Thursday, December 24, 2020

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: Movie Review






Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman’s fight to the end.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has big themes but told in such a small and intimate way, and that paradox, for some (myself included) will feel lacking, not wholly satisfying, despite a very compelling movie with some very powerful performances. August Wilson’s stage play from 1982 is brought to life by Viola Davis as the trailblazing Ma Rainey and the late Chadwick Boseman in his tragically final and finest work.   2020

Directed by: George C. Wolfe

Screenplay by: Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Based on the play by August Wilson

Starring: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Another Round: Movie Review



Universal themes of life, love and death.

My only previous Thomas Vinterberg experience is with The Hunt. A movie I like but oh so frustrating. Another Round, while also starring Mads Mikkelsen as a teacher, is a very different creature. Another examination of human experience and consequences and action, but more sweeping and all encompassing.   2020

Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg

Screenplay by: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Magnus Millang

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Let Them All Talk: Movie Review



Small themes, well crafted characters.

Steven Soderbergh and Meryl Streep collaborations seem like they should be bigger than they are. The Laundromat made very little impact last year and Let Them All Talk seems destined for a similar fate this year. It’s going to have a small impact because it’s a small story. A simple tale of an older woman, a successful author, who has invited her friends on a cruise.   2020

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Screenplay by: Deborah Eisenberg

Starring: Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest and Lucas Hedges

Palm Springs: Movie Review



Inventive, clever and funny.

Palm Springs is clever and funny, and it’s a romantic comedy. The concept may be lifted from Groundhog Day but that doesn’t stop the filmmakers from applying it in a unique and inventive way, adding layers to a mainstream comedy. I love how the plot is explored, love the comedy, and how cohesively meshed the two are within the rom-com structure.   2020

Directed by: Max Barbakow

Screenplay by: Andy Siara

Starring: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Meredith Hagner and J.K. Simmons

Friday, December 18, 2020

Guest House: Movie Review



Stripped of all originality and humanity.

The weird premise – a couple buys a house with a strange man permanently living in the guest house – is the least of Guest House’s problems. It’s just a poorly written, poorly executed comedy that seems to have been created by Netflix’s algorithm to hit all the points that comedies should have and is stripped of any originality or humanity. Turns out it's not a Netflix original, but I stand by that last sentence.   2020

Directed by: Sam Macaroni

Screenplay by: Sam Macaroni, Sean Bishop, Troy Duffy

Starring: Paul Shore, Mike Castle, and Aimee Teegarden

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Sister of the Groom: Movie Review



Awful people at a wedding.

What sounds like a romantic comedy, or at least a wedding-based comedy, is actually a drama about awful people at a wedding. Audrey (Alicia Silverstone) is stressed. She’s turning 40 soon, her brother is about to be married, she has not yet met the bride-to-be, and her mother died a few years earlier.   2020

Directed by: Amy Miller Gross

Screenplay by: Amy Miller Gross

Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Mathilde Ollivier

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Modern Persuasion: Movie Review





Mature adaptation, limited humour.
Modern Persuasion is literally a modern Persuasion. A 21st century adaptation of the Jane Austen classic. The main themes of a smart, independent, successful woman looking for a second chance at love is reasonably well-suited to today’s world. Austen’s novel, her last, was well received for being mature, and despite the hackneyed plot points or predictable love interests, there is an air of maturity in this version.   2020

Directed by: Alex Appel, Jonathan Lisecki

Written by: Jonathan Lisecki, Barbara Radecki
Based on the novel by Jane Austen

Starring: Alicia Witt, Shane McRae

Saturday, December 5, 2020

I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight: Movie Review



Funny, romantic and real; occasionally heartbreaking but still optimistic.

I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight is a stunning achievement for a low-budget Canadian rom-com. Freshman actors pull off this simple story of two strangers meeting and taking a chance on each other to turn this film into a sometimes delightful, sometimes heartbreaking examination of a young relationship.   2020

Directed by: Sean Garrity

Screenplay by: Sean Garrity

Starring: Hera Nalam, Kristian Jordan

Monday, November 30, 2020

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters: Movie Review



Balances the chaos with the right amount of maturity.

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters is a multi-story romantic comedy. Featuring a plethora of characters, some famous actors, it’s a story of people in love and falling in love. Six stories of romance can seem like a lot, but some are more prominent than others, and there is one big wedding which connects all the important characters.   2020

Directed by: Dennis Dugan

Screenplay by: Dennis Dugan

Starring: Maggie Grace, Diane Keaton, Jeremy Irons, Andrew Bachelor and Diego Boneta

Saturday, November 28, 2020

1 Night in San Diego: Movie Review



Directionless comedy and no good jokes.

