Red Joan (2019) – Communism Is Just A Red Herring

Released: 6th June
Seen:22nd May (Advance Screening)

Do you know what’s the hardest part of these reviews to write? This opening paragraph that is always placed above a cut so when you look on the main page you get this little paragraph that provides a little bit of context, either context for the series the movie is part of or maybe a personal story so you can understand where I’m coming from when I talk about a certain film. The idea behind this format is that if you were to scroll through and read the opening paragraph, it might catch your eye and make you read it. It provides a jumping off point, like an introduction to an essay and they’re insanely hard to write because it requires me to find a way to hint at my feelings about the film without going into detail. It’s a taste-test that I offer you to get you to read on and when a movie is great they can be a lot of fun to write and when a movie is awful, they’re even more fun to write. But what about when a film is so middle of the road and so pointless that not only do I not have anything interesting to say about its inception, but its lack of purpose makes me spend a two-hour train ride pondering “Just how the hell am I going to talk about this?”. Well, Red Joan is here to test just how much I can get out of one of the most boring films I’ve seen in a while… which is weird to say about a film with Russian spies stealing nuclear secrets but that’s what we have.

Continue reading “Red Joan (2019) – Communism Is Just A Red Herring”

Someone Great (2019) – Something Very Above Average

Released: 19th April
Seen: 13th May

Someone Great Info.png

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.

Continue reading “Someone Great (2019) – Something Very Above Average”

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

Released: 12th April
Seen: 6th May

The Perfect Date Info.png

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.

Continue reading “The Perfect Date (2019) – Maybe Not Perfect, But Good”

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.

Continue reading “The Last Summer (2019) – Luke Warm For The Summer”

The Aftermath (2019) – Bland

Released: 23rd April
Seen: 3rd May

The Aftermath Info.png

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.

Continue reading “The Aftermath (2019) – Bland”

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

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

Long Shot Info.png

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.

Continue reading “Long Shot (2019) – Exactly What It Says On The Tin”

Five Feet Apart (2019) – Stay Away

Released: 28th March
Seen: 30th March

Five Feet Apart Info.png

The Teen Romance genre is not a genre made for critics. They’re never really meant for anyone other than a very specific demographic, never have loftier goals besides giving people the feels and usually are variations on a trope with some mild set dressing. Nicholas Sparks literally put his kids through college writing books that played specifically to this audience and there is a large fanbase for this kind of film. I, meanwhile, am a 31-year-old gay man who has become cynical about these films due to overexposure so the question becomes, can I put aside my biases against this genre and be fair? Well, I tried but it doesn’t help that the movie sucks.

Continue reading “Five Feet Apart (2019) – Stay Away”

Isn’t It Romantic (2019) – Heartwarming or Heartburn?

Released: 28th February
Seen: 5th March

Isn't It Romantic.png

This review was going to start with a paragraph that would try to discuss the concept of postmodernism, originally I would go through the concept and throw out a few assorted examples like Duchamp’s “Fountain” or the movie Scream and then create this elaborate explanation about how it’s self-critical and how no one understands it. This is how a lot of my reviews begin, a tangential observation about the general concept of the film that is meant to provide context and to have something that appears before the “Read More” text on the main page. This allows me a chance to not only give a point of reference early but to make use of a stupidly expensive degree that I will probably never get to use in any other context… and that, my dear reader, is a postmodern version of the opening paragraph to a movie that clearly is trying to be a postmodern critique of romantic comedies.

Continue reading “Isn’t It Romantic (2019) – Heartwarming or Heartburn?”

If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) – Let Them Talk

Released: 7th February
Seen: 18th February

If Beale Street Could Talk Info

In America today, one of the major issues is the way people are shuttled through the prison system, specifically people of colour. Thanks to a large amount of systemic racism that poisoned the prison system, African Americans now make up over a third of the prison population while only making up roughly a tenth of the American population. For me to go further into the details of what this means would be a pointless aside, though if you want the full context you’re going to need for this film then I suggest watching the amazing (and should’ve been Academy Award winning) documentary 13th on Netflix. The story of the prison system and what it has done to black American’s is the backdrop for If Beale Street Could Talk and while you might not need that bit of knowledge, it will make the film a richer experience.

Continue reading “If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) – Let Them Talk”

What Men Want (2019) – This Man Wants More Of This

Released: 14th February
Seen: 17th February

What Men Want Info.png

 

In the year 2000, the film What Women Want was released. Starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, the film revolved around an advertising executive who is a bit of a chauvinist… Ok, he’s a lot of a chauvinist and his sexist attitudes get kicked into high gear when a woman is hired to help broaden the firm’s appeal to women. What follows is several hours of Mel’s character not learning anything, not really listening and using the power that he’s been given (through the magic combination of lipstick, panties and electrocution) in order to maintain his spot at the top of the food chain. He will at one point use this power to stop a woman from committing suicide in a series of tonal whiplash scenes that this movie doesn’t handle well, but for the most part he uses it to maintain his status at the top. To make my opinion on the original even clearer than it is, I didn’t like it very much. I didn’t find it to be a good use of the concept that it was gifted and it definitely didn’t age well. So, when I heard that there was a gender-flipped remake coming out I can’t pretend that I wasn’t nervous about it… fortunately, my nerves were not needed.

Continue reading “What Men Want (2019) – This Man Wants More Of This”