I Still Believe In Balanced Religion Movies

I Still Believe Poster

 

Religion is a touchy subject to many out there in the world, especially given politics of today and the verbal sharing of the world.  Yet, there is something inspirational in the stories that are told and the miracles they can bring in their messages .  Tonight is another one of those movies that hopes to bring the word of the Lord to life, in a format that’s slightly more modern than the bible they are based on.  Yet, the movie sometimes loses its focus when it gets too preachy, and only those are major devotion will enjoy those moments to the max.  Will this latest romance/drama follow suit, or will we be treated to a fun surprise.  Well sit down and enjoy the ride as we hit up:

 

Movie: I Still Believe (2020)

 

Directors:

Andrew ErwinJon Erwin

Writers:

Jon ErwinJon Gunn

Stars:

Britt RobertsonK.J. ApaMelissa Roxburgh

 

 

LIKES:

  • Cute
  • Moves At A Decent Pace
  • Passionate Scenes
  • Cool Display of Miracles
  • Some Of The dialogue
  • The Musical Performances… when they happened

 

DISLIKES:

  • Not Much Story With The Family Or Other Supporting Characters
  • Not many Songs or Length Of Songs
  • Almost Feels Incomplete
  • The Acting at Times Is Very Forced
  • Diluted The Impact Of The Story With limited writing
  • Preachy

 

SUMMARY:

A movie with young romance is often very cute in a movie like this, to which this film succeeds at achieving. The relationship may start at awkward, but eventually evolves into something that is adorable to see unfold, especially at the energy it brings to what can potentially be a depressing movie.  Unlike some other movies, the film manages to keep a good pace, always keeping the romance moving towards what will surely be an intense lesson and minimizing how many tangents these films can sometimes take.  Eventually, the movie crosses a barrier though, and drops into a passionate story that shows you just how much these two people love each other.  From all the acts the guy and girl do for each other, this true story is inspiring to see that there just may be hope for the world at times.  The miracles that come out of the woodwork in this film are also pretty cool as well, displays that no one can expect (unless you read about them) again helping drive you to the faith and salvation that comes with it.  Messages like these are only further emphasized by some amazing writing, which could have been adapted from the live letters the couple donated, that are poetic, heartfelt, and even brings tears to much of the audience.  Finally, the musical moments that show off not only praising, but the talented voices of our actors, helped add a little variety to the mix, my favorite being the beach scene that seemed to culminate the power of music. 

 

However, the movie happens to fail on some other things for me that took away from me from this film.  First, despite this being a movie about coming together in the name of the Lord, the family’s involvement was actually a little limiting. Their impact has its moments, but I felt very disconnected with most of the other members, as the two protagonists danced around their relationship, which I guess is what most go into looking forward.  Now maybe the songs make up for it, after all there are plenty of these films where the music comes in to save the day with a stunning performance.  This movie has one moment to have you lift your arms, but outside of a few numbers, the songs are mostly sound bites and quickened performances that get lost to dialogue.  My friend and I both really could have enjoyed the musical spectacles, but alas they did not put stock in it.  As such, the film feels very incomplete in terms of involvement and integration, a shame given the potential of the film from the trailers.  In terms of acting, they are okay, nothing that blew my mind, but was believable in the moments that counted.  However, the movie feels very forced at times, the dialogue in particular coming off a bit cheesy as the actors try to make the words come to life as the chemistry is developing.  Humorous at times, whether meaning to or not, I was hoping that some better writing or adaptations to the lines could have really stood out (which got better as the movie neared its finish).  It’s not that it’s bad, please don’t take it that way, but compared to other movies… the writing did not really amplify this tale like I expected.  Finally, you know it’s coming, but the movie dives into the realm of being preachy again.  If you are a devoted worshipper, this will not impact you one bit, and though faithful to the word I have to put my bias aside.  There are times where the dialogue is very forced to the written word, going to the preachy side that will make people roll their eyes and potentially turn away from the message at hand.  I’m warning you again to go in expecting this, and if you can filter the… cheesy moments out, the message can still get to you.

