The Menu (2022)

The Menu is a 2022 American black comedy horror film directed by Mark Mylod and stars Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Holt, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Reed Birney, Judith Light, and John Leguizamo. 

Tyler and his companion Margot Mills travel by boat to Hawthorne, an exclusive restaurant owned and operated by celebrity chef Julian Slowik, located on a private island. The other guests attending the dinner are Lilian, a food critic; her editor Ted; wealthy couple Richard and Anne; George, a post-prime movie star amd his personal assistant Felicity; and business partners Soren, Dave, and Bryce. The guests are given a tour of the island by the restaurant maitre d’ Elsa, who notes that Margot was not Tyler’s original guest for the evening. 

The courses and Slowik’s following speeches start to become more distressing and violent. On Slowik’s orders. one staff member kills himself and another cuts off Richard’s finger when he tries to leave the restaurant. The restuarant’s main investor, while strapped to a harness with angel wings is drowned in front of the guests, who later try to flee when Slowik gives them 45 seconds to escape, but are caught by staff and are threatened by Slowik that any attempts to leave will result in more severe consequences. Slowik proclaims all the guest were selected because they make a living off exploting the work of artisans like him, then declares that the night will end with everyone dead. Since Margot’s presence was unplanned, Slowik gives her the choice of dying with either the staff or the guests. 

Slowik turns on Tyler, revealing that he was invited personally and knew all along that the dinner would end with everyone’s death, which infuriates Margot, since he knowling coaxed her to join a trap for dying. It is revealed that Margot is a prostitute named Erin (who had sex with Richard) whom Tyler has hired for the evening, knowing that she would die. Slowik humiliates Tyler further by forcing him to cook (which he does very poorly) in front of everyone, then coaxes Tyler to commit suicide by himself with his necktie in a nearby storeroom. Slowik decides that Erin belongs to the staff and asks her to retrieve a barrel needed for dessert, falsely saying that Elsa forgot it. 

Elsa sneeks into Slowik’s house, which contains a replica of Hawthorne, only to be attacked by Elsa. Erin kills Elsa in self-defense by stabbin her in the neck. After seeing newspaper clippings of Slowik’s past life in barely decorated office, Erin finds a radio, calls for help, and returns ti the restaurant with the barrel. A Coast Guard officer arrives from his boat, bringing hope to the guests, holding Slowik at gunpoint. The officer then reveals himself to be a line cook in disguise and returns to the kitchen. 

Due to Erin’s disloyalty, Slowik now claims that she belongs to the guests, but Erin mocks his dishes and complains that she is still hungry. Having just seen a photo of a young, happy Slowik working at a fast-food restaurant, Erin asks him for a cheeseburger and fries. Moved by her simple request, Slowik prepares the meal to her requests. Erin takes a bite and praises his food, then asks if she can get it “to go.” Slowik packs the food for her and let’s her leave. Erin finds a boat docked nearby and escapes the island. To end the dinner Slowik pays tribute to s’mores by covering the guests in marshmallows and and hats made of chocolate. 

Memembers of the tiny 1% get stuck on an island owned by an amazing, yet insane chef and his equally talented cooks. The guests, aside from Tyler, Richard, and Anne, think they are just going to be tasting some of the most exquisite foods and wines in the world in a beautiful location. That is just a portion of what these guests get at this insanely expepensive restautant on the secluded island of Hawthorne. The food and wine may be considered tasty, but the portions are miniscule and the disturbing “performances” both leave you hungry. You think the first “performance” is just a show and the only one, until every course is followed by one, making it hard to eat, because you instantly lose your appetite. 

This film is considered a black comedy (dark humor), but I don’t understand why. How is someone drowning, someone shooting themselves, and someone having a finger cut off funny? It’s not, it’s disturbing. I didn’t chuckle not once for the almost two hour runtime. I found that the violence was too much and with less of it, this would have been a very enjoyable movie. With a great cast, I was expecting something great, but what I got was just a long movie where people eat, drink, and die. The acting is superb, the clothing is gorgeous, the food is prepared beautifully, the scenery is breathtaking, but the story is weak. The entire film is spent in and around the restaurant, mostly inside, giving the film a claustrophobic, cabin-fever feel, especially since there is no way for guests to leave unless Slowik allows them to. It’s Slowik’s way, no ifs, ands, or buts. 

Slowik is a very powerful and strict man with a booming voice and a stare that feels like it’s slicing you in half. He claps really loud to get everyone’s attention and every time he does, you jump and get angry. He is a brilliant, but twisted man and very unpredictable. He is equal parts intriguing and scary and the character seemed to have be created just for Ralph Fiennes. 

