Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

HUMOR ME: Its…

Humor Me (2017), Jermaine Clement
Humor Me (2017), Jermaine Clement

It was the humour present in the trailer for Humor Mecombined with my knowledge of Jermaine Clement’s great comic timing – particularly in People Places Things (2015) that had me wanting to watch writer / director Sam Hoffman’s latest comedy film.

I think I laughed a little, a couple of times but most of the humour simply made me smile at most. Hoffman’s story of a once-acclaimed New York playwright who now finds himself struggling to finish a new play when his wife leaves him covers themes of father/ son relationships, sibling relationships and grief. There are one, maybe two emotional moments that were well handled in the film. However, overall it felt for me as though something was missing from the story. I sat and I watched but my attention certainly wasn’t commanded by what was taking place on screen; at least not until near the end.

I feel as though writer / director John Krasinki’s The Hollars (2016) did a better job of telling a somewhat similar story with a more amusing end result and with better executed emotional moments.

What Humor Me has made me realise is that I’m ready to see Clement in roles  where he’s actually a winner, someone going through a happy phase in their life. One more thing that occurred to me as I watched Humor Me is the fact that I can no longer help but compare any comedy films starring more than 3 older people, to Grace and Frankie; a good Netflix series centred around the complicated relationships between a group of older people.

Watch Humour Me if you absolutely must. Also, if you’re into ‘dad jokes’, you may find new ones that you enjoy in the film.

Happy Film Loving

G

A QUIET PLACE (2018): The Things I Liked…

A Quiet Place (2018), Emily Blunt
A Quiet Place (2018), Emily Blunt

Starring Emily Blunt, co-written / directed by, and starring John Krasinski, A Quiet Place is a scary movie I wanted to see regardless of my characteristic of being ‘easily spooked into insomnia and nightmares.’ 

Set during a post apocalyptic future, Blunt and Krasinski are a couple with three children. In an effort to stay alive, the family are forced to live in silence because simply not doing so will mean they’re heard and subsequently become prey for mysterious creatures that hunt by sound.

I enjoyed this movie and was shocked, moved and impressed by the story, characters, performances plus the execution of the most memorable moments. A Quiet Place did a good job of showing the audience the general cleverness one would need in order to survive in a world where sound becomes deadly. 

I absolutely want to believe that I’d survive living in silence; however there may be too much about me that is loud. A surprise sneeze attack among many other things would surely mean the end of me.

Besides making me an even bigger fan of Blunt and Krasinski, A Quiet Place made me appreciate my freedom to make sound. It reminded me of the the gargantuan challenge that is parenting. It also left me feeling even more empowered and powerful as a young woman, something I wasn’t expecting.

If I had to pick one thing that I wasn’t totally in love with about this movie, it would be the jarring move from silence to a seemingly super loud sound/ musical score. 

Watch it because it’s good and A Quiet Place will likely not result in a single moment of sleeplessness. It didn’t for me.. yet!

Happy Film Loving

G

THE SHAPE OF WATER (2017): The Things I Liked…

The Shape Of Water (2017), Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer
The Shape Of Water (2017), Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer

Set in Cold War era America, circa 1963, director Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water is an other-worldly fairy tale and fantasy / romance about a lonely mute called Elisa. Played beautifully by Sally Hawkins, Elisa falls in love with ‘amphibian man’, a sea creature captured for a secret classified experiment due to take place at Elisa’s work building where she cleans.

Featuring good performances by all, including Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins and Michael Shannon, I found Hawkins to be particularly captivating as Elisa. Her great performance along with the beautiful visuals, filming style – the way the camera barely stood still combined with the editing and pacing managed to keep me engaged.

