Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

ALL NIGHTER (2017): The Thing I Liked…

All Nighter (2017), J.K. Simmons, Emile Hirsch
All Nighter (2017), J.K. Simmons, Emile Hirsch

What I liked most about All Nighter is Xosha Roquemore’s version of a drunk party girl. Director Gavin Wiesen’s, story about a workaholic father (J.K. Simmons) who teams up with his daughter’s awkward ex-boyfriend (Emile Hirsch) to find her is not as fun and entertaining as the films trailer led me to believe.

One of my early thoughts as I watched was ‘This is going nowhere fast.’ A thought soon followed by, ‘All the acting issn’t bad but this film is boring’. Reason being, All Nighter just plods along in a manner that had me failing to care about the whereabouts of the missing daughter (Analeigh Tipton). What made the experience even more underwhelming overall is the easy and relatively obvious explanation for the daughter’s whereabouts.

In conclusion, if you were thinking that All Nighter might be a boys adventure with a splash of the The Hangover (2009) vibe; it’s barely that. More than anything, the film is really about a workaholic father’s friendship with his daughter’s ex-boyfriend. If there’s nothing better on and you’re in the mood for an awkward comedy with very few good laughs, then sure, watch it. Otherwise step away, friend.

Happy Film Loving

G

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (2016): The Thing I Liked…

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), Meryl Streep.
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), Meryl Streep

Florence Foster Jenkins, the story of a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice is a movie I found to be just ok.

Starring Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, ‘acting queen’ Meryl Streep and directed by Stephen Frears, I enjoyed the little moments of humour and I appreciated the film as a sweet story of one man’s complicated love for his wife and friend, particularly the lengths he and a number of her friends went to to ‘take care of her’.

It goes without saying that Streep performed well as Jenkins. Helberg and Grant were good too. Ordinarily, I personally can’t imagine myself gladly helping to delude a talentless person I care about into thinking that they were actually talented. Watching Florence Foster Jenkins has ensured that I’d take a little more time to consider it. Even though it all reeks heavily of the most cringe worthy moments in talent shows such as X-Factor and American Idol.

Watch it if you’re curious enough.

Happy Film loving

LA LA LAND (2016): Good Film, Better For Fans Of Musicals

La La Land (2016), Emma Stone
La La Land (2016), Emma Stone

Starring Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend and J.K. Simmons, La La Land is the love story of a jazz pianist and an aspiring Hollywood actress. It is a well told story that features great dramatic performances, good dialogue, beautiful cinematography, music and costume; I particularly love ‘that yellow dress’.

Written and directed by Damien Chazelle of Whiplash (2014), La La Land is is a good movie that’s understandably most loved by fans of musicals. I must confess that generally speaking, I’m not into musicals. Call it a consequence of my impatient nature but most of the time, I’d much rather words were spoken rather than sang. The pleasing rhythm of well written dialogue will always be preferred by me, over the sounds of what is arguably often mediocre singing where musicals are concerned. And if the singing isn’t mediocre, I find the voices to be regularly, quite tedious.

In La La Land, there’s just no faulting the dramatic performances. The cast are a trust worthy bunch acting-wise. As for when it came to Gosling and Stone flexing their vocal chords in the name of song, there are definitely some moments of questionable vocal ability.

La La Land (2016), Emma Stone
La La Land (2016), Emma Stone

I enjoyed the opening song at the start of La La Land, the big ‘audition number’ that Stone sings towards the end and the instrumental as the closing credits began. The rest of the music I honestly could have done without.

Watch La La Land for all the reasons it won all those Oscars and because it genuinely isn’t a bad film. If Chazelle’s Whiplash managed to convince you that jazz isn’t all bad, La La Land is additional material to strengthen his argument.

Happy Film Loving

G

PASSENGERS (2016): The Thing I Liked…

Passengers (2016), Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt
Passengers (2016), Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt

My favourite thing about Passengers is what it has to say (however little) about our need for human to human connection. Besides this and the beautiful images of space towards the very end, the experience of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt’s latest film can be described as ‘a not very good in-space romantic comedy’ with moments of bad dialogue and arguably questionable chemistry.

I don’t think that Passengers is bad because the actors, Lawrence, Pratt, Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishbone did a particularly bad job. It’s disappointing because there’s a certain hollow / under-developed feel about the story. The fact that  you can more or less count the number of characters on one hand has very little if anything to do with it. Even with the movie’s most loved star Jennifer Lawrence and Morten Tyldum, director of one of 2014’s best films – The Imitation Game (2014), Passengers could not be saved from its built-in emptiness nor could it be saved from the thoughts that came to my mind as I watched… 

‘Oh dear’

‘This is actually not very good’

‘My, that was a bad line’

Watch Passengers if nothing will stop you. Otherwise you will likely be longing for all that seems to be missing.

Happy Film Loving

G

I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE (2017): For The Well Drawn & Acted Character Peculiarities

I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore (2017), Melanie Lynsky
I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (2017), Melanie Lynsky

Starring Melanie Lynsky, Elijah Wood, and Devon Graye, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a movie about Ruth, a depressed woman and her pursuit (with help from her neighbour) of the degenerate criminals responsible for burglarising her house.

An interesting mix of comedy, thrills and drama. It’s the peculiar eccentricities and general weirdness of most of the characters that kept me watching. Especially as it became abundantly clear that Ruth and her obnoxious neighbour are dangerously out of their depth.

