Tag Archives: movie review

TWSM Movie Review ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’

Ahh, love.  Beautiful, wonderful, and yes “Crazy, Stupid, Love”!   When you see someone walk down the aisle you never know who will last for 50 or more years, and who won’t make it through the first.  There is no magic formula.

In Crazy, Stupid, Love Cal and his wife Emily have been together since their teenage years. Over the years Cal has become somewhat complacent and let himself go. While out to dinner one evening he asks Emily what she wants for dessert and she declares “A divorce!”.  He is undoubtedly stunned. He doesn’t realize there was ever a problem.  On the ride home Emily confesses that she had an affair with a coworker. She says, “I mean we really haven’t been a couple in quite a while, right?” Cal shows his remorse by opening the car door and throwing himself out as only Steve Carrell could do.

He moves out of the house and starts frequenting a bar that he used to drive by and admire, wondering what went on inside.  He eventually is noticed by Jacob, a lady’s man (played by Ryan Gosling) who leaves each night with a different woman.  After finding out Cal’s story he takes an interest in him and wants to help.   Jacob takes Cal for a wardrobe and hair makeover.  It really makes a difference in Cal’s outward appearance as well as his self-confidence.  Eventually, Cal becomes a lady’s man as well.  

He and Emily meet at a parent teacher conference for their son.  It is obvious that the two still have feelings for each other.  Emily, not knowing what Cal has been up to, realizes during the conference that the teacher and Cal have “been close”.  She is angry and hurt but even given her own infidelity, she is disappointed in his behavior.  Yet her love for him still shows through all the bitterness even though she tries so hard for it not to. 

 In fact, it is obvious throughout the entire movie that the two still have deep feelings for each other.  At one point Cal is secretly watching his family from his backyard, missing being a part of it all. He sees his wife through the window calling someone and it ends up being him.  Not realizing he is watching her she asks for his help in lighting the pilot light on the furnace. She just wants to hear his voice.  However, she pretends to go through every step that he tells her and once the pilot light is lit, it is obvious that both parties are sorry when the phone call is over.

This movie is not about infidelity.  It’s about love.  It’s about a love where two people have become a little too “familiar” and drifted apart. It shows our humanness and our vulnerability.  Overall, it is a sweet movie, and although fictitious, probably is a lot more real than most would expect.  Some loves last forever.  Some don’t last a month.  Life and love are both games of chance.  Wherever you find yourself in this thing called love, always remember to love yourself first. That is the most beautiful love of all!

~Sherri

TWSM Movie Review ‘Spenser Confidential’

TWSM Movie Review ‘Spenser Confidential’-a Netflix original.

How about some eye candy!!  How about some eye candy in the form of Mark Wahlberg!  I think that’s something most of us could use right about now!

Mark Wahlberg plays Boston police detective Spenser who has underlying suspicions about his boss, Captain John Boylan.  Spenser seems to believe that Boylan is not only a dirty cop but is covering up a murder investigation.  He goes to Boylan’s house and violently beats him for which he ends up in prison.  When he was handed his sentence, his response was “The S.O.B. deserved it”.

After five years Spenser is released and goes to briefly stay with his former boxing coach Henry (played by Alan Arkin).  Upon arriving at Henry’s house, Spenser finds out that doesn’t get his own room as he had been hoping for.  He has a roommate named Hawk (Winston Duke) who is an aspiring boxer.  Neither of the two are happy with the situation.  Even so Spenser takes it in stride because he has plans – big plans.  He is getting the heck out of Boston and moving to Arizona to be a truck driver.  I know this is only a movie but how could a Wahlberg leave Boston? The two names are synonymous, don’t you agree?

Before he can get out of town his former boss, for whom he went to jail for beating, is killed in a suspicious car accident.  Spenser knows in his gut that this is no accident.  He knows that Boylan was guilty all along and this was done to get him out of the picture.  Spenser can’t bring himself to leave.  He decides to stay and finally get to the bottom of what he knew all along.  Even though friends and even former co-workers told him to leave it alone Spenser refuses to leave.  By staying, he assists in coaching Hawk in boxing and the unlikely pair become good friends.

The remainder of ‘Spenser Confidential’ is full of funny, cute, and serious moments which all lead to everything eventually ending up well.  The cutest moments include Mark Wahlberg but who’s counting?

Oh my, how boring was that ending.  Well, I will just say this, do you believe Wahlberg ends up the victim or the victor?  Guess you’ll have to watch in order to find out!  Also, in case you are a Post Malone fan he makes a cameo appearance as a prisoner with inside information.  If you are wondering who Post Malone is, well he’s probably one of the artists your teenagers having been talking about recently. You may have even heard some of his music and just not known it was him.  In real life he is a good guy with good music and quite a collection of interesting tattoos.  

Overall, I liked Spenser Confidential!  It was funny, happy, sad – just a myriad of emotions, but all in good fun and at the right time and place.  It is a Netflix original so catch it there the next time you are looking for something new and different!

TWSM Movie Review ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’

‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’ Will Be the Hot Topic of the Summer.