This movie jumps from really slow to really unsetting really fast far too much, making it hard to enjoy. Why this is categorized as a black comedy I don’t understand. Death is not something to laugh at and the deaths in this movie are very obscene. They are over the top gory, where you want to look away, but you still hear the sounds and that’s just as bad. Most of the film is dark too, not just because it’s at night (aside from the begining), but it seems there is hardly any light regardless. Slowik may want a certain ambience in his restaurant and house, but it’s hard to see clearly at times and it’s hard to enjoy the movie overall because of this. 

Normally I enjoy weird movies, but this one was not just weird, but so disquietning, that I found very little enjoyment in it, aside from the fine acting from the main cast and the lovely attire and food arrangements. Had I had known about all the grusome dying beforehand, I would have seen something else altogether, as that is more offensive and perturbing than entertaining. Adults only 2.5/5 

 

She Said (2022)

She Said is a 2022 American biographical drama film directed by Maria Schrader, based on the New York Times investigation that exposed Harvey Weinstein’s history of abuse and sexual misconduct against women by Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey, and Rebecca Corbett, and the 2019 book of the same name covering the investigation by Kantor and Twohey. The film stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as Twohey and Kantor, alongside Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, and Samantha Morton in supporting roles, and Ashley Judd appearing as herself. 

The movie tells of several women’s stories of their incounter(s) with Harvey Weinstein formerly of The Weinstein Company, as well as a few stories about other powerful famous men like Bill O’Reilly, author and fomer political commentator and television host. It also tells of how very powerful men have gotten away with sexual misconduct, how it is often covered up, swept under rugs, and ignored. Since the exposition of Weinstein, his jail sentence, and the bankruptcy of The Weinstein Company, more women have come forward to tell their stories of sexual harassment against him and other famous men, like Bill Cosby, Bryan Singer, Roman Polanski, and Danny Masterson. 

Just like Twohey’s and Kantor’s NYT story and the book based off of it, this is a very important film, not just for women’s rights, but to show that just because a not just man, but person is of powerful status, that doesn’t mean that they should be able to get away horrific acts. It also proves, that standing up for yourself instead of pretending you weren’t hurt is better than staying silent. Although sometimes speaking out against someone and what they did to you or someone else, doesn’t always work to punsih that person, it does expose that person’s true nature. So many big name men who have been accused of bad things have had little punishment (being banned, or just a few years or months in jail, probation, etc.) and are walking around free men, like Bill Cosby being let out of jail, Bill O’Reilly still writing books, Polanski still making movies. It is sad the people that still support abusers. 

The acting in this film is great from Carey Mulligan who plays Megan Twohey and Patricia Clakson who plays Rebecca Corbett, but Zoe Kazan is good, not great as Jodi Kantor, someone else could have done better in her role. Andre Braugher is fantastic as Dean Baquet, former NYT executive editor from 2014 to 2022. Jennifer Ehle does a fine job as Lauren Madden and Samantha is equally good as Zelda Perkins. 

The film is very slow for the majority of its runtime, making it extremely boring for the most part, but when Twohey has her baby, women start coming forward with their stories, and the article gets published, it gets more exciting, but not a whole lot more. With a plot like this one, you should expect the film to be pretty slow, but not so slow, it’s hard to watch, despite the importance of the story. I found myself looking away many times throughout the viewing. As a feminist, I was so excited to see this movie, but was left very disappointed. Love the story, the acting was superb, but the slowness made it almost unwatchable. I felt more like I was watching a Dateline or 20/20 episode, rather than a movie. No, you don’t need lots of action, romance, sex, or humor to make a film a great, but don’t lollygag around for the majority of the runtime. 

Overall, feminist will probably enjoy this film the most. Conservatives may want to steer clear of this one, because they do trash talk several powerful conservative men, as well as The Fox News Channel. You have to be made of rocks to not get that this is a liberal feminist film, as well as one about female rights, but this is a movie that is needed and has been needed for a long time. Something had been needing to be done about sexual harassment towards females, not just in Hollywood, not just in the entertainment industry, but all workplaces period. I’m glad females can speak up for themselves now, because for decades, we are taught to keep mum, remain calm, and pretend negative things never happened. Maybe more films, television shows, books, and news stories like this one will continue to shine a light on subjects on like this. 18+ 3/5 

Don’t Worry Darling (2022)

Don’t Worry Darling is a 2022 American psycholigical thriller film directed by Olivia Wilde. The film strars Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Oliva Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, and Chris Pine. The movie follows a perfect housewife living in a company town who begins to sense that a sinister secret is kept from its residents by the man who runs it. 

