Valentine’s Double Feature: Midnight Sun (2018) & Nappily Ever After (2018)

Next up in the Valentine’s Double Feature is the M & N selection! We’re at the first choice which I’ve actually been interested in seeing for a while and the second which was a last minute change in plans, because I just like to keep things spontaneous. Our M selection is a nice shift into some teen romance which I tend to avoid because it gets very formulaic genre but I’m interested in seeing how Patrick Schwarzenegger fares as a young actor and Bella Thorne has truly grown a lot in her acting in the last few films I’ve watched so interested in seeing how she does in a role different from her usual ones. As for Nappily Ever After, it just seemed like a cool film to mix it up a little. Its supposed to be a romantic comedy but I honestly think its more about a more personal journey.

Let’s check it out!

Midnight Sun (2018)

Midnight Sun

Director: Scott Speer

Cast: Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Rob Riggle, Quinn Shephard, Suleka Mathew, Nicholas Coombe

A 17-year-old girl suffers from a condition that prevents her from being out in the sunlight. – IMDB

I’m going to admit right away that Midnight Sun is very similar to a lot of teen romance films out there where one of the two have some sort of disease or whatnot. But due to my lack of knowledge of other movies (and I hear this compared most to Everything Everything which I haven’t seen), the only one that I can say this gave me similar feels to A Walk to Remember. For lots of Nicholas Sparks movie haters, this might not sound like much however if you are like me and do have tolerance for it, I actually thought that Midnight Sun had that genuine feeling to it that A Walk to Remember gave me which is a praise in itself because I honestly love that film. Its a film with a love story where this young couple find courage and encouragement to reach for their own potential and their dreams despite things that happened that make them scared to go for it completely.

With that said, my biggest praise goes to Bella Thorne who has broken out of her typical bitchy high school girl role and taken on this much more docile role as a girl, Katie with a condition that prevents her from going out in the sunlight because it can cause her body to deteriorate. However, she strives to be seen as a normal girl especially in front of a boy that she’s only dreamt of meeting until the day that she does and he is attracted to her. Its a fairly typical course of events and you can call it contrived in its own ways and its not like the plot is going to win any awards for uniqueness, but movies likes these lie in the genuine chemistry and course of events that build up these two characters and Bella Thorne does a fantastic job in her role (even if her singing bits could be better). This is the first film that I’ve seen of Patrick Schwarzenegger and he has great chemistry with Bella Thorne and he is a pretty decent young actor as well. With time and more roles, we will see how his career goes and the potential he has.

Movies like Midnight Sun really appeals to a certain type of audience and for myself, it worked because it wasn’t all about the love story and it had something a little more, especially in the positive bits of a love story even in one doomed to end early as expected here. This one also remembered that Katie’s life didn’t only have love but also highlights her relationship with her friendship and her father, making the movie and Katie a much more real character with so much more to lose.

Nappily Ever After (2018)

Nappily Ever After

Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour

Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Ricky Whittle, Lyriq Bent, Lynn Whitfield, Ernie Hudson, Daria Johns, Camille Guaty, Brittany S. Hall

Violet Jones tired of waiting for her longtime boyfriend to propose, breaks up with him. But old feelings, and heaps of jealousy, no doubt, arise when he promptly begins dating another woman. – IMDB

You know, I have to say that the IMDB synopsis here is really not accurate to what Nappily Ever After is about. Its how it starts but I don’t know if jealousy is what causes things to go in motion, more than our main character figured things out at the end of the film about what matters to her and the things worth holding on and such. Is there a romantic angle to this? For sure! There’s a lot of that going on here especially because she realizes that she doesn’t want to wait for this man who she realizes won’t marry her and breaks up with him. However, she ends up getting drunk and doing something crazy like cutting away her staple of perfection and pride which is her hair which completely changes her course because she loses her physical beauty but owns up to her beauty regardless of her hair length. Its a pretty great story in that sense and inspirational and motivating and has all the positive vibes.

