BROOKLYN (transfer) review

These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted to see this movie. Aside from the fact that it was being labeled as one of the best movies of the year, I’m also a relative fan of Saoirse Ronan. I also have to be honest, that was as far as my enthusiasm went. I guess I’m just a sucker for what people tell me. Someone tell me I’m a gopher, I’ll probably believe you. In any case, FINALLY made time to see this movie.

Starring: Saoirse Ronan (LOVING VINCENT [2017], HANNA [2011], ATONEMENT [2007], and upcoming films LADY BIRD [2017] and MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS [2018]) and Emory Cohen (WAR MACHINE [2017], THE GAMBLER [2014], and THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES [2012])

Support: Domhnall Gleeson (GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN [2017], THE REVENANT [2015], ANNA KARENINA [2012], and upcoming films STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI [2017] and PETER RABBIT [2018]), Jim Broadbent (THE SENSE OF AN ENDING [2017], HOT FUZZ [2007], THE BORROWERS [1997], and the upcoming PADDINGTON 2 [2018]), Fiona Glascott (THE DEAL [2008], RESIDENT EVIL [2002], and the upcoming FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM 2 [2018]), and Emily Bett Rickards (FLICKA: COUNTRY PRIDE [2012], and TV shows ARROW [2012 – ongoing] and THE FLASH [2014 – ongoing])

Director: John Crowley (CLOSED CIRCUIT [2013], BOY A [2007], and INTERMISSION [2003]). Writer: Nick Hornby (WILD [2014] and FEVER PITCH [1997]). Composer: Michael Brook (STRONGER [2017], TALLULAH [2016], and THE FIGHTER [2010]). Cinematographer: Yves Bélanger (SHUT IN [2016], DEMOLITION [2016], and DALLAS BUYERS CLUB [2013])

(SUMMARY)

Set in the 1950’s. The story follows a young Irish woman named Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) who has been set up with a new life in America, Brooklyn to be exact. She has a difficult time adjusting at first, what with being homesick and all, but all of that changes when she meets Tony (Emory Cohen), a young Italian romantic who quickly falls for the Irish girl, whom eventually falls for him too. Life gets much easier… until Eilis gets word of tragic news that must bring her home.

(REVIEW)

Great. A nearly flawless movie and thoroughly heartfelt.

Ronan delivers probably her career best. That’s possibly not saying much considering how little she’s done, but there’s no denial that she plays her role as Eilis so straight and convincingly. Every step she takes throughout the film is completely felt. When she gets seasick on a ghetto-looking boat, you feel her agony as she tries to simply find a place to vomit, the heartache when she’s homesick, the happiness when she’s with Tony, Ronan is every bit engaging from the beginning to the end. If she were nominated for best actress at the Oscars, I wouldn’t be surprised (nor would I be surprised if she didn’t win, what with the way that shit’s ran).

The supporting cast isn’t lacking in enjoyment either. Eilis’ romantic-interest, Tony, is indeed a very likable character. He’s a gentleman, and maintains his down-to-earth demeanor and treatment of Eilis. Although I do have to ask why he has a stereotypical Italian accent when none of his family has one. Same mannerisms, maybe, but not the same accent. That was weird. Or maybe their accents were too subtle by comparison to Tony’s over-the-top accent. Who knows?

And, this took me by complete surprise in the most wonderful of ways, Emily Bett freakin’ Rickards of TV show ARROW (Felicity Smoak) popularity was in this movie. She, as well as the other girls in the boarding house, were absolutely charming. Bitchy, but in that hilarious kind of way. I wish I could more about her in this movie, as I do love her acting in ARROW, but her role is so minor here that I wish I could just dock points for that alone: not enough of her.

***SPOILERS***

 

***

 

***

If there was a complaint I had about this movie, it’s a minor one, which is weird because I just praise him, Tony. He was almost perfectly written, up until Eilis finds out Rose (Fiona Glascott) dies and she must go home. Tony, while comforting and supportive of her decision to return home to say goodbye, he has this scene where he admits to her that he’s scared of losing her: in that if she goes home, she won’t come back. That kind of got an eye-twitch out of me because, if it were me writing the character, he would instead just full-on support her going home and try to figure out how to get her there faster. He could still be scared of all of that, but subtlety would have been preferred in this regard. Focus on the eyes, hold a shot on a remorseful face, admit it to someone else later on, but never let her see that regret. And even if Eilis does stay there, it’s for the best. That’s her home, that’s where her family is, that’s where her life was, and many opportunities will eventually open up for her. What kind of boyfriend wouldn’t be supportive of her decision to stay. Obviously, it would end in heartbreak, which is obviously not where the story ended up, but that’s the tweak I would have made. The rest of the story is fine.

***

 

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***END SPOILERS***

This is definitely one of the better films to hit the cinemas this year. Might not be my favorite, but it’s certainly a wonderful romance tale with some powerful acting by Ronan, a great and funny supporting cast to keep the movie entertaining, it’s an emotional powerhouse that’s well worth the admission and highly recommended.

My honest rating for BROOKLYN: a strong 4/5

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CAROL (transfer) review

These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. What a powerhouse team up. Both women are fantastic actresses and their names alone would be enough to get me into the theater as well as the incessant declaration that this movie was in the running for being the best movie of the year helped a little. Of course, I’m going to take a minute to let my primordial-man to come out, so picture me with a club over my shoulder, dragging my knuckles on the ground, and building a fire in a cave: “pretty naked ladies kissing makes Daniel happy inside.” And that’s it. No more. Back to being a strong-willed human. So, is the movie as fantastic as everyone’s been saying?

