Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

LOVE SARAH (2020): The Things I Liked…

Love Sarah (2020), Rupert Penry-Jones, Shelley Conn
Love Sarah (2020), Rupert Penry-Jones, Shelley Conn

Director Eliza Schroeder’s comedy/romance Love Sarah is one of those easy-viewing films that doesn’t demand too much from you. It’s well-acted and quite pleasant, especially if you love cakes, the Notting Hill, London setting and any of the cast which includes Celia Imrie, Rupert Penry-Jones, Shannon Tarbet and Bill Paterson.

Besides being in the mood to watch an easy viewing movie, the baked goods are a key reason I had to see Love Sarah. Particularly since some of the baked items I saw in the trailer reminded me of a great restaurant/bakery I used to visit in North London. Turns out Ottolenghi, the founder/owner of said bakery consulted on this movie. I guess I know my favourite cakes when I see them. 

Story-wise, it’s predictable, as one might expect but if you go in expecting that, it’s not so bad. The story focuses on a young woman who wishes to fulfil her mother’s dream of opening a bakery in Notting Hill, London. A dream she sets about realising thanks to the help of an old friend and her grandmother.

I found Love Sarah very watchable if you’re in the mood for what it offers. My favourite moment has to be the scene when the camera focuses on the pouring of chocolate sauce. Such good memories!

Watch Love Sarah if you’re curious. I’m quite sure that aspiring bakers will enjoy this movie that little bit more. Even though, one might argue it makes succeeding as a baker look easier than it probably is.

Happy Film Loving

G

LOVE AND MONSTERS (2020): The Things I Liked…

Love And Monsters (2020), Dylan O’brien
Love And Monsters (2020), Dylan O’brien

Love and Monsters is a fun/funny comedy/adventure about a young man named Joel and his hero journey; a journey where he learns how to survive a monster apocalypse to get to his girlfriend who’s eighty miles away.

Starring Dylan O’Brien, Michael Rooker and Jessica Henwick; it’s the monster special effects that grabbed my attention in the trailer. And let me say, they did not let me down. The images of giant snails and other oversized creepy crawlies had me watching some of the action through my t-shirt. Yet, I still found those scenes oddly thrilling and fun. Of course, ideally, I’d have liked to be less of a wuss. But I guess I now have a slightly better understanding of the kind of thrills some people get when watching scary movies. Particularly since there’s no denying that giant bugs are often gross and undeniably scary.

The humour in the introductory voice-over in the first third of the movie is one of the key highlights. The other highlights include any encounters with oversized creatures which are both well-choreographed and scary; the latter especially if you’re not into bugs of any size. The only part I didn’t love so much is around the middle of the film, once Joel finds himself alone once more. It may be my impatience acting up here but the pacing seemed to slow down a tad. And the way the editing milked a very key moment for our hero just really annoyed me.

Still, I’d watch part two if it were coming. I mean, yeah, I don’t love bugs but for the first time in my life, being scared was actually fun. I honestly didn’t think that was possible for me.

Watch Love and Monsters because it’s fun. It’s a good hero’s journey/ coming of age story with exciting monsters and heroics.

Happy Film Loving

G

SAVE YOURSELVES! (2020): The Things I Liked…

Save Yourselves! (2020), Sunita Mani, John Reynolds, Bleecker Street
Save Yourselves! (2020), Sunita Mani, John Reynolds, Bleecker Street

Save Yourselves! is a comedy/sci/fi film about a young couple who end up having to fend for themselves while the planet falls under attack. An alien attack that starts just as they leave Brooklyn, New York for a week at an upstate cabin where they plan to unplug from their phones and reconnect with each other. 

From writers/directors Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson, I had to watch Save Yourselves! because the trailer was filled with precisely the kind of kookiness I enjoy from time to time.

Once the movie started, I found the young couple’s eccentricities quite refreshing and amusing. And the film’s two leads Sunita Mani and John Reynolds have great chemistry and perform well. It’s just unfortunate that I soon became bored with their characters. Even more so once the fluffy alien Pouffe got to their cabin and we see the way the brown fluffy Pouffe escapes out the door.

