Articles, Movie Reviews, Reviews

Movie Review: Isn’t It Romantic

review

isn't it romantic

Rebel Wilson proves she can hold her own as she lands a starring role in this feel good, hilariously funny romcom.

You definitely need to watch Isn’t It Romantic! It’s a fun, laugh-out-loud romantic musical comedy about loving oneself, appreciating others, and finding your true love living right under your nose.
 
I didn’t like Rebel Wilson’s characters in her other films. She was either too crass, too quirky, or too mean. I remember thinking, what a waste of pretty face and comic talent. But Isn’t It Romantic fits her to a T. The plot is just the right one for her.

Synopsis

Rebel Wilson is Natalie, a plus-size architect in New York. A low-esteemed cynic, courtesy of her equally cynic mother, she is unnoticed, unappreciated, and basically a doormat in their office. When she knocks herself out in the subway after foiling a mugging attempt, she finds herself in an alternate universe and the leading lady in her suddenly perfect, flowery romantic comedy life–complete with background music and overhead narrations! After a series of self-denials and mishaps, she learns to love herself first before needing anyone else, as well as realizing what she really wanted in a man. When she wakes up, she transforms herself to a strong woman, confident of herself and her architectural skills, and going after the man she really loves.

Get Ready to Laugh...and Wisen Up

I had a great time watching this movie. While it made a parody out of Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman scenes, it wasn’t being offensive–to me, at least. It showed a heroine reliving the 1990 top-grosser movie with a touch of straightforward reality, effectively mixing the ideal with the real. Along the way, it teaches a few lessons. That while the world and some people in it may turn up cruel and harsh, we can always find some things and some persons that are still beautiful and kind. That for all the world’s ugliness, there is always something to be thankful for. And the most important lesson of all: if we want to be loved the way we expect to, we should learn to love ourselves first. Not just to accept ourselves: strengths, flaws, and all, but to change what can be changed for the better; to assert our rights and refuse to be doormats of bullies. All these not to please anyone or everyone, but first and foremost, our self. 

Joining Rebel in this not-your-usual romcom movie is hunk Liam Hemsworth, the sultry Priyanka Chopra and Mr. Nice Guy Adam DeVine. Brandon Scott Jones and Betty Gilpin played Natalie’s friends, with Brandon providing the pivotal “Eureka!” moment for Natalie. These characters provided invaluable support which further made the film more worthy of my time compared to Sierra Burgess is a Loser. 

Sweet, funny but empowering. Oh, and if you love beta heroes more than alpha ones, this movie is definitely for you!

“Isn’t It Romantic” is now streaming internationally on Netflix.

Rating:
4/5

If you’re a movie buff like me and don’t have Netflix, you may want to check out Amazon Prime Video. It has a treasure trove of movies to buy or rent.

Better yet, here’s a direct link to the movie through Apple Movies.

This post contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Apple Affiliate Program and Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, both affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Apple.com, Amazon.com, and any other website that may be affiliated with them.

Articles, Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Replicas (2018)


(This post contains affiliate links. You can find my disclosure at the end of this post.)

 

Keanu Reeves as William Foster in “Replicas”

I really wanted this movie to be good. Especially because Keanu Reeves is the lead character. I’ve been a fan since I saw him in Speed (1994) with Sandra Bullock. But unlike Matrix (which is a very successful franchise financially and critically), this scifi thriller failed despite its interesting premise:

William Foster is a brilliant neuroscientist who loses his wife, son and two daughters in a tragic car accident. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, William comes up with a daring and unprecedented plan to download their memories and clone their bodies. As the experiment begins to spiral out of control, Foster soon finds himself at odds with his dubious boss, a reluctant accomplice, a police task force and the physical laws of science.

For one thing, the plot has so many holes. True, fiction is make-believe, but it should also be plausible. Advancing the time setting to the year 2430 or thereabouts would have helped, I think. Setting the story in the present time makes it hard for viewers to believe in an out-of-this-world ultra-advanced cloning procedure (17 days and you got yourself a clone) and neural map extraction and insertion.

Also, how can you steal not one, but three, big cloning pods, ride them in a huge truck and manage to snuck out from a heavily-guarded biomedical facility without anyone noticing it, and without Keanu and his accomplice having any suspicion about it being too good to be true? Toward the end, it is revealed that the robbery was known all along and that Foster was allowed to do what he did to see if he could succeed, and that surprise! there’s a tracking device in each of the cloned bodies. Maybe I missed that part, but I don’t understand how it got there, or how a cloning pod, where a body was bred into adulthood in murky water, was able to insert a tracker inside the clone that can be disabled through electrocution.

Aside from the above, there are still many holes that leave questions in a viewer’s mind. I could go on and on, but I’m stopping right here and let you be the judge.

It seems, too, that Keanu couldn’t wear off his John Wick personality. As a grieving husband tormented into making a decision as to who among his family he will not clone, as well as many situations he found himself into, he is not very believable. It was hard to emphatize with him and invest in his character. Versatile actors like Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman have this uncanny ability to take a viewer into a different sensory experience regarding their character for each genre they star in. Keanu, sadly, hasn’t been able to take off his poker face, mumbling, grunting, limping style here, much like in Siberia (2018), another disappointment.

But the special effects are truly remarkable. Never mind that it borrowed some of Minority Report’s technology. In that regard, I’m not complaining. Hey, it’s scifi.

I sincerely hope Keanu would pick a tight-plot movie to star in in the near future. With a string of flops behind him, he desperately needs it.

