After Ever Happy…a slight improvement for the series.

As a shocking truth about a couple’s families emerges, the two lovers discover they are not so different from each other. Tessa is no longer the sweet, simple girl she was when she met Hardin.

After Ever Happy is the fourth movie in the “After” series, at this point everyone knows the drill when one of these movies comes out. What did surprise me about this one is that there was actually some level of attempt to try and make it work, the keyword is try because the movie does not succeed. Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Josephine Langford are actually not the worst here, unlike the other movies there’s actually some moments that they both manage to make work well enough. Unfortunately most of the movie is yet again almost the exact same thing as the last three movies, the writing is still a huge issue with a lot of terrible character choices and moments that lead to some admittedly laughable moments. Then there’s the ending which is by far the most hilarious moment to come out of these movies thus far, it definitely felt like there was a whole third act missing that the movie just didn’t bother to use. In fact that’s exactly what’s wrong with the movie there really isn’t a plot, it’s more arguments and sex scenes (although there isn’t as much as the other movies…shocker I know). Overall while After Ever Happy is better than the previous three movies that is still not saying much given that it’s still a terribly written mess.

After Ever Happy is available on all VOD platforms.

2/10 F

Meet Cute is a stale Groundhog Day clone.

Sheila, a young woman grappling with suicidal thoughts, discovers that a tanning bed in a nail salon is a time machine. Traveling back 24 hours, she relives the best date night of her life over and over, only to decide that her boyfriend, Gary, needs some fixing. Unaware that meddling with the past could ruin the future, Sheila goes even further back in time to turn him into the perfect man even though he was already pretty perfect.

Meet Cute is yet another Groundhog Day type movie at this point there’s been several films, to be absolutely fair their have some quite fantastic films that take the premise and manage to make it their own (Happy Death Day, Edge Of Tomorrow and Palm Springs in particular). That’s unfortunately not the case here with Meet Cute, the weird thing about the movie is the whole Groundhog Day elements aren’t fully realized despite that being the main idea of the movie. A lot of it is very surface level and doesn’t attempt to even try to go into detail about it’s ideas, the chemistry between Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson just isn’t there at all. They both definitely try their hardest with the script they are given but the dialogue does not do them any favors, Kaley Cuoco gives the better performance as there are a few moments where she makes some scenes work.

3/10 D-

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is a beautiful and meaningful film filled with themes.

Marcel is an adorable one-inch-tall shell who ekes out a colorful existence with his grandmother Connie and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of a sprawling community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. But when a documentary filmmaker discovers them amongst the clutter of his Airbnb, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new hope at finding his long-lost family.

For a film about a talking shell wearing a pair of shoes Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is one of the most beautiful and meaningful films I’ve seen so far this year. There’s so many themes that this film talks about in 89 minutes that truly feel impactful to the viewer. For starters Jenny Slate as Marcel is truly brilliant the amount of heart and soul she put into the performance is truly inspiring and captures a very human as well, the filming combined with the stop motion is masterful with every sense of the word. It’s absolutely stunning and really connects the real world setting with Marcel brilliantly, then there’s the themes such as a ton of family themes which lead to some very touching moments that are very relatable to viewer. There’s the theme of loneliness living in a huge world looking for the people that you love in this case Marcel is looking for his family. The theme of feeling small is also present one that can feel overwhelming, we all live in a huge world beyond our comprehension which is why some people rightfully want to feel big and explore the world, that’s what Marcel sets out to do in the film. There’s also the theme of finding oneself through a journey you often find out new things about yourself and that’s explored perfectly here, at the end of Marcel’s journey there’s a completely touching ending that Marcel reflects on and learns so much about himself. This is all backed up from the flawless script that will make you both cry and put a smile on your face, it’s such a strong and diverse of emotions type of script that really captures what the viewer could be going through. Overall Marcel The Shell With Shoes on is a powerful film that truly needs to be seen, it’s a very moving film that you will absolutely love.

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is available on all VOD platforms.

10/10 A+

Benediction is a powerful of the life of Siegfried Sassoon.

The turbulent life of WWI poet Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden). The writer and soldier was a complex man who survived the horrors of fighting in the First World War and was decorated for his bravery but who became a vocal critic of the government’s continuation of the war when he returned from service. His poetry was inspired by his experiences on the Western Front, and he became one of the leading war poets of the era. Adored by members of the aristocracy as well as stars of London’s literary and stage world, he embarked on affairs with several men as he attempted to come to terms with his homosexuality. At the same time, broken by the horror of war, he made his life’s journey a quest for salvation, trying to find it within the conformity of marriage and religion.