After the exciting escape scene, I wanted to spend more and more time watching the fluffy Pouffe in action. But of course, the focus was more on the couple and how they were dealing with being under alien attack. That’s not to we don’t see the more poof after this scene because we do and it’s great when they show up. 

Nevertheless, I’d hoped to enjoy Save Yourselves! more. However, for me, the film fits into that category of movie that doesn’t quite live up to the promise of its trailer. Even though I enjoyed the scenes with the Pouffe and liked the moments of humour at the expense of the millennial couple, for a good part of the film I wasn’t fully engaged. 

Give Fischer and Wilson’s movie a chance if you’re curious, you may find more to like than I did; especially since the trailer is quite fun.

Happy Film Loving 

G

EMILY IN PARIS (2020), The Things I Liked…

Emily In Paris (2020), Lily Collins, Netflix
Emily In Paris (2020), Lily Collins, Netflix

I’ve seen one or two review titles say that if you miss Sex and the City (SATC), new series Emily in Paris (EIP) is here to help you out. As a long time fan of SATC and having now seen the new EIP series in full, I’d say that it’s at best a very loose comparison. Besides both SATC and EIP sharing a creator (Darren Star), the other similarities between the series feel very slight indeed.

Starring Lily Collins as Emily, a young American woman who’s hired by a marketing firm in Paris to provide an American perspective, the reason I watched the entire series isn’t so much because I think it’s great. I kept watching to spend some time in Paris,’ a place I’d hoped to revisit in 2020.

The other reason is that I like Collins. And although the EIP story isn’t as well-written as one would hope, I found other elements that kept me watching. In other words, I blocked out all of Emily’s seemingly over the top and forced/exclamations to the generally loved elements of French cuisine, just so I could ‘stay in Paris.

Part of what made SATC so great, besides all the glamorous high fashion, the humour and its much-loved fifth star, the vibrant city of New York is the story of beautiful female friendships. There’s a little bit of that in EIP and room for improvement that a second season will hopefully deliver.

I know very well that EIP isn’t supposed to be SATC and it shouldn’t be. I’m just disappointed that it’s not at least as good in almost every way, including the fashion, which feels less exciting.

If Netflix confirm a second season of Emily in Paris, I’ll give it a chance in hopes that it will have improved. That way, my love of Paris and appreciation of Collins’s charm won’t be the main reason I keep watching, assuming I do. I mean, I probably definitely will.

Give Emily in Paris a chance if you’re very curious.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE BOYS IN THE BAND (2020): The Things I Liked…

The Boys In The Band (2020), Jim Parsons, Netflix
The Boys In The Band (2020), Jim Parsons, Netflix

Starring Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto and Andrew Rannells, the first great thing about director Joe Mantello’s The Boys In The Band is all the performances. 

Second is all the funny moments with great comic timing, and how very well-written and paced it is. 

I love the way the story unfolds like a beautiful play. A truth that makes sense since The Boys In The Band is a film adaptation of Mart Crowley’s play of the same name. A play that features several interesting characters, and manages the tension in scenes so well, that you can’t wait for all to be revealed. 

In addition to capturing several moments of heartbreaking truth brilliantly, other personal highlights include the set design and the way the production is lit. Even though almost all of the action takes place during a party in a New York City apartment in 1968, there isn’t a moment when you find yourself wanting a change of scenery. All because what’s happing inside is thoroughly engaging, thanks to the very watchable complex characters.

Characters with understandable complexities, especially considering the difficulties they faced during that particular time in American history. A time when just being themselves was a far less accepted thing. And it is this reality that’s the underlying fuel. Fuel that results in a perfectly watchable film, thanks to great writing and brilliant performances by all.

Watch The Boys In The Band because it’s good. 

Happy Film Loving 

G

ENOLA HOLMES (2020): The Things I Liked…

Enola Holmes (2020), Millie Bobby Brown, Netflix
Enola Holmes (2020), Millie Bobby Brown, Netflix

Enola Holmes, a drama/mystery about the teenage sister of famous detective Sherlock Holmes is not a terrible film.