Starring: Cate Blanchett (SONG TO SONG [2017], ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE [2007], ELIZABETH [1998], and upcoming films THOR: RAGNAROK [2017] and OCEAN’S EIGHT [2018]) and Rooney Mara (A GHOST STORY [2017], HER [2013], YOUTH IN REVOLT [2009], and the upcoming MARY MAGDALENE [2018])

Support: Kyle Chandler (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA [2016], THE KINGDOM [2007], KING KONG [2005], and upcoming films FIRST MAN [2018] and GODZILLA: KING OF MONSTERS [2019]) and Sarah Paulson (REBEL IN THE RYE [2017], THE SPIRIT [2008], WHAT WOMEN WANT [2000], and upcoming films THE POST [2018] and OCEAN’S EIGHT)

Director: Todd Haynes (I’M NOT THERE. [2007] and the upcoming WONDERSTRUCK [2017]). Writer: Phyllis Nagy (theatrical film debut; congrats, miss). Composer: Carter Burwell (GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN [2017], NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN [2007], FARGO [1996], and upcoming films WONDERSTRUCK and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI [2017]). Cinematographer: Edward Lachman (WIENER-DOG [2016], I’M NOT THERE., SELENA [1997], and the upcoming WONDERSTRUCK)

(SUMMARY)

It’s the 1950s, and the story follows a young woman named Therese (Rooney Mara) who almost instantly falls for an older woman named Carol (Cate Blanchett), who is in the middle of divorcing her husband Harge (Kyle Chandler), whom she has fallen out of love with despite his fighting for his marriage. Carol is, however, incredibly loving to her daughter Rindy (twins: Sadie and Kk Heim). As their relationship blossoms, and Therese’s own unhappy heterosexual relationship begins to crumble, Carol and Therese leave town together and begin a passionate affair. But as Harge’s desperation grows, he goes to extreme measures to keep his family together at any cost.

(REVIEW)

Thank fucking God, I’ve been going absolutely insane with the Netflix movie’s I’ve been watching lately, I NEEDED this movie. While I might not agree that this is the BEST picture of the year, it does certainly have a lot going for it. Admittedly, my main problems with the film are purely nitpicks.

You know what, let’s get those out of the way before going into what’s great.

The beginning just really felt really pretentious. Therese works in a… high end toy store I guess and is constantly surrounded by dolls and toy sets, even lingering on a shot of her with a toy set. I can only assume that this was done as additional character contrast between her and Carol… which is pretty unnecessary, the age difference and style of clothing summed it up enough. No need to hammer it more into our minds.

Now, before I get into the next plot-point that I wanted to address, I want to make something clear to everyone. I will not be pointing this out because of some segregation toward the homosexual community. I think it’s about time that America evolved a bit with legalizing gay marriage. I do not care if you are gay. I care about whether or not you are a good person who tries to do right, and is respectful toward me and others. In turn, I will be a good and respectful person toward, and do right by, you. I have always and forever will treat everybody equally.

So, on to my biggest problem with the film, and this is even commented on in the movie, “You barely know her!” Yeah… that’s a good point. This was basically the “love at first sight” cliché. Literally, Carol walks into the store and Therese is just FIXATED on her. How long have you been out in the real world, woman? What, have NO other attractive women passed by in the store. Somehow Carol is the hot woman to end all hot women? She’s gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree with her eventual feelings, but it’s the kickstart that I take issue with. I think it’s nice of Therese to mail Carol’s gloves back to her, but she literally just asked her out to dinner with very minimal interaction when the two first met. She’s still a stranger and she barely put up resistance to saying yes to having dinner with her. Remember when I said “equal treatment?” Well, how would it look if Therese was being asked out by a guy? In real life, a woman could easily feel uncomfortable and VERY easily make a declaration of the guy being a stalker or creepy. Why does Carol get a pass for being a lesbian? I disagree with this cliché no matter who the characters are.

But I’ve ranted about these nitpicks long enough. Time to rave about what’s good.

Blanchett is PHENOMENAL. She delivers a performance that is beautifully nuanced and powerful. Carol is a wonderfully confident character and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, but not unaware of the idea that certain things shouldn’t be said. She’s careful, but not paranoid. She knows what she wants, but also isn’t unaware of her limited influence, especially compared to her bully of a husband, Harge. This might be my favorite performance by Blanchett, which is saying something because the nerd inside me LOVES her as Galadriel from the Lord of the Rings franchise.

Mara’s no different. I have to express my absolute delight that PAN (2015) didn’t make a dent in her career. I guess being in a Fincher film will do that to a person’s career, and it’s not like anyone really saw PAN to begin with (myself excluded, I know, shut up). In any case, I’m ecstatic to see her in a role that showcases her acting at its finest. Therese is so wide-eyed and innocent, but she’s no push-over either. She’s uncertain of her sexuality, but knows she doesn’t live in a society that can accept who she is, or is even certain if she herself accepts who she is. But there’s genuine empathy when you see Therese interact with Carol and how free and happy she really is with her.

Of course, when reality sets in and circumstances tear them apart, you feel their anguish, making it truly awful to see the two of them unhappy. What an accomplishment to be this consistently moving to yank at every emotional string I have.

I want to say that I can overlook the logic of the film, as I do believe it could have been easily remedied with at least five minutes to illustrate a passage of time so a glorified road-trip could be more plausible. But the presence of such a cliché prevents it from being truly great. Having said that, the performances themselves and just how visceral the movie is prevents it from being more than just “good.” I may not agree that it’s the best movie of the year, but I do say it’s one of the best.

My honest rating for CAROL: a strong 4/5

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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991) review

Well I guess this was somewhat inevitable. What with the mixed bag that was the live-action remake, I guess someone wanted to save a little face. Can’t blame ’em, really.

In any case, wow, considering how many times I go to the cinemas, I don’t know if I ever expected this to ever make a reappearance. Am I utterly shocked? No, but I am pleasantly surprised. Is it some kind of anniversary? I don’t know. All I know is, I was two years old when this was released in theaters, hence, I never got the chance to see it on the big screen. Now I get that opportunity and I intend to take full advantage.

I wager most people know the back story behind this film, but for those few that don’t, I’ll do it for their knowledge. The story of Beauty and the Beast was originally a French fairy tale novel way back since 1740. Version after version exists, even today, but many consider the 1991 Disney classic to be the most popular version and for good reason. In fact, it was so good for it’s time, it was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Not “Best Animated Film,” no, Best… Picture. Wrap your mind around that, y’all. Best Animation didn’t even exist yet. That’s a serious testament to Disney and it’s criminal that animated films don’t get that kind of recognition from award ceremonies of that caliber anymore. Criminal, if you ask me. While I can’t say where this movie falls in my list of “favorite Disney films.” Before seeing the live-action remake this year, I can’t say that I remembered much about the original. But I do remember this being significantly more impressive than the remake.

