If Casper had a baby, it would be We Have A Ghost. Based on the short story Ernest by Geoff Manaugh and adapted into a film by Christopher Landon, the film follows the Presley family who move into a dusty old home that just so happens to inhabit a ghost. Youngest son, Kevin (Jahi Winston) isn’t afraid however and the two strike up a friendship. Unfortunately Kevin’s dad Frank (Anthony Mackie) gets himself in too deep, looking to turn the ghost into a social media sensation.
David Harbour as the phantom Ernest and is truly the soul of the movie. As he isn’t actually able to speak, each emotion is conveyed by facial expressions. I thought this would get tiresome, but it just goes to show that Harbour was a great choice for the role. The relationship that formed between Ernest and Kevin carried the film; Kevin considers Ernest to be just a regular guy and is totally devoted to helping him.
The rest of the cast do a decent enough job. Mackie, in an unlikable role as a father who just doesn’t seem to really get it, is convincing. It was also a lot of fun to have the incomparable Jennifer Coolidge as psychic Judy Romano. She wasn’t featured in many scenes, but when she was on screen, she shone bright. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Tig Notaro who once again seemed out of place in a subplot that I didn’t quite feel was necessary.
While the pacing was a bit all over the place, especially in the second half, and I did not understand the point of the CIA storyline, there was something heartwarming about We Have A Ghost. I’ve always loved the found family trope and this time around was no exception. This may not be a movie I’ll be running back to watch anytime soon, but it was one I had a good time with in the moment.
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.
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:
Based on the stage musical of the same name, Matilda (Alisha Weir) is an updated version of the classic 90s version. The story of an incredibly smart girl with a wild imagination, she’s misunderstood by her parents (Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough) and sticks to her books. It isn’t until she starts attending Crunchem Hall that she meets Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch) who can see her full potential.
I’d been debating checking this out for some time now. Having actually seen the musical in London, I more or less knew what to expect going into it. I remember feeling letdown and wondered how I would fare with the movie version of it. While there were some strong points, it mostly fell flat for me.
The first bright spot in the film was it’s casting. Weir made the role of Matilda her own. I found myself rooting for her throughout and actually really enjoying her performance. I liked the fact that Lynch was for Miss Honey. The only aspect that I wish had been fleshed out some more was her relationship with Matilda. I kept comparing theses scenes to the ones that the two characters shared before. At the end of the day, however, it was Emma Thompson as Ms. Trunchbull who shined the brightest. Had she not been in the film, I probably wouldn’t have bothered watching it.
In true musical fashion, the songs and choreography scenes were well done. Matilda’s opening song of Naughty was one of my favorites, as was the Revolting Children group number at the end. The rest, unfortunately, were not very memorable. On top of that, the set locations, particularly in the scenes where Matilda would tell her stories, were aesthetically pleasing to look at.
I think my problem with the film, aside from the fact that I was already hesitant because of my prior experience with it, was the fact that I simply love the original too much. I understand that this version is closer to the source material being more on the darker side, but I grew up with the other and couldn’t see past it.
By now we should know the story of Pinocchio, a wooden puppet, who was magically brought to life. After all, this is the third adaption that we’ve had this year alone. And how can we forget the original 1940’s Disney classic? So I won’t bore you with the plot details. What I will say is that there was a lot of hype surrounding Del Toro’s version as it was considered to be the most unique of them all. I can’t say that I disagree!
The best part, hands down, has to be the way in which this was filmed. Stop motion animation is something that we don’t get to see all too often anymore. To have this featured throughout was so refreshing and interesting that it kind of took my breath away at times. Seeing each character, location and object come to life in this way was really cool.
All the characters that we know and love were brought to life by some wonderful voicing talents. Ewan McGregor as Cricket was by far my favorite, who served not as Pinocchio’s guide and conscious, but also the narrator of the story. Alongside him were David Bradley as Geppetto, Cate Blanchett as Spazzatura, Christoph Waltz as Count Volpe and Tilda Swinton as Wood Sprite. Each brought something special to their roles.
Before settling in to watch, it is important to keep in mind that this version of Pinocchio is very different than anything we’ve seen before. There is a much darker element that I wasn’t quite prepared for. In some ways it worked – for example, learning about Geppetto’s life with his son Carlo and the horrific way in which he died added some oomph to the story and broke my heart into a million pieces. But there were other areas in which I thought it was overdone.
I don’t know what I expected going into Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, but it wasn’t what we got. There were some aspects that I really enjoyed and overall I do believe it’s the best adaptation we’d had this year. That being said, I spent a lot of the movie feeling confused. Who was the target audience supposed to be? At times it felt it was geared towards children, but then there were scenes that even I’m sure will give me nightmares. I also don’t think setting it in fascist Italy worked as well as it could have.
