Love Sarah (2020) – Love?

Released: 2nd July
Seen: 28th July

Love Sarah Info

It’s interesting to think that right now we should probably be inundated with movies filled with giant explosions. Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984, Black Widow, so many huge blockbusters should be out right now overwhelming our senses but sadly this year the world decided to see just how much it could mess everything up. As it stands there are no really huge movies coming out for a while, leaving a vortex that’s being slowly filled up by the films that would normally be forgotten by the mainstream, or surprise darlings like The King Of Staten Island… I mean, that’s what’s being shown down here where cinemas are open, they just seem to be filling it with whatever they can get their hands on that might normally go straight to DVD or be relegated to a seniors coffee morning screening. That’s as good a transition as I can be bothered to come up with, LOVE SARAH!

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The Kissing Booth 2 (2020) – Dry Mouth

Released: 24th July
Seen: 26th July

In 2018 Netflix released The Kissing Booth, a 2 hour long romcom that focussed around a girl named Elle Evans (Joey King) and her best friend Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney) who were born at the same time in the same hospital, a fact that is literally meaningless to the plot of the entire story. Lee has an older brother named Noah (Jacob Elordi) who is somewhat of a player with the high school girls and, naturally, Elle has a crush on him. However, due to a list of random rules that she and Lee came up with years ago, Elle isn’t allowed to follow that crush… except she does it anyway, lies to Lee about it, they get discovered and there’s a kissing booth at the end that brings everything to the light. It’s a very generic and very dumb movie that relies on the charm of it’s cast that carried it over towards being watchable. It was a monster hit for the platform and so, naturally, it got a sequel… because apparently that’s something we needed.

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365 Days (2020) – It Hurts

Released: 7th June
Seen: 24th July

On this blog I have been almost gleeful in tearing apart the 50 Shades of Grey franchise and just about anything that looks like it. I put the last two films in the franchise on my worst lists for 2017 and 2018, Freed was actually my worst film of 2018 and I stand by that ranking. It’s obvious rip-off After was also on the worst list in 2019 and the attempted tie in movie Book Club only missed out being put on the list because it was the only film that hired people who could act. In general I’ve found this franchise to be one of the worst things to happen to culture in recent years due to its romanticisingof rape and misrepresentation of BDSM, along with just generally bad writing. I genuinely thought that someone couldn’t come up with a worse attempt at a romantic plotline… and I guess the writers of 365 Days heard that and went “Challenge accepted” because oh boy, OH BOY! 

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Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs (2020) – Fairy Fail

Released: 2nd July
Seen: 8th July

In 1937, Disney released what many regard as the definitive version of the German fairy tale Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. It’s certainly the version that most of us think of when we talk about that legendary fable, to the point where the question “What are the names of the seven dwarfs” is answered with “Doc, Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Dopey and Bashful” instead of the names used in the original Grimm’s fairy tale. Do you even know what the dwarfs were named in the original Grimm’s fairy tale? Trick question, they didn’t have names and were referred to either as a collective or by “The first one, the second one, etc”. With Disney’s version looming large over the history of the story, every version since then has had to try and do something to make it stand apart from the most well-known iteration of this story. Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs decided to be confusingly boring, which is fun.

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The Wrong Missy (2020) – The Wrong Movie

Released: 13th May
Seen: 17th May

The Happy Madison film company logo might as well be the poop emoji for what it represents as a marker of quality. Every now and then they’ll release something decent, the corn kernel of their cinematic output that’s just overwhelmed by a monsoon of shit that spews out of that company like water from a fire hydrant. It’s almost like they’ve set a challenge to make the laziest comedies known to man and milk people’s love for a pack of former SNL bad boys as much as they can. Their films are also, effectively, creative excuses to go on long trips on company money to fancy locations where they can basically have a vacation between making what they claim is a movie. Since the end of 2015, shortly after the release of the infamously awful Pixels, every movie from Happy Madison is a Netflix exclusive but because Netflix doesn’t seem to have quality control, we get films like The Wrong Missy which are almost clinically designed to make me hate life itself.