In America duran unspecified time period, Alice and Jack Chambers live in an a perfect 1950s-styled neighborhood in the company town of Victory, California. Every day, the men go to work at Voctory Headquarters out in the surrounding desert while their wives, stay home, to clean, relax, and cook dinner for their husbands. The women are discouraged from asking questions about their husbands’ work and told not to go out to the Headquarters. Margaret has become an outcast after taking her son out into the desert, resulting in her son’s apparent death, although she claims that Victory took him from her as punishment. While attending a party hosted by Frank, Victory’s mysterious founder and leader, Alice sees Margaret’s husband try to give her medication. Later, she sees Frank looking in on her and Jack while they are having sex in Frank’s bedroom. 

One morning, while riding the trolley across town, Alice witnesses a plane crash out in the desert. She rushes to help and comes upon the Headquarters, a small building covered in mirror-like windows. After touching one, she experiences surreal halluncinations before waking up back home later that night. In the following days, she experiences increasingly strange occurrances. She recieves a phone call from Margaret, who claims to have seen the same thing Alice did. Alice goes to see Margaret and witnesses as she cuts her own throat and falls from the roof of her house. Before she can reach Margaret’s body, Alice is dragged away by men red jumpsuits. 

Jack dismisses Alice’s calims and says Margaret simply fell while cleaning the windows and is recovering. The story is further backed up by the town physician Dr. Collins who tries to give Alice prescription drugs. Alice becomes increasingly paranoid and confused, and during a special Victory event, where Frank gives Jack an outstanding promotion, Alice breaks down in the bathroom and comforted by Bunny. Alice tries to explain everything to her, but Bunny reacts furiously, accusing Alice of being selfish. 

Sometime later, Alice and Jack invite and rest of the neighborhood, except Bunny and her husband Dean, to dinner, with Frank and his wife Shelley as special guests. Frank speaks privately with Alice in the kitchen, implying that she is right in her suspicions. Propelled by his confession, she tries to expose him over dinner, instead, Frank gaslights her, making her look deranged to the other guests. In the aftermath, Alices begs Jack for them to leave Victory. 

This film is a lot like The Stepford Wives, and at times seems like nearly a rip-off of the story. Despite the behind the scenes controversy with the cast, the acting is superb by nearly all but Harry Styles, but the story falls flat. It is far too similatr to The Stepford Wives and has a bit of a Desperate Housewives with an A24 twist, although this film was not produced by them. Harry Styles, isn’t a bad actor, he did a great job in his other film from this year My Policeman, but I think the reason he was just okay in this movie is becasue his character is meant to be handsome and empty. Sure he looks the part with his slim suits and perfect features, the camera loves him, but when it comes time for him to be deeply emotional, especially in scenes with Pugh, he doesn’t even compare to her talent in this one or his My Policeman role. 

Much like Stepford, everyday is the same, the men leave for work at the same time with their fancy cars, gorgeous suits and lunchboxes, and go to their jobs at the Victory Project, which they can’t talk about with their wives. The wives spend the days cleaning, vacuuming, scrubbing this and that in their houses and maybe a dance class. There is almost always day drinking. Wilde plays Alice’s next-door neighbor with her cat-eye makeup and Cheshire Cat grin, she brings both mystery and arrogant sexiness and humor to the strange world. 

Also like Stepford, the leaders are all about control: trying to keep mayhem down, which obviously doesn’t really work, because several neighborhood citizens start to get suspicious of the goings onaround them. The movie just gets stranger and stranger and really confusing at times. It seems to jump from one bizarre scenario to another. Some scenes are just plain weird and have no dialogue, only intense and/or creepy music. 

This film, though classified as a physchological thriller, has the cerebral factor, but it is not as thrilling as most thrillers. So many scenes make no sense, like a scene where Alice is wrapping up leftovers with plastic wrap and decides to wrap her head and face too until she can’t breath and then rips it off. These moments are left unexplained until nearly the end, when you realize there really was something in Victory’s water, that it was all about control, mind, body, lifestyle. The leaders of Victory want to turn the residents into human robots. 

