- Christmas 2020 made to order: Christmas Romantic Comedy
- Blood of Zeus: Mythology cartoon series
- Christmas Wonderland: Holiday Romcom
- Most of the Bourne films: Great close-up well-choreographed action with political twists
- New York minute
- My Christmas Inn: Holiday Romcom
- Father Figures
- Music and Lyrics
- Christmas Land: Holiday Romcom
- As good as it gets
- The secret: Dare to dream – Realistic-feeling Romcom
- Operation Christmas Drop: Romcom on a bed of heartfelt charitable true story
- Midnight at the magnolia: Romcom where friendship turns into romance
- So undercover: Teen movie
- Spiderman into the spider-verse: Animated action
Christmas 2020 made to order: Christmas Romantic Comedy
I was looking forward to seeing the two good-looking lead characters. The acting is telegraphed, the beautiful main actress seems to have messed up her face with some type of filler which makes it a little hard to look at her in the same way (I was hoping she was one of those who just age gracefully, she definitely has the face for it), the meet cute is extremely boring and unoriginal. The trialled, tested and exhausted script is therefore extremely unoriginal: basically the usual one party loves Christmas, the other one does not so the whole plot is about the former convincing the latter that they are right. Is there any of these movies that just respect differing opinions and stops thinking that not loving Christmas is a disease originating in a little childhood trauma that the power of boners just overcomes the time it takes to complete a movie? Goodness, it is strenuous how little chemistry there is between these two beautiful people! In that way the movie does not stray from its predecessors, hoping that the Christmas magic and diegetic music would provide enough magic to glitter over that blandness. It all feels forced and still sounds and feels like a first table-read. So many things feel all at once cliché and wrong, caricatural, from the constant and unsubtle guilt-tripping, to the unprofessional nosiness, via the coincidental everything and everyone. The magical change of mind is an effect without logical cause or emotional trail. It rounds up the stupid wannabe twist where they break up because of a silly thing and get back together because…, argghh… I have just watched the movie and I cannot even remember, this is how forgettable and trivial it is. I guess that one idea that was not explored is for you to market yourself with a dash of self-righteousness to the family and the guy through Christmas, oh no, it has been done too. Maybe romantic comedies are about exhausting formulae.
3.5 out of 10
Blood of Zeus: Mythology cartoon series
Mythology always has that edge of mystery, fantasy, power that draws us in. Blood of Zeus is no different. Netflix shows Season 1, surprisingly as short as 8 episodes, centred around demigod Heron. The story is gripping enough, the drawings are ok. The animation feels at times a little subpar, as if the last stage of the process was missed in places. It almost feels as if they were rushing to deliver something for the COVID-stranded people, hungry for adventure by proxy. The cartoon is entertaining, the season is short enough to be watched in one go and before you know it, it is completed and you are yearning for more.
6.9 out of 10
Christmas Wonderland: Holiday Romcom
Surprise! We have romance on a bed of holidays. Much better acting on our second holiday comedy. But exposition happens almost immediately and one after the other with as much awkwardness as there would be if they were vomiting it. The leads look more real, I guess and act it as well.
4.1 out of 10
Most of the Bourne films: Great close-up well-choreographed action with political twists
Netflix is unfortunately not showing the last Bourne but it is a pleasure to get at least all the other movies in the “series”. Realistic-looking close-camera fights, other action and adventure, and Matt Damon is all you need for
7.5 out of 10
New York minute
Slightly exhausting at first when it appears all the clichés will soon be lined-up but then I guess it is what a family movie should be: a lot exaggerated in part but mostly in good measure very unlikely to happen in real life but all fun, and doubled up with the twins. For the early teenager in us all. Silly but worth it.
6.5 out of 10
My Christmas Inn: Holiday Romcom
So, this is another romcom with ok acting if I ignore the clichés that shadow every Black / African American’s stereotypical way of speaking (e.g., the parents). The inn was in the title, the coincidentally real estate agent was in the close entourage and within the first 10 minutes exposited as such. I wish any black and white movie was more than just token colours put together in a grey tableau / moving image. The film has it all: narration, a perfect person that everyone loves and who bequeath something that would guilt-trip her relative. I’m starting to think that it is all about family-grounded Christmas lovers advertising the righteousness of their ways to stage. All the same, it showcases the fastest turnaround though from “I hate this guy and now I don’t” and “I am not into Christmas and now I am”. I don’t understand is how a one-hour and a half movie manages to rush every important part and (falling for each other, first declaring feelings…). We had a telegraphed moment and the chemistry is scripted. Do scriptwriters and good actors get told to not upstage Christmas and therefore down-act? But mostly, a romcom wouldn’t be a romcom without a misunderstanding as ridiculous as its premise. If I could make a wish this late in time, it would be to please, give me a movie not a re-enactment.
3.8 out of 10
Father Figures is surprising. It is hard to hate, love or anything. It is a film with good intentions I believe, sprinkled with forced, silly humour. Any film starts well if at least it has Glenn Close in it. The cast deliver some great acting, from Ed Helms to Owen Wilson. It is a drama made as a comedy. At times, goofy and over the top, the end brings it back altogether in a surprising twist. One word, The Universe.
7 out of 10
Unpatronisingly cute, surprisingly DC Comics (I thought I knew all their works). Some classic clichés sprinkled here and there. It is amazing how American movies have made taking pills (especially without water or with a hot or alcoholic drink) as natural as drinking or eating. Wait is it the habit of all badass killers to hide their artillery under cement and free it with a hammer à la John Wick? Wait, Morgan Freeman is in it? And now Dame Helen Mirren? It is getting cuter. Bruce Willis is at one of his best. This quenches any paranoiac thirst. I found a few people a little too orange but nothing unwatchable. I really liked it.