 

The VERDICT:

            I Still Believe has the intended audience built into the title as a passionate, religious focused movie that will either make you raise your hands up or roll your eyes at the antics.  A cute relationship with inspiring moments, the movie manages to move at a fast-enough pace to be entertaining, yet focus on those key moments to nail you with the religious prowess that they wanted.  However, the movie sort of leaves out the other characters, primarily their families that I would have thought would have been front and center in the relationship at hand.  In addition, the acting feels forced, the impact of the scenes dwindled down by incomplete storytelling, forced dialogue, and preachy moments that needed a little more magic.  Throw in that for a song singer there are not many songs to get into… and well you may be disappointed by the full-on presentation.  The key demographic is those of heavy faith, for the majesty of God’s words will fill these audience members with renewed energy.  However, this is not my favorite of the worshipping films and I think others are better at delivering the message at hand.  I think this film is best suited for home viewing, unless you can get a church group to go.  My scores for this film are:

 

Drama/Music/Romance:   6.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

A Photograph Best Left For Streaming

 

The Photograph Poster

 

It’s Valentine’s Day and I guess it’s a good idea to put a love story out to try and go with the theme of the holiday.  Today’s last review is all about the latest tale to go over the theme of true love and the drama around it.  A movie less advertised, the few trailers I have seen suggested a potential for a powerful movie.  Will this film live up to demands, or are the trailers making this package a little more appealing than it actually is?  Robbie K coming at you with another look at the movies as he reviews:

 

Movie: The Photograph (2020)

 

Director:

Stella Meghie

Writer:

Stella Meghie

Stars:

LaKeith StanfieldIssa RaeChelsea Peretti

 

 

LIKES:

  • Good Acting
  • The Two stories Presented
  • The Cultural Representation
  • The Music of the Movie
  • Lil Rey Howery character
  • The Short Run Time

 

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Predictable Plot
  • The Weird Transition Points
  • The Incomplete Tales
  • The Forced Moments
  • Boring At Times Due To Slow Pace
  • Artistic Nature Again Supersedes The Entertainment

 

The Summary:

 

Great romance movies rely on great actors and I had fun with the group who took charge of this movie.  While not the most memorable roles and certainly not the Oscar Winning roles, this film’s characters sell a more realistic relationship than the usual fantasy films.  Issa Rae manages to tone down her comedy roots to pull out a good drama story, awkward and testing the waters, yet strong in her ability to take charge of the situations.  Meanwhile LaKeith hits the typical lead role with a little less grandiosity and arrogance, coming off as a laid-back character with good instincts and romantic drive that was fun to watch.  Their chemistry is not the Nicholas Sparks formula, but it made for a fun relationship to watch and see that love does take work.  Okay, so onto the stories, the Photograph has two tales overlaying one another, in a manner trying to help build a suspenseful conclusion and provide background information to tie the modern story together.  It gets points for trying to give past and present tales a chance to foster, especially in some of the secondary characters that are important to the tale.  Yet, this love story seems to make a valid attempt to implement the culture of the ethnic groups and cities this film takes place in.  Unlike, the usual romantic comedy, this film I felt managed to showcase a variety of traditions and responses to the drama at hand.  It somewhat enhances the experience, and helps add some layers to the typical plots these films take, and helps you get immersed into the setting even further. This is particularly true for the music, a nice collaboration of modern-day music, New Orleans Jazz, and a little New York attitude to help further sell the mood of the movie.   It’s these little touches that really help add some atmosphere to the movie and my favorite part of the film overall.  As for my other two likes, Lil Rey Howery works his comedic magic once again, simplistic dialogue and delivery capturing the comedic atmosphere just right and having me in stitches.  In addition a short run time helps to lessen the dislikes I had for this movie, which are coming up.

