Tag Archives: Film Reviews

GIVE ME LIBERTY (2019): The Things I Liked…

Give Me Liberty (2019), Chris Galust, Lauren 'Lolo' Spencer, Image courtesy of Music Box Films
Give Me Liberty (2019), Chris Galust, Lauren ‘Lolo’ Spencer, Image courtesy of Music Box Films

Give Me Liberty is a well acted comedy about medical transport driver, Vic. Vic has clients to pick up including a young woman with ALS, but he finds himself also driving a group of rowdy seniors and a Russian boxer to a funeral. All at the inconvenience of his actual clients.

Director Kirill Mikhanovsky’s film is for me, a comedy / drama about the responsibility and duty of care one has for family. Precisely, trying to balance taking care of family – whatever shape they’re in, working, and when time allows attempting to live one’s own life. What I like about Mikhanovsky’s movie is the way it cleverly captures the dramatic and humorous moments that occur throughout Vic’s eventful day. There’s even a moment where I almost didn’t notice that the film had switched to black and white, probably because of some slick editing and what I was paying very close attention to that time.

One of my favourite stand-out scenes includes the moment Vic’s overbearing mother realises what has ‘happened to the money’ and the way her demeanour changes as she comes to terms with the truth and how to tell her son. I also appreciated the getting to learn about the lives of people I may not necessarily encounter on a daily basis.

Overall, even though I feel that some scenes could have been cut sooner, I don’t regret watching Give Me Liberty. Give it a chance if you’re intrigued. 

Happy Film Loving.

G

POMS (2019): The Things I Liked…

Poms (2019), Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Netflix
Poms (2019), Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Netflix

This doesn’t seem to be the popular opinion but I actually had a good time watching Poms; a comedy / drama about a group of women in a retirement home who form a cheerleading squad. 

It really can’t be denied that the premise of Poms is quite preposterous in reality, but I didn’t exactly tune in expecting retirement home residents to ‘perform to win’ at a cheerleading competition. I watched Poms for the humour and mostly to see female friendships in action post retirement age. 

Not only did I get exactly what I went in for, I found it beautiful to see older ladies looking out for one another and still embracing life despite any and all challenges. I enjoyed the story, the way it was told. I may even go as far as to say that Poms may just be one of my favourite Diane Keaton movies. Yep. I said it.

It’s likely that some of you lovely regulars to my blog won’t be surprised by my enthusiasm for Poms. I mean, I am a fan of Netflix’s Grace & Frankie and one other comedy with a similar theme called Don’t Talk To Irene (2018). There’s also, of course, the one that started my appreciation of such productions. None other than The Golden Girls.

Give Poms a chance if you’re curious, and especially if you like at least one of the comparable movies / shows mentioned above. Pam Grier, Jacki Weaver and Rhea Perlman were also fun to watch.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE INTRUDER (2019): The Things I Liked…

The Intruder (2018), Dennis Quaid, Sony Pictures Entertainment
The Intruder (2018), Dennis Quaid, Sony Pictures Entertainment

The promising trailer, my curiosity about Meagan Good and Michael Ealy, plus the fact that I hadn’t seen the esteemed Dennis Quaid in a movie in a while are my reasons for watching director Deon Taylor’s drama / mystery, The Intruder. A story in which a young couple buy a beautiful new home, only to find that the previous owner is having more than ‘a little trouble’ letting go of his former residence. 

I can’t say that my expectations were particularly high to begin with, since this type of movie has been made many times before. Yet, I must admit that I found Taylor’s film more thrilling than expected – and Quaid’s performance is very much my favourite thing about The Intruder. I found his performance quite scary, especially considering Good’s overly trusting wife character.

As the movie played, there may have been a couple of moments where I wondered, ‘Did it really  make sense for that character to make that move?’  And by ‘that character’ I’m mostly referring to the one played by Joseph Sikora. Nevertheless, even with the moments of failed suspension of disbelief, I still had fun.

Perhaps give The Intruder a chance – if the mood for some easy-viewing thrills strikes. It may not be extraordinary, but that doesn’t mean you won’t appreciate Quaid’s quite frankly, horrifying performance and have a good time.

Happy Film Loving

G

OTHERHOOD (2019): The Thing I Liked…

Otherhood (2019), Patricia Arquette, Angela Bassett, Felicity Huffman, Netflix
Otherhood (2019), Patricia Arquette, Angela Bassett, Felicity Huffman, Netflix

Otherhood, a comedy about three long-time friends who decide to show up at their grown up son’s apartments because they didn’t call them on Mother’s Day is neither the best or the worst work of either of the main actors.

Starring Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette and Felicity Huffman, there’s a cliche or two and a cringe worthy moment here and there. Nevertheless, I found the glimpse into the empty nester experience worthwhile.

I’m sure I smiled and maybe also laughed a few times as Otherhood played, but the film’s humour actually wasn’t my favourite part. I was mostly taken by the dysfunctional nature of the challenging relationships between the mother and son characters. Especially the ones played by Huffman and Jake Lacey. Their relationship reminded me of the saying ‘hurt people, hurt people’. The dynamic between them made me see that we’re all to an extent, hurt people trying with varying degrees of success not to let our hurt spill over onto others unfairly.

In this way it’s more the challenges that arose due to an absence of effective communication that I found most intriguing about Otherhood. Had the script been better, I’d probably have laughed more and cried a little more also , but I have no regrets.

