Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

KIDNAP (2017): The Thing I Liked…

Kidnap (2017), Halle Berry
Kidnap (2017), Halle Berry

My favourite thing about Kidnap, the new thriller in which Halle Berry plays a mother who stops at nothing to get back her kidnapped son is what happens between 5 and 10 minutes into the film – before the actual kidnap.

Directed by Luis Prieto, the trailer for this movie was edited well enough to have me excited. It did a good job of tapping into all the empathy I have for mothers. Particularly when their children are in real serious danger. It’s just unfortunate that some of the writing and acting had me thinking of other films where I was far more engaged and completely absorbed by the story.

During the scenes where Halle Berry’s character is in her car, in pursuit of the kidnappers and she’s alone with nothing but her thoughts – some of which she really didn’t need to verbalise, I confess that she lost me a few times. I couldn’t help but recall Tom Hardy’s brilliant work in Locke (2013)I bought absolutely every single moment of what happened in Locke and the entire film is Hardy’s character in a car with his thoughts, emotions and telephone conversations with other characters we never get to see or meet. My point being, I wish I could say I bought all that happened in Kidnap.

Kidnap is by no means the worst Halle Berry movie I’ve ever seen. It’s just definitely not the best. Watch it if you’re so compelled. Otherwise stick to the trailer, probably.

Happy film Loving

G

THE COMEDIAN (2016): The Thing I Liked…

The Comedian (2016), Robert De Niro
The Comedian (2016), Robert De Niro

I recall someone saying that The Comedian, a comedy starring Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Danny DeVito and Leslie Mann wasn’t great. This surprised me considering the very talented cast. I of course watched it anyway and can say that there were moments where I laughed and smiled.

Directed by Taylor Hackford and with De Niro playing a sort of lovable rogue in the shape of an ageing insult comic named Jack Burke, I wouldn’t call this film one of the most memorable movies in De Niro’s filmography. It reminded me a little of what I love most about Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm; a situation comedy series where Larry David plays a version of himself. David’s character says what he truly thinks and does precisely as he wishes even if it makes everyone around him, especially his loved ones extremely uncomfortable therefore keeping them in an almost constant state of ‘suffering’ – to great comic effect.

The Comedian is no where near as funny as Curb but it was tolerable enough for me to watch the entire thing. If anything about this movie can be described as forced, it’s perhaps the comedy element. When considering the events that take place in the film and how they unfold, I certainly wouldn’t describe much of it as ‘bursting at the seams with cliches’ at least not from my pesrpective – and that’s a good thing.

I say watch it if you must but only if you must.

Happy Film Loving .

G

GHOST IN A SHELL (2017): The Things I Liked…

Ghost In A Shell (2017), Scarlett Johansson
Ghost In A Shell (2017), Scarlett Johansson

The problem with Ghost In A Shell  goes beyond whitewashing and the issue with the main character not being completely true to the original story.

Directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Scarlett Johansson and Juliette Binoche, the movie which is based on the popular Japanese manga story has some moving moments and a handful of satisfying action sequences. Nevertheless, the execution of the story just wasn’t great. I didn’t consistently feel present and invested in the protagonist’s struggle because of the way the story was told / edited.

Major’s (Johansson) response to the words ‘You’re what everyone will become one day’ along with her physical sacrifice towards the end were the most moving moments , for me. I will remember this movie probably mostly as a missed opportunity but also as a film where I enjoyed Juliette Binoche’s performance and loved the way Michael Pitt’s character / face was introduced. Last but not least it was certainly empowering to witness Major’s ‘get it done’ attitude in action.

Happy Film Loving

G

BEFORE I FALL (2017): The Things I Liked…

Before I Fall (2017), Zoe Deutch
Before I Fall (2017), Zoe Deutch

Before I Fall, the Ry Russo-Young directed drama / mystery about a high school girl (Zoe Deutch) who keeps re-living the last day of her life over and over again was an OK experience. I enjoyed some of the music in the film and Zoe Deutch is a good actress. There are also definitely some useful thinking points in there, especially for those around the age of the protagonist. However, beyond that you may find yourself wishing that the story had more of a certain something else or number of things – and then some. You know, for the whole experience to be more worthwhile. Perhaps I’m just too grown up.