The art of the film is flawless,  from the brilliant cinematography from Matthew Libatique is, to the exquisite production design from Katie Byron, to the beautiful costumes from Arianne Phillips, which will probably be the only awards this one will win, because it sure as heck isn’t going to be Best Picture. You don’t learn the truth about Victory until close the end of the movie, but it takes a prolonged twist craziness to get there. Florence Pugh could win Best Actress, but she’d be the only one deserving of an acting award. The plot is nearly unoriginal, the film is pretty slow for much of its runtime and overall, just seems like a mess of weird events, some rather disturbing, filled with an attractive cast in beautiful attire. 18+ 2/5 

My Policeman (2022)

My Policeman is a British drama directed by Michael Grandage, based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Bethan Roberts. The film stars Harry Styles, Emma Corrin, Gina McKee, Linus Roache, David Dawson and Rupert Everett. 

Set in 1950s Brighton, a gay policeman, Tom Burgess, marries schoolteacher Marion Taylor while being in a relationshio with Patrick Hazelwood, a museum curator. The secret they share threatens to damage them all. 

Although this film is rather slow for the majority of it’s runtime, it is still very well done. Harry Styles has proven he is more than just a handsome talanted pop singer, and  although he’s not quite DiCaprio, he is also a rather talented actor as well. He takes his roles very seriously and it’s nice to see an ex boy band member do someething completely different. 

Tom is a Brighton policeman, who though homosexual, meets Marion, who falls in love with him and he claims to have fallen for her too. The two marry abd move to the Brighton countryside. In between the meeting of Marion, he meets Patrick a museum curator that is also gay and the two fall in love, but know they must keep their relationship secret, as homosexuality is frowned up. The two secretly meet up, first after Tom agrees to let Patrick draw him, they get drunk, and the two start to kiss, but Tom stops it, as he is married. Tom then realizes he has feelings for Patrick and they start meeting again more reguraly in private. 

Marion who is trying to find Tom, finds him in their barn makking out and such. Tom agrees to go on a trip to Italy with Patrick to help him find pieces for his museum. He goes as his paid assistant. The trip ends up being more of a homosexual vaction, than work or site seeing. Marion recieves a postcard from Tom from Venice and angerily, she burns it. 

The film flashes back and forth from the past to present day and shows Marion finding Patrick’s diary where he  has written about his love for Tom he calls “My Policeman.” Present day Tom is elderly and in poor health and Patrick is in a wheelchair and has to be looked after, after being beat up in prison after someone reported him at work for being a pervert. 

Marion sees Tom at the beach, his good looks and charm instantly catch her eye. They meet and he agrees to teach her how to swim. The pair fall in love until Tom meets the much older Patrick and just marries and uses Marion as a way to cover up his homosexuality and relationship with Patrick. 

This film is very slow for most part, but the acting is superb from all of the leading cast. There is a lot sex, particualy between Tom and Patrick, and one such scene is very long and rather explicit, so there is lots of nudity and not just in the love making scenes, but in scenes without sex, but all of the sex and nudity is done tastefully, though the both could have been used less. It’s like, “We get it, they’re in love and they enjoy making love.” 

This is definitely one of the better LGBTQ films I have seen, much better than Cannes Film Festival Winner Blue is the Warmest Color. I don’t understand why My Policeman has such mixed reviewes and such a low rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as I found it excellent. Maybe it’s the slowness of the film, too much sex, the homosexuality didn’t sit well with conservatives, or all the above. Conservatives needs to learn that homosexuality is real and natural and not a choice. 

This movie shows how in 50s and present day England how love shouldn’t be something  that has to be hidden, that you ahould be able to love who you want freely. Marion does realize that she was keeping Tom and Patrick apart and eventually lets them be together. 

This film has drama, romance, heart, and heartbreak. It maybe slow, and forget what most people say about this one, it is truly a great movie. 18+ 4/5 

The Good Nurse (2022)

The Good Nurse is a 2022 American drama film starring Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne as two nurses, one who suspects the other of being responsible of a string of patient deaths. The film is based on the 2013 true-crime book of the same name by Charles Graeber about the serial killer Charles Cullen. It was directed by Tobias Lindholm and also stars Nnamdi Asomugha, Kim Dickens, and Noah Emmerich. 

In 1996, a patient admitted to the ICUward of St. Aloysius Hospital, Pennsylvania suffers a seizure. Despite the efforts of the hospital’s staff to resuscitate him, the patient dies. 

Seven years later, in 2003, Amy Loughren, a single mother and nurse working night shifts at Parkfield Memorial Hospital, New Jersey, is introduced to Charles Cullen, an experienced nurse recently hired by the hospital as additional help to her shift. Uknown to the hospital’s administrative staff, Amy is suffering from cardiomyopathy; her lack of health insurance, lack of kin and the fear of retribution shoul her condition be revealed, prompts her to keep it a secret. Despite her condition, she has no other choice but to continue working as a nurse for another four months, in order to obtain health insurance to afford a health transplant. Charlie discorvers her condition and agrees to keep it a secret, also stepping in as a caregiver for her two daughters. 

