Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

THE KISSING BOOTH (2018): The Things I Liked…

The Kissing Booth (2018), Joey King, Netflix
The Kissing Booth (2018), Joey King, Netflix

Director Vince Marcello’s latest teen movie The Kissing Booth (2018) is about Elle (Joey King), a high school student who’s forced to confront her secret crush.

Even though there’s plenty of focus on Elle’s crush (Jacob Elordi), for me, it’s Elle’s relationship with her best friend and their coming of age story that holds the movie together.

Overall, I wouldn’t call Marcello’s film one of the best teen movies out there. I mean, I managed to watch it all the way to the very end, but not without getting annoyed by the narration which felt largely unnecessary. There was also some cringe moments of dodgy dialogue and bad acting. However, the good news is that most, if not all of the bad acting isn’t courtesy of the main characters played by King, Elordi and Joel Courtney.

Besides King and particularly Courtney’s performances, the sunny Los Angeles setting and the way The Kissing Booth took me back to the relatively carefree nature of my teenage years are two key highlights.

If there’s one good reason to watch The Kissing Booth at all, it’s because you enjoyed the best selling books by Beth Reekles. The second best reason is to make sure you’re not lost when you watch the sequel because the The Kissing Booth 2 is the better movie. And how will you be able to fully appreciate The Kissing Booth 2 without suffering, I mean ‘getting through’ the first one?

Happy Film Loving

G

SCOOB! (2020): The Things I Liked…

Scoob! (2020), Warner Bros. Pictures

Based on the children’s TV shows about a Great Dane named Scooby-Doo, one who along with his teenage human friends solve mysteries involving supposedly supernatural creatures, I found Scoob! to be a well animated, fun adventure. It’s certainly not perfect, but it does have a rather engaging, silly central story and a watchable supervillain played by Jason Isaacs.

Also starring Zac Efron, Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried; the first twenty-five minutes of Scoob! didn’t have me as confident about how the rest of the movie would be as I expected. Thankfully though, director Tony Cervone’s film did become more watchable.

Random thoughts that went through my mind as Scoob! played include:
‘This is all quite silly, but fun.’

Why is puppy Scooby’s nose was so oversized?’

If you liked the Scooby-Doo TV shows, then you’ll probably enjoy Scoob! So give it a chance should the mood for a silly nostalgic escape surface.

Happy Film Loving 

G

GREYHOUND (2020): The Thing I Liked…

Greyhound (2020), Tom Hanks, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Greyhound (2020), Tom Hanks, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Though brief and relegated strictly to the start, I did find myself moved by the romance at the beginning of Tom Hank’s latest war drama, Greyhound.

Past this almost throwaway moment in the movie, everything else that takes place in director Aaron Schneider’s World War II movie happens at sea. For Greyhound is a story that focuses on US Navy captain Ernest Krausemust as he leads an allied convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boat wolf packs.

As you might imagine, there are plenty of tense moments that will make it hard to look away from the screen. Moments that show us how tough a captain’s job is as he tries to avoid getting his ship and all his men blown up.

The acting is of course, faultless. However, I can’t deny that the visuals of the grey ships on the Atlantic; visuals that lasted for approximately 95 per cent of the movie had me yearning for difference.

Greyhound is one you watch because you love Hanks and you’re curious about just how well-executed the tense moments are.

Other than that, I’m almost one hundred per cent sure you’d enjoy Hank’s other movie set at sea much more. I’m of course speaking of Captain Phillips (2013).

Happy Film Loving

G

PALM SPRINGS (2020): The Thing I Liked…

Palm Springs (2020), Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Hulu
Palm Springs (2020), Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Hulu

Palm Springs is a comedy and a romance film with the added twist of an infinite time loop to complicate things. I’m sure the purpose of this particular storytelling trope was to make things more interesting. Sadly, for me, I couldn’t be more tired of the infinite time loop concept. 

Yes, Palm Springs does bring a certain twist to the concept, but the whole experience just proved tedious rather than refreshing.

Groundhog Day (1993), the first infinite time loop movie I recall watching did a good job of it. And every movie that it has since inspired, that I’ve seen has turned out to be a disappointment. Especially since I understand the concept almost too well, which then means I feel robbed; both of the element of surprise and the movie I’d hoped to be watching.

There’s no denying that Palm Springs is well-acted. Plus, I did laugh a few times. Though just not enough to make me forget how tedious I find infinite time loop movies. 

My last three complaints about director Max Barbakow’s film include the fact that I didn’t fully buy into the romance. I also found the frantic nature of things exhausting, and finally, that cheesy – dare I say cringe ‘sister speech’ at the wedding towards the end may have caused me to say ‘Ugh! CHEESE! I have a dairy issue!’ 

Infinite time loop movie fans should give Palm Springs a chance, along with others who are simply curious. Who knows, you like many others may not find it as disappointing as I did.

