Fun, Friendly, and Family Make It Feel Like Home

Home again

 

Not in the mood for scares this weekend?  No problem, Hollywood has got you non-horror movie goers covered with another romantic comedy.  This weekend, the legendary Reese Witherspoon stars in another Hallie Meyers-Shyer work, in hopes of tickling your romantic fantasy on a less risqué scale. Robbie K back again with another movie review on Home Again.  Will this film be another mundane addition to her lineup, or do we perhaps have something special with this flick?  Let’s get started to answer that question, shall we?

 

LIKES:

 

Charming/Cute:  Like her works in the past, Meyers-Shyer has done a fantastic job building an adorable world/situation for our characters to play in.  No major tension, violence, or heart-stopping shock moments, exist in this movie.  Instead it is just a simple tale that will pull at your heartstrings while portraying those romantic morals many wish to see.  Such a positive atmosphere certainly offsets the horror atmosphere of the other movie most likely to be in your theater.

 

FunWith that positive atmosphere comes a fun movie, filled with small sequences that are wholesome, innocent, and surprisingly entertaining.  Like a Hallmark Movie on steroids, Home Again takes on plenty of life lessons that are tested against the modern society trends today.  Loyalty, romance, job work, responsibility, and child rearing are just some of the things you’ll get in this movie.  And while tasteful, and certainly predictable, the journey to addressing the obstructions in our character’s life brings about some simplistic laughs, a plethora of smiles, and a few tears for whose hearts are warmed by Meyer-Shyer’s writing.

 

Acting:  Despite what some say, I found the acting okay and well-fitting given the environment of the movie.  Witherspoon herself felt very natural in the role of a single mom looking to find herself again.  She brought great energy to the film, all while keeping herself grounded amidst the chaos of all the relationships.  The kids were an adorable addition, each playing their parts well to offset the romantic drama loaded into this film.  I particular liked the older daughter story and how it integrated a different side of the guys to help solve a different problem.  Speaking of the guys all three “eligible” bachelors were decent in playing their assigned roles, from younger brother bringing peace, to the stud that caught Reese’s eyes.  Of all them, Jon Rudnitsky was my favorite and the most dynamic of the characters being integrated into the film.  A nice blend of comedy and drama, Jon’s character kept the characters well integrated into the mix.

 

The short run time:  A predictable tale like this can get old, fast.  Fortunately, they had the foresight to cut this movie to the shorter end, telling the tale in enough details to get the job done.  A plus on my side, though many may feel robbed of a full story they pine for given her past films.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Rushed elements: Despite the short time being a nice gift, Home Again’s brisk pace leaves some key development scrounging for a rebound.  So much potential to really give more layers to the movie, and perhaps get a few engaging story lines out of the mix would have been the better route. Especially when it came to the challenges at hand.

 

No major obstacle:  Home Again felt like a movie with little struggle, few challenges, and in all honesty a lackluster tale all in all.  It played a little too close to home and left me just milling about as the problems seemed to iron themselves away. With all the complicated relationships crammed into this tale, one would expect a little more resistance from the awkward shuffling this cast played.  Even most Hallmark movies push back more than this film did before they get to that mushy-gushy ending that millions fall in love with.  Perhaps a larger challenge might have made for more engaging characters and a feeling of accomplishment.

 

Characters:  Sure they are charming, cute, admirable, and responsible in many ways, but I have to face the facts… the characters are rather one dimensional.  The actors did well with what they were given, but much of the movie’s puppets were a bit boring to me. Much of my fellow audience members like their physical appearances the most, but this reviewer had difficulties attaching to them because of their stunted growth.  Even Reese’s character seemed a bit dull, caught in a whirlwind of indecision before suddenly flipping sides.  Even worse, the characters (like the plot) were predictable, further dulling the film’s entertainment value.

 

Little Candice Bergen:  When you sell Murphy Brown in the trailers, I hope to get more of the spunky actress.  Not the case, as Bergen is reduced to a few nugget lines of dialog that is lost in the “romantic” tide.  Had she been integrated into the movie, I have no doubt the characters could have grown stronger with her pushing Reese’s character to better herself.

