Category Archives: Drama

UNCORKED (2020): The Things I Liked…

Uncorked (2020), Mamoudou Athie, Coutney B. Vance, Netflix
Uncorked (2020), Mamoudou Athie, Coutney B. Vance, Netflix

I can’t deny that part of the reason I started watching Uncorked is because I knew it would be set in Paris, France at least some of the time. I imagined that this fact may just help me get over the cancellation of my Spring 2020 travel plans. I think it probably helped a tiny bit in the end. A very tiny little bit.

Luckily for me, the main reason I watched writer / director Prentice Penny’s drama was to see a young man’s (Mammoudou Athie) journey as he tries to balance his personal aspirations of becoming a master sommelier with his father’s (Courtney B. Vance) expectations of him.

From Vance, Athie, Matt McGorry and  Sasha Compére, everyone in Uncorked performed well. I had a good time watching Penny’s movie especially after the slower pace near the beginning subsided. I found the structure of the story refreshing, specifically as it pertains to where it ends up, versus where my years of film viewing experience led me to believe it would go.

As for specific moments that will stay with me, the first is the main family dinner scene which was funny, relatable and well choreographed. The others are pretty much every scenes that features Nash, a wonderful actor whose presence onscreen has a way of putting me at ease.

Overall, I enjoyed the film’s depictions of friendship and family; all of which included a healthy injection of humour. If like myself you like stories of people working hard to make their dreams come true – however unexpected and challenging the journey, I say give Uncorked a chance. It may just give you that extra push to keep working hard towards your own goals; whether you want to become a master sommelier or something else entirely.

Happy Film Loving

G

EXTRACTION (2020): The Things I Liked…

Extraction (2020), Chris Hemsworth, Netflix
Extraction (2020), Chris Hemsworth, Netflix

I’d forgotten that the script for Chris Hemsworth’s latest action / drama Extraction is written by Joe Russo; co-director of several Marvel movies including Avengers Endgame (2019).

It’s no surprise then that even though Extraction is directed by Sam Hargrave and not Russo, it remains a decent movie that has Hemsworth in the believable role of black market mercenary Tyler Rake. Rake takes on a deadly mission to rescue Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord.

Thanks to a well written and edited story outline, Extraction is a very engaging film that had me locked in from beginning to end – thanks to well choreographed, brutal fight sequences, gun fights and some unexpected twists and turns. 

When I wasn’t at the edge of my seat hoping that Rake and young Ovi survive every attempt at their lives, I was concerned for Rake’s emotional well being because of his own personal trauma that was alluded to at he start. 

If I had to choose a favourite scene, it would be the emotional moment that happens on the bridge at the end. I didn’t expect to react to that as strongly as I did. Protagonist Hemsworth’s performance as Tyler Rake is my favourite but I also really enjoyed the work of Randeep Hooda who is great as Saju. 

Watch Extraction because it’s a good action film that probably won’t have you too mad that the focus is more on the action and stunts than the story. You’ll also find out how well an action movie set in Dhaka, Bangladesh can turn out.

Lastly, enjoy the nostalgia that comes with watching a movie that features at least three members of the Marvel universe. Namely Hemsworth (Thor), David Harbour (Red Guardian from Black Widow) and Russo (as mentioned above).

Happy Film Loving

G

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019): The Things I Liked…

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), Brad Pitt, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), Brad Pitt, Sony Pictures Entertainment

I don’t remember the last time I sat down to watch a movie and thought to myself ‘Yep. This definitely wasn’t made for me’, but Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 2019’s Quentin Tarantino film that landed the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Brad Pitt is one such film.

As a long time fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, Pitt and Tarantino, I knew, having seen the trailer months prior that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood would be technically good, but also different from Tarantino’s previous films.

What I didn’t know is that as much as I appreciate Pitt and DiCaprio’s acting, the pace of this new movie would prove quite the challenge at times. I actually had to reach for my phone (then put it back quickly because I must focus) once or twice as the film played. All in search of something that worked a little harder to keep my impatient brain engaged and entertained. I’m quite sure that the pace of all that happened made sense for the look, feel, and period of this movie. I simply wish that I could have forgotten that my phone existed during the viewing process.

