Will This Christmas Flick Deliver A Holiday Gift?

Last Christmas Poster

 

There is always something about the Christmas time of the year that brings out the good will in movies.  Somehow the monotonous television specials, the move theaters itself, and even the atmosphere are all given a renewed glow that seems to lighten us up.  Yet, in a flooded market trying to capitalize on the big time of the season, we can sometimes get things crammed in that don’t need to be crammed in.  So in November at this early stage of the holiday months, getting a Christmas movie makes me wonder how the quality of the film will be if coming out this early.  As always, Robbie K coming in to give you his thoughts on whether or not the movie will match what the trailers suggested it would be.  As such, let’s get started as I take a look into:

 

Movie: Last Christmas (2019)

 

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

Good Acting

Comedy That is Not Overdone

Fun and A good atmosphere

Good Message For The Times

Fast Run Time

The Music

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable

Dryer Sense Of Humor Required

Needing More Time To Tell A Detailed Story

The Semi-Superficial Romance

The Overdone Ending

Lacking That Big Punch

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Let’s face it, I was not the most excited seeing the trailer for this film, but I was hoping that there would be some Christmas magic to assist with bringing it to life.  Well my wish came true in the form of acting, with all the leads making for an entertaining, dysfunctional group.  Emelia Clark was of course my favorite, especially taking center stage, bringing the roundabout character of Kate!  Henry Goulding’s charm works to offset the theatrics of the supposed messy character, his calm level headedness bringing its own magic that lvies up to the theme of the movie.  And as for Emma Thompson, well another new light for the woman who wears so many faces.  Outside of the quaint characters with major flaws, Last Christmas attempts to find the means of being different while still sticking to its guns from the trailer.  For those looking for a typical American based comedy, you’re in for a surprise as the movie turns to British roots for a comedy style that is a bit drier and catered to a more finite audience.  Despite not being the comedy line craziness that most are expecting, the movie maintains a fun atmosphere, capturing the meaning of the season and sort of infecting you in the Kate’s journey with this strange man.  This atmosphere of feeling good compliments all the previous mentioned likes and somehow gave me some energy to stay immersed in the film.  Of course a Christmas movie has to have a good message right?  Well, Last Christmas delivers its morale laden plot right in your face and manages to keep the time honored tradition in line with the movie without being too cheesy or over the top.  Yet for me, the music is the key to why I had fun.  Last Christmas does not saturate in the Christmas themes, but instead blends both traditional songs with some other tracks to keep things lighthearted and in rhythm with the messages.   If all of this does not sound good and you are being forced to go on a date, the fast run time should keep you satiated and not lose too many minutes of your life.

 

So let’s get into things that people will most likely not like or expect.  First off the movie is predictable.  A fine attempt at a twist, I had the surprise figured out well before stepping foot into the movie (yes the trailers were that obvious).  It’s a fine attempt, but the bread crumbs were a little too traditional so I can’t say I was moved like many of my fellow audience members.  As stated earlier, you need to have a drier sense of humor, and while I appreciated the wit, at times a nice wet joke sequence could have helped lighten the mood a little more.  Thus again, be warned this is not your average rom-com.  While the time limit may be beneficial in terms of getting out of there, it also limited the detailed story I think most were looking for.  Last Christmas held potential to balance all these elements it wanted, but like much of today’s trends the stories were sort of rushed and irrelevant plot points were hastily tied up when not needing to be included. This included the semi-superficial romance that while cute and endearing at the beginning was also not the romance aspect I expected they would go, (there are many Hallmark movies that do better than this one).  Again its sincere and  a bit more sentimental, but it needed more time to get the full effect for me.  When the ending does finally arrive, it finds almost the perfect place to stop, but then like the ending of Return of The King, the movie goes one step too far to show how things are going to be okay.  This ending montage approach is nice to show the future, but about five minutes earlier would have been better for me.  Finally, I think the thing most are hating is that the movie is lacking a big punch that Christmas movies need for the theater visit.  This movie sort of lacks that and I think from some of the thing said by fellow audience members, I have to agree that it needs that final ounce of oomph to get to gold star status.