Here’s the voice talent. Starring, we have Paige O’Hara (ENCHANTED [2007], BELLE’S MAGICAL WORLD [1998], BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: THE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS [1997], and the upcoming RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 [2018]) and Robby Benson (TV show AMERICAN DREAMS [2002 – 2005], and video games KINGDOM HEARTS II [2005] and KINGDOM HEARTS [2002]). In support, we have Richard White (TV show HOUSE OF MOUSE [2001 – 2002] and video game KING’S QUEST [2015]), Jesse Corti (ZOOTOPIA [2016], FROZEN [2013], and TV show THE BATMAN [2004 – 2008]), Rex Everhart (FRIDAY THE 13TH [1980] and SUPERMAN [1978]), Bradley Pierce (PETER PAN II: RETURN TO NEVERLAND [2002], THE BORROWERS [1997], JUMANJI [1995]), and Angela Lansbury (MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS [2011], THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE [1962], TV show MURDER, SHE WROTE [1984 – 1996], and the upcoming MARY POPPINS RETURNS [2018]).

Now for the crew. Co-directing, we have Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, both known for ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE (2001) and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996). Penning the screenplay is Linda Woolverton, known for ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016), THE LION KING (1994), and TV show DENNIS THE MENACE (1986 – 1988). Finally, the composer is Alan Menken, known for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017), SAUSAGE PARTY (2016), THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989), and upcoming films ALADDIN (2019) and THE LITTLE MERMAID, no release date announced.

Overall, I’m pretty excited for this. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, or… just a few months, depending on how much of this the remake copied and pasted.

This is my honest opinion of the tale as old as time: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991)

(SUMMARY)

Long ago, the cruel prince of a castle was turned into a beast (voiced by Robby Benson) for his actions. The only way to break his curse is if he falls in love and that love is returned before his enchanted rose’s petals all break off. But he became reclusive and has since faded from memory. Today, Belle (voiced by Paige O’Hara) lives in a small village as an outcast who loves to read. One day, her inventor father Maurice (voiced by Rex Everhart) ventures off into the woods, but gets horribly lost. Evading a pack of rabid wolves, he seeks shelter in the very castle the beast resides in, resulting in angering the beast and locking him away. Belle learns of this and sets out to find her father, agreeing to take his place as the beast’s prisoner and the two grow to realize that there’s more to each other than their initial impressions.

(REVIEW)

While some aspects of the story and characters don’t quite hold up for me as an adult, this is still one of the most beautifully animated Disney films of its era and arguably of all time.

Let’s start with what doesn’t work for me, since I’m sure people are hanging on that statement more than anything, and I admit thoroughly that I shouldn’t be so critical of a kids fairy tale movie, but this was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, so… I’ma be critical. I feel like Beast is a bit bipolar, or he’s built up inconsistently. The whole point of his backstory is that he was a jerk. He was above everyone, hence turning away the old woman slash beautiful enchantress. When he’s finally revealed, he’s a jerk to Maurice, who only wanted shelter from the storm and wolves. He couldn’t be more sensible and just send him on his way? Locking him in the dungeon was the only logical conclusion? Maybe if Maurice did something a little more insulting or careless, like broke an old vase of sentimental value, then his reaction would be understandable. As is, it’s just really forcing that he’s a grade-A jerkwad.

But this could be a small problem if the rest of his intro to everyone was consistent. When Belle shows up, he’s a jerk to her too. But once the prisoner exchange is completed, the pacing of his hospitality is rushed like a mofo. As soon as Maurice is gone, Lumiere manages to convince Beast rather easily and no effort to give her a nice room. How? She’s a prisoner? Prisoners aren’t treated with this much… respect. And after putting her in the room, he not only admits that she’s beautiful, which fine, comments on a person’s looks can be pointed out rather cheaply, but trying to make a good first impression at dinner? At the dinner table? Someone explain why this is. I doubt Maurice was going to get the full buffet option. I feel like more time should have been spent developing his softness toward Belle and letting her eat like a civilized person. Granted, this could have extended the movie’s runtime an extra ten minutes, but it would have felt more realistic. Weird how I’m saying that about a fantasy story involving a person with a bison’s head, but I stand by it.

Also, the west wing fiasco. First off, instead of simply telling Belle that “it’s forbidden,” how about lying. Say something like… it’s his deceased family’s private quarters. Rare treasures, priceless stuff, which kind of happens to be the case anyway, so she has more incentive to respect his wishes to stay out of there. By that point, if Belle went in that wing with that foreknowledge, then she’d be an inconsiderate jerk as well and just poking around taking advantage of her jailer’s hospitality. This could also apply to Lumiere and Cogsworth when giving her the tour of the castle, giving a proper excuse of what’s up there. Of course when you say that there’s nothing up there, the curiosity will set in and she’ll sneak up there.

And why isn’t the room with the enchanted rose locked? You’d think with strangers in the castle who is free to mosey about as she pleases would take a little extra precautions. Of course, you could always argue that it wasn’t locked because he was technically already in the room. So… fair enough.

Oh, and Chip’s kind of annoying.

Summed up, I think the pacing from Belle’s arrival to the castle and the wolf attack after she runs away is all pretty rushed and not handled very well. Some more time with the characters and their motivations and emotions, and smarter writing would have been appreciated.

But enough of the bashing. Time to gush.

This is arguably one of Disney’s most gorgeous films. I don’t think it was their first foray into this, but the incorporation of both hand-drawn animation and computer effects was in perfect taste. It was a beautiful prelude to where Disney would eventually go, arguably making this more impressive than their current products. Not that I’m ragging on the 3D animated style of TANGLED (2010) and everything after, I like the current films just fine, but there’s something special about hand-drawn animation and such a shame that the market for it is considered irrelevant. I wish Disney would still make one once in awhile for old times sake. But this is the direction they’ve gone in and it’s not at all bad, so I’m not complaining too much. It’s still Disney.

By the way, “Be Our Guest” is still breathtaking to look at and certainly leaves a bigger impression than the remake. Same goes for the climactic fight scene on the castle rooftops, and between the villagers and the servants. I will never stop cringing at the ax dude getting bashed in the face by the drawers. Ouch…

What else is there? I think Beast is much more impressive here than the remake. Perhaps it’s a testament to Benson’s voice, but I felt like Beasts voice has such range from being goofy, threatening, and compassionate. I look back on the remake, and while I maintain that Beast is still impressive to look at in live-action, he’s far more expressive in this and leaves a bigger impact.

