for years to come. 

#4 The Greatest Showman

James Gordon Bennett: “Does it bother you that everything you are selling is fake?”
P.T. Barnum: “Do these smiles seem fake?”

I remember when I was just a kid my mom had me reed a biography on P.T. Barnum. I don’t remember much about it except that he was always in search for the weird and strange and different. I don’t know how much the movie really reflects who he truly was but that doesn’t matter. It was fun. From the first music beats to the last, its a fun ride. I loved the choreography and the costumes and the message tho a bit heavy handed. But the music is the shining star. At first listen it was good. The movie just made my heart happy. I love a musical so I rejoice when they are successful in hopes they will make more.

Image result for maudie poster
#5 Maudie

Maud Lewis: “A window. How I love a window. A bird, whizzin' by. Bumblebee. It's always different. The whole of life. The whole of life already framed. Right there.”

I am so sad this movie didn’t get any big award attention. Tho I think it was considered released in 2016. But I saw it in 2017. Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke gave stand out performances if you ask me. Its a true story about an arthritic Nova Scotia woman who works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community. Its sweet but heart wrenching as well. Her poor humble life and circumstances did not kill her spirit inside. She painted bright colorful landscapes that when looking at them you would never imaging where she lived or who she was married to etc. But this movie sat with me long after watching it. I had to look up more about the real Maudie. Please watch this movie.

#6 Three Billboards outside ebbing, missouri

Gabriella Forrester: “So, Mildred Hayes, why did you put up these billboards?”
Mildred Hayes: “My daughter, Angela, was murdered seven months ago along this same stretch of road here. It seems to me the police department is too busy torturing black folks to solve actual crime.”

I love Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell so much and this movie lets them shine! You would think you were getting a movie about solving a crime which the three billboards are drawing attention to. But instead you get a very unpredictable dark comedic drama that introduces themes and ideas and social commentary that give you plenty to talk about after watching it. It explores anger, revenge, violence and kindness and keeps you guessing where its going. Definitely for mature audiences with its subject matter, language and violence. 

#7 the Shape of Water

Giles: “When he looks at me, he does not know how I am incomplete. He sees me as I am.”

At a top secret research facility in the 1950s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity. I read somewhere where they described this movie as an adult version of beauty and the beast. For mature audiences as well as #6 on my list. Two of my top ten movies showcase Sally Hawkins. What a stand out she is becoming in my list of favorite actors. She plays a mute and yet you still are captivated by her. The movie is visually stunning and i am so happy to see Guillermo Del Toro getting much deserved attention. Pan’s Labryinth is among my favorite movies. This movie is unique and different. "Water is like love, it has no shape. It takes the shape of whatever it inhabits. It's the most powerful element in the universe. It's gentle, flexible, but breaks through every barrier."-Guillermo del Toro

#8 Lady Bird

Shelly: “She has a big heart, your mom.”
Danny: “She’s warm, but she’s also kind of scary.”
Christine McPherson: “You can’t be scary and warm.”
Danny: “I think you can. Your mom is.”

I saw this before all the hype of a perfect rotten tomatos score. Going into it with that on the mind could really change how you feel abot a movie. sheesh. Most coming of age movies don’t sit well with me for one reason or another. Maybe because they make them all about sex. This one however was fresh and new. I loved how quirky lady bird was. I loved the exploration of her relationship with her mom. I laughed here and there all thru it and thought to myself, I can see this getting funnier the more you watch it. Subtly quirkly that you have to tune into its tone. Directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. What a great pairing that turned out to be.

#9 atomic Blonde

Lorraine Broughton: “I chose this life and someday it’s going to get me killed, but not today.”

Um...the scene with the George Michael (RIP) father figure song playing. Look it up. google it. Oh and the scene during “I ran” by flock of seaguls. Don’t forget the “blue monday” new order song scene. The list goes on. This movie has style and artistic exploration. It also has grit and a plot that you better have gone pee before watching. There is an action scene where Chalize starts out clean and ends completely dirty and bloody and beat up. All without any camera cuts. Now thats some well thought out choreography. This also brought a real authentic maturity level to fight scenes. The womens movement should elect Chalize as president. She is kick ass in this. Loved the 80’s vibe. Definitely for mature audiences.