 

The VERDICT:

 

What you see in the trailer of Last Christmas is almost what you get with this film.  The cast shows good chemistry and brings their bag of tricks to the mix to make for a fun cast of characters that I think will charm most.  It’s nice that a Christmas comedy managed to still have heart and fun, not overdoing the humor and giving me a film that had good life lessons and positive atmosphere to enjoy, with a fun accompanying sountrack.  Still, the movie fails for me in terms of bringing that big Christmas punch that I expect from these films, suffering from superficial gimmicks, semi complete story lines, drier humor, and a relationship that is sentimental but not what I thought it would be. Overall, the movie is enjoyable with a group, but I think it would find a better home on Hallmark or a local streaming.  However, if you are looking for a feel good Christmas movie this early, check this one out.

 

My scores for its genre are:

 

Christmast/Comedy/Drama/Romance:  8.0

Movie Overall:  5.5

 

 

Trying to Shine In New Lights. A Contemporary Romance

 

The Sun Is Also a Star Poster

 

New week and time for a new style of review.  Today’s first review is all about the wave of hits that the drama and romance genres hold in teenage culture.  Another book turned to film, Hollywood is hoping to take this week as a means to capitalize on the author’s work.  Yet, much of the market is flooded with generic knock offs and repeats that come famous on channels like Hallmark and Lifetime.  Will today’s film be all about seeing if it can defy the trend of mundane and become the next staple in cinema history?  Robbie K here to provide a review on:

 

Movie: The Sun Is Also A Star (2019)

 

Director:

Ry Russo-Young

Writers:

Tracy Oliver (screenplay), Nicola Yoon (novel)

Stars:

Yara ShahidiCharles MeltonKeong Sim

 

 

LIKES:

 

Good Acting

Fitting Music

Nice Use of Background Details/Connecting

A Bit Different of A Twist

 

DISLIKES:

 

Very Cliché

Predictable

Very Rushed

Cheesy At Times

Other Characters Only Substantially Used

Stories that are Blunt

Ending That’s Mundane

Does not Feel Like A Love Story

Fans Who Like These Movies May Like This Film:

Notebook

Fault In our Stars

Five Feet Apart

One Day

 

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

In regards to this film, The Sun Is Also Star feels more like a buddy adventure than a true love story.  The acting between Melton and Shahidi has good chemistry, filled with a dynamic that holds the emotional spectrum that is common of the characters in these types of films.  It helps bring a relationship to gear on to and will most likely be relatable to the key demographic.  Their story holds some unique flavor to it compare to others by offering a twist in the form of a very set timeline along with an ending that offers a refreshing take on these types of films. My favorite part would be more so the background details that somehow tell another part of the story, hidden nods for details that will later be revealed in the ending. 

Yet, the film does not quite deliver in the usual pizazz that these movies hold, getting too caught up in the one-day time limit to deliver on the quality cries and emotions these films like to use. Still it does not escape the predictable and cliché story telling that fans love, but rather than true love and a believable romance we instead get a very cheesy tale that offers little sustenance.  The film feels more like two friends starting out on a friendship, that rapidly changes as each hour passes.  In addition, many of the tales have blunt finishes, with the secondary characters adding little to the movie overall, which was a shame given all the personal problems the leading characters had with their family’s style of raising them.

Overall, the movie is not bad, a nice attempt at changing the formula that has been a staple in the genre.  Sadly, the movie feels a little rushed, leaving much of the meat of the book remaining in the pages instead of onscreen.  This adventure is not quite the epic love story that so many fall in love with, but at the same time it at least brings some emotional moments and a relationship that has believable components to it.  It’s a relevant story to the target audience and I feel that it has good value as a home viewing rather than a theater visit, but overall missing that full spark that romance movies bring. 

