Every movie genre has its own series of predictable clichés. The romantic comedy genre is no different.
Isn’t It Romantic premiered last week.
Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is a plus sized woman living in New York City and working in an architecture firm. She is single and cynical about romance. She is even more cynical about romantic comedies. Then she is mugged and knocks herself out running into a pole in an effort to get away from her mugger. When she wakes up, she finds out that the world around her has changed.
Her apartment, which was tiny one room apartment over a store has become the apartment of every New Yorker’s dreams. Every man she meets thinks she is attractive. This includes Blake (Liam Hemsworth), a super hot billionaire who is immediately attracted to Natalie. Instead of being seen as a gopher by her colleagues, they respect her. The only person who seems the same is her best friend and work husband, Josh (Adam Devine). Then he meets Isabella (Priyanka Chopra), a model and philanthropist. This turns Natalie’s world upside down and she has to decide if she wants to live in a romantic comedy fantasy or live in reality.
I loved this movie. I loved it not only because it’s heroine looks like most women in America, but it exposes in the most satirical (and funniest) way possible, the flaws in the romantic comedy genre. But what I loved most of all was the message of self esteem and loving yourself, regardless of romantic relationship status.
I recommend it.
Isn’t It Romantic is presently in theaters.
No matter how bright the career of a performer is, he or she likely to experience at least one downturn in their career.
From the 1920’s to the 1940’s, Laurel and Hardy were the darlings of the movie going audience. But then things changed and their careers took a downturn.
The new movie, Stan & Ollie, follows the titular characters in the early 1950’s. In hopes of reinvigorating their career, Stan (Steve Coogan) and Ollie (John C. Reilly) go on tour in England. While the tour is well received, old emotional wounds spring up between the friends and performing partners. Even with their wives, Lucille Hardy (Shirley Henderson) and Ida Laurel (Nina Arianda) supporting them, will these old friends complete the tour or will the past end the tour prematurely?
I have to admit that while I have heard of Laurel and Hardy, I have never seen any of their films. That being said, I really enjoyed this film. I enjoyed it because the film was funny, heartwarming and it was the story of two performers who are not in the prime of their lives and are willing to take a shot at reviving their careers.
I recommend it.
Stan & Ollie is presently in theaters.
2018 has been an interesting year for movies. Below is my list of the top ten movies of 2018
- Widows: Women in action movies are at best the romantic significant other and at worst, the damsel in distress. Widows flips the genre and the expected narrative on its head and tells the story of four women who take fate into their own hands after the deaths of their criminal husbands.
- The Wife: Based on a book by Meg Wolitzer, Glenn Close plays a woman who questions her life choices as her husband reaches the peak of his career.
- Ralph Breaks The Internet: The sequel to Wreck-It Ralph follows Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) as they journey from their world of arcade games to the Internet.
- The Party: A group of friends get together to celebrate the professional success of one of them. In the process, hard emotional truths are revealed.
- Black Panther: Based on the comic book of the same name, an African King must fight for his throne while leading his country into the future.
- Vice: A biopic of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
- The Favourite: Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) may sit on the throne of England, but she is not the one who is really leading country. Two women in her court vie to be her favorite and to gain power that only comes from being close to Queen.
- A Star Is Born: A Star Is Born is the 3rd reboot of a narrative that audiences have seen since the 1930’s. Unknown Ally (Lady Gaga) sees her career dreams turn into reality while her mentor/lover’s career flails due to addiction issues.
- Crazy Rich Asians: Based on a book by Kevin Kwan, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) travels from New York City to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time. The visit is a bit more turbulent than Rachel expects.
- Aquaman: Based on the comic book of the same name, Jason Mamoa plays Arthur Reed, a man who is born of two worlds and must choose where he belongs.
This will be my last post of 2018. Thank you so much for visiting and reading my blog, your support means the world. Wherever you are this New Years Eve, have a safe and happy one. I will see you in 2019.
