Category Archives: Romance

HAPPILY (2021): The Thing I Liked…

Happily (2021), Joel McHale, Kerry Bishé, Paramount Movies
Happily (2021), Joel McHale, Kerry Bishé, Paramount Movies

Happily, a comedy/romance about a happily married couple whose life takes an unexpected turn is a self-aware, self-indulgent movie that has one or two moments that are mildly satisfying. Unfortunately, for me, none of these moments adds up to enough to make the experience worthwhile. 

What Happily has to say about relationships and marriage did not need a whole movie to say it. At least not in the way it said it. Furthermore, what Happily ends up saying is unlikely to be what you wish it had to say; well, at least not in the way it says it. 

Writer/director BenDavid Grabinski’s film relies heavily on music to create a tense atmosphere. And I kept watching past the halfway point hoping that the pay-off would make all the excessive atmospheric music, and seemingly unnecessary slow-motion shots somewhat worthwhile, but no.

As for what I enjoyed about the movie, I like Joel McHale and Natalie Morales.

Lastly, watch Happily ONLY if you absolutely must because there have to be far better marital/relationship drama movies out there. I’m also sure there are good TV shows about ’best couples’ whose friends are jealous that their own relationships aren’t as passionate. I can’t think of any titles right now but I know they exist, good ones!

Happy Film Loving

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MONDAY (2020): New Trailer From Sebastian Stan, Denise Gough, Dominique Tipper…

Monday (2020), Denise Gough, Sebastian Stan, IFC Films
Monday (2020), Denise Gough, Sebastian Stan, IFC Films

Sebastian Stan, Denise Gough and Dominique Tipper are the stars of new drama/romance, Monday.

Directed by Argyris Papadimitropoulos; Monday is the story of Chloe (Gough) and Mickey (Stan); a couple  who meet in the heat of summer one whirlwind weekend in Athens, Greece. The kind of meeting that results in a fling, which then leads to Chloe deciding to give up her high flying job back home.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t drawn to this in large part because of the sunny destination. It also helps that Stan is the star and I am curious to see if they make it. Especially considering what Chloe gave up.

Dominique Tipper, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Elli Tringou, Andreas Konstantinou, Sofia Kokkali, Syllas Tzoumerkas, Chloe Sirene, Marisha Triantafyllidou, Orlando Seale, Julie Agoraki and Prometheus Aleifer also star.

Monday Release Dates: April 16th, 2021 (US)….

Happy Film Loving

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HAPPILY (2021): New Trailer From Natalie Morales, Natalie Zea, Joel McHale…

Happily (2021), Joel McHale, Paramount Movies
Happily (2021), Joel McHale, Paramount Movies

Starring Natalie Morales, Joel McHale and Natalie Zea; in new comedy/crime/drama, Happily, a happily married couple are visited by a mysterious stranger. A visit that leads to a dead body, many questions, and a tense couples’ trip with so-called friends.

Written/directed by BenDavid Grabinski; additional key cast includes Kerry Bishé, Stephen Root, Shannon Woodward and Charlyne Yi.

This looks like a potentially fun story about frenemies who are mad that a couple in their group isn’t quite as miserable in their relationship as they are. And so they seek to destroy. Well, at least that’s my very quick summation based on this trailer.

It would be great if this turns out to be even more fun than expected. Something surprisingly pleasant, the way Long Shot (2019) was.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Breckin Meyer, Brea Grant, Paul Scheer, Al Madrigal, Jon Daly and Billie Wolff also star.

Happily Release Dates: March 19th, 2021 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

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MALCOLM & MARIE (2021): The Things I Liked…

Malcolm & Marie (2021), Zendaya, Netflix
Malcolm & Marie (2021), Zendaya, Netflix

There are some rather good things about Malcolm & Mariedirector Sam Levinson’s drama/romance starring Zendaya and John David Washington.

The first is the two lead performances, which, for me, represent some of the actors’ best work. The second is some truly great moments of dialogue that had me thinking, ‘If only I could express myself this clearly during disagreements.’ 

I’m glad to confirm that there’s humour to be enjoyed early in Levinson’s story about the night a director and his girlfriend decide to iron out the issues in their relationship. I was most amused with the scenes when Malcolm failed to notice that all was not well with Marie.

As tensions escalate, there are triggering scenes when you’ll find yourself appalled at Malcolm’s behaviour. Especially when his ego is shinning incredibly brightly and he’s unable to admit any dependence on Marie. Nevertheless, you soon realise that both parties are flawed and in desperate need of sorting through the issues stemming from their codependent relationship; one in which an imbalance of power is undeniable.

Along with the moments of great dialogue in Malcolm & Marie, some scenes had me incredibly frustrated. To the point where I had to pause the film and do something else. Even though the movie is one hour and forty-six minutes long, at approximately thirty-seven minutes into the couple’s argument, I’d had enough. And as much as I appreciated the self-analysis and honest dialogue they were having, it all began to feel unbearably self-indulgent.

Watching Malcolm & Marie soon had me feeling like someone who couldn’t leave their arguing friends because the three of us were in the middle of nowhere and they’re my ride home.

This one is a movie to watch if you’re particularly curious. For me, I wish the whole experience had been more tightly edited and far less frustrating.

Happy Film Loving

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TO ALL THE BOYS – ALWAYS AND FOREVER (2021): The Things I Liked…

To All The Boys: Always and Forever (2021), Lana Condor, Netflix
To All The Boys: Always and Forever (2021), Lana Condor, Netflix

I remember being pleasantly surprised by To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, back in 2018; the story of the romantic life of two high school students, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter (Noah Centineo).