 

The VERDICT:

 

While certainly cute, Home Again was a bit too simplistic for my tastes, missing the potential to be one of the better romantic comedies.  A rushed story with limited character growth, no real obstacles to keep you engaged, and some missed comedic elements doesn’t bode well for this predictable tale.  However, it is still a fun, feel good movie that will do its job of entertaining target audiences with eye candy, simplistic laughs, and an overall warm your cardiac pump moment that will make you feel good at the end of the day.  Not a bad feeling, but not worth the inflated movie ticket price. 

 

My scores:

 

Comedy/Drama/Romance:  7.0

Movie Overall: 5.5

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Everything You Have Seen Before

everything

 

Coming of age movies have come in a variety of styles, packages, and of course quality. While the number of generational novels (and subsequent movies) have increased over the decades, their quality has decreased for many, lost to the gimmick of modern, superficial entertainment it has become. And so here comes yet another addition to the teenage book movie collection Everything, Everything! Interesting title aside, I must admit I didn’t have high hopes for this movie, but nevertheless I’m back in the theater to give you the thoughts on yet another film.  Let’s get it on…figuratively that is.

 

LIKES

  • Good pace
  • Great chemistry
  • Realistic, not annoying
  • Twist

 

Summary:  Okay, when it comes to love stories…we know I find the pace to be slow and often boring, (yes, I’m a robot). However, in Everything, Everything, that trend was finally broken.  No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you my friends, you read right.  Everything, Everything keeps the pace moving, making sure to bring prompt, concise introductions and dive right into the story at hand. No this doesn’t mean they skip over too many things (admit haven’t read the story), but it keeps the adventure going, all while maintaining the romance involved.

What helped accomplish this?  In all honesty, I think it was the chemistry that made the movie, with the two stars Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson having a fantastic relationship with each other.  They play off each other’s emotions, seem to like working with other, and maximize the energy they bring to the screen.  It’s like they are actually in love with each other, or at least friends, and that sold the relationship/story for me.  An added bonus is that the relationship felt like a real example of a developing relationship, forgoing the cheap antics of cheesy love that most romantic comedies choose.  They weren’t instantly soul mates or magically destined to succeed.  So, nice to see that portrayed every once in a while.

Yet the main thing that sunk me into the tale was the twist in the story.  It takes a lot to surprise me in movies (I’ve seen so many after all), but this movie was able to covertly hide some nuances that seemed inconsistent were instead hints at what was to come.  While it took place a little late, it really brought the film to full circle and ended the film with a powerful finale.  Nice job my friends… nice job.

 

DISLIKES

  • A slow abridged start
  • A few overacted moments
  • Some odd directions
  • Dropped characters
  • Uniqueness is kind of missing

 

Summary:  I know what you’re thinking, you’re contradicting yourself again.  Hear me out, overall the pace worked for me, but the opening took a little time to take off the ground. The introduction was a little dragged out and slow, merely a compellation of moping scenes with a monologue overlapping to explain the abridged, somewhat underdeveloped details. 

In addition, the movie takes some odd turns in the film, going into some pointless tangents that were odder than anything.  A common metaphor is the astronaut to which she compares her life to, a symbol of being a long individual stuck in the vast, empty void.  Cool symbolism, but it gets lost in these trippy side arcs of the astronaut trying to do mundane tasks in the background while our characters act out their text messages.  I’m guessing it was trying to be funny, but this weirdness was an unneeded distraction that did little but make me think some drugs could have been involved.  Well that and helping distract from some of the more overacted moments. Despite a rich chemistry between each other, there were times that reaction failed to activated, leading too some flat attempts at get tears going.  Fortunately, these eye rolling moments were kept to a minimum.

And while the story was good overall for me, there are still a few other flaws that hit me.  First of all, the trailers spent some time building up a few characters (such as the nurse and for a while the mother), only for them to drop them out of the picture for a long while.  Why the dropped story?  Why the potential for a little emotional build up to really kick things up?  Probably for more kissing and declarations of love I suppose.  Still they cheated us out of some good character interactions, leaving us to explore those components by reading the book.  How dare they!

