Current Mini Reviews

Hey everyone! After catching you all up on my recent TV and series watching I have 6 movies to do the same for. It’s been a very busy time for me with theater, movies, television, books, podcasts, travel and more but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Here are my thoughts on 6 recent movies:

Old

Old Review: M. Night Shyamalan Makes Another Happening - Den of Geek

I know there are many who vociferously defend director M Night Shyamalan. I am not one of those people. I find him to be a very gimmicky filmmaker who tries to outsmart the viewers rather than simply telling a good story. His latest Old has an intriguing premise about a group caught on a beach where they rapidly age including the children who we see as 3 different actors.

The problem with Old is it takes a 22 minute short and stretches it out to 2 hours. There’s not enough story here. The actors try especially Thomasin McKenzie who I have loved in many projects like Jojo Rabbit and Leave No Trace. But the actors aren’t given enough development for their characters and are strapped with terrible dialogue. I also really disliked the camerawork, full of extreme close ups and blurry one shots. It took me out of the movie every time as if Shyamalan wanted to draw attention to himself instead of the story. It alsp has at least 2 endings too many, so overall it’s a pass on Old for this critic. It’s not one of the director’s worst but that’s really not saying much.

3 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Once I Was Engaged

Once I Was Engaged (2021) - IMDb

Back in 2015 there was a sweet little movie called Once Upon a Beehive. Ostensibly a faith-based film but one that focused on tolerance, kindness and acceptance by girls at a Latter-day Saint teenage girls camp. Now because we can’t have nice things we have a sequel called Once I was Engaged. While this film does take some narrative risks I admire, it did not work for me as a comedy.

It’s a little hard to talk about the story choices without giving away spoilers but let’s just say it sets up as a traditional wedding movie but there is always something off with the couple. It’s just not quite working the way it should. The problem is the jokes feel like a Mormon movie from the 2000s with easy jokes like watching The Princess Bride, eating tons of froyo or having Mitt Romney record a wedding congratulations video. I don’t know how funny jokes like that ever were but they certainly aren’t amusing now.

The problem with a movie like this is if the chemistry is off and the jokes aren’t working the whole thing feels very self-absorbed and tiresome quickly. A wedding is just a day. A marriage is what actually matters. These movies lose that.

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Stillwater

Stillwater Is a Difficult, Curious Film About Havoc Wreaked By Americans Abroad | Vanity Fair

Director Tom McCarthy is certainly making a name for himself with one of the most eclectic filmographies working today. Of course, he has the Oscar winning film Spotlight from 2015 that I loved but he also has sweet dramas like The Visitor and family films like last years Timmy Failure: Mistakes were Made that I adored. Now he has the new slice of life drama Stillwater starring Matt Damon that I admire more than I love but I’d still recommend seeing.

Stillwater tells the story of Bill Baker, a rough and tumble oil-rig worker from Oklahoma that goes to Marseille, France to try and help his daughter (Abigail Breslin) out of prison in an Amanda Knox type scenario. While there he becomes attached to a French woman and her daughter as they seek to find out the truth in his daughter’s case.

The strongest thing about Stillwater is the performances. Damon is fantastic and completely believable as Bill. Breslin is also good along with the entire cast. It feels like a slice of life with the highs and lows that go along with it. However, it also feels tonally disconnected and the story is all over the place. One minute it’s a light romance. The next a father/daughter family movie and then an investigative thriller and even horror. It’s a lot and the pacing is very slow. One can’t help but feel a lot of scenes are unnecessary and could have been cut.

Still, I recommend it for the positive attributes.

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Annette

Annette (2021) - IMDb

I honestly don’t even know where to begin with Annette. This film opened the Cannes Film Festival this year and it is without a doubt one of the weirdest films I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s so strange it seems destined to become a cult classic and that’s probably where it belongs. It is only for the aggressively artistic filmgoer. Mainstream moviegoer beware.

The best way I can describe Annette is it is a musical by the Sparks Brothers as directed by Leos Carax. It stars Adam Driver as a controversial stand up comedian who has an opera-singing wife in Marion Cotillard. They have a baby named Annette who is depicted in various types of puppets. The music is not your typical Broadway style but wild rock ballads that accompany strange, sometimes shocking imagery. The plot is thin and at 139 minutes I became exhausted with the shenanigans on stage.