#10 Alien Covenant

Daniels: “You hear that?”
Christopher Oram: “What?”
Daniels: “Nothing, no birds, no animals, nothing”

I had to put this Alien film in the top ten because I have always been a fan of the franchise. True, probably not the best but it did a good job of bringing back the elements from the first two that we all loved so much. Reviews aren’t great but people have a high expectation for alien movies. Don’t avoid seeing it just because of the reviews. I think you’ll like it.

Movies that almost made the cut or just plain fun:
• Gifted
I will put the guarantee on this one that you’ll enjoy it. It’s sweet and cute and just feels good to watch it. Chris Evans and the girl have chemistry that feels genuine and real.

• Victoria and Abdul
Judi Dench always winds in my book. This  movie was purely enjoyable to watch. I chuckled all thru it. Please watch it. An underated gem.

• Wonder
I wanted to hate this movie. The trailer made it look like emotional manipulation cookie cutter film making. But I have to say it did draw me in and I was moved. Worth seeing.

• The Big Sick
This movie felt genuine and real to me. Maybe because it was based on the leads real life.

Good heavy dramas:
• Detroit
Set during the 1967 Detroit riots. Horrifying to see what a bad cop has power to do.

• All the Money in the World
The richest man in the world won’t pay a ransom for his grandson. Interesting true story with great acting.

• Darkest Hour
Gary Oldman better win for this one. Incredible performance. Loved seeing the war rooms etc that I visited when at the Churchill museum in England last year.

• Wind River
Moody and atmospheric with dark tones and good character development.

Best of the “popcorn” flicks:
• Fate of the Furious
Ridiculous and implausable with sub par acting. I saw give me more. Man I love how over the top these movies are getting. Yet they still tie in the “its all about family” theme.

• Kong Skull Island
Took me about 20 minutes to get into this one but was hooked after that. The visuals and artistic direction in this one shine.

• Wonder Woman
A win for the womens movement. Female director. Female lead. A well made superhero film.

• Spiderman
One of my favorites of the spiderman movies.

• Logan
I’ve been waiting for the rated “R” version of X-men. The others are ok but seem to hold back. Man this one was gritty and real. Loved it.

• Jumanji
Loved the Robin Williams one and loved this one too. So fun to see the video game elements used in comedic ways. I wanted more of Jack Black. Hilarious.

Over Rated:
• Get Out
Still confused what all the fuss is about. I found this movie to be just ok. I mean worth watching but forgetable. The race themes were obvious and shoved in the face. It was predictable and just ok.

• Dunkirk
Christopher Nolan has been a favorite director of mine ever since Memento. If you have not seen that, you must! I was excited for this but did not enjoy it. I mean the story is good but his director choices left me scratching my head. Why split it up into air, land and water? I could barely understand when anyone spoke and could barely recognize the characters from one scene to the next. I didn’t get the sense of just how many were rescued and I just wasn’t very moved. The soundtrack while amazing was also confusing. It would be crazy intense during a scene when nothing really happened. huh? Its not a dud but as I say above, over rated. Its shot beautifully and the soundtrack is great and the story is worth knowing about. 

• Murder on the Orient Express
Maybe this was my own fault but after seeing the trailers for this my heart was getting so excited that we might be bringing back a good classic whodunnit mystery full of fun and surprises and quirky characters. After seeing it however it was none of that. The amazing cast was underutilized and the story was rather boring. The only action scene felt forced. Worth a rental but have lower expectations than i did.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Cyborg Face Makeup

This was a halloween morning makeup on my sister. It was my first time using a metallic silver pigment from Mehron. It looked so good shimmering in the light. Very terminator, robot, cyborg kind of look. Excited to try that makeup again.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos Makeup

Another makeup experiment on my sister Gina. We usually find a reference for exactly what we want to do but this time we used a few ideas. Turned out pretty good.

YouTube Channel: Mason Barton

Instagram Account: masonbarton



Monday, October 16, 2017

Ice Cream Makeup

I usually get a jump on the Halloween season by doing some fun makeup but this year has been busy so this one is mid October. Oh well. Turned out great. The trick was to get the cone to stay on the head. We used spirit gum and rubber cement and tape. Haha.