Starring Laura Ashley Samuels and Jenna Ushkowitz as Brooklyn and Hannah, 1 Night in San Diego is a girls’ buddy comedy, with some not funny attempts at comedy. Brooklyn and Hannah are two Hollywood divas. There's a vague background for Hannah, she’s semi/formerly famous from a New Jersey-set reality show and new to LA. Brooklyn thinks she’s an influencer, but no further introduction.   2020

Directed by: Penelope Lawson

Screenplay by: Penelope Lawson

Starring: Laura Ashley Samuels, Jenna Ushkowitz

Saturday, November 14, 2020

The Giant: Movie Review



A lot of atmosphere, no story.

There feels like there must be a good movie in The Giant somewhere, but good luck finding it in between the blurry shots of street lights, close-ups of her hair and eyeball, and long tracking shots of… the moon. Yes, that’s right, the good cinematography was spent on an astronomical body which cannot emote emotion and plays no role in the movie.   2019

Directed by: David Raboy

Screenplay by: David Raboy

Starring: Odessa Young, Ben Schnetzer

Friday, November 13, 2020

Midnight at the Magnolia: Movie Review



A cute and charming bundle of holiday joy.

Romantic comedies most often suffer from predictability and Midnight at the Magnolia just may be the most predictable, but in all the right ways. Jack and Maggie form a very cute couple and the charm radiates through the entire story. Even though it feels like it could have been written by a computer, or a thousand Monkeys on typewriters.   2020

Directed by: Max McGuire

Screenplay by: Carley Smale

Starring: Natalie Hall, Evan Williams

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dinner with Friends: Movie Review (AKA Friendsgiving)




Too many unfunny characters spoil the Thanksgiving dinner.
I would like to start with the utter confusion around its release. A Thanksgiving-themed dramedy that was released in the United States as Friendsgiving in October, more than a full month before US Thanksgiving. Then was released in Canada in November, a month after Canadian Thanksgiving and renamed to Dinner with Friends, so it missed out on all the earlier advertising and the actual holiday. That’s a sign that the distributors don’t have faith in the movie.   2020

Directed by: Nicol Paone

Screenplay by: Nicol Paone

Starring: Malin Ackerman, Kat Dennings

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Worst. Christmas. Ever.: Movie Review



Convoluted story and lack of comedy.

Worst. Christmas. Ever. has such a tough hill to climb. It sets some pretty big goals for itself given all the chaos happening in the plot description, but falls very flat. Low production quality issues combined with poorly defined characters keeps the audience too far removed from the action that is supposed to be occurring but never really comes.   2020

Directed by: Johnny Chechitelli

Screenplay by: Johnny Chechitelli

Starring: Raychael Lane, Leonardo Mancini

Sunday, November 8, 2020

A New York Christmas Wedding: Movie Review



A very different kind of Christmas movie.

A New York Christmas Wedding is a very different kind of Christmas movie. It has the look and feel of an indie film (which it is) and, most importantly, it’s inclusive. I am going to try very hard to not give anything away, but I just have to say holiday rom-coms are not just for the straights anymore.   2020

Directed by: Otoja Abit

Screenplay by: Otoja Abit

Starring: Nia Fairweather, Adriana DeMeo

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Blue Ridge: Movie Review





Uninteresting, low quality murder mystery.
Blue Ridge is a murder-of-the-week, made-for-TV quality movie. A woman has been murdered, but we don’t know all that much about her and so the interest in solving the crime is severely lacking. Pretty much everybody in town is a suspect because apparently it’s a town full of bad guys, but none of their stories are interesting either.   2020

Directed by: Brent Christy

Screenplay by: Caleb G. Brown, Shea Sizemore

Starring: Johnathon Schaech, Sarah Lancaster, Graham Greene

Friday, November 6, 2020

Middleton Christmas: Movie Review





A lot of sweetness, romance, drama and cheesiness.
Middleton Christmas starts out as pure sweetness. Hershey chocolate wrapped in a glittery red bow. You know exactly what you’re getting when you unwrap it, but it’s sweet and comforting, and oh so bad for you, especially in large quantities, so hopefully we can keep these movies to a minimum this year (I say that knowing it’s the first week of November, I’ve already seen two, and avoided another dozen).   2020