 

This post contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Apple Affiliate Program and Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, both affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to apple.com, amazon.com, and any other website that may be affiliated with them.

Watch REPLICAS on iTunes: 

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Articles, Movie Reviews, Reviews

Movie Review: SEARCHING


(This post contains affiliate links. You can find my disclosure at the end of this post.)


Initially titled “Search,” this seemingly unobtrusive movie received The Audience Award: NEXT and the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize for outstanding feature film about science or technology at the Sundance Film Festival last year (2018), before it was bought for $5 Million by Sony and retitled, “Searching.” It went on to be a financial and critical success worldwide.

And well it should be. The story of a determined father searching for his missing daughter may be cliché, but this film brought it to a whole new level. And I’m not talking about gun-crazy, across-the-world, Liam Neeson-kind of movie. “Searching” is a compelling, ingenious take on the good and bad sides of the power of technology in our modern times. And not just technology. This movie was an eye-opener on other things, things we may have intentionally, or unintentionally, turned a blind eye to.

David Kim becomes desperate when his 16-year-old daughter Margot disappears and an immediate police investigation leads nowhere. He soon decides to search the one place that no one else has — Margot’s laptop. Hoping to trace her digital footprints, David contacts her friends and looks at photos and videos for any possible clues to her whereabouts.

The story was largely told using screens of, you name it, iPhone, SmartPhone, MacBook, FaceTime, YouTube, Gmail, and many social media platforms. Modern technology at its best. But it was done expertly and beautifully so as to render it intriguing and suspenseful instead of boring and monotonous.

John Cho who played David Kim was perfect for the role. His acting was excellent. Intense but artistically restrained. He is a father emotionally laden by his daughter’s disappearance—fear, guilt, confusion, anger, shame intermingled, grappled inside him. But he is also a father with a good head on his shoulders, and he used it to full advantage. He remained focused, utilising every technological means he knew, and never once did he let his emotions rule over his mind. He was unwavering and resolute to the very end.

{ I felt hope when Searching is hailed as the first mainstream Hollywood thriller headlined by an Asian-American actor. Maybe another successful mainstream Hollywood movie with a lead Filipino actor will not be long in the making? }

This movie is like a compass: there’s always a North and a South, an East and a West… of many things. Technology can be good. It can make life easier; communication faster; chores simpler. It can help find missing persons; capture an offender; solve a crime. But it can also be bad, when it is used to estrange oneself from family and loved ones; keep secrets; tarnish one’s reputation; mislead people. A parent’s love can be good. It can fuel an unrelenting determination to find a missing child, whatever it may take; to look past her imperfections made known only now; to hold on to the hope that she is still alive and therefore they have a chance to rebuild and rebond their connection. But it can also be bad, when it pushes one to lie, use police resources wrongly, and even kill, to cover up a child’s misdeed, however unpremeditated it may have been. Having friends can be good. But it can also be bad when they’re not really friends at all, just people who’d use you for a moment of online glory or fame. Being solitary can be good. And it can also be bad, leading to bouts of depression and shutting out of people who truly love us. Being an expert in technology can be good. But it can be bad, either, when one uses it to invade others’ privacy without consent and without restraint. And the list goes on.

Emotional yet technical. Suspenseful yet hopeful.

There are many things in this movie than meet the eye, all relevant and thought-provoking. Complete with twists and turns that will make your heart palpitate, this film is worth the awards it received, and much, much more. Highly recommended! 🦋

You can buy or rent this movie here.


Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.

Movie Reviews, Reviews, Uncategorized

The Space Between Us

952b79b63e7ac47e56cf6553701b14ec“No matter how much I want her, Earth doesn’t want me.”

I found it surprising that this movie was given a few negative reviews. I think it was because many people watched it with their minds primarily on the “romantic young love” angle. But if one were to look past the love story between the teenagers in this movie, you’ll find a plot that is meaningful and inspirational. It is a story of hope, courage, determination, and finding one’s roots and identity.

Gardner Elliot is the only human born and raised in Mars. He grew up to be a highly intelligent boy, unknown and unwanted in Earth. Sixteen years later, his only contact with people was with the fourteen astronauts in the Mars colony where he was brought up, and Tulsa, the street smart orphan girl from Colorado whom he met via an internet chatroom. When he got a chance to travel to Earth despite a possible threat to his health, he embarks on a quest to find his father with the help of Tulsa, exploring sights and falling in love along the way. But it turned out his body cannot withstand Earth’s atmosphere and he was dying. Will time run out for him before he learns the truth about his father?

1f2664e775f5012b6cbabfd08a247140The plot was simple but meaningful. Asa Butterfield was very convincing in his portrayal of the role of Gardner Elliot. Not at all surprising from the boy who played Hugo. He’s all grown up now and so tall! This boy can really bring to life any character required of him with finesse and effect.

 
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Gary Oldman was his usual best. The rest of the cast was okay. I had to agree with most negative reviews, though, that Britt Robertson, the actress who played the role of Tulsa, looked old for teenage Gardner. Except for that minuscule detail, she gave justice to the role of being a hardened up girl who learned to be tough in between foster homes.

The Space Between Us is not merely a love story of two teenagers coming of age. It is the story of a boy coming home to a planet that physically rejects him and finding the mysterious father that never stopped loving him. In the process, he accepted his fate, becoming at peace with what he truly is.

“What’s your favorite thing about Earth?”