 

Being a romantic comedy I’ve come to expect the predictable plot and I got it.  The problem is, though artistic, the movie’s presentation does not help take the predictable edge away and thus leads to a bit of a boring tale for yours truly.  The two stories, while decently detailed, have weird transition points back and forth, leading to a haphazard baton pass that does not deliver quite the punch I think they were going for.  In addition, both stories felt a little incomplete for me, having just a few highlights that actually worked to provide character details, while the rest was drama fluff that only bloated the run time and bide the inevitable conclusion. Perhaps, a little more creativity and integration would have strengthened both tales, but a rushed conclusion just did not have that power the buildup was.  In addition, the forced moments of the comedy, romantic interests, and cheesy dialogue did little to add to the story and went back into eye rolling territory for me.  It may be part of the formula for these movies, but after seeing the cultural pizazz this film was doing… I had hoped to see a little more development was needed.  With all this disorganization and predictable story, the movie’s artistic approach sort of supersedes the entertainment aspect that quite honestly was boring at times.  The constant dance around the issues, the lack of creativity to help expand the relationship, or even the missing fun that this genre is known really could have been improved upon to make this film more fun and entertaining.  While artistic nature is always important, when it gets too convoluted to make the film boring is when you lose this reviewer.  Thus, other audience members and I agreed that if you did not relate to the culture, or enjoy the convoluted truncated tales, you might not enjoy this film fully.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The Photograph has intricate pieces that suggest it is going to be a deeper love story that defies the traditional rom com story this genre is famous for.  While it’s got good acting, a unique presentation of two tales, and lots of cultural integration that classes up the act, the movie gets a little lost in the artistic nature that it makes the movie less entertaining.  Truncated plots, rushed finishes and a slower pace did not mix well for me and only extended the run time to a predictable ending was not the way to go for me despite the artistic approach.  The movie needed to mix in a little more of the fun stereotypes that we love in rom com to help offset the more lackluster parts.  A little more focus on design, details, and integration would have helped them get a better movie out of it and have that passionate project they were going for.  Should you go to the movie theater to see it?  The answer for me is no, unless you love a more cultural piece than detailed, complete story.  Otherwise hit this one up in the streaming future. 

 

My Scores are: 

Drama/Romance:  6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Lots Of Fun In Little Time

Little Poster

 

Remixes and twists on classics, Hollywood’s bread and butter to drop lots of movies with each weekend that passes. This weekend that trend continues, as Tom Hanks beloved Big gets reversed to a smaller proportion.  With lots of advertising and the hopes that it will do extremely well this weekend, this comedy looks to be cute and fun for a movie adventure.  So what is in store?  Well Robbie K is back again with yet another review and it is time to see if the latest comedy will keep you laughing or leave you scoffing.  Let’s get started as we review;

 

Movie:  Little (2019)

 

Director:

Tina Gordon (as Tina Gordon Chism)

Writers:

Tracy Oliver (story by), Tina Gordon (as Tina Gordon Chism)

Stars:

Regina HallIssa RaeMarsai Martin

 

 

LIKES:

 

Fun

Cute

Acting

Soundtrack

Morals

 

SUMMARY: The name of the game is fun in this installment.  Little finds a way to relive the magic of Big and help gain a second childhood in the modern-day world.  My friend and I had a blast with the little adventure at hand as both characters tackle the new challenges put before them in the worlds they are forced to face.  The jokes were on point and well timed, keeping in theme with the energy of the movie. Part of this comes from the cute atmosphere established with the writing of this movie, mature enough to hit the older audience, yet still young enough to hit the teenagers and young adult crowd.

 

The acting helps to make this movie pop, Issa Rae works the assistant scene quite well, sass and innocence building together quite well to make a likeable character.  She helps balance out the silliness, yet still add to it in her own manner that breaks up some of the monotony this film chooses to approach.  As for young actress Marsai Martin, she’s got quite a start to the acting career and I look forward to seeing the young girl in future installments.  She’s got the attitude of an adult down pat, sass blending with some comedic relief and childish moments that are quite balanced for a movie like this.  Nevertheless, the chemistry between all cast both primary and secondary groups work well and I quite enjoyed seeing the teamwork bring the characters to life.

 

Yet, part of the fun comes from a killer soundtrack, new and old tracks coming together to capture the feelings of the scenes.  The cultural representation the sound editor picked was extremely awesome, and had me dancing in my seat while also wanting to break out my phone to look up the songs. Even smarter, is that much of the movie’s song sort of emphasize the other part I like of this movie, the morals that are embedded in this film.  Yes, like many movies the morals are preachy and baked right in, but Little finds a way to mesh those lessons into some fun moments that help you enjoy what you are learning. Finding some lessons that are relevant, Little gets props for helping the audience dig deep and look into themselves to find their own abilities.