This brings me to the last dislike, the lack of uniqueness.  Despite the twists, surprises and decent pace, Everything, Everything still lacks that unique touch that we all still look for.  It has all the familiar elements of this genre, with little deviation and originality to compliment on.  If this familiarity is what you want, then great, because that comfort is present in the movie.  However, if you are looking for something with a little more pizazz and originality… then you will want to move along.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Despite lacking originality, this reviewer is pleased to see a quality coming of age movie hit the theaters this weekend.  Everything, Everything certainly has everything you want in a teenage chick flick with a decent pace, good acting chemistry, and a nice twist to spruce things up.  Yet it still is that familiar story of love Hollywood likes and lacks a lot of theater worthy elements that make it worth the admission price.  Therefore, I can recommend this movie for a visit if you’re looking for a good book movie, but I still recommend waiting for Redbox to see this film. 

 

My score is:

 

Drama/Romance: 8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

Darker, Sexier,Deeper Story. Still Requires Some Work

darker

Robbie K here, and I’m back to bring you yet another movie review on the latest movie theater “hits.”  No doubt that many are ready for the mass advertised Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to the literary work that “graced” the world so long ago.  Despite how badly the first installment did, Hollywood is taking another shot at the series.  Is this thing up to the test?  Or is it just a plain, dirty dream filling, mess.  As always, I’m going to do my best to put bias aside (unlike some reviews) and give you some insight into this flick.  Let’s go

 

LIKES

  • Still Tasteful…mostly
  • Story a little better
  • Surprisingly funny at time
  • Soundtrack Still Kicking

 

Summary:  While I’m not the biggest fan of the Fifty Shades series, this reviewer has to recognize the pressure placed on the directors for this series.  For me, I think they did a nice job keeping the movie tasteful while indulging in some of the…sexier qualities of the film.  Although supposedly darker, the movie keeps most of the steamy scenes in decent detail without crossing into porn threshold, except the last scene…nothing tasteful about that.

But when the actors aren’t trying to sell the sex, the story that tries to give it purpose starts to emerge.  While certainly not the strongest story, Fifty Shades Darker is a little more dynamic, bringing some mystery, some drama, and some love to the table.  Those who wanted a little more details to the cast will get their wish, somewhat, and wetting your appetite for the next film.  Amidst all the dramatic moments though are some well-timed comedic moments, often pointing out the ridiculous concepts housed in this series. Yet the best thing, for me at least, was the soundtrack. Once more the music editors have selected/crafted tracks that fit well into the scenes, including a number of songs that will capture the heat of the scene. Was it as good as the first installment?  I don’t think so, but it still does its job.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Story is still lacking
  • No butts about it
  • Extra Characters Lacking
  • Character Development Simplistic
  • Acting still needs improvement

 

Summary: Okay, I’m not ignorant enough to not recognize that a lot of people are going for the “passionate” moments.  But a reviewer looks at the other qualities, including the story.  Despite being better and having more components to it, Darker’s story is still lacking.  Many of the plots promised in the trailer are simplistic at best, often dropping them for another sex scene or sequence of the couple arguing.  The mysterious girl, the blonde dominatrix, and many other tales involving other characters are diluted attempts to add suspense, adding a little suspense and foreshadowing for the next installment before the potential is dropped.  In fact, the only thing really developed to me was the origins of the strange obsession with domination and sadism.  As mentioned earlier, the character development is stronger in this film, but it too didn’t live up to the potential it could have.

 

While their sex life was reaching a climax, their backstories barely moved from baseline, other than a few flashes of sad origins and some insight explaining their approach to love.  For many this won’t be an issue, because it gives some more time for spicy antics, overdramatic quarrels, and plenty of butt and breast shots for audiences to absorb.  Yes, you get plenty of the eye candy in this film, which helps cover up the work in progress acting.  If I’m not mistaken, both leading roles are awkward, reserved, and have some traumatic history.  However, this does not provide an excuse for sloppy line delivering, creepy staring, and using grunts and sighs as space fillers.  I wasn’t the most thrilled with either leads’ performance in the movie, outside of being able to do it on the screen (they seem to have that down pat).

