Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

AN AMERICAN PICKLE (2020): The Things I Liked…

An American Pickle (2020), Seth Rogen
An American Pickle (2020), Seth Rogen

I started watching the new Seth Rogen movie, An American Pickle with the knowledge that I’d need to have an open mind. Especially since the premise suggests that a human being can be preserved in a pickling solution, and wake up one hundred years later, minus any physical or mental deficits. I accepted this perfectly silly premise in exchange for some laughs.

The good news is that I did laugh a few times. The not so great news is that I lost a fair amount of faith in proceedings when quite early on, a key event takes place rather loudly, yet the many characters who were in close proximity apparently did not notice a thing. As disappointed as I was by this event, I didn’t stop watching director Brandon Trost’s movie because it had made me laugh almost right away. I, therefore, hoped that more funny moments would come, and they did. However, that doesn’t mean I could escape how hollow the whole experience of An American Pickle had started to feel.

In addition to the humour, the other element I enjoyed is how well Rogen playing two characters who interact with each other turned out.

The humour in An American Pickle may well be your kind of humour. In which case, give it a chance. Just remember that you’ll need to suspend your disbelief completely and utterly.

Happy Film Loving

G

PROJECT POWER (2020): The Things I Liked…

Project Power (2020), Jamie Foxx, Netflix

I had fun watching the down-to-earth take on the human-with-superpowers story that is Project Power. Particular highlights being the fun special effects and good performances, especially by Jamie Foxx and Dominique Fishback.

Centred around a pill that gives its users unpredictable superpowers for five minutes, the first thirty or so minutes of Project Power. is watchable. But it’s once Foxx and Fishback’s characters meet that I sat up and started to pay attention. From that point on the fun continued until the not entirely expected nature of the conclusion.

As someone who has long tired of the traditional superhero movie stories, I welcomed the difference this one offered. So much so that the use of some familiar tropes barely bothered me. I was too busy having fun watching this particular story unfold.

Watch Project Power for a different take on the humans with superpowers story. I’m convinced that there are elements that will likely surprise you, in a good way.

Happy Film Loving

G

MADE IN ITALY (2020): The Thing ILiked…

Made In Italy (2020), Liam Neeson, Micheál Richardson, IFC Films
Made In Italy (2020), Liam Neeson, Micheál Richardson, IFC Films

As expected, the beautiful views of the Tuscan landscape is my favourite thing about Liam Neeson’s latest comedy Made in Italy It’s just unfortunate that I didn’t find much else to love in writer/director James D’Arcy’s story besides the views.

I should have been prepared for Made in Italyto be less funny and more focused on grief. Especially since the plot has Neeson playing a father, accompanied by his estranged son (Micheál Richardson) while on a trip to Italy to sell a house he inherited from his late wife.

I had certain hopes and expectations about how charming Made in Italy was going to be. Not only did I find the movie inadequately charming, I didn’t find it as funny as its comedy categorisation would suggest. Furthermore, Richardson’s character Jack’s emotional journey development felt oddly inauthentic and ill-timed in parts.

Things did get a bit better when Neeson’s character became emotional at around the one hour, ten-minute mark. However, by that point I’d largely given up on any hopes of D’Arcy’s film redeeming itself and suddenly becoming less annoyingly predictable, and charming enough for me to forgive it’s earlier shortcomings.

Watch Made in Italy only if you’re extremely curious.

Happy Film Loving

G

BLACK IS KING (2020): The Things I liked…

Black Is King (2020), Beyoncé Knowles, Disney+
Black Is King (2020), Beyoncé Knowles, Disney+

Beyoncé Knowles, an artist who many years before said that she makes music to empower girls and women has delighted her fans once again, with the release of her new visual album Black is King.

Even though Black is King is dedicated to her young son, Sir – and it features a fair amount of lifting messages for black boys and men, in no way has the queen forgotten about all the girls and women who have looked forward to the new words, moves, messaging, beats and visuals of The Lion King (2019) movie-inspired Black is King.

As expected, there are plenty of great songs on Black is King; including Water featuring Pharrell Williams and Salatiel; Already and Black Parade.

As for a brand new female empowerment anthem, all I needed to hear was the first few seconds of My Power and I knew I’d found my favourite song.

The visuals in Black is King are often so arresting that you may find it hard to look away; even if you may not be loving a song that’s playing in the moment.

Beyoncé fans don’t need telling to watch Black is King. As for film, fashion, poetry and photography fans, watch Black is King for a memorable audio-visual feast. It’s certainly more than a series of music videos playing one after the other.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE KISSING BOOTH (2018): The Things I Liked…

The Kissing Booth (2018), Joey King, Netflix
The Kissing Booth (2018), Joey King, Netflix

Director Vince Marcello’s latest teen movie The Kissing Booth (2018) is about Elle (Joey King), a high school student who’s forced to confront her secret crush.

