Don’t Kiss Me (Movie Thoughts: The Kissing Booth 3)

Look, I wasn’t expecting ‘The Kissing Booth 3’ to be Citizen Kane, but I wanted at least something sensical. Talk about outstaying a welcome. I liked teh first two installments well enough for me to look for this on Netflix as soon as it became available, but I just have to be honest, I have a huge crush on Jacob Elordi. His presence here is worthwhile, but the film is a chore to get through. Yes, we get the usual teen problems, but the cast seem to have. checked out and I feel like everyone is just counting the hours until check out time. They all look bored, and I felt it.

Love Letters Straight From The Heart (Film Thooughts: The Last Letter From Your Lover)

I will always be in the mood for soapy melodramatic romance pieces, and on a Summer Saturday night, Augustine Frizell’s ‘The Last Letter From Your Lover’ is exactly what I am looking for. It has everything I want: glamorous period piece sets, fashionable wardrobe, fab women and cute guys, and a swoony love story that will make you fall in love It will make you yearn for something while munching on pop corn. It’s a modern day Douglas Sirk extravaganza, and you don’t have to think too much about it. And it is very well acted, so even if things are a little on the ‘can you believe it’ side – there’s an abundance of issues here, like amnesia, car accidents, missed messages – you can just shrug and believe. And Callum Turner’s smoldering turn makes me warm on the collar, if I have to be honest. So what are you waiting for ? This is the perfect Netflix and Chill flick.

Row Two Rivers (Series Thoughts: never Have I Ever, S02 E01)

I am so happy that the second season of ‘Never Have I Ever’ is here, as I binge-watched the first season quickly. This time around, I will savour the series slowly, and I won’t be as greedy consuming it. I just watched the first episode and love it – the zing is still there, and the it hasn’t lost any of its wit and intelligence. The action starts literally where it ended the last time: Devi is kissing Ben after she has scattered her father’s ashes, and it looks…promising. But that’s just the beginning of her dilemma – he asks her to be his girlfriend, and she is receptive.

But everything isn’t as easy, though. Paxton is also now showing interest in her and now she…has two boyfriends? Devi has decided that she will row two rivers, as they say. And thats where teh fun begins – this Indian who was once a nerd now has two hottie love interests. But wait, isn’t her family moving to India? At least, her mother is threatening that, even selling her patient list to a rival dermatologist, played by Common.

It is kind of pissing me off – should I be rooting for Devi and her American dream? All I will know is that it will be a lot of fun finding out.

Mother Molly (Movie Thoughts: Milkwater)

Who knew, that i a span of a couple of months that I would have two favorite movies about…surrogacy? Morgan Ingary’s ‘Milkwater’ is a queer flavored take on surrogacy and it is one of those small quirky films you used to be find on Netflix until you couldn’t anymore. So of course, something like this will eventually show up on … Netflix. It stars Molly Bernard (so good in ‘Younger) as a young woman who agrees to be a surrogate for a gay man in his fifties. Why? It’s no entirely clear but not matter, we are just there for the wild ride. Bernard is just so wise and funny that she makes everything so amiable and acceptable, and the film is instantly funny and adorable because of her. Even when her character goes into shaky territory you feel compelled to never leave her side.

A Royal Win (Series Thoughts: Young Royals, Netflix)

I’m on the fourth episode now of Netflix’s ‘Young Royals’ and… I am hooked. First of all, I had no idea that this was a ‘gay’ series. Well, a series featuring gay main characters. I thought it was a kind of serialization of a Prince Harry type of character (bratty prince and his plight) but it is much more than that. It is a show about young members of the royal family – this time it’s Prince Wilhelm, and it’s also of his first love, and yes his first gay love. I like the fact that the attraction is like a bit of a slow burn, as it is in real life – there is the period wherein the Prince tries to reconcile what he feels, and there is uncertainty. That comes because of different factors – family, sexuality, society (even race) Sure the format is really soap-y but there’s never a dull moment in the show, and it moved fairly quickly. For me, it’s a winner

We Are What We Wear (Series Thoughts: Work Stories, Netflix)

I bet we all have articles of. clothing in our closets that have a ‘special meaning’ for us. For me, it is a brown dress shirt that I wore when I met my last love. For some reason, I think it’s a ‘special shirt,’ one that brought me love, even if that person is no longer in my life. I cling to it, wear it once in a while, and even feel that I could meet the next person I will fall in love with wearing that shirt. My dad had a Knicks sweat shirt that he wore to death, so much so that we searched high and low for a similar one just to get him another one. Alas, it was not even an ‘official’ team item, and couldn’t one to replace it. My sister still keeps it in memory of him.