When Ana Martinez, a septuagenerian patient amitted to Parkfield mysteriously dies, the hospital’s administrative baord contacts the state police, represented by detectives Danny Baldwin and Tim Braun, to inform themof the incident. Nonetheless, the board, led by Linda Garran, the hospital’s risk manager, downplays it, claiming the death was unintentional and that the reason for reporting it was simply to go by health protocol. Regardless, Baldwin remains distrustful of the board, noting that it had acted to report Martinez’s death seven weeks after it had happened. He instantly zeros in on Charlie, noting that he had been convicted of minor charges in 1995. The duo begin interrogating the hospital’s medical staff; when Amy’s turn comes, she notices that insulin had been administered to Martinez, despite her being a non-diabetic. She is further questioned about Charlie’s character. but she speaks up for him. Braun tries to contact the hospitals where Charlie had previously worked at, but none are willing cooperate. Parkfield finally shares its investigation with the police, but Baldwin notices that it is fragmentary, leading him to snap at Garran for her being unprofessional, causing him and Braun to be banned from the hospital. 

When Kelly and Anderson, another ICU patient, suddenly develops an odd cognitive symptoms, Amy discovers that insulin had been given to her. Kelly suffers a seizure and dies, despite Amy’s efforts ro save her. Baldwin and Braun subsequently visit Amy, revealing to her that Charlie had previously worked at nine different hospitals, and that none are willing to talk about him. Baffled, she visitis her friend Lori, a fellow nurse who had previously worked with Charlie at a different hospital. Lori reveals that during Charlie’s tenure, her hospital had dealt with the unfathomable deaths of numerous patients, with the finding of insulin in several of them. 

With Redmayne and Chastain being two of the biggest names in film right now, and this being a true crime film and based on a best-selling book, you’d think this would be a really good movie, but it’s far from it. The story is great, the acting is superb, but the whole film is really slow, to the point of being really boring. The book is anything but boring, I couldn’t put it down when it came out, so when I found out there was to be a movie version starring them (and I’m a huge fan of both), I was expecting it to be outstanding and I was extremely disappointed. Not only is this film very boring, there is very little detail about Cullen’s life growing up, like in the book. 

When you learn about Cullen’s crimes and how the other hospitals basically “covered them up,” it makes you question hospitals, health care, and the law then and now. Despite the slowness of the film, the plot is still bone chilling, especially learning that the horrific acts went on for years and years. This is a dark film and it has the feel of Ozark, which is another Netflix production and maybe it’s a Netflix thing that all new shows and movies and such from them have to look like this, which is a bit annoying and unoriginal and makes you wish someone would turn a light on. 

Eddie Redmayne who plays Charles Cullen, is very soft spoken, except for to Amy’s daughters, which is not like the real Charlie, who is very talkative to most everyone. Ed goes a little broader in the final scesn but, he’s earned it, as for what he has been in up to that part.  Jessica Chastain who plays Amy Loughren, is very shy, like the real Amy. Both Eddie and Jessica are great in their roles, but that may be the only awards this film wins, because I’ll be shocked if it wins Best Picture. 

The film doesn’t go into nearly as much detail about Cullen’s crimes, life, and upbringing, but it does go into a good ammount of detail during the trials. Nnamdi Asomugha does a fine job as Danny Baldwin, Kim Dickens is really good as Linda Garran, and Noah Emmerich does a fine job as Tim Braun. 

Had this film had more light and didn’t feel so Ozark-y or like an Investigative Discovery special or Dateline episode, it would have been more enjoyable. There’s not much gore or violence, which is odd for a crime film. You do see several sick people with scars and peeling skin and the interrogations scenes can be disturbing. There is lots of of cursing, but no drinking, smoking, or sex. Naked dead bodies are shown full frontal. 