YouTube Channel: Mason Barton

Instagram Account: masonbarton



Monday, April 24, 2017

Acrylic Pouring for the first time.

I've been watching a ton of you tube videos on acrylic pouring and decided to try it for myself. Just google Acrylic Pouring and you'll see a bunch of videos. I also filmed my pours so you could see the results using the link below. Give it a try. It was fun and they turned out great I think. I can't wait to do more.

My first acrylic pouring video:

My second acrylic pouring video:

Subscribe to my youtube channel:

Monday, March 6, 2017

Paper Flower Backdrop

My brother got married recently and we were tasked with creating a paper flower backdrop that guest and families could take pictures in front of. So for a couple saturdays many hours were spent cutting happing and gluing paper flowers of all different sizes. My sister Alisa was the project mastermind and made the majority of the flowers as well as glued them to the insulation foam backing. The final backdrop was 8 feet by 8 feet and looked amazing! Especially lit from behind. They end up looking like beautiful fabric flowers and not construction paper at all. What an impact it had when guests entered the doors and saw it. Set the tone for the entire wedding reception. Here are a bunch of pictures of how it turned out.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mason's 2016 Top Ten Movie List

#1 Hacksaw Ridge

Colonel Stelzer: What the hell is your delay, captain?
Captain Glover: We're waiting, sir.
Colonel Stelzer: Waiting for what?
Captain Glover: Private Doss
Colonel Stelzer: Who the hell is Private Doss?

Please watch this movie to find out. This took the number one spot this year the second I finished watching it. The first half is a bit of love story and background. The second half is war and violence. The heart of the story is conviction. I was struck with such pride for how true and strong Private Doss holds to his convictions. I mean, don’t we all have things we deeply believe in? But would you hold strong to those beliefs when all hell and pressure are fighting to get you to back down from them? Even just a bit? And then to pray that all your persecution would be worth it but the pressure and pain never let up. The pay off comes at the end of this movie. What a hero. To see the actual people the movie was based on made me about lose it in the theater. Thank you to everyone who serves and has served our country. You deserved to be honored the way this movie honors Private Doss.

#2 Lion

“Help me!”

Hearing those words from the cutest kid ever and I guarantee your heart will break. It’s the true story of a lost boy. Fast forward and he’s a young man having been adopted and trying to find his birth mother. “I'm starting to remember a life I had forgotten.” An impossible task it seems. This movie really leaves you with how fortunate we are and how good we have it. He goes from an extremely poor but happy home to a prosperous home. I loved the perspective of the mother rolls in this movie. Nicole Kidman was awesome! And his birth mother who never stopped loving or gave up hope her son would make his way home. You’ll be routing for him to find his origins and the payoff is beautiful and miraculous. Just try not to shed a tear. I dare you.

#3 Life Animated

“No sidekick gets left behind”
“Can we watch three scenes of ”dumbo” to celebrate?”

The inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. I could barely stand to watch this. It was sweet and cute and sad and heartbreaking and wonderful. My heart could barely take it. Owen is the coolest. For real. His parents and brother are such loving supportive “sidekicks”. I have such a soft spot in my heart for anyone with special needs. I mean i’m truly blessed in life. Watching Owen try to navigate life was simply irresistable. I could watch an entire reality show on him. His views of life are simple and sweet yet broken down to its simple core. That was sad. This is happy. Simple terms. The story telling of this documentary was perfect. Beautiful animations mixed with real life home videos and clips from disney movies. It will reach out and grab your heart and also educate about autism at the same time. The scene wear he burns himself on the cookie sheet in front of his girlfriend...I can’t even.

#4 La La Land

Mia: It's pretty strange that we keep running into each other.
Sebastian: Maybe it means something.
Mia: I doubt it.
Sebastian: Yeah, I didn't think so.

