Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

TELL ME WHO I AM (2019): The Thing I Liked…

Tell Me Who I Am (2019), Alex Lewis, Netflix
Tell Me Who I Am (2019), Alex Lewis, Netflix

In Tell Me Who I Am, life changes dramatically for 18 year old twin brothers Alex and Marcus Lewis. Following a motorcycle accident that leaves Alex with very little memory, Marcus has to decide whether to tell his brother the horrific truth of their childhood or make up a whole new idilic one. Marcus opts for the latter – for reasons including recounting the truth would simply be too much for himself to bear, let alone his twin brother who’s in an extremely vulnerable state. 

Fast forward to the present day, several decades later, and though the brothers have written a book about their heartbreaking story, Marcus still hasn’t shared everything with his brother, that is until this documentary. Through the use of old photographs, interviews with both brothers – separately and together, we get to watch an extraordinary story of love, trauma, memory, personal responsibility and healing.

There were definitely moments during director Ed Perkins’s film that had me wishing for the story to move along a little faster. Nevertheless, I don’t regret sitting through all of it. And the reason I won’t be forgetting Tell Me Who I Am any time soon is not so much about the horror of what Alex and Marcus were forced to endure, both inside and out of their family home, a home which quite frankly looks like the set of a nightmare inducing horror film. No.

Tell Me Who I Am will stay with me for the same reason director Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate (2019) – the biography of celebrated Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh stays with me. The gift and blessing of siblinghood. Or, more specifically in this case, brotherhood. 

I’m almost certain that both Van Gogh and Alex would not have survived much longer without their truly loving brothers. Not to say that Marcus did everything exactly right, but considering all the hurt and trauma he was carrying, how could one really be surprised by his choices? 

Lastly, Tell Me Who I Am certainly isn’t ’easy viewing.’ Watch it for a better understanding of the human experience that will likely make you grateful for the existence of good siblings, blood related or otherwise.

Happy Film Loving

G

PARADISE HILLS (2019): The Things I Liked…

Paradise Hills (2019), Emma Roberts
Paradise Hills (2019), Emma Roberts

Starring Emma Roberts, Awkwafina, Eiza González and Milla Jovovich, Paradise Hills is not the kind of fantasy movie that I’d shout about so that no one misses out on the experience of seeing it. Yet, I wouldn’t say that it’s a completely terrible movie either. 

Set in a mysterious boarding school with a mission to transform wayward girls so that they fit heir surroundings’ exact desires, it was inevitable that some of the girls were going to resist and rebel. A rebellion led by Roberts’s Uma character because she has zero desire to marry the man her family insists that she does. 

What grabbed me immediately about director Alice Waddington’s film, besides a plot about rightful youthful rebellion is the generally visually pleasing colours, costume and set design. Paradise Hills has a general look and theme that reminded me of Melanie Martinez’s recent K-12 (2019) music film. I liked that the movie became more disturbing in a way that proved entertaining towards the end. I’m also glad for the one or two twists I didn’t see coming.

A definite downside to Waddington’s movie however is that something about the fantasy elements of the story and the films general  execution didn’t quite have me fully buying into everything that was happening. This is likely why I wasn’t as horrified as I perhaps should have been when the most disturbing things were happening.

I was still very much about the uprising and grateful for the thrilling moments in the second half. Yet there remained an air of  ‘this isn’t at all real’ and that truth very probably made me that little bit less invested emotionally in all that was happening. In other words, everything I needed wasn’t there to make me fully immerse myself and get lost in the story.

With that said, watch Paradise Hills you’re really curious.

Happy Film Loving

G

HOLIDAY IN THE WILD (2019): The Things I Liked…

Holiday In The Wild (2019), Rob Lowe, Kristin Davis, Netflix
Holiday In The Wild (2019), Rob Lowe, Kristin Davis, Netflix

Holiday In The Wild is a fairly enjoyable film focused on the drama / romance between an elephant conservationist named Derek (Rob Lowe), and Kate (Kristin Davis), a newly jilted woman who meet for the first time while in Zambia, Africa.

Well acted and shot, I enjoyed the beautiful footage of Zambia and its majestic animals – mainly the elephants. All the festive cheer was also very welcome; especially since I’ve been in the mood for Christmas for several weeks now.

I’d say that ‘easy viewing’ is definitely the phrase for director Ernie Barbarash’s movie. I had fun even though perhaps unsurprisingly, near the start of the film I couldn’t stop seeing Davis’s Kate as the most famous character she’s ever played. None other than Charlotte York of HBO’s Sex And The City, of course. As a Charlotte fan, I can’t say that I was too mad about that.

Watch Holiday In The Wild for that easy viewing, ‘Christmassy’ vibe – set in Zambia and with Elephants!

Lastly, let me know if you too found yourself really appreciating how good a son the character played by John Owen Lowe appeared to be.

Happy Film Loving

G

DANCING WITH THE BIRDS (2019): The Things I Liked…

Dancing With The Birds (2019), Netflix Documentary
Dancing With The Birds (2019), Netflix Documentary

I definitely enjoyed the new Stephen Fry narrated Netflix documentary Dancing With The Birds. Though mainly for the stunning images of the beautiful birds of paradise. I couldn’t help but appreciate the moments the film made me realise just how much humans and birds actually have in common, especially when trying to attract a mate.