 

The VERDICT:

 

Overall Fifty Shades Darker delivers what was promised, steamy scenes interlaced with the romantic drama that is enjoyed by so many.  I think it still held some taste, mixing the sex with a story that provides the entertainment most will be looking for.  Can it match to the picture your imagination patient when reading?  No, because Hollywood doesn’t have an unlimited budget and has rules to abide. But it does its best to provide what many craved.  Yet not even sex can make up for the limitations in acting, detailed story, and character development that goes beneath the skin.  I’m sure my review will not stop fans from trekking to the theater, but this reviewer can’t recommend this one for the theater, unless you just want to see the sex on a massive screen.  Yet, it also doesn’t deserve the worst score, because it delivers what I think it promises, though not all the way.  Oh, and make sure to stay for the credits for a teaser that really is a tease.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Romance:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

 

 

All Aboard For Interstellar Love and Visuals

passengers

 

Space! The final frontier…and the setting for so many movies in this day and age.  Welcome to another Robbie K movie review.  Tonight’s focus is on Passengers starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as they voyage the stars in a pretty cool (albeit odd) looking ship.  Based on the trailers this science fiction adventure looks to have romance, drama and mystery, but is this the case?  Can these two mega stars bring a love story to life?  As always read on to hear my take on Passengers!

 

LIKES:

  • Fantastic Acting
  • The love story component
  • Beautiful visuals
  • Beautiful score

 

No surprise here, the acting is one of the leading components in this movie.  Jennifer Lawrence’s edgy mood is very welcome in this setting, painting a character that is vulnerable yet strong when faced with the dilemmas. Her emotions are so well-balanced in this film, painting a realistic character that many will anchor too.  Yes, her cracking voice is getting a little stale, and she is playing similar characters, but it works so well.  As for Pratt, again the man impresses me with dynamic characters. Pratt substitutes his normally silly persona for a more serious nature, and it works well.  He sells his idolization of companionship, radiates misery from the isolation and betrayal, and still manages to come off heroic at parts.  And the chemistry between these two is a reaction gone well.  Pratt and Lawrence sell their passion for one another, almost as if they are actually in love with each other. Not easy considering Hollywood relationships these days.

Speaking of the love story, Passengers’ strongest story component has to be the relationship of the characters.  It’s a very dramatic tale packed with emotion that fluctuates between blissful happiness and heartbreaking revelations.  As stated, the actors’ chemistry helps sell the story, but the writers did a nice job designing this tale to be not only passionate, but believable.  Yes, my friends, Passengers isn’t a Nicholas Sparks fairy tale, but actually highlights the work involved with a relationship, nice work guys.  And for those who want passionate love making scenes, it’s got a few to spice up the film, but not so much to fall into the overdone (or pornographic realms).  Well done guys, well done!

Yet my favorite component has to be the beautiful visuals and music score that was designed for this film.  Hollywood certainly knows how to create eccentric looking ships on the outside, but seldom do they create a large world within.  The attention to detail is astonishing, each section meticulously designed to fit with the theme of the station. Even the engineering components have a logical explanation in regards to their purpose in the ship.  And these settings are further amplified by the orchestral score that accompanies it.  While many symphony tracks sound the same, Passengers adds a little something to help it stand out, especially during the spacewalk scenes where the music established both the beauty and spirit of adventure.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Slow at the beginning
  • No mystery
  • The science fiction dilemma is semi rushed
  • Fourth character almost unnecessary

 

We know some movies take time to build steam, but Passengers certainly struggles to get its ion drives going.  The opening sequences are devoid of any edge, serving to introduce the ship and the dilemma involving one of our characters.  However, this montage probably could have been cut down a bit to get to the exciting parts of the story (and cut down on the run time).  In addition, the boring opening could be due to the lack of the mystery.  Despite the teaser line put in the trailer, you’ll get 95% of the answers in the first twenty minutes of the film.  I had so looked forward to uncovering a conspiracy regarding their abrupt waking, but sadly the explanations are lackluster. The only mystery that remains is the technical explanations for what happens, which most viewers will not give a darn about.