7.5 out of 10
Music and Lyrics
As good any lesson in song writing as another. If you love pop, there are actually some good songs in there and the way that they capture the good, the bad, the ugly (or as they call it in LA, the sexy) and the just ridiculous in its culture. I don’t want to say that Drew’s character’s ex issue is stupid but I definitely think it. Very much enjoyed it at times and sometimes had to battle with the clichés. Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant have great, fully developed characters, being subtle in their lead. There are some real laughs and some truly sad moments in their interactions. When you hear Hugh’s dialogue, you know it could never have worked but with him. I especially like his insistence or that of the script writer to use expressions such as “as were you”: I can almost hear TBBT’s Sheldon Cooper echoing a “yes, that is how it’s said”. Not so for Barrymore: positively not typecast but negatively replaceable, neutrally did play her part well. But even more than the great leads, the supporting characters are so real and unbelievable all at once. Haley Bennett truly shines as Cora Corman, the main pop singer, playing the part like she was born to be that star. Kristen Johnston is just incredible, a real force in the film and unforgettable in its complete and unapologetic lack of self-censorship. Truly entertaining with different tones and strength from the subtler characters to the less so.
6.8 out of 10
Christmas Land: Holiday Romcom
Well, the thesaurus keeps warm at Christmas because the movies seem to have only swapped words… ok and actors. OMG, child actors… This is watchable in effect but can be a little insipid in its treatment of the genre, mainly because it does not sway from the beaten road or add to it. From the grandma’s exposition from the outset, geared towards children who should really know who she is unless their parents are bad parents for letting them with what would be as a consequence a stranger, to the condescending script and introductory read, we know we are in for a few sighs. A lot of pretty people and a loose script might make for cinema in a stranded universe but certainly there are further choices, surely.
4.8 out of 10
As good as it gets
Jack Nicholson is back as Mr Udell or OCD-riddled Grinch without the Christmas. There is no doubt his character would blossom in a Covid-19 lockdown. The movie opens up with a series of racist, homophobic, animal-phobic, anti-Semitic punches on a bed of bad manners. And when you are ready to hate him altogether, then Jack Nicholson’s character turns into this more than tolerable person. I don’t know what to think of it. It is just a little too annoying. Helen Hunt’s character is great until she isn’t. This strong women sells well going from a panic-driven life to a freer life. As for her interaction with Mr Urdell, it feels more like a new form of Stockholm syndrome where the jailer added to his patronage a whispered financial debt. I don’t want to talk further about it. It is uncomfortable to think that the most beautiful words would be rose petals on the excrements he has been constantly laying. Putting names to attitudes, like OCD, seems to be the scientific way to fabricate pseudo-tolerance to further the plot. Lame.
4.5 out of 10.
Couples Come Dine With Me
$%£ out of 10
The secret: Dare to dream – Realistic-feeling Romcom
So it is refreshing to watch a romcom and not be pounded unsubtly with obligations that the main characters get together because they are single or their partners are somehow flawed enough to be exposed as such from the outset. There are also real-life events that do not make everything about getting our people together. Great kid acting. Great acting period. Details did bother me, like: I know they have little money but they have no umbrella, she can’t run to get her recently cold-ill son and her guest? and the mum of three who needs a man to make things better? ungrateful brats at first almost made me scream at the TV but clearly they were just having a bad day. It is good but it hardly escapes the stereotypical 30 minutes row misunderstanding breakup before the make up. Did the row had to taint the birthday party? Is it not possible to take someone aside and ask the questions (and even listen to the answers)? Amicable breakup, man buying love, people not knowing what they want, now that is realistic romance. The Universe talking, inventors, Einstein’s quotes, a view from the stars. Now that is romance. Well done, Katie Holmes.
7.3 out of 10
Operation Christmas Drop: Romcom on a bed of heartfelt charitable true story
I actually watched the whole movie without getting to my pen and it was good. Don’t get me wrong. It did not escape some of the clichés but somehow, maybe because I have seen worse
what a refreshing thing to see humans. There was a little anticlimactic final kiss but it will do I guess. Thankfully, there is a little at the end to show us that operation Christmas drop is a real thing and how heart-warming is that realisation! So a foot into reality, the real meaning of Christmas, lessons in efficiency, assertiveness and resourcefulness, A movie to watch.
7 out of 10
Midnight at the magnolia: Romcom where friendship turns into romance
The advantage of friendships that turn into romance is that they don’t have to convince us that they know each other. They also run more of a chance to be long-term than some of the other types of romcom. Nonetheless, these are still no new territory. The movie does it quite ok actually. Even the cliché 30 minutes or so before the end fight did not feel forced. I slid through it without realising. The movie is cute enough and passes the 5 mark.
5.5 out of 10
So undercover: Teen movie
Miley Cyrus is a teenage Miss Congeniality and gets Kappa-ed to protect some girl. The Osbourne girl is there. We know the formula and the clichés and yet it is hard to avoid the movie all the same. It’s so fitting for Cyrus to be that character and she is convincing. There is not much to say beyond this. Entertaining with a dash of mystery, blackmail, Kelly Osbourne trying accents… Bonus outtakes in the end, à la Jackie Chan- Movie.
6.5 out of 10
Spiderman into the spider-verse: Animated action
There is so much I could say about this but actually I am not going to, I’m only going to rate it, because this is something to be watched. Brilliant, original, intelligent, fumy, detailed, clever… you see, I am repeating myself. Scores please.
9 out of 10