I have to say I didn’t hate the experience of watching Annette unlike some super artsy films. There is a charm to it that movies like The Dead Don’t Die or Film Socialism don’t have. Those movies pander to their audience. This puts audaciousness out as art and hopes the audience has fun with it.

However, I don’t really know what it is trying to say or why it had to be so inaccessible? Couldn’t it have even more of an impact if it had a cohesive story and narrative? A lot of the good parts feel wasted in an orgy of nonsensical imagery. That said, if you are up for something completely bizarre give it a watch. It has strong sensuality so be forewarned.

All the singing and music is really good. Cotillard didn’t need to be dumbed in La Vie en Rose. She’s a great singer along with Driver!

5.5 out of 10

An Artsy Smile Worthy

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins movie review (2021) | Roger Ebert

From a super nutty arthouse film to a standard run-of-the-mill action film we have it all on this set of mini reviews. By way of Hasbro and Paramount we have a new action film loosely in the GI Joe family called Snake Eyes. It is an origin story for the character of Snake Eyes played by Henry Golding of Crazy Rich Asians fame. I love Golding. He is a movie star in the making and may be the most handsome and charming actor working in Hollywood today. He’s definitely in my top 3.

And to be honest he is the main reason to watch this film. While they don’t take full advantage of his charisma and charm he’s still a solid leading man and puts up a good performance. The action is generic and uses too much shaky cam but it’s a serviceable fun martial arts style action movie. Not great but watchable. It left me mildly curious for the next installment. Hopefully in that one they will use Samara Weaving more because she is totally wasted here.

I’d say it is similar in quality to this year’s Mortal Kombat but this one has Golding so it gets the edge and the mild recommendation. I also liked Andrew Koji as Storm Shadow, who’s character is arguably a co-protagonist. Also I know nothing about GI Joe so can’t speak to that aspect of the film

5.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

[REVIEW] ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ or Just Enough Laughs for a Winning Game

I’m ;not sure what I was expecting from a new sequel to the1996 hit movie Space Jam? The original isn’t a great movie but it’s a serviceable family comedy carried mainly by how much I love the Looney Tunes. Now we have this sequel, Space Jam: A New Legacy and I’d say the exact same thing: It’s not a great movie but it’s serviceable carried by how much I love the Looney Tunes. If you want a truly great Looney Tunes entry check out the recent Looney Tunes Cartoons on hbo max. Those are something special. This movie is just ok.

In Space Jam: A New Legacy they replace Michael Jordan with Lebron James and have him on a quest to find his son and save him from the clutches of Al-G Rhythm played by Don Cheadle (in an over the top performance I had fun with). Some have compared this story to Stephen Spielberg’s Hook and they aren’t wrong there.  I didn’t mind that plot device for the story but it did feel a little too serious and somber for a movie with crazy cartoon antics I seem to be the only one who enjoyed Tom and Jerry this year but that film kept a more consistent tone. I also seem to enjoy callbacks to IP in projects more than most critics. It can be cringy, but for example, I enjoyed the Disney characters in Ralph Breaks the Internet or The Shining sequence in Ready Player One. Other people seem very annoyed by these scenes, and I can understand why, but for whatever reason they amuse me. The same is true here. I liked when they are going through the ‘Warner-verse’ and collecting the Looney Tunes members from other Warner Bros films. It was clever and funny, for example, when they get Lola from Wonder Woman or Road Runner from Mad Max Fury Road.

That said, I don’t understand who this movie was made for? Why would they have scenes like Mad Max Fury Road that’s an R rated film? They also have characters from movies like A Clockwork Orange, Game of Thrones, It and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. What are they all doing in there? I’m not sure if the movie was made for kids today or for people my age who grew up with the original? When there are plenty of PG-12 and under IP out there why use these R rated characters? Weird?

I really enjoyed the different animation styles within Space Jam: A New Legacy. We get live action 2D and CGI as well as animation that changes with the different worlds they are in. For example, while in DC World we get a comic book panel inspired design as they try to recruit Superman. I didn’t even mind the CGI animation as it was fresh and new.

Once the basketball game starts the laughs work well. I particularly enjoyed a joke at the halftime that I will not spoil for you. Whenever it tries to be sentimental it doesn’t work. Lebron is fine in the lighter sections but doesn’t have the acting chops for the more tender moments. It does have a nice message about being yourself and supporting our loved ones in their dreams but the dramatic beats made the movie feel long (it is too much at 115 minutes).