Overall, this movie really takes me back and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to watch this in theaters. I don’t pretend to know why Disney is re-releasing their classics on the big screen, and I don’t much care. Reliving them is a wonderful experience and I encourage everyone to do the same. This film may not be my favorite Disney outing, but it’s undeniably one of their best.

My honest rating for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991): 4/5

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HOME AGAIN review

Yay! A romantic comedy with Reese Witherspoon! Is it just me, or does it feel like it’s been awhile?

The movie looks like it’s about this woman who recently divorced or separated from her husband and has returned to her hometown with her two daughters. After a night of birthday drinks and meeting a cute, younger man, she takes him home, they sleep together, and somehow she winds up with the man and his friends, who are all aspiring filmmakers, living with her in her house. Of course, things get weird when her ex eventually shows up, likely doing the whole love-triangle angle. How do I think it’s going to be? Probably meh. I suspect I’ll be entertained enough because I love Witherspoon as an actress and I am bias toward rom-coms, but love-triangles as a plot-point annoy me. No movie that I’ve seen has ever gotten it right. They’re supposed to be about a person caught between two good people that the person can’t pick who to commit to. Thing is, in movies, one person is always more obvious who will be picked than the other, so there’s no real surprises. I’m also predicting that Witherspoon’s character’s ex will eventually charm her into giving him a second chance, only for him to screw up again, so she’ll run back to the younger guy’s arms and they’ll live happily ever after. It’s going to be a sad day if this is an accurate prediction.

Well, here’s the cast. Starring, we have great and still-inhumanly-gorgeous Reese Witherspoon, known for SING (2016), PENELOPE (2006), LEGALLY BLONDE (2001), and the upcoming TINKER BELL, no release date announced. Alongside her, we have Pico Alexander (WAR MACHINE [2017], INDIGNATION [2016], and A MOST VIOLENT YEAR [2014]) and Michael Sheen (NORMAN [2017], NOCTURNAL ANIMALS [2016], UNDERWORLD [2003], and the upcoming BRAD’S STATUS [2017]). In support, we have Candice Bergen (RULES DON’T APPLY [2016], SWEET HOME ALABAMA [2002], and MISS CONGENIALITY [2000]), Lola Flanery (TV shows THE MIST [2017] and SHADOWHUNTERS: THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS [2016 – ongoing]), Eden Grace Redfield (THE GLASS CASTLE [2017]), Nat Wolff (LEAP! [2017], PAPER TOWNS [2015], and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS [2014]), and Lake Bell (I DO… UNTIL I DON’T [2017], THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS [2016], and MAN UP [2015]).

Now for the crew. Writing and directing, we have Hallie Meyers-Shyer, making her directorial and writing debut. Congrats, miss. Composing the score, we have John Debney, known for ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE (2016), SIN CITY (2005), INSPECTOR GADGET (1999), and upcoming TV shows THE ORVILLE (2017) and the pilot episode of YOUNG SHELDON. Finally, the cinematographer is Dean Cundey, known for JACK AND JILL (2011), GARFIELD (2004), JURASSIC PARK (1993), and the upcoming ANASTASIA (2018).

Overall, I’m pretty excited for this, if only for the talent.

This is my honest opinion of: HOME AGAIN

(SUMMARY)

Alice (Reese Witherspoon) is unfortunately separated from her record producer husband Austen (Michael Sheen), and has moved back to Los Angeles, California with her two daughters, older Isabele (Lola Flanery) and younger Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield) into her childhood home to rebuild her life. However, on a night out with her friends to celebrate her birthday, she meets a trio of young and rising filmmakers, director Harry (Pico Alexander), his younger brother and actor, Teddy (Nat Wolff), and writer George (Jon Rudnitsky), and Alice nearly sleeps with Harry. They all end up staying at her place and after developing a connection with Alice’s mother Lillian (Candice Bergen), a retired actress herself, wants to bunk the three young men in Alice’s home until they’ve gotten their movie worked on.

(REVIEW)

Man, I really wanted to like this movie. All the negative reviews are going to be difficult to argue with.

While this won’t be a bashing jamboree, it’s probably best to talk about the negatives, as there’s quite a bit. The basic premise is that Alice winds up in a relationship with the younger Harry. Thing is, their relationship is about one of the worst written relationships I’ve seen in awhile. Almost from the moment that Harry meets Alice, he is pretty obnoxious. At first, it’s just sort of the typical young guy flirting with the woman thinking he’s more charming than he really is, so I didn’t have a problem with it right away. But as soon as her mom invites them to stay in the house, this is where Harry slowly, but surly, becomes unlikable to the umpteenth degree. He really crosses lines with Alice that she finds alluring, but any other woman in real life would acknowledge as pushy. Even after his talk about “staying friends” after a failed night of sex, he’s the one who initiates the topic of making it more serious, which is when Alice invites him to a dinner engagement that her friend is hosting. However, on that same night, Harry has his own meeting to go to about his movie, something that Alice was aware of. Sadly, you can probably guess exactly where this goes. He doesn’t show up because he drank too much and wouldn’t assert himself to leave, and Alice takes it way too personally and they end their relationship.

There is no reason for this to get so dramatic. Alice knew that the boys are on the cusp of living out their dream of getting their movie made, an obviously exciting and busy time. So why isn’t Alice more understanding? And he didn’t stand her up at the altar, it was a small dinner date at her friend’s house! And it was their first attempt at a date, not their tenth. If anything, you get annoyed and try again. Not one small misstep and act like it’s the end of the world. This is the most unlikable Alice gets in the film. And as for Harry, this scene establishes that he’s kind of a pussy. You can clearly tell that he’s trying to leave to go to the dinner date, but he can’t get away because the producer “wouldn’t shut up.” Oh jesus, get your balls out of your purse, dude, and get up and go. Or fake needing to go to the bathroom. There was a million work-arounds to get where he needed to go and not once did that logic come across in this scene. Hell, he probably could have saved some serious face if he had texted her and said, “Hey, sorry, can’t get away, enjoy yourself, I’ll make it up to you, xx” and really nullified the situation. But these set of scenes are completely devoid of logic and make themselves out like the script just needs to get a move on.