 

My scores are:

Drama/Romance:  7.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

A Shot In The Rom Com Dark: Cute and Fun, but Predictable

Long Shot Poster

 

In the day of comedy, the name Seth Rogen is a champion for many types of roles and writing.  Often the king of stoner comedy, Mr. Rogen somehow takes his dorky looking self to new heights as he makes us laugh our heads off with his similar stories. Today, another piece to his collection is released in the form of a new spin on political comedy, as he teams up with another gorgeous beauty to tell his own Cinderella story.  Will this film hold a new form of comedy, or are we just writing another check to a mediocre film?  Robbie K back with another review on the film:

 

Long Shot: (2019)

 

Director:

Jonathan Levine

Writers:

Dan Sterling (screenplay by), Liz Hannah (screenplay by)

Stars:

Charlize TheronSeth RogenJune Diane Raphael

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Good Chemistry
  • Funny At Times
  • Cute
  • Moves At A Good Pace
  • Good Music

 

SUMMARY:  Despite the looks of Rogen, the guy manages to find some stellar cast mates to work with. Theron and Rogen have a great chemistry that brings the relationship to life, making for an interesting pairing that is fun to watch.  Long Shot’s central actors bring with it a dynamic spectrum that ranges from awkward crushes to stoned moments and the two really play off each other’s energies well.  The result is some sensationally dynamic comedy antics that work to inspire and drive the entertainment factor.  Clever references, slapstick relief, and even the well-timed simplistic one-liners all work to make a diverse palette for most audience members to enjoy.  Long Shot knows how to cater to a wide variety of the audiences.

Yet the comedy is only part of the magic and Long Shot holds a cute atmosphere to it that was promised in the trailer.  A love tale graces this film and has that classic nerd and gorgeous woman motif that is both inspirational and just sensational to watch.  While it’s not the most unique or magical, there is a very cute atmosphere about it and that will draw fans into the mix as well.  Making for a good date movie, the love story here is very cute, with some endearing motifs brought in to inspire and chop up the aggressive comedy.  With these stories mixed in, it actually puts this tale at a good pace, dropping the mundane circular banter for something with a little more pacing and fun.  And finally, the music that is played throughout the movie sort of bridges a good number of decades, with fantastic utilization to bring nostalgia and character to the scene. If you are forced to go to this movie, then hopefully the tracks will keep you interested in the nearly 2 hour run time.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • A little preachy
  • Stoner Comedy going overboard
  • The Villain character
  • The Other Love Interest
  • Predictable
  • Lazy Writing

 

SUMMARY:

 

When you try to put in good messages, especially ones about changing the world and the social hierarchy, you sometimes run into the world of preachy cinema.  Long Shot does those moments in quite a number of scenes going out of their way to put in these moments to be the inspirational piece the story is going for. Not awful, but sometimes a bit much these moments are just the small imbalances that stack up in this movie.

Instead the movies sometimes runs away with its comedy, relying too much on jokes to offset the story for Rogen’s usual brand of comedy. Some of the drug humor managed to get caught in the whirlwind of mindless banter, our “heroes” stuck in roundabout wonder, in their throngs of substance induced bliss.  It is funny at times, but sometimes a bit too deep for me leading to some stale tactics by the tent minute of the scene.

Other imbalances for me were the “rivals” of Theron’s groups that acted as potential story plots.  The Villain character by legendary Andy Serkis was a parody of makeup and villains, an antagonist who is there only for a few plot devices, but never serious enough to pose a threat outside of showing off stylized makeup.  Also an offset was the potential love interest in the form of pretty Canadian prime ministers.  A few mindless laughs and some rapid character introduction, this character held some potential that was lost in the grand scheme of comedy.  These unnecessary characters just made for threadbare plots that further endorsed the predictable plot that this movie held.

