Friday, June 2, 2023

An Unforgettable Year: Summer: Movie Review

A messy teen rom-com that can still showcase Carnaval in all its glorious colours and music.
An Unforgettable Year: Summer is a Brazilian romantic dramedy set during none other than Carnaval. As suggested by the title, it is indeed part of a 4-film series. Autumn, Winter and Spring will be released in consecutive weeks on Amazon Prime. Based on the Portuguese book series, they are unconnected short stories with one simple theme in common: teens finding themselves and falling in love, and an interesting trend: each one has a specific South American location.   2023

Directed by: Cris d'Amato

Screenplay by: Bruno Garotti, Sylvio Gonçalves, Maira Oliveira
Based on the short story by Thalita Rebouças

Starring: Livia Inhudes

Thursday, June 1, 2023

A Beautiful Life: Movie Review

A simple story with lovely music.
A Beautiful Life is a leisurely and enjoyable Danish romantic drama about music and life in general. That’s really all it’s about. There are overall themes about loss and moving on in life, but it focuses on the music, which is lovely and is the exact right focus for a movie of this ilk. If you came for a predictably sweet, simple movie with some nice pop songs (which are in English), you’re in luck.   2023

Directed by: Mehdi Avaz

Screenplay by: Stefan Jaworski

Starring: Christopher, Inga Ibsdotter Lilleaas

Saturday, May 27, 2023

A Killer Romance: Movie Review

An unusual tone with a trashy story creates a somewhat compelling movie.
A Killer Romance is an insane movie and walks this weird line between exactly what you’re expecting and not at all what you’re expecting. It’s filled with a dozen movie tropes seen in a hundred films, but combines them in weird ways with conflicting tones to create a movie that feels original even though it really isn’t. Which I suspect was the filmmaker’s aim and they succeeded.   2023

Directed by: Tony Glazer

Screenplay by: Tony Glazer

Starring: John Clarence Stewart, Marija Juliette Abney, and Christian Campbell

Friday, May 26, 2023

Where the Tracks End: Movie Review

Chooses melodrama instead of optimism.
Where the Tracks End follows Ikal (Kaarlo Isaacs) a ten-year-old boy who has some social skills but zero academic skills. His father works for a railroad company building train tracks, and the family has newly arrived in a small, dirt town. Ikal makes friends, adopts a stray dog, and finds a teacher who wants to help him learn how to read. Ikal is easy to like; the movie is not.   2023

Directed by: Ernesto Contreras

Screenplay by: Javier Penalosa

Starring: Kaarlo Isaacs, Frida Cruz,
and Adriana Barraza

Saturday, May 13, 2023

BlackBerry: Movie Review

2023 is apparently the year of the corporate biopic, a genre that is proving to be more successful than it sounds like it should be. Blackberry, the historical drama-comedy about the rise and fall of the Waterloo tech company Research in Motion, is highly entertaining with a winning structure. Mike and Doug are two Canadian tech nerds with an idea for the world’s first smartphone and zero sense of how anything is accomplished or how money is made.   2023

Directed by: Matt Johnson

Screenplay by: Matt Johnson, Jacquie McNish, Matthew Miller

Starring: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Royalteen: Princess Margrethe: Movie Review

The first Royalteen was able to shed the image of a silly royal rom-com with a more serious tale of a girl who made past mistakes and had to balance a new love with her new reality, both of which clashed with who she used to be. That happened with Princess Margrethe on the sidelines; a minor character who tried to bully Lena into repeating her past mistakes while insisting she was a picture perfect princess doing everything for her family. Now she has her own movie.   2023

Directed by: Ingvild Søderlind

Screenplay by: Randi Fuglehaug, Anne Gunn Halvorsen, and Marta Huglen Revheim

Starring: Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Invitation to a Murder: Movie Review

Invitation to a Murder starts with a vague and mostly unoriginal – but still promising – premise, and then doesn’t do much with it. 1930s England, six strangers have been brought together by a mysterious benefactor to spend a weekend at a remote mansion. It’s a common enough start for murder mysteries because there are lot of different angles one can take. Too much time building up the premise, not enough time making it entertaining for the audience.   2023