One thing is for sure about the empty nester experience… If your children don’t call you on Mothers Day after they’ve flown the nest, it’s hopefully because of a reason that has nothing to do with how they feel about you. Sometimes though, sometimes it’s because of your ‘not so healthy relationship’ – the nature of which has never really been properly addressed. So get to addressing!

Watch Otherhood if you’re curious enough.

FYI: I’m not a mother, so maybe take my advice with a healthy pinch of salt.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT (2019): The Things I Liked…

The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019), Chris Evans, Netflix
The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019), Chris Evans, Netflix

The Red Sea Diving Resort, the historical thriller starring Chris Evans, Michiel Huisman, Alessandro Nivola, Hayley Bennett and Alona Tal is more than two hours long, but it didn’t quite feel that way for me.

Set in the early 1980s, writer / director Gideon Raff’s movie is based on the true story of the international agents and brave Ethiopians who used a deserted holiday retreat in Sudan, as a front to smuggle thousands of Jewish Ethiopian refugees to Israel. 

I enjoyed Raff’s film because it’s well acted, well paced and features a fair amount of nail-biting moments. The entire film is based on the perspective of the main agent, Ari Levinson (Evans). As such we unfortunately don’t really get to know much about the film’s Ethiopian characters. We don’t get to know much about Ari and his team of agents either. This would have been far more noticeable and / or problematic for me, had it not been for Ari and fellow agent Sammy’s (Nivola) friendship. Though still very lightly drawn, it is partly through their relationship that we get to learn a little (still definitely only a little) more about two key people behind the mission. 

The Red Sea Diving Resort absolutely kept me entertained  but because of the focus on keeping the missions interesting rather than clearly painting the characters, I was left with many questions; some of which – and more have been answered by this article… ‘The Real Heroes Of the red Sea Diving Resort Rescue.’

Watch it if you’re curious.

Happy Film Loving

G

POINT BLANK (2019): The Things I Liked…

Point Blank (2019),Anthony Mackie, Netflix
Point Blank (2019),Anthony Mackie, Netflix

Point Blank, a new Netflix thriller about an emergency room nurse who teams up with an injured murder suspect to save his pregnant wife isn’t a terrible film. Directed by Joe Lynch; starring Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo, I admit to having a little more fun while watching Point Blank than I expected to.

In addition to the overall execution of the story being adequate enough for me to watch through to the very end, a key highlight was the comic relief courtesy of Markice Moore’s unexpected character; a gangster boss who just happens to have movie making aspirations. Also, seeing Marcia Gay Harden in a role we don’t often see women play and her doing a great job proved memorable.

Lastly, the onscreen chemistry between Mackie and Grillo is OK. It’s certainly not as ‘sizzling’ as that between Michael Peña and Jake Gyllenhaal in End of Watch (2012); or Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in 2013’s 2 Guns but those guys are really very special cases; I’m convinced of it.

Watch Point Blank if you’re curious.

Happy Film Loving

G

UGLY DOLLS (2019): The Thing I Liked…

UglyDolls (2019)
UglyDolls (2019)

UglyDolls, an animated movie about ‘ugly dolls’ that confront what it means to be different and struggle with a desire to be loved is a film I wanted to enjoy more than I actually did. 

Starring Nick Jonas, Emma Roberts, Janelle Monáe, and Pitbull, the message about being ourselves and accepting ourselves regardless of perceived imperfections is delivered through a story that unfortunately didn’t succeed at keeping my attention. For that I blame the overall execution, including the pace and rhythm.

Looking on the bright side however, (no pun intended), there’s the colours and cuteness to enjoy. Except that unfortunately, colours and cuteness don’t equal to a worthy movie experience. Luckily for me, there are two or three songs I did like even though I think the opening track felt quite forced.

Watch UglyDolls only if if you really must. Otherwise, watch Zootopia (2016) instead. It’s loosely similar but so very good. 

Happy Film Loving

G

LYING AND STEALING (2019): The Things I Liked…

Lying And Stealing (2019), Theo James, Emily Ratajkowski, Vertical Entertainment US
Lying And Stealing (2019), Theo James, Emily Ratajkowski, Vertical Entertainment US

Crime / drama Lying & Stealing has Emily Ratajkowski as an aspiring Hollywood actress with debts, and Theo James as a gifted art thief who wants out of the game. To get straight to the point, I neither love nor hate Lying & Stealing. I was drawn to it mainly because I like the two lead actors.

The premise of Lying & Stealing is nothing new and this is part of the reason the movie isn’t especially notable. What I did like right away about director Matt Aselton’s film is the Yiddish proverb shown at the very beginning: ‘When a thief kisses you, count your teeth’. The second highlight for me is the scene with the bloody nose in the car towards the end – because it’s satisfying and nicely executed. Everything else in-between simply wasn’t bad enough for me to stop watching. In fact, the film seemed to become that little bit more engaging as the conflicts the protagonists were facing got closer to a resolution.

As for the parts of Aselton’s movie that stood out in a bad way, that would be the camera work at the very start of the opening party scene; ‘Unnecessarily dizzying’ is the phrase. So much so that I literally had to shield my eyes. Then there’s the movie’s single sex scene which had me convinced that the filmmakers must have been thinking something along the lines of: ‘OK guys. We have two incredibly attractive people here. It would be madness to miss out on featuring them in at least one intimate scene – even if it is gratuitous. Theo, Emily, let’s get to work!

Last and not necessarily least, the hue of the red wine in the movie. Is it me or was that particular hue of red especially unconvincing? I confess that I actually don’t drink alcohol, so maybe I shouldn’t be the one to comment – but still!

Watch Lying & Stealing, only if you really must.

Happy Film Loving

G