  Yet it’s the lazy writing that gets me as the biggest limitation.  I’m not talking about the story or the clever comedy, that’s actually good for me.  No, it’s the monotonous cursing that is famous in Rogen’s arsenal of films.  Long Shot suffers from focusing too much on the slander, replacing much of the human vocabulary with genitalia descriptions that are laced with consistent swear words. If you can’t get enough of the F bombs, you’ve come back to the familiar watering hole, but Long Shot still needs some unique flavor added to the punch to escape this weakness for me.  By not expanding up on the vernacular some of the scenes were missing their true potential due to again stale verbiage.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Long Shot is fun and surprisingly cute, making for a fun film that holds some story and laughs to behold.  It’s a generational movie that will speak to many, and the broad audiences it will appease too makes for a promising movie night out with the group.  Yet, the factor that holds it back is some unnecessary plot devices, some wasted characters, and the fact that once again lazy writing seethes in to the clever jokes at hand. It makes for a generic comedy, but sometimes those are the fun films to share with friends and family, so long as they can handle the crude humor.  So therefore, grab your friends and hit this delightful film up as a group, but otherwise stick to streaming for this for it lacks much of the theater worthy quality.

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Romance:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

Five Feet Apart From The Other Films In Romance/Drama

Five Feet Apart Poster

Teenage romance movies always hold special places in a lot of people’s hearts, but depending on the decade your familiar with, the elements and presentation are a little different. Eighties brought comedy with emotional drama, nineties was the Nicholas Sparks beginning with the cute, cheesy tactics, early 2000s were all about the Nicholas Sparks, super dramatic stories that hold a lot of places in the hearts of the public.  Then came the 2010s and the twist was now romance, but put some type of terminal illness with it to sweeten the deal… So tonight’s movie continues this current trend, taking another story in hopes of invoking tears and pulling the heart strings of the audience at the same time.  Yes, tonight is Five Feet Apart and yours truly is here to write his reviews as always and share his opinions.  Let’s go:

 

Movie:  Five Feet Apart (2019)

 

Director:

Justin Baldoni

Writers:

Mikki DaughtryTobias Iaconis

Stars:

Haley Lu RichardsonCole SprouseClaire Forlani

 

 

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • Character Use
  • Comedy
  • Appreciation of Art
  • Beautiful
  • Romantic
  • Nice Surprises

 

SUMMARY: The latest movie fills the formula of sad, drama meeting the romantic teenage plotlines. Fortunately, the acting is there to bring a fantastic dynamic to latch onto in the form of Cole Sprouse and Harley Lu Richardson.  Their chemistry is amazing, bringing the two sides of the romantic cone to life in a very sweet, charming, and surprisingly realistic way.  Five Feet Apart takes these characters and does a fantastic job advancing them past the carbon copy templates most of these films do.  The supporting cast does a wonderful job of being integrated into the story, their own tales and dynamics meshing well to bring out the main characters in new ways.

Of course the movie somehow manages to add on to the simple romantic story by appreciating other dynamics that can be included in romance movies.  The comedy is simple and classy, fitting very well with the tone of the movie without being too forced.  For those enjoying symbology in the visual arts, the rooms and works of our proverbial Romeo and Juliet have plenty of artistic bite that is quite impressive to behold, instigating a little jealously in my mind about their artwork. 

As for the romance component itself, again I give them props for finding a way to bring love and beauty into a realistic way that was both poetic and fun to behold.  Five Feet Apart takes most of the cheese factor out of the romance, and instead makes it an adventure that is fun to go on.  The ordeal of the disease contending with the blossoming love is a driving force of the film and somehow manages to be fresh despite how plotted love tales are. Perhaps it is also the surprises that come in at points that assists with keeping the adventure going, finding ways to divert from the film, without going too far away from the tale at hand. With all these components it works very well for me.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Predictable
  • Cheesy At Times
  • Scientific Stretches
  • The Parent Components?