Directed by: Dale Fabrigar

Screenplay by: Tricia Aurand, Suzanne DeLaurentiis

Starring: Kennedy Tucker, Michael Varde

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Operation Christmas Drop: Movie Review




No romance but a feel-good finale.
Netflix’s newest addition to the Christmas romance genre starts out very shaky but eventually lands on its feet. Viewers who can get past the unfunny, unromantic, very typical opening with unlikable characters, will eventually be rewarded with a feel-good, inspirational flick. The set-up is awful, but the pay-off is solid especially for movies of this ilk.   2020

Directed by: Martin Wood

Screenplay by: Gregg Rossen, Brian Sawyer

Starring: Kat Graham, Alexander Ludwig

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Wheels of Fortune: Movie Review



An over-the-top trashy comedy that does provide some laughs.

A trash comedy in the vein of Talladega Nights but somehow takes itself less seriously and still has a bit of heart to it. It starts in Tennessee. Bo Jackson is a mechanic for a tractor pull racer and this is because he’s a loser, as he likes to call himself. He has no money and no father, until a big city lawyer shows up with a fancy briefcase and a will from his unknown dead father promising Bo the chance to win money.   2020

Directed by: Shaun Paul Piccinino

Screenplay by: John Ducey

Starring: Matt Jones, John Ducey, Matty Cardarople, Noureen DeWulf

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Wolf of Snow Hollow: Movie Review




Idiosyncratic comedy with the makings of a thriller/horror and a character study.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a curious little movie. Part comedy, part horror, part thriller, part murder mystery, part character study, and all within a sub-90-minute runtime. The dialogue, primarily where the comedy comes in, is great; and the set-up for the murder mystery/thriller is good. The meshing of all the themes together got very muddled by the end and the conclusion is not wholly satisfying.   2020

Directed by: Jim Cummings

Screenplay by: Jim Cummings

Starring: Jim Cummings, Riki Lindhome, Robert Forster

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Holidate: Movie Review





A romantic comedy missing that crucial element of humour.
Emma Roberts has built herself a nice career. A long string of comedies – some hits, some nots, but peppers them with roles that have a real bite to them like Scream Queens and American Horror Story. Such that when she returns to a typical romantic comedy, it feels like home. There’s a comfort level to casting Roberts and Luke Bracey in a holiday-themed romantic comedy, and that’s why Holidate will get its audience.   2020

Directed by: John Whitesell

Screenplay by: Tiffany Paulsen

Starring: Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey

Sunday, October 25, 2020

An Imperfect Murder: Movie Review



Lacking a narrative, purpose, intrigue and everything that comes with that.

Whatever this movie was supposed to be, or whatever it once was, it’s not that. Originally titled The Private Life of a Modern Woman and playing the Venice Film Festival in 2017, it gets released three years later and renamed An Imperfect Murder. Never a good sign. I have no idea what made somebody dust this film off the shelf, but it should have remained buried.   2017

Directed by: James Toback

Screenplay by: James Toback

Starring: Sienna Miller, Alec Baldwin

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Shithouse: Movie Review



A true-to-life college experience with heart and vulnerability.

Cooper Raiff is a first-time filmmaker with Shithouse. It’s a small story, but one that is told with a lot of heart and a knack at hitting the awkward truths of college life. Alex (Cooper Raiff) is struggling. In general, struggling with everything about college. He’s not going to classes, failing when he does, he has a roommate who is actively awful to him and he has no friends. His only companionship is his mother and a stuffed animal.   2020

Directed by: Cooper Raiff

Screenplay by: Cooper Raiff

Starring: Cooper Raiff, Dylan Gelula, Logan Miller and Amy Landecker

Friday, October 23, 2020

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Movie Review




Make Borat great again.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan seemed like lightning in a bottle. Something that can’t be repeated and the humour wouldn’t translate to another year. Oh, how wrong that was. Sacha Baron Cohen and his fellow Borat writers and producers have made a true comedy sequel. One that picks up where the original left off and made it funnier and more relevant to today.   2020

Directed by: Jason Woliner

Story by: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Nina Pedrad

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Don't Read This on a Plane: Movie Review




Slow moving and bizarrely plotted, but Jovana has her charms.
Don’t Read This on a Plane borrows its title from the book at the center of the film. And yes, it is named that for a reason. The protagonist is Jovana (Sophie Desmerais) this is her third novel, but her publisher has abruptly gone bankrupt and left her stranded on her book tour. This is very slow, and very bizarrely plotted, but builds to a strangely satisfying story.   2020

