The Girls Are Great (Movie Thoughts: Someone Great)

Someone-Great-thumb-700x473-208546Thank God for Netflix. They are single-handedly reviving the ‘chick flick’ genre. Yes, I know they tweeted that they dislike that term, but I am going to call ‘Someone Great’ exactly what it is: a chick flick. It’s also a solid romantic break up film, and at the same time a ‘now’ variation of the ‘Sex & The City’ formula. And you know what?  It’s all good.

Gina Rodriguez plays q woman who is moving to San Francisco for a job, and her boyfriend breaks up with her because of that. SO she and her friends want to party one last time, and…well, you can just imagine where the film journeys on. Some sequences work, some don’t but it hardly matters as she and her friends (Brittany Snow and Dewanda Wise) give you a heady trip where they (and probably you) learn more about yourself. The movie is very current, and I wonder if the references would even work six months from now, but Jennifer Kaytin Robinson directs this in so fast a pace that everything blends well in blender speed. You will be intoxicated after.

For The Boys (Film Thoughts: The Boy Band Con, YouTube Originals)

bbcDuring the 90s Boy band craze, I used to work a block away from Times Square in New York City.  And everyday, I used to see thousands of girls lined up outside the MTV Studios waiting for these guys to show up for the afternoon show Total Request Live (TRL)  and I remember it would be such a pain to get to the subways because of all the throngs of people blocking the street. But don’t get me wrong, I was a fan of both NSync and Backtreet Boys. I listened to their albums, and collected their CDs. I knew enough about the bands to know they were both formed by Lou Perlman, but aside from that knew nothing about him. and here we are, almost twenty five-ish or so later, and Perlman has now passed (in jail) and the boy band members? Some of them have been interviewed for ‘The Boy Band Con,’ a documentary produced by Lance Bass, one of the member of one of those bands, NSync.

The documentary is part ‘Behind The Music,’ and part dissection of Perlman and how he achieved what he did, both in positive and negative terms. Aaron Kunkler, the director, presents the facts in a mostly straightforward manner. It tries to dig deep on how Perlman was able to embezzle money by interviewing some of his investors. At the same time, interviews with boy band members shed light on the bands’ rise and fall. While the documentary is insightful, it lacks focus. I admit to being more interested in the ‘boy band’ part, but the finance part should have appealed to me just as well. It seems drier here, and felt not as sexy as, say, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi schemes when basically they did the exact same thing. Part of Perlman’s ‘sins’ is his alleged sexual predatory of soem of the young men in the bands. Aaron Carter vehemently denies that here (his aggressive apologist stand seems alarming) but besides that is only briefly mentioned here. Even if the information in the documentary is varied, it felt to me like that there’s not much new.

Fanning The Pop (Film Thoughts: Teen Spirit)

p16391144_p_v8_abElle Fanning stars as Violet in ‘Teen Spirit,’ and perhaps the film should have been titled A Star Is Born because Fanning makes such a grand impression here that anyone who watches this will certainly pay more attention to her. She is the best thing in the film, and the screen feels alive when she is on. Director Max Minghella knows to showcase her as a would-be pop singer, and uses music-video like techniques to show her off. (Fanning does her own singing)

The story is engaging enough, but I sometimes felt like it should be more. I like the local flavour of the setting – Isle of Wright in Britain – so you can see the Cinderella-like transition when Victoria gets to London. At the same time, the story is pretty thin, and I could not help but not feel the connection Victoria has with the failed Croatian Opera Singer (Zlatko Buric) who becomes her manager. Still I liked this film a lot more than I didn’t, and I would recommend it.

Flower In Your Patchouli (Perfume Thoughts: Lubin and Patchouli, Jo Malone)

375x500.53543Jo Malone’s ‘Lupin and Patchouli’ is part of their Wild Flower and Weeds Collection. I had to look up what a lupin flower looks like.  It’s those violet ferny looking things that a lot of people use more in an ornamental way. I didn’t realize it had a scent, or are Yann Vasnier and Louise Turner just using it also ‘ornamentally’ in here?

What I do smell is a floral bouquet in the first spritz, a rose, peony and mandarin orange blend. And then the patchouli comes in – but a refined kind, not the granola hippie kind (this is Jo Malone after all)  It all comes down nice and smooth, and admittedly well blended, but for me, a bit on the boring side. I keep on looking for a there here, and then I wonder why. If you’re in search for a nice pleasant floral patchouli, this could fit the bill, but it won’t be any more. (Sillage and production is good, on the office friendly side)

Noah’s Arc (Movie Thoughts: The Perfect Date)

the-perfect-date-poster-456x676I grew up watching the John Hughes movies of the 80s, so it is nice to see that resurgence on Netflix. Noah Centineo seems to be the Molly Ringwald of this generation, and why not? He is an appealing enough actor, and he is certainly easy on the eyes, so of course, I am so there for his new movie ‘The Perfect Date,’ and look, I am not going to pretend and say that I am expecting major literary cinema here, but for me, the film serves its purpose – it’s light, it’s funny, and Noah is certainly nice to watch. (as a small bonus, there’s even a cute gay subplot)

Centineo is so good he looks like he is doing this in his sleep. We all know from frame one where this film starts and where it will go. The surprise is if it will make us believe, and believed it every step of the way.

1973 (Television Thoughts: Glory S01 E04, Fosse/Verdon)

fosse-verdon.w700.h467‘Glory,’ the fourth episode in Fosse/Verdon focuses on 1973, that grand year when Bob Fosse had the triple grand slam achievement of winning the Oscar, the Tony, and the Emmy all on the same year. (His Oscar win was an upset over Francis Ford Coppola, who was favored to win for ‘The Godfather’)  But this episode paints him as some kind of tortured artist. We see him tortured about how ‘Cabaret’ is being received, we see him tortured about ‘Pippin,’ which is now in rehearsals – I loved the process of how they got to the Finale. And I guess he was probably also tortured about something in ‘Liza With A Z,’  though they only show the show in a monitor. I wish the show was more abotu the process – could you imagine if this was a Matthew Weiner show? We would have a whole episode on ‘Corner Of The Sky’ alone. But I get it, though. This isn’t the kind of show, and we do need to see the story move forward.

But what we have here is pretty engrossing. And whenever Michele Williams as Gwen comes on, I perk up. I love her intimate scenes with Joan Simon (who would die the same year from bone cancer) and I love the foreshadowing of Gwen seeing Ann Reinking in rehearsals, making a comment about her being so good she doesn’t need to bed Fosse to get a solo. But Fosse’s #metoo moments are really hard to watch in 2019 lens, although I am sure that happened all the time in 1973 and people did not wince.

 

How Little We Know (Movie Thoughts: Little)

littleDo we really need a movie that is ‘Big’ in reverse? I actually am not opposed to the idea, and much has been said about (then) ten year old Marsai Martin pitching it to Director Tina Gordon, earning her the youngest person in history to have an Executive Producer credit. And Martin chose wisely for herself, as she is great in the movie. She is effective and fearless, and you do believe that she is an adult trapped in a young girl’s body.

Too bad the script is a bit on the dry side. A lot of the jokes did not work for me, and I felt that the movie was probably fifteen minutes too long. And while I also liked Issa Rae’s performance, I thought Regina Hall was miscast in the movie. I thought her take was on the bit on the heavy side, and I keep on envisioning a more carefree performance. I don’t know, but I am just thinking Taraji P Henson would have been a better choice (although she essentially played the same role in ‘What Women Want’ earlier this year) All in all, this was a nice distraction on a weeknight during tax season, but ultimately it just did not work for me.