 

 

SUMMARY: No surprise, the movie follows much of the same formula, and my friend and I were able to predict much of the movie based on the trailers we had seen.  Fortunately, surprises were able to help with this, but they still held some trouble keeping the romantic movie cheese fest from happening. Five Feet Apart leaves much of the mushy, gushy, Nicholas Sparks like drama that is difficult to get away from, which is a selling point for most going to these movies, but for me could have used a little more spice up. 

In addition, some of the scientific plausibility for one with my mindset are difficult to get over in terms of the miracles vs. the statistical chances of the real life.  Some of the interactions, primarily in the ending occurring the way it did, was very unrealistic and seeing these miracle moments only added to the cheesy coincidences that this series is famous for.  If that’s not something that bothers you, no worries on this, but for me this is just something to warrant on.  As for the parents, they were okay, but I felt that for something as intense as the themes in this movie, some more involvement would be seen. Five Feet Apart’s weakest characters are actually the parents, reduced to a few lines of dialogue and the background images.  Sure, it’s not about them, but in the other films similar to this, the parents were very active in the support of the kids.  What happened here?

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, Five Feet Apart was much better than I had anticipated, with a lot more heart, artistic beauty, and adventure than many of the romance/dramas that I’ve seen.  A strong cast, character usage, and surprises in terms of comedy and plot were the selling points for this reviewer in regards to this film.  It still has predictability and cheese factors, primarily in the scientific stretches, but the good far outweighs the bad for me in regards to this category of movies.  I think this is one for the theater in regards to dramas.  If not check this one out for a rent/stream because it’s got the heart that movies are known to have.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Romance:  8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0

  

 

Isn’t it Actually Clever!

Isn't It Romantic Poster

 

Rom Com’s, the genre that is all about establishing the hopes and dreams that love can be perfect, establishing the hope of a true happy ending. Yet, we all know that love is hard work, and that while a positive force, these movies can sometimes establish unrealistic dreams that can be distracting.  Last night, the movie of the holiday season hopes to put a little more realism into the love genre and bring with it some laughs to brighten up a potentially depressing season. Robbie K back with another review, this time on:

 

 

Movie:  Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

 

Director:

Todd Strauss-Schulson

Writers:

Erin Cardillo (screenplay by), Dana Fox (screenplay by)

Stars:

Rebel WilsonLiam HemsworthAdam Devine

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

– Short Run Time

– Fun Atmosphere

– Funny

– Clever Writing

– Good Message

 

Summary:  In a movie like this, length is not necessary, and I think that Isn’t it Romantic did a nice job of getting the holiday laughs out without taking away too much time from life.  It establishes a fun environment that is mindless humor, practically ripping apart the false themes of Valentine’s Day and romantic comedies to show you don’t have to be dating/in a relationship to have fun.  The fast-paced laughs, upbeat pace, and lack of care for telling a serious story, accomplishes the goal that the movies can do, which is to go out there and lose yourself into a fun movie, and I think it worked well.

For being a comedy though, you want laughs, and surprisingly this movie accomplished it by being able to make fun of itself and genre. While certainly ludicrous, Isn’t It Romantic has some clever design to the approach of making fun of love movies. Some of the things we either love or take for granted, such as the stereotypical montages and linear plot, they find a way to poke at as Rebel Wilson experiences them.  Off the side comments about how the locations change, the magical timing of a character appearing, even the time warp factor from those random scenes of transit are prey for the writing of this film.  In addition, Rebel Wilson’s usual style has been curbed to not be so raunchy and it works for me in allowing her comedic delivery/timing taking the load instead of just the random banter she is famous for.  That balance is what helped open up the fun factor for me and throw in the dance number(s) as well and you actually seal the deal.

Yet, the movie does manage to have a serious side, bring a few key messages alongside the comedic slew of one-liners.  Surprisingly, they are deeper than expected, managing to teach he audience some personality building traits, but keeping in tune with the fun atmosphere of the film.  Preachy at times?  Yes, but again it works in terms of not taking the movie seriously.