I’ve heard people loving this movie and absolutely hating it. I guess thats always been the case with musicals. I for one am a fan. They used to be a staple then dissappeared. But have been creaping back in for the last little while and i’ve loved them for the most part. Moulin Rouge and Chicago being among my favorites. This hit the spot as well. Sort of a throw back to the style of the past but blended with a current modern twist. Ryan and Emma were perfectly cast. The chemistry between them was there. The songs were great and heartfelt. The dancing choreography was so fun to watch. For those that hated it, i mights suggest you watch it again. Sometimes musicals need a couple viewings to get used to the music and the vibe. Like a new cd, you got to give it a once over to get the general feel then a replay to really enjoy it. And for those that loved it, might I suggest checking out a full album Ryan put out years ago. The band is Dead Man’s Bones. He’s the lead singer. I love almost every song. Also google him singing “you always hurt the ones you love” from the movie Blue Valentine. Also good!

#5 A Man Called Ove

“Either we die...or we live”

Oscar nominated for best foreign film, this movie is based on a Swedish best seller. The story is of a curmudgeonly old man whose grumpy life is brightened by forces beyond his control. Going into this one I definitely was worried about liking it. I’ve seen many movies where they try and justify someones terrible behavior by revealing the past life they lived that nobody really knew about. I guess the thought that you should be allowed to be a jerk just because you lost someone or have been to war or something doesn’t sit well with me. Don’t get me wrong. Understanding others and empathy are keys to getting along with all the personalities that exist around us. I guess it comes down to those other movies failed at this message where as this one succeeds. There is depth and heart and meaningfulness throughout. At first there is judgement on who this guy is. By the end, there is understanding and sympathy. Life can deal us some rotten situations and there can always be something to be bothered by. But letting people help us and helping them in return is crucial to a fullfilling life.

#6 Arrival

“If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?”

Twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors. It’s not too often you get a smart thinker sci fi movie. While it does move sort of slow, if you let it in, you will be thinking deeper than just surface. Communication and language are explored and a new way to look at life is presented. Worth a rewatch by the time you are done, just to wrap your head around it more fully. What if you couldn’t speak? How would you communicate? Is there a language we all understand? What walls get broken down by being able to communicate? This movie is not so much about the aliens after all but the human race. Our good, our bad and our ugly.

#7 13 Hours

"He died in a place he didn't need to be, in a battle over something he doesn't understand, in a country that meant nothing to him."

At an unofficial CIA base in Benghazi a group of ex-military contractors are providing security. The only forces willing and able to defend it are six CIA contractors. It’s movies like these that i’m so grateful to see. They open my eyes to war and violence outside my safe bubble. I don’t want to go thru life naive to the turmoil going on around us. I especially don’t want to ignore or discredit the huge amounts of heroism and bravery that are happening everyday. The six CIA contractors in this movie are a different breed of men. Their courage and bravery are astounding. The events during the 13 hours this movie is based on will shock you and open your eyes. This came out early in the year but has stood the test of time as one I still tell people not to miss.

#8 Hidden Figures

“Every time we get a chance to get ahead they move the finish line. Every time.”

The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program. I love when these stories are told in a way where everyone can enjoy them and learn from them too. Sometimes they can villify the white man to a degree where you lose the integrity of the message. In this case, the messages were clear and the script was so well crafted that you laughed, were inspired and moved all at the same time. We’ve come such a long way. Its important to look back and remember that. To not make the same mistakes. I loved all the women in this movie. Each a unique character that had something to prove. Self worth and pride as a human being. Not defined by race, or religion or color or background. And what a difference they made too.

#9 Hell or High Water

“I've been poor my whole life, like a disease passing from generation to generation. But not my boys, not anymore.”

A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family's ranch in West Texas. I think what stands out the most about this movie are the characters. It’s been a while since i’ve seen a movie where everyone has such depth to who they are. Especially in a western where it can be easy to paint the hero and the villain. Even the location of Texas is a character well established here. Lines seem to be a bit blurred with right and wrong in this sort of bank robber caper. While there is a bit of gun slinging, the heart of the movie is the relationship of the characters to each other. The deputy on the verge of retirement and his partner were a sort of mirror or parralel to the two brothers. The motive is well intentioned and you want them to succeed but you are also cautious to the mess they get in. You feel the tension deep inside. Chris Pine and Ben Foster were seriously so good in this.