Thankfully things did become more interesting once we hit the one hour, fifteen minute point. Besides the aforementioned pacing plus the one or two tension-filled moments that seemed to drag on for a little longer than necessary, all else was well with Tarantino’s movie. A story about a specific period in Hollywood (1969) where a TV actor (DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Pitt) go about  their lives navigating their roles and place in the industry. We get to see an enviably close partnership / friendship captured in a way that gives the movie a kind of behind the scenes / documentary feel. One that shows us a glimpse into the middle aged actor experience; along with the experience of a few other Hollywood residents – unsavoury or otherwise.

In terms of great scenes, DiCaprio has some. Overall though, my favourites mostly feature Pitt’s Cliff Booth character. It makes sense since Pitt’s scenes contained a little more of what I love about Tarantino films. Including beautifully choreographed ‘badassery,’ undeniable cool, great dialogue, tension, music and so on.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one to watch for fans of Tarantino, those curious about his creative evolution and fans of the great actors involved. Even though this one isn’t my favourite Tarantino film, there are scenes I’ll remember fondly. Especially the choreography of a specific scene involving a beautiful pit bull named Brandy.

What’s your your favourite Tarantino classic?

Happy Film Loving

G

LITTLE WOMEN (2019): The Things I Liked…

Little Women (2019), Saoirse Ronan, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Little Women (2019), Saoirse Ronan, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Little Women is a book I have not read. As such, besides that Friends episode where Rachel spoils the story for Joey, I didn’t really know much beforehand.

Based on Louisa May Alcott’s famous novel about four sisters coming-of-age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War, there are three things that stood out most and in a good way while watching director Greta Gerwig’s remake.

Firstly, the beauty that is the gift of sisterhood. Beauty that is there when you’re happy with your sister, when you’re mad at your sister and when times aren’t so great. I like how accurately and honestly Gerwig captured the magic of these moments.  Second, I’ve always been partial to stories of girls and women who are determined enough to decide on the life they want and go after it; regardless of other’s expectations. An even more impressive move during far less liberated periods in women’s history. 

Lastly, unrequited love. The presence of this theme in Little Women resulted in my favourite and some of the most moving moments in the whole film. Particularly the one that takes place in a field with Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan’s characters. 

In terms of how I feel about Gerwig’s film overall, it’s very well acted by all involved. I especially enjoyed Chalamet, Ronan and Florence Pugh’s performances. Beyond that and the standout moments I’ve referenced, I can’t say that I love Gerwig’s movie. This is in part because I’m not quite a fan of the editing. The way it jumped back and forth to different time lines proved more annoying than fully necessary. Perhaps the story was to big to tell in the allotted time. Furthermore, I found that Little Women really became most interesting from Meg’s wedding onwards. The unfortunate thing about that is Meg’s wedding doesn’t take place until approximately two thirds into the movie.

Big fans of the book will probably like this film far more than I did. For everyone else, I say follow your curiosities – even if it was a Friends episode that ignited it. 

Happy Film Loving

G

HOLLYWOOD (2020): New Trailer For Ryan Murphy Series Starring Darren Criss, Laura Harrier, Jim Parsons, Samara Weaving, David Corenswet…

Hollywood (2020), Laura Harrier, Netflix
Hollywood (2020), Laura Harrier, Netflix

From creators Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, Hollywood is a new 7 part Netflix miniseries about a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood; all trying to make it big – no matter the cost.

Key cast includes Darren Criss, Jim Parsons, Samara Weaving, Laura Harrier and Jeremy Pope.

I simply couldn’t ignore this one. Especially since it seems to want to re-write history whilst showing the dark side of Hollywood. The side that’s fueled by power, ambition and desperation.

I’m also watching for the fashion, and Jim Parsons, (a.k.a Sheldon Cooper). Considering how very particular Parsons’s portrayal of Cooper was on The Big Bang Theory, I enjoy finding out how different he is in other roles.