Then came To All the Boys – P.S. I Still Love You (2020), a film I concluded was okay compared to the first. Having now watched To All the Boys – Always and Forever, the final instalment, I can say that minus one or two minor niggles, director Michael Fimognari’s film is close to as satisfying as high school romance stories get. Especially for girls who picture themselves in Lara Jean’s position.

It certainly helps that Peter is quite decent, somewhat mature, and the story feels generally quite grounded in the reality of what life is like for high schoolers in similar predicaments. I enjoyed letting To All the Boys – Always and Forever take me back to the romantic ups and downs of high school life and remembering just how absorbing my high school romances were.

Other highlights include the general look and feel of the visuals, including the colours, illustrations, plus a perfectly fitting, sometimes rebellious soundtrack.

The only parts that had me raising an eyebrow or two involve the situation with the pink sofa on the New York subway. Particularly the expectation that I’m supposed to believe they fully carried it there. There’s also the fact that Peter’s father looks very unlike him and some of his dialogue left me wanting.

I say watch To All the Boys – Always and Forever if you enjoyed the first two movies. The story is wrapped up rather well.

Happy Film Loving

G

LITTLE FISH (2019): The Things I Liked…

Little Fish (2020), Jack O'Connell, IFC Films
Little Fish (2020), Jack O’Connell, IFC Films

Little Fish, Jack O’Connell and Olivia Cooke’s sci-fi/romance about a memory loss virus that threatens to erase the history of a couple’s love and courtship is more cleverly-executed than expected.

It’s important to note that director Chad Hartigan’s Little Fish is a story that focuses more on the couple’s relationship rather than the science of the virus. Little Fish is a beautiful yet heartbreaking love story. One that for me, proved quite watchable in the most part because both leads are great performers. And the portrayal of life with memory loss is captured well. It’s just unfortunate for me that my favourite moments do not happen until close to the end.

I did believe the relationship between O’Connell and Cooke’s characters, However, I didn’t find myself as absorbed with it all; likely in part, on account of the story edit or general editing style. Additionally, the timing of the release of Little Fish may not help everyone’s enjoyment of it. Particularly since it may feel more than a little too real, pandemic-wise for some.

When forced to weigh Little Fish against other movies that spend at least 90% of the time looking closely at a central romantic relationship, I wouldn’t say that Hartigan’s film is my favourite. I’m afraid that ‘coveted title’ belongs to Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones’s Like, Crazy (2011).

Overall, I say give Little Fish a chance if you’re curious. After all, a fair number seem to enjoy it. And there truly is a clever moment or two near the end. Just be sure to pay attention.

 Happy Film Loving 

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LOCKED DOWN (2021): The Things I Liked…

Locked Down (2021), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anne Hathaway, Warner Brothers
Locked Down (2021), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anne Hathaway, Warner Brothers

Locked Down has some memorable moments. Yet, overall, director Doug Limans romance/comedy about a couple’s attempt at a high-risk, high-stakes jewellery heist during the Coronavirus pandemic isn’t great.

Starring Anne Hathaway, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ben Kingsley; the most memorable scenes for me feature Kingsley and Ben Stiller. There’s also the scene that has my favourite line of dialogue in the whole movie: ‘Live wild or die, Linda.’ My love of this line is more to do Chiwetel Ejiofor’s delivery of it, more than anything thing else.

As for what’s seriously wrong with Locked Down, it doesn’t help that I found the chemistry between Hathaway and Ejiofor lacking. This lack then fed into their relationship feeling underdeveloped. It’s then no surprise that I didn’t buy the evolution of the characters; including the decisions they made.

To put it another way, both the film’s central relationship and the story needed more time. Because it had an overall silly and unbelievable quality which I doubt was intentional. The issue isn’t the performances, but near enough all else, especially the story.

I can understand that Locked Down exists in part, because of a desire to take advantage of a locked-down London. It’s therefore unfortunate that the thoughts running through my mind while watching the movie include:

I wonder if the actors regret saying yes to this script?

This kind of feels like a literal dream, but a bad one. A bad script for an actual dream that could have been very exciting.

How on earth did Harrods allow themselves to be used for this? That is assuming the Harrods scenes were shot in the famous luxury department store.

Should you watch this movie? I mean, if you’re extraordinarily curious, do. Otherwise, I say wait for a quality lockdown film. One that’s taking its sweet time to be developed and developed right.

Happy Film Loving

G

FALLING FOR FIGARO (2020): New Trailer From Joanna Lumley, Hugh Skinner, Danielle Macdonald, Shazad Latif…

Falling for Figaro (2020), Danielle MacDonald
Falling for Figaro (2020), Danielle MacDonald

From director and co-writer Ben Lewin; Falling for Figaro is a new comedy/romance starring Joanna Lumley, Danielle Macdonald, Shazad Latif and Hugh Skinner.

Set in the Scottish Highlands; Macdonald plays a brilliant young fund manager who leaves her unfulfilling job and long-term boyfriend to chase her lifelong dream of becoming an opera singer.

Meryl Streep’s Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) definitely came to mind as this trailer played. Though, it does look like MacDonald’s character can at the very least hold a tune; unlike Miss Jenkins.

As a fan of this cast, I can’t wait for all the delightful humour to unfold.

Rebecca Benson, Bhav Joshi, Mark Weinman, Margaret Fraser, Jo Cameron Brown, Saskia Ashdown, Vanessa Borrini and Christina Bennington also star.

Falling for Figaro Release Dates

Happy Film Loving

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