 

Dislikes:

 

Predictable

Fast

Missed opportunities

Some pointless character introductions

Story points that are limited

Trailers give away much

 

SUMMARY:  Predictable thy name is comedy and Little tries hard to defy the expected jokes and plot lines this movie sets up a mile away. Little’s focus on having fun means using the same tricks to get a laugh and the same means to get to the end of the story.  Rather than leading to a build up, with areas that require intense focus, discovery, and a major push to get better, Little takes the fast approach to getting through the film.  It’s okay, but the movie had a lot of hinted opportunities that showed promise, but then dropped the ball leading to some disappointing moments.  This was especially true with the teacher scenes that the trailers loved to highlight, characters that held potential with their introduction, but reduced to comedic props that didn’t quite pack the kick I think they wanted. Some of the story points as well had the same issues going the same way, hints of fun adventures and the growth of characters that quickly fizzled out.  Finally, the trailers are good at revealing much of the movie and there isn’t too much one needs to see past the highlights they showed.  Little falls victim to showing off too much, leaving little to the imagination outside of some of more engaging dialogue and a few romance scenes.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Little is fun, simple as that, but the movie needs some refining to be the classic that Big was presenting long ago.  This new spin is cute, hits the target audience members well, and does the job of teaching you the important lessons with baked in, heartwarming goodness.  While the movie is funny to so many levels, it is still very predictable and had so many avenues to go down for comedy that they left unfulfilled.  Thus, the potential for going to see in the theaters is lessened by the trailers and lack of finesse that they were going for, and I recommend waiting on this one for home viewing.  Still, check this one out eventually if you are looking for the means to have a good laugh fest for simplistic fun.

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Fantasy/Romance: 6.5

Movie Overall: 5.0

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

  

 

Every Move You Make, Every Body You Take

every day

 

The romantic comedy and drama series, are two genres that often go hand and hand. Unfortunately these movies often lack in the unique department, copying each other’s story like Hallmark copies its own plots.  Yet, they still reign supreme in the movie world, unafraid to remain the cute, cuddly, and melodramatic.  This weekend though, another book adapted to movie takes a shot at relieving us from this mundane rush, to add a little flair back into the romantic atmosphere.  My review, as you can read, is on Every Day, starring Angourie Rice and a mess of other young actors.  What is in store?  Read on to find out my friends.

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  Many romantic comedies involving teenagers are often overacted performances that are not easy for me to stomach in the volumes I see movies in.  Every Day on the other hand manage to keep the acting in check, with performances that felt like kids in every day high school.  As the central character, Rice did a fantastic job of handling the teenager caught between so many lives that require her energy to invest in.  As for the remainder of the cast, all the extras from the jerk boyfriend (Justice Smit) to the final host of A all have their parts to play, and each represent there lifestyle stigmatism well.  Such a dynamic cast kept things fun, and the story more intriguing than the run of the mill romance.

 

The Morals:  The story is primarily a love story, but amidst the kissing, hugging, and cuddling is a strong series of ethical dilemmas that the characters must face.  It starts with the common moral dilemma of finding respectful love vs. settling, teaching young kids that love does exist outside the realms of popularity and physical aspects.  Soon Rhiannon (Rice) starts crashing into things such as familial discord, self-identity, and trying to move on from something because it’s the right thing to do.  Her ever changing opposite (A) also has plenty to face with his powers too, as each person he inhabits has issues themselves that constantly challenge his happiness and ability to have a life he so desires.  These head scratchers are perfect for the young minds to soak up into and good refresher for any, leaving you reviewing your own ideas upon exiting the theater. Nevertheless, these ideas are well-baked into the tale, perfect to drive the story more.