Even though there’s plenty of focus on Elle’s crush (Jacob Elordi), for me, it’s Elle’s relationship with her best friend and their coming of age story that holds the movie together.

Overall, I wouldn’t call Marcello’s film one of the best teen movies out there. I mean, I managed to watch it all the way to the very end, but not without getting annoyed by the narration which felt largely unnecessary. There was also some cringe moments of dodgy dialogue and bad acting. However, the good news is that most, if not all of the bad acting isn’t courtesy of the main characters played by King, Elordi and Joel Courtney.

Besides King and particularly Courtney’s performances, the sunny Los Angeles setting and the way The Kissing Booth took me back to the relatively carefree nature of my teenage years are two key highlights.

If there’s one good reason to watch The Kissing Booth at all, it’s because you enjoyed the best selling books by Beth Reekles. The second best reason is to make sure you’re not lost when you watch the sequel because the The Kissing Booth 2 is the better movie. And how will you be able to fully appreciate The Kissing Booth 2 without suffering, I mean ‘getting through’ the first one?

Happy Film Loving

G

SCOOB! (2020): The Things I Liked…

Scoob! (2020), Warner Bros. Pictures

Based on the children’s TV shows about a Great Dane named Scooby-Doo, one who along with his teenage human friends solve mysteries involving supposedly supernatural creatures, I found Scoob! to be a well animated, fun adventure. It’s certainly not perfect, but it does have a rather engaging, silly central story and a watchable supervillain played by Jason Isaacs.

Also starring Zac Efron, Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried; the first twenty-five minutes of Scoob! didn’t have me as confident about how the rest of the movie would be as I expected. Thankfully though, director Tony Cervone’s film did become more watchable.

Random thoughts that went through my mind as Scoob! played include:
‘This is all quite silly, but fun.’

Why is puppy Scooby’s nose was so oversized?’

If you liked the Scooby-Doo TV shows, then you’ll probably enjoy Scoob! So give it a chance should the mood for a silly nostalgic escape surface.

Happy Film Loving 

G

GREYHOUND (2020): The Thing I Liked…

Greyhound (2020), Tom Hanks, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Greyhound (2020), Tom Hanks, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Though brief and relegated strictly to the start, I did find myself moved by the romance at the beginning of Tom Hank’s latest war drama, Greyhound.

Past this almost throwaway moment in the movie, everything else that takes place in director Aaron Schneider’s World War II movie happens at sea. For Greyhound is a story that focuses on US Navy captain Ernest Krausemust as he leads an allied convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boat wolf packs.

As you might imagine, there are plenty of tense moments that will make it hard to look away from the screen. Moments that show us how tough a captain’s job is as he tries to avoid getting his ship and all his men blown up.

The acting is of course, faultless. However, I can’t deny that the visuals of the grey ships on the Atlantic; visuals that lasted for approximately 95 per cent of the movie had me yearning for difference.

Greyhound is one you watch because you love Hanks and you’re curious about just how well-executed the tense moments are.

Other than that, I’m almost one hundred per cent sure you’d enjoy Hank’s other movie set at sea much more. I’m of course speaking of Captain Phillips (2013).

Happy Film Loving

G

PALM SPRINGS (2020): The Thing I Liked…

Palm Springs (2020), Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Hulu
Palm Springs (2020), Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Hulu

Palm Springs is a comedy and a romance film with the added twist of an infinite time loop to complicate things. I’m sure the purpose of this particular storytelling trope was to make things more interesting. Sadly, for me, I couldn’t be more tired of the infinite time loop concept. 

Yes, Palm Springs does bring a certain twist to the concept, but the whole experience just proved tedious rather than refreshing.

Groundhog Day (1993), the first infinite time loop movie I recall watching did a good job of it. And every movie that it has since inspired, that I’ve seen has turned out to be a disappointment. Especially since I understand the concept almost too well, which then means I feel robbed; both of the element of surprise and the movie I’d hoped to be watching.

There’s no denying that Palm Springs is well-acted. Plus, I did laugh a few times. Though just not enough to make me forget how tedious I find infinite time loop movies. 

My last three complaints about director Max Barbakow’s film include the fact that I didn’t fully buy into the romance. I also found the frantic nature of things exhausting, and finally, that cheesy – dare I say cringe ‘sister speech’ at the wedding towards the end may have caused me to say ‘Ugh! CHEESE! I have a dairy issue!’ 

Infinite time loop movie fans should give Palm Springs a chance, along with others who are simply curious. Who knows, you like many others may not find it as disappointing as I did.

Happy Film Loving

G