Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

NOPE (2022): The Things I Liked…

Nope (2022), Daniel Kaluuya, Brandon Perea, Keke Palmer, Universal Pictures
Nope (2022), Daniel Kaluuya, Brandon Perea, Keke Palmer, Universal Pictures

I would love to say that Nope is one of my favourite movies of 2022, but that wouldn’t be true. Director Jordan Peele’s third movie, following Get Out (2017) and Us (2019), truly tested my patience so much that I came close to giving up on it.

It wasn’t until the fifty-five-minute mark that things changed. I was finally fully engaged and excited about what was happening in Peele’s horror/mystery/sci-fi film about the uncanny, chilling and undoubtedly alien events in an inland California gulch.

The cinematography of Nope is one of its key highlights. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer’s performances were two more high points. There was a point or two when I wanted Palmer’s character to speak less. Still, what I loved most about Nope is the sibling connection between Kaluuya and Palmer’s characters. A pleasing dynamic that happens to shine through even more after the aforementioned fifty-five-minute mark

As for the question of whether to watch Nope or not, that depends on your patience levels. It also depends on how big of a Peele fan you are. And, lastly, your curiosity about everything that happens after fifty-five minutes. 

I can’t say I completely forgive Peele for the slow half of the movie, just because I enjoyed the second half a lot more. But, I can say that I am somewhat less mad. 

Have you seen Nope? If so, what did you like most and least about it?

Happy Film Loving 

G

US (2019): The Things I Liked…

What to say about Us? It had its moments, several that were perfectly engaging. However, there were some scenes I wish had gone differently. 

Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker, I enjoyed much of the mystery in Jordan Peele’s horror/mystery/thriller about a family whose beach holiday takes a terrorising turn, thanks to the arrival of their doppelgängers. It’s just unfortunate that a little bit of that enjoyment disappeared when I realised I’d guessed a crucial element of the story within the first ten minutes.

Other moments that convinced me I’m not enjoying Us as much as I did Get Out (2017) include the feeling that Nyong’o’s doppelgänger has far too much dialogue. Another is the taking of young Evan Alex’s character towards the end. Now, I’m sure that parents get distracted in extraordinary circumstances. Nevertheless, that specific taking felt as though it happened far too conveniently for my liking.

Even with the above considered, there’s no taking away from the brilliant performances by the entire cast. I especially found Winston Duke’s character quite entertaining. 

For me, Peele is still great at creating a perfectly uncomfortable atmosphere that’s very difficult to look away from, even if, in the case of Us, the social commentary doesn’t quite land as neatly. 

You’ve probably already watched Us, but if you haven’t and you’re curious. Plus you enjoyed Get Out, then give Us a chance. 

Happy Film Loving

G

ATHENA (2022): The Things I Liked…

Athena (2022), Dali Benssalah, Netflix
Athena (2022), Dali Benssalah, Netflix

Romain Gavras’s latest drama Athena is the story of Idir, Karim, Abdel and Moktar. Four brothers whose realities change dramatically because of one tragic incident. 

Stunningly captured and well-structured storytelling is one phrase that fits here. Athena is clever and socially conscious, to the point where you may wish you could have attended a screening followed by a live Q&A session with Gavras himself. 

Starring Dali Benssalah, Sami Slimane, Alexis Manenti, Karim Lasmi and Anthony Bajon, my favourite thing about Athena is the highly engaging way it captures chaos. 

For me, the camera work, choreography and dialogue combined to deliver a movie as watchable as its highly engaging teaser trailer.

Watch Athena for a moving tragedy that cleverly unfolds while offering plenty to consider, hope for and imagine.

Happy Film Loving 

G

FALL (2022): The Things I Liked…

Fall (2022), Grace Caroline Currey, Signature Entertainment
Fall (2022), Grace Caroline Currey, Signature Entertainment

The idea of being up high on a structure where falling is incredibly likely was never going to be my idea of fun. Unless, of course, I am watching actors pretend to do it for my entertainment. 

Directed by Scott Mann, Fall is an adequately engaging thriller that follows two best friends who climb a 2,000-foot radio tower just for kicks. 

Starring Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner, Mann’s film is the type of thriller that made me super uneasy. Yet, it still kept me curious enough to stay watching.

Fall also stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Mason Gooding, happens to be generally well-paced and features good chemistry between Currey and Gardner. I enjoyed the smartly executed terrifying moments. Especially as the two friends continue to climb higher and the audience sees just how physically vulnerable they truly are.

If heights are not your worst nightmare, why not try Fall for that relatively easy-to-watch thriller? The kind that will have you wondering whether you would survive if you found yourself 2000 feet in the air, without barriers to keep you safe.