 

The Twist:  Let’s face it, romantic comedies have difficulty with surprising me, the plots so predictable and similar that one can’t help but try to fight sleep sometimes.  Every Day’s twist to the story doesn’t defy the predictability in terms of ending, but the concept itself is the intriguing part to this story.  The premise of having your love interest switch to a new body every day crosses a bridge most people haven’t attempted to and it worked for me.  Seeing what new adventures they would go on, how they would solve the next problem, and even how they would make this whole endeavor work were some of the questions keeping me invested in the movie.  However, the biggest question of who or what A is, that is the real thing I tried to figure out.  So many mysteries amidst the romantic atmosphere makes this movie stand out.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Predictability:  The movie has such a unique twist, one was hoping to have a unique ending in the works as well.  Every Day’s presentation may stand out, but it’s ending falls back in line with the usual endings that this genre is famous for.  While a bit vague at points and somewhat lackluster given the build-up they were providing. However, one should be able to see the ending coming from a mile away, and despite being on the realistic, ethically inclined side, it still lacks the emotional shine you had hoped to see.

 

Problems Swept Under the Rug: I mentioned how much I liked the ethics in this film and the real life portrayals of the problems that plague the world.  I also would have liked to see those problems have a little more development, pacing, and satisfying conclusion than what I got.  The love aspect get the most attention, there’s a surprise, but as for the other dilemmas, well they get the quick treatment. Some of these make sense because again they are one life A must live and maximize, however Rhiannon’s family problems are ones that she has to live with constantly, so perhaps they should have cultivated a little more integration of these problems into the movie. It would have made an interesting side story to help integrate her family into the picture, providing yet another aspect to help with this awkward relationship.

 

Unrealistic:  No duh, a person switching lives every day is totally unrealistic, however that’s not the component I’m talking about.  Instead, Rhiannon’s unrealistic component is how little her school work and discipline suffers despite skipping as much as she does.  If many had pulled the antics she did, they would have been expelled, fortunately the power of love seemed to have rescued them.  This component is ignorable to most, but for me it was cheesy and unobtainable, only taking away for the story.

 

Unanswered questions:  The movie invests an entire ten minute dialogue to try to explain the origins of A’s powers.  As such, at the end I was hoping for some actual answers and hopefully get a nice tie up to A’s journey of body invasion.  Once again, story fails to fill in the gaps, giving little information to clarify the fog of A’s life, in favor of teaching a lesson about moving on.  Yeah, they took the emotionally stirring route, but in terms of story, they should have closed this book much better in regards to answers.

 

MY VERDICT:

 

            Every Day breaks the mold on the typical romantic comedy presentation with its unique concept of a lover switching bodies with each passing 24 hours. All the morals that come with this responsibility add an extra layer to the a generic plot, helping to keep your mind engaged instead of rapidly decaying into a lazy sponge that rom coms have come up with.  And those twists that seemed so admirable, didn’t quite reach the pinnacle of what I’m sure the book was able to accomplish.  Problems are ignored or swiftly wrapped up, the ending still remains predictable and sadly the questions raised are left only slightly answered.  Therefore, this romantic comedy stands out on some qualities, but still drowns in the mundane tactics that Hollywood has become. So worth a trip to the movie theater?  Mixed results on this, but overall hold out for Redbox or a date night film at best.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Fantasy/Romance:  7.0

Movie overall: 5.5

Forever A Mediocre Love Story

Forever My Girl

 

Another weekend, another massive launch of movies and this weekend my reviews start with a little romance to spice up January. I’m talking about Forever My Girl, the movie utilizing Nicholas Sparks name to rope customers in.  The trailers make this one to look cute and another generic romance movie, but you never know what will come out of the fancy wood work of Hollywood.  Robbie K is back with another review to help you out with selecting your viewing choices.  Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

 

Cute:  The trailers didn’t lie at how adorable this movie is.  While many will flock to the gritty action films of darkness and bullets, others will enjoy the calmer nature of this film.  The film is that same cute mush that romance movies bring, filled with both family morals and promises of true love surviving anything. As down home family life begins to settle on the screen, my audience members oohed and ahhed at all the sympathetic madness the film brought in spades.  Yet the cutest thing in this movie is adorable little girl that ties everyone together, and speaking of which…

 

The Little Girl:  Billy is by far a crown jewel of the film, a blend of sweetness and sassiness with great writing to help her stand out from the kid roles of Hallmark Channel. Abby Ryder Fortson was a perfect casting pick for the film, her high pitched voice, cute face, and silly antics a perfect reflection of the adventurous nature 8 years have.  She somehow managed to deliver her lines in a manner that was very fun, energetic, and not too annoying, which is difficult to do with a kid role. Fortson gets bonus points for how natural the role felt and not forced upon me.