 

DISLIKES:

 

– Not original

– Corny at times

– The Hemsworth curse

– Trailer Syndrome, sort of

– Overdone at times

– Plot progressed a little too fast

 

Summary:  Despite how much fun I had at the film though, as a reviewer there are elements of the movie overall to comment on.  First off, the originality is not really there.  True, it was low expectations that it would be super original, but like the films it makes fun of, Isn’t it romantic does not have that dynamic originality that some scream for.  It’s predictable tale is very generic, with obvious plot components being set up minutes into the film, which could have used some deviation. And even funnier, I think that parts of the plot were pushed a little too hasty, which I get is the point of its movie, but still could have had a few extra minutes to offer some of the character building.

  In regards to the comedy, well as clever as it turned out to be there were still times where the usual, modern approach of trying too hard for a laugh came out.  For some of these moments it was the blatant corniness that was too much, less frequently than expected, but capitalizing on that cheese factor when it came out.  Like any Rebel Wilson comedy, there were also times where going too far with a joke or letting a running joke go too long happened again.  This was mainly in regards to the gay sidekick or the new rival (a plot point not really mapped out), which while still funny did at times go stale. Yet, the biggest aspect of the comedy was the Hemsworth curse as I call it, which involves taking the charming, eye candy for the population and turning him into a brainless idiot.  I get it, the genre can do this to people, recognizing again that’s the point of this film, but the Hemsworth character could have actually utilized the charm to have better comedic development than the blatant babbling that came from him. Most probably won’t have this dislike, but for me I would have liked the better character use of him like they did a few other of the counterparts.  And of course, the trailers have hit some key moments and bludgeoned them to death, so… don’t be surprised to remember a third of the movie depending on how much you watched it. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Despite all the predictability, cheesiness, and over the top acting though, Isn’t it Romantic may have been the movie I had the most fun with this week.  The movie makes fun of a series that is sometimes taken too seriously, and the fact that it has some respectable wit to it just proves that you can find some balance in the comedy genre.  That fun atmosphere was perfectly timed with the holiday, and really is a film that friends, couples, even singles can enjoy in the approach they took.  I’d say that while it lacks a lot of the theater quality effects (e.g. special effects, a booming soundtrack, and thunderous sound effect), it still accomplishes being able to get lost into the film and make for a fun time worthy of hitting the theater.  Therefore, I’d say to hit this one up in the week and have some fun like I did. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Fantasy/Romance: 7.5

Movie Overall:  6.0

A Second Act Of Recycle J-Lo Plots

Second Act Poster

 

Welcome to the abbreviated reviews of Robbie K reviews. Today we hit the latest romantic comedy to storm the sea of cinema for the holiday season.  In this world of increasing competition and unequal opportunity, is there a way for one to climb the ladder of success despite not taking the same choices others did?  That’s what this film’s motif is all about as I review the latest Rom com/Chick Flick entitled:

 

Director:

Peter Segal

Writers:

Justin ZackhamElaine Goldsmith-Thomas

Stars:

Jennifer LopezVanessa HudgensLeah Remini

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Good Chemistry
  • Use of A Majority of the Characters
  • Fun Approach that isn’t mushy
  • Good Life Lessons
  • Jennifer Lopez’s style
  • Pace

 

Summary:  Second Act’s strengths lie in how well it uses its characters to tell the stories it wants to show.  Lopez and Hudgens are a fantastic duo, whose energy feeds well off of each other and provides the solid relationship the movie flourishes off of. As the other secondary and tertiary characters hover around the rivalry, it opens the gates past the typical rom com and instead makes it a very fun film where each character helps to bring the life lessons to bear, and mostly staying relevant to the story. Utilizing a quick pace and bypassing a majority of the stereotypical mushy themes and going for a stronger moral based theme that is a little closer in representing life, Second Act really brings that girls night out fun/date night film that will hopefully appeal to more fans.  In addition, Lopez still always has that stylish flare that makes her incredible, bring the poise and prowess despite the role she was directed to play.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Cannibalized plots of J-Lo Movies Past
  • Plot points rushed over or lacking build
  • Predictable
  • The Boyfriend semi-pointless
  • Forced Comedy at Times