The new Netflix series explores this concept, and its a wonderful show, a definite feel-good kind of show, We hear stories from different people on how certain items of clothing have a special meaning in their lives.

These run the gamut from a woman who wears her yellow sweater when she wants to feel good, a saxophone player who used to play with Tina Turner who was given by her a codpiece that transformed his life, to a Muslim football player who can’t let go of his first football pants. These are wonderful human interest stories and at least one made me cry: a convict who finally gets to wear a shirt after coming out of prison. It shows how our lives are shaped by what we wear.

Christian Camp (Movie Thoughts: A Week Away)

Use the ‘High School Musical’ formula, insert Christian elements in it, cast same fresh-faced bland teenagers, and what do you get? Netflix’s ‘A Week Away.’ You could just imagine that the film is rife for mocking, but you know what? It all went down smoothly for me – the songs can be mostly forgettable but it kept the screen moving, and in a bizarre iconic twist, the male lead is a dead ringer for a young Brent Corrigan. So what’s not to like? It was enjoyable in the most basic and simple way.

My New York (Series Thoughts: Pretend It’s A City S01 E01, Netflix)

They say once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker, and I would like to hope that’s true. At times I certainly still feel that way a lot of the times, even if I no longer live there. ‘Pretend It’s A City,’ on Netflix will probably not appeal to a lot of people, but I bet you any New Yorker will love it.

I wonder, though: Fran Lebowitz polarizes a lot of people, and she is honest and raw in here, in conversation with Martin Scorsese. I tend to agree with a lot of her ‘rants’ – she opens the first episode of the series by saying ‘I hate Times Square,’ and I dare you to find a real NewYorker who disagrees with her.

All throughout the first episode, she raises very important points. For example, one always loves the New York they knew, however horrible that may be in retrospect. My New York is the New York of the 90s, and she mention s that she loved the New York of the 70s even though in reality the city had a lot of struggles then.

So yes, it’s that kind of show – you will either nod in agreement with her, or disagree vehemently – but for a New Yorker, this show will definitely not be boring.

No Laughing Matter (Film Thoughts: Funny Boy)

Deepa Mehta’s ‘Funny Boy’ is Canada’s entry to the Oscars Foreign Language film category (Post script: It was rejected by the Academy because English is spoken in the film for more than half the running time) and it is good to see the film streaming on Netflix where it can capture a wide audience. It is a noteworthy film on paper, based on a best selling novel about a gay nan growing up in Sri Lanka during the country’s civil war unrest. He is also Tamil, who have been discriminated against in the country because of ethnic cleansing, so it is kind of a double whammy for Arjie, the main character in the film.

The film is beautifully shot, and is a joy to watch. But most of the characters are cardboard. The actors aren’t given much depth so we get over-the-top melodramatic performances. The political storyline that serves as a backdrop to the coming-of-age story felt half-baked and muddled. I wish the focus was more on Arjie, which was the more interesting narrative here. But this is a story worth telling.

Christmas is Love (Series Thoughts: Dash & Lily, Netflix)

I’m in love with the Netflix Holiday-themed series ‘Dash and Lily.’ It’s light without being dumb, and it oozes romance from its pore, and it never feels forced. Looking at the poster, you might be tempted to think that it is a generic Christmas story, like something you would see on Lifetime or The Hallmark channel, but it is much better than anything you will find in those channels. It is smartly written, and even though it has YA sensibility, most people, especially hopeless romantic, will not be immune to the show’s charm.

The series is about two teenagers, Dash and Lily, who ‘meet’ through a red notebook filed at The Strand Bookstore right next to Franny and Zoeey. From there they give each other a series of dares where they both get out of their shells, and int he process get to know each other more. The series give their love story obstacles, but they are all plausible – the show never insults your intelligence.

It also celebrates New York City during the Holidays. I have always felt that this is the time when the city is most beautiful, and the show captures that completely. I will probably be alone on Christmas this year and I plan on re-binging this show during then.