Happy Film Loving

G

BEAST (2022): The Things I Liked…

I had to watch Beast, director Baltasar Kormákur’s story about a family of three trying to survive several attacks by a rogue lion in South Africa for three reasons. The first is Idris Elba. Second, knowing that Sharlto Copley always brings a very engaging quality to every role. And three, I adore big cats. So, unsurprisingly, even though the acting and story are not terrible, the well-executed special effects, a.k.a the ‘lion stunt work’ remains my favourite thing about Beast

Kormákur’s film is a redemption/ vengeance story that gets better as it plays. And there are some clever and memorable moments, including that final showdown. As such, if the idea of watching a movie where the ‘bad guy’ is the stunning and majestic lion isn’t too much, give Beast a chance the next you’re looking for something that isn’t necessarily perfect but does offer thrills and a fun distraction.

Happy Film Loving

G

BULLET TRAIN (2022): The Things I Liked…

Brad Pitt rarely letting his audience down with his movie choices is a major reason I watched director David Leitch’s latest, Bullet Train.

Also starring Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry and Sandra Bullock, the story of five assassins aboard a fast-moving bullet train proved too intriguing to resist. You can therefore imagine my disappointment when I realised that Leitch’s movie was not going to deliver. 

Despite some funny scenes, a handful of visually beautiful shots and camera angles, the story edit left me desperately wanting. I found the pace slow, tedious and inadequately engaging. 

The dialogue between Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Tyree Henry’s characters is the thing that made me realise the inspiration that seems to have come from Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino’s best work. Unfortunately, however, the film does not work as well as those classic examples of filmmaking excellence. And finding myself not liking much of the music featured only made matters worse.

Despite my obvious disappointment, I do have a couple of highlights to point out. Firstly, every scene with Hiroyuki Sanada as The Elder. Joey King’s character, even though she isn’t particularly likeable. Channing Tatum; what a welcome addition he proved to be. 

Lastly, Brad Pitt. He is always good, right? It’s the script and overall execution that let everyone down.

Even after all the above, if you still find yourself super curious about Bullet Train, watch it. There’s always a chance you’ll have more fun than I could.

Happy Film Loving

G

ME TIME (2022): The Things I Liked…

Me Time (2022), Mark Wahlberg, Netflix
Me Time (2022), Mark Wahlberg, Netflix

Me Time, director John Hamburg’s latest comedy about a dad who reluctantly decides to spend his me-time reconnecting with a childhood friend, does have some memorable scenes. 

To put it another way, I wasn’t feeling great about Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg’s latest buddy comedy until the scene with Sonny (Hart) and the mountain Lion cub about 35 minutes into the screening. Said scene is fun and guaranteed to have your full attention while you find yourself happy to be simultaneously scared and amused. 

There are other amusing moments scattered in Me Time. I just can’t say that I was adequately engaged by most of what happened as the movie played. Turns out that the story and how it’s written/ executed didn’t quite prove to be new or exciting enough for me. 

Furthermore, I found it hard to see Wahlberg as his character. And I’m half convinced that the story might have been better suited to characters at least a decade younger. Perhaps that way, a few of their choices might have proven more believable.

I still feel that a Hart and Wahlberg movie is a good idea. Me Time just wasn’t the right film.

In addition to the mountain lion moment, other highlights include the dialogue of the characters played by Andrew Santino, Jimmy O. Yang, and Shira Gross’s Dorit.

Give Me Timea chance if you must. You may find that it holds your attention far better than it did mine. 

Happy Film Loving 

G

GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE (2022): The Things I Liked…

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022), Daryl McCormack, Searchlight Pictures
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022), Daryl McCormack, Searchlight Pictures

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is as delightful as its charming trailer suggested.

You’ll be unsurprised to learn that the film’s main highlight is Emma Thompson, whose turn as Nancy Stokes, a 55-year-old widow seeking a sexual adventure and human connection is beyond fun to watch. 

Prepare yourself for a well-balanced script that features plenty of funny and perfectly awkward happenings to keep you engaged. And as invested as you’ll undoubtedly become in Nancy’s journey, you’ll also learn about the film’s namesake Leo Grande; whether through his interactions with Nancy, the hints in his quiet moments, or how he changes as the story progresses.

It’s certainly not difficult to like Daryl McCormack’s portrayal of Leo, especially once you see the care and empathy Leo displays in his dealings with Nancy.

In addition to making you laugh, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande will leave you with a handful of things to ponder on post-viewing. For example, the place that sex work currently has in society and the place it might have. There’s also the topic of the representation of female bodies in film, to name just one other.

Why not let yourself enjoy writer/director Sophie Hyde’s well-written hour and thirty minutes of engaging fun? After all, of all the movies filmed during the pandemic, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is arguably among the best.

Happy Film Loving

G