 

Summary: Second Act may be fun and quick, but it’s originality is lacking which may take away from the audience.  Previous J-Lo films have been ripped apart put together in this mosaic of references that are decently intertwined.  As a result, many of the plots are only semi developed, a few trying to have built, but then revealed in a very calm demeanor.  Sure there is some emotional bond to it, but the rushed approach to  many of these predictable story lines denies the satisfying plot telling her previous movies had done super well on.  Perhaps the weakest of the stories for me was the boyfriend element, to which that particular cast member Milo Ventimiglia, has been promoting on the various talk shows, did little to advance the movie.  His integration into the film is very thin, offering little emotional turmoil, or any real character development, which was a missed shot. Finally, some of the comedic antics are beautifully executed, but for others it’s another example of jamming the stockings with as much comedy gimmicks as you can.  These moments did not do it as much for me or the audience, and could have been focused on developing the plot more.  Oh well cute jokes are the lifeblood of comedy these days.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, the movie is exactly what the trailer promised, fun, simple minded comedy that is just a nice break from the big budget films that are super popular.  While certainly entertaining at times due to the great acting chemistry, character usage, and Jennifer Lopez’s style classing it up, the movie still fails to drop the same quality he earlier films did.  Too many unoriginal, predictable plots we’ve seen done better plague this film, and with the rushed storytelling, it felt this was a mini-series that could have been executed better in episodic telling of TV and Netflix specials. Still, definitely a good group night out or date movie, but best reserved in the comforts of your home. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Romance:  6.0-6.5

Movie Overall: 4.5-5.0

Killing Me Softly With It’s Plot

Widows Poster

 

Another Friday night, another chance to review movies.  Tonight we move away from the fantasy and drop into a more realistic film that hopes to be a dive into a more realistic setting for us to enjoy.  With a major cast to lead the way, tonight’s movie from the trailers seemed to suggest an exciting crime drama, that would hopefully bring some edge to this weekend. Yet what lies in store behind the trailer?  That’s where yours truly comes in to give you the information on the latest movie to hit the silver screen.  Let’s get started as Robbie K reviews:

 

Movie: Widows (2018)

Director:

Steve McQueen

Writers:

Gillian Flynn (screenplay by), Steve McQueen(screenplay by)

Stars:

Viola DavisMichelle RodriguezElizabeth Debicki

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  Right out of the gate we need to highlight how epic the acting is in this smorgasbord of actors and actresses.  Davis is the biggest one highlighted, once more proving herself as a queen of the crime/drama franchise.  Her tone, her poise, her deadly look are all perfect for this emotionally intense role of the character facing both internal and external demons that torture her.  With Rodriguez, she’s a watered-down version of Letty from the Fast And The Furious, aggressive, sullen, and assertive to the point of being monotone.  As for Debicki, stunningly beautiful, fashionable of the bunch, and a wonderful moral compass that the group sort of need in their quest for moving on.  Other characters play their parts well as the secondary characters, each adding that dab of crime noir magic that leads to the political story at hand.

 

Realism:  I can appreciate a good realistic movie when it goes to crafting a story in this genre.  Widows forgoes the fantasy and fiction, to instead bring about realistic issues that are hot areas of interest in the political world.  Integrating these issues into the girls backstories and further layering the story with other social struggles, will make a setting that those in love with crime dramas soak up.  As such, Widows is all about bringing that relevance to the audience, hoping to lure the audience in and help develop the relationships of this character centric story. Be ready for that component to be the driving line of the movie, because it is a strong, strong factor.