Directed by: Stephen Shimek

Screenplay by: Gerard Miller, Brian O'Donnell
and Jerome Reygner-Kalfon

Starring: Mischa Barton, Chris Browning

Friday, April 28, 2023

Sid Is Dead: Movie Review

Sid is Dead is a mix between Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Sex Appeal. A title that can grab attention and a lead character that’s nerdy, but not too nerdy, clever but not too clever, a character that can almost pull off the relatability usually missing from this genre before he becomes inexplicably popular and challenges the social fabric of his high school that can only happen in movies.   2023

Directed by: Eli Gonda

Screenplay by: Peter Warren, Drew Frist, Tom Dolby

Starring: Joey Bragg, Tyler Alvarez

Friday, March 3, 2023

The Donor Party: Movie Review

Terrible premise, low-level comedy, but some solid attempts at real topics.
The premise is all kinds of wrong, but if you can get it past it, the rest of the movie is not terrible. For a sex comedy about tricking men into accidentally impregnating a woman on purpose, the scale has to be how terrible it is. I had many concerns at the beginning, only some of which remained concerns. First, the lead character is an hysterical 40-ish woman desperate to get married and have a baby.   2023

Directed by: Thom Harp

Screenplay by: Thom Harp

Starring: Malin Akerman, Erinn Hayes, Ryan Hansen, Rob Corrdry, and Jerry O'Connell

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Love at First Kiss: Movie Review

A slow rom-com but not without some unique charms.
A Netflix Spanish rom-com starring Álvaro Cervantes, I immediately thought of Crazy About Her, but Love at First Kiss is not that. This is slower, light on the comedy, and attempting to be an introspective rom-com which gives it a different tone for the genre but does still hit most of the expected plot points. The basic premise features a man who can foresee the entirety of the relationship play out when they share their first kiss.   2023

Directed by: Alauda Ruiz de Azúa

Screenplay by: Cristóbal Garrido, Adolfo Valor

Starring: Álvaro Cervantes, Silvia Alonso

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Free Skate: Movie Review

Slow and dark, a story of trauma, abuse and perseverance.
Left for dead on the side of a Finland highway after fleeing Russia, a young elite figure skater is trying to start a new life with her grandmother and a skating rink in Finland. That’s how Free Skate starts. It’s a slow, dark, trauma-filled exploration of life in the figure skating world, and that’s before we even get into the darker more trauma-filled story that the movie eventually tells.   2022

Directed by: Roope Olenius

Screenplay by: Veera W. Vilo

Starring: Veera W. Vilo

Friday, February 24, 2023

Who Are You People: Movie Review

A quietly powerful and compelling family drama.
A drama that sneaks up on you by balancing a story that looks familiar but becomes a very important and powerful tale about morality. Who Are You People starts with Alex (Ema Horvath), a snarky, lonely, rebellious teenager who writes stories for English class about how nobody understands her and how her parents hate her and then retreats into her self-loathing defense.   2023

Directed by: Ben Epstein

Screenplay by: Ben Epstein

Starring: Ema Horvath, Devon Sawa

Friday, February 17, 2023

Of an Age: Movie Review

Intimate and epic, heartbreaking and funny.
Of an Age starts frantically with a problem both amusing and concerning. Ebony (Hattie Hook) wakes up with disheveled clothes alone on a beach. She scrambles to find a payphone (it’s 1999) and she calls Kol (Elias Anton) to come get her. A few problems with that. Kol doesn’t have a car, she doesn’t know where she is, and they have a dance final in an hour. He has to find someone to drive, pick up her dance outfit, use deductive reasoning to guess where she is, and make sure her mother doesn’t find out.   2022

