Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE (2018): The Things I Liked…

To All The Boys I've Loved Before (2018), Lana Condor
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018), Lana Condor

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, the story of a teenage girl whose secret love letters to five crushes end up being delivered is not a bad movie.

Though Love Simon (2018) is still very much my favourite high school movie in a while, I liked how good director Susan Johnson’s film was at taking me back to that time when I too was a high schooler with an all consuming crush.

Besides the gift of reminiscing, I enjoyed seeing John Corbett in his role as a father to three daughters. I also definitely liked the look and design of the teenage protagonist’s bedroom – even though it’s not how I’d like my teenage room to look.

Overall, I’d say that To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is an adequately entertaining movie that felt very teenage. This is probably why my non-teenage self found some of the mistakes the teenagers in the movie made, quite frustrating to watch.

Lead by Lana Condor, the entire cast did a good job and I’m not that mad at the end result.

You’ll likely guess how things will play out soon after the film starts but I say watch it anyway. Especially if reminiscing about high school won’t hurt. And definitely watch it if you’re in high school. I’d probably have loved it more if I’d been in high school when this movie came out.

Happy Film Loving

G

SURVIVORS GUIDE TO PRISON (2018): A Worthy Hour & Forty Two Minutes…

Survivor’s Guide To Prison (2018), Danny Trejo
Survivor’s Guide To Prison (2018), Danny Trejo

Written / directed by Matthew Cooke, Survivor’s Guide To Prison does cover some truths I was already aware of, thanks to a few TV shows and movies I’ve seen. It also opened my eyes to new facts I hadn’t even thought about. New truths presented by and featuring people of various backgrounds who have valuable inside knowledge about how things often work from the moment you’re arrested through to prison, guilty or not.

As expected, ‘depressing’ is the word for the truth that’s presented in Survivor’s Guide To Prison. You’ll probably need some strength and faith (as I did) to make it to the hopeful bit towards the end. The bit where Cooke’s film shows us that as messed up as the system is and my goodness, it really, really is messed up – specially if you’re a person of colour and not rich; necessary change is possible and though seemingly very slow, change is happening.

When the end of the assault on my faith in humanity finally came, besides wanting change to come much, MUCH sooner, I wished that Survivor’s Guide To Prison showed more examples of organisations and people who are doing all they can to affect change. That likely would have made me feel that little bit more hopeful.

If the message wasn’t already clear, watch it because the stories are compelling and because then you’ll have the knowledge which you’ll hopefully never personally need – like insurance but better.

Happy Film Loving

G

ON CHESIL BEACH (2017): The Thing I Liked…

On Chesil Beach (2017), Billy Howle, Saoirse Ronan
On Chesil Beach (2017), Billy Howle, Saoirse Ronan

Starring Saoirse Ronan, Emily Watson, Billy Howle and Ann-Marie Duff, I’m glad I made it to the end of On Chesil BeachThough a seemingly slow-moving story, I didn’t completely hate watching life unfold for a young couple whose idyllic romance in 1962 England collides with issues of sexual freedom, societal pressure and more.

The romance at the heart of the story is pleasant enough but when I think of On Chesil Beach, whatI’ll first recall is the gorgeous blue hue of  Ronan’s beach outfit. Besides that, I’ll remember director Dominic Cooke’s movie because it had me thinking about two key topics that have always intrigued me. The first one being effective communication, which sadly isn’t always possible when in the heat of the moment – and as a result can lead to some fairly unfortunate circumstances. The second and most heartbreaking subject is that of how a toxic parent child relationship can negatively affect the child’s life, particularly when truth and / or reconciliation plus therapy don’t happen.

Overall, I don’t think ‘enjoyed’ is quite the right word for how I feel about this movie. The performances were good even though it took me a few minutes to stop seeing Cillian Murphy in Howle’s role – not that Howle did a bad job, mind you.

Overall, On Chesil Beach is a film I watched that I neither loved nor hated. I guess the value of it for me personally is in all the thinking it had me doing about effective communication and toxic parent child relationships. And yes,, that gorgeous beach outfit blue.

See it if you’r so curious. Just remember, it’s definitely heartbreaking.

Happy Film Loving

G

LIKE FATHER (2018): The Things I Liked…

Like Father (2018), Kelsey Grammer, Kristen Bell
Like Father (2018), Kelsey Grammer, Kristen Bell

Like Father, a Netflix comedy / drama about a workaholic woman who goes on her honeymoon with her father after being ditched at the alter is a good movie.

Directed and co-written by Lauren Miller Rogen, I particularly enjoyed the writing and not just because I found the script funny. Whilst simultaneously moving and amusing me, Like Father did a good job of portraying an example of a challenging father / daughter relationship. The story also  helped confirm some of the necessary elements for any kind of reconciliation to even be possible.

If I had to choose, my overall favourite moment in Miller’s movie is the fun Newlywed / honeymooners game. Like father really helped further solidify my general ‘deep like’ for Bell I also love that Like Father reminded me of the beautiful bass of Kelsey  Grammer’s voice.

Watch this one if the story intrigues you and especially if you like the cast. As you do that, I’m going to take a few moments to consider when my next New York trip might be. I may also  begin to plan my Royal Caribbean Cruise itinerary; just a couple of possible side effects of watching this movie.

