Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

THE SILENCE (2019): The Thing I Liked…

The Silence (2019), Netflix
The Silence (2019), Netflix

I’ve accepted the idea that Hollywood movies are currently embracing the ‘silence or you die’ theme. First came A Quiet Place (2017), then Bird Box (2018), and now director John R. Leonetti’s The Silence.The premise of The Silence is similar to that of the above mentioned movies. All three feature a family who have to stay silent in order to survive the deadly creatures terrorising Earth.

Starring Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka and John Corbett, I settled into the pace and style of The Silence at the start quite nicely. Especially the introduction of the family at the centre of the story. I enjoyed this phase so much that I did then miss it once the scary creatures came to obliterate the peace.

I like that there’s a fair amount of tension-filled ‘scary’ moments in The Silence. Not the kind of scary that would induce nightmares but rather the more ‘suspenseful-scary’ variety. In fact, for me the most horrifying thing in The Silence isn’t actually the deadly, primeval species with acute hearing – but rather the intentions of a specific group within the story. I also liked the Tucci / Corbett dynamic and the design of the primeval species.

Overall I think The Silence is OK. The parts I wasn’t overly enthused by include the final cut of the car crash because it looked to me as though a clip of the crash was missing. There’s also a moment when the family seemed to have forgotten about a vulnerable family member during a particularly dangerous time that annoyed me. I know that almost anything can happen during desperate times, however… maybe I just don’t know, but I found it hard to believe that everyone forgot to do a ‘head count’ of their loved ones during such a desperate moment. The last part that left me wanting is the ending. I understood it but it felt flat and disappointing.

On summary, none of the ‘silence or you die’ movies are perfect but A Quiet Place does sit at the top in my mind. It did come first but I also really connected with the characters, appreciated the pace, the heart and I was more impressed by the cleverness / ingenuity when it came to how to survive a silent world. In second place is Bird Box, mainly because of the films last thirty minutes. 

Watch The Silence if you’re so curious. 

Happy Film Loving 

G

HOMECOMING – A FILM BY BEYONCÉ (2019): The ThingS I Liked…

Homecoming - A Film By Beyoncé (2019), Netflix
Homecoming – A Film By Beyoncé (2019), Netflix

Homecoming – A Film By Beyoncé delivered exactly what it promised; an intimate, in-depth look at the superstar’s highly celebrated 2018 Coachella performance. 

Featuring the great songs and dances that fans know and love, and sometimes with help from very welcome special guest appearances, Homecoming is the ‘recorded for your viewing pleasure’ ‘Beychella’ experience many have been praying for. 

I personally enjoyed the performances as much as I did the behind the scenes preparation footage. Footage that revealed the emotional road from creative concept to rehearsal and final show. I loved seeing Beyoncé taking charge of her vision and equally welcomed getting to know more about her heart. To be honest, I feel as though I already knew and appreciated Beyoncé’s heart since many years ago when she said that she makes music to empower women. 

The truth of that has been re-confirmed over the years through the many great anthems. Her heart was also clear to me in the Beyonce – Year Of 4 documentary. It was in her reaction when at the 2017 Grammys Adele expressed what Beyoncé and her great work meant to her and her friends. And now, in this very documentary, through the following quote about her Coachella 2018 performance.

I feel we made something. I made my daughter proud, made my mother proud, my father proud and all of the people that are my brothers and sisters around the world. And that’s why I live. I’m so lucky and grateful that I’m able to take all these crazy ideas and, actually make it into something that heals people and may spark vision in people, that shows them to dream big. It shows them that they are limitless. It’s possible. If my country-ass can do it. They can do it.’

I love how Beyoncé’s purpose makes me feel seen. I can’t help but feel lifted when I hear her music.

Tune in for the great performances, music, and words of wisdom from several wise leaders – most prominently featured among them, activist and writer Maya Angelou.

Happy Film Loving 

G

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (2018): The Things I Liked…

Mary Queen Of Scots (2018), Margot Robbie, Focus Features
Mary Queen Of Scots (2018), Margot Robbie, Focus Features

There are a number of things including the history lesson that made me want to watch Mary Queen Of Scots; the story of the troubled relationship between Elizabeth I, Queen of England, and her cousin Mary Stuart. 