Directed by: Goran Stolevski

Screenplay by: Goran Stolevski

Starring: Elias Anton, Thom Green

Friday, February 10, 2023

Your Place or Mine: Movie Review

Exactly as expected, but the characters are funny and enjoyable.
Friends becomes more than friends romantic comedy. Your Place or Mine is nothing you haven’t seen before, but the characters are all cute and witty and not a bad way to spend two hours. It’s funny without being immature, centers on the lives of the characters rather than romance or plot. It’s lightweight, charming enough, even if it is a little staid and unfocused.   2023

Directed by: Aline Brosh McKenna

Screenplay by: Aline Brosh McKenna

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Somebody I Used to Know: Movie Review

Limited character but a fun and flawed lead character.
What starts out as a typical and potentially boring rom-com turns into a devious little comedy with everybody on their worst behaviour, and then flips into a character study of a broken woman realizing all the wrong choices she has made and then has to tidy up her messes. If all of the other romantic comedies this February are for the couples, then this one is for the singles who hopefully are smart enough to not destroy their ex’s wedding.   2023

Directed by: Dave Franco

Screenplay by: Dave Franco, Alison Brie

Starring: Alison Brie, Jay Ellis, Kiersey Clemons, and Danny Pudi

Dear David: Movie Review

Dear David is an Indonesian romantic drama, with a really good primary plot that becomes frustrating at times but nails the ending. Laras (Shenina Cinnamon) is a top student, who’s shy and a loner, and retreats into a fantasy world where she writes erotic fiction about David, a boy at school that she has a crush on. When her private blog gets leaked, everybody’s worlds get turned upside down.   2023

Directed by: Lucky Kuswandi

Screenplay by: Winnie Benjamin, David Sumolang, and Muhammad Zaidy

Starring: Shenina Cinnamon, Emir Mahira

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

One Year Off: Movie Review

Overly dramatic, inconsistent nonsense.

We would all love to take a year off of our lives and go have a romantic fling on the island of Nevis, but for those of us who can’t do that, we would at least like to enjoy a movie about that. But no such luck. One Year Off is not enjoyable. The characters are so illogical, the plot (when the movie decides to have one) is nonsense, that looking at a beautiful beach for two hours just doesn’t cut it.   2023

Directed by: Philippe Martinez

Screenplay by: Stewart Thomson

Starring: Jeff Fahey, Nathalie Cox

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Wedding Hustler: Movie Review

Low budget quirkiness in wedding planning.
Chris and Hillary are getting married. Maybe. Eventually. They got engaged and then the pandemic pushed back their wedding, and then it pushed back their wedding again, and now Hillary’s parents are pressuring them to get married despite the fact they really don’t like Chris. He’s lazy and unemployed and their daughter can do better, but a wedding is better than no wedding.   2022

Directed by: Chris Soriano

Screenplay by: Chris Soriano

Starring: Chris Soriano, Christine S. Chang

Friday, February 3, 2023

Who Invited Charlie?: Movie Review

Lightweight and not too immature.
Who Invited Charlie? Is a lightweight comedy balancing the immaturity of Adam Pally’s Charlie and the drama of the early days of the pandemic in New York. It’s set in March 2020 and you have every type of reaction on display. Like the more successfully COVID-influenced movies, the pandemic certainly has a significant impact on the characters, but the plot can survive without it.   2022

Directed by: Xavier Manrique

Screenplay by: Nicholas Schutt

Starring: Adam Pally, Reid Scott

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Erin's Guide to Kissing Girls: Movie Review

Sweetly funny middle school rom-com.
Erin (Elliot Stocking) is the only gay kid in her eighth-grade class, and Liz (Jesyca Gu) is her only friend. The two tend to turn to comic books rather than enduring the antics of their bully classmates. Erin’s Guide to Kissing Girls features all the expected personalities for a middle school class. Erin is quiet and awkward, Liz is quiet and shy, the bullies Chris and Derek just like to be loud and annoying, and the popular girls are all confident and conceited and blonde.   2022