Is it really the standout for its romance? Not really. Its not to say that the scenes with Sanaa Lathan and Lyriq Bent weren’t full of chemistry because they were. They had some great moments which gave a nice contrast between this romance versus the previous one with the guy who wouldn’t marry her played by Ricky Whittle. I’ve always Ricky Whittle as he’s a pretty handsome man in general and has done some great roles, somehow this one isn’t one that I particularly thought was much since he was fairly shown little. Sanaa Lathan played her main lead role beautifully especially in interpreting the story plus I love how the film was split in chapters in the hair length/style that she had  in each stage which is pretty unique. Its supposedly based on a novel which I didn’t know before writing up this review so maybe that is how it was done in the book. Tell me if thats the case if you have read it. I’m interested in knowing.

Another aspect here was Daria Johns as Zoe who plays a daughter of Will (Lyriq Bent) who does such a charming job. Plus it brought in another angle to the story that gave it this very natural feeling and heartwarming moments especially as she found a way to see through Zoe how a childhood should be and what matters.

Thats it for this Valentine’s double feature!
Just saying that this double feature thing will continue through the rest of the alphabet but less frequent during the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon which starts soon!

Have you seen either of these films? Thoughts?

Valentine’s Double Feature: Krrish (2006) & Little Dragon Maiden (1983)

Nothing does better than a foreign film double feature, right? Haha. Its the reality over here however, with a Bollywood superhero/romance film Krrish and a Shaw Brothers film, Little Dragon Maiden, I’m hoping that these two Netflix alphabet selections will grab some of your attention. I had no choice because the choices were really limited for these two letters plus let’s be honest that a Bollywood viewing has been overdue.

Let’s check it out!

Krrish (2006)

Krrish

Director: Rakesh Roshan
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Rekha, Sharat Saxena, Manini M. Mishra, Naseeruddin Shah

Krishna is forced by circumstances to use his superpowers and become a masked superhero, Krrish, before getting drawn towards his lost legacy. – IMDB

Being the very clueless person that I am, I totally didn’t realize that Koi Mil Gaaya is actually the movie before Krrish which this movie refers to quite a bit but still stays self-contained so not watching the previous one didn’t affect my understanding of this at all. With that said, this one is a Bollywood superhero movie which starts off pretty heavy on the romance and Bollywood bits with the second act being more Krishna (Hrithik Roshan) discovering his way to be helpful but keep his identity hidden as a superhero/vigilante. The third act is being a lot more action-packed with more fight scenes.

Starring the very handsome Hrithik Roshan (who I first saw in Dhoom 2) and the beautiful pre-Hollywood Priyanka Chopra, its really quite fun to see them together although the romance bits are pretty much really cheesy (as you would expect in a Bollywood film). At the same time, the story is pretty innocent especially because Roshan’s character Krishna has lived most of his life away from people and big cities so when he goes to Singapore to follow the love of his life, he’s a bit like fish out of pond sort of deal which always brings in some laughter but then he is always incredibly smart because he has special abilities. While the romance parts took up most of the first act and a part of the second act, it still felt not as effective as the center of the film being about Krishna finding the way to become Krrish, a masked superhero who ends up saving the day when a fire breaks out at the circus and then leading him to discover his own background especially his father’s past against the evil man of a big corporation who dreams about building a machine to see the future and become God. This part all links to the first film mentioned above because that story is told there.

All in all, as great as Priyanka Chopra and Hrithik Roshan is in Krrish, the romance didn’t grab me a whole lot and the songs weren’t really my taste either. However, while the romance here didn’t quite work, the superhero aspect did. Sure, there was some unrealistic CG effects going on here but then this movie is in the 2000s so its easy to overlook it. I’d be interested to eventually catch up with the first film and the movie after this one, oddly titled Krrish 3 (which made me think that there was a Krrish 2 until I did further research).