Considering that director Josie Rourke’s film is a costume drama, I’d hoped to see lots of sumptuous clothing design, in addition to very well written dialogue delivered by great actors. The film’s trailer even had me expecting something not too far from as epic as director Shekhar Kapur and Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth (1998). Unfortunately for me, things didn’t quite transpire that way. 

Starring Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan, Joe Alwyn and Guy Pearce, there certainly were a handful of well designed costumes to enjoy. Yet it’s the few moments of beautiful visuals – especially outdoor cinematography that proved most arresting for me. Even more so than the dialogue and general story editing which I have to admit had me less engaged and interested than I envisioned I’d be.

Mary Queen Of Scots (2018), Saoirse Ronan, Focus Features

It’s likely that in addition to finding the story more dull than anticipated, my interest also started to diminish in part because of how distressing sitting through the sexism and misogyny proved to be.

Just like my recent review of On The Basis of Sex (2018), another historical drama, it’s the part near the very end that I liked most about Mary Queen Of Scots. Meaning, everything from the moment the two royals finally meet. Actually, even with that said, I still choose the few visually arresting moments over the dialogue and this telling of the Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart story.

Watch Mary Queen Of Scots if you absolutely must. As for myself, I think it’s time I re-watched the great Elizabeth (1998).

Happy Film Loving 

G

THE PERFECT DATE (2018): The Things I Liked…

The Perfect Date (2019), Noah Centineo, Netflix
The Perfect Date (2019), Noah Centineo, Netflix

The Perfect Date, Netflix’s latest teen comedy / romance gave me a few more laughs than expected. Granted my expectations weren’t especially the highest to begin with. Yet, even with an only adequately engaging first third, I found director Chris Nelson’s film to be a fun, ‘easy viewing’ experience that left me with no regrets.

The Perfect Date story centres around teenager Brooks Rattigan (Noah Centineo) as he goes about executing a smart new plan that will pay for his tuition just in case he gets into Yale university. It’s a plan that has him getting hired to be a stand-in boyfriend for any occasion.

While trying to balance his new venture and life’s other demands, Brooks ends up growing up in a way that often happens much later for many adults. In addition to the rather nicely executed coming of age theme, another key highlight is Centineo’s natural charm, and the evolution of his character’s relationship with his father.

The chemistry between the leads, Centineo and Laura Marano coupled with good dialogue and acting talent made their scenes together some of the most fun to watch and listen to.

Out of all the costumes Brooks wore throughout the film, including for his new business, my favourite is his initial Yale University interview outfit; a getup that to my surprise still amuses me every time I think of it.

Watch The Perfect Date if you’re intrigued. It’s really not that similar to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) and though not perfect, it’s quite fun, especially if you’re a teenager.

Happy Film Loving 

G

BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (2018): The Things I Liked…

Bad Times At The El Royale (2018), Jon Hamm, 20th Century Fox
Bad Times At The El Royale (2018), Jon Hamm, 20th Century Fox

Set in a rundown hotel with a dark past, Bad Times At Hotel El Royale, the story of seven strangers with secrets to bury and one last shot at redemption is a movie I can’t say I enjoyed a lot. 

There were moments of beautiful cinematography and the absolutely divine brown suede coat on Dakota Johnson’s characters back. I also liked the pay-off in regards to the story of Mile’s Miller, the one hotel employee and what he was found to be capable of. Even though all the characters were well-acted, it was only really Miles Miller, the one hotel employee who’s story most intrigued me, and luckily, kind of paid off in a way that thrilled and surprised.

Where scenes are concerned, the one when Cynthia Erivo’s Darlene completely verbally sizes up Chris Hemsworth’s Billy Lee. That’s a great moment because of the dialogue and Billy Lee’s inability to deny the truth.

As for what I liked quite a bit less in director Drew Goddard’s film, I didn’t enjoy the way the story was structured. I was annoyed by how pointless continuing to watch felt at times as a result. The film’s length, pace, basically the absence of a thoroughly engaging structure / natural flow for the entirety of the movie were the key lowlights.

