Real life couple Alison Brie and Dave Franco join forces to bring audiences an unconventional romance in Somebody I Used to Know. Ally, who produces a superficial reality TV show, finds herself at a crossroads when she gets the news that they may not be picked up for another season. On a visit in her hometown, she runs into former flame Sean (Jay Ellis) and the two spend a magical night together reminiscing about their past. As if she wasn’t confused enough, Ally really doesn’t know what to think when she finds out that Sean is actually engaged to Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons).
I don’t know why Brie isn’t in more mainstream movies. Whenever I see her pop up, I am reminded of her charm and charisma and the fact that she can sell any type of role. While I do see why people found Ally to be an unlikable character, I have to take the opposite stance. It’s clear that Ally is going through something life changing – she doesn’t know if the job that she dedicated so much time to is even hers anymore and that prompts her to question everything she ever thought she knew about herself. You can’t blame her for holding on to the one thing that reminds her of who she used to be, even if that person is engaged to be married.
This movie does not end up in the way that you think it will. In fact, the journey to the end destination is actually not as predicable as one may think it is. For starters, I love how we as an audience are introduced to Cassidy and how, just like Ally, we are instantly rooting for her to find happiness. She’s spunky and she knows what she wants. Not to mention the fact that although she sees right through Ally’s ploys, she still gets a kick out of her and the two develop something of a friendship. I also really appreciated how the movie focused a lot on self love; Ally having put her career over Sean back in the day and Cassidy wanting to continue with her band in the present.
With a delightful supporting cast of characters including but not limited to Danny Pudi, Olga Merediz, Haley Joel Osment and Julie Hagerty and set in a beautiful Somebody I Used To Know was absolutely perfect to watch for Valentine’s Day.
Based on the play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter and directed by Darren Aronfsky comes the theatrical adaption of The Whale. Starring Brendan Fraser as Charlie, the story follows a reclusive and morbidly obese English teacher who is coming to the end of his life. His last wish is to reconnect with his estranged daughter for one last chance of redemption.
As the last award nominated film that I was interested in, I couldn’t believe my luck when I had the chance to see it ahead of its initial release. It may seem simple; at times I was reminded of the fact that it was originally a play due to its solo location and small cast of characters, but I appreciated the fact that it was more intimate that way and of course, it helped with the difficult subject matter.
The story was pretty awful. I found it hard to watch at times, but I also couldn’t help but resonate with Charlie and his loneliness. Although that may have been self inflicted, it didn’t make it any less upsetting. I felt his embarrassment and I wish I could have mended his broken heart. At the end of the day, though, it seemed as if his mind was made up.
If Brendan Fraser does not win Oscar for this role, then I don’t know anymore. He put everything he could into Charlie and it moved me to tears. I just sat there at the end of the film in utter disbelief at what I had watched. There were also some brilliant performances by the supporting cast. Hong Chau as Charlie’s friend Liz, Ty Simpkins as missionary Thomas, Samantha Morton as Charlie’s ex Mary and Sadie Sink as Charlie’s daughter Ellie gave it their all.
Overall, The Whale is a film that everybody should watch. It will make you uncomfortable, it will make you cry and it will make you think. While it may not be super strong in its plot, it more than makes up for it in its performances.
Eight years ago, Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) embarked on a road trip with the Kings of Tampa for one last blow out performance. Now he’s back to take another final bow. Down and out on his luck when his business venture falls through, Mike has resorted to bartending. When he meets Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault), she makes him an offer he simply cannot refuse.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance was a lot more enjoyable than I expected it to be. As fan of the franchise, I always did prefer the second to the first (probably because of my love for Matt Bomer) so I was wondering how this one would fare. At first I was on the fence when I heard that Hayek Pinault would be the love interest this time around. I have to say that she and Tatum complimented each other quite nicely. That opening number was certainly steamy and I appreciated how they developed a solid friendship with one another along with the romantic feelings that developed over the course of the film.
Let’s be honest. The main reason why we watch these movies is for the hot strippers, am I right? So you could imagine my disappointment when I realized that this had been cut back this time around. Sometimes I felt like I was watching a warped version of Step Up with all the types of dancing we were given. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it was a shift I didn’t think was totally necessary. I also think that they could have benefitted from more dance scenes as the conversations that took place in between were cringey and not always important.
All that being said, the dancing was still superb. Tatum proves once more that he is a force in that department alongside the other talented individuals we saw during these moments. For me, though, the scene that will forever live rent free in my mind is the one that takes place in the rain. I won’t say anything more except if you know, you know.
Overall, Magic Mike’s Last Dance was a decent enough send off for the characters that we have come to know and love since it debuted in 2012. I’m not sure if a theatrical release was necessary, but I can’t lie and say I didn’t mind seeing all these good looking men and women on a bigger screen.
It’s as if I woke up in the early 2000s because Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher are starring in a rom com again!