But while I can argue that this is the only time Alice is unlikable, the frustrations I had with Harry didn’t stop at Alice. He’s a dick-cheese to everyone else he’s around. He’s extremely selfish and acts more like a child than a twenty-seven year old grown ass man. We eventually learn that George, the writer, has been taking side jobs of looking over other scripts to make a little extra money. Okay, sounds harmless enough. And Teddy has opportunities to audition for other parts. Once again, sounds reasonable. Here’s the thing, they hid all this from Harry because he’d freak out and think they were trying to ditch him, and when he finds out what the other guys are doing, he freaks out. Why? A writer needs to write and they’ll take any number of extra jobs to put food on the table. This is a natural part of writing in Hollywood, but Harry somehow thinks that because they worked on one movie together, a movie that hasn’t been green-lit or properly financed, that they’re bound by blood to never work on anything without his explicit consent. Piss off, you little bitch. He’s never happy for the others’ accomplishments, so it’s a wonder why they bothered being friends with him when he stormed off like a petulant child.

There’s also a bit of build-up with George developing feelings for Alice, but he never acts on them. This movie teases a love-triangle and doesn’t even bother to deliver it. Not that I’m complaining too much, as triangles rarely work out in films, but it’s still wasted script pages to devote time to something else. Also, throughout the film, we’re constantly told that Austen is this party boy that never grew up and is largely manipulative, but we’re never actually shown that… ever. In fact, in every scene that he’s in, he seems like a nice guy. Even when he’s an asshole, you can sort of understand why. He calls Alice, he tells her he misses her and seems really conflicted about his job anchoring him away from his family. The next time we see him, he’s made a surprise visit to see his family and seems to really love his daughters and wants to make a real attempt at repairing his broken relationship with Alice. None of the negative stuff ever makes an appearance in his character until he picks a fight with Teddy. That’s when his manipulation comes in, but that’s it. And it’s not like it truly pays off when Alice decides to divorce him, to which he takes it incredibly well. I don’t know many manipulative assholes who take losing very well. They pass it off as someone else’s failure and they’re the victims of circumstance.

Sounds like a bunch of pretty good reasons to pass on this movie, huh? Well… probably, but that shouldn’t suggest that there wasn’t some things that I liked. Witherspoon is always amazing, so she’s always got this charm that keeps me liking her, even if her character is poorly written. One of my favorite parts about Alice was that she never ends up with a man at the end of the movie. She smooths things over with everyone, but never truly commits to any one guy. They’re just all close friends. I also bought the connections she had with the trio. They did have a really cute relationship between each other and that carried the film well enough for me. George was about the only real likable character out of the trio and I did enjoy his connection with Isabele and their mutual love for writing. The kids were flirting with being annoying characters, but never quite crossed any lines for me, and did have their funny moments. “How old do you think I am?” “I don’t know… Mom-age?” That kind of got me. Even Sheen was pretty entertaining to watch. And a brief appearance by comedienne, Jen Kirkman as one of Alice’s friends? That was a particularly special treat for me.

But yeah, none of the positives really save the flick from it’s horrible writing and misunderstanding of how dating works. While not the worst of Witherspoon’s films, it’s certainly no WALK THE LINE (2005) or LEGALLY BLONDE. It’s not one of her worst films either. I see it as something more akin to SWEET HOME ALABAMA. It’s one of those movies that she did that no one will really remember. It’s hard for me to recommend this to anyone. Maybe it’d be a fair enough movie to take your middle-aged mother too, but it’s definitely not a good film. Like I said, I don’t hate it. There had enough charm to keep me interested and even entertained, but it’s not enough to save it completely. Save this for a rental, if anything, but even then, I don’t think it’s worth your time.

My honest rating for HOME AGAIN: a weak 3/5

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TULIP FEVER review

Yay! Something with Alicia Vikander!

TULIP FEVER is based on a novel by the same name. It looks like it’s about a young woman who is practically bought into a marriage with an older, wealthier man who seems to love how beautiful and young she is, as opposed to loving her for her. Eventually, there’s this craze over a particular tulip that everyone wants, that I can only assume this rich old dude gets, and a young and talented artist is hired to make a painting. However, the artist and the young woman fall in love and so begins some Jerry Springer shit. It looks… meh. The aesthetic itself is pretty gorgeous, as well as the costumes, but it looks like it’s going to get needlessly complicated. I have no real evidence to show for it, but these period dramas are always about power and status, and I feel like I’ve seen enough of those. But hey, Alicia Vikander!

Here’s the cast. Did I mention this movie stars Alicia Vikander? She’s known for THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (2016), EX-MACHINA (2015), BURNT (2015), and the upcoming TOMB RAIDER (2018). Also starring, we have Dane DeHaan (VALERIAN [2017], A CURE FOR WELLNESS [2017], and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 [2014]) and Christoph Waltz (THE LEGEND OF TARZAN [2016], SPECTRE [2015], THE GREEN HORNET [2011], and the upcoming ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL [2018]). In support, we have Judi Dench (MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN [2016], CASINO ROYALE [2006], SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE [1998], and upcoming films VICTORIA AND ABDUL [2017] and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS [2017]), Cara Delevingne (VALERIAN, SUICIDE SQUAD [2016], and PAPER TOWNS [2015]), Zack Galifianakis (LEGO BATMAN [2017], KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES [2016], and THE CAMPAIGN [2012]), Holliday Grainger (MY COUSIN RACHEL [2017], THE FINEST HOURS [2016], and CINDERELLA [2015]), and Tom Hollander (THE PROMISE [2017], MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION [2015], PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST [2006], and upcoming films BREATHE [2017] and THE JUNGLE BOOK [2018]).

Now for the crew. Directing, we have Justin Chadwick, known for THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL (2008). Co-writing the script is Tom Stoppard (ANNA KARENINA [2012], SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, EMPIRE OF THE SUN [1987], and the upcoming A CHRISTMAS CAROL, no release date announced) and author of the novel itself, Deborah Moggach (PRIDE & PREJUDICE [2005]). Composing the score is *double take* Danny Elfman?! Did I ever write this down in my previous reviews?! Anywho, Elfman is known for FIFTY SHADES DARKER (2017), ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016), HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY (2008), and upcoming films JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) and FIFTY SHADES FREED (2018). Finally, the cinematographer is Eigil Bryld, known for IN BRUGES (2008) and the upcoming OCEAN’S EIGHT (2018).

Overall, yeah, I probably won’t care much about the movie itself. I just want Vikander to melt my heart. And maybe stab someone in some kind of climactic fight scene. I don’t know, I don’t care. Alicia Vikander! No, I don’t have a huge crush on Alicia Vikander! YOU have a crush on Alicia Vikander! Leave me alone!