In regards to the science fiction component, Passengers is both good and bad in this category.  The good is the ship, the technical jargon, and the looming threat of insanity in the void of space.  However, the bad far overshadows the good for me.  Passengers dilemma starts out pretty low key and remains low key for much of the film. Then at the drop of a hat things escalate to danger levels in mere minutes, a solution comes even faster, and the resolve is predictable and quite corny at parts.  Even the introduction of a fourth character played by Lawrence Fishburne can’t save the rushed plot development.  Fishburne’s role is touching at points, but the writers diluted his role to merely providing quick answers and a trinket to get the job done.  Such a shame that the mystery and dilemma could not have shined like the love story.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Passengers surprised me by how much I enjoyed watching the movie.  While a bit slow at the beginning, I enjoyed the love story and sense of adventure our characters shared as they hurtled through space.  In addition, the beautiful visuals and strong attention to detail further impressed me, designing a set worthy of special effects awards at the Oscars.  Outside the love story though, I was disappointed with the lack of mystery and rushed dilemma they placed in this movie.  For once, I think the movie needed to be longer, to help make a more suspenseful film and get a little more kick to the relationship.  This film is worth a scope for romantic audiences and those who like beautiful visuals.  However, in regards to story over all, save this one home viewing. 

 

My scores are:

Adventure/Drama/Romance:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Pitt and Cotillard are an Emotionally Fulfilling Allied Pair

allied

            Robbie K back again to bring you another movie review.  This morning we discuss the latest “Thriller” called Allied starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.  Based on the trailers, this movie was supposed to be the best Thriller of the year, but we know advertisements can hype things up every once in a while.  As always, I’m here to share my thoughts and help guide your movie watching preferences.  Let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

  • The recreation of World War 2 era
  • Acting Chemistry
  • Emotionally powerful

I always love when Hollywood use their budgets to design a breathtaking setting. Allied’s production team accomplishes the goal of recreating a World War 2 era European theater that drops you back in time to the culture of the 1940s. For historical buffs, you’ll enjoy the atmosphere the various settings the cast has selected for you, many of which establish the romantic atmosphere and amp up the emotion. Watching how spies worked without our modern technology was kind of cool, especially the intelligence involved in uncovering enemy secrets.  It’s beautiful, it’s intelligent, and it’s kind of cool.

However, not everyone goes to a movie for a good setting, but perhaps you go to ogle/appreciate your favorite actor/actress. Well Allied has you covered on this movie as well. Brad Pitt, despite all the media, portrays the spy quite well bringing elegance, distraught and romance to his role. Marion Cotillard has a little more diversity in her character having to play suave, sophistication, love, and suspicion all in one package. While alone these two are solid, the true magic is in their chemistry. These two sold it to me that they were in real love, not that fake, overacted bologna you see in most films.  There tears, the way they presented the dialogue, and even the physical act was convincing that these two had the hots for each other.  Fans looking for a powerful film about love and testing the borders of trust are going to love the emotionally packed climaxes. I can’t say much more without ruining the twists so let’s move on, shall we?

 

DISLIKES:

  • Not that exciting/thrilling
  • Slow

The biggest dislike for me is that for a Thriller this movie wasn’t that thrilling to this reviewer.  When seeing the trailers, the editors portrayed deep mystery, involving Pitt trying to uncover his wife’s secrets without leading her on.  I expected scenes of intense snooping where he is nearly discovered, or a convoluted plan to help catch the rat in the line of work. Hate to ruin this for you, but it wasn’t anything like that for me.  The plan is very simple (though realistic) and takes little effort from Pitt to execute.  This boring approach sets up a three-day time limit in an effort add a little more flare to the heated emotion.  While this is good in terms of character development, it is disappointing to not see the potential of the trailers unleashed in this movie, especially as we have lacked a good spy film in quite some time. And as for the action component of this film, this too is realistic, but also simplified into a few heated bouts that you have seen in the trailers.

As you can guess, the lack of suspense  makes this movie a bit slow. This was especially true in the scenes where everyone was talking in technical jargon to sound like a spy, which sometimes came off corny rather than inspiring. On a minor tangent, the use of subtitles was a little inconsistent, so brush up on your French if you want to understand the entire dialogue of the film.  I found myself fighting sleep in a few of these drier moments, actually hoping for more romance and family scenes to relieve me of these sometimes-unnecessary moments. Of course, if I’m really wishing for something, I wished that there was more action integrated into the mix as well, but no surprise from me right.