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Stargirl (2020) – Aggressively OK

Released: 13th March
Seen: 26th April

In 2000, Jerry Spinelli released the novel Stargirl to critical acclaim. The book was a New York Times bestseller, won multiple awards and even had a sequel called Love, Stargirl. It even got adapted into a stage play and has led to the creation of groups known as Stargirl Societies, designed to encourage young people to be themselves. With all this acclaim and cultural impact, a film adaptation was somewhat inevitable and since Disney is a mega-corporation with a streaming service in search of original content it seems only logical that they would be the ones to take the ball and run with it… or, in this case, take the ball and casually walk down a footpath with it while whistling music by The Go-Go’s.

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Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2 (2020) – Braaaaiiiiiinnnnss

Released: 18th April
Seen: 20th April

You know, I’ve tackled a fair few streaming networks over the years. I’ve dealt with Netflix originals, Stan originals and Shudder originals but I’ve somehow managed to avoid Disney Plus originals because none of them really leapt out at me. I almost watched that Lady and the Tramp remake but… well, I suffered through three Disney Remakes in one year, I’m allowed to skip one of them. There are a few original films on there but I figured they weren’t going to be that important for me to need to look through… and then the world decided to malfunction and every cinema closed, so I may as well throw the Disney Plus originals into my diet because why the hell not?

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I Still Believe (2020) – You’re Unbelievable

Released: 12th March
Seen: 16th March

About 2 years ago I talked about a film called God’s Not Dead 3: A Light in the Darkness, a biblical sermon disguised as a film made by people who don’t know how films work. In that review, I made the point that a film is going to need more than just religion to work for me. Sure, religion can be an element, but if the entire thing is basically a sermon then I’m not going to be kind to it no matter what the religion is. Enter I Still Believe, a biopic (of sorts) about a contemporary Christian musician named Jeremy Camp and how he met his first wife while making his rise to fame. In theory, this film does what I’m talking about. Faith is a huge factor in the story but there is a story outside of the faith. In theory, I’m OK with this. In practice, it’s a hard pass from me.

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All the Bright Places (2020) – A Little Dim

Released: 28th February
Seen: 29th February

All The Bright Places Info

Sometimes when I pick a movie to review (because until I can turn this into an actual job, I still get to pick which ones I see and when) it’s often based on just how much effort I feel like putting into them. If I feel like I have the time and mental capacity to fully understand and articulate the various issues in a two-and-a-half-hour-long exploration of a political structure, I’ll go find one and if I feel like I need to let out some well-earned snark, I’ll find a 90 minute animated film that gives off the impression that it’s going to be bad and go to town. Sometimes though I have the time available but don’t want to really have to think about something too heavy so thank god Netflix is there with a teen romance film where I literally need to put in zero effort because who the hell even needs to think about one of these things? So that’s what led me to pick the teen romance drama All The Bright Places, thinking “Oh, this is going to be easy. I won’t need to think or handle anything heavy, it’s a cheesy looking teenage romance” and then I clicked it and… they tried to touch on heavy subjects, why does this happen to me?

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You (2020) – It’s nice

Released: 12th February
Seen: 26th February

To All The Boys I've Loved Before P.S. I Still Love You Info

In 2018 Netflix released To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, a teen romance movie based on the 2014 novel of the same name. The movie itself was very sweet simple little teenage romance movie that excelled due to its sublime casting and innocent story. The entire plot revolved around Laura Jean (Lana Candor) who would write love letters to every boy she ever had a crush on but wouldn’t send them. It was basically an innocent writing exercise to get the feelings out of her system. The conflict comes when Lara’s younger sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart) finds the letters and sends them out to the named crushes. Lara wrote five letters and the first movie dealt with three of them. It was also a relatively complete story so it probably didn’t need a sequel, but we have two more letters to deal with so that’s how we got here.

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