Overall, not one of Netflix’s best films. Go for the book, and skip this one. 18+ 2/5 

Top 75 Films That Deal With Addiction and Recovery

  1. A Star is Born – 2018
  2. Notorious – 1946
  3. Drugstore Cowboy – 1989
  4. When a Man Loves a Woman – 1994
  5. Requiem for a Dream – 2000
  6. Sid & Nancy – 1986
  7. The Hustler – 1961
  8. The Panic in Needle Park – 1971
  9. Ray – 2004
  10. Leaving Las Vegas – 1995
  11. The Basketball Diaries – 1995
  12. Phantom Thread – 2017
  13. Shame – 2011
  14. Rocketman – 2019
  15. Uncut Gems – 2019
  16. Ben is Back – 2018
  17. The Man With the Golden Arm – 1955
  18. Clean & Sober – 1988
  19. Don Jon – 2013
  20. Half Nelson – 2006
  21. Flight – 2012
  22. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot – 2018
  23. Traffic – 2000
  24. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – 1998
  25. Another Round – 2020
  26. Rachel Getting Married – 2008
  27. Beautiful Boy – 2018
  28. 6 Balloons – 2018
  29. Factotum – 2005
  30. Crazy Heart – 2009
  31. Rush – 1991
  32. Betty – 1992
  33. Trainspotting – 1996
  34. Gia – 1998
  35. Tender Mercies – 1983
  36. Barfly – 1987
  37. The Lost Weekend – 1945
  38. Days of Wine and Roses – 1962
  39. The Rose – 1979
  40. The Way Back – 2020
  41. Christiane F. – 1981
  42. Pay it Forward – 2000
  43. Basquiat – 1996
  44. Lenny – 1974
  45. The Sound of Metal – 2019
  46. Gridlock’d – 1997
  47. Judy – 2019
  48. Once Were Warriors – 1994
  49. Her Smell – 2018
  50. Nil By Mouth – 1997
  51. Clockers – 1995
  52. Down to the Bone – 2004
  53. Tarnation – 2003
  54. Jesus’ Son – 1999
  55. Devdas – 2002
  56. Midnight Cowboy – 1969
  57. Silver Linings Playbook – 2012
  58. Gone Baby Gone – 2007
  59. I’ll Cry Tomorrow – 1955
  60. The Gambler – 1974
  61. Bigger Than Life – 1956
  62. Easy Rider – 1969
  63. Julia – 2008
  64. Affliction – 1997
  65. Destroyer – 2018
  66. Long Day’s Journey into Night – 1962
  67. Drunken Angel – 1948
  68. Smashed – 2012
  69. A Star is Born – 1954
  70. A Star is Born – 1937
  71. I Walk the Line – 2005
  72. The Wolf of Wall Street – 2013
  73. My Left Foot – 1989
  74. Oslo, August 31st – 2011
  75. The Shining – 1980

Ticket to Paradise (2022)

Ticket to Paradise is a 2022 romantic comedy film directed by Ol Parker. The film stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts as a divorced couple who choose to destroy their daughter’s (Kaitlyn Dever) wedding. Billie Lourd, Maxime Bouttier, and Lucas Bravo also star. 

Two divorced parents, David and Georgia Cotton, travel to Bali after learning that their daughter, Lily, is planning to a man who is named Gede, whom she just met. They choose to work together to destroy the wedding to stop Lily from making the same mistake they made twenty-five years ago. 

This is definitely a chick-flick with all the cheesiness they ususally come with. Parts of this movie are laugh out funny, but most of the time, it is overly cheesy, awakward and predictable. You’d think with two award winning stars, this film would be really good, but it just wasn’t and makes me wonder if this is the kind of work they will being from now on. This one is really a disappointment. The story has been done to death. The best thing about this movie is the Bali scenery, the beautiful clothes, the few laugh out loud moments, and the romance. 

Roberts and Clooney who are normally fantastic actors, should be ashamed theat they chose to be in this film. I mean I’m sure they had a blast filming it, but with the unoriginal plot and basic rom-com humor, it seems like their award winning is behind them. Julia Roberts, who normally wows in her acting, was almost as bad as Kaitlyn Dever. George Clooney performed the best and was far funnier than any of the other actors and actresses. 

I found myself slightly bored at times and other times, rolling my eyes at the cheesy scenes. Being a hopeless romantic, I was hoping for a lot more romance and the most lovey-dovey parts, came towards and at the end. Even watching this movie with a lover, wouldn’t have made it more entertaining, it was cute at best. 

Kaitlyn Dever’s (Lily) and Maxime Bouttier’s (Gede) characters were underwritten, which makes no sense, as the film is suppose to about them as well and instead it focused on Clooney’s and Robert’s characters more. It should have been written to focus equally on all four. Also, Wren (Billie Lourd), Lily’s best friend is ignored by her for the majority of the film and that’s unfair, especially after Wren goes back to the U.S. 

Paul (Lucas Bravo) is a short-lived character in the movie. He is a much younger airplane pilot, from France, who is dating Georgia for most of the runtime. Bravo is not a very good actor and his character is sweet, but mostly he is just eye candy. The banter between David and Georgia is rather hilarious, so that does make the movie a little more engaging. 

