Someone Great (2019) – Something Very Above Average

Released: 19th April
Seen: 13th May

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Is it just me or does Netflix have a weird habit of hiring actors from the CW network and giving them a cheesy romcom to play around with? We had that very recently with The Last Summer and The Perfect Date, two movies that were certainly watchable but nothing really worth writing home about (but totally worth writing a thousand words on the internet about because that is apparently my life now) and both of them have already been basically forgotten. There’s even another one coming out later on this month called Always Be My Maybe and heck, maybe that one’ll end up being the one that is just a little bit better than “Ah, it’s pretty good” because we’re still at “Ah, it’s pretty good” levels right now with another film in this genre.

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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 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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Long Shot (2019) – Exactly What It Says On The Tin

Released: 2nd May
Seen: 23rd April (Preview screening)

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Just scroll back up a little and look at the poster again, I’ll wait. Do you notice that it’s basically the exact poster you expect it to be for almost any rom-com? Seriously, picture the standard rom-com about an awkward guy who’s a little rough around the edges (or even just completely made of edges) who falls for a woman who is so far out of his league that it’s almost funny. Sitcoms thrive on this, King of Queens, The Simpsons and Married with Children just to name a few. It’s also a big trend in movies, Adam Sandler basically made a career out of it until Seth Rogen came out and played the everyman stoner who falls for the insanely attractive woman and they fall for each other. Do you enjoy those kinds of movies? Great, then you’ll like this one and no longer need to hear my lengthy diatribe on why I also enjoy this movie… but please keep reading anyway, page views give me validation.

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The Upside (2019) – There Is No Upside

Released: 19th April
Seen: 21st April

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In 2011, the film The Intouchables was released. A French film based upon real events, it told the story of a wealthy quadriplegic and a poor black man who come together and change each other for the better. The movie was a box office smash, netting 400 million worldwide and gaining enough critical acclaim and love from the audience that, at the time of writing, it ranks 39 on the IMDB list of top rated films of all time. It is a film that has resonated with its audience… but it’s in a language other than English so by the laws of Hollywood, they have to remake the film for audiences who don’t want to bother reading subtitles and in the process make a film that… exists?

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Little (2019) – Not So Big

Released: 11th April
Seen: 15th April

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In comedy, there is a storyline you see pop up again and again that could be described as ‘The Body Swap Film’ where one person is thrown into the body of someone completely different in order to learn a valuable lesson about who they are as people. They can also suddenly wake up in a body that’s of a very different age to what they were previously. This has given us such films as 1976’s Freaky Friday, Big, 1995’s Freaky Friday, The Hot Chick, 2005’s Freaky Friday, 17 Again and 2018’s Freaky Friday (which was also a musical, why the hell have we allowed four remakes of Freaky Friday to exist in this timeline?). It’s a very simple and standard story to tell. The main character is a bad person, someone magically turns them into someone different, they have serious emotional growth, they turn back into the person they were before only now they’re nicer. It’s sweet, it’s simple, it’s a framework that usually allows actors a chance to show off their comedic skills and Little is no different than others like it, in that it relies heavily on the lead performers to get through because it’s sure not going to be relying on the script.

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Missing Link (2019) – Proof Of Happiness

Released: 11th April
Seen: 13th April

Missing Link

Stop Motion animation is probably the most difficult kind of animation there is. Building scale models and animating them in the physical world, moving just a tiny portion of the models for every single frame and slowly creating movement by hand, something where a small accident could ruin days of work. If a model dries up then that could destroy a film. For the longest time the big name in the field of stop motion animation was Aardman Animation, the people who made Chicken Run (which I just found out is getting a sequel, which is awesome), and now the new people claiming the throne of stop motion animation is Laika who has been fairly consistent in releasing great films, and their latest film is no exception.

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