The Shape Of Water is generally a well executed movie. Nevertheless, I’m not as enthused post viewing as I thought I might be. I understand the film’s message about love and how there are near to zero limitations in terms of where one can find it. Still, perhaps it’s just the kind of film, though good, it doesn’t inspire a certain level of excitement within me. It could have something to do with not really seeing myself ever falling in love with ‘amphibian man’. It could also be that the ‘love can be found anywhere’ message is one I’d already fully digested. Lastly, maybe I loved the first half more than I did the second half, where things got really serious. Yes, that may be it. I think I had more fun when Elisa was happy and tap-dancing in her corridor!

Richard Strickland’s (Shannon) voice and suit before the true nature of his character is revealed, the capabilities of ‘amphibian man’ and Hawkins’ performance are my favourite things about The Shape Of Water. 

Watch it if you’re curious. Maybe you’ll be more wowed and enthused than I. It is the Best Picture Academy Award winner after all.

Happy Film Loving

G

AMERICAN ASSASSIN (2017): The Thing I Liked…

American Assassin (2017), Dylan O'Brien
American Assassin (2017), Dylan O’Brien

American Assassin isn’t exactly a terrible movie, it’s just that director Michael Cuesta’s film didn’t have anything particularly new to show me. At least not until the thing that happens on / in the ocean towards the end. That moment definitely had my attention.

Starring Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan and Dylan O’Brien, I must admit that I struggled to remain interested during numerous scenes that I felt I’d seen many times before in other better executed action thrillers; The Bourne Identity (2002) being one such film.

Performance-wise, O’Brien didn’t do a bad job. As for Taylor Kitsch though, I can’t say I bought into his character’s anger completely.

Assuming that this movie was shot after the Maze Runner – The Death Cure on-set accident, I was certainly happy to see O’brien looking physically well again. Overall, the story of this movie simply wasn’t new enough for me. At least not new in enough ways to prevent it from feeling tedious.

Watch it if you absolutely must. Otherwise, three words: The Bourne Identity (2002). Two more words:  Casino Royale (2006). Three more words: I joke, I have no more words… at this time.

Happy Film loving.

G

IRREPLACEABLE YOU (2018): It’s…

Irreplaceable You (2018), Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Irreplaceable You (2018), Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Regardless of how much I wished and hoped, Irreplaceable You which stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Michiel Huisman is not a good movie.  However sweet the premise of the love story may be and as tragic as the story’s end is, the execution was not satisfying.

It’s odd to say this of a movie about a young couple whose love story is cut short by terminal illness but, I kept thinking where’s the heart, the soul? Why am I not connecting to this story – let alone the characters?

Overall, I don’t think I really bought much of what was happening throughout. My viewing session kept being interrupted by thoughts of ‘this is not great’ and ‘The Fault In Our Stars (2014)’ did a much better job of telling a similar story.

What I know for sure is that story editing, the writing, cliches and perhaps insufficient chemistry between the two leads has something to do with why Irreplaceable You isn’t great. There were a few moments where I thought ‘this is where it takes a turn and gets better’ but it never did.

If I had to pick a thing or two I liked, I’d say the moment in Central Park during the ‘Did you know’ game because I learned one or two things I didn’t already know. There’s also Jacki Weaver. However small the part or disappointing a film, ‘Queen Weaver’ never seems to give a bad performance. I haven’t watched all her movies, of course but I always buy everything she’s selling. The Voices (2014)for example.

 The Fault In Our Stars, definitely watch that instead. Really.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US (2017): The Things I Liked…

The Mountain Between Us (2017), Kate Winslet
The Mountain Between Us (2017), Kate Winslet

The Mountain Between Us, a story about two strangers whose plane crashes into a remote snow covered mountain is a movie I tuned into to find out if and how the strangers survive. I also just had see Idris Elba and Kate Winslet on screen together.

Directed by Hany Abu-Assad, The Mountain Between Us did enough to keep my attention, especially during the first four fifths of the film. I specify four fifths because the last fifth leading up to the final conclusion moved slower than my impatient self would have liked.