Directed by: Stuart McBratney

Screenplay by: Stuart McBratney

Starring: Sophie Desmerais

Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Trial of the Chicago 7: Movie Review




A fascinating period of time, molded into an entertaining movie.
Aaron Sorkin has a way with words. I love his dialogue which always has this natural rhythm and tempo in line with the importance of what the characters have to say, that the audience just falls in sync. I was expecting it to be enlightening, but the suspense and tension is also notable and builds to a very captivating experience.   2020

Directed by: Aaron Sorkin

Screenplay by: Aaron Sorkin

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Jeremy Strong

Monday, October 12, 2020

She's In Portland: Movie Review



Awful characters who don't have anything worthwhile to say.

She’s In Portland suggests there’s a mystique to this titular girl who gets an entire movie made around the journey to see her. But after all the girls we meet on the way to Portland, I really have to question how many girls do the filmmakers actually know? Do they think all girls are manic pixie dream girls? The use of that term will die down once filmmakers stop employing them.   2020

Directed by: Marc Carlini

Screenplay by: Patrick Alexander, Marc Carlini

Starring: Tommy Dewey, Francois Arnaud

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Seberg: Movie Review




Tense, enlightening and heartbreaking.
Seberg is a sublime mix of biopic and FBI thriller. Set in the 1960s, Hollywood and European actress Jean Seberg (Kristen Stewart) is on a flight back to LA from Paris and meets Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie), an outspoken civil rights activist, and Jean watching blatant racial discrimination right in front of her eyes, decides she can’t be silent anymore, and joins in a simple protest.   2019

Directed by: Benedict Andrews

Screenplay by: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Jack O'Connell

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Misbehaviour: Movie Review




Gratifying entertainment in the hands of talented women.
There have been a lot of recent period pieces that seem just as timely and relevant today. Misbehaviour fits very nicely in that category. A story of activists centered around the 1970 Miss World competition tackling misogynism and racism. It’s led by a really fun group of actresses and hits all the right notes even if it’s not as big a film as others would like.   2020

Directed by: Philippa Lowthorpe

Screenplay by: Rebecca Frayn, Gaby Chiappe

Starring: Keira Knightley, Jessie Buckley,
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rhys Ifans

Friday, October 2, 2020

You've Got This: Movie Review




A nicely photographed dramedy with immature contrivances and one-dimensional characters.
You’ve Got This is a Mexican romantic dramedy. The production value is high, filled with some nicely photographed locales. The emotion in the romantic drama aspect is earned as the film gets deeper. However, apart from a few funny lines, the humour was mostly filled with immature contrivances, and despite some solid effort from the actors, the characters are mostly one-dimensional.   2020

Directed by: Salvador Espinosa

Screenplay by: Tiare Scanda, Leonardo Zimbron

Starring: Tato Alexander, Moises Arizmendi

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Boys in the Band: Movie Review




A period flashback to a film we need now.
Heavily advertised as a Ryan Murphy film, it’s not hard to mistake the producer’s influence on The Boys in the Band (notably in the opening sequence and the casting); however, it’s the film’s theater roots that become more prominent as the film went on. Unsurprisingly, it was originally a stage play, and is essentially a one-location, real-time movie.   2020

Directed by: Joe Mantello

Screenplay by: Ned Martel, Mart Crowley

Starring: Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Personal History of David Copperfield: Movie Review




The joyful juncture between youth and maturity.
Similar to how director Armando Iannucci’s previous film The Death of Stalin is sort of based on real events, The Personal History of David Copperfield is sort of based on Dickens’ David Copperfield, which, in turn, is sort of based on real life. It’s a fantastical, upbeat, energetic take on Charles Dickens’ tale with Dev Patel's excellent turn as the titular mischievous orphan.   2019

Directed by: Armando Iannucci

Screenplay: Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci

Starring: Dev Patel

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Swimming for Gold: Movie Review




Mediocre production, nothing to elevate the overcoming-the-odds inspirational story.
Swimming for Gold is squarely directed towards its teen/pre-teen audience, but even if I put myself in 12-year-old me’s shoes, I assume I would be disappointed by this. It’s a mediocre production that tries to squeeze in all the important beats of overcoming-the-odds inspirational story. None of the story lines are appropriately fleshed out to help connect the audience.   2020