Benediction has a lot of strong parts about it, for starters the acting is very well done from everyone involved Jack Lowden as Siegfried Sassoon was quite fantastic, the end of the film is truly powerful and leaves with a very strong note in hand. The direction from Terrance Davies is very raw and quite powerful as well, the best part about the film is the film’s exploration of Sassoon as a poet and him as a person. Which leads to some quite fascinating moments that truly capture the 1920s during World War I, what mostly helps it feels like Davies’s direction feels a bit personal here. Which isn’t a first time occurrence as he sometimes does put some personal type elements in his autobiographical films, whether that be camera angles that really standout and are up close, parts of the writing that instantly connects the viewer to who the film is about in this case Sassoon, or the very raw acting that completely builds some of the strongest moments in his films. The pacing and the running time do slow the film back a bit, however it isn’t nearly enough to stop this film from being beautifully done and told.

Benediction is available on all VOD platforms.

8/10 B+

I Used To Be Famous (2022) Film Review.

Follows Vince, a desperate former popstar who dreams of making a comeback. An impromptu jam session with autistic young drummer Stevie sparks an unexpected friendship between the two misunderstood musicians.

I’ll give credit where credit is due, they actually casted an autistic actor (Leo Long) Long does quite a great job here and is definitely what holds the movie together, Ed Skrein isn’t too bad either. The rest of the movie is a very simplistic feel good story that you could guess how it will play out within the first 15 minutes, there really isn’t anything bad here a lot of it is just very okay writing that is surface level at best. There’s a handful of heartfelt moments that you can’t help but smile at, the rest of the performances are quite great and actually give some raw moments. Although the writing is surface level at least the movie knows what it’s trying to accomplish and for what the movie is it did that pretty okay, sure it’s predictable but it’s decently inspiring story that is a quick and easy watch!

I Used To Be Famous is available on Netflix!

6/10 C+

Pinocchio (2022)..completely misses the point of the original

A puppet is brought to life by a fairy, who assigns him to lead a virtuous life in order to become a real boy.

Pinocchio is the newest of the Disney Live Action Remakes and is by far one of the absolute worst ones, it’s truly baffling to me how badly they messed this up. The original Pinocchio is one of Disney’s absolute best films they have ever done, it’s a story that was both dark but also very charming as well. This remake however takes everything the original did perfectly and completely misses on what made it so well done, the only positive I can give here is Cynthia Ervio as The Blue Fairy and her performance of “When You Wish Upon A Star” she did a beautiful job and has a tremendous singing voice that captures the magic of the song. The rest of the movie is missing a key element that the original had a lot of…heart and magic, the original movie despite the dark nature of some of the story was also filled with so much heart in it that made the characters so lovable. In this movie Geppetto (Tom Hanks) and Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) have absolutely no connection between one another, which was a key part of the original movie. So that really defeats the purpose of the story the movie is trying to tell, the CGI is bafflingly cheap some of the movements from the characters are either delayed or just don’t match. Monstro was done horribly with this movie, which again brings this back to Geppetto and Pinocchio. Monstro was an important part of the original Pinocchio serving as bridge to Geppetto’s and Pinocchio’s chemistry, in this movie it is so poorly done and has no passion put into it at all. Which is the main issue here this movie has the biggest “we don’t care” attitude to it, nothing here other than Cynthia Ervio has no energy, heart or passion put into it. Which is exactly the problem with a lot of these remakes (outside of a few) they heavily rely on cheap nostalgia and don’t even do justice to the original movies, what’s unfortunate is this could have been decent, Robert Zemeckis who despite his last couple movies not exactly being that great. Is still a very talented filmmaker who’s given us tons of classics (Back To The Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump) I only have to assume that he wasn’t given the creative freedom because this a lifeless movie that is so horribly written is not the thing you think of when you think Robert Zemeckis.

Pinocchio is available on Disney+

1/10 F

My Son Hunter….why?

Hunter (Laurence Fox) finds himself doing all the wrong things in all the wrong places with all the wrong people, when he meets a young naïve stripper. Grace Anderson (Emma Gojkovic) doesn’t know much about politics, but gets a crash course as she gets closer and closer to the son of President Biden (John James). “My Son Hunter” puts the lens squarely on Hunter, his corrupt business dealings, his relationship with his father, and a lifestyle that would make rock stars jealous. But through the haze of a crack pipe and above the din of the parties and the outbursts…somewhere lies the truth.

Oh man….where to begin? So My Son Hunter is distributed by Breitbart and from the trailer I was actually hoping this movie would fall into the category of “it’s so bad it’s hilarious” territory that’s not what happened here, putting aside politics there is so much you can criticize Joe Biden on and at the same time make it hilarious movie, the problem is this movie takes itself seriously and the jokes it makes are completely unfunny. A lot of the movie is if you took the complete bad parts of Adam McKay and made them even far worse, the first couple jokes include a bit about Black Lives Matter and Pronoun jokes. A certain genre of jokes that is heavily used on Twitter, which is exactly the problem those types of jokes are complete and utter embarrassment anywhere outside of Twitter (not that they are funny to begin with but you get the point). Oh yeah and Gina Carano talks about how she was cancelled another completely overused joke what fun. The acting, writing, filming and so on are all completely terrible, there’s a lot of editing decisions that I’m completely baffled passed the beginning phases. There’s a long drawn out scene of Hunter Biden (played by Laurence Fox) and Joe Biden (played by John James) sitting in a car and talking which would be investing if there was any life to this movie. But why bring life into the story when that’s not what your audience is going to want? This movie spends way too much time taking itself so seriously and has this whole narrative of “the movie the media doesn’t want you to see” which is just flat out ridiculous, let’s take away the politics away for a moment…the movie is still complete and total garbage, at a filmmaking perspective it’s dull, ugly to look at, bizarrely edited for all the wrong reasons, poorly acted and very poorly written. As I said earlier there was definitely something here where they could have had made an entertaining satire while also criticizing Biden. But that just doesn’t happen here.

My Son Hunter is available to stream.

Disgrace To Cinema F

Quick Reviews: About Fate and The Class (2022)

Two strangers believe in love but never seem to be able to find its true meaning. In a wild twist of events, fate puts each in the other’s path on one stormy New Year’s Eve.

About Fate is exactly what you think it’s going to be from the plot, but the movie manages to still work quite well. Is it absolutely cheesy and feels a bit like a Hallmark holiday movie (despite being released in September)? Oh absolutely but what makes the movie is Emma Roberts and Thomas Mann plus their chemistry is very charming, the movie has some genuinely cute moments that are full of heart and are actually quite touching. Not every scene is successful but there’s enough here to satisfy romantic comedy fans.

About Fate is available on all VOD Platforms.

6/10 C+

Six high school seniors are offered a last chance to graduate by taking a one-day makeup class on a Saturday. The students find themselves sitting beside classmates they never took the time to get to know during the regular semester.

The Class is what happens when you take The Breakfast Club and you make it unfunny, uninteresting and terrible. I genuinely don’t know what to say here to be quite honest, the cast are fine particularly Lyric Ross who definitely tries with the script she’s given. A lot of this movie just reminds the viewer they could be watching a better movie combine that with a painful 1 hour and 54 minute running time that feels like an eternity. The script is very bare bones and doesn’t give a lot of the characters proper development, the ending is sweet but by then it’s too little too late. Just watch The Breakfast Club instead.

The Class is available on all VOD Platforms.

2/10 F

Medusa has a lot of themes but falls short.

A gang of young women in Brazil try to control everything around them, including other women, by roaming the streets and beating up those they deem too sinful.

There’s definitely a lot going on here thematically with Anita Rocha da Silveira’s Medusa, there’s themes of beauty standards, physical and mental trauma for women and even some Greek mythology or tragedy Included as well. Unfortunately this is the type of movie where those themes aren’t explored all that well, the filming and visuals are at least quite captivating and at times hypnotic as well. There’s some solid acting bits here that give the characters some personality and give them time to shine. The main problem here is the running time it’s 127 minutes long, which you would think would give it more time to explore it’s themes. However it somehow ends up being very surface level at best and drags for the sake of dragging, the writing is nowhere near as strong as the movie thinks it is. It introduces themes, does a little bit with them and then moves on to the next idea. Medusa is definitely not a terrible movie as it is very well made but this is the very definition of style over substance.

Medusa is available on all VOD Platforms.

5/10 C

Most Anticipated Films Of September 2022!

August flew by and the summer movie season is over. 2022 still continues be an incredibly strong year for film and it’s only going to get better with upcoming releases for the last 4 months. September is usually a month that isn’t quite packed and is also sometimes a dumping ground, however this year it looks quite great (minus this week outside of Honk For Jesus Save Your Soul there is almost nothing releasing).

As always here’s some films that I’ve already seen at festivals that are coming out in September that I highly recommend checking out.