#10 The Light Between Oceans

"You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day"

A lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from a drifting rowing boat. The problem is...I won’t give it away. Don’t watch the trailer either. Let the drama unfold. Many reviews for this praised the acting the cinematography but sort of shamed the emotional manipulation and over melodrama. I think the key is to look past what you would have done if you were the lead characters and try and go with it. There is deeper message here. What choices do you make in your life? Would you make those same choices if you knew nobody was watching? But our choices have consequences even if nobody is watching.The lighthouse was a character all on its own. Completely secluded and private. There is such a mood and style to this movie that I fell in love with. And the acting was truly superb. It all drew me in and I enjoyed the discussion it sparked afterward.

Worth Seeing True Stories:
Ok, there were a bunch of movies that I really enjoyed but didn’t quite make the top then. Then I realized they are all based on true stories. Definitely check them all out.

• Patriots Day
Loved this one. Almost made the top ten. Great telling of that terrible marathon bombing.

• Eddie the Eagle
Loved the 80’s style of this movie. Just good family fun.

• Florence Foster Jenkins
Probably a half hour too long but I love Meryl Streep. I love that the character just goes for it. Totally oblivious.

• Queen of Katwe
Also could have been edited down a bit. Loved that the character rises from a life of slim opportunity with chess of all things.

• Deep Water Horizon
I saw this in the XD theater and the scnes quite literally rumbled my entire body. I felt completely integrated in the film. Very well shot.

• Loving
Too slow but the story of an interracial married couple and their battle into the supreme court. Worth seeing as a glimpse of how far we’ve come and those that pioneered the way.

• Silence
Probably an hour too long and moves slow with almost no music. Not interested? Ha well there is something to gain from seeing this story. Religious discrimination in 1639 japan was at its height. Still today religious freedom is a fight.

• The Founder
Grab some McDonalds and watch this. Pretty interesting background to a fast food joint we are all familiar with.

• Moonlight
Nominated for best picture this tells the story of the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world. Some interesting discussion points. Looking at the character as a child you would never guess one day he’s be nominated for a movie about his life. Pretty cool.

• The White Helmets
Nominated for best documentary short. This tells the story of a group of first responders who risk their lives to rescue victims from the rubble. I would be in the dark to incredible real stories like this if it weren’t for documentaries. Grateful.

• The Finest Hours
The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod. I just really enjoyed this story. I could not be a seaman.

Best Horror/Suspense Films:

• Green Room
A punk rock band is forced to fight for survival after witnessing a murder at a neo-Nazi skinhead bar. I never really knew where this was headed and I was freaked out by the scenario throughout. One of the last films starring Anton Yelchin who I’ve always liked.

• Don’t Breath
A trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn't as helpless as he seems. Awesome premise right? If done right. And it was. Reminded me of wait until dark. So scary to think you have the upper hand when you don’t. It twists and turns and surprises you.

• The Girl on the Train
I love everything Emily Blunt stars in. I especialy love when its a suspense thriller. We just don’t get good ones anymore. This had a mood and style to it that I really enjoyed.

• Allied
Really worth seeing. The script is great on this and the acting too.

• Eye in the Sky
A story about ethics and moral dilemmas. It was really thought provoking to me.

Best Family Films:

• Kubo and the Two Strings
I feel like a stop motion animation will always have my heart. Such artistic talent involved. This had good story too.

• The Jungle Book
A box office success. This movie looked great and was fun to watch.

• Pete’s Dragon
I remember watching this feeling like it was like the family films I grew up watching. Totally enjoyed it.

• Trolls
I totally enjoyed this. Ha. Just short and silly and weird and colorful and fun!

• Moana
Having just visited Maui how can you not love a story based there? Great looking animation and story telling and music.

Over Rated:

• Fences
Worth seeing for performances only.  The first half is such a struggle to watch. Hated it actually. The last half was better but ultimately didn’t take much away from it.

• Manchester by the Sea
A slice of life movie. Seriously you are dropped in the middle of this guys life and just watch him. Perople are raving about casey affleck but I thought was just ok. Didn’t take much away from this movie either. It was fine but thats all.

• Rogue One
Sorry Star Wars lovers. I fell asleep in this. Don’t get me wrong The Force Awakens made my top ten but this one was just an average movie to me.

• Hail, Caesar!

Hated everything about this movie.