Happy Film Loving

G

OVERBOARD (2017): The Things I Liked…

Overboard (2017), Eugenio Derbez, Anna Faris
Overboard (2017), Eugenio Derbez, Anna Faris

Starring Anna Faris, Eugenio Derbez and Eva Longoria, Overboard is a comedy / romance about a very spoiled, wealthy yacht owner who ends up the target of revenge at the hands of his mistreated employee.

Directors Bob Fisher and Rob Greenberg’s movie is exactly as I thought; just the kind of ridiculousness I could enjoy – especially whilst in the mood for an ‘easy-going movie.’

I was moved, amused and the dynamic between Faris and Longoria’s characters is a personal highlight. In fact, I liked the chemistry between the entire cast. There’s a a togetherness and sense of community between them that shone through and made me smile.

I think I wasn’t more enthusiastic at trailer viewing stage because of how the last Eugenio Derbez movie – How To Be A Latin Lover turned out. It might even be safe to say at this point that Derbez has crossed over from the Latin American market into my movie loving heart; something I’m sure had a little to do with his characters personal growth as the film progressed.

Having not seen the 1987 version of this movie, I haven’t a clue how they compare. Either way I say watch it when in the mood for an ‘easy’ film and because Faris is always fun.’

Happy Film Loving

G

BLACK PANTHER (2018): The Things I Liked…

Black Panther (2018), Chadwick Boseman
Black Panther (2018), Chadwick Boseman

Black Panther is a traditional superhero movie in the way that its’ a fun, partly humorous, definitely colourful and action-packed visual experience. It’s the classic story of a hero rising to defend the many from a destructive outside force. This time, instead of the main location being somewhere that’s recognisably the United States, the main setting is a fictional African nation named Wakanda.

Directed by Ryan Coogler of Creed (2015) and Fruitvale Station (2013), including all that this movie means in terms of representation, Black Panther is also memorable for me thanks to the great visuals and the ways in which the story is that little bit different from other superhero movies. There’s also the undeniable cool factor thats courtesy – in part of the stunt work, and shooting style.

I liked all the performances and particularly enjoyed seeing Andy Serkis in a role I wasn’t expecting him to play. The smart, empowered and powerful female characters were another highlight.

In terms of what’s next for the franchise, the way Black Panther ends certainly has me very intrigued about how the follow-up will unfold. Particularly since I’m  someone who’s quite aware of the nature of humans when it comes to power and resources.

No doubt you’ve probably already seen this one but in case you haven’t, watch it because it’s a good and fun… and Marvel.

Happy Film Loving

G

EXTINCTION (2018): The Thing I Liked…

Extinction (2018), Michael Peña
Extinction (2018), Michael Peña

Directed by Ben Young and starring Michael Peña, Mike Colter and Lizzy Caplan, Extinction is a Netflix sci-fi thriller where a father’s recurring nightmare showing his family in grave danger becomes a reality.

What I’d really have loved to write at this point is that the tide has finally turned and at last we have a really good Netflix movie. Instead, the very best I can really say about Extinction is that the film’s full premise which quite rightly isn’t really completely revealed to the audience until towards the last third of the movie is exciting. When the revelation did finally come, I certainly hoped that I would have been more delighted.

The acting isn’t bad but the reason I found the all important revelation very underwhelming has a lot to do with the story / structure and the budget. I feel as though the story needed more development, particularly in regards to how a thriller could still be thrilling considering the unavoidable constraints linked to the specific nature of the story and the nature of the main characters involved. In that way perhaps Extinction wouldn’t have felt quite as hollow as it did to me.

I’m disappointed because instead of celebrating the film’s great execution, I’m left wondering how good such an exciting and relevant idea could have been in the hands of different people.

Watch it if you must. Otherwise there’s Minority Report (2002), which isn’t particularly similar to Extinction, but it is undoubtedly good.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE INCREDIBLES (2004): The Things I Liked…

The Incredibles (2004), Craig T. Nelson (Mr. Incredible)
The Incredibles (2004), Craig T. Nelson (Mr. Incredible)

The Incredibles (2004), a big hit Disney Pixar movie about a family of undercover superheroes forced into action to save the World is, as everyone else has said, a rather fun movie.

Written / directed by Brad Bird and starring Craig T. Nelson, Holly hunter plus Samuel L. Jackson – to name a few, I thought I’d actually watched The Incredibles already but it turns out I‘d just seen the trailer, a few clips shared by others and heard people talk enthusiastically about it.

Having now watched it at last – 14 years late and prompted by the long waited sequel Incredibles 2, I too can confirm I was delighted as well as entertained and moved in equal measure. I enjoyed all the characters, particularly the fun ridiculousness of Elastigirl’s capabilities. I also loved the two Incredibles sons. Though, if forced to choose a favourite son, it would for sure be Jack Jack, the super cute and underestimated one. In fact, I can’t wait to see what more he can delight us with in the new sequel.

As fun as The Incredibles is, Ratatouille (2007) still my favourite animated /Disney Pixar film, without a doubt.

I’m quite sure that you’ve probably seen the first and second film by this point but nevertheless… I say watch it because it really is good.

Happy Film Loving

G