2022 Wrap Up

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I feel like the years go by faster as I get older.

2022 was another great year of movies. With some memorable visits to the theatre where my auditorium cheered during a viewing on opening day of Top Gun: Maverick to seeing Triangle of Sadness in Cannes, steps away from where the famous film festival takes place, this year will go down in the history books for me.

Moving back to Europe did change the way in which I ran this blog. Usually due to where I was at a certain point in time or the fact that certain films were released on different days was something I needed to adjust to. At least I was always able to fall back on my streaming platforms! All that being said, I look forward to what 2023 will have in store.

Without further ado, here are my top five best and worst films of the year:

Best:

  1. The Menu
  2. Triangle of Sadness
  3. Top Gun: Maverick
  4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
  5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Worst:

  1. Deep Water
  2. Pinocchio
  3. The Weekend Away
  4. Disenchanted
  5. Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical

Something From Tiffany’s

Based on the novel of the same name by Melissa Hill, Something From Tiffany’s is a charming new romcom that is perfect for the holiday season. It follows Rachel Meyer (Zoey Deutch), a restauranteur who has been waiting longer than she’d like to admit for her longterm boyfriend Gary (Ray Nicholson) to propose to her. When a crazy mix up happens that lands Gary in hospital and his gift for Rachel is accidentally mistaken for someone else’s, Ethan Greene (Kendrick Sampson) enters the picture. Planning to propose to his own girlfriend Vanessa (Shay Mitchell), he’s stumped when she opens a set of earrings instead of a diamond ring. Can he and his daughter Daisy (Leah Jeffries) fix this in time for Christmas?

The first word that comes to my mind when I think about this movie is cute. Super duper cute. It has all the perfect ingredients for a feel good romantic comedy that is so necessary at this time of the year. With the New York City backdrop, I was sucked in from the get go. It was as if the city served as its own character. Seeing the twinkling lights, beautiful decorations on storefronts and buildings alike and the Christmas trees, I really felt that holiday spirit.

Deutch and Sampson had great chemistry together. As soon as their characters met, I was anxiously awaiting how their journey would carry out. While it took awhile to navigate and figure out, I am glad that they were able to lay some ground work in regards to their relationship. Starting off as friends and realizing over time that they actually had feelings for one another was done well. I also liked the way in which Rachel connected with Daisy over the fact that they both lost their moms at a young age. They developed a lovely friendship themselves and Rachel even taught Daisy how to bake bread!

As soon as I heard about Something From Tiffany’s, my interest was peaked. Especially considering the fact that Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine were producing it. I knew it wasn’t going to rock my world by any means, but I enjoyed it for what it was. It was just what I needed at the time and I look forward to revisiting it in the future.

Rating: ♥♥♥

About Fate

Alexa, play New Year’s Day by Taylor Swift.

I am fully aware that some places haven’t hit fall temperatures, yet here I am watching my first holiday movie of the year.

Starring Emma Roberts and Thomas Mann, About Fate is the story of two people who believe in love, though they have never been lucky in it. Griffin is getting ready to propose to his Instagram influencer girlfriend Clementine (Madelaine Petsch) while Margot is hoping her boyfriend of three months Kip (Lewis Tan) will agree to come to her sister’s (Britt Robertson) wedding. But when none of their wishes come true, fate intervenes and they are thrust together on the last night of the year.

While the storyline may seem predictable and cliche, I honestly didn’t feel that way while I was watching it. There were some obstacles thrown in here and there that threw me off and at times nothing seemed to be going the way it was supposed to. The comedy wasn’t always strong, but the addition of Cheryl Hines as Margot’s mother was a welcome casting choice.

What made this film work so well was the chemistry between Roberts and Mann. The way in which their characters meet at Bennington’s and then are constantly thrown into each other’s path kept me on my toes. They seem to be made for each other with their love for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the fact that they both live in the same apartment complex, just on opposite ends of the way.

Not a lot of people know about About Fate, but I am hoping to have changed that. It’s a feel good film that will keep you smiling and rooting for the main characters to get everything that their hearts’ desire. Plus, it takes place during one of the most wonderful times of the year, so who would argue with that?

Rating: ♥♥♥

Deep Water

After many delays, the much anticipated erotic thriller starring former couple Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas finally premiered on Hulu this weekend. Vic and Melinda are in a loveless marriage. Staying together to avoid the messiness of divorce, Melinda is allowed to take part in extramarital relationships as long as she comes home at the end of the day. But when her ‘boyfriends’ start turning up dead, their friends start thinking that Vic may be the one to blame.

There are so many things that went wrong with Deep Water. I remember the hype around this movie when it was first announced, but if I’m being honest, I forgot about it along the way? In addition to the delayed releases and the fact that the stars are no longer together, it seemed like it was doomed from the start.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around what it was that I watched. What started off promisingly enough soon plateaued and went nowhere. The plot was messy and never fully formed. It was as if each scene was cut along the way because there was so much missing. I also kept wondering what the point of it all was and why these characters were doing what they were doing.

