Category Archives: Movie Review

Enola Holmes Movie Review

Classic books were given the title of “classic” for a reason. However, that does not mean that a modern writer cannot put their own spin on the tale.

Enola Holmes premiered Wednesday on Netflix. Based on the series of books by Nancy Springer, Millie Bobby Brown stars as the title character. Raised by her widowed mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), Enola receives an education that is extremely unusual for a young lady in Victorian era England. When her mother disappears, Enola’s much older brothers come home to take charge.

Her oldest brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin) is conventional in every sense of the word. Her second oldest brother, Sherlock (Henry Cavill) is more empathetic, but still concerned that his sister was not raised as she ought to have been. Before she can be sent to a school that promises to make her a proper young lady, Enola runs away to find her mother. Along the way, she meets a young aristocrat, Tewkesbury, (Louis Partridge) who is also running away and a new mystery is set at her feet.

I would categorize this movie as cute and empowering (if that makes sense). The message, I think, is the most important part of the film and feels very relevant for 2020. That being said, it is not without it’s flaws. However, it is one of those movies that is both fun to watch and an inspiration, especially for the younger female audience.

I recommend it.

Enola Holmes is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, History, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix

Flashback Friday-Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999)

There is nothing wrong with a dumb comedy. Sometimes, we need a movie like that to help us relax after a long day. But, there is a difference between a dumb comedy that makes us laugh and a dumb comedy that is just plain dumb.

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo premiered in 1999. Rob Schneider plays the title character. Deuce Bigalow is not exactly winning in life. Far from Herculean looks wise and trying to earn his keep by cleaning aquariums, he is not getting very far. When a male gigolo asks Deuce to watch his fish while he is on a business trip, things go wrong.

Deuce figures out that the only way to fix what has been broken is to become a male gigolo himself. It seems like a simple task, but when something seems simple, it usually isn’t.

I’ve only seen a few minutes of this movie, for good reason. It is a dumb movie in the worst way possible. Whatever opportunities it had to be genuinely funny are wasted, as was the time spent watching this film.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely not.

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Throwback Thursday-The Invention of Lying (2009)

From the time we are very young, we are told that we must always tell the truth. But the truth is sometimes hard to hear.

Back in 2009, The Invention of Lying hit theaters. The movie told the story of Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais), a writer whose is about to lose his job. Living in a world in which lies don’t exist, everything changes when tells his first fib. Soon he has everything he has ever wanted, except for the love of his longtime crush, Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner).

If I was being generous, I would give this movie an A for effort. It genuinely tries to entertain the audience. But the reality is that it is bad. The problem is that it relies too heavily on the clichés of the romantic comedy genre. It’s one thing to use the clichés of any genre. But it is another thing to use them as a crutch and not as a narrative skeleton to build up the story and characters.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Throwback Thursday: Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

In the world of beauty competitions, the ultimate goal is to win. For some contestants and their handlers, that means resorting to tactics that break a few rules.

In the 1999 movie, Drop Dead Gorgeous, a small town in Minnesota is preparing for their annual beauty pageant. Gladys Leeman (Kirstie Alley) is the matriarch of the wealthiest family in town. She will do anything (and I mean anything) to ensure that her daughter Becky (Denise Richards) comes out on top.

But Becky has a rival in Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst), whose mother Annette (Ellen Barkin), is equally as eager to see her daughter take the crown. Before the winner is announced there will be some roadblocks along the way. One of which maybe a dead body.

It’s not quite a satire, but it has elements of the genre. What I remember about the movie is that is both entertaining and a treatise of how we treat young women. If all they learn is that their looks are the most important thing in life, what will their expectations be for the rest of their lives?

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)

History, both personal and political, have a way of forever changing how we see the world.

Dirty Dancing (1987) is out and out classic. It’s one of those movies will always appear on “best of” lists. It is not a stretch, therefore, that some movie exec came up with the idea of a sequel.

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) is somewhere between a sequel and prequel to it’s predecessor. In 1958, Katey Miller (Romola Garai) is an American teenager who moves to Havana for her father’s job. While living in a hotel, Katey meets Javier Suarez (Diego Luna). Javier is a local boy who works at the hotel.

When Javier is fired for being friendly with Katey, she takes it upon herself to help him financially. She hopes that entering and winning a dance contest will make up for the loss of the income. But as they rehearse and fall in love, the Cuban Revolution comes ever closer to their doorstep.

