Category Archives: Romance

Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle — Fantastic Fest 2022 Movie Review

A phenomenon occurs when a cult bad movie becomes big enough. The reputation grows to the point where it becomes implausible that the director would not grow aware that their film is not enjoyed for the reasons they intended. When and if they do become aware, they have a choice to make. They can go the Claudio Fragasso (Troll 2) route and insist that they made a good movie in spite of the criticism, or they can go the Tommy Wiseau (The Room) route and claim that they set out at the beginning to make a dark comedy.

I cannot tell for the life of me if Birdemic 3′s James Nguyen has reached this self-aware state. The quality of his filmmaking has not Continue reading Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle — Fantastic Fest 2022 Movie Review

Review: Please Baby Please — Fantasia Festival 2022

Please Baby Please is screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs from July 14 – August 3.

Newlyweds Suze (Andrea Riseborough) and Arthur (Harry Melling) witness a murder outside of their apartment building. The culprits, a greaser gang called the Young Gents, then turn their attention to the couple, initiating a series of events that change the two people forever.

Please Baby Please is a noir-tinged send-up of the biker gang movies of the 1950s, but that description does not come close to identifying what the film is accomplishing. Amanda Kramer’s film is an articulate examination of Continue reading Review: Please Baby Please — Fantasia Festival 2022

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Sexual Drive, It’s a Summer Film

Sexual Drive and It’s a Summer Film! are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival that runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Sexual Drive

Kôta Yoshida’s Sexual Drive is a triptych film surrounding themes of anger and lust which revolve largely around a single, lecherous figure named Kurita (Tateto Serizawa). It is hard to know Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Sexual Drive, It’s a Summer Film

In the Heights (2021) Movie Review

In the Heights is the first big post-pandemic movie to feel like a theatrical event. That was my experience, anyway. And this is coming from someone who’s never seen the stage play from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Algeria Hudes. Someone who has only a passing knowledge of film musicals in general.

Tenet was pushed early in the pandemic as the theatrical savior (I recall the whole world chanting in chorus, “if Chris Nolan can’t do it, then who can”). That proved to be too early and, frankly, not nearly splashy enough for a blockbuster. Just last weekend, A Quiet Place Part II and Cruella sparked life into an American box office which had been more or less comatose for over a year. The former is a popcorn-munching thriller with its pluses and minuses (I can’t speak to the latter). But it’s not In the Heights.

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Jon M. Chu’s follow-up to the lavish and vibrant Crazy Rich Asians doubles down on the extravagance, painting the blocks of Washington Heights, NYC with lively choreography and the occasional cinematic flourish. The film feels Continue reading In the Heights (2021) Movie Review

Bad Trip (2021) Movie Review

Eric Andre and Kitao Sakurai’s Bad Trip, a loosely-narrativized prank film, was a casualty of theaters closing in 2020. Now, what was originally planned for theatrical release has landed on the front page of Netflix. It is a common fate for films nowadays. But, perhaps unexpectedly, this mid-budget comedy is one of those lost 2020 films which would probably have played best in a crowded theater environment. So…you could call it the Tenet of comedy.

The film strings together a thin plot involving Chris (Andre) who, after being starstruck by the re-entry of his high school crush Maria (Michaela Conlin) into his life, brings his friend Bud (Lil Rel Howery) on a roadtrip to New York City to win her heart. Meanwhile, Bud’s sister (Tiffany Haddish), who recently escaped from prison, hunts Bud and Chris down for stealing her car. However, the real selling points of the movie are Continue reading Bad Trip (2021) Movie Review

Fantasia Festival 2020 Movie Reviews — The Oak Room, PVT Chat, Hunted

The virtual Fantasia Festival 2020 is in the full swing of things, with on-demand and live premiere titles becoming available to Canadian audiences. Here are reviews of three films playing the fest, The Oak Room, PVT Chat, and Hunted.

 

The Oak Room

Cody Calahan’s The Oak Room looks pretty good—opening with slow-moving wide-angle shots of a barroom. The camera establishes mood, producing a Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2020 Movie Reviews — The Oak Room, PVT Chat, Hunted

The Photograph (2020) Movie Review

While on assignment in Louisiana, journalist Michael Block (LaKeith Stanfield) interviews a man named Isaac (Rob Morgan). Michael is struck by a photo in Isaac’s home of a woman (Chante Adams) and decides to follow up on the woman’s story when he returns to New York. She is a recently deceased photographer, and she left behind letters to Isaac and her daughter Mae (Issa Rae). It is through this photograph that Mae and Michael collide, and they do so with an immediate sense of romantic connection.

Stella Meghie’s The Photograph oscillates between Michael and Mae’s present day relationship and the story of Continue reading The Photograph (2020) Movie Review

Isn’t it Romantic (2019) Movie Review

At an early age, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is taught from her mom that she is not the type of woman they make romantic comedies about. Those movies don’t fit into real life; at least, they don’t fit into what her real life will be. “We’re no Julia Roberts,” Natalie’s told. If they made a movie out of her life, they would have to “sprinkle Prozac on the popcorn.”

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Natalie has carried these values, perhaps subconsciously, into her adult life. She assumes she is blind to the world, and thus she allows herself to be pushed around at work. She is Continue reading Isn’t it Romantic (2019) Movie Review

Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Movie Review

Most of the media attention surrounding the release of Crazy Rich Asians addresses the rarity for a major Hollywood studio release to feature a predominantly Asian cast. This certainly marks a positive moment for representation in Hollywood, and the film presents a bunch of bankable acting talent that Hollywood could be utilizing more often.

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Crazy Rich Asians might not live up to the expectations of its outspoken buzz—a film doesn’t need to be a masterpiece to feature positive representation—but it does provide Continue reading Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Movie Review

Love, Simon (2018) Movie Review

Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) will tell you that he is your average teenager. He drinks too much iced coffee, jokes around with his friends, probably has a vested interest in meme culture. You know, post-millennial junk. But Simon also has one huge secret: nobody knows he is gay.

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Luckily, Simon finds an outlet in another closeted teen at his school. When Simon sees this mysterious “Blue” post an anonymous message on the internet, he Continue reading Love, Simon (2018) Movie Review