Directed by: Hayley MacFarlane

Screenplay by: Eric Bergemann

Starring: Peyton List, Daniel Needs

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Percy: Movie Review




An important story with a simplistic focus.
What feels like ripe material for an epic courtroom thriller, Percy instead takes the road less travelled. It focuses on the people. Which feels like a very apt focus considering the challenges that the agricultural community has faced with the growth of corporate farming and the decline of family farms. It’s a story of David vs Goliath when the septuagenarian Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser (Christopher Walken) took the giant corporation Monsanto to court.   2020

Directed by: Clark Johnson

Screenplay by: Garfield Lindsay Miller, Hilary Pryor

Starring: Christopher Walken, Zach Braff

Sunday, September 13, 2020

I Care a Lot: Movie Review



Cynicism guides this dark comedy thriller.

I Care a Lot has a rhythmic opening scene. A man, desperate to be heard, causes a physical disturbance at a nursing home. He wants to see his mother, but he’s not allowed. Meet Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) who happens to be the legal guardian of this man’s mother. She’s a lawyer who the courts have put in charge of caring for older folks who can no longer take care of themselves.   2020

Directed by: J Blakeson

Screenplay by: J Blakeson

Starring: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage

Saturday, September 12, 2020

I Met a Girl: Movie Review




An empathetic look at mental illness that is sweet and uplifting.
A story of hope, illness, resiliency, and love. I Met a Girl is an occasionally uncomfortable watch, but an uplifting one at the same time. Marketed as a romance, it’s not as light as you might expect it to be. Devon meets a girl and is in love, but he also suffers from schizophrenia with frequent bouts of delusion and paranoia.   2020

Directed by: Luke Eve

Screenplay by: Glen Dolman

Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Joel Jackson

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Broken Hearts Gallery: Movie Review




Genuinely funny and real empathy for the characters.
I’m having a curious relationship with The Broken Hearts Gallery. I have forgiven a lack of realism in romantic comedies in the past (because you just have to), but it’s particularly irksome here. The main premise is unrelatable and unlikable and yet I like everything else about the movie. The film has empathy for its characters, it's only fair that the audience does too.   2020

Directed by: Natalie Krinsky

Screenplay by: Natalie Krinsky

Starring: Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Shiva Baby: Movie Review



A unique and unnervingly real romantic dramedy.

Shiva Baby is a unique film. We’ve seen real-time films before but not in this Jewish slice-of-life (and death, we are at a Shiva after all) way. This is a comedy-drama-romance, but told so intimately and unnervingly real that it feels like it’s own genre. It is nothing like a romantic comedy, and yet on it’s surface, it’s a comedy about a young woman in a not-good relationship and what is she going to do with her life.   2020

Directed by: Emma Seligman

Screenplay by: Emma Seligman

Starring: Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon,
Polly Draper, Danny Deferrari, Dianna Agron

Friday, August 28, 2020

Bill & Ted Face the Music: Movie Review




Eternal optimism and humour.
Bill & Ted pick up, not right where we left them, but right where we thought they’d be, 29 years later. They’re married to their princesses, they each have a daughter, and they’re still trying to make a go of the Wyld Stallyns, very unsuccessfully with Ted’s disapproving father and younger brother not missing a beat. This time, they’re expected to save the world with their music, with only an hour or so to do it in.   2020

Directed by: Dean Parisot

Screenplay by: Ed Soloman and Chris Matheson

Starring: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Emerson Heights: Movie Review



Hallmark-style romance, bad acting, awful message.

Emerson Heights is pure teen romance. It just screams Hallmark, but apparently it’s not. That was my first mistake, thinking if another distributor (Amazon) picked this up, surely there’s something else to this. It can’t just be a soapy, totally unrealistic tale of star-crossed lovers (at the ripe old age of 17) with really bad acting, can it? Yes, it can.   2020

Directed by: Jennifer Hook

Screenplay by: Wendi Foy Green, Austin James

Starring: Austin James, Gatlin Kate James

Friday, August 7, 2020

I Used to Go Here: Movie Review




Relatable, funny and entertaining.
I Used to Go Here is a funny and clever addition to the not-quite-a-mid-life-crisis, not-quite-a-quarter-life crisis genre. Kate (Gillian Jacobs) is in her mid-30s and the film quickly establishes that things are not going as well for her as she would like. She just got her first novel published – yay! But sales are poor, her book tour is cancelled, and there’s a man she once lived with who is not returning her calls.   2020