Ana De Armas broke onto the scene with her role in 2019’s Knives Out. Since then, I have been a massive fan of hers and eagerly anticipate whatever she may be in next. While she was the best part of the movie (regardless of how horrible her character was), not even she was able to save it. I have never liked Ben Affleck. He always comes off so wooden and monotone to me. As a result, I did not buy their chemistry whatsoever.

Neither a thriller, nor erotic, Deep Water was such a disappointment. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and instead of getting answers, I was left having wasted almost two hours of my life that I will unfortunately never get back. Don’t waste your time with this one. It isn’t worth it.

Rating: ♥

I Want You Back

Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate) are both dumped on the same weekend. Struggling to move on from their respective exes Anne (Gina Rodriguez) and Noah (Scott Eastwood), the two stumble across one another in the office building where they work. After much commiseration, they come up with a seemingly perfect plan: break up their exes’ new relationships and win them back.

An offbeat romantic comedy, I Want You Back has been getting lots of praise since its initial Friday release. While the storyline may come across as predictable, there is still a lot to enjoy here. You’ll want to root for Peter and Emma from the get go, not only to make their exes regret their choices, but to also get together themselves. The chemistry between Charlie Day and Jenny Slate was really charming to watch, not to mention the two are really funny individually.

The supporting cast in Rodriguez and Eastwood, as well as their new love interests Logan (Manny Jacinto) and Ginny (Clark Backo), all added that something extra. Ben McKenzie of The OC fame also had a cameo in this as a dad. Oh how times have changed. He’s still hot though. The intricacies of these characters was fun to watch and never provided a dull moment.

Though there is nothing particularly special about the plot, I Want You Back reminded me of something from the 90s or early 2000s. It kept me engaged throughout and apart from that abrupt ending, I couldn’t help but be swept up in the ambiance of it all.

Rating: ♥♥♥.5

2021 Wrap Up

It’s hard to believe that another year has come to an end. In some ways, it was like I blinked and 2021 was over. Starting out in another lockdown (which definitely impacted my maintaining this blog) was rough, but then halfway through, movie theatres opened up again. Nothing will ever beat walking into that large auditorium, settling into those chairs and buckling in for a life changing journey.

2021 brought many great films that certainly made making this list a difficult task. Some I forgot along the way. Some made themselves known to me more recently. And others I wish I could erase from my memory all together. There are also a few that I think I generously rated, but what can you do?

So without further ado, here are my top 5 best and worst of the year.

Best

  1. Promising Young Woman
  2. West Side Story
  3. In The Heights
  4. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  5. Encanto

Worst

  1. Space Jam: A New Legacy
  2. The Green Knight
  3. Thunder Force
  4. Locked Down
  5. Tom and Jerry

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Jamie (Max Harwood) has always known he was different. Instead of wanting to pursue a traditional career, he knows he is destined for greatness. Jamie wants to become a drag queen. Lucky for him, he’s got a supportive mother (Sarah Lancashire), former drag queen mentor Hugo Battersby (Richard E. Grant) and an amazing best friend Pritti (Lauren Patel) who are beside him every step of the way. Not everyone may understand Jamie’s path in life, but he knows that he is meant to be a star.

I have never seen the original musical so I cannot compare this adaption to the stage production. I remember it was playing back when I lived in the UK and unfortunately never had the opportunity to check it out for myself. This seemed to be the next best thing. I live for musicals and I miss going to the theatre so badly. There were quite a few things to like about this film and I thought it was a good time overall.

The storyline was interesting and heartbreaking all at the same time. It was inspiring to see the lengths to which Jamie would go to to achieve his dreams, no matter the obstacles that were standing in his way. He was relentless and even if he got knocked back a few times, he would brush himself off and try again. The relationship he had with his mother and Pritti in particular were a joy to watch. It was refreshing to see how much they rooted for him, especially when Jamie’s dad was absent from his life.

Another strong point for me were the colourful costumes and sets. They were vibrant and exciting and fit well into the movie. If anything, there could have been even more glitter and sparkle!

To my knowledge, this was Max Harwood’s first feature film and I think he did a great job. He really embodied the role of Jamie and brought him to life. I wish we had had more backstory to Pritti who, while she was supportive, seemed a bit one dimensional and only added to the strengthening of Jamie’s arc. And who can forget Richard E. Grant in drag?

My biggest problem with the movie was that there wasn’t enough musical numbers! When there was singing and dancing, they were executed perfectly, however there were moments scattered throughout where it was lacking. When this happened, I felt like the story would fall flat and I would lose interest.

Overall, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was as close to a musical as I have gotten in about a year and a half and so I enjoyed it for that reason. I think I expected more from it though and was therefore left feeling underwhelmed with certain aspects. At least there were some positives that came out of it too.