Space Jam: A New Legacy is coming out same day in theater and on HBO Max and I think the latter is where it belongs. It has just enough laughs to be enjoyable but not enough for the big bucks of the theatrical experience. However, if you like the Looney Tunes, like I do, than it is worth a watch.

Even if not perfect it’s great to have the team back together again.

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

 

[REVIEW] ‘Black Widow’ or Nice to See Natasha Kick-Butt Again

There are many factors which go into making the Marvel Cinematic Universe as successful as it is. The detailed planning, consistent execution and overall inspiring experiences make for films that even at their worst are competent blockbusters people enjoy. However, the most important key to their success is their remarkable knack for casting and ability to build affection for their characters. We are forgiving of the flaws of a film because we love the characters and are attached to their stories within the MCU.

Such is the case with Natasha Romanoff or Black Widow. We are attached to her character and Scarlett Johansson in the role that even in an imperfect film we are happy to be spending time with our old friend. This is especially true in this case because of losing her in Avengers: Endgame so sadly.

It is also our affection for Black Widow that made us all want her to have her own movie much sooner. While comforting to see her again on the screen, it can’t help but feel like a missed opportunity that she couldn’t have been a more celebrated part of the Infinity War narrative and not just a supporting player. In some ways the new Black Widow movie feels a little like an apology for all the fans who wish Marvel had the guts to release a Black Widow film way back in phase 1 as opposed to now in phase 4. Also the fact that both female superhero films in the MCU have been prequels feels more than a little safe and strange. Be braver Marvel!!

That said, what did I think of the film we got? Overall I enjoyed it. I certainly thought it was much better than I expected it to be and I had a good time with it.

If you recall in Avengers Age of Ultron we get a little peak into Natasha’s past with the ‘Red Room’ where she was trained to be the super spy we all know her to be. This new movie, Black Widow, elaborates on that vision and takes us back to the time between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

Natasha is on the run and trying to find out more information about the organization behind the ‘Red Room’ that is trying to stop her from being an avenger. This includes reconnecting with her ‘family’ played by Rachel Weisz, David Harbour and Florence Pugh.

The best part about Black Widow is the interactions between the family and particularly the dynamic between Natasha and Pugh’s Yelena. They have great chemistry and feel like actual sisters. Weisz is underused as Melina but Harbour is also charming as Alexei or Red Guardian.

Because we like all of these characters it’s fun to see them fighting off bad guys while exchanging witty banter. That dynamic is what makes the MCU terrific. The action was also all enjoyable without being too memorable. It did the job. The villains are serviceable for this story even if I will not remember them by the time the next Marvel movie comes along. The MCU isn’t about villains. It’s about heroes, and I like these heroes.

I do think Black Widow pushes its luck at 134 minutes and there are times it drags. The action isn’t memorable enough to sustain the runtime and because we know what happens with Natasha the stakes are never very present.

Recently on twitter I said

What I mean by that is Wonder Woman 84 (which I gave a marginal recommendation) was narratively messy but it really tried hard to talk about big themes and take its characters on a big story. Black Widow doesn’t do any of that. It is way cleaner and succeeds in making a fun, competent action movie. Like I said, it’s a better movie than Wonder Woman 84 but it doesn’t try as hard either. So it comes down to what you want out of a film. Do you want a satisfying but perhaps forgettable blockbuster or do you want something that swings and a lot of the times misses? I can see arguments for both.

I went to see Black Widow with my niece and we had a great time together. It earns its PG-13 rating but if you do take your teens and pre-teens they will have a great time. It will be interesting to see how they use Yelena in the future (stay for post-credit scene). I look forward to seeing more of Pugh.

While not perfect and a bit too late, Black Widow combines kick-butt action with the best family in the MCU to make for a fun ride!

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

[REVIEW] ‘F9: The Fast Saga’ or Stupid Action is as Stupid Action Does…

There’s a scene in Furious 7 where Dwayne Johnson decides “Daddy’s got to go to work” and he muscles a cast off of his arm and what was once broken is ready to go. This scene is ridiculous. Of course, but it was also funny and cheeky without being annoying. It is scenes like these that made the Fast and the Furious movies work. I even own all 7 on bluray (the tire collection (ad)!).

If people ask me for advice I tell them to just watch 5-7 because I think that is the best trilogy of the series. 1-4 are watchable action flicks but nothing special. Then we got to 8 and the franchise started to lose me. Charlize Theron did not work for me as a villain and most of the action felt predictable, staged with no stakes. The only part I liked in Fast 8 was the scene with Jason Statham as Shaw dealing with a baby as he is escaping. That’s like the cast scene from 7. Action mixed with enough humor to make me smile.