Holland Taylor, Queen Latifah, Caesar Osiris, Patti LuPone, Dylan McDermott, Colette McDermott, Mira Sorvino, Jake Picking, Nicola Bertram and Kerry Knuppe also star.

Hollywood Release Dates: May 1st, 2020 (US & UK) / Netflix…

Happy Film Loving

G

KNIVES OUT (2019): The Things I Liked…

Knives Out (2019) LaKeith Stanfield, Ana De Armes, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Lionsgate Movies
Knives Out (2019) LaKeith Stanfield, Ana De Armes, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Lionsgate Movies

As far as murder mystery movies go, I certainly haven’t watched very many and can’t say that they’re my favourite. However, writer / director Rian Johnsons’s Knives Out isn’t a bad one. 

Centred around the sudden death of the patriarch (Christopher Plummer) of an eccentric, combative family, Johnsons’s film kept me engaged throughout. The story and familial tensions kept building and building until its final quite satisfying conclusion.

I enjoyed all the performances including and especially Daniel Craig as private investigator Benoit Blanc. I also rather liked the facial expressions of Jamie Lee Curtis’s character, Linda Drysdale.

Knives Out has humour, clever twists and surprises to keep you locked in till the end.  I say definitely watch it if you like murder mysteries, and Daniel Crag… and the rest of the talented cast which includes LaKeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas and Toni Collette.

Happy Film Loving

G

I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE (2020): New Trailer From Mark Ruffalo, Kathryn Hahn, Melissa Leo, Juliette Lewis…

I Know This Much Is True (2020), Mark Ruffalo, HBO
I Know This Much Is True (2020), Mark Ruffalo, HBO

I Know This Much Is True is a new HBO drama / mini seven part series about Dominick Birdsey (Mark Ruffalo). Birdsey is a middle aged man recounting his troubled relationship with Thomas, his paranoid schizophrenic twin brother. Particularly his efforts to get him released from an asylum.

Based on the bestselling novel by  Wally Lamb, additional key cast includes Kathryn Hahn , Melissa Leo and Juliette Lewis.

When an actor does a great job of playing more than one character in a movie, especially where both characters have to interact with each other and often, it’s one of those tests that really affirms their talents.

Like most I’m already aware of Ruffalo’s abilities and such, I’ll be watching for his performance, even though I know I’ll be shedding a few more tears than I’d prefer.

Rosie O’Donnell, Archie Panjabi, Imogen Poots, John Procaccino, Tom Stratford, Michael Greyeyes, Donnie Masihi, Rocco Masihi, Simone Coppo and Simone Coppo also star.

I Know This Much Is True Release Dates: May 10th, 2020 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

CAPONE (2020): New Trailer From Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, Matt Dillon, Kyle MacLachlan…

Capone (2020), Tom Hardy
Capone (2020), Tom Hardy, Vertical Entertainment US

Directed by Josh Trank; Tom Hardy, Kyle MacLachlan, Matt Dillon and Linda Cardellini are the stars of Capone, a new crime / thriller based on the notorious American mobster Al Capone.

At the age of 47 after spending 10 years in prison, Capone starts suffering from dementia and finds himself haunted by his violent past.

I’m in for a good Hardy performance, and with all those prosthetics he has going on, it’s just as well that I don’t only watch Hardy movies because of his undeniably handsome face.

Knowing that Tony Montana of Scarface (1983) was inspired by the real life story of Al Capone, I’ll have my eyes rested and ready to spot any similarities in the two films. Especially since before even know this truth for sure a few seconds before typing it, some images in this trailer already reminded me of moments in Brian De Palma’s famous classic.

Noel Fisher, Jack Lowden, Kathrine Narducci, Al Sapienza, Tilda Del Toro, Mason Guccione, Sue-Lynn Ansari, Wayne Pére, Jhemma Ziegler, Patti Brindley and Rose Bianco also star.

Capone Release Dates: May 12th, 2020 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G