Hey everyone! It’s time to get you caught up on all the movies I’ve been seeing lately! I wish I had time to write long posts on all of these movies but I don’t. Make sure you check out my hard work at Hallmarkies Podcast where we are covering all things Christmas including lots of fun interviews and recaps.
So let’s get started:
Decision to Leave
Decision to Leave by director Park Chan-wook is one of the most impeccably made movies I’ve seen in 2022. And it’s one I think on a second and third watch I could easily go from liking to loving. There’s a lot going on and with the subtitles I struggled a little bit to keep up with everything on a first watch (I was also admittedly a little tired so that didn’t help).
Nevertheless I still really enjoyed this ‘neo-noir romantic mystery.’ Recently I watched the classic Double Indemnity for my AFI Passions Project for my patrons (check it out! You’ll enjoy it and would help me so much) and Decision to Leave reminded me a lot of that classic film. Both are about detectives that get into toxic relationships and both having that heavy noir atmosphere that works so well.
Definitely if you want to see one of the most beautifully made film of 2022 don’t miss Decision to Leave.
8 out of 10
Falling for Christmas
If you need a break from the arthouse flicks we have a new Christmas movie from Netflix (which we are covering on the podcast this week) entitled Falling for Christmas starring Lindsay Lohan and Chord Overstreet. This movie is pretty simple. It’s a winter-themed remake of Overboard without some of that movie’s problematic elements.
Lohan plays an heiress who looses her memory and is taken in by handsome lodge owner Overstreet. Obviously as host of Hallmarkies Podcast I’m a fan of these kind of Christmas movies but that doesn’t mean I give them all a pass (see the A California Christmas movies for proof of that.)
Fortunately Falling for Christmas has all the elements I need to make a cozy holiday film work. The stars have chemistry, the silly antics work and the whole thing brings all the feels. I particularly liked any scenes with her over-the-top boyfriend Tad (George Young). The movie is a bit over-stuffed at times bringing in elements from Overboard, It’s a Wonderful Life, and a million other holiday films but it’s all done with such cheerfulness it worked for me. If you like these films you’ll enjoy it.
7 out of 10
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
People are going to end up in 2 camps about Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. You are either going to appreciate the risks it takes and find it refreshing or you are like me and find it more grating and annoying than brilliant. I say that fully admitting to not being a hard-core Weird Al fan. I admire his talent and I’ve enjoyed some of his song parodies but I am not a fangirl by any means.
Daniel Radcliffe plays Al in the movie and he gives it his all in a fun performance but the approach they take is to parody the biopic genre instead of giving us any kind of true story (they admit that in the intro to the film). The problem with this approach is the script just isn’t funny and the jokes become so repetitive, which is brutal when you aren’t laughing at them to begin with.
I can see why Weird will have an audience. I simply grew tired of it quickly and was ready for it to be over. It is free to watch on Roku if you want to give it a try but I can’t say I recommend it.
5 out of 10
Anyone who has followed this site knows I am a big fan of A Christmas Carol as a story and have reviewed many different versions of it over the years (see Scrooge Month). I also love the music of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman etc). So in so many ways the film Spirited was designed to please me as a viewer…and fortunately it did just that!
In the film Will Ferrell plays the Ghost of Christmas Present who is assigned a new ‘unredeemable’ patient played by Ryan Reynolds who fits your classic Scrooge archetype. However, as they go about their journey together things don’t play out as planned and we flip back and forth between Ferrell’s and Reynolds past.
Ferrell and Reynolds have terrific chemistry but the main reason to see this is the songs. If you don’t like Pasek and Paul’s music you won’t like this but I loved all the musical sequences (and there are a lot of them) and the incredible choreography and production values! It was a blast.
The story in Spirited is definitely overstuffed and gets too convoluted for its own good but this bright and bubbly musical is just what you need to get into the Christmas spirit this season. It has its flaws but still one of my favorite movies of 2022. (There was also a really good take on A Christmas Carol by Hallmark this year called The Ghost of Christmas Always. Check that one out also!)
8.5 out of 10
Our final film on this post is horror/thriller by director Mark Mylod called The Menu. I’ve been trying to push myself with horror this year and this is definitely one of the most squeamish ones I’ve seen so far! It’s very effective at what it does but buyer beware it definitely will make you squirm in your seat.
It probably helps I’m a big food network/foodie culture fan so a lot of the dark humor in the film works. I wish they had made the ending a little bit less cynical and more triumphant but I say that as an outsider of this particular genre. Fans of dark humor horror will probably love the ending. It could have used a touch more humanity for my taste but who knows.
Ralph Fiennes plays a chef who brings a group of special diners to have a special meal that gets more grisly with each course. Anya Taylor-Joy is roped into attending the meal at the last minute by Nicholas Hoult and she is our main protagonist for the story. All the acting is excellent in the film and I especially liked Janet McTeer as snobby food critic invited to the event.
Despite my not loving the ending the script for The Menu is very well done and it builds tension exceptionally well. If you like horror you’ll love this movie. It’s surprising, gross, and entertaining all at the same time.
7 out of 10
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