Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

BOOK CLUB (2018): The Thing I Liked…

Book Club (2018), Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen
Book Club (2018), Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen

I went in to Book Club with the hope that I’d enjoy something similar to the good charm and humour that made the likes of The Golden Girls and Grace & Frankie a hit. My level of disappointment in the film is therefore, at least in part, my own fault. Even though my expectations may have been unfairly high, there still shouldn’t be an excuse for all the things about Book Club that had my head sometimes bowed in disappointment as I sat in the movie theatre.

Co-written and directed by Bill Holderman, Book Club is a comedy about four older women whose lives change forever after they read Fifty Shades of Grey. Generally speaking, I love stories of beautiful friendships between older women. It’s unfortunate that this particular story just wasn’t executed nearly well enough.

One or two moving moments nearer the end aside, the most I did in response to the films humour during the 1 hour, 44 minute run time was smile mildly. The fact that most, if not all of the funniest lines were used in the trailer didn’t help matters.

Book Club (2018), Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia
Book Club (2018), Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia

My biggest issue with Book Club, besides Diane Keaton’s Character’s two annoying daughters has to be the way the whole thing, or at least the first half felt like a rehearsal rather than the finished product. I say this particularly  because the chemistry between the four friends is poor. I didn’t buy their connections. The rhythm of their conversations was off. The lines were sometimes not delivered in a way that rang true to my ears. Another thing I noticed is that Jane Fonda’s character seemed to be on a different level and not necessarily in a bad way. One might argue that her commitment to her character was on a level that the rest of the cast didn’t quite join her on and they should have.

Much like what the Fifty Shades Of Grey movies proved, if the writing / source material is bad, no amount of work during and after the filming process can disguise that truth. Book Club needed more story and character development overall, as well as more rehearsal. More than anything, Book Club for me is now simply another reminder of how hard it is to make a great film, let alone a good one.

If I had to pick a favourite moment besides all the ones when I noticed Don Johnson’s character’s impeccable dress sense, it would be the one piece of moving dialogue that included the words ‘…love is just a word, until someone gives it meaning…’

Watch Book Club if you simply must.

Happy Film Loving

G

IN THE FADE (2017): The Things I Liked…

In The Fade (2017), Diane Kruger
In The Fade (2017), Diane Kruger

Starring Diane Kruger, Numan Acar and Denis Moschitto, In The Fade is the story of a woman called Katja. Katja is focused on vengeance after her husband and son are murdered in a brutal bomb attack.

Set in Germany, the very beginning of writer / director Fatih Akin’s film is filled with such enviable familial joy, that it’s unsurprising I found myself both empathising with the protagonist’s pain and motivations, as well as missing the deceased, post attack.

It was mostly the promise of a notable performance by Kruger that ensured I watched In The Fade. And Kruger certainly does not disappoint. The most memorable moments for me include the tension-filled scenes in the courtroom because I adore a great courtroom drama. There’s also of course, the footage of Katja’s family before her catalyst for revenge came to be.

The story, editing and all performances kept me engaged and eager to see how it would all end. And I can say that the ending is both surprising and also not, at the same time.

I say watch it for the memorable performance by Kruger, a little insight into the German legal system and a good story with memorable and moving scenes.

Happy Film Loving

G

JUMANJI – WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (2017): The Thing I Liked…

Jumanji (2017), Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart
Jumanji (2017), Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart

Starring Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black and Karen Gillan, I found Jumanji – Welcome To The jungle to be OK. It’s just the kind of silly fun that kids will likely love most. It’s well modernised and there were some amusing moments, especially courtesy of  Jack Black’s portrayal of a teenage girl and Kevin Hart’s one-liners.

The reason that Jumanji is OK and not great is because by the end, I felt as though something was missing from the movie. Perhaps it’s substance, heart, character development or a mixture and then some, but for me, the amusing and clever moments aside, something is definitely missing at the very core. It doesn’t help that I wasn’t wholly convinced of Nick Jonas’s acting skills.

As I watched the film, the jungle setting did have me reminiscing about how much fun I had while watching Kong Skull Island (2017). Overall, I say watch Jumanji – Welcome To The Jungle if you’re curious enough. It may just be the kind of silly fun you need.