My opinion may be an unpopular one, but oh well. Maybe I’m just ready for an entirely different Disney classic to be adapted.
For as long as she’s been alive, it was Nemo (Marlow Barkley) and her father Peter (Kyle Chandler) against the world. Living in a lighthouse on a little island, they didn’t need anyone else but each other. So when Peter is lost at sea one night after a horrific storm, Nemo’s life is turned upside down. Having to leave behind the only home she’s ever known, she goes to live with her uncle Phillip (Chris O’Dowd) in the big city. Adjusting to her new normal is no easy feat; all she wants is to be reunited with her dad. That dream becomes a reality when, at night, she finds herself in Slumberland, a magical place where anything is possible.
I was originally going to give this film a miss, simply because when it came out, I had four other movies I needed to watch. But then I found myself with nothing to do this weekend, I figured why not check it out after all? The premise sounded interesting enough, it was filmed in Toronto and Jason Momoa was in it. That seemed like more than enough reasons for me.
The cinematography was stunning. The various locations that Nemo visited on her dream quest were ever-changing. They always offered something new and exciting and I’d find myself wondering where we would be transported to next. Larger than life outlaw Flip (Momoa) not only served as a guide to Nemo, but also helmed a colorful cast of characters.
What I thought would be an average run of the mill movie about a girl on an adventure soon turned into something else entirely. Yes, a large part of the film is just that, but there was more to it too. At the end of the day, Slumberland is about loss and how we deal with it. As a child, it’s difficult enough formulating thoughts and feelings, but learning how to deal when someone we love is no longer with us is a completely different matter. Unfortunately I could relate to Nemo all too well as I also lost a parent when I was young. Perhaps if a movie like Slumberland had been around for me at the time, it would have helped me.
Pop star Angelina (Aimee Garcia) used to be on top of the world, but she hasn’t felt that way lately. When the head of her label suggests she write a Christmas song, Angelina is beside herself. Ever since her mom passed away a couple years ago, she’s struggled to find the holiday spirit. But when she stumbles upon a video of one of her fans on social media, Angelina feels her luck may be changing. Cristina (Deja Monique Cruz) and her dad Miguel (Freddie Prince Jr.) are surprised when the superstar seeks them out. Learning that Miguel writes music, Angelina believes that all her problems will soon be over.
I had high expectations for my second Christmas film of the season, though if I’m being honest, I really wanted to watch this because of Freddie Prinze Jr. My teenage heart could hardly contain itself when news broke that he was finally coming back to the silver screen. A heartthrob then and now, I enjoyed nothing more than being able to watch him for an hour and a half uninterrupted.
Having previously starred in Netflix’s Lucifer, being able to see Aimee Garcia in something new was a treat. The role of Angelina could have been an interesting one, but at times I felt like something was missing. It was as if the emotions weren’t as genuine enough and her lines didn’t quite meet the eyes. At least she can sing! I wish she had better chemistry with Prince Jr. too. The familial relationship between Miguel, Cristina and Frida (Socorro Santiago) was fine enough, but it felt all too familiar after having just watched Falling For Christmas a week ago. That being said, I did appreciate the heavy Latino influences and learning more about a quinceanera. Additionally, the role of Monique (Zenzi Williams), Angelina’s dutiful assistant provided some much needed comedic relief.
Christmas With You had all the ingredients for a fabulous holiday movie and while there were some cute moments, I expected more. The fact that the storyline was very similar to this year’s Marry Me didn’t help as that was such a home run for me.
Hotel heiress Sierra Belmont (Lindsay Lohan) has it all. A fabulous wardrobe, the best staff on hand and a handsome fiancé Tad (George Young). While out on a skiing trip, Sierra falls off the mountain, hits her head and loses her memory. When lodge owner Jake Russell (Chord Overstreet) finds her, he, his daughter Avy (Olivia Perez) and mother in law Alejandra (Alejandra Flores) take her in.
To start off the festive season with Falling For Christmas seemed fitting, especially as it was Lindsay Lohan’s triumphant return to acting! Not starring in a feature film since 2007, I was more than ready to have her back on the big screen. The charisma and charm she oozed was always refreshing, not to mention the fact that she was an idol to me growing up. I’m so glad that she got her life back on track and is now starring in movies again. Not only is she acting again, she is also back to singing too. Fans should keep their eyes peeled for the perfect Mean Girls throwback. If you know, you know.