 

The Style: primarily in Elizabeth’s character, the clothes are certainly stylish with our cast of future crime committers.  While not quite matching the style of the Ocean’s 8 squad, the widows have their fair share of clothing to dazzle and delight the audience, or at least make you envy the world of high money.

 

The Twists:  The story is very character heav as mentioned before, and with it comes the ability to bring some interesting surprises at hand. Widows has a few very good twists that are time superbly and open the gates for more drama to make the soap operas have a run for their money.  Not the most mind-blowing mind you, but an applause at the surprises in store for this film.

 

The Dog:  A cute little puppy graces much of the film, and its adorable face serves to relieve the darker tones established in this movie. Widows cute little mascot was my favorite character, and while there is little else this animal serves for, I still like to mention the little pet.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Character Skewing: The movie was supposed to be about the girls all being involved in this plan to pay off their debt and hopefully change their lives.  Viola Davis character is again the central character, getting such wonderful looks into her life and by far having the most detail in her life. Sadly, that’s where things start to go awry for me.  The rest of the characters stories are surprisingly linear, shallow tales that we only get a peek into often in very dry dialogue.  Other characters are caught up in political shout outs, not really impressive in that display outside of trying to get a house of cards flow going. 

 

The Lack Of Action: If you saw the trailers, you might have been hoping for a little stimulation in this movie as most crime movie have.  Well, the synopsis didn’t lie, it certainly is not the usual rime story in this film. Widows decides to deviate from the usual plot, plan, and execute said plan for that drama/romance aspect.  If you wanted a break, and the focus on such aspects than this is the film for you.  Yet, if you saw the trailer like I did and wanted a little more traditional suspense into the film, that is where the movie failed for me.  Without those moments of planning and showing the aim of the mission overall, this movie sort of aimlessly bumbled around feeling stuck in an ever-ongoing game of relationship pong.

 

The Pace:  The result of this focus on romance/relationships leads to a much slower movie, that drags on and on.  Without more exciting moments to break open the convoluted, character thick plot, I had to fight some sleep against the molasses movement, and hope that there were enough twists to keep me guessing.  Sadly, Widows didn’t have quite enough excitement to knock the excitement into me, though I did manage to stay awake for it.

 

The Rushed Plot: While I said the move rocks on focusing on characters, it does not mean that it was the best story to grace the silver screen.  Widows story threw so many hints for a number of the characters, making a point to painstakingly show off each woman’s response to the funeral and tease at some potential deep stories.  Instead, much of the details are skimped around, leaving only hints and small revelations that don’t work quite well. In addition, many of these plot points are kind of randomly dropped in, almost as if they were a second thought that had to be hastily integrated into the film.  Most of these really didn’t add much to the film, again requiring more details and build up to really mean something.

 

Too Many Things:  The movie I think tried to do too much with its direction, trying to figure out which aspect it wanted to highlight over others.  Political wise, the movie definitely sails to new horizons to bring with it some valuable food for thought that future generations can discuss.  However, in terms of entertainment, romance, and crime I feel the movie couldn’t accomplish this.  Much of this has to do with too many characters and subplots rolling around the screen and trying to keep each one in check.  Corrupt politicians, a heated race for some position, more deals, etc. there are so many micro tales going it is not very easy or entertaining to watch.  As such, this confusing storm of plots leads you wanting a little better completion, and more so, better editing to cut through the chaotic string jungle this plot stays on. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, Widows gets props for the realistic, originality it holds in regards to this category.  A wonderful crew was cast for this, but I don’t think that everyone was used equally and to their full potential.  The movie has a lot of plots to choose to follow, but much of their filling is very thin, skimpy on details that needed much more refining to help deliver all it wanted.  Throw in that some action and suspense needed to be integrated and you could have had a much better  movie overall. As such, the movie is not for most audience members, and I implore the people to wait for this one instead of flocking to the theater.

 

My scores are:

 

Crime/Drama/Romance: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0