Tag Archives: Film Reviews

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

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (2019): The Things I Liked…

Water For Elephants (2019), Reece Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson

Directed by Francis Lawrence; starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz, Water For Elephants is a drama / romance about a young man who takes a job in a travelling circus and ends up falling in love with the ringmaster’s wife.

My reasons for watching this one include the fact that I’m a fan of Witherspoon, elephants are majestic and just a few days ago, I happened to be in the mood for a film that wouldn’t prove too emotionally taxing. I’ve also recently watched and loved The Greatest Showman (2017). I therefore needed to find out whether it was possible for me to appreciate another circus movie nearly as much.  

I’ll waste not time in confirming that The Greatest Showman (2017) remains my favourite circus movie. Reason being, even though Water For Elephants proved a not especially taxing viewing experience, by the end of the film, I couldn’t say I loved it. It was just OK. The acting wasn’t bad but I may have enjoyed the film that little bit more had the central love story been stronger and more enthralling. It may also be that I’ve just seen this old fashioned style of storytelling several times before and this particularly version simply wasn’t the best.

I know I’ll likely remember Water For Elephants for the visuals of Witherspoon’s character with the beautiful white horse and also for bringing to mind the value of the kindness of strangers. Especially in terms of the fact that none of us can really survive without it. 

Watch Water For Elephants if you’re curious enough and / or when the right mood strikes. 

Happy Film Loving

G

GRINGO (2018): The Things I Liked…

Gringo (2018), Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Amazon Studios
Gringo (2018), Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Amazon Studios

There are three things I like about Gringo director Nash Edgerton’s action / comedy about a former law-abiding citizen (David Oyelowo) who’s turned to crime in order to survive. The first is Charlize Theron, her general awesomeness and her characters beautiful style. The second is the way Gringo is concluded; the ending is kind of surprising but also not, at the same time. I was surprised because I didn’t fully expect the turn the story took but I wasn’t surprised because it was clichéd.

The last thing I like about Gringo is how the movie appears to be a little inspired by one of my all time favourite films; Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). Though I certainly wouldn’t say that Gringo is as smart and as well written as my beloved Lock Stock, it did deliver some laughs. It’s just disappointing that I didn’t find the whole experience as amusing, engaging or exciting as the trailer hinted. 

Watch Gringo if you’re curious. Or if you haven’t definitely watch Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE AFTERMATH (2019): The Things I Liked…

The Aftermath (2019), Keira Knightley, Fox Searchlight
The Aftermath (2019), Keira Knightley, Fox Searchlight

Set in Hamberg, Germany, in director James Kent’s post WWII drama The Aftermath, Jason Clarke plays British colonel Lewis Morgan. 

Morgan is assigned to live in Hamberg where his wife Rachael (Keira Knightly) reluctantly agrees to join him. The house provided to the colonel is occupied by German architect Stephen (Alexander Skarsgård) and his daughter, both of whom now have to move out with the arrival of the British couple. It’s the resultant tensions between the film’s characters inside and outside the house that helped keep me interested in Kent’s film.

I like the way parts of Kent’s film is lit, shot and edited. The latter particularly in regards to the truth of the nature of Morgan’s relationship with his wife.

Even though The Aftermath is set during quite a sad time for many of the characters, I didn’t find the experience of watching the movie to be especially depressing, which is probably thanks to all the romance. I mean, they do say that there’s nothing quite like love to lift one’s spirits.

In addition to the romance, I adored the gorgeous main house in which several scenes are shot. It certainly proved a welcome contrast to all the bombing rubble outside. Another highlight I noticed at trailer stage is Rachael’s attire. It seems as though Knightley always gets to wear great clothing in her movies. Perhaps it’s written into her contract. Either that or she just has the ability to make clothes look fantastic. The latter definitely seems more likely.

Watch The Aftermath if you’re curious. It’s not perfect but there are things to like about it. One thing you may realise by the end is just how perfect the film’s title really is – considering all the various ‘aftermaths’ within.

Happy Film Loving

G