Happy Film Loving

G

WONDER WOMAN (2017): Good…

Wonder Woman (2017), Gal Gadot
Wonder Woman (2017), Gal Gadot

As good a film as Wonder Woman is, I’m quite sure that I adore the trailer more. This is probably the first time I’ve said I love a trailer more than I love the film, without meaning that the film is bad. The pace of the movie was OK and the humour was fun but there’s something about the movie’s initial trailer that I just loved more.

Of course, the exceptionally chosen, perfectly rousing trailer music coupled with great editing, storytelling and visuals had much to do with it. With that said, Wonder Woman’s crime, for me, may be that the wonderful high I experienced as I watched the trailer from beginning to end, wasn’t constantly present throughout the film. Not that I’m saying hat would have been a great idea, clearly. Yet the truth remains, there’s no denying, for me at least, the noticeable absence of said high by the end of this movie. Instead of taking my hands to the air whilst silently yelping, so as not to annoy my neighbours (as I did post trailer viewing), at the end of this movie I said out loud, ‘It’s not a bad film’.

Gadot is really great. She’s beautiful, strong, very capable and in my mind, my big sister. You probably already have but I’ll still say it, watch it because it’s good.

Happy Film Loving

G

 

JOURNEY’S END (2018): Good…

Journey's End (2017), Sam Claflin
Journey’s End (2017), Sam Claflin

Directed by Saul Dibb, at the core of the story of Journey’s End is the unfortunate disintegration of a young officers mental state.

Set in 1918 in Aisne, France; officer Stanhope (Sam Claflin) leads a group of British officers into a dugout where they must await their fate.

Also starring Paul Bettany, Tom Sturridge and Asa Butterfield, I was drawn to this movie as a Claflin fan, a fan who wanted to see him in a new type of role… a less romantic one. I have to say that Claflin’s portrayal of Stanthorpe’s struggles may just be my favourite of his performances yet. I appreciates the fact that his character isn’t fully likeable, yet one can’t help but forgive him.

Another reason I like this film is the truth that, unlike what I’m used to in most war films I’ve seen, I appreciate the way Journey’s End showed me an officers mental troubles whilst still at war, as opposed to once he’d returned home. Equally, I was taken by the attitude of Stanthorpe’s superior(s). Particularly how desensitised and seemingly numb they’d become to the unspoken truth of what was coming. In this way, among others, Journey’s End is a film that left me with plenty to think about. Especially pertaining to how I realise that I may not have truly grasped the meaning of what it is to  ‘soldier on’ until after watching this film.

In my heart and mind, The Hurt Locker (2008) is still my favourite of the war films I’ve seen. However, Journey’s End is definitely one I’ll remember for reasons including the performances and perspective(s) I didn’t quite expect.

It’s good. So watch it if you’re so intrigued.

Happy Film loving

G

THE WEEK OF (2018): It’s…

The Week Of (2018), Allison Strong, Adam Sandler, Rachel Dratch
The Week Of (2018), Allison Strong, Adam Sandler, Rachel Dratch

I tried. I really tried to stick it out with The Week Of but I’m afraid I had to bail.

The one thing I enjoyed about the forty five minutes I could actually sit through is the opening music. The music gave me hope which unfortunately turned out to be misplaced.

The portion of the film I managed to sit through felt very much like one of the early, very early rehearsals before any of the delivery was polished enough for public consumption. The storytelling, editing, pacing and jokes all left me with plenty to be desired.  Maybe I’ve seen too many well delivered jokes in my film viewing experience, that none of the cliches are funny any more, especially when not executed well.

One of the most annoying things in a film or comedy is when a joke is dragged out for too long. There were a few moments there, where I thought, ‘we get the intended joke. Please cut this annoying scene already and move on’.

There’s one particular actor who really over did it with her performance to disastrously unfunny proportions. However, of all the sins this film committed, the worst of it may be that it made a handful of usually effective comedy actors look pretty bad and unskilled; Rachel Dratch being one example.

I think it’s time I accept that Sandler’s best work may well be far behind him. The Week Of is absolutely at the very bottom of all the Adam Sandler movies I’ve ever seen. It’s also the only one I couldn’t sit through to the very end.

Watch it ONLY if you absolutely must. Otherwise go watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) Instead.

Happy Film Loving

G

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