Wine Country (2019) – *Insert bad wine pun here*

Released: 10th May
Seen: 11th May

Wine Country

Sometimes, in order to make a good comedy, you just need a good comic actor and let nature take its course. Half of the movies by people like Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy are testaments to just what you can do when you get someone who is naturally funny and let them loose on film. So when the basic description of a film can be boiled down to “half a dozen of the funniest women on SNL go to Napa and drink wine for 90 minutes” I was all in, it’s a simple plot that is basically designed to have the actresses show off just what they can do and to come up with some good comedy… I mean, I’m sure that was the intention but let’s talk about the execution of that idea.

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Poms (2019) – We’ve Got Spirit?

Released: 9th May
Seen: 10th May

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One of the things that infuriate me more than anything else in a film is wasted potential. More than just being offensive or immoral or incompetent, a film that clearly has some potential for something good but decides to waste it in favour of coasting by on the superficial extras that they’ve thrown at their movie. A film that relies on specific actors or cool effects or using obscenities like commas in order to hide a bad script or plot structure when there is plenty there to work with, had someone taken the time, is the worst sin that a film can commit as far as I’m concerned. So when I tell you that this film had so much potential and wasted almost all of it, that’s your warning to run away.

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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019) – Gotta Watch ‘Em All!

Released: 9th May
Seen: 9th May

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When I was growing up, the biggest games in the world were Pokémon Red and Blue. Every single person I knew had one of them; some people had both of them. I was always a Pokémon Red kind of guy who would happily pick Bulbasaur first because he would make it easier to get through the first two gyms (I know Charmander is cooler, but he’s also weak against the first two gyms and I played that game to win. Come at me). I also have vivid memories of when Pokémon Yellow came out and completing that game within a single sitting, only pausing to remove the batteries from my oversized clear Gameboy and clearing the gyms and elite four. It’s fair to say that a large chunk of my childhood included a monster that could be located in a pocket and then I did a very stupid thing… I grew up. I had less and less time to pull out a Gameboy and play whatever new Pokémon game was available; I didn’t keep up with the anime. I just kind of stopped caring about trying to Catch ‘Em All because I hit this time in life when it felt appropriate to put away childish things. I did recently pick up Pokémon Go because it’d be on the phone and a time waster but I kind of figured my love of Pokémon was dead. Then the trailer for Detective Pikachu dropped and a tiny little voice deep inside me screamed “I’m not quite dead… I’m getting better”

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The Chaperone (2019) – Drowsy

Released: 25th April
Seen: 8th May

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The life of Louise Brooks is a fascinating thing to learn about. She started her career as a dancer of the Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts in 1922, joined the troupe and would be fired in 1924. She would soon find a job working in the legendary Ziegfeld Follies in 1925 where she would be spotted by Walter Wagner of Paramount who would put her in her first movie, The Street of Forgotten Men. From there she slowly became a contract player for movie studios where she would appear in films by Howard Hawks and William Wellman, including one of the first talkies, and her iconic bob haircut was soon turned into a trend. She would soon grow to hate the Hollywood scene and went to make films in Europe and was eventually placed on an unofficial blacklist which effectively killed her career. Take a brief scroll through her Wikipedia page sometime and you’ll see just how wild her life was, filled with soaring highs and saddening lows. Even her life after Hollywood reads like the most dramatic tale, filled with bankruptcies and addiction. She even became a call girl at one point in order to make ends meet before becoming a writer, a collection of her writing titled Lulu in Hollywood was a best seller. Her life story would make for a 3 hour epic of grandiose proportions… but that would take a large amount of effort and no one wants to do that so instead, we’re going to slap some ill-fitting costumes on people who look a little bit like Louise and tell a story about her Chaperone instead.

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The Perfect Date (2019) – Maybe Not Perfect, But Good

Released: 12th April
Seen: 6th May

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Yesterday I talked about a little Netflix teen comedy called The Last Summer that, while watchable, lacked a real cohesive plotline and likable characters despite the actual charm of the lead cast. It cannot be understated just how important those two things are in a teen rom-com, they basically are what will give the movie an audience that goes beyond the specific demographic that will watch every single one of those movies. So what would happen if we take a similar cast from The Last Summer, including a different Riverdale alum, but make all the characters charming and likable while also allowing them to interact through a cohesive plot that doesn’t make me want to rip my eyeballs out with tweezers? Well, that’s when you get The Perfect Date.

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The Last Summer (2019) – Luke Warm For The Summer

Released: 3rd May
Seen: 5th May

The Last Summer

 

No one really expects much from a teen rom-com. Not really, they’re so formulaic at this point that the second I say a teen romcom there’s only a certain amount of things that are going to happen. It’s going to involve either seniors or people between high school and college, all of whom are played by TV actors in their twenties. Every plotline revolves around this couple who were a cute pair of friends as children but now they have hormones so, therefore, they’re into each other, they go on several dates that they never actually call dates and talk on the phone until eventually, the conflict happens that’s brought on by one of them withholding an arbitrary bit of information that leads to a temporary break up that’s undone 7 minutes later with some massive gesture of affection that warms the broken heart just enough for it to mend itself and bring them back together. If you go through any of these teenage romcoms, that’s just a series of events that will happen and films stand out when they put a twist on that plot or add interesting characters with a lot of well-written jokes… or you could just not bother, that works too.

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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) – God Damn That’s A Long Title!

Released: 3rd May
Seen: 4th May

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Even though we don’t like to admit it, on some level our society has always had a fascination with serial killers. There’s a reason why we have so many crime re-enactment shows, why there are magazines sold that talk about brutal crimes, movie monsters are inspired by some of the most evil people to have roamed this earth. One of the most infamous men to have ever disgraced the earth with his existence was Theodore Robert Bundy AKA Ted Bundy, a vile murderer who brutalised over 30 women, performing acts so disgusting to all of them that it’s impossible to believe he was ever even remotely close to human. The story of his evil is so horrifically fascinating that it’s been the source of over half a dozen movies and documentaries, a recent Netflix series that became controversial almost instantly as it seemed to fail to actually offer any actual insight beyond what we already knew. Now we have a bright, glossy, star-studded film that tries to cram every strange and disturbing detail of the demonic bastard’s crimes into 108 minutes that was directed by the same man who created the aforementioned Netflix series… and god damn do I mean it when I say they just crammed it in there.

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The Aftermath (2019) – Bland

Released: 23rd April
Seen: 3rd May

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So, this one is going to be exceptionally hard to write about. In general, when a movie gives me a lot to work with it’s fairly easy to sit here and explain why it does or doesn’t work. A particularly good or bad film can almost create its own review through sheer excitement or revulsion. What’s a lot more difficult to write about are movies where I feel absolutely nothing, not a shred of emotion either for or against the film. A generic boring slog will always be the hardest thing to write about because while describing why the movie is a generic boring slog, I have to attempt to ensure that this review isn’t a generic boring slog… though it does help when the boring film shouldn’t actually be boring based upon its subject matter.

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