Sometimes, when we fight against an injustice, we change the world.
The new movie, On The Basis of Sex, starts in the mid 1950’s. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) is a first year law student at Harvard Law School, one of only a handful of female students among a sea of male classmates. In addition to her schoolwork, she is juggling motherhood and marriage to Marty Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), who himself is second year law student at the same university. Though she is smart and tough, she has to deal with the prejudice and rejection that comes with being a woman in a man’s world in an era where men and women lived in totally different worlds.
The film then flashes forward to the early 1970’s. Ruth is a Law Professor who is given a case to review by Marty. Charles Moritz (Chris Mulkey) is a middle-aged man caring his elderly mother. He is denied the right to deduct the cost of caring for his mother from his taxes because he is a man. Knowing that this case is the opening she is looking for, Ruth takes it on. The question is, will she win and open the door for American women or will they lose the case and set the American feminist movement back decades?
I loved this movie. I loved it because it is not the average bio-pic. Many bio-pics adhere to the “cradle to the grave” narrative. While that works for some movies within the genre, it would not have worked for this film. Focusing on these two very specific periods of time allows the audience to know the woman behind the title of RBG and appreciate her contribution to American history.
I absolutely recommend it.
On The Basis of Sex is currently in theaters.
Politics is not known to be a clean or ethical business. While some may claim that they are getting into politics to serve the needs of the people, their actual reason for getting into politics is not quite as transparent.
The new movie, Vice, is the story of Dick Cheney, who serviced as Vice President under George W. Bush. The film starts in early 1960’s when Cheney (Christian Bale) is a drunken ne’er-do-well. After flopping out of college, he is working, but spending most of his time in the bar and getting into fights. His longtime girlfriend, Lynne (Amy Adams) gives him an ultimatum: clean up his act or their relationship is over. The film then moves forward in time as Cheney climbs up the political ladder and he and Lynne go through the motions of marriage and parenthood. His job with Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) will eventually lead to the job of Vice President while George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) serves as President. Along the way, he makes many decisions, some which may be seen as unethical.
Writer/Director Adam McKay is not known for dramatic films that have a political edge. But with Vice, he is able to create a film that succeeds. This success comes down to the slightly unorthodox narrative and the lead actors who disappear completely into their characters. This disappearing act, especially by Bale, could lead to multiple awards come next year.
I absolutely recommend it.
Vice is presently in theaters.
Many of my regular readers know that I’ve been writing Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday posts for quite a few years now.
That being said, I am in need of suggestions for upcoming Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday posts. I am open to both television shows (both fiction and reality shows) and movies. The criteria is as follows:
- The movie must have premiered in theaters at least five years ago.
- In regards to any suggestions for television shows, the pilot must have aired at least five years ago. I am fine with shows that are both still on the air and/or no longer on the air.
- I avoid horror movies like the plague, so please do not recommend any horror movies.
I look forward to your suggestions. Thank you for reading and have a good weekend.
Family history is a curious thing, especially when it inspires a well-known story.
In the 2005 film, Rumor Has It…, Sarah (Jennifer Aniston) and Jeff (Mark Ruffalo) are a newly engaged coupled. Sarah introduces Jeff to her family when they go to California for her sister’s wedding. During the visit to California, Jeff infers that Sarah’s father, Earl (Richard Jenkins) is not her biological father. Enter Beau (Kevin Costner), a successful author who may have had affairs concurrently with Sarah’s late mother and grandmother Katherine (Shirley MacLaine) back in the day. This leads Sarah to believe that the 1967 film, The Graduate is more than fiction. Like her mother and grandmother, Sarah falls for Beau’s charms, but she may end up losing Jeff in the process.
This film is an interesting one. It’s not exactly the typical romantic comedy, but it also does not use it’s source material as much as it could have.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
Seeing a woman in the halls of power is relatively new in the course of human history. At best, in the past, women have been help-meets, wives and servants. At worst, they are disposable to relegated the background of history.