Watch Before I Fall if you’re curious enough. I for one plan to finally sit down and watch Groundhog Day (1993) for the first time; a similar story where a weatherman gets to live the same day over and over again.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE BOSS BABY (2017): The Things I liked…

The Boss Baby (2017), Alec Baldwin
The Boss Baby (2017), Alec Baldwin

When I first realised that The Boss Baby was about a smart / adult-like briefcase carrying baby, I feared that as I watched the movie, I’d miss the only other smart / adult-like  baby I’d ever known and loved. I’m of course talking about the lovable Stewie Griffin of Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy. Luckily though, as I watched the Tom McGrath directed animated movie, not for a single second did the delightful Stewie G. pop into my mind. There was simply too much engaging fun, imagination and general cuteness going on in The Boss Baby.

There’s certainly no doubting that the person behind the story of The Boss Baby (Marla Frazee) is an individual with a great imagination – not unlike the film’s main character, Timmy (Miles Bakshi) – and many other children you may or may not know. Naturally, kids are going to have a good time with The Boss Baby but you absolutely don’t have to be a kid to like it.

There were some things that happened in this movie that really reminded me that I was watching an animation, meaning that the rules of what may or may not happen in an everyday situation simply have be discarded completely. Usually I’m fine with suspending my disbelief but with this movie for some reason, I was sometimes less able.

My personal favourite animated films are still Finding Nemo (2003) and Ratatouille (2007)This movie, though not as well executed in every way as the aforementioned, it’s still a fun adventure. Another personal highlight for me was knowing that the dad character was being voiced by my favourite American talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel; a seemingly nice man whose voice I happen to find rather comforting.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE DISCOVERY (2017): The Thing I Liked…

The Discovery (2017), Rooney Mara
The Discovery (2017), Rooney Mara

As you may have heard and read by now, the latest film from Robert Redford, Jason Segel and Rooney Mara, The Discovery has a rather memorable first five minutes – and it’s true.

Written and directed by Justin Lader and Charlie McDowell respectively; the team who brought us the rather good The One I Love (2014); The Discovery is a drama / mystery set two years after it’s scientifically proven that there is indeed an afterlife. 

In addition to the opening scene, I did enjoy some of the discussion about what happens in the afterlife – particularly the exploration of whether it’s actually real. There are also one or two more unexpected things that take place later on in the movie that had me surprised, in a good way. Nevertheless, I feel as though had it not been for the good opening scene, there would be much less to say about The Discovery. Reason being most of the film is more ‘OK-ish’ than great. Sure, tune in for the first five minutes and if you’re curious enough, continue on.

Happy Film Loving

G

MOONLIGHT (2016): The Things I Loved…

Moonlight (2016), Trevante Rhodes
Moonlight (2016), Trevante Rhodes

There are a number of reasons to like 2017 Best Picture Oscar winner Moonlight. The beautiful cinematography, faultless performances and a timely telling of a very important story are just three of them.

Thanks to Barry Jenkins’ very personal movie, I now know of Mahershala Ali, a very skilled actor whose Moonlight character Juan isn’t even in the movie throughout but there’s no forgetting him; if only for all that Ali was able to expertly convey, especially through his eyes.

Moonlight is a coming of age story about the childhood, adolescence and burgeoning adulthood of a young, African-American gay man growing up in a rough neighbourhood in Miami. It’s a film that reminded me of the very important and often pivotal role that the kindness of a stranger / strangers can have in our lives.

Watch it because it’s a story beautifully told and you too may find yourself remembering the perfect strangers that may have helped you become all that you’re grateful to be.

Happy Film Loving

G

CARRIE PILBY (2016): I Had Hoped For More…

Carrie Pilby (2016), Bel Powley
Carrie Pilby (2016), Bel Powley

‘So this is what uptight and highly strung looks like – up close.’

‘Why am I not warming to her?’ Ah yes, it’s because she’s annoying.’

‘I feel bad because I understand now why she irritates me. It’s not quite her fault, poor lass.’

‘This romantic element, I don’t care for it. It feels forced’

Just a selection of some of the thoughts that went through my head as I watched Carrie Pilby, a comedy / drama about a person of high intelligence who struggles to make sense of the world as it relates to morality, relationships, sex and leaving her apartment.

It’s  definitely telling that some days after watching Carrie Pilby, I remember how annoying the main character was but recall not a single moment that was particularly amusing. I suppose it doesn’t help that when I think of a comedy where a person of high intelligence is struggling to make sense of the world, the first character that pops into my head is the well imagined and very funny Sheldon Cooper of CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Tough act to follow indeed.

Happy Film Loving

G