This is my honest opinion of: TULIP FEVER

(SUMMARY)

Set in Amsterdam, circa 1634 during the tulip mania. Sophia (Alicia Vikander) is bought from her orphanage into a marriage with the wealthy Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz), and is basically tasked with birthing a child, with no results. Eventually, Cornelis commissions a young painter named Jan Van Loos (Dane DeHaan) who quickly falls in love with Sophia, and falls for him in turn, and they start to have an affair.

(REVIEW)

Oh man. With the vast amounts of reviews that I’ve been belting out recently, I’m surprised I made it this far with knowing what to say. No joke, I have to look at my notes to even remember how I felt about this movie. Er… probably not a good sign.

Ah ha, upon reviewing my said notes, that’s probably one of the reasons why I didn’t connect with this movie as well as I’d hoped. It’s a slow churn. The opening of this movie is a history lesson about the tulip mania, which isn’t bad in itself. It’s a little slice of history that I can imagine is overlooked in standard history books. But then once the actual story, you know, the characters and their problems, the whole tulip mania thing feels either like an afterthought, or a second story that doesn’t connect well with the actual story.

It also doesn’t help that between Sophia’s purchase as Cornelis’ wife, nothing really happens for a good twenty minutes. It’s mostly a bunch of him pissing into a bucket in the corner, calling his dick “his little soldier,” and him unable to properly climax when having sex with her. Granted, there’s some fair character connections between Sophia and Maria (Holliday Grainger), whom is only treated like a servant by Cornelis, rather than Sophia who treats her like a friend.

Speaking of which, this is another problem I have with the film. Increasingly over the last few years, I’ve had a huge problem with narrators. They’re utilized grossly incorrectly by explaining things that explain themselves in the visuals. It was fine when it was explaining the tulip mania, but outside of that, the narrator, an older Maria, never shuts the hell up after that. She’s explaining everything that doesn’t need explanation. We can read the expressions of the characters and perfectly understand their motivations just fine, thank you very much. So the movie does sadly talk down to the audience, thinking we’re too stupid to interpret the characters accurately ourselves. I think at some point the narration stops, or decreases in appearance, but in the end, it takes way too long for it to get there. And why is it important for Maria to be narrating the story?! If the movie is technically in her perspective, how does she know the details of Sophia and Jan’s affair? Or even Jan’s later activities? None of this really adds up.

The movie isn’t all bad, mind you. There does feel like there’s stakes in the beginning. We learn that because Cornelis and Sophia have been trying to conceive for awhile and he’s giving her six more months to get knocked up before he sends her back to the orphanage. Also, the art department needs a damn Oscar nom because these sets are absolutely breath-taking. Of course, Vikander and Waltz are both wonderful, DeHaan isn’t bad, Grainger is certainly a show-stealer, the performances are all around very good, which does occasionally distract from the plot points that get forced.

For example, the whole story is basically Sophia having an affair on Cornelis with Jan, but their relationship is so sudden. Quite literally, Sophia walks downstairs in a pretty blue dress and WHAMO! he’s in love. But fine, a dude’s pants get a little tighter when he sees a hot chick, that’s nothing new, men are pigs, I get that. But what’s her excuse? The sudden romantic exchange is so sudden that they never have time time to actually develop feelings beyond the superficial. Thankfully, the two have some pretty good chemistry the rest of the movie, but the launching point is too lame for my taste.

***SPOILERS***

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And let’s talk about the remainder of this movie. So the rest of the plot is basically this: Maria had an affair with a local fish peddler. He suddenly left thinking the cloaked woman making out with Jan was Maria, when in fact it was Sophia. Maria ended up getting pregnant, which would mean a great disgrace to her and probably lose her job. But Sophia hatches an idea: make it seem like it’s Sophia that’s pregnant with Cornelis’ child, make her look pregnant for as long as Maria is pregnant, and when she gives birth, pass off the child as Sophia’s, fake her own death so she can be with Jan, and Maria will be free to raise her own child at no risk to her employment.

This plan should be destined to fail, but it works almost perfectly by the end of the movie, which is… just, no. First off, faking Sophia’s pregnancy isn’t too hard, but how would hiding Maria’s pregnancy work? She shows! Her pregnancy is obvious! This plan should have been a bust eventually, but somehow that hasn’t been the case. Second, I take it back, faking Sophia’s pregnancy should be hard too because married couples have sex when the woman’s pregnant all the time! You can’t convince me that a Lord like Cornelis would just accept her rules of both not sleeping with her and not even being able to touch her pregnant belly. At some point within the nine months of Maria’s pregnancy, he would have to have seen Sophia’s flesh at some point, simply from demand. He even remarks during the birthing scene that she refused his touch for several months. RED FLAGS, YOU DUMB ASS!!! Hell, these are the only two reasons that come to mind. I’m sure there’s a shit load of others too.

But wait, it only gets worse. When the Maria’s baby-daddy returns to confront her and discovers the truth of what he saw, Cornelis overhears her conversation with him and realizes the truth of everything as well, the affair, the pregnancy plot, everything, he leaves a note for Maria in daze. You want to know what that note said? “I forgive you, I’m leaving Amsterdam, I give you all of my riches, good luck.” Yeah, so he found out his wife’s baby wasn’t really theirs, she had an affair with the painter, all for the better part of a year… and he forgives them and leaves them everything

Moral of the story, y’all, lie to and cheat on your rich husbands and he’ll leave his entire wealth to your B.F.F.!!! Don’t act like it never happened to you!

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***END SPOILERS***

Overall, I can’t claim this to be a good movie. The characters themselves are fine and pretty likable, hence the acting is good, and the costumes and set designs are amazing to say the least. So it’s, at best, a pretty film to look at. But the character’s choices and story’s logic are such nonsense that you’d swear this script was a first draft and the filmmakers just rolled with it. While I certainly don’t hate the film, I honestly can’t recommend it in theaters. I might recommend it as a rental, but viewer beware.

My honest rating for TULIP FEVER: a weak 3/5

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BEACH RATS review

Came out of nowhere, so that’s how I know about this movie. Just watched the trailer and it looks like it’s about this young man, a teenager, has started a relationship with a nice girl, but might be struggling with a homosexual awakening. Not that homosexuals don’t deserve to be represented well in film, but a generic plot like this doesn’t seem like a great addition to its limited film collection.