Directed by: Julianna Notten

Screenplay by: Julianna Notten

Starring: Elliot Stocking, Jesyca Gu

Monday, January 30, 2023

True Spirit: Movie Review

An even-keeled film about achieving your dreams.
True Spirit is the true story of Jessica Watson (Teagan Croft) a 16-year-old girl who sailed solo non-stop around the world. The story has a nice flow and nice pace to it. Throwing us right into the middle of a storm, in what turns out to be a test run, is a fast introduction to a our lead character. A very determined girl, but also a little stubborn, who may be in over her head.   2023

Directed by: Sarah Spillane

Screenplay by: Rebecca Banner, Cathy Randall, Sarah Spillane

Starring: Teagan Croft, Anna Paquin

Friday, January 27, 2023

18 Pages: Movie Review

Way too long and drawn out, missing all the fun.

18 Pages is the romantic drama about a young woman with a lost diary and the man who finds it two years later and is instantly drawn to this unknown woman. It’s an intriguing premise with the potential to be both romantic and interesting. But it ends up playing out in a long-drawn story with illogical characters and completely conflicting tones.   2022

Directed by: Palnati Surya Pratap

Screenplay by: Sukumar, Srikanth Vissa

Starring: Nikhil Siddharth, Anupama Parameswaran

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Price of Family: Movie Review

So much dysfunction, so little comedy.
The Price of Family is an Italian dysfunctional family comedy, but it’s a real struggle to see where the comedy is in the dysfunction. Two empty nesters are distraught when their adult children move out of their family home and get jobs. The kids don’t come home for the funeral of an old distant relative and all hell breaks loose (this is a slight exaggeration on my part, but their reactions are far from normal).   2022

Directed by: Giovanni Bognetti

Screenplay by: Giovanni Bognetti

Starring: Christian De Sica, Angela Finocchiaro

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Night Train: Movie Review

Flips the script with good characters and no action.
An action movie with very little action. I’m usually not a fan of action movies, but these characters intrigued me. Led by two women, the excess testosterone was removed from the genre leaving a movie that is slowly paced, a little lacklustre at times (not helped by the desert landscape), but not without its humanity. We should probably start with that poster because it’s advertising a completely different movie.   2023

Directed by: Shane Stanley

Screenplay by: CJ Walley

Starring: Danielle C. Ryan, Diora Baird,
and Paul Haapaniemi

Friday, January 20, 2023

You People: Movie Review

A funny and traditional rom-com tackling modern racial differences.

Writer and director Kenya Barris, known for Black-ish and Girls Trip, now turns his sights to a more traditional rom-com. A rom-com featuring an interracial couple and meddling parents who make life so difficult for the pair that they’re out here questioning if blacks and whites can even be friends. But don’t worry, you’ll be laughing too hard to spend too much time worrying about the state of society.   2023

Directed by: Kenya Barris

Screenplay by: Kenya Barris, Jonah Hill

Starring: Jonah Hill, Lauren London, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Eddie Murphy

Saturday, January 14, 2023

On Sacred Ground: Movie Review

Subdued, but fair and impassioned.
On Sacred Ground is the true story of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protests at the Standing Rock Reservation. It opens with a Texas Oil Company paying a Houston newspaper to do an article about how awesome they are, so the newspaper scours the freelance journalism networks to find the most easily bought-off reporter that they could hire to cover the protests in the most pro corporate oil way possible.   2023

Directed by: Josh Tickell, Rebecca Harrell Tickell

Screenplay by: William Mapother, Josh Tickell

Starring: William Mapother, Kerry Knuppe

Friday, January 13, 2023

Door Mouse: Movie Review

Door Mouse creates a very specific world, but one which is hard to get used to. Mouse (Hayley Law) is a comic book artist and a dancer at a burlesque club. The aesthetic is gritty punk, or neo-noire as marketed. Mouse is poor, lives in the slums, drinks coffee, smokes cigarettes, draws her comics and then goes to work. Rinse and repeat.   2022

Directed by: Avan Jogia

Screenplay by: Avan Jogia

Starring: Hayley Law, Keith Powers