Little Dragon Maiden (1983)

little dragon maiden

Director: Shan Hua
Cast: Leslie Cheung, Jing-Jing Yung, Kuan Tai Chen, Leanne Lau, Ni Tien

Little Dragon Maiden mixes the old with the new to create pure golden magic as kung-fu fighting veterans Chen Kuan-Tai and Lo Lieh join relative newcomer Leslie Cheung in a far-out swordplay love story that rocks. – IMDB

Guilty as charged that I haven’t really seen any Shaw Brothers films. If I have, it was when I was really young that I don’t even remember it. However, big fan of Leslie Cheung here and Little Dragon Maiden is a story that almost everyone who knows the Chinese culture has heard of and know at least the basic love story involved. Even though, I haven’t seen a whole lot of movie interpretations of it before, this might be the first one that I finished, its a familiar story.

Somehow pairing this with Krrish works because most of the story is about Yang Guo played by Leslie Cheung who starts off as an orphan and ends up being taken in by who he learns is his father’s killer who doesn’t want to teach him martial arts and when asked, gets sent to join a martial arts sect who bullies him because of his father and he ends up seeking refuge in the Ancient Tomb sect which is where the Little Dragon Maiden is. Because of a promise she made, she ends up taking him in despite the sect’s rules. The obvious happens where they do fall in love. I can get that this story would be touching but due to the length and how its executed, its more outstanding in its martial arts and personality development in Yang Guo rather than the love story which involved some misunderstandings and some bad stuff that happens to the Little Dragon Maiden.

With that said, the fight scenes here and the martial arts bits and such are really fun to watch. Similar to how I liked the creatures in Labyrinth, Little Dragon Maiden has the magical Condor who is a key element in the actual book that its based on which ends up making a late appearance but the design as silly as it looks because it just didn’t age well, there is this fantastic charm to it. You can see it in the poster above.

That’s it for this Valentine’s double feature for the K & L selection!
Have you seen these two foreign films? If so, thoughts?

Valentine’s Double Feature: Ibiza (2018) & Just Friends (2005)

Working out a lovely pacing this Valentine’s marathon as we land on the 5th double feature on this Netflix alphabet journey with I & J selection! Ibiza has been on my list a little bit but I have come to realize that late night comedies aren’t always my thing so I have put it off until now. Well, Just Friends is more of a random choice but it was on my list because of Ryan Reynolds so here we are!

Lets check it out!

Ibiza (2018)

ibiza

Director: Alex Richanbach

Cast: Gillian Jacobs, Phoebe Richardson, Vanessa Bayer, Richard Madden, Felix Gomez, Jordi Molla, Michaela Watkins

A young American woman and her two best friends seek out a hot DJ in Spain. – IMDB

Late night comedies are usually not my first choice in films. Plus, I haven’t seen the series Love yet so I also don’t have that connection for Gillian Jacobs. The start of Ibiza definitely doesn’t quite define how it gets. There are some fun messages here about going with your heart and throwing things to chance and finding your path. These three best friends are a little ridiculous sometimes and have their annoying moments but these are the usual path of late night comedies when it gets odd and it depends on how the viewer feels. Some bits were just not for me. But, there is this carefree feeling as we see the Gillian Jacobs character really let go. Especially in all her awkwardness along with Richard Madden’s character but they also have mad chemistry and passion which is so heart melting to watch.

Despite weird moments, running after the thing you want and having someone chase after you is the whole end game of Ibiza. Its somewhat a self-discovery for our main character that she finds on her Ibiza trip when she finds her value. Ibiza has a more multi-layer story where on the surface its finding this one time encounter that just took her breath away but the choices she makes after that changes the course of her character arc. It seems like my thinking is far-fetched but there’s something more here and it explains the abstract ending which just works for me.

Plus, Ibiza also gets points for having some great music especially seeing as its set with Richard Madden playing a DJ called Leo and EDM is my jam and I really liked the music aspect of it throughout, even outside of the club scenes.