At a time when virtually no new movies are coming out (thanks, global pandemic), Netflix was able to release a new original film featuring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams called “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”. The story centers on Lars (Ferrell) and Sigrit (McAdams), two Icelandic singers who dream of competing in Eurovision, a music competition for European countries. Lars is singularly focused on winning (and gaining his father’s approval), so much so that he barely notices Sigrit pining after him for the majority of the film. The pair make it to Eurovision through a twisted turn of events, even though many people find them to be more of a joke than a serious musical act. After arriving at Eurovision, Lars and Sigritcontinually make mistakes in their performances, but Sigrit’snatural talent catches the eye of Russian contestant, Alexander Lemtov (Dan Stevens).

The film was the talk of Twitter this week, many raving about the film’s humor and a surprisingly emotional ending. The buzz was enough to pull me in as a viewer, but I have to say, Eurovision will be a point of heated discussion in social circles this summer. The film started out slow, most jokes searching for a place to land. Ferrell’s accents and wig harken back to his performance in “Blades of Glory”, another one of his films that dons a mocking tone.

One of the reasons the film started out slow for me is it begins with Sigrit’s unrequited love for Lars, which is very confusing. Lars doesn’t have many redeeming qualities at all, except that he taught Sigrit to sing when they were children. The lead actors lack much chemistry which makes the desired romance that much more uninteresting.

The one bright spot in the film is the music. Although McAdams’ voice was blended with a real Icelandic singer, she did some of her own singing in the film and was magnificent. Many viewers will be surprised by her vocal ability. Ferrell does all of his own singing, which is mediocre.

Without giving any spoilers, many viewers will be surprised at how emotional the final act of the film really is. All in all, the humor did not land, but the musical performances kept the film interesting enough to see through to the end.

Have you seen “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”? If so, let me know what you thought!

Happy Streaming!

Katie

Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ a Triumphant Adaptation

“Little Women” is a widely-known story about the March sisters, Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh), and Beth (Eliza Scanlen). The sisters are all very different from each other, each one of them having their own talents and flaws. The story centers around the sisters and their growing up. Director Greta Gerwig was not afraid to put her own vision on the famous story, jumping through time in a non-linear fashion, something the previous adaptations did not do. 

One day, the sisters meet Laurie (Timothee Chalamet), and an incredible friendship is born. Laurie is close with the whole March family but has a special bond with Jo. Chalamet’s performance in the scene where Laurie finally professes his love for Jo is breathtaking. 

The true shining star of this film, though, is Florence Pugh. Amy March is well-known for being the least endearing of the March sisters. She is blunt, rash, and selfish. However, Pugh’s performance somehow brings a different shade to Amy than what audiences have seen before. One spectacular moment is her monologue to Laurie concerning how marriage is not about love, but rather, and economic endeavor, really lets Pugh shine.

The whole film feels like what growing up in the March home probably felt like: chaotic, dramatic, heart wrenching, yet warm and inviting at the same time. Gerwig’s adaptation manages to capture that feeling of sisterhood in a way that the previous adaptations had not. Gerwig also sprinkles in some modern touches, like more modern dance moves and a few slang terms here and there. 

Many people were probably expecting another stuffy movie about women pursuing marriage partners in the old days. What they get from Gerwig and company pushes beyond that into an enjoyable, heartbreaking, and fulfilling experience. Not to mention, Gerwig’s tweak on the story’s ending is a fabulous interpretation of the material that none of the previous adaptations proposed. 

You can find “Little Women” on streaming and rental services.

Happy Viewing!

-Katie

Bring Your Tissues To See ‘Just Mercy’

The new film Just Mercy chronicles the true story of lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) as he fights for wrongly convicted inmate Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) on death row. Jordan delivers a solid performance as Stevenson, who graduates from Harvard and immediately moves to Alabama to provide free legal assistance to death row inmates. When Stevenson meets McMillian and hears his story, Stevenson cannot forget about the case and knows that McMillian is innocent. Stevenson vows to free McMillian and begins the arduous journey of uncovering the truth (and gross corruption) about how McMillian got to death row. With help from his assistant Eva Ansley (Brie Larson), Stevenson fights to exonerate McMillian and others awaiting their fate. 

While Jordan and Foxx give fantastic performances, the true beauty comes from the performances of two supporting actors, Tim Blake Nelson, and Rob Morgan. Nelson’s work as the physically deformed, convicted felon Ralph Meyers was truly stunning, and will no doubt stick with viewers long after the credits roll. Nelson fully transforms as he twitches, stutters, and emotes his way through a challenging character. Somehow, he demands sympathy from the audience for a character who might not deserve it.

Morgan, on the other hand, turns in a breathtaking rendering of his character, Herbert Richardson, a PTSD-stricken war vet fighting for a stay of execution. His last scenes were the most gut-wrenching, yet fascinating, that I’ve seen in a while.

Just Mercy gives viewers a deeper look into how racism seeps into our justice system to this day. I had to remind myself multiple times that the film (and the case itself) didn’t take place in the 50s or during the Civil Rights Movement, but rather from 1987-1993, just two years before I was born. It is easy for some to believe that the days of racism and police corruption are just far-off stories in our history books, but learning about Walter McMillian’s story should remind audiences that the work is far from over. Bryan Stevenson has not forgotten, and he’s stayed hard at work fighting these injustices through his nonprofit organization, The Equal Justice Initiative (or EJI). For more information on EJI, visit https://eji.org/about/

Viewers may not leave Just Mercy feeling overwhelming happiness or joy. But, hopefully, they’ll leave having learned something. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll want to join the fight for a better tomorrow.

~Katie