Your Place Or Mine sees Debbie (Reese Witherspoon) and Peter (Ashton Kutcher) who, after After spending the night together, decided they were better off as friends. Best friends. Twenty years later and they are still very much involved in the others’ lives. She lives with her son Jack (Wesley Kimmel) in LA while he dedicates his time to work in New York. When Debbie needs someone to look after Jack so she can attend a course, Peter hops on the first flight out to help. This week away will shed light to their relationship, however, causing them to rethink everything.
This movie couldn’t have come out at a more perfect time. It reminded me of films from the genre of years gone by and I mean that in the best way possible. There were some tongue in cheek moments, as well as some laughs scattered throughout that worked. I enjoyed both Debbie and Peter’s separate storylines. It was nice to see Debbie, who is usually so uptight and worrying about Jack being able to let her hair down with new friend Minka (Zoe Chao) and a potential beau in Theo (Jesse Williams). Meanwhile, Peter sees how tough Jack has had it and does what he can to break him out of his shell a bit more, all while dealing with Debbie’s hippie neighbor Zen (Steve Zahn).
Where this film went wrong for me was in its casting choices. I just didn’t buy Witherspoon and Kutcher’s chemistry. Whether it was platonic or romantic, something seemed off between the two of them. I believe they each should have gotten their own romantic comedy because it’s a genre they’re both good at, but with different partners. It was also surprising to see Tig Notaro as their mutual friend. It felt kind of random to me.
Don’t get me wrong. I still think that Your Place Or Mine is worth a watch. I had a good enough time with it and I still think it’s a great addition for your Valentine’s Day rotation. It just didn’t entirely work for me.
From first time director Mary Nighy comes Alice, Darling. Alice (Anna Kendrick) is not okay and she hasn’t been for some time. Stuck in a psychologically abusive relationship with her boyfriend Simon (Charlie Carrick), she finds herself at a breaking point. When she goes away for vacation with her two friends Tess (Kaniehetiio Horn) and Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku), Alice is forced to realize that something needs to change.
There isn’t much to say about this little indie film. The performances were very well done, particularly in the case of Kendrick. Worlds apart from her usual type of roles, the way in which she portrayed the broken Alice was ballsy. I appreciated the places she allowed herself to go and I thought it was a true enough depiction of someone dealing with similar situations.
With a runtime of an hour and a half, the story is very much what you see is what you get. At times I wish certain scenes had been fleshed out more. This would have prevented some key parts to be less rushed. Maybe some more background as to how Alice and Simon met or the first time he started gaslighting her would have added extra insight. I was pleased with the way it all came together in the end though, even if it was tied up neatly with a bow.
Filmed in the beautiful countryside of Ontario, Alice, Darling is an important watch due to its sensitive subject matter. Had it been a little longer, I think it would have packed even more of a punch, but I still enjoyed it.
What do you do when your friend doesn’t want to be your friend anymore?
That is a question that Padraic (Colin Farrell) asks when Colm (Brendan Gleeson) suddenly ends their friendship. He doesn’t believe it to be true and he vows to do whatever he can to make amends, much to the dismay of his sister Sioban (Kerry Condon), the troubled Dominic (Barry Keoghan) and the other islanders. But no matter how hard Padraic tries, Colm’s mind has been made up.
I know that we’re barely two months into the year, but I have to tip my hat off to The Banshees of Inisherin. This is a movie that will make my favorites list by the end of the year, it was that good. And it’s surprising that I say this because I didn’t even think that I wanted to see it at first.
What seems like a simple and straightforward story takes on something a lot more complex. We all know what it is like to break up with a friend; at times it can hurt more than breaking up with a romantic partner and this depiction was certainly unique. Throughout the film, I understood where each character was coming from, their actions and the consequences that stemmed from them. Colm wanting to move on for more enriching friendships made total sense to me, whereas I also felt bad for Padraic and his complete despair over the situation. The way in which the supporting characters dealt with the fallout was also on point.
Everything about this movie seemed so real to me. I don’t know how else to describe it. Not only were the characters brought to life in phenomenal performances by everyone involved, the beautiful Irish landscapes helped me escape for a couple of hours. I could have sat there even longer, learning even more about these people’s lives, eager to see what would happen next.
The Banshees of Inisherin is a special film that is not to be missed. I’ve been on a roll with all these Oscar noms lately, but I have to say I think this one may be the best yet.
Set in 1950s London and based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s film Ikiru, Living is about civil servant Mr. Williams (Bill Nighy) who finds out that he doesn’t have long left to live. Instead of carrying on with the mundane routine, he decides to take a time out to really experience all that life has to offer before his time runs out.
One might think that such a grim sounding story would put a person off, but that wasn’t the case here. I think I can credit Nighy’s impeccable performance as to why. Not only did he have my heart breaking for him, especially when he received his diagnosis and then felt he had nobody he could share the news with, he also had my heart swell in contrast because all he wanted to do before he passed was something positive for those who would be left behind.
The movie did start off slowly, however, the pacing improved as the plot moved forward. As Mr. Williams developed a friendship with his former employee Margaret Harris (Aimee Lou Wood), I felt like the scenes just kept speeding by. Although their closeness seemed strange at first, I have to say that it grew on me. Wood, in her first big role outside of Sex Education, delivered a wonderful performance. Full of optimism and quirkiness that was certainly needed amongst the otherwise somber atmosphere, she was a joy to watch.