The comedy in I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is mostly the kind that made me smile or chuckle a little, instead of the kind that might threaten to split my sides. There were points where I found myself thinking, ‘Really, woman? Where’s your instinct for self preservation? Where?!’ But then I remembered that Ruth is quite frustrated, depressed, off her medication and absolutely unbalanced in a very believable way – thanks to a good performance by Lynsky. Written and directed by Macon Blair, this is a movie you watch to see something a little different.

As well as causing me to hide behind my fingers a few times, Macon’s movie had me thinking about how scary it can be when you’re new to living alone. I also found myself understanding and empathising with Ruth’s frustrations. However, compared to her, my general sense of self preservation is, how do I say… stratospheric.

The parts I enjoyed most are the first and last third of the movie. Besides Lynsky and Wood, my other favourite performance came courtesy of Christine Woods who plays what looks like the highly medicated stepmother of the degenerate son.

Good movies that came to mind as I watched I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore include The Voices (2014) and The Lobster (2015), mainly because of the darkness but also the humour. Watch it for the realistic humour and character eccentricities.

Taylor Tunes, Jane Levy, Chris Doubek, Marilyn Faith Hickey, Gary Anthony Williams and also star.

Happy Film Loving

G

CAFE SOCIETY (2016): The Thing I Liked…

Café Society (2016), Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg
Café Society (2016), Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg

It’s generally understood that Hollywood films about Hollywood tend not to do well at the box office. I’d only been aware of this phenomenon anecdotally until I watched Hail, Caesar! (2015), a movie I along with many others did not love.

I’m yet to see the most recent Hollywood movie about Hollywood. Namely Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply (2016), but I know that it also didn’t do particularly well upon release. The most recent Hollywood movie about Hollywood I’ve watched is Woody Allen’s Cafe Society (2016). I took my time to watch this one for the reasons stated above. It was my love for Allen’s Blue Jasmine (2013), my favourite of his movies, Blake Lively and a general curiosity about Kristen Stewart’s acting that made me finally  tune in. Cafe Society isn’t one of Allen’s most raved about films. Still, if I had to choose between it and Hail, Caesar! (2015), the latter absolutely would not win, except that the costumes in Hail, Caesar! are definitely more fun.

I wasn’t in love with the ending of Cafe Society and I admit to largely losing interest when one or two of the main characters shows up again towards the end; something to do with my general ‘liking’ of Blake Lively and her character, perhaps. Somehow I did manage to make it to the film’s conclusion; rather anticlimactic end I might add. As pleasing as that ending might be to Allen and everyone else, I felt, for want of a better phrase, ‘left in limbo’.

Performance-wise Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart were fine but I loved Steve Carell and Parker Posey more. My favourite thing about Cafe Society is the colour filter and the music. I’m just glad that the film didn’t prove to be a waste of my time to the levels of Hail, Caesar! (2015). I wouldn’t say that ‘You simply must see it! You must!’ because I only found it just OK overall.

Happy Film Loving

G

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES (2016): The Thing I Liked…

Keeping Up With The Joneses (2016), Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher
Keeping Up With The Joneses (2016), Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher

I sat down to watch Keeping Up With The Joneses without any grand expectations and that’s probably the best way to go into it, should you choose to do so. Starring John Hamm, Gal Gadot, Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher, I found this Greg Mottola directed action / comedy only mildly funny.

There are indeed a couple of moments that made the experience less regrettable. The first being the nicely executed snake scene in the Chinese restaurant. The second is when Galifianakis’s character makes a joke at the expense of the British. It could be that I found it particularly hilarious because the United Kingdom is home. More likely though, it’s Galifianakis’s excellent comic timing and delivery. Beyond these two scenes, everything else about Keeping Up With The Joneses just felt like cheap filler because it wasn’t that good.

Keeping Up With The Joneses (2016), Gal Gadot, John Hamm
Keeping Up With The Joneses (2016), Gal Gadot, John Hamm

One last good thing Mottola’s movie did is remind me that Wonder Woman (2017), my most highly anticipated movie of this year will be here in not too many months. I for one cannot wait to see its star Gal Gadot do her thing.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (2016): The Thing I Liked…

The Light Between Oceans (2016), Rachel Weisz
The Light Between Oceans (2016), Rachel Weisz

The Light Between Oceans is directed by Derek Cianfrance and based on M.L. Stedman’s novel about a couple raising the baby they rescued from a drifting rowing boat. The performances from Rachel Weisz, Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander are all good.

For me, The Light Between Oceans is a beautiful romance. Though definitely heartbreaking and featuring a number of morally questionable acts, the idea of the love between the lead characters as portrayed by Fassbender and Vikander is beautiful.

On account of the repercussions that resulted out of the questionable acts in this movie, by the end I was well and truly reminded of the importance of properly thinking through the options we allow ourselves to be coerced into choosing. Especially when the blindness of love and an all-consuming desperation are thrown into the mix. This, for me is a highlight of this film. I also very much enjoyed Vikander’s character’s forwardness in regards to her love life. Refreshing is one word for it.

The Light Between Oceans (2016), Michael Fassbender
The Light Between Oceans (2016), Michael Fassbender

On balance, I can’t say that I was able to enjoy The Light Between Oceans as much as I could have and that’s partly because the trailer revealed too much, which in turn contributed to the end result being quite unexciting. I suppose what I may never know is just how much more thrilling I may have found this movie had I never seen the trailer.

Watch it if you absolutely must. Just don’t misremember that I said you absolutely should.

Happy Film Loving

G