Wren, who like Lily, were just looking for a vacation after graduating college. Neither expected to find love and the moment Lily did, it was like Wren wasn’t there anymore and you end up feeling sorry for her who spends the majority of her vaction drinking and flirting, but never hooks up. Lily is a bad friend. The only good thing about Lily is she’s cute and smart, because her personality is blah. 

This movie isn’t exactly terrible, it’s cute and funny at times, but mostly just another lackluster romantic comedy, whith nothing new to give. The location and handsome men are pretty much the best thing about this one.  13+ 2/5

Blonde (2022)

Blonde is a 2022 American fictionalized biographical drama film written and directed by Andrew Dominik, based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates. The film is a fictionalized take on the life and career of American actress Marilyn Monroe, played by Ana de Armas. The cast also includes Adrien Bordy, Bobby Connavale, Xavier Samuel and Julianne Nicholson. 

As a young girl, Norma Jeane Mortenson grows up raised by her mentally deranged mother Gladys. On her seventh birthday in 1933, she is given a framed picture of a man Gladys claims is her father. Later that night, a fire breaks out in the Hollywood Hills, and Gladys drives Norma Jean back up there, claiming that her father lives there, but is forced to go back home at the demand of the police. A fuming Gladys tries to drown Norma Jean in the bathtub when she asks about her father, but lets her go. Norma escapes naked and runs to a neighbor’s house, Miss Flynn, who promises she will be fine. A few days later, Norma Jean is sent to an orphanage while Gladys is admitted to a mental hospital, having been declared unfit to be a mother. 

In the 1940’s, Norma Jeane becomes a pin-up girl under the stage name “Marilyn Monroe,” appearing on magazine covers and calendars. While trying to break into the acting industry, she is raped by film sutido president Mr. Z. In 1951, she auditions for the role of Nell in Don’t Bother to Knock. The audition goes badly after she breaks down and leaves in tears, but she impresses the casting director enough to give her the part. As her acting career starts to take off, she meets Charles “Cass” Chaplin Jr. and Edward G. “Eddy” Robinson Jr., with whom she begins a polyamorous relationship. She lands her breakout role in 1953 with Niagra, but after she is seen in public with Cass and Eddy, she is told by her agent to limit her public displays with them. 

Norma Jeane becomes pregant with Cass’ child, much to her delight, but eventually decides to have an abortion out of fear that the child might inherit Gladys’ mental issues. Cass supports her decision. On the day of the appointment, she changes her mind, but it is too late. Following the abortion, she breaks things off with Cass and Eddy and. She later meets Joe DiMaggio, a retired baseball player. As she films Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, she recieves a letter from a man claiming to be her father. She feel disconnected to her onscreen performance at the film’s premiere, saying it wasn’t her. She goes back to her hotel room, having been told that someone is waiting for her. Expecting it to be her father, she insteads find Jow, who asks to marry her, which she accepts. 

Norma Jeane and Joe’s marriage gets bad when Cass and Eddy give Joe some nude pictures of her, which infuriates Joe so much, that he beats her demands that she refuse to do The Seven Year Itch out of principle. However, she still goes through with the filming, doing the famous scene with the white dress. When she gets home, a drunken Joe screams and gets physically violent with her. She divorces him soon after. 

In 1955, Norma Jeane auditions for the Broadway play Magda, written by renowned playwright Arthur Miller. During a read-through, her performance inpresses everyone but Arthur. He eventually warms up to her when she gives him inspirational character analysis. They marry and move to Maine, where she lives a happy life with him and become pregnant. However, ehen walking on the beach one day with a platter of food, she trips and miscarries. Devastated, she returns to acting soon after. 

While filming Some Like It Hot, Norma Jean becomes more uncontrollavle and mentally unstable. She is overwhelmed by the constant press attention, feels that she is becoming a joke, has frequent outbursts on set, especially toward director Billy Wilder, and grows more and more distant from Arthur. To cope with her stress she begins taking pills. 

By 1962, she has become dependant on drugs and alcohol. Secret Service agents pick up intoxicated Norma Jeane and take her to a hotel to meet the president, who forces her to fellate him, before raping her. 

Most of this story is fictionalized, so it should not be taken as all facts. Historical events seemed to be changed up for entertainment a lot from Quintin Taratino’s take on the Manson Murders in Once Upon Time in Hollywood, to the Tony award winning musical Hamilton, to this movie and the book it is based off of.  It is both a good and bad thing, good, for entertaimnet, bad, because you aren’t learning the real story. 

