Saturday, February 27, 2021

Crazy About Her: Movie Review

Smart, sensitive and funny.
This one caught me off guard. With that premise, I was concerned with how wrong it could get. But Crazy About Her is smart and sensitively written and holds true to the rom-com genre. Most romantic comedies that bring in mental illness will go dark or dramatic, but this remains (mostly) funny and romantic throughout. It has a sharp wit, is entertaining and is still a tender and thoughtful portrait of mental illness.   2021

Directed by: Dani de la Orden

Screenplay by: Natalia Durán, Eric Navarro

Starring: Álvaro Cervantes, Susana Albaitua

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Geez & Ann: Movie Review

A leisurely romantic drama that has its charms.

Geez & Ann is an Indonesian teen romantic drama. It starts out very sweet and charming and cute, but before the half-way mark drama takes over, weighs it down and really slows it down. However, these characters have a fairly unique path and take the film in a different evolution than usual for the genre even though it feels very familiar.   2021

Directed by: Rizki Balki

Screenplay by: Cassandra Massardi, Adi Nugroho

Starring: Hanggini, Junior Roberts

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Promising Young Woman: Movie Review

Entertaining with a dark truth and tragic emotional edge.
Promising Young Woman is a polished, original, wild ride of revenge, but at its heart, it’s an impassioned story of a young woman with a fractured psyche and an astute examination of society that needs a harsh reckoning to come to terms with its treatment of sexual abuse. This is writer-director Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut and is best summed-up with one-word: Wow.   2020

Directed by: Emerald Fennell

Screenplay by: Emerald Fennell

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham

Friday, February 19, 2021

Minari: Movie Review

The American dream, as it tries to tear apart one family.
Minari is a curious film as it tackles small issues with a big brush. It feels like a movie that is going to explore racism in middle America in the 1980s, but instead spends most of its time on the family dynamics of Korean immigrants. Originally settling in a city in California approx. a decade earlier, a husband and wife and their two kids have moved to a farm in rural Arkansas.   2020

Directed by: Lee Isaac Chung

Screenplay by: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Namaste Wahala: Movie Review

Chaotic energy with wild shifts in tone.

Namaste Wahala is my first Nollywood film (Nigerian film industry) and they seem to have taken a lot of cues from Bollywood; it’s bright and colourful, with massive shifts in tone and a few random song breaks. Based on Netflix’s advertising, I think it was supposed to be their foreign entry for Valentine’s Day, but the many shifts in tone take it far from a romantic comedy.   2020

Directed by: Hamisha Daryani Ahuja

Screenplay by: Temitope Bolade, Diche Enunwa

Starring: Ini Dima Okojie, Ruslaan Mumtaz

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Squared Love: Movie Review

Rom-com with the lowest common denominator.
It feels like there should be a good movie somewhere in Squared Love – a combination of romance and thriller which plays more in line with a rom-com than something dark or sinister. However, it’s “thriller” plot is so childish it’s really surprising that it’s meant to be for grown adult humans. I like the playful nature, but they aimed way too low. Betting on the lowest common denominator for your audience is not cool.   2021

Directed by: Filip Zylber

Screenplay by: Wiktor Piatkowski, Marzanna Polit

Starring: Adrianna Chlebicka, Mateusz Banasiuk

Friday, February 12, 2021

Fear of Rain: Movie Review

Good characters pulled in too many directions.

There are a few different ideas at play in Fear of Rain, all revolving around the struggle with schizophrenia and not being sure what is real and what is not real. That’s certainly not new territory for a movie, especially not a thriller, but the movie does have a lot of calm moments in the middle with some thoughtful drama.   2021

Directed by: Castille Landon

Screenplay by: Castille Landon

Starring: Madison Iseman, Harry Connick Jr.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Right One: Movie Review

A different kind of rom-com with a unique character.
What we have here is a good premise with a bad title masquerading as a romantic comedy. I get the desire to market it as a rom-com, certainly an easier sell than a drama about grief and mental illness. The Right One is also sort-of half and half. Two lead characters from very different movies combining to give us something unique.   2021

Directed by: Ken Mok

Screenplay by: Ken Mok

Starring: Nick Thune, Cleopatra Coleman

Friday, January 22, 2021

Breaking Fast: Movie Review

Mature and inclusive, a rom-com with emotional candor.
Breaking Fast could be a straight-forward romantic comedy but instead it breaks the mold with layered characters and thoughtful discussions on dramatic themes. It includes commentary on family, religion, religious extremists, sexual orientations and acceptance, does so with the best written characters this genre has seen and then wraps that all up in a joyful rom-com plot with really high indie production values.   2020

Directed by: Mike Mosallam

Screenplay by: Mike Mosallam

Starring: Haaz Sleiman, Michael Cassidy

Monday, January 18, 2021

Our Friend: Movie Review

Effective comedy and drama, unnecessary time jumps.
I get what Our Friend is trying to do: a weepy cancer drama that is not about a person dying of cancer but about the positives that a friend can bring while a person is dying of cancer. But the film does itself no favours with the constant time-jumps. Instead of setting itself apart, it’s brought down by unnecessary disorder that doesn’t add anything to the story.   2019

Directed by: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Screenplay by: Brad Ingelsby

Starring: Casey Affleck, Jason Segel, Dakota Johnson

Friday, January 15, 2021

Locked Down: Movie Review

A conversation with two great characters.
A mainstream HBO release billed as a heist comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor, most people would not envision this movie. Produced during the pandemic and featuring our now-too-well-known lives of Zoom calls and quarantine, Locked Down is a very different take on the heist comedy – namely in that it really isn’t, this is a character-centric relationship dramedy that ventures into a department store heist for its final act.   2021

Directed by: Doug Liman

Screenplay by: Steven Knight

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Wild Mountain Thyme: Movie Review

Wildy insane and tedious but vividly captured.

John Patrick Shanley is an interesting writer and an accomplished filmmaker who has been making movies for over thirty years including the Oscar-winning Moonstruck and Doubt. And now here we are with Wild Mountain Thyme with all the pedigree, including Christopher Walken and Emily Blunt, to be a major awards player, but it most definitely will not be. Not that Shanley cares.   2020

Directed by: John Patrick Shanley

Screenplay by: John Patrick Shanley
Based on the play Outside Mullingar

Starring: Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Spontaneous: Movie Review

Wildly creative, insane, funny and poignant.

Spontaneous is wildly original and insane with a touch of poignancy and real world politics. Teenagers start spontaneously combusting with no reason why. The FBI arrives “Are you blowing up your classmates?” “Um, no?” “Ok, back to the drawing board”. The politicians offer their thoughts and prayers, and unsurprisingly, that doesn’t solve it either. What are the still living students supposed to do?   2020

Directed by: Brian Duffield

Screenplay by: Brian Duffield
Based on the novel by Aaron Starmer

Starring: Katherine Langford, Charlie Plummer