The new movie, Mary Queen of Scots (based on the book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy) takes place in the 16th century, when two women ruled England and Scotland concurrently. Elizabeth I of England (Margot Robbie) has successfully ruled England without questions of her legitimacy to the throne. The only issue that she is without a husband and a child. Her cousin, Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) has recently taken her place as Queen of Scotland after the passing of her first husband. She knows that she has to marry and bring a male heir into the world, but she is not willing to marry for the sake of politics.
Both Mary and Elizabeth wish for peace between their kingdoms, but the men who council both Queens are not content to bow before women, nor are they willing to let two women maintain a political friendship. Around them, the seeds of discord are being sewn. Will Mary and Elizabeth rule their respective countries in peace or will the interference of the men around them result in upheaval and violence?
It takes a certain kind of BPD (British Period Drama) to appeal to a wide range of audience members. While Mary Queen Of Scots falls squarely within the BPD genre, it has a specific message that appeals to a certain kind of audience member. While I very much appreciate the timely message of women in power and how we react/treat them, this film is a bit on the heavy side when it comes to the narrative.
Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.
Mary Queen of Scots is presently in theaters.
Disclaimer: I know nothing of the cannon Aquaman from the comic books, this review is strictly based on the movie.
When a character is torn between two worlds, he or she must make a choice. It is that choice that defines who they are.
In the new movie, Aquaman, (based on the comic book character of the same name) Aquaman/Arthur Reed (Jason Mamoa) is caught between two worlds. His father, Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) is an ordinary man who manages a lighthouse. His mother, Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) a Queen of Atlantis. While they are in love and happy to have a life together, the reality is that there are opposing forces to their love.
As an adult, Aquaman/Arthur Reed knows that he is born of two worlds. While he plays the super hero game, he is not ready to accept that he is a Prince of Atlantis. Then Mera (Amber Heard) comes to him and begs for his help. Mera is a member of another royal family of the sea and engaged to Orm (Patrick Wilson), Aquaman/Arthur Reed’s younger half-brother. Orm not only has his eye on the throne, but he is angry about the destruction of his world by pollution.
Can Orm be stopped and more importantly, can Aquaman/Arthur Reed find his place in the world?
I am not particularly a fan of super hero movies based on comic books, but I loved this movie. Jason Mamoa was tailor made for this role. I appreciated that the female leads (Mera and Atlanna) are bad ass and far from the sexualized, 2D romantic partner/damsel in distress female characters that often appear in comic books. I also appreciated the message about pollution and doing our part to ensure that we do not destroy our environment.
Though, I have to admit that the choice of hair color for Mera for me, as a redhead, is a little questionable. While I understand that Mera is a redhead in the comic books, I would have preferred a more natural red instead of a red color that looks like it came from a kool aid container.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Aquaman is currently in theaters.
Who one has as a college roommate is often a toss-up. On one hand, this roommate can become your lifelong friend. On the other hand, this person can also be your worst nightmare.
In the 2000 movie, Loser, Paul (Jason Biggs) has just started college in New York City. Originally from upstate New York, Paul is on scholarship and must keep his grades up. But his roommates brand him as a loser because he is not there to party all the time. Then he meets Dora (Mena Suvari). Dora is having both financial and romantic troubles. She needs to pay for school and is also having an affair with their arrogant literature professor, Edward Alcott (Greg Kinnear). After Dora passes out after being slipped drugs at a party, Paul helps her to recover. They become friends and Paul’s feelings for Dora quickly develop. Will Dora return his feelings and will Paul be able to ditch his destructive roommates?
Written and directed by Amy Heckerling, the critics were not kind to the film. However, from my perspective, I have to disagree with the critics. Yes, the film has its idiotic moments, but the message of the film is that nice people who work hard succeed while those who party all the time and take advantage of others are doomed to fail. While the message overall is a little too preachy, it works for the film.
Do I recommend it? Yes.