Focused on Enola’s search for her newly missing mother (Helena Bonham Carter), which then leads to the teenager becoming a super-sleuth in her own right, Millie Bobby Brown is great in the lead role.

Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin as Enola’s big brothers Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes are also quite entertaining to watch; as are the moments of fun dialogue. Yet, overall, it’s really during the first two or three action sequences that I had the most fun.

Director Harry Bradbeer’s movie is quite engaging at first. It’s just that once the film’s first action sequence had taken place, I found myself disappointed because, not too long afterwards, my engagement started to drift, only to peak again during other physical scenes.

A young woman’s journey to choosing her path in life, regardless of pressures from many around her is what Enola Holmes is really about. I generally enjoy stories like these. Neverthless, even though there are moments in this movie that I’ll remember fondly, the story edit and pacing didn’t leave me as content with the finished product as anticipated.

Watch Enola Holmes if you’re curious. It is quite charming and Sam Claflin is great at playing unlikably cantankerous aristocrats. If you’ve seen him in The Riot Club (2014), you understand.

Happy Film Loving 

G

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME (2020): The Things I Liked…

The Devil All The Time (2020): Tom Holland, Netflix
The Devil All The Time (2020): Tom Holland, Netflix

The Devil All the Time, director Antonio Campos’s drama/thriller about sinister characters in postwar Southern Ohio is a film I found adequately entertaining.

Tom Holland’s performance as Arvin, a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a place teeming with corruption and brutality is one of the film’s highlights. Bill Skarsgård’s performance earlier in the film is another bright spot.

Even though I didn’t find the story edit to be as masterful as my favourite movie about various characters that all end up cleverly connected (Magnolia (1999), I liked the way Campos’s movie revealed the some of the key connections.

The most memorable moment for me is when Arvin gets picked up while hitchhiking for the first time. The tension in the car was pretty masterful. Other small favourite moments include one of the town names ‘Knockemstiff’ and Sebastian Stan’s character’s delivery of the line: ‘Some people were born just so they could be buried.’

Thematically, The Devil All the Time is a tad too dark for what I like to watch these days. Yet, on the other hand, what did I expect exactly, with a title like that? Perhaps that will teach me to choose to watch a movie mainly for the talented cast rather than prioritising the story.

If you don’t mind dark tales, then you’ll likely have an even better time than I did. Give Campos’s film a chance if you’re curious. I doubt I’ll watch it agan but I’ll always have my favourite moments to remeber fondly

Happy Film Loving 

G

THE KISSING BOOTH 2 (2020): The Things I liked…

The Kissing Booth 2 (2018), Jacob Elordi, Joey King, Netflix
The Kissing Booth 2 (2018), Jacob Elordi, Joey King, Netflix

Director Vince Marcello’s sequel to hit teen movie The Kissing Booth (2018) focuses on Joey King)’s character Elle’s attempts to juggle a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend Noah (Jacob Elordi), while she’s also applying for college. Then there’s a new friendship with a handsome classmate that could really complicate things.

Considering how I felt about the first movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect with The Kissing Booth 2. Luckily, to my very pleasant surprise, I had a good time. Even though it’s still not perfect, I found this sequel to be funnier and certainly better written than the first movie. I found myself especially glad that I didn’t encounter any stand out bad acting moments.

I like how the story played out, including the moments that surprised me, big or small. As a long appreciator of good teen movies, this one I’ll remember fondly; thanks to the overall execution and the fact that it didn’t force me to question any of Marcello’s decisions. I was simply too busy enjoying the results.

Lastly, I’ve always appreciated the way good teen movies can transport us back to our teenage years (not that mine are extremely far behind me, mind you). As the characters grow up before our eyes, making mistake after mistake, I often wonder whether I was equally clueless at their age. Or was I close to being as wise as I feel I am today? I know what I want to believe. I also know what’s highly likely.

Give The Kissing Booth 2 a chance if you’re curious, and for all the reasons above.

Happy Film Loving

G