 

Not Slow:  Romance movies often are slower for me, not only because of lack of action, but more so for how many tangents they go down.  Forever my girl was able to avoid treading down these diverging paths decently, easily able to loop back to the main path and get back to the love story at hand.  It keeps things moving, gives you the superficial thrills that many crave, and does it all in a nice 100 minute run time.  Exactly what the attention span of modern audience members want.

Jessica Rothe:  If you read my review of Happy Death Day, you’ll know I loved the lead actress Jessica Rothe, and this movie shows her dynamic abilities quite well.  Again the woman blew me away with her performance, capable of injecting so many emotions in what was such a simple role.  Strength, love, heartbreak, and hope are all components she portrays well in her character and does it in a manner that will appease romantics, while also not sending you into eye rolling territory.  While her beauty certainly draws your eyes to her character, I fell in love with the qualities of this character and more so how she seemed to fit well in the setting of the movie.  Plus, she was able to play a sentimental, romantic movie role that didn’t want to make me slam my head into the armrest.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Unoriginal: Sadly, the movie starts losing points with how unoriginal the story was.  I know, the original tale is essentially dead, but this movie really didn’t make any big stretches to be unique.  Much of the plot is a carbon copy of Nicholas Sparks and Hallmark, unable to blend them into any special presentation.  As a result, the movie is very predictable, with few twists to bring in any suspense or excitement to spice things up.

 

Too Many Plots To Balance:  All the mashing of romantic movies into one piece can sometimes be an incredible thing, but in this film… it didn’t work for me.  A strong foundation was promised by the trailers, and in truth it had a firm ground to spring off of.  However, one soon gets to see all the plots come crashing into a messy pile up of underdeveloped, half-baked moments that only semi-fit.  These entangled tangents didn’t do much for me, and all these shallow semi-stories left me wanting more. Had they sacrificed some of these plots and added some impasses, this charming story could have been more engaging and won points for more suspense to amp up the love.  I think there was just too much to work with, but too some more is better.

 

Too rushed: This goes back to the balance issue, but surprisingly I think this movie moved a little too fast.  I understand things move fast in a movie, but many films are able to create the illusion of time passing by, or at least putting a lot of struggles to develop the character in a short amount of time.  Forever my girl though, did not accomplish this task, with things settling too fast to: 1) be believable and 2) be deep enough to maximize the emotional response of the film.  In addition, it left little time for the secondary characters to flourish themselves or become super relevant to the plot.  It would have been great to expand on these roles, but alas there was just no time.

 

The Acting:  I’m not saying these were the worst performances at all, but there were times where the acting was a bit of a stretch for me.  While Fortson and Rothe stayed pretty consistent and at the top of their game, the other characters were not so skilled/fortunate.  Many of the country accents seemed a little forced for me, constantly teetering between impressive and phony.  A few of the actors really could not get the emotions off the ground, and others tried to force too much stress in their roles that came out at half mast for me.  Even the lead Alex Roe struggled to handle all the emotions his character had, sometimes feeling unmotivated to his character Liam.  Again, it’s not horrible, it just needed more polishing to really get things together.

 

The Verdict:

 

            Forever My Girl is sweet, angelic, and moral packed tale that these movies are famous for in this Hollywood, cinematic world.  A charming cast with a moving plot are the highlights of this movie, and a good filler for those waiting for the steamier stories to come.  However, this glorified Hallmark movie suffers from too many plots coming together and an improper balance to handle them.  The result was a very rushed movie where characters, acting, and sub-plots all suffered from their inability to decide on the plot.  Therefore, this culmination, while entertaining, suffers a lot from this fast paced approach and leave one wanting more out of this film. 

 

My scores are:

Drama/Music/Romance: 6.5

Movie Overall: 4.0

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