Living took me by surprise. What started as me being interested in it for its cast changed as I felt so many different things while leaving the cinema. It is often said that we should live each day to the fullest and as if it is our last. While this may be easier said than done, it is still an important lesson that was beautifully portrayed throughout the movie. Overall a beautiful and poignant experience that I am so happy I got to witness.
Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) are all set to get married in a lavish wedding in The Philippines. The walk down the aisle won’t be an easy feat, however, with their ever clashing families and Darcy’s ex Sean (Lenny Kravitz) showing up unexpectedly. As the cold feet start to slowly seep in, the unbelievable happens just hours before they’re set to say I do – the entire wedding party is taken hostage by a group of pirates and it is up to Darcy and Tom to save them before its too late.
I’d been looking forward to checking out Shotgun Wedding. Lopez, hot off her success from last year’s Marry Me is back in another action adventure romantic comedy romp, though I should mention that I preferred the former. Still, this one wasn’t awful. Her chemistry with Duhamel worked surprisingly well (I can’t help but wonder how it would have been seeing Armie Hammer in that role instead) and they certainly got themselves into some crazy predicaments. Just when things would calm down, they would ramp right back up again.
The supporting cast had some standouts too. We had Cheech Marin as Darcy’s dad Robert and D’Arcy Carden as his girlfriend Harriet, both who made for some fun moments. But it was obviously the always charming Jennifer Coolidge who stole every scene she was in. She’s been having such a brilliant year and she one hundred percent deserves it.
With the beautiful and exotic beach location backdrop, Shotgun Wedding was the perfect escapism movie. It wasn’t amazing by any means, but there were some laughs here and there and a couple twists along the way that did actually pack a punch. Easy viewing at its finest.
Loosely based on the life of reclaimed director Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans follows the story of Sammy (Mateo Zoryan and Gabriel LaBelle) as he grows up in a post Second World War era with his parents Mitzi (Michelle Williams) and Burt (Paul Dano), as well as his sisters. From witnessing a train crashing into a car on his first visit to the cinema, Sammy couldn’t help but wonder why this was and wanted to take control of the situation. After learning to use a camera, the films he creates enables him to understand not only his upbringing, but also the family secrets he never realized were there before.
I wanted to enjoy The Fabelmans so much more than I actually did. Where I will say it excelled in was its performances. Williams was the star here. If she doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for this, then I don’t know anything anymore. Her portrayal of Mitzi Fabelman was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I was also impressed with Dano as the family patriarch. He complimented Williams nicely and it was awesome to see him in something different. The surprise for me, however, was with Seth Rogen. I’m used to him playing the goofy, comical character, so I appreciated this more serious tone.
Although it was interesting to see how Spielberg got his start in making movies, I have to admit that I found the whole idea to be kind of self indulgent. This may be an unpopular opinion and while I understand that it wasn’t an exact retelling of what happened, the fact that he felt the need to tell it at all, especially now, didn’t feel necessary to me. Perhaps later in the future would have fared better. That seems to work well with most biopics.
Another reason why The Fabelmans did not entirely land for me was in its pacing. It was incredibly slow and struggled to go anywhere. The fact that the film was more character driven than anything else definitely played a part in that, but I wasn’t a fan of it this time around. It’s as if I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and it never really did. I’m still glad that I took the time to check this out since it has been sweeping at various awards ceremonies. I guess it just wasn’t for me.
From director Damien Chazelle comes a vibrant and absolutely bonkers ode to cinema. Set in the 1920s, it follows a handful of Hollywood hopefuls as the industry transitions from silent films to talkies. As we see their rises, their falls and everything in between, one thing is for certain: you must always make a scene.
I wasn’t sure what to make of Babylon when I first heard about it. Aside from its boastful cast, it seemed like one giant spectacular that seemed too good to be true. I knew I had to see it for myself though, especially considering how polarizing the critics have been about it. And I think because I went into it with low expectations, I ended up absolutely loving it.
Starting off with a bang and not letting up a moment too soon, this really worked for me. Was it completely and totally batshit crazy? Yes! Was it full of debauchery and sometimes unsettling sequences? Also yes! But it was also very funny, smart and it managed to charm the socks off me.
Margot Robbie was the star – just like her character Nellie LaRoy, she gave the performance of a lifetime. Brad Pitt also knocked it out of the park as Jack Conrad, while Diego Calva brought a much needed air of naivety to the story. I wouldn’t be surprised if they all ended up getting nominations of some sort for their hard work. I also enjoyed the additions of Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Tobey Maguire and Li Jun Li.
My only complaint about Babylon is that it was a smidge too long. At around the two hour and thirty minute mark, my body started to feel it. I think they definitely could have trimmed some scenes here and there to tighten it up. Aside from that, this film was truly epic. The way it gripped me early on and never let go was something I hadn’t felt in a long time. The cast sucked me into their characters’ stories and the love letter to movies resonated with me one hundred per cent. I highly recommend checking this one out.