Now we have F9 and the wheels have completely come off the franchise and it’s not even trying to ground the action in any kind of realism. Whether that is a good thing will be up for debate but in the opinion of this critic it made for a long 145 minutes. Also the action was shot and edited in such a choppy way that it started to make me nauseous. Practically every action scene involving the characters diving off a cliff with complete confidence they will be saved from the ravine below or pressing a button and magnets saving them. There’s no sense of risk, pain or strategy behind the action and even in something crazy like Mad Max Fury Road you need that or it’s bland. Honestly I think Superman is more nervous than these guys.

Also having your characters constantly point out the ridiculous nature of the scenes doesn’t help. Tyrese can say all he wants that ‘maybe we are invincible?’ but that doesn’t make the action any more interesting or the characters any more deep. I know you are just supposed to have dumb fun with this movie but again without any sense of risk or stakes for the characters it’s like watching a demo reel for a vfx company not an actual movie. Tyrese and Ludicrus also go into space which is just as ridiculous as you might expect but it’s not just a winking quick scene for fans. It’s a long sequence that gets more insane by the minute.

I am also well aware this franchise prides itself on being about family. I love family. I love movies about families. What I don’t like is Vin Diesel treating this material as if he is in a tragedy with his gravely voice scowling through the self-serious dialogue. I also don’t like John Cena being his estranged brother yelling every cliche from the villain handbook only waiting for his all-too easy but inevitable redemption. His plan could have killed millions of people (not too mention all the property destroyed along the way.). Anyone who is after our team of heroes makes stormtroopers look like good shots. You can’t save everything by just yelling family all the time. It’s bad, really bad.

They also spoil a popular character coming back to life in the trailer/poster and then jump over backwards to try and make it make sense but it doesn’t.

Some people will probably have fun with this movie. I think we all have our thresholds of stupidity and this one (and the last) certainly surpassed mine. If you enjoy it more power to you. I will put it with Transformers and other movies that report to be full of big fun but lack any real entertainment value. No thanks!

3 out of 10

PS. Charlize Theron should never use this hair stylist again…

[REVIEW] ‘Spirit Untamed’: For Little Girls Who Like Horses

In my career as a critic some movies presented before me are complex and challenging with different layers of meaning. Others are not. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I believe there can be value in knowing what you are and executing it well. I enjoy simple well done Hallmark movies for example. The new film from DreamWorks Animation entitled Spirit Untamed is such a film. It is made for little girls who love horses and want to watch an adventure. On that level it succeeds and is an animated adventure.

This somewhat vanilla film may be disappointing to those of us who love the original Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. It was a film that took real risks in its storytelling combined with some of the most beautiful animation DreamWorks has ever produced. If you would like to hear me talk more about the original film my friend Stanford and I covered it last year for Obscure Animation:

Unfortunately DreamWorks has moved on from the original film and created a series called Spirit Riding Free, which I admit I have never seen an episode. This new movie, Spirit Untamed,is a spin off of that show, which given it has 12 seasons has its audience. That’s who this movie is made for.

The story of Spirit Untamed follows a young girl named Lucky who is moving to a frontier town and meets a wild mustang named Spirit while on the train. Her Mother road horses and Lucky dreams of doing the same. When Spirit is caught by ne’re do wells Lucky and her friends, the PALS, go on an adventure to rescue all the horses taken.

If you are wondering why this needed to get a theatrical release I would agree with you. On the story and animation quality it feels more like a direct to streaming feature. However, that doesn’t mean it is bad. It’s perfectly serviceable little movie. I just don’t know if I would pay the big prices at the theater for it. I would probably wait for its inevitable Netflix release along with the series.

It does have a more star-studded voice cast than the series (which again I’ve never seen). This features Jake Gyllenhaal as Lucky’s Dad and Julianne Moore, WalterGoggins and Andre Braugher. I don’t know that I needed these stars for the film but I guess they give it a little more gravitas as a theatrically released film.

I also appreciate the diversity in the film. Almost all young girls should be able to find someone to relate with amongst the PAL characters. The horses are also very beautiful although not nearly as beautiful as the original film. It does have a really nice message about never giving up, connecting with our ancestors, working together and being brave when things are challenging.

In the end, ones enjoyment of Spirit Untamed comes along with your expectations. If you are wanting something along the lines of the original you will be disappointed. If you want something cute for little girls who like horses you’ll enjoy it. It will win the heart of all who love horses.

I also appreciate Spirit Untamed has a female director Elaine Bogan. I hope we keep seeing more female directors in animation (something DreamWorks has been above the curve on with directors like Brenda Chapman and Jennifer Yuh Nelson)

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Current Mini Reviews

Hey everyone! Got a quick 3 mini reviews for you today.  I am making more of an effort to see live theater these days so I will probably be a bit pickier when it comes to new movies. You can find my live theater reviews on my personal blog here.

I will have a review of Cruella tomorrow and Spirit Untamed for you on Friday but for now here are 3 new movies I’ve seen but haven’t been able to review yet.

Demon Slayer- The Movie: Mugen Train

Some movies based on anime shows can stand alone others need more backstory. Demon Slayer is the latter. I wish I had seen the show before watching the movie but I still enjoyed the film and it has inspired me to watch the show. This film takes the demon slayers from the show and puts them on a train that is possessed by demons. As they travel on the train and fight the demons we get to learn more about each of the slayer’s backstories and lives. It’s emotional, intense, violent and beautiful. The animation is gorgeous and as I saw the dub it was well done.

There are times I was confused but for the most part I got what was going on. So if you don’t have time to watch the series I still think it is worth seeing for the animation alone. The series is available on Netflix for all interested.

8 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Top End Wedding

The first third of this Australian wedding romcom is very chaotic and random and I wasn’t sure it was going to be my thing but once it gets to the actual wedding it really works and I was invested. Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) and Ned (Gwilym Lee) have such great chemistry and you are really rooting for this couple to succeed.

There are all kinds of shenanigans from difficult parents who have to be hunted down, bachelorette parties that get out of hand and a boss with Cruella hair. Like I said, some of it is a too much but the core is so heartwarming and sweet I couldn’t help but love it.

It ends in one of the most satisfying weddings in recent memory. 2 good people have found and committed to each other and isn’t that what it is all about? A rom-com win that will leave you cheering.

8 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Here Today

Some movies just have bad timing. Here Today is one of those films. Directed and starring Billy Crystal it has the best of intentions and is trying to be a sweet film about a man getting dementia. The problem is we just had an Oscar winning film about a man with dementia that was far superior in The Father. It’s impossible to not compare the two and find this one lacking.

Tiffany Haddish costars with Crystal as his friend who helps him with his family and come to terms with his dementia.We also get flashbacks to him and his kids and ideal wife (Louisa Krause).

Some people might compare Here Today with a Hallmark movie but honestly I think it lays on the sentimentality even too thick for Hallmark. I appreciate what they were going for but it gets lost in the cliches and trite characters I had trouble relating too. It’s too well-meaning to be awful but it didn’t really work for me.

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

So there you go. Did you get to see any of these films? Let me know what you thought!

[REVIEW] ‘In the Heights’ or You’re Not Taking Away Their Shot

Most of you who know me well know I absolutely love musicals. Whether it is animated musicals from Disney and other studios, original films like Sing Street or The Greatest Showman or Broadway adaptations like Hairspray or My Fair Lady I am down with musicals!

In fact, this summer I am making a goal to see and support as many local musical and theater productions as I can. I have already seen 9 since I was cleared after my vaccination with more to come. You can read my theater reviews on my other blog here.

With this being my summer of musicals It is such kismet that 2021 is fixing to be the best year for musicals at the movies ever. In both live action and animated films we have practically a musical film opening (or going to streaming) every month! This includes filmed musicals like Diana and Come From Away to animated films like Vivo and Encanto! I can’t wait!

The first up in the live action department is In the Heights. This is based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tony award winning musical of the same name and tells the story of Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos) who dreams of going back to the Dominican Republic and run a bar there. Meanwhile he is grinding it out running a bodega in Washington Heights with an array of friends and family in the rapidly changing area.

Gentrification is coming and even the beloved hair salon is being forced to move. There is Nina back from Stanford. Abuela Claudia who Mothers and Grandmothers the entire street. Usnavi’s cousin Sonny helps him at the bodega but he has his own share of troubles. Usnavi also has a crush on Vanessa who can’t wait to get out of Washington Heights.

In the Heights is directed by Jon M Chu who is at his best in these spectacle musicals. He made the Step Up movies entertaining to watch despite their somewhat flimsy plots and he made the best rom-com in a long while with Crazy Rich Asians. (We won’t talk about his abysmal Jen and the Holograms adaptation. Yikes…). With him at the helm, it should be no surprise that the big bombastic (people are literally dancing on the side of buildings) dance and musical sequences are where In the Heights shines. They are so much fun!

There is also a nice heart to the film. I saw the show years ago and really enjoyed it and the team has done a great job translating the energy and sense of community of the stage musical into this feature film. The whole cast has an effortless chemistry (including Miranda as Piraguero, the piragua guy or shaved ice salesman).

They manage to touch on important issues facing areas like Washington Heights in effective ways and juggle a lot of characters without it seeming cluttered or flimsy. Watching In the Heights will leave you smiling but also reflective on what we can do better as a society to support communities especially with minority populations.

The only real flaw in the film is for the non-musical buffs the 143 minute runtime may be a bit wearing. They could have definitely cut down a few numbers and made things tighter- even for a musical fan like myself it ran a bit long.

Nevertheless, I loved In the Heights. It’s an energetic burst of song and passion at the movies. It promises to be the movie event of the summer!

8 out of 10

[REVIEW] ‘Dream Horse’ or How to Win at a Comfort Movie

Whenever I review a film I always ask myself if the movie succeeded in doing what it set out to to do. In other words, if it an action movie is the action good? If it’s a tearjerker did it make me cry? If it is a comedy did it make me laugh? It’s always a satisfying experience when I can confidently answer yes: the movie in question successfully executed its premise.

One such example is the new movie Dream Horse. It sets out to be a heartwarming inspirational true story and it is such a film. I really enjoyed this sweet story of community and never losing hope.

Dream Horse arrives in theaters tomorrow May 19th and tells the true story of a group of Welsh small town residents that gather together in a ‘Dream Alliance’ to pool their earnings and bread and raise a racehorse appropriately named Dream.

Toni Collette plays Jan, the leader of the group, and she’s just what you want in this kind of role. She’s likable while also being just enough of a spitfire to keep it from being too saccharine. I also really enjoyed Owen Teale as her husband Brian. He isn’t too thrilled about the Dream Alliance idea at first, but falls in love with the horse despite himself. Dream Horse is absolutely a feel-good movie but it is not too glossy (granted I’m the Hallmark girl so what do I know?). It shows the tough situation of most of the townspeople and even the big investor Howard, played by Damian Lewis, is barely hanging on to his marriage because of risky investments he recently made.

Sure it’s predictable but it’s also heart warming and will make even the crustiest Scrooges cheer. Watch it with your whole family. They will love it!

8 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Dream Horse is available 5/19 in theaters and 6/11 digitally

 

[REVIEW] ‘Finding You’ or Do You Like Rom-coms?

Anyone who follows this site knows I am a huge fan of romantic comedies. I review Hallmark movies for a living after all! Therefore, it should be no surprise I am kinder on the genre than many other critics. A film can be full of the tropes of the genre and I’m fine with that because I like the genre and I like those tropes.

Such is the case with the new film Finding You. Some will say it’s predictable and cheesy and they would be right, but it is exactly those elements that won me over to the film. Finding You is one of those movies if you watch the trailer and it looks sweet and enjoyable than you will like it. If you watch it and think ‘oh no another romantic comedy’ than you will hate it.

Not that I just give a blank check to romantic comedies. They have to be done well and for the most part Finding You is. The biggest strength it has is Rose Reid in the lead. She is warm, charming and easy to root for. I especially loved her interactions with screen legend Vanessa Redgrave. That dynamic seriously elevated the film.

Jedidiah Goodacre was serviceable but felt a bit miscast as the hunky fantasy movie-star Beckett Rush, whom Reid’s Taylor meets while studying abroad in Ireland. Most of the dragons movie elements have to be taken with a grain of salt as you don’t even see a green screen anywhere- the visual effects are amazingly present on days of shooting. LOL

Tom Everett Scott does a good job as Beckett’s father. The whole film has a better cast than the script probably warrants but it makes it entertaining to watch.

There is also a degree of escapism in trotting all around Ireland as we are all anxious to get traveling again. Fans of the genre will be swept away in a sweet romance at the cinema!

At nearly 2 hours Finding You could have used a trim and the chemistry wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be. However, if you like rom-coms than you will enjoy the film. It’s nothing new but I still had a fun time watching it.

6 out of 10