Speak No Evil – September 9th (Theaters) and September 15th (Shudder) if you like disturbing films make sure to check this one out. It’s a batshit insane movie that goes off the rails quickly, also be sure to go into it knowing as little as possible.

Riotsville USA – September 16th (Theaters and VOD Platforms) A very interesting film that’s entirely archival footage of how protests began to rise in the 60s, it’s a very haunting and powerful film that’s actually quite important. Definitely one of the most interesting films so far this year. If you are into protest history I recommend this one.

Sissy – September 29th (Shudder) Another really solid slasher film that’s going to release this year, fun characters, great kills, fun gore and so on. It’s everything you would want in a slasher film!!

Now on to the list itself!

23. Jeepers Creepers: Reborn – September 19th (Theaters) As far as I know Victor Salva has no involvement with this one, it also helps that it looks like a far better movie than the last Jeepers Creepers. 

22. Smile – September 30th (Theaters) it looks absolutely ridiculous but at the same time sort of looks fun as well!

21. Saloum – September 8th (Shudder)

20. Goodnight Mommy – September 16th (Amazon Prime Video) I definitely think there’s potential for this to be good, it has Naomi Watts and the filming looks really nice. However the original 2014 movie is such a great film that captured disturbing atmosphere, after seeing America’s attempt to remake disturbing movies before such as Martyrs, Inside and Oldboy (all the remakes were garbage) It’s likely this could be another dud. Despite that I am interested to see what they can do.

19. Who Invited Them? – September 1st (Shudder)

18. Jane – September 16th (Creator+)

17. My Best Friend’s Exorcism – September 30th (Amazon Prime Video) Was very surprised to see that the movie actually looks like a whole lot of fun. Elsie Fisher is in one of the leading roles!

16. The Greatest Beer Run Ever – September 30th (Apple TV+)

15. The Girl At The Window – September 27th (VOD)

14. Mona Lisa and The Blood Moon – September 30th (VOD)

13. Raven’s Hollow – September 22nd (Shudder)

12. Burial – September 2nd (VOD)

11. Vesper – September 30th (VOD)

10. The Woman King – September 16th (Theaters) One of the films I’ve been waiting for all year, Viola Davis looks incredible here and could end up giving one of the best performances of the year!

9. Do Revenge – September 16th (Netflix) Looks like an incredible amount of fun plus Maya Hawke is here to completely own it!

8. God’s Country – September 16th (Theaters)

7. God’s Creatures – September 30th (Theaters and VOD Platforms) Heard incredibly great things about this one and the trailer was quite great immediately introducing the mysterious atmosphere that I’m assuming will be in the film.

6. Marcel The Shell With Shoes On – September 6th (VOD) Finally this is coming to VOD platforms, heard nothing but good things about this one!

5. Moonage Daydream – September 16th (Theaters) – A Documentary on David Bowie that’s going to have unreleased footage from Bowie’s personal archives including live concert footage. I’m a big fan of lost media or unreleased media so this one immediately got my attention especially since I’m a fan of Bowie’s music!

4. Barbarian – September 9th (Theaters) The films has been described as “this year’s Malignant” and “a truly bizarre experience” and so on. First reactions for Barbarian were fantastic and sounds like one of this year’s unexpected fantastic films, really looking forward to this one.

3. Blonde – September 16th (Theaters) and September 28th (Netflix) Netflix has a very strong lineup for the rest of the year and Blonde is definitely one of them. Ana de Armas could score a Best Actress Nomination just from the trailers she captures a lot about Marilyn Monroe, the film is also going to be rated NC-17 a decision that’s not often done nowadays. It’s a film I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time ever since it was announced, it’s also great to see Andrew Dominick back with another film.

2. Don’t Worry Darling – September 23rd (Theaters) – Olivia Wilde directors something completely different, after Booksmart (fantastic film) she moves into the thriller/horror/drama area which is always fantastic. This is another film I’ve been excited for since it was announced, Florence Pugh is one of the leads and it seems to be like Darren Aronofsky’s film Mother! First reactions are September 5th at the Venice Film Festival so we will know how it is very soon!

1. Pearl – September 16th (Theaters) Ti West has already given horror fans X a fantastic slasher film that completely captured the 70s and 80s slasher era. Pearl serves as a prequel with Mia Goth returning as the lead who will not doubt hit it out of the park yet again. X is still one of my absolute favorite films of the year and I have no doubt Ti West will hit another homerun!

And that’s it for the list! Lots of great stuff here that I’m truly excited for!!