I really don’t know how I feel about all these Netflix movies. While occasionally we get a ‘Roma,’ we also get a lot of thee middling fares, such as ‘Falling Inn Love.’ Thi film, directed by Roger Kumble is a typical rom com that wouldn’t be out of place in the Hallmark Channel (look at the poster, it even looks like it came from there) And its predictability knows no bounds, you can practically mouth off the screenplay as you are watching. But sure, there’s some low-key chemistry between the two leads (the current Administration probably won’t be too happy about the interracial coupling) and although Christina Milian’s too-earnest acting mostly grated on me, Adam Demos was there to provide heat. This is mindless, though cute.
I have this thing with Netflix movies. Are they theatrical-type ones just being shown on the platform?? Or are they really just television movies on Netflix? Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ certainly fits the former, but I think a lot of what’s there could just be classified on the latter. ‘Otherhood’ is a perfect example – it has an A-list cast of Academy Award winners, but the tone and feel of the film felt very sitcom-y, and that’s unsurprising because the Director (Cindy Chupack) does mostly television.
But I enjoyed it enough, for what it is. It complemented my beer and hot wings on a lonely Saturday night – and the three leads – Patricia Arquette, Felicity Huffman, and Angela Bassett – looked like they were having the time of their life, so I can just let them be. I heard that this was supposed to come out around Mother’s Day but was pushed back because of Huffman’s legal troubles. I’ll even cop out to being a little teary eyed because it made me think about my own mom, but then again that may be the result of the beer and hot wings.
A couple of minutes into Nahnatchka Khan’s ‘Always Be My Baby,’ I groaned to myself. Sure, I m a sucker for romantic comedies, but I thoroughly disliked the two main characters here, Sasha and Marcus (Ali Wong and Randall Park) who I know are meant to fall in love. I mean. why would I root for them to do that when I don’t even like them? I despise those type A over-achieving people like Wong’s Sasha, and Park’s slacker bro dude was just as annoying I thought. But I have to credit the actors, especially Park, who gives the character more depth than what’s written (probably because the actors also wrote the screenplay) And I have to admit, the characters grew on me, especially Marcus. He even says that he cannot leave his father because he needs to take care of him – and that’s a very Asian thing, by the way. Eventually, I gave in to the romance – they have good enough chemistry and there were several Asian-specific touches that I related to. And Keanu Reeves does a hilarious cameo playing himself – that alone in my opinion is worth a watch. I do have to say that I am really liking the fact that Netflix is investing in a lot of these romantic comedies, and this one is a little more adult than their earlier ones. I can only encourage and celebrate.
I think Renee Zellwegger is swell. I was just reading an article wherein she says she left the business because fame and all its accouterments started to get to her, and I am glad she was able to settle all of that because she seems to be active again (the Judy Garland biopic starring her is one of this year’s Oscar baits) And I am glad that I started watching the new Netflix series ‘What/If’ featuring her because she is great in it – she is the cunning manipulative lead/antagonist and she packs a great sophisticated punch here. She plays Anne Montgomery, a mogul/venture capitalist who invests on businesses, and in her she takes an interest on a budding Medical company – but there is more than meets the eye. I have watched the first two episodes and it definitely caught my interest. i can see this is one of those bingeable shows but I think I will eat it up a little slowly, like maybe an episode before going to sleep at night. An added bonus for me is Blake Jenner, the stud muffin center of the piece. They know what he is used here for, as he shows his butt on his very first scene – subtlety is not the word for this series – it is big, bombastic, but not a bore.
Who isn’t in love with Zac Efron? I know I have been championing him for a while now, as I do think he is an extremely talented and versatile actor. He is getting more attention nowadays for his performance in the new film ‘Extremely Wicked Shickingly Evil and Vile’ (bad choice of a title since I cannpt retain it in my memory) and rightfully so – he is extremely effective portraying the serial killer Ted Bundy. Seen in the eyes of his long time girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer (who wrote a book based on her life with Bundy) this Ted Bundy is charming and handsome. It’s as if director Joe Berlinger has put you in the position of being one of his victims and you are able to experience how one gets manipulated and roped by this man. It’s a strange way to present a film about a serial killer. We never really get to see any of the killings, and at first thought you think, this film is as in love with Bundy (and Efron) as we are. But as I think about it more, I think it’s just an effective way to present Bundy. Even though Collins is great as Elizabeth, Efron takes over the film whenever he is on – his presence here i so magnetic that you are instantly and effectively drawn. Yes, it does seem like it is trying to glorify a serial killer, but in the initial eyes of his victims, he is glorified. And just like his victims, he instills fear as we get to know him better. There is a scene between Ted and Elizabeth towards the end which is supposed to be some kind of closure for their relationship, but instead is so horrifying it will make you feel sick and disgusted, yet there will be a nagging feeling in you that you will want more.
I initially had reservations about the film (even as I enjoyed Efron’s performance) – the pace is uneven, and there are some holes int he story telling. But taken as is, I think it’s still a worthwhile film. As my film ended, Netflix immediately followed my viewing with their docu series The TEd Bundy Tapes, and I think seeing those two things back to back will make the Bundy experience fuller. But then again, maybe one is enough.
I watched the first episode of ‘Special’ on Netflix. I have some thoughts.
- I kind of didn’t like it. I know a lot of people love it, and I want to give it another chance, but my overall impression is just kind of meh. I really did not like the main character, Ryan (played by Ryan O ‘Connell, and I am assuming the show is based on his life) and I thought that the minor characters were all unlikable as well. I thought the action seemed slow, and even though each episode only ran about fifteen minutes long, to me it felt longer – not always a good sign.
- But, I have not given up on this. I think maybe the show grows with each watch, and I have read that the situations do get more interesting. And I think this may be one of those shows that could be perfect as the last thing to watch before going to sleep.
Thank 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.