Happy Film Loving

G

DADS (2020): The Thing I Liked…

Dads (2020), Apple TV+

Watching Dads, Bryce Dallas Howard’s Fathers Day documentary succeeded at putting a smile on my face, as predicted. An exploratory look at contemporary fatherhood that celebrates good fathers, I enjoyed listening to all the dads; many famous and some less so as they shared their fears, hopes and approaches to fatherhood in the modern-day.

Dads is a celebration of the good fathers out there; a documentary touches on the fundamentals of what makes a good father, regardless of society’s rigid expectations about a father’s role.

Dads was never meant o be the most thorough study of fatherhood. It’s a film about ‘friends’ sharing their experiences of fatherhood, what inspired their approach to it and what they hope to achieve.

Ultimately, Howard’s film will be a different experience for each person dependant on their relationship with their father. What you’ll realise by the end, if not sooner is this, great dads are a massive gift, regardless of whether they’re yours or someone else’s.

Kenan Thompson, Jimmy Kimmel, Patton Oswalt, Judd Apatow, Will Smith, Hasan Minhaj and Ken Jeong are among the famous fathers featured.

Watch it if you’re curious

Happy Film Loving

G

THE OLD GUARD (2020): The Things I Liked…

The Old Guard (2020), Charlize Theron
The Old Guard (2020), Charlize Theron

The Old Guard, an action/fantasy about a covert team of immortal mercenaries is not a bad film. However, though everyone performed well, for me, the movie tended to shine best when the camera was on its main character, Andy (Charlize Theron).

Another thing that director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s movie does well is the fight choreography; the kind that had me wanting to see the behind the scenes rehearsals as soon as possible. Especially for the major sequence towards the end.

As far as action/fantasies go, The Old Guard’s story is a good one and perfect for a sequel which I’d watch right away if it were possible. As you watch Theron, KiKi Layne, and Matthias Schoenaerts’s, another bit of good news is that it gets better as you continue to watch and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to guess everything that’s going to happen as the story unfolds.

What you probably should expect though is to be moved, because The Old Guard is definitely fun but it’s also more moving than you may anticipate and there’s certainly a lot more to love than not.

Happy Film Loving

G

SUZI Q (2019): The Thing I Liked…

Suzi Q (2019), Suzi Quatro, Madman Films
Suzi Q (2019), Suzi Quatro, Madman Films

Suzi Q, a documentary about Suzi Quatro; an American rock singer-songwriter who helped redefine the role of women in rock ‘n’ roll in the early 70s is a film I was drawn to because I like stories about pioneers and strong courageous people.

From director Liam Firmager; we get to hear from Quatro herself; while also learning about her from family, friends and peers – including Joan Jett, Henry Winkler, Alice Cooper, Debbie Harry and KT Tunstall.

I hadn’t heard of Quatro until this documentary. Now that I’m more familiar, rather than being a fan of Quatro’s music, I’m more a fan of what she represents. The fact that she’s the first female bass player to become a major rockstar is a notable achievement. Especially around fifty years ago during an even more sexist period in the music industry.

I’m certainly glad to have learned about Quatro, even though there are periods during Suzi Q when I found myself not as engaged as I wanted to be.

Overall, I can’t say that Suzi Q is close to the best music documentary I’ve seen. Nevertheless, If you’re curious about Quatro’s journey, and especially if you’re a fan of her music, then give Suzi Q a chance.

Happy Film Loving

G

EUROVISION SONG CONTEST – THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA (2020): The Things I Liked…

EUROVISION SONG CONTEST-  The Story Of Fire Saga (2020), Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Netflix
EUROVISION SONG CONTEST- The Story Of Fire Saga (2020), Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Netflix

Director David Dobkin’s comedy/music film, Eurovision Song Contest – The Story of Fire Saga is quite the pleasant surprise.

I’m certainly not saying that the story about two aspiring Icelandic musicians trying to get into the world’s biggest song contest is perfect, because I did struggle to stay engaged just over a third into it. However, I think the film captures well the essence of Eurovision. From the amusement the contest offers it’s audiences – thanks to the various characters who take part; to the sense of togetherness it inspires plus the catchy, moving and often fun music featured.

I found myself more impressed with the film’s music than I expected to be. Whether it was the upbeat musical score, or the songs performed by the competitors; I think everyone who enjoys a good catchy and or moving song will have fun. And the ‘song-along‘ is a key highlight. As is the all-important final number sang by Rachel McAdams’s character towards the end.

On the subject of the Icelandic accents of Pierce Brosnan, Will Ferrell and McAdams, I think they did a good job. Plus, I have no complaints about any of the acting. I was happy to be moved and amused. The latter in particular whenever Iceland’s hopes of winning were the subject matter.

My favourite line in the whole film is probably: ‘And I could argue that this town is near death.’

There’s also Dan Stevens’s Russian character who had my attention every time he was on screen.

Watch Eurovision Song Contest – The Story of Fire Saga if you’re curious.

Happy Film Loving

G