The real story of Marilyn Monroe does start with her growing up with her single mentally ill and abusive mother and Norma getting sent to an orphanage and her mother a mental hospital. But Marilyn never had such a relationship with Charlie Chaplin Jr. or Edward G. Robinson Jr. Joe DiMaggio was an alcoholic and abusive to Norma and she did have an abortion and miscarriages. Norma pursued Arthur Miller, not the other way. But there is no concrete evidence that Monroe and JFK had an affair like most think. 

The film is really slow at times and some scenes like the one where Norma has a threesome with Chaplin Jr. and Robinson Jr. are far too drawn out. That scene in particular, with it being drawn out makes it seem like a 1950’s pornography film. The acting, costumes and scenery is superb. 

The casting of Ana de Armas was both good and bad. Good, beging that she got accent and mannersims down, but bad, because she is Cuban and more olive skinned than really fair like Marilyn, also bad, because her bra size is smaller than Monroe’s was and you see de Aramas topless a lot in this movie, so that isn’t true to the real icon. 

Adrien Brody is fantastic as Arthur Miller, looking, sounding and acting nearly Identical to him. Bobby Connavale is great as Joe DiMaggio. Xavier Samuel is good as Cass Chaplin. Evan Williams is also good as Eddy Robinson Jr. and Julianne Nicholson is outstanding as Gladys. 

Had this been an actual biographical film, they hadn’t cast someone controversial to play Monroe and it hadn’t been so long and drawn out, it would have been more enjoyable. But overall, I found myself rather bored at times and fairly surprised at other moments. The acting and costumes and makeup were really the best thing about this film. –  Adults only. 2.5/5

See How They Run (2022)

See How They Run is a 2022 mystery comedy film directed by Tom George. It stars Saoirse Ronan, Sam Rockwell, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Harris Dickinson and David Oyelowo. 

In 1953 London, Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap celebrates its 100th performance, and the sleazy American director Leo Kopernick tries to convince the producer John Woolf to allow him to direct the film adaptation. After Kopernick’s drunken behavior toward’s the female lead Shelia Slim leads to a fight with her husband and co-star Richard Attenborough, Kopernick is killed backstage by an unknown assailant. 

Inspector Stoppard investigates the murder with inexperienced Constable Stalker. Everyone at the theater is declared a suspect and a potential victim, including the play’s producer Petula Spencer and Woolf’s wife Edana Romney. Stoppard tries to close the theater until the murder is solved, but the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Harold Scott, steps in, assigning Stalker to assist in the investigation. 

This film is pretty slow for much of its runtime, but the acting is really good and there are several laugh out loud moments. The plot is clever. There is murder, humor, tragedy and a tiny bit of romance in this movie. Three of the characters break the fourth wall, making the film more humorous, but only making it a little more entertaining. 

Sam Rockwell is outstanding as alcoholic Inspector Soppard, Saoirse Ronan is great as Constable Stalker. Adrien Brody, though his role is cut short is very good as Leo Kopernick. Ruth Wilson is great as well as Petula Spencer. Reece Shearsmith does a fine job as John Woolf. Harris Dickinson is good, not great as Richard Attenborough and David Oyelowo is excellent as Mervyn Cocker-Norris. 

Some may find the storyline of this film offsensive, as it a comedic murder mystery. It has the feel of a typical Agatha Christie story, but with added humor and clever bits. Though the acting is superb, the film lacks in entertainment value. The trailer makes the film look wildly entertaining and funny and it is only a tad engaging and only few times did actually laugh out loud. With a great cast and plotline, I was expecting so much more, instead I found myself very much bored for a good portion of this movie. I love a good murder mystery and comedy, so I thought this was going to be a winner, but I was let down. 

Several of the charaters are fictionalized versions of real people, like Richard Attenborough was a real actor, John Woolf was a real film producer who really did produce The African Queen, and Agatha Christie we all know is was the queen (still is) of murder mystery books. 

Of course this film is filled with violence, as well as adult humor, foul language, drinking and smoking. So this is not a family film. If you’re looking for a an entertaining whodunit, this isn’t it.  Though you’ll get a few gasps and laughs out of it, for the most part, you’ll probably be rather bored. 

The film is mostly slow, but comedic at times, then ends abruptly. The best things about this one are the acting, costumes, scenery and plot. Overall, it is a pretty much an  unhurried, yet comical at times, mediocre movie. If you want a better, funny murder mystery type film, try Clue from 1985 or Arsenic and Old Lace from 1944. I can’t imagine this as a stage production, it would be probably be even more less amusing. 13+ 3/5