Directed by: Kris Rey

Screenplay by: Kris Rey

Starring: Gillian Jacobs, Josh Wiggins,
Jermaine Clement and Hannah Marks

Saturday, August 1, 2020

First Cow: Movie Review




A subtle tale of friendship and capitalism.
Eight features in and Kelly Reichardt remains a minimalist filmmaker. This time returning to the scene of Meek’s Cutoff and the Oregon territory in the mid-1800s. First Cow is as subtle a film as one could get with still a coherent narrative, and fortunes at stake for the protagonists. While it is a slow burn, eventually the story that forms is very engaging with legitimate suspense and hope for a better future.   2019

Directed by: Kelly Reichardt

Screenplay by: Kelly Reichardt and Jon Raymond

Starring: John Magaro and Orion Lee

Friday, July 31, 2020

Seriously Single: Movie Review




A legitimately crazy ex-fling.
The South African (English language) rom-com Seriously Single is basically 4 movies in one. If it was four different short films, a couple of them would be entertaining and really good. As one movie, it’s better than it had any right to be, but there are still pacing issues and character issues as Dineo (Fulu Mogovhani) goes through many highs and lows in her love life.   2020

Directed by: Katleho and Rethabile Ramaphakela

Screenplay by: Lwazi Mvusi

Starring: Fulu Mogovhani and Tumi Morake

Thursday, July 30, 2020

aTypical Wednesday: Movie Review




A smart, funny and clever comedy.
Not quite a directorial debut, aTypical Wednesday is, however, the first feature-length fictional film written and directed by J. Lee. It’s a funny and clever comedy that both subverts expectations and gives audiences what they want. The themes are common comedy-drama fodder, namely: relationship issues, bullying and race relations. All three play into one another really well with a lot of laughs along the way.   2020

Directed by: J. Lee

Screenplay by: J. Lee

Starring: J. Lee, Cooper J. Friedman

Friday, July 24, 2020

The Kissing Booth 2: Movie Review




More kissing booth: more of everything.
I was all prepared to hate this. Two-and-a-quarter hour sequels to mediocre teen rom coms don’t exist for good reasons. But it wasn’t all bad. The Kissing Booth 2 took a number of the same qualities to the first, added a few new characters (kept all the same important ones), and then attempted to improve on the common criticisms. Too much was squeezed into this one and the result is a slightly over-done teen flick. 2020

Directed by: Vince Marcello

Screenplay by: Vince Marcello, Jay S. Arnold
Based on the book written by Beth Reekles

Starring: Joey King, Jacob Elordi

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Sunlit Night: Movie Review



A mixed bag of sullenness.

On the surface, The Sunlit Night offers comedian Jenny Slate the chance to stretch her dramatic chops, but in reality it’s a mashup of three different film ideas with no clear theme or substance. In the first 10 minutes we’re treated to a quirky comedy. Frances (Slate) is a struggling New York artist living in a tiny apartment with her deranged parents and sister. The sister might be normal, but she gets left behind.   2019

Directed by: David Wnendt

Screenplay by: Rebecca Knight Dinerstein

Starring: Jenny Slate

Friday, July 17, 2020

A Simple Wedding: Movie Review




Fresh, joyful romantic comedy, consistently funny and heartwarming.
Movies that start with a break-up that look (at least to the audience if not some of the characters) like their relationship is turning a corner and moving onwards and upwards, always hook me in, especially if the humour catches you off-guard. It’s a good sign when romantic comedies are this funny from the opening scene. That’s how A Simple Wedding won me over, and it never lets up. I was laughing, laughing, crying, crying-laughing through the entire film. Let me back up and hopefully you’ll appreciate this film as much I do. 2018

Directed by: Sara Zandieh

Screenplay by: Sara Zandieh

Starring: Tara Grammy, Christopher O'Shea

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Blow the Man Down: Movie Review




Thriller of crime and family - funny, captivating, beguiling.
From the opening scene and deep-voiced men singing melancholic sea shanties, Blow the Man Down summons you into their grit-filled world -- familiar to some, fictional to others – and takes you on a journey of crime and family. The two are intricately connected, of course, especially when directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy present us with such an atmospheric, tightly-woven thriller where every beat matters. The backdrop is Easter Cove, Maine, a small fishing village where nothing is as it seems. 2019

Directed by: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy

Screenplay by: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy

Starring: Sophie Lowe, Morgan Saylor