 

The VERDICT:

Allied certainly is one of the better romantic movies I’ve seen in a while.  It’s plot and great acting supports the portrayal of true love, and the extremes you’ll go to protect it.  Our directors certainly hit the mark in portraying the madness involved with deciding loyalty to your country over your wife.  Unfortunately, they misunderstood the word “thrill” in Thriller and took out the suspense and edge the trailers painted. So, is it worth a trip to the theater?  For the acting and romantic crowd, yes I think it is, but as a whole this movie is better left to RedBox rentals in my opinion.  My scores are:

 

Action/Drama/Romance:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

 

Baking This Bun Is Fun: Comedy Meets Romance

bridget-jones-3

            We all love a good love story in one form or another. Whether it takes the form of a realistic relationship or drops into the make believe perfection of a Nicholas Sparks movie, Hollywood is happy to play on affection for entertainment. And this weekend another sequel attempts to make us oooh and ahh only this time adding a little “bump” in the road. I speak of Bridget Jones’ Baby, the latest installment in the single woman’s legacy starring Renee Zellweger and her lovely ensemble. So let’s get started shall we?

 

Likes:

  • Surprisingly witty comedy
  • Acting chemistry
  • Well paced plot

I can’t lie that I went into this movie with low expectations, after all it’s been 15 years since the last movie and a lot can change. However, age hasn’t stopped our writers from placing some clever comedy in the 2-hour runtime. The dialogue has plenty of quips thrown at our cast, meant to poke fun at our characters quirks and qualities. In addition, our characters throw jabs at various movements, popular trends, and media ploys that prove just how ridiculous we humans can be. But the laughs are not limited to just dialogue. Bridget Jones tale is filled with situational awkwardness, a well-designed soundtrack to mirror scenes, and a little slapstick to liven things up. A majority of the comedy has wit and timing to maximize laughs, but there are plenty of stupid moments that are good for a quick chuckle.

Writing aside, the three actors played their characters extraordinarily well and certainly brought the words to life. Renee Zellweger reprises her role as the single spinster transitioning into a new role, managing to bring all of Bridget’s qualities out of storage while evolving her character. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is yet another notch in the stuffy, English gentleman belt that he still plays fantastically even after the tenth reiteration. And newcomer Patrick Dempsey is a welcome addition to the world, bringing a new twist on the more fun side of life that Hugh Grant once played. These three certainly play well together, able to form a reverse Archie Comics love triangle that so many will love.

In regards to the plot, again I was surprised by how much I wasn’t annoyed by this love story. We know many romance tales are about drawing out the drama because our characters are too shy to commence their feelings until some episode, usually alcohol, leads to sex and the tension breaking. Not the case for this film, as our crew was able to cram so much romance into a short running time and keep the plot moving that it was entertaining to watch. Nice job guys!

 

Dislikes:

  • Very Formulaic at times
  • Sometimes a bit too preachy and silly.

 

I’m probably going to be berated on this, but Bridget Jones still follows the formulaic, love ritual that the genre has become. Much of the story is predictable, with our cast of characters falling into the typical pitfalls and romantic gestures that audiences continue to eat up. You can see the ending coming a mile away at whom she will choose and I only hoped I was wrong so I could be surprised. In addition, the jokes sometimes do get predictable and lost their punch for me (not the case for a lot of the audience). Oh well at least it is safe for fans of the series and will certainly deliver the expected. Still I was hoping for a little more twist to the familiar tale.

Another dislike for me was the preachiness of the film at times. I’m all for the revolutionary movements (e.g. equal rights, kindness towards others, and single moms) but to have my face smeared in over aggressive montages takes away from the magic for me. My least favorite moments involved Bridget’s mother, because it was forced comedy focused on pointing out how different certain people were. Come on people, put the message in the movie without making a spectacle of it, we know that’s not the most constructive means. In addition, the whole you can do it as a single mom was kind of pointless in this movie as she continued to pine over her two suitors without much hesitation. If you are again going to take extreme measures about promoting an image, follow through with it please. Regardless, the grandiosity of the movie wasn’t my favorite aspect at times, but the comedy was able to dilute some of it.

 

The Verdict:

            Overall, I’m happy to say that Bridge Jones’ Baby was one of the more enjoyable romantic comedies I have seen in a while. The comedy is by far the best part of this, and although raunchy and stupid at times, is dynamic and fun to say the least. In addition the chemistry of the actors alongside the fast moving plot only further enhances the fun of this adventure. But again it is formulaic and overly preachy at times, much of which is geared toward the intended audience that was often eye -rolling to me. Worth a trip to the theater? I have to say yes this a movie worth the price for how much fun it is, especially for fans of the series, middle-aged women and older, or those who appreciate feminine comedy. Otherwise catch this one on RedBox when it hits bins in a few months.