Just Friends (2005)

Just friends

Director: Roger Kumble

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris, Chris Klein, Chris Marquette, Fred Ewanuick, Amy Matysio, Julie Hagerty

While visiting his hometown during Christmas, a man comes face-to-face with his old high school crush whom he was best friends with — a woman whose rejection of him turned him into a ferocious womanizer. – IMDB

No idea Just Friends is a Christmas movie, well, set during Christmas at least. Just Friends comes about halfway for me. On one hand, there are some funny moments and its to be expected. At the same time, it falls somewhere in the romantic comedy area where its predictable, really weird and at times also incredibly awkward. There are bits that run overly long and then there’s the romance thing which I guess worked but I’ve also seen it done better. To be honest, its not anything special but it has a few laughs as well.

These sort of movies are also the hardest to talk about because technically, nothing really is that bad but nothing is too good either. What hinges on Just Friends enjoyment is how much you enjoy the humor here. Anna Faris has always been an actress that I’ve rarely enjoyed watching because her humor is very odd and awkward and in this one, she plays a singer that is incredibly weird. At the same time, there’s this awkwardness between the main leads throughout most of the film, driving a lack of chemistry and potential desire so when the end game happens, it feels like a fairly rushed sort of ending but its a Hollywood romantic comedy which usually means a happy ending.

That’s it for this double feature!
I and J is now done and we’ll be moving onto the next pairing very soon!
Have you seen these films? What did you think of them?

Valentine’s Double Feature: The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (2017) & How Do You Know (2010)

We are going along quite nice as we reach the 4th Valentine’s Double Feature. This time we’re at the G and H selection and both are very much choices out of the left field. Sometimes, these choices that show up like this are full of surprises. I’m going into this with a lot of optimism even though one of the two don’t seem to have good reviews.

Lets check it out!

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (2017)

guernsey literary

Director: Mike Newell

Cast: Lily James, Michael Huisman, Glen Powell, Matthew Goode, Tom Courtenay, Jessica Brown Findlay, Katherine Parkinson, Penelope Wilton

In the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war. – IMDB

I love period dramas. They really are incredibly fantastic to watch. With an odd title like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, its hard to really grasp how to take this movie (adapted from a novel). The movie does a great job and setting up how the society started right at the beginning with the World War II and the serious tone in that. I think what works here is that its more a drama with a bigger story than the romance as Lily James’ character Juliet finds out more about their story and the pains that WWII has brought for them as well as Guernsey.

However, looming in the background is a wonderful love story. One that starts with someone who reaches out to someone else with the same passion and finding where you belong . In many ways, Juliet had a past that isn’t delved into too much but enough for the viewers to figure out what she wants is a place that feels secure and belongs: a family and while its about her finding it in like-minded people in the Society, she also learns that from her interaction with Michael Huisman’s Dawsey. They have so much natural chemistry together and there weren’t even any romantic gestures and that is why I love period dramas which have a lot of things written between the lines and its so classy and elegant to watch.

On an ending note, as Michael Huisman pops up on more things I am watching, I am starting to find him more and more charming especially with the roles he takes.

How Do You Know (2010)

how do you know

Director (and writer): James L. Brooks

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, Jack Nicholson, Kathryn Hahn

After being cut from the U.S.A. softball team and feeling a bit past her prime, Lisa finds herself evaluating her life and in the middle of a love triangle, as a corporate guy in crisis competes with her current, baseball-playing beau. – IMDB

How Do You Know is a rather split one. On one hand, I liked it a lot for the characters but on the other hand, the story itself and the execution had its obvious issues which made it really weak. For once in this marathon, I have to say that the characters here all had their roles that worked for them, especially the main leads Reese Witherspoon and especially Paul Rudd.

I’ll jump straight into talking about the characters because it is one of the points that worked here. Can I say that Paul Rudd is a great actor? He always makes an average movie better. In this case, his character George is the one that works the best especially because of how awkward he is and somehow that works well with Reese Witherspoon’s character Lisa who doesn’t really know what and where she should be after she pretty much loses her career when she is cut from the team and its these two’s difficulties that bring them together because it brings out the essence of how they can be themselves with each other and accept each other without any pretending and how honest they are at the get-go.

Of course, the cast here has its weak links. Owen Wilson is always a hit and miss actor for me and in this one, I think I just hated the character that he played, rather than the interpretation. Anyone playing that role wouldn’t have sat well with me because in the end, the story didn’t quite hinge on him and if its to say that the character Matty is in love, its not easy to link it to the story. In that sense, it reminds me of a previous movie I watched in this marathon, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. Aside from that, we also get Jack Nicholson who plays George’s father who supposedly is in denial. Jack Nicholson, well, he’s Jack Nicholson. He brings a lot to his character which only has a very little part but in some ways, its the lingering presence of the father and son relationship here that is highlighted.

Talking about that, this hinges on the last point I want to make about How Do You Know which was a turning point for me. While this one has some great moments between Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon and how their love built through something like acquaintances and friends through hardships and the support they have for each other which just worked along with the honesty and it works really well between them. Its the added aspect of all these hardships and other relationships from father and son relationship that adds new angles and dimensions but not too much that it feel disposable although sometimes it did feel a little disjointed. However, at the end of the day, this one is alright.

That’s it for this double feature!
Looking at two random choices for the G and H selection which both had its own charm!
Have you seen these movies? What did you think of them?

Valentine’s Double Feature: Endless Love (2014) & Forever My Girl (2018)

The third Valentine’s Double Feature is here. This time we’re at the Netflix Alphabets E & F. Its very much two selections about enduring love (according to Netflix). I can agree with that. Let’s check it out!

Endless Love (2014)

Endless Love

Director (and co-writer): Shana Feste

Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick, Rhys Wakefield

The story of a privileged girl and a charismatic boy whose instant desire sparks a love affair made only more reckless by parents trying to keep them apart. – IMDB

I believe the original was in 1980s and then a ton of remakes were done internationally. Hong Kong probably did it twice already with you know enduring love and not the same storyline. Point is, I actually haven’t seen the original and only have a slight memory of the first Hong Kong one (but it might have been a TV series…). I enjoy Nicholas Sparks movies so this falls into that kind of category even if its not from his stories. The story here works.

The issue with this one is that, despite some well-executed sweet moments and that these two are fabulous kissers, Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde just lacked chemistry in most scenes. It was more to do with how they interpreted the dialogue and their conversations often felt very rehearsed and for lack of a better word, wooden. When they didn’t talk though, they chemistry was much more apparent. In fact, in a romance film, I actually like the father roles played by Bruce Greenwood and Robert Patrick better especially the former who took his overprotective father role and just went all the way to the point that I found him frustrating and his role, in my mind, is supposed to be that sort of character that is caught in his corner about something and can’t get out.

Forever My Girl (2018)

Forever My Girl

Director (and screenplay): Bethany Ashton Wolf

Cast: Alex Roe, Jessica Rothe, Abby Ryder Fortson, Peter Cambor, Gillian Vigman, Tyler Riggs, John Benjamin Hickey

After being gone for a decade a country star returns home to the love he left behind. – IMDB

Forever My Girl is honestly a fairly generic plot line. Some guy leaves his high school sweetheart at the altar because he was young and dumb and fell out of his life in a small hometown and some event brings him back and he realizes everything he missed and then just as things are starting to work out, something else happens to make him question whether he is good for everyone but of course, being the story that it is, he always comes back and everyone welcomes him again despite his flaws. I sound cynical, I know. But, other than the part that no one questions that he just comes back after ditching two times before, Forever My Girl is pretty good because there are some heartwarming moments throughout that do shine out.

We can see the character grow and Alex Roe does a decent job in this role along with the fact that he and Jessica Rothe do have a ton of chemistry. While their script sometimes isn’t perfect, they do a good job at making it work and being believable. Not to mention this story isn’t just about getting the girl back but also about building his bond again with his father and learning that he has a daughter and building that relationship up as well to be accepted as a dad. On that note, the daughter played by Abby Ryder Fortson is awesome. She was so fun and charming to watch. Forever My Girl definitely turned out better than I expected even if its really for the super sappy romance tolerant viewers.

That’s it for the third Valentine’s Double  Feature!
These things are pairing up better than I expected 😉
Have you seen these films? Thoughts?

Valentine’s Double Feature: All I See Is You (2016) & The Big Wedding (2013)

Double Feature

Welcome everyone to the beginning of February! To those unfamiliar, and well, this is an informal announcement for the Valentine’s Marathon. I decided instead of using some specific feature franchise (which I didn’t even finish last year’s), I decided to keep up with the double feature, cut through some of those films sitting forever on my list on Netflix and catch up on a much of romance genre films. With that said, I’m doing my favorite thing: Alphabet Netflix… You will see that I will pair up films going through the alphabet. So we kick off with A & B: All I See Is You and The Big Wedding.

Let’s just say its kind of a rocky start… but we have to start somewhere…

All I See Is You (2016)

All I See Is You

Director (& co-writer): Marc Forster

Cast: Blake Lively, Jason Clarke, Ahna O’Reilly, Miquel Fernandez, Wes Chatham, Danny Huston

A blind woman’s relationship with her husband changes when she regains her sight and discovers disturbing details about themselves. – IMDB

All I See is You isn’t particularly a bad film but more a film that seems to want to be more than it actually achieved. It seems to want to go the indie route of making some obscure film with a little art house style and then add in some psychological factors but nothing actually gets executed properly. It feels like nothing reaches the potential of what it might be. I’m not sure if its just that I never quite got the plot or it didn’t get delivered to me so that I got the bigger plot here. My point being that it felt like the plot was going somewhere  and then it took a turn and the movie didn’t seem to know how to end.

Whenever I watch movies like this, its hard to be particularly excited about it because for someone like me that stretches the meaning a lot, I failed to find the point of watching this. It gave me a feeling wanting to go somewhere and it reminded me of a bunch of films that executed these different ideas better. I like Blake Lively but All I See Is You just didn’t work.

The Big Wedding (2013)

The Big Wedding

Director (& writer): Justin Zackham

Cast: Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Ben Barnes, Patricia Rae, Ana Ayora, Robin Williams

A long-divorced couple fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding. – IMDB

A star-studded cast to say the least for The Big Wedding. Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried and of course, Robin Williams also gets a role here as the priest. Many times with movies like this with a family melodrama in the background, it crosses through a lot of plot with both family drama and conflicts which build up the connection to each of the family members and then its the romance line which has a much smaller line here. The wedding premise is where this movie fits in this little Valentine’s theme. Putting aside the romance, this movie was really disjointed. It had a few funny bits here and there but its not anything to be excited about.

In a movie like this, its hard to fault the actors themselves. Yes, even Topher Grace that I can’t seem to like was alright here although his role was a little silly and probably still one of my least favorite characters here. However, the problem is the script and the execution.

That’s it for the first Valentine’s double feature for A&B!
Have you seen either of these films? Thoughts?

Valentine’s Marathon: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

If you missed the previous review of New Moon, you can find it HERE.

Moving right along in our time crunch before February ends to check out the rest of the Twilight saga, we are at the third movie, Eclipse. After New Moon’s somewhat lackluster viewing, my expectations have never been lower on where it has gone but then, I also feel like once you hit bottom, the only way is up. As long Jacob hangs around, there is still hope. Watching a franchise after its been completely released has that downfall where its already all out as to what will happen so don’t be surprised when we get to Breaking Dawn that I would already have an idea where the story is headed.

Lets stop the rambling and check this one out!

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

twilight eclipse

Director: David Slade

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Billy Burke, Gil Birmingham, Bryce Dallas Howard, Peter Facinelli, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Dakota Fanning

As a string of mysterious killings grips Seattle, Bella, whose high school graduation is fast approaching, is forced to choose between her love for vampire Edward and her friendship with werewolf Jacob. – IMDB

Eclipse is definitely a colossal step up from New Moon and much better than Twilight. I do maintain that Twilight is one of those movie franchises that have to be watched in sequence as the sequels by itself will not stand well alone. The main reason is its characters and how the decisions usually end on some cliffhanger and it carries to the next one. While the stories aren’t complex in itself and has its flaws (which I’ll talk about more later), it still relies heavily on how you feel about its main and supporting characters and the relationship map that has been developed over the last 2 films. With that said, Eclipse does deliver more this time. It has more action and shows other people’s stories rather than just the love triangle and Bella’s crazy intense love for Edward. The supporting characters have a bit more back story as to the pros and cons of Bella becoming a vampire and the central part is still convincing her to consider her options. Its nice that other than the triangle, there is still a little more to learn about the werewolves and vampire histories along with a how things work sort of thing going on on both the werewolf and vampire front. Its something I have criticized about the Twilight saga’s previous two films which seems to be slightly remedied in Eclipse.

twilight eclipse

Bella is slightly more bearable in this one. Although there is this sense of lack of continuation from her character in the New Moon. I say that because in New Moon, she spent a good part of it whining about not caring about her soul and wanting to be changed regardless of the consequences and Edward offers her a condition for him to change her (other than the fact that there is kind of a Volturi high order that it has to happen and everyone acts like she has a choice). Lets say she has a choice and the Cullens can bamboozle the Volturi forever, or else the logic falls apart (unless you’ve read the series, then please do share your knowledge), why would she not accept the condition if she’s willing to do anything, right? But this one she resists with some silly responses and whatnot. My point here is not that the story lacks continuity and logic especially on the love triangle front. But love is subjective and I get that there are a lot of fans out there that do support this story. Perhaps, reading the book will unlock a lot of these answers but its something I’ve never managed to get through because I’m not a big fan of Stephanie Meyer’s writing style. For myself, just watching this film, the story is quite weak.

Its funny because if we take a look at Bella’s love triangle in Eclipse, which is probably at its strongest, I’d probably start seeing Edward in a different light because he’s overrun by strong jealousy for starters which acts a lot out of possessiveness. The scene above not only highlights one of the best scenes since I’m apparently Team Jacob and looking forward to actual kiss but the beginning part highlights that Edward is masked by a lot of bad calls where he uses Bella’s emotions to move a situation the way he likes. Whereas, in this situation, Bella didn’t want to tell Jacob for a particular life and death reason, which was legitimate. Obviously, this is just an example to show how I don’t think that Edward is a perfect character which is fine, because he’s supposed to be perfect to Bella and I guess it does show that as flawed as I find his character to be, the discussion of Edward and Jacob is what shows that I’m becoming more invested into the storyline. I still think Edward’s character lacks depth and consistency while Jacob’s character is written much stronger, probably because he needs to fight harder for Bella and his werewolf story gets a little more attention because of that. On a side note, as I was watching Eclipse, I started seeing how Fifty Shades of Grey was a fan fiction of Edward and Bella, and I’m not sure thats a compliment or not on either/or. We’re not here to discuss that so I’ll leave it at that.

twilight eclipse

Overall, Eclipse suffers from a weak storyline and a lack of consistency in its character’s behaviors and decisions plus loses out by being not very self-contained. However, for fans of the franchise, this third movie definitely is a step up from the previous two. It has as much romance as it has mystery and action. There’s a deeper look at some of the side characters that have been neglected like Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and Rosalie (Nikki Reed) which I don’t talk about because they never have enough story but this time it focuses a little more on the werewolf tribe and the vampire Cullens, and the history of it all gets a nice emphasis. It has nice training and in turn, a great fight. It has a great score to accompany it all. There are some fantastic moments with Jacob and Bella (as always). I’ve always like the supporting male character more in love triangles so its not too weird that I’m more into their story.

Despite its flaws, Eclipse is entertaining and rather well-paced, even with a 2 hour run time. My first thumbs up on Netflix for a Twilight saga film. I’m pretty happy about that and in a pretty positive feeling going into Breaking Dawn – Part 1.

Valentine’s Marathon: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)

And we finally continue with the Twilight Saga. Since I already know what to expect from New Moon, as fuzzy as my memory is of it, I had my hesitations. Of course, now there is context to what I remember and perhaps that will help a little. I was pretty midway with Twilight. If you missed the review, you can check it out here.

Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)

new moon

Director: Chris Weitz

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke,

Oh, New Moon, how I wish I felt more different on this second viewing. Fact is, the second complete viewing of New Moon definitely was more successful than the first time I watched the 85% of the film and then had to get off the plane and didn’t care to seek out the ending because it was painfully obvious. While this second viewing was not as painful, New Moon is really for fans of the franchise because it doesn’t stand well on its own. This sequel is long and starts off with Bella and Edward’s breakup which would mean nothing of you didn’t watch Twilight and/or didn’t care about their relationship. At least my former description of their constipated looks now all made sense. New Moon highlights on Jacob, played by Taylor Lautner and his discovery of his werewolf roots while a heartbroken Bella approaches him as distraction and finding adrenaline rushes in attempts to forget her pain and remember Edward. Huh? Did that just make sense? Heartbreak makes us all do dumb things and this was Bella’s version so I rolled with that thought so that I could keep watching.

Twilight New Moon

Twilight had a lot of faults starting from twirly and spinning camerawork which New Moon still frustratingly has. It also still has quite a bit of clunky dialogue to over the top scenes where fans are always blowing as the characters watch each other and walk towards each other and hair was flying in the first or Edward’s shirt is flapping in the wind. However, in Twilight, its strength was in the characters and its chemistry in its first film. While some characters still managed to keep a lot of the charm unfortunately, Bella got on my nerves in New Moon. She was really self and in many ways, manipulative. She felt like a brat when she insisted on being turned and then went along to lead Jacob on and ignore those feelings she obviously seemed to have but wanted to go for the much more adventurous love that left her in the first place. Maybe its because I’m older now that I don’t quite understand her choices because it felt reckless to begin with. Bella being a central character and not appealing to my tastes really doesn’t help, especially when its run time was also incredibly long at over 2 hours.

Twilight New Moon

With Edward leaving the movie for a good part of the film, Taylor Lautner’s Jacob and his knowledge of his werewolf genes plus his development of his relationship with Bella, he actually became quite the intriguing character to watch. It did help that I like dark and brooding characters and he has a really kind heart. I would have liked to see a deeper look into the wolves instead of them just running here and there and how strong and fast they are. Everything felt so on the surface with the wolves and the vampires and the whole deal with Forks and the land. However, the best parts are definitely with Jacob and Bella. The chemistry between them felt different from hers with Edward’s and in a much more positive way, which made it hard to see her seemingly reject him over and over again. I guess if I had to choose, I’d be team Jacob in this film at least. However, putting all that aside, there’s a lot of bad effects here and I can’t handle the sparkling vampires angle, but the werewolf transformation thing is pretty cool.

Twilight New Moon

Overall, New Moon are honestly for those who enjoyed Twilight. It takes a lot of connection with the characters to truly understand their emotions and feel their story a little more. If not, this is quite a long story. While its nice to the Jacob and werewolf angle be elaborated on and see the Jacob and Bella story get more focus in this story and that was the best parts of the film, its faults were in Bella’s character. I can’t say its Kristen Stewart because its honestly the way her character was written that makes it hard to be okay with her decisions and frustrating to listen to her monologues and particularly annoying to watch her be incredibly selfish. One of the standout points for this saga so fair is its soundtrack and I’m hoping that it continues to remain strong.

Valentine’s Marathon: I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007)

I love Michelle Pfeiffer (and Meg Ryan) a lot and for those reasons, I always try to work in their movies into my schedule as much as I can. Its absolutely slim pickings on Netflix for these movies but we do have two right now that just popped up again. In the heart of a romantic comedy, I decided to check out I Could Never Be Your Woman. I have never heard of this movie before so I know very little about what to expect or what its all about. Still, its Michelle Pfeiffer and when the film started, there’s a very young Saoirse Ronan as well, so I think this movie is already looