Current Mini Reviews (X and Pearl, White Noise, Aftersun, Babylon, Something from Tiffany’s)

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well. I have been overwhelmed with movie-watching lately, which isn’t a big surprise with my career as a film critic and Christmas movie podcaster (check out Hallmarkies Podcast for reviews of all the holiday films!). It’s just hard this time of year because I have over 100 Christmas movies to watch plus all the awards screeners so I can vote in the critics groups I’m a part of (HCA, UFCA, OAOFFC). I usually watch at least 4 movies every single day! Plus I’m also reviewing live theater for UTBA  and writing reviews, editing podcasts and videos…the list goes on. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like there is enough hours in the day!

Anyway, I have a bunch of Oscar screeners to update you all on. I wish I could write long reviews on all of these but alas a mini review will have to do:

Something from Tiffany’s

I must admit I didn’t love the plot of Something From Tiffany’s which you can watch over on Amazon Prime. It’s one of my least favorite of the romantic comedy tropes when the script forces people into emotional cheating to find love. That’s the case here with Kendrick Sampson and Ray Nicholson getting their Tiffany bags swapped- one bag that has an engagement ring causing all kinds of confusion.

Fortunately the movie still manages to work because of the charm of star Zoey Deutch and her terrific chemistry with Sampson. I just wish they had found another way for them to get to know each other than both cheating on their significant others. It makes it hard to root for the characters or their romance. Deutch certainly knows how to rock a red lip nd after Set It Up (which is a lot better) she may be our next rom-com star.

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

X and Pearl

X Movie Killer Pearl Backstory Explained

If you have followed my site for any period of time you know I’m not the biggest horror person but I have been trying to expand my palate in recent years. Since they seemed like important films from this year I finally watched Ti West’s new films X and Pearl and overall I was impressed with them. They have a unique perspective, are very well made and Mia Goth is outstanding in both.

I am not going to give a score to X because I fast forwarded through some of the porn scenes and I only review films I’ve completely watched but I watched enough to say it is a well made slasher with atmosphere and entertaining “kills”/scary sequences.

Pearl I did watch in totality so I can give a review. This is a very effective prequel, giving us the backstory of how the Pearl in X became a serial killer. It’s all wrapped up in old-school dreams of Hollywood with fantastical sequences and a monologue that should (but probably won’t) give Goth an Oscar nomination. Pearl is definitely one of the most memorable movies of 2022, and I’m glad I saw it.

Pearl gets an 8 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Toxic Impulses

Toxic Impulses (2022) - IMDb

This one is a micro-budget indie crime noir film that does a lot with a little. Writer and director Kyle Schadt puts together an impressive thriller with almost no budget that can rival or even top the entertainment value of the big budget films we are seeing out of Netflix and Amazon. It tells the story of a man named Mosley (Benedikt Sebastian) who meets a woman named Zemira (Olivia Buckle) who unbeknownst to him is a bank robber on the run. Quite unwittingly he becomes involved in her affairs and everything gets crazy as they evade the law.

There are obviously some elements of the movie where you can feel the low budget but nothing that kept me from having a good time. If you like an edgy independent thriller where people are clearly trying to make something special give Toxic Impulses a try.

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

White Noise

White Noise Trailer Shows Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig Trying to Survive

White Noise is one of those movies I feel torn on. On one hand it has some very entertaining characters and moments. On the other hand, the plot is messy and I don’t understand why they needed to make Adam Driver’s character a Hitler studies expert. I realize that’s how he is in the novel but maybe in the novel they give a compelling reason (not that there is a good reason to be a Hitler studies expert). It just felt like such a strange choice.

Written and directed by Noah Baumbach, I could feel him working out COVID and quarantine through this movie. The premise is a  disaster (‘airborne toxic event) has caused the Gladney family to evacuate. Each of them grapples with this new reality in their own way until the disaster becomes literal and metaphorical for this family.

Like I said, I’m torn where to rate this one. (Stay around for the fun credits sequence)

5 out of 10

Frown Worthy

After Sun

Aftersun (2022) - IMDb

On my podcast, The Criterion Project, we have a pretentiousness scale where we rate how artsy or difficult to grasp the film we are talking about it (a thing that happens a lot on Criterion.) A lot of A24 films the rating would be quite high as they tend to have films outside of the mainstream. Their latest, Aftersun, definitely qualifies as pretentious in its pacing and lack of plot but it’s also quite mainstream in its sweet and endearing nature.

It’s a simple movie about a father and daughter who spend a holiday at a rundown resort in Turkey . Like I said, it doesn’t have much plot but the 2 lead performances are very likable and sweet and you find yourself rooting for this pair. I honestly could have used a little more story but its definitely a strong debut for writer director Charlotte Wells. I think if you are open to slice of life films at all you’ll enjoy Aftersun.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy


Damien Chazelle's Babylon Trailer Is Full Of Drugs, Big Dreams And A Dancing Brad Pitt | Movies | Empire

I’ve never been as in love with Damien Chazelle as a lot of my friends are. I haven’t hated any of his films but they’ve all left me wanting particularly in the character development area. Now we have Babylon and this is even more the case here! Babylon is an unending parade of supposed excitement that instead becomes dull and predictable.

The film is mostly madness but I guess it’s about a bunch of people who are struggling to transition between silent films and talkies. I say I guess because the plot is barely there. Instead you get 188 minutes of cocaine fueled parties that feels like it will never end. Even the great cast like Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Jean Smart and Tobey Maguire cant make this film coherent and fun. It’s truly exhausting and I hated watching it.

3 out of 10

Frown Worthy

There you go! Let me know what you thought of these films. It’s certainly an eclectic group

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Current Mini Reviews (A Perfect Pairing, Spring Awakening, The Valet, Fire Island, Good Luck to You Leo Grand)

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I did a mini-review post so I have a whole bunch of new movies to tell you about.

Let’s not mess around and get reviewing!

A Perfect Pairing

Perfect Pairing Trailer Shows Victoria Justice, Adam Demos' Netflix Rom-Com

This was honestly disappointing. Aren’t most people expecting a dishy silly romance? Instead we got a movie that takes itself seriously with tons of dialogue about wine production, family labels and running a family business. Even Adam Demos (who is one of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen) isn’t allowed to be a hunk wearing long sleeve shirts in most scenes. I know I shouldn’t expect much from these Netflix romcoms but this one was a snooze.

3 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known

Spring Awakening: Those You've Known' Debuts On HBO - Metro Weekly

All of my readers know I’m a huge Broadway buff and that’s really the only people who will enjoy this movie. Of course, Spring Awakening was a Broadway phenomenon in 2006 and it is fun to learn about the origins of the musical and some BTS details from its stars Jonathan Groff, John Gallagher Jr and Lea Michele (although I don’t know if it helps repair Michele’s deva image much). The only disappointment is the film was billed as a pro-shot of the reunion concert they did in 2021 and you don’t get as much of that event as I hoped. Theater nerds will enjoy this. Everyone else can skip it.

5.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

The Valet

Disney+ unveils the first images of

2022 has been an amazing year for romantic comedies (finally!) and The Valet is another surprisingly affecting entry! Eugenio Derbez plays a parking valet who through various contrivances has to pretend to date a celebrity played by Samara Weaving. I love fake relationship stories and Derbez is very winning in this role. It also plays out a little more messy than most rom-coms with platonic friendship being taken seriously, which I always appreciate. The tone is a bit uneven but I overall found it sweet with a nice emphasis on family and every individuals self worth no matter if they are a movie star or a valet.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Fire Island

Fire Island' Movie Review: Joel Kim Booster's Gay Rom-Com

Another rom-com for 2022 comes just in time for Pride Month with Fire Island. Screenwriter Joel Kim Booster has crafted a very loose interpretation of Pride and Prejudice with gay characters all going to New York’s Fire Island for a week of fun. The story is a little over-crowded making it hard to connect with the various couples as much as I wanted to but it is made with enough energy and joy that I enjoyed it. It is, however, very raunchy and definitely won’t be for everyone. Mature audiences only but a good time if you are up for it. Margaret Cho steals the movie as the ‘Mom’ figure to the party animal boys.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022) - IMDb

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and I held off on watching it there because of the subject matter. However, I had enough friends recommend it to me I decided to give it a watch, and I’m glad I did. Emma Thompson gives a brave performance in this ultimately endearing story of a retired teacher ordering an escort with the name of Leo Grande. Daryl McCormack is super charismatic as Leo and the dialogue between the 2 feels authentic and genuine. Anyone who has been sex-starved in their lives will understand where Thompson’s Nancy is coming from. She’s harsher than I hopefully would ever be (especially towards her kids) but her loneliness and desire for passion and connection is easy to relate with. Don’t we all want more of that in our lives? This film obviously has mature content but many will probably be surprised how sweet it is (as I was!).

8 out of 10

Smile Worthy

So there you have it! Have you gotten to see any of these movies? If so, what did you think?


If you enjoy what I do please consider supporting at patreon where you can get tons of fun perks.

Current Mini Reviews

Hey guys! I hope you are all doing well. I promise I am working on my Cars 3 review but I want it to be in depth like the rest of my Pixar reviews. Sometime next week I should have something for both it and the short Lou. If you want to see some of my thoughts check out the review on my youtube channel here.

In the meantime, I wanted to do one of my mini review posts to catch you up on a few films I have seen but haven’t written a full post on. Here goes!

A Dog’s Purpose-

A Dog’s Purpose was released with controversy because of a video put out by PETA which has been proven to be manipulatively edited and incorrect. It is the dishonesty of PETA that actually made me want to see this film.

So how does it turn out? It doesn’t quite work but it’s not a total disaster either. The premise is a dog is reincarnated into 4 other dogs and you see how a dog impacts all these different people over the years, which is nice to see. The acting is also strong by all involved.

The problem with that premise is you have to watch a dog die 5 times, which is like Marley and Me times 5.

It’s also a very sentimental movie which won’t be for everyone but my biggest problem with A Dog’s Purpose is the narration by Josh Gad. It’s never ending.

Overall Grade- C

A United Kingdom-

United Kingdom does not break any new ground in the world of inspirational biopics but it’s executed so well it works. The movie is about Sertse Khama, the king of a tribe in Africa that marries a white woman in London. Both the English and African people object to their union and they must fight against this prejudice.

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike are excellent in their roles as the lead couple and they have great chemistry together. It is also beautifully shot with excellent production values across the board.

It is very predictable but I was invested enough to find it entertaining.

Overall Grade- B


Becoming Cary Grant-

You can watch the documentary Becoming Cary Grant currently on Showtime and I found it to be fascinating. One of the issues I had with La La Land is I felt it presented an idea that dreams would make a person happy. A documentary like this shows achieving creative dreams can leave someone as empty as any other endeavor. True happiness comes from things a career could never give you like relationships and faith. Such is the case with Cary Grant. It goes into his childhood, marriages, career and use of LSD therapy to deal with his trauma. As a film lover and someone interested in human experience I thought it was great.

Also, Jonathan Pryce sounds so much like Cary Grant it’s uncanny.

Overall Grade- B+

DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games-

I reviewed this for Family Movie Night last week. It’s the second film in the DC SuperHero Girls series which is currently a web series but is getting its own show on Cartoon Network in the Fall.

In this entry we get to see the girls face off against a rival high school in the Intergalactic Games. Unfortunately Lena Luther becomes involved and is up to no good.

Obviously this is designed for little girls but it is done so with a lot of care and love. I enjoy the animation, voice work and simple storytelling. It’s enjoyable to watch!

It’s nice to have something in the superhero camp that is G rated wholesome fun instead of the constant PG13 content.

Overall Grade- B

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword-

I have never been a fan of Guy Ritchie particularly the way he shoots action. Even so, King Arthur seemed like a weird project to tackle but I gave it a shot and it was a big mess.

I appreciate the ambition behind the film but I left wondering if there was an idea Ritchie didn’t use. It feels so over-stuffed and manic that it is an exhausting experience to watch. All the actors try hard but it is a hopeless endeavor.  The dialogue, characters, special effects, story all don’t work.

I left thinking isn’t the story of King Arthur exciting enough without all this nonsense?

Overall Grade- D

47 Meters Down-

On the other end of the spectrum 47 Meters Down was an absolute blast at the theater. I get some of the criticisms of the movie. The script isn’t that great and the acting is so-so but it had me engrossed nonetheless.

In the film 2 sisters get stuck in a shark viewing cage at the bottom of the ocean and that was a tense, scary situation to be in and I felt it. I jumped on several occasions. The movie isn’t too long and builds tension well. The ending will be a bit polarizing but I enjoyed it.

It’s similar to last year’s The Shallows, which I think is better made but 47 Meters was fun nonetheless.

Overall Grade- B

Band Aid-

I almost got to see this indie at Sundance but didn’t make the screening in time and they gave away my seat. So I was pretty excited to see Band Aid. However,  I must own to being pretty disappointed by it.

It may just be that Band Aid  isn’t made for me. I think if I was married I might like it better. The premise sounds great with a couple writing all of their fights into hit songs but that’s not what you get. There aren’t very many songs in the movie- 2 or 3 and none of them are memorable.

Most of the movie is the couple fighting, and I hate watching that. It’s just an uncomfortable, unpleasant experience to watch people fight and be horrible to each other for 2 hours. There are some nice moments but not enough to make up for all that fighting.

Band Aid is also a pretty strong R rating with nudity and profanity so buyer beware

Overall Grade- C-