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Harris Dickinson, known for unknown projects. In support, we have Madeline Weinstein (1 episode of TV shows BLUE BLOODS [2010 – ongoing] and ELEMENTARY [2012 – ongoing]), Kate Hodge (LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III [1990], and 1 episode of TV shows FRINGE [2008 – 2013] and XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS [1995 – 2001]), and Neal Huff (SPLIT [2017], SPOTLIGHT [2015], and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL [2014]).

Now for the crew. Directing and penning the screenplay is Eliza Hittman, known for unknown projects and short films. Composing the score is Nicholas Leone, making his feature film debut. Congrats, sir. Finally, the cinematographer is Hélène Louvart, known for a bunch of foreign projects.

Overall, not overly excited, but an uninteresting trailer doesn’t always mean a bad movie, so let’s see what this has got in store for me.

This is my honest opinion of: BEACH RATS

(SUMMARY)

The story follows Frankie (Harris Dickinson), a young man living Brooklyn who leads a double life of sorts. In his family life, his father is dying of cancer and his mom and sister are doing what they can to get by. With his friends, they hang out at the beach, smoke weed, and have fun any way they want. Frankie even meets a girl named Simone (Madeline Winstein) and the two strike up a relationship. But that becomes a struggle for him as he explores his homosexual side by looking up older men online, keeping this side of him a secret from everyone he knows.

(REVIEW)

This movie knows exactly what it is and it goes full force into it. For one thing, there is surprisingly very little female nudity, if any at all. This movie is chock full of male nudity though. Hell, the opening scene is Frankie on the internet looking up older gay men in chatrooms. You get a good eye-full of a dude’s penis.

Before I get into the movie itself, I wanted to quickly mention the difference in experiences people will have when watching this movie. Take me for example, I knew what this movie had in store for me the moment the movie opened. It’s the journey of a young man’s homosexual awakening and his struggles in figuring out if he really is gay or not. This is a movie you’re supposed to take seriously. So that’s what I did; I took the movie seriously. However, I don’t speak for the rest of the audience I was sitting with. There’s a scene where Frankie is browsing the chatrooms and one of the rooms he passes by is a man dancing with his penis flopping around. This has a couple people in my auditorium laughing. On the one hand, I get it. For those who don’t browse those sites, I can see how easy it could be to make fun of the visual. However, I do believe that the whole point of watching this is missed by these audience members. Frankie is still a young man who hasn’t quite embraced his homosexuality. This room he’s in is his only privacy in exploring this side of him. It’s a confusing time for him and despite being close to his mother and sister, it’s still not enough for him to come out of that proverbial closet. I guess it was easier for me to accept because I understood the function of these scenes. Maybe this isn’t actually how all gay men explore their sexuality, but I get it in the context of the character.

One of the biggest things that I could appreciate about this film was its confidence in itself. It really wanted to showcase the sexual side of male homosexuality, so there is sex in this movie. I don’t know if this was deliberate or by accident, but I noticed that the sex between Frankie and Simone is pretty awkward and hard to watch, almost like they’re miserable for him. Like the first time he’s about to have sex with Simone, he acts like an asshole to her. The second time, he needs to go to the bathroom to get himself hard so he can please her. The final time is a quickie on a yacht that lasts about five seconds before he totally bails on in the middle of the act. But all the sexual encounters Frankie has with the men he meets are handled with more care. They’re never repetitive. From kissing, to penetration, to oral, it’s not miserable for him. It’s just another experience for him in discovering what he likes to do.

Now, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but… did anyone’s name actually get mentioned in the movie? Like, I don’t recall Frankie’s name ever said by anyone. Did I just miss it? The only reason I know the main character’s name is Frankie is because I looked it up on IMDb. But I don’t recall anyone’s name said in this movie other than Simone. On second though, don’t correct me if I’m wrong. I like the thought that no names were used because my interpretation of it will be that Frankie is something of a representation of someone still in that proverbial closet. He’s something of a blank slate so someone who is in a similar situation as him can picture themselves in his situation more easily.

By the way, there’s this really funny scene after Frankie has sex with a guy. They’re laying in bed and the guy says, “You know how you can tell if you’re gay? If you’re straight, your ring finger is longer than your pointer finger. If you’re gay, your pointer finger is longer.” Full disclosure, I looked at my fingers. Multiple times.

So it looks like this I think this movie has some artistic merit, right? I must think it’s pretty great, you might think. Well… no, actually. I mean, I sure don’t hate the movie, I think it’s pretty good, but there’s still some elements about the flick that I didn’t like too much. For one thing, despite Frankie possibly deliberately being written as a blank slate, he’s still given some character… and at first, he’s not always likable. He and his friends steal money so they can go the local fair, he does hard drugs, kind of mean toward his sister, and definitely treats Simone poorly in their first attempt at having sex. There wasn’t a whole lot to like at first. But his character simmers down as the story progresses and the unlikable activities are pretty minimal… at least up until Frankie pawns his mother’s earrings for money that’s never truly resolved. That was pretty douchie. And his friends assault a gay guy for his weed, which was a horribly shot assault scene and certainly ends the movie on a lame note. With a weak start and conclusion, all I can come back to is… MOONLIGHT (2016) did it better. More poetic, more ambiguous, an all around better film that succeeded in all aspects that this movie tried to strive for.

But the truth is, we need more movies like this. We need more movies that shed light on a current hot-button topic as homosexuality, transexuality, all of that. The more indie films that take the risk of making these kinds of movies, maybe more high-profile studios will give them a chance in the future, give them great marketing, and giving more opportunities for actors that fit these descriptions without judgment and prejudices. Granted, we’ve got a long way to go before Hollywood has that kind of variety, but we’ll never get there if more filmmakers don’t put forth the effort to make this stand. They’ve sure come a fair distance than in the past, to be fair. I imagine if someone were to try to make a movie that tries to bring black-face back, that movie would be scrapped faster than the speed of light. While white-washing and misogyny is still a thing, there’s still forces at work fighting to make change. So long as Hollywood studios continue to give films like this a chance, and filmmakers give those studios a reason to give them a chance by making quality stories like this, then we’re certainly on the right path.

