The Fallout

What starts out as an ordinary day for Vada (Jenna Ortega), Mia (Maddie Ziegler) and Quinton (Niles Fitch) suddenly turns into a tragedy that will change their lives forever. The way in which they deal with the aftermath may be different, but the bond they form will only grow stronger.

I don’t think I can put into words just how much this movie struck a chord with me. The subject matter, while extremely heavy, was dealt in such a poignant way that I have to give props to director Megan Park. Her approach was exactly the way it should have been.

Something I really appreciated was the fact that instead of focusing on the event itself, we got to see the aftermath of it. How these characters tried to not only move on from what happened, but make peace with it at the same time. Although they couldn’t be more opposite, the ways in which they lean on each other was not only realistic, but moving to watch.

Jenna Ortega knocked her performance out of the park. I’ve seen her in a few times before, but never anything on this level. She’s got a bright future ahead. The same can be said for Maddie Ziegler. To me she was always Sia’s protege, yet she really proved herself here. The rest of the cast in Will Ropp, Lumi Pollack, John Ortiz, Julie Bowen and Shailene Woodley were outstanding too.

In spite of its heavy subject matter, The Fallout should be recommended viewing for everybody. I know it’s a movie I won’t soon forget.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

The Royal Treatment

Outspoken Izzy (Laura Marano) runs her own salon in New York City and dreams of one day leaving her life behind to travel the world. Prince Thomas (Mena Massoud) is about to marry the woman (Phoenix Connolly) his father (Paul Norell) and stepmother (Teuila Blakely) have chosen for him. When Izzy has the chance to do the hair for the royal wedding, sparks between her and the prince while learning that it is okay to follow your heart every once in awhile.

Giving off major A Christmas Prince meets The Princess Switch vibes, The Royal Treatment was a cute story about being true to yourself regardless of what your family and society thinks. I like how headstrong Izzy was and how she helped bring Thomas out of his shell. I was rooting for them from their very first meeting at the LaMott Hotel. The chemistry could have been stronger, but I was all for that scene in the wheelbarrow.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else to enjoy here. The plot lacked substance and I felt like the story dragged at times. Had it been fleshed out some more, I think it would have been much better. Laura Marano’s accent was overdone and grated on my nerves. I also couldn’t believe that I was watching Mena Massoud as the prince. I guess he really has been struggling to find work since Aladdin.

Overall, the movie was fine, but that’s about it. If I’m being honest, I expected to enjoy it the same way I do the above mentioned titles and couldn’t help but feel rather disappointed with the outcome.

Rating: ♥♥


Popular mystery novelist Grace (Alyssa Milano) is busy on tour for her latest hit when she receives a phone call from her sister Kathleen (Emilie Ullerup) asking for her help. What Grace doesn’t know is that in addition to teaching at a fancy private school, Kathleen moonlights as a webcam performer, hoping the extra funds will aid her in the nasty custody battle she is facing with her ex (David Lewis). But when Kathleen is brutally murdered one night, Grace finds herself sucked into the case, as if one of the storylines of her books is playing out in front of her. Teaming up with investigator Ed (Sam Page) and his partner Ben (Malachi Weir), they race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.

Based on the book by Nora Roberts, Brazen didn’t exactly scream amazing to me, but I was still curious about it. I’m a fan of thrillers and the plot for this actually sounded interesting enough. It also wasn’t completely predictable and I didn’t see the twist coming from the very beginning.

That being said, there wasn’t anything special about it. The cast were decent enough with some familiar faces, but the acting seemed dull and without very much passion. Grace and Ed were cute, despite the blurred lines of her getting involved in the case. I did like Ben’s character and I appreciated how the police captain (Alison Araya) was female.

While Brazen is not a film I would rush to watch again anytime soon, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It more or less kept me engrossed the whole way through and the build up had a proper pay off. I do think it could have been so much better though.

Rating: ♥♥

Licorice Pizza

Wannabe actress Alana Caine (Alana Haim) and successful childhood star Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) live in the San Fernando Valley and meet by chance at school picture day. She’s 25 and he’s 15. As they grow up during the ’70s, their friendship grows into a partnership and later love, in spite of all they go through.

Licorice Pizza has been getting so much praise that I had to see what all the fuss was about. It didn’t seem like something I would like at first and I was very close to giving it a miss. Suffice to say, I am so glad that I didn’t. It wasn’t at all like I was expecting it to be – it was better.

If you are looking for a plot driven film, this is not it. What you will get instead is an exploration of various characters, what makes them tick and why they are the way they are. It was a different approach than what I was used to and sometimes the pacing seemed a bit clunky as a result. Sometime it was as if nothing was really happening which took some time for me to adjust to.

That being said, the acting was superb. Newcomers Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman gave top notch performances; their award nominations are rightly deserved and I look forward to seeing them in future projects. Mixed in with bigger talent such as Sean Penn, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Maya Rudolph and Bradley Cooper, it was a joy to witness.

Licorice Pizza is really as good as everybody says it is. It took me some time to wrap my head around what I had just seen but I mean that in the best way possible. It made me think and had me feeling nostalgic for a time that I have never even lived through.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