The only downside of Dancing With The Birds for me is how the whole experience felt oddly unfinished. Perhaps because I’m used to a more thorough telling of an animal / bird / nature story – as per the works of Sir David Attenborough. Whereas Dancing With The Birds focuses purely on the mating rituals / dance routines of some of planet Earth’s most stunning birds of paradise.

Don’t get me wrong, the dance rituals are definitely something to see. So much so that they had me thinking that I really could probably do with sharpening my own dance skills. Probably.

Watch Dancing With The Birds for the truly stunning images and for the similarities between us and those with feathers, wings and the gift of flight.

Happy Film Loving

G

MR. TOILET – THE WORLD’S #2 MAN (2019): The Things I Liked…

Mr. Toilet – The World’s #2 Man (2019), Jack Sim
Mr. Toilet – The World’s #2 Man (2019), Jack Sim

Mr. Toilet – The World’s #2 Man is an interesting look at the ups and downs of a man’s journey as he tries to live a life of service to others – in his own unique way. 

Directed by Lily Zepeda, Mr. Toilet, a.k.a. Jack Sim is an  entrepreneur and family man who sacrifices his comfortable life for an endless battle against the world’s largest man-made crisis, sanitation.

Aware of the fact that half the world doesn’t have access to a toilet, Sim travels the globe with a focus on finding a way to change that; one of the ways being motivating people to build their own toilets.

As unsavoury as the subject matter may be, I personally couldn’t wait to see how Sim expected to achieve his lofty goal. As one might expect, there was certainly challenge after challenge after challenge. And what that did was remind me of a motivating speech I’d heard just earlier on the same day. The gist being that ‘The people who make things happen are the one’s who fail but continue still, because the goal is simply too important’. 

Watch Mr. Toilet – The World’s #2 Man, for a picture of a human with the best intentions and good humour, who has found a purpose; one focused on bringing about needed change in the world, even if he has to rethink his approach more than once.

Happy Film Loving

G

WOUNDS (2019): The Thing I Liked…

Wounds (2019), Armie Hammer
Wounds (2019), Armie Hammer

My favourite thing about the latest Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz and Armmie Hammer horror / mystery Wounds is how well writer / director  Babak Anvari captured the tension; especially in the first thirty minutes.

All about the the strange things that start happening to a bartender after he picks up a phone left at his bar, I found that things started to go wrong for me when Hammer’s character made / didn’t make a decision that seemed so obvious to me. And because the rest of the story hung ever so loosely on his character’s decision – one that I did not buy, the film simply lost me and my trust.

In light of this, the real main issue with Wounds is that it barely makes sense. By the very end, I decided that Anvari’s movie is based on a script that needed much more work. Yes, there are moments that were well written and acted but the glaring gaps in the script were simply that, far too glaring. 

If you’re a die-hard Hammer and Johnson fan, then sure give it a chance if you’re especially curious, and also if you don’t mind swarming bugs. I definitely watched the swarming bugs scenes through my fingers. Otherwise, it’s very much the tension in the first half of the film that’s most notable. 

Have you seen Wounds, the film with the ‘very appealing’ name? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Film Loving

G

FRACTURED (2019): The Things I Liked…

Fractured (2019), Same Worthington, Netflix
Fractured (2019), Same Worthington, Netflix

Directed by Brad Anderson, new Netflix thriller Fractured follows a father (Sam Worthington) who’s desperate to find his wife and daughter after he takes them to a hospital following an accident; only for the hospital to deny hours later that they’d ever seen his family. 

Also starring Lily Rabe and Stephen Tobolowsky, without giving anything away, the best thing to say about Anderson’s film is that it’s dark and the compelling premise does deliver by the end on the trailers promise. Part of what made Fractured interesting to watch and also a tad frustrating is that throughout the film, there are clues provided that made me think that finally I know exactly what’s going on – but then something else equally convincing happens and forces to re-view my conclusions.

Overall, I  enjoyed Anderson’s film more after things picked up past the half way point. I just wish that it didn’t bring out my impatience during the first half as I longed for the story pick up and give me more clues so I could figure things out. 

Random fact, I’m guilty of enjoying the simultaneously chilling and moving end credit music so much that I definitely kept rewinding so I could write this entire review as it played in the background.

Watch Fractured if you’re curious. It gets better as the story goes on and Worthington is good.

Happy Film Loving 

G

ANNA (2019): The Thing I Liked…

Anna (2019), Sasha Luss
Anna (2019), Sasha Luss

The story of writer /director Luc Besson’s Anna is one that I don’t completely regret watching but I certainly didn’t love it either.

Anna stars Sasha Luss as Anna Poliatova; a stunning beauty with impressive secret skills and strength. Qualities that make her one of the world’s most feared government assassins.

I sat down to watch Anna with mild expectations of the film probably having similarities to Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde (2017)The main difference I found between Anna and Atomic Blonde is that even though Anna is quite engaging overall, Anna unlike Atomic Blonde, left me feeling as though the whole experience was almost completely hollow. Very surface level and in some ways a tad silly.

It’s interesting because the acting wasn’t terrible. Therefore, I’m thinking the issue is the story edit which played a part in me having minimal emotional connection to Luss’s character’s journey. Of course I wanted her to win – always, but the the question of ‘why does this feel so frivolous?’ remained with me through to the very end.

Perhaps you’ll find Anna to be a better experience than I did. The fight scenes, though not the most polished I’ve ever seen, they are quite entertaining. Give it a chance and see if you’re especially curious. Or…

…watch Atomic Blonde instead.

Happy Film Loving

G