But enough with the philosophy babble. The film is good. A slower paced story, but still a fascinating journey in one young man’s shoes as he figures himself out. I do recommend this, but understand that you’re in for a viewing not often shown on the big screen. There is graphic nudity and sex and I already know this won’t be for everyone. But it’s worth it if you’re looking to challenge yourself.

My honest rating for BEACH RATS: 4/5

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I DO… UNTIL I DON’T review

Yay! Rom-coms!

I only saw the trailer maybe once before this week, so I can’t say much. Hell, if I didn’t check my theaters, I wouldn’t have even remembered that this movie existed. Oh well. It’s here and I have a soft spot for rom-coms.

The story looks like it’s about a trio of couples that are going through their own crises in their respective marriages and end up getting help… I think… from a woman who is less than enthusiastic about marriage. I think I’m way off, but that’s all I really took away from the trailer.

Here’s the ensemble cast. Starring, writing, and directing this project is Lake Bell, known for THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (2016), NO ESCAPE (2015), NO STRINGS ATTACHED (2011), and the upcoming HOME AGAIN (2017). She also wrote, directed, and starred in IN A WORLD… (2013). Alongside her, we have Ed Helms (CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS [2017], VACATION [2015], THE HANGOVER [2009], and the upcoming TAG [2018]), Amber Heard (THE DANISH GIRL [2015], THE RUM DIARIES [2011], ZOMBIELAND [2009], and upcoming films JUSTICE LEAGUE [2017] and AQUAMAN [2018]), Mary Steenburgen (DEAN [2017], THE PROPOSAL [2009], and POWDER [1995]), Paul Reiser (THE LITTLE HOURS [2017], ONE NIGHT AT MCCOOL’S [2001], and ALIENS [1986]), and Dolly Wells (BRIDGET JONES’S BABY [2016], 45 YEARS [2015], and BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY [2001]).

Now for the crew. Composing the score is Dexter Story, known for a bunch of unknown projects, and the cinematographer is Wyatt Garfield, known for BEATRIZ AT DINNER (2017).

Overall, I’m more than a little curious to see this. Not overly excited for anything, but it looks pretty fun.

This is my honest opinion of: I DO… UNTIL I DON’T

(SUMMARY)

The story follows Alice (Lake Bell), who is… semi-happily married to her husband Noah (Ed Helms). Alice desperately tries to get involved with a documentarian named Vivian (Dolly Wells) who is making a documentary about the limitations and impracticality of marriage. The two of them are also incredibly financially unstable and Alice was hoping to be compensated for her participation in the film, like Vivian’s other participants, but when this doesn’t become the case, she resorts to looking for ways to make the promised money and make ends meet, while keeping her lie a secret. The story also follows an older couple and their crippled, marriage, and Alice’s younger hippie sister and her relationship with her mate.

(REVIEW)

Sadly, it’s very flawed. With that said, I don’t hate it. In fact, I like it, but even I can’t look at these negative reviews and truly argue. What’s wrong with it? Missed opportunity. While I like that this movie is a through-and-through celebration of marriage, even its hardships, it isn’t something that hasn’t really been done before. It basically follows three sets of couples: Alice and Noah, Cybill (Mary Steenburgen) and Harvey (Paul Reiser), and Fanny (Amber Heard) and Zander (Wyatt Cenac). The primary fix is to focus on any of the aforementioned couples, instead of the whole group.

Cybill and Harvey: they’re a legitimately cute-yet-troubled married couple. Their relationship isn’t anything spectacular, but it’s effective enough and has a strong, smile-inducing resolution. How does a constantly bickering couple on the verge of separation keep bouncing back into form? This could have been explored and something nice come out of it.

Fanny and Zander are a young hippie couple that don’t want to get married and don’t even really believe in monogamy, so they sleep with other people, but remain committed to each other. But as the story progresses, we see Zander getting jealous of the attention that Fanny gets and the special feelings he has for her, he doesn’t want to share it with another woman. Again, there’s something to explore there.

And now for the most impactful storyline, and arguably the one I have the most problems with, Alice and Noah. They’re having a hard time financially, but Noah’s pushing the idea of having a baby together, but Alice doesn’t really want one, but hasn’t told Noah. Their story alone merited more attention than the others because you have a married couple of seven years, one wants to be a parent, the other doesn’t. That’s a pretty big deal as far as a functioning relationship is concerned, but it’s not properly explored in the movie. The big reveal is that Alice doesn’t want a baby, but really, that should be whole plot right there.

Let’s get personal for a bit here. For me, I know I want to get married and be a father someday. So I know when I start dating someone and it gets serious, one of the first things I’d want to know before committing too much time and effort into our relationship is knowing if she wants to get married and have kids too. If the she doesn’t want one or the other, then I move on. That’s what dating’s for, after all: a test of compatibility. Now, I’m in no hurry to get married, or have kids, if I find a woman who has similar interests in the future, but it’s important to know if the options are in the cards. Alice and Noah dated for x-amount of time and were married for seven years. Have they never sat down and discussed kids while they were dating, let alone married? I honestly don’t know how that’s possible. But fine, the whole point of the movie could have been this reveal alone, that Alice doesn’t want kids, and how something that is essentially a deal breaker, doesn’t destroy the relationship. It could have been a poignant look into what a person could be missing out on if they sacrificed that desire for the significant other, or what the significant other could be sacrificing if they did something they didn’t want to do. Either way, showcase a smart perspective on an issue like this and how the couple can still make their marriage work. Sadly though, that’s not what this movie does. It’s just, financial problems and nervousness about bringing a baby into this world with no stability. Alice and Noah’s story isn’t pushed far enough.

It’s kind of a shame that this story is so bland because everything else isn’t bad. The actors have great chemistry, there is some wonderfully funny situational comedy, and Bell is such a charismatic actor with incredible expressions that I really want to see more from her. She obviously can act, and has great potential as a filmmaker, which she’s also proven with her previous work, so… keep going! Make another movie, miss Bell. I want to see what else she’s got and to see how she can push her talents and really do something special. I’m sure ready for more. But as a whole, the movie is, objectively speaking, not very good. But I don’t dislike it, not by a long shot. Average it out, I say it’s okay. If you’re a rom-com type person, you’ll likely enjoy this just fine. It’s a fair enough date movie. But if you’re an opinionated bloke looking for the next IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934), this is definitely not it.

My honest rating for I DO… UNTIL I DON’T: 3/5

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