Never did I expect Do Revenge to be one of my favorite films so far this year, I’ve expressed how much the teen comedy genre has become very over saturated with movies that range from being horrible to very forgettable, luckily that’s not the case here. Do Revenge takes the teen comedy genre and brings it back to the days of Mean Girls where there was a balance of over the top and having realistic moments, it throws in a lot of clever and sharp social satire that’s very relevant to the film. Like Bodies Bodies Bodies, Do Revenge does a fantastic job of actually matching how Gen Z talks, acts and thinks. Camilla Mendes and Maya Hawke are both fantastic in the leading roles, both have strong chemistry and a lot of strong character moments that help build their characters. The direction from Jennifer Kaytin Robinson was down to earth while being wild at the same time, it’s the sort of energy that is often missing in teen comedies so it’s very refreshing to see here. Lastly the film itself is just an overall very entertaining film that also manages to say something interesting with its social satire elements, so if you have been looking for a really great teen comedy definitely check this one out.
Drifting Home suffers from almost the exact same problems that Bubble did (also released by Netflix earlier this year), once again the main flaws come down to the characters, writing and pacing. The animation does a pretty decent job of telling some of the story as well as helping build the world. There’s a few touching moments that are filled with heart and well written, the characters however are way too annoying. I get they are kids but there’s tons of anime films or even shows that have kids as the main characters and they are nowhere near as annoying, it doesn’t help that Drifting Home is a very typical “a bunch of kids get themselves into situations they shouldn’t” type anime which is such a common trope when it comes to anime. The character development is just not there outside of a few scenes that really just end up being very traditional character development that’s not going to get the viewer invested, it didn’t help that the movie’s pacing was way too slow and the 2 hour runtime was ridiculous. There’s been half an hour episodes of some anime that have done a plot similar like this before and have done it far better, Drifting Home is overall very forgettable and is just another movie to add to the “Netflix original movies that will quickly be forgotten about” pile.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about Ivy + Bean since it is basically a 56 minute kids movie that really doesn’t do anything new. However that doesn’t make it bad at, Madison Skye Validum and Keslee Blalock are both fantastic here and have a wonderful chemistry, they really do capture two kids starting a friendship. The movie itself has a nostalgic feel to it, the type where you made friends with other kids around the neighborhood and the movie does such a good job of showing that. Some of the jokes actually land quite well to the point where I found myself actually chuckling at times, the movie doesn’t overstay it’s welcome either. It establishes what it wants to do early on and does that quite well, as I said before Ivy + Bean is not going to break any new ground and it is very formulaic. But if you have 56 minutes to spare and are looking for a very easy watch this is most certainly not a bad option.
Ivy + Bean is available on Netflix.
Ivy + Bean: The Ghost That Had To Go is the second of the Ivy + Bean movie and is probably the best one, I say probably because all three movies are about the same (although I do think the third movie is the weakest). It might be because this one is a kid horror movie a subgenre (if you want to call it that) that I’m glad exists. Once again Madison Skye Validum and Keslee Blalock are fantastic here, the chemistry is still very strong and they are both genuinely hilarious. The kid horror elements are actually quite great here, I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t completely work and would stick out like a sore thumb. But luckily the elements are worked into the story and actually blend in quite well with the cutesy atmosphere the movie started with, Jane Lynch is one of my favorite parts about this movie by far. I’m not sure if I’ve said this before but Jane Lynch is such a fun actress even when the script she is given isn’t always great, she finds a way to make it entertaining and here is no exception. The script while once again isn’t going to break any new ground but is still genuinely fun and Jane Lynch’s parts are truly great, this movie definitely has the spirit of a Halloween special I would have saw back when I was a kid. It’s a genuinely fun little movie that like the previous movie is a quick and easy watch.
Ivy + Bean: The Ghost That Had To Go is available on Netflix.
Ivy + Bean: Doomed To Dance is the third Ivy + Bean movie and as I said in the previous review I do think this one is the weakest. Madison Skye Validum and Keslee Blalock are fantastic yet again and like in the other movies have great chemistry, by this point you are already sold that they have a very grounded friendship. There’s some decent jokes here and the movie does get quite creative as well with certain scenes, this one falls a little short mainly due to the pacing being very uneven and it’s more less the same thing as the other two movies except with a dance theme to it. The pacing is very weird here the beginning and ending are smooth sailing but the middle moves way too slowly, while I get what they were going for with the dance theme as it is a very common plot that a lot of kids media uses. It’s very flat here and doesn’t do anything very interesting that invests the viewer at all, with the other two movies yes you can argue that those plots are also used quite a lot in kids media. But at least the other two movies made themselves interesting and genuinely fun, Doomed To Dance just sort of exists because they needed a third movie and only releasing two movies would look and feel incomplete. Having that said Doomed To Dance is very harmless to kids, it’s just not something I would call good.
Ivy + Bean: Doomed To Dance is available on Netflix.
Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot to say about Babak Anvari’s (Director of Under The Shadow and Wounds) third movie I Came By, It’s basically Don’t Breathe (2016) but with a rich vs poor theme that sadly isn’t able to be explored all that well. Which is mostly due to a lot of the movie being way too predictable, because of this it ruins a lot of what could have been suspenseful moments. The movie itself at least is filmed very well and the acting is really solid as well there’s definitely some moments that are pretty strong, however they aren’t enough to completely push this movie into something great unfortunately. It’s a very by the numbers thriller that I’ll admit is far better than a lot of other Netflix original thrillers but that is really not saying much.
It’s truly baffling how not one but TWO of these movies got released this year, earlier in April 2022 365 Days: This Day released which was a sequel to 365 Days (2020) now we have The Next 365 Days which is somehow even worse than the last movie, everything I said about the last movie can be said here. It’s the same garbage acting with the same horrible fanfiction style writing, each and every scene in this one is nothing more than glorified badly done music videos that have no plot at all. Somehow the songs are even worse here, where as I found some of the music in the last movie to be fine at best, I can’t think of a single song from this movie where I found it to be passable. But like the songs in the other movie they don’t add anything to the story or compliment it very well at all, especially when you combine that with horribly done sex scenes you get nothing more than a terrible music video with sex in it. I wish I had a lot more to say about this movie but I just don’t, I’m not joking when I say this is almost identical to the last movie. The Next 365 Days is the worst of the three movies because of laziness, if you are going to add another movie to your horrible series. At least have the decent to not copy and paste everything that made the previous movie so terrible.
Look Both Ways is a movie that is clearly trying to talk about a heavy subject (abortion) but for whatever reason doesn’t discuss it further and can’t even say the word abortion. Lil Reinhart gives a solid performance despite a script that really does not go in much depth outside of a few moments that work decently, the major problem as said before is how the movie doesn’t want to fully commit to discussing it’s heavy subject. It feels like a cop out not talking about the option of an abortion, if you are going to talk about abortion or any other heavy subject commit to it and don’t cop out, at that point why even bother?
Look Both Ways is available on Netflix.
Attempts to capture that early 2000s comedy classic feel but misses it’s mark. There’s a few moments that are pretty okay but a lot of it is either not funny or doesn’t use it’s premise to it’s full potential. The acting isn’t the worst and it does seem like the cast had a blast making the movie so that’s something at least, but a lot of it is largely forgettable unfortunately.
Movers Ultimate releases tomorrow on all VOD Platforms.
Hypochondriac had everything it needed to be a solid movie it’s the way it was executed that really held it back. There was some genuinely decent moments that actually tackled mental illness in a surprisingly realistic way during the first half of the movie. It did a genuinely good job of building Zach Villa’s character and brought many ideas to the table that I was very interested to see how the movie would develop them during the rest of the movie. Unfortunately the rest of the movie completely abandons the realistic approach to mental illness and instead trades in for a very over the top cliched way that a lot of movies commonly do, a lot of the story is replaced with trying to be a slow burn that uses trippy visuals which I don’t have an issue with the idea itself. The problem is it has to at least make some sort of sense and can’t just come right out of nowhere and sadly that’s the case here, heck the trippy visuals didn’t even look that great so the payoff was really not worth it in this case. It’s a shame because the acting was pretty decent and there were a handful of moments from the writing that really delivered, if you really fixed up the second half of the movie and put it more in line with the first half. You would have a very strong movie that could be seen as a hidden gem, but as it stands Hypochondriac is unfortunately a huge missed opportunity.
Hypochondriac is available on all VOD Platforms.
From what I’ve read about 13: The Musical it absolutely butchers the Broadway musical it’s based on, cutting several songs and replacing them with new ones is one of the main criticisms I’ve seen. Which at that point why make the movie in the first place? But that’s honestly the least of this movie’s issues because some of the songs here aren’t bad, a lot of them sound the exact same unfortunately but I don’t think any of them are terrible. Mainly due to the cast having great singing voices and definitely try to give it their all, the main issues here are mostly the story being the most below average coming of age story you could think of. And the style of the movie that just comes off as an old navy commercial (particularly a back to school commercial) the choreography is great and as I said the cast truly tries to make the film work but they just aren’t given a lot to really work with. Outside of a few moments that are genuinely touching the movie’s themes go about as deep as a bad Disney Channel Original movie.
13: The Musical is available on Netflix!
Oh joy another COVID-19 related movie, I was honestly considering skipping on this one but Katie Holmes in the director’s chair caught my eye. Talk about tone-deaf and self centered, the movie attempts to show two strangers bonding and slowly having romantic feelings for each other during the pandemic. While having this state of ignorant bliss when the rest of the world was suffering, with Language Lessons and 7 Days were aware what they were talking about, they were actual great films and the movie wasn’t just about the main character’s issues. With Alone Together you get nothing but the main characters constantly being ignorant about the rest of the world while acting like they have it the absolute worst, Katie Holmes, Jim Sturgess and Derek Luke do a fine enough job here but there really isn’t anything to get excited over. It’s emotionally hollow and very dull in it’s execution, there’s a couple moments with Melissa Leo which are genuinely sweet. But it’s not enough to save this movie from being a huge mess.
Alone Together is available on all VOD Platforms.
Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe there has never been a two movies that have been released on the same day that are about the exact same thing in recent years at least (it probably has happened before I just can’t recall it ever happening). Thirteen Lives (which I already reviewed) and Cave Rescue are about the exact same thing which is about the Tham Lung cave rescue, Cave Rescue is the definitely the weaker of the two it does have great filming and there are some claustrophobic moments that are done pretty well. But a lot of this movie feels like a much weaker version of Ron Howard’s version, the acting is not as good and the writing is just not there when it comes to powerful moments. It’s just more of the same thing as Thirteen Lives only worse.
It’s honestly amazing to me how Day Shift a silly action horror B movie which has a scene where Snoop Dogg carries a machine gun and blasts a handful of vampires, ends up being far more better visually and far more fun than The Gray Man and Red Notice which are overly expensive and terrible. Day Shift definitely has this rental store type feel too it which is part of the charm, you don’t know what to expect and most of the results are a lot of fun. There’s some really solid action scenes combined with some gore that is solid as well, Jamie Foxx is really solid here as the leading role. The guy has so much charm and definitely knows how to put on entertaining ride from beginning to end and that’s definitely shown here, Snoop Dogg is also pretty great as well and fits quite well in the movie. Day Shift does have it’s writing flaws such as the villain in particular not being very memorable, however that doesn’t stop the movie from being genuinely fun. It’s not anything ground breaking and it’s most definitely not going to add anything new to the genre. But if you are missing the types of films Netflix use to put out back when they first started I recommend checking this one out.
Anthony and Joe Russo have a second go at directing a film post MCU and much like Cherry it falls flat for different reasons. The positives are the cast (minus Chris Evans who I did like at first but the more I thought about his performance the more I didn’t like it), particularly Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas (it’s just a shame her character was poorly written) and there’s a few actions that are decent enough but when compared to action films that have a far smaller budget that look far better you really notice a difference. Which is by far the biggest issue with The Gray Man….where did the budget go? That’s the question that kept popping into my head throughout the movie, the budget is supposedly $200 million dollars and while yes I realize that majority of it more than likely went towards getting the cast. It’s still baffling to see how ugly the movie is despite being a $200 million dollar movie, most of the action scenes are terrible combine that with poor writing that does nothing to standout among a very crowded genre and you have yourself a terrible action movie. This year alone has had films that have a far less budget that look much more appealing to look at, The Northman for example has a budget of $70-$90 million dollars and looks far more appealing, is much better crafted and the action scenes are far better. Moving on from the budget issues there really isn’t much else here, the movie plays out exactly how you think it’s going to. The pacing and running time do not blend well at all, this is one of those movies where you feel the running time going by painfully slow. The pacing puts a lot of moments in the movie at a complete and sudden stop that really derails the movie from moving on, overall The Gray Man is a very forgettable action movie that offers nothing new to the genre. It might not be one of the absolute worst movies I’ve seen this year but it is one of the most forgettable.
Not going to go on about Persuasion for that long, because I’m not going to pretend like I’m some Jane Austin enthusiast, but what I do know is this was a very poor attempt of modernizing an adaption that didn’t need to be modernized. This is the complete opposite of what Emma (2020) was where Emma (2020) respected the source material , Persuasion attempts to try and add this whole “girlboss/tumblr dialogue” to it. The only positives here is some of the filming where it does take advantage of the setting in some cases and the performances Dakota Johnson, Henry Golding and Cosmo Jarvis are clearly trying their best but the script is just not giving them enough room to breathe at all, it’s very cluttered with so many modernized lines that make little to no sense in context of the story. I’m not exactly sure what they were going for here but whatever it was this was a huge misfire, especially when you combine it with the dreadful pacing that completely stops the movie in it’s tracks. While Persuasion might not be one of the absolute worst movies of the year, it sure is one of the most dull and uninteresting ones.