As for the onscreen chemistry between Elba and Winslet, any sparks that flew certainly weren’t bright enough to blind me for a second. As such, I’d say that the chemistry was adequate at best. Perhaps I know too much about the actors to buy their characters fully as a couple. It could also have been the semi- awkward love scene. On the other hand, perhaps the story somehow just didn’t give me all that I needed to believe in the central relationship. Whatever the answer, something was a little off for me.

The Mountain Between Us (2017), Idris Elba
The Mountain Between Us (2017), Idris Elba

If I were to watch The Mountain Between Us again, it’d probably be just a little chunk or two to remind me of Elba and Winslet’s chemistry. A second reason might be the beautiful shots of the snow covered mountain and surrounding landscape. Additionally, I may not have loved the song choice for when the credits started to role (ZAYN – Dusk Till Dawn ft. Sia), but I’ll always  have time for another glimpse of the way Elba’s surgeon character is dressed when we first meet him. Two thumbs up to that look, ALWAYS!

Applause to the film’s costume department aside, the moment that impressed me the most in The Mountain Between Us is actually the inevitable plane crash scene. It just felt so believable to me. More so than most, I think.

Overall, I see Abu-Assad’s movie as an OK film that’s worth seeing if something about it appeals enough. It’s also a movie that forced me to contemplate the benefits of having a dog… someday, probably.

Happy film Loving

G

COCAINE GODMOTHER (2017): It’s…

Cocaine Godmother (2017), Catherine Zeta-Jones
Cocaine Godmother (2017), Catherine Zeta-Jones

The subject matter of Cocaine Godmother is Griselda Blanco. Blanco was an infamous Colombian drug lord of the Medellín Cartel and a pioneer in the Miami-based cocaine trade and underworld in the 1970s and early 80s.

Being aware of Blanco’s origins, one can understand any controversy that may arise as a result of Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones being cast in the leading role. Zeta-Jones is an Academy Award winning actress; as such, I never imagined she’d do a terrible acting job and she didn’t. Nevertheless, the film certainly didn’t meet its potential.

I have no complaints about any of the acting but I do feel that had the Guillermo Navarro directed biopic been afforded a bigger production budget, perhaps the whole movie wouldn’t have felt as rushed and somehow incomplete as it did.

Watch Cocaine Godmother if you’re curious enough about Zeta-Jones’s performance.  Who knows, maybe somewhere in the future, another version of Blanco’s story will get the finish it deserves. Times are always changing after all.

Happy film Loving

G

HOME AGAIN (2017): It’s…

Home Again (2017), Reece Witherspoon
Home Again (2017), Reece Witherspoon

Home Again is a comedy / drama / romance that’s written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer; daughter of popular romantic comedy filmmaker Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated (2009), Something’s Gotta Give (2003), The Holiday (2006), etc).

The reason I was drawn to this film is simple, Reese Witherspoon and the chance to see her in a fun-(ish) movie. By the end of Meyers-Shyer’s story about an LA single mother, whose life takes an unexpected turn when she allows three young guys to move in with her, I was left wanting. I found myself feeling as though absolutely nothing had happened in the movie, even though I’d just sat and watched it for 1.5 hours. 

I promise that I’m not deliberately trying to sound like a stereotypically male film fan who doesn’t like romantic comedies because ‘nothing happens.’ in them. There’s very little that’s memorable or particularly noteworthy to report. I definitely did not love this movie. I also wouldn’t say I hate it. I simply wish it were better.

If I tried to think especially hard about what’s good about Home Again, I’d say that I enjoyed looking at sunny LA, especially since at time of writing, I’m personally in the midst of an annoyingly grey winter. I may add also add that I was inspired by the positive attitude of Witherspoon’s character’s love interest. Lastly, I might say that I didn’t completely dislike some of the sweet / touching moments in this film. What kind of person hates a touch moment after all?

All in all, Home Again is quite forgettable. Perhaps watch it if I’ve somehow sold it to you – which I doubt.

Happy Film Loving

G