I say if you’re really curious, give Bad Times At Hotel El Royale a chance. Perhaps you’ll find much to love. For me, my mind often went to other movies I’ve seen that featured many characters but remained thrillingly engaging throughout. I just wish I could name an even more suitable example than Magnolia (1999) right now…

Happy Film Loving 

G

ON THE BASIS OF SEX (2018): The Things I Liked…

On The Basis Of Sex (2018), Felicity Jones
On The Basis Of Sex (2018), Felicity Jones

On The Basis Of Sex, the Mimi Leder directed biopic about US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and her notable achievements especially in her fight for equal rights is… it’s a movie I’m disappointed to say isn’t quite all I’d hoped.

Prior to viewing and thanks to the trailer, I had a certain idea of what this movie might be like. However, my bubble of great expectations burst quite early on, thanks to the rather annoying opening song. And not too long after that, it became quite clear to me that something important was missing from Leder’s movie. The missing element (better script and / or execution) made a big chunk of On The Basis Of Sex feel quite flat and unexciting.

Bearing in mind the huge impact of Ginsburg’s work in the United States and beyond, I really expected a more ‘epic feeling’ finished product. Instead the thought that ‘an opportunity has definitely been missed here’ entered my mind and never left.

The scene in the US Supreme Court at the end is certainly the best. Especially because of the words and delivery of the all important rebuttal. I also couldn’t help but notice how wonderful it surely must have been for Ginsburg to have a support system as great as those in her immediate family. Namely, Martin Ginsburg and their daughter Jane. I really did want to love this one, but it simply wasn’t to be.

Watch it for the US Supreme Court scene, the clothes worn by Felicity Jones and if you’re really, really curious. Just know that the documentary RBG (2018) is better.

Happy Film Loving 

G

THE HIGHWAYMEN (2018): The Thing I Liked…

The Highwaymen (2019), Woody Harrelson, Kevin Costner
The Highwaymen (2019), Woody Harrelson, Kevin Costner

The Highwaymen, the story of the two police officers who came out of retirement to catch infamous bank robbing outlaws Bonnie & Clyde is a movie I don’t regret watching.

The reason I watched the film at all was my curiosity about the retelling of the famous Bonnie and Clyde story from the perspective of the officers who ended their bank robbing and killing spree. That along with my general appreciation of both Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson’s talents. In fact the dynamic between Costner and Harrelson is my favourite thing about director John Lee Hancock’s movie. I also enjoyed the exchanges between the highwaymen and other law enforcement officers.

In terms of the thing or two that I enjoyed less about The Highwaymen, I wish it had moved a little faster and/ or contained  a tad more excitement. At the same time though, considering the fact that the two highwaymen had just come out of retirement, I may have been asking for a little too much.

Watch it if you’re really curious. Just don’t be surprised if you  find yourself getting distracted quite easily.

Happy Film Loving 

G

CREED II (2018): The Things I Liked…

Creed II (2018), Michael B. Jordan, MGM
Creed II (2018), Michael B. Jordan, MGM

Creed II is a movie I watched because I was told it’s worthwhile. It certainly would have been a better experience overall if I were a serious a boxing fan. If like myself you’re just a fan of good movies, that’s enough because thanks to the story, dramatic performances and that rather great fight sequence near the end, I had a good time with director Steven Caple Jr.’s film.

Centred around what is arguably the most important fight of Adonis Creed’s life, I enjoyed the emotional journey and overarching tension as Creed grows into the man and the mindset required to get to where he needs to be. I also liked the rather moving moments in and outside of the boxing ring. From the time Creed learns of his opponent, to the required balancing act where his family life is concerned and the intense training in the desert which culminates in the all important biggest fight of his life.

Regarding the question of whether Creed II is better than Creed, the good news is that they’re both good. As such, definitely watch it if you’re into boxing. For everyone else, it’s beautifully shot, particularly the training and fight scenes. Lastly, you’ll be moved and the cast is great.

Happy Film Loving 

G