I have to admit that I have not sat through this movie completely. But, I saw enough to know while it gets an A for effort, it does not hold a candle to the original film. While I appreciate the injection of history and an interracial romance, I don’t get the same feeling that I have when I watch Dirty Dancing.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

When a book (whether it is a traditional book or a comic book) is transferred to the big or small screen, it has to be much more than a soulless copy. Whatever qualities made the book successful, those qualities must be transferred to live action adaptation.

Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer hit theaters in 2007. The sequel to Fantastic Four (2005), the film adds to the world of this narrative by introducing the characters and the audience to the Silver Surfer (voiced by Laurence Fisburne and physically played by Doug Jones). Sent by Galactus, the Surfer arrives on Earth to warn of it’s residence of his master’s impending arrival and our destruction. It is up to the Fantastic Four to save the day and ensure that the planet remains intact.

Though it is slightly better than it’s predecessor, this is far from the best comic book movie ever made. Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer is the type of film one watches on a lazy weekend afternoon when you need to something, but don’t want to leave the house.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward maybe with a possibility of a no.

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Barry Movie Review

Our college years are for many, the formative years of our lives. The transition between young adulthood and adulthood, these four years will forever have an impact on the rest of our lives.

Barry premiered in 2016 on Netflix. In 1981, future President Barack Obama is an undergrad at Columbia University in New York City. While dating fellow student Charlotte (Anya Taylor-Joy), he is faced with the existential crisis of figuring out who he is as a human being. As one of the few students of color who is dating a white woman, he is the recipient of subtle and not so subtle reactions. If that was not enough, the lack of a relationship with his father weighs heavily on his decisions.

I really enjoyed the movie. We all know the man who was President for eight years. The introduction of the the younger Barack Obama was a revelation. I don’t know about anyone else, but college was not just about the education and the degree. It was about the emotional experience of growing up and figuring out who I am on my own terms.

His journey in this film hit home because I remember going through the same things when I was in college.

I recommend it.

Barry is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Flashback Friday-Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Stories of political intrigue have existed since the dawn of human history. The question is, is the story unique or done to death?

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time hit theaters in 2010. Based on the video game of the same name, the movie tells the story of Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), a prince who must save the world from the evil lord Nizam (Ben Kingsley). Assisting Dastan is Tamina, (Gemma Arterton), a princess in her own right. Together they must prevent Nizam from getting his hands on a dagger that will allow him to rule the world.

In an essence, this movie is a low rent Aladdin. It tries, but whatever elements Aladdin had that made it successful, this movie has none of it. In addition, this film reinforces the idea that only Caucasian actors can play ethnic roles. Among the three lead actors, the two actors playing the heroes are definitely not of Middle Eastern descent. Of course, the villain is a person of color, additionally reinforcing the idea about first and second class citizenship in this world.

The critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie a 37% rating and frankly, I can’t disagree with that.

Do I recommend the film? No.

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The Old Guard Movie Review

Comic books/graphic novels are not just juvenile forms of literature. They have a way of introducing audiences to new concepts and new characters that might not exist in traditional literature.

The Old Guard premiered last night on Netflix. Based on the comic book by Greg Rucka, the movie tells the story of a group of immortal warriors. Led by Andromeda/Andy (Charlize Theron), they have remained in the shadows for thousands of years. Their cover is nearly blown by the newest member of the group, Nile (Kiki Layne). While they are dealing with the newbie, Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is eager to learn how these warriors have maintained their immortality.

Before I saw the movie, I had not heard of The Old Guard. My review is solely based on the movie.

As a female viewer, this is my ideal narrative. Andy is not the traditional female character, especially for this genre. She is clearly in charge, but is also empathetic. She is additionally, also not straddled with the standard romantic/damsel in distress narrative that are forced upon female characters.

I also appreciated the diversity in the casting choices. I wish that more creative teams would be color and gender blind, choosing the performer solely on their performance and not on their physical appearance.

That being said, the movie was merely ok. It was somewhere in between underwhelming and not a bad way to spend two hours of my movie watching time.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

The Old Guard is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Throwback Thursday-Red Tails (2012)

There are two ways to tell a story. The first is in a dry academic style that informs, but does not teach in a way that is memorable. The second is in a vibrant manner in which the audience learns something long the way.

Back in 2012, Red Tails hit theaters. Starring Terrence Howard and David Oyelowo, the film told the story about the Tuskegee Airmen that fought in World War II.

I have to agree with the critics about this movie. Though the film does an admirable job of introducing or re-introducing audiences to the true story of unsung American heroes, it is not as good as it could be.

Do I recommend it? I’m leaning toward no.

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