 

My scores are:

Comedy/Romance: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

Great Acting Brings Light Between Lots of Crying

Light Between

            The Light Between Oceans, one of the more artistic movie titles we’ve had in a long time. This weekend we get to see the visual representation of this novel that looks to join the ranks of emotional tear jerker films such as the Notebook or Up.  Robbie K is back again to give you some insight into another film. So relax, grab a drink and get read up on my thoughts.

 

LIKES:

  • The acting
  • The portrayal of love
  • Well written

 

If you’ve read the book, you know this tale doesn’t have much in terms of excitement, action, or special effects.  So a story like this requires top notch acting to even begin to be engaging to the masses.  Fortunately, they succeeded in gathering quite a crew starting with the incredibly talented Michael Fassbender to lead the way. As always Fassbender’s acting skills are incredible, managing to take an monotone role and breathe life into it. It helps he had a likeable character, but Fassbender’s ability to make you feel his character’s torment is something I always appreciate to see.  Alicia Vikander is also on her A game, managing to portray her suffering as if she were actually experiencing the trouble at hand. Together the two are even stronger, crafting a relationship that is believable and further pushing their acting to the next level. As for Rachel Weisz, she does a good job too, her role is more limited than I expected though and therefore was disappointing for me.

A second like is how the love was portrayed in this story. Unlike the fictional relationships in romantic comedies, dramas, and Nicholas Sparks films, this love is believable. It forgoes the cheesy dialogues, overdramatic antics, and fake superficial features and decides to actually dive into the deeper qualities. You see the relationship grow, helping the characters to mature and develop as life handles them the challenges at hand. It’s a relationship that is very dynamic and constantly teetering on falling as the secret of their daughter’s origins becomes deeper.  Therefore this reviewer gives kudos to the writers for designing a plot that held an engaging romance and a little tension to keep you suckered in.  You’ve done the world a favor by speaking the truth about love.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Alicia Vikander’s character
  • Rachel Weisz’s limited role
  • A bit overdramatic at times
  • Boring at parts

 

I know I’m going to get a lot of guff for this, but my biggest dislike starts with Vikander’s character Isabelle.  Her character’s going through a lot, this I get, but the way they took her was more overbearing with each passing second.  In addition to the whole thing being her idea, her desperation to keep the lie going grows to epic proportions and drops her in the realm of soap opera theatrics. Yes, probably makes me seem like an unemotional robot or a jerk, but when you take such a strong character and turn her into a mess. Oh well, I guess it’s part of the character growing process.

And perhaps all of this could have been balanced if the other part of the conflict had a more engaging role in the picture. Rachel Weisz is one of my favorite actresses and I was hoping that the “ocean” she represented would have had more bite to her.  Despite the trailers painting the picture she would be ferociously hunting for her child, her character Hannah is much more passive and relies on short sequences of reporting to the police to do her workWhile she certainly packed some emotional punch in her fleeting moments and brought the more soul fulfilling morals to the screen, the lack of conflict made much of this ordeal less exciting a.k.a boring.

But why bring more of Rachel’s character into the mix when we can instead put in more montages of character’s crying and looking upset.  As I stated before, the Light Between Two Oceans packs a lot of emotional punch, and much of this involves depressing you with watching human suffering unfold on screen.  I guess this is to build up to the light guiding you back to happiness, but still the overdramatic moments got annoying for me. Again I apologize if I am perceived as an emotionless robot.

 

The VERDICT:

Despite some of the annoying tendencies, the overuse of crying shots, and boring components of the film, this film actually was pretty good for me.  Any movie that can make a realistic love story, provide strong character development, and deliver the feeling filled punch gets props in my book.  This reviewer certainly thinks this film will have nominations in the best actor, actress, and adapted screenplay, as the quality of these components is that good.  However, it certainly isn’t the ideal movie for many audience groups in this modern time.  The target audience, based on my showing, seems to be older audience members and couples who like parental stories.  Is it worth a trip to the theater?  In terms of new movies this weekend, yes it is (from the two movies I was able to see). However, I suggest you hold out on this one and enjoy it in your own home. 

My scores are:

Drama/Romance: 7.5-8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5