While the movie had a lot of funny moments, at the forefront was the budding love story between Sierra and Jake. I thought the chemistry between Lohan and Overstreet was cute. Seeing how welcoming he was to her and how patient he was in regards to her getting her memory back was lovely to watch. The way in which they both interacted with Avy was cute too. In addition, the inclusion of Avy’s maternal grandmother was a nice touch; I thought the four of them made such an adorable little family.
Everything about this movie screamed Christmas. From the snowy mountains to the extravagant decorations , I was instantly transported to a happier place. It may only be the middle of November, but it’s never too early if you ask me. Falling For Christmas had everything a holiday movie is supposed to have: romance, comedy and warm and fuzzy feelings. This is one I will be adding to my annual rewatch list for sure.
Lovable detective Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) is back and this time she’s got her own business up and running. Following in her brother Sherlock’s (Henry Cavill) footsteps, she intends to stand out from the crowd, though that may not be as easy as she thought. But when a young girl comes into her shop and asks for Enola’s help to find her sister, everything changes. Something far more complicated than it seems, Enola must turn to her family and friends to solve the case.
Millie Bobby Brown was, once again, a force to be reckoned with. The absolute charisma and charm she brings to Enola is mesmerizing. Not only does she shine every time she is onscreen, the predicaments she constantly finds herself in take the audience on constant twists and turns that leaves them wondering how it will all come together. Similarly, I have always felt like Henry Cavill was a good fit as Sherlock. I liked that we had a bit more of him this time around.
The returns of both Helena Bonham Carter as Eudoria Holmes and Louis Partridge as Tewkesbury was a welcome treat. In addition, the newcomers that were introduced to help flesh out the story were perfectly casted. David Thewlis was menacing as villain Grail and Sharon Duncan-Brewster was enigmatic enigmatic as Mira Troy. It was also fun getting to know Serrana Su-Ling Bliss and Hannah Dodd who played Matchstick Girls Bessie and Sarah respectively.
Speaking of the Matchstick Girls, the way in which their significance was woven into the film was such a brilliant move. Having the opportunity to learn more about them was not only fascinating to me, it was also very inspiring. I didn’t know anything about them prior to watching, but as soon as the film was over, I continued on with my research. I loved how Enola Holmes shed some light on this incredible step for women everywhere.
The original Enola Holmes film was such a home run for me, I wasn’t sure how its successor would hold up. I’m so happy to report that it was just as good, if not slightly better in certain ways. With Enola growing older, I feel like she’s not only becoming more relatable, she is also becoming a role model for women of all ages. The film is super fun with many hijinks along the way. It is definitely one of the best things that Netflix has ever gotten their hands on.
Amy (Jessica Chastain) is a single mother working as a nurse who also suffers from a life threatening heart condition. If anyone were to discover her secret, she’d be fired from her job and wouldn’t be able to claim health insurance. When Charlie (Eddie Redmayne) arrives on the scene to help on the night shifts, Amy feels unburdened for the first time in a long time. But when patients mysteriously start dying, all fingers are pointing to Charlie and it is up to Amy to find out the truth.
What makes The Good Nurse work so well is its lead stars. Chastain and Redmayne are two of our generation’s best in the business and their performances here were no exception. I am a new fan to Chastain who caught my attention in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, that ultimately led her to win the Oscar. She has become someone whose projects I will continue to check out. As for Redmayne, this was a different territory for him. From the Fantastic Beasts franchise, to The Danish Girl and The Theory of Everything, I didn’t know how I’d feel about him playing a serial killer. He gave Charlie this humanity that almost made you want to care about him.
At the center of the story is the friendship between Amy and Charlie. From the very first time they meet in the ICU, sharing stories of their lives and families over slices of pizza, until the end where Amy begs Charlie to come clean, it is down to the amazing chemistry that Chastain and Redmayne shared which helped make their relationship so realistic. This helped solidify the fact that Amy genuinely wanted Charlie to get help, while alternatively, regardless of how many people Charlie killed, he would have never hurt Amy.
While this movie is pegged as a thriller, I don’t believe this to be the proper description. The foreboding music and dark ambiance did try to give off that vibe, but that’s as far as it went. It was also considered to be slow, yet I have to say that I didn’t have a problem with the pacing. I felt it moved along rather nicely and I appreciated that the investigation started happening sooner rather than later. There actually wasn’t a single moment where I felt bored watching.
Based on a true story, The Good Nurse was one of the better films that I have seen this year. Not only were the performances brilliant, the subject matter was harrowing and left me with many questions. The fact that this actually happened, that we never found out exactly why Charlie did what he did and why the hospitals covered up his crimes instead of just coming forward was quite something.