Rating: ♥♥.5

The Voyeurs

When young couple Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) and Thomas (Justice Smith) move into their dream apartment in Montreal, they are excited to embark on this next stage of their relationship. They soon realize that they can look directly into the apartment across the way. Inhabited by photographer Seb (Ben Hardy) and former model Julia (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), it’s impossible for Pippa and Thomas to look away. What starts off as innocent curiosity turns into a full blown obsession that will lead to inevitable disaster.

The Voyeurs is unlike any movie I have seen before. The concept was foreign to me and if it wasn’t for Sydney Sweeney, I probably wouldn’t have watched it. But my interest peaked while checking out the trailer and I knew I had to see what it was all about. What started as me being skeptical turned into full on investment and at some point I couldn’t even turn my eyes away from the screen. I needed to see what was going to happen next!

While the film is graphic on many levels, it’s important to look past it in order to fully appreciate the story. I don’t want to say too much and spoil it, but we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.

I appreciated the young talent shown throughout. Sydney Sweeney’s star is definitely on the rise. Starting out in Euphoria and most recently starring in The White Lotus, girl is going places and I can’t wait for her career to flourish even more. Justice Smith was a great choice as Thomas – his chemistry with Sydney was believable and realistic. The couple across the street portrayed by Ben Hardy and Natasha Liu Bordizzo were entrancing and kind of scary. And for fans of Kim’s Convenience, Jean Yoon has a supporting role as Pippa’s boss.

Yes, The Voyeurs comes across as trashy, however it is anything but. It was really surprising and kept me guessing the whole way through. I wouldn’t write it off just yet.

Rating: ♥♥♥

Cinderella

A modern take on the classic fairytale, this new version of Cinderella follows an ambitious woman named Ella (Camila Cabello) who dreams of becoming a dressmaker. Living in the basement of her stepmother Vivian’s (Idina Menzel) house with only three mice (James Corden, James Acaster & Romesh Ranganathan) as friends, Ella knows she has what it takes to change her life for the better. When she bumps into Robert (Nicholas Galitzine), a handsome stranger who just so happens to be the prince, her choice of pursuing her dreams or following her heart suddenly seems impossible to choose between.

Let me start by saying that I think people are taking this movie way too seriously. It’s supposed to be fun and light and I think it succeeded. I enjoyed the updated plot and how they tried to blend together pieces of the original in with the twenty first century.

While some of the casting choices weren’t the best, I have to say that Camila Cabello’s acting wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. She wasn’t my favorite by far, but she didn’t bother me like I had anticipated. Idina Menzel was fabulous as Vivian and I appreciated how we were able to understand more about why her character was the way she was. Tallulah Greive who played Princess Gwen was a surprise; I only wish we had more of her. The best part of the whole film was Billy Porter. He brought a whole new meaning to being a fairy godmother and his one scene was simply not enough! I only wish Pierce Brosnan and Minnie Driver as King Rowan and Queen Beatrice were more convincing in their roles.

The best part of Cinderella was the singing and dancing. Mixing famous covers and original songs was brilliant and the dance sequences made me want to get up and sway along.

Overall, Cinderella was a good time and I think people should give it some more credit.

Rating: ♥♥♥

Stowaway

I never watch movies about space and I didn’t really know anything about Stowaway except for the fact that Anna Kendrick is in it. I think she is such a breath of fresh air and I will literally devour everything that she stars in. I didn’t know what I was going to think about the film going into it, but I am trying to break out of my comfort zone. I am happy to report that I liked it a lot more than I thought I was going to which is always a plus! Unfortunately there were still some things that could have been improved upon.

Zoe (Anna Kendrick), David (Daniel Dae Kim) and Marina (Toni Collette) have just embarked on a mission to Mars. Everything seems to be going smoothly until they discover an unplanned passenger named Michael (Shamier Anderson) has accidentally come along. Suddenly their voyage is jeopardized and they need to figure out how they are going to survive with an extra person onboard.

The part of the film that bothered me most was that this was a very slow burn. It took ages for something to happen and scenes were drawn out to each individual detail. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that this is how it needed to be. It perfectly encapsulated the tone and atmosphere of being in space and the severity of what was happening. However, if you are looking something more fast paced, then this will not be for you. It took me awhile to adjust and get used to this pace and I’m still not sure I liked it.

Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim and Toni Collette are household names and I liked seeing them together in this. I am unfamiliar with Shamier Anderson, but I did think he was a great addition in the cast. While they gave great performances, I have to say that we didn’t learn very much about some of their characters. It seemed as though they stayed one dimensional and I would have appreciated more information there. I think it would have helped me root for some of them more.

Overall, Stowaway was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting something drab, but there were certainly moments that gripped me and kept me on the edge of my seat. I do feel like some things could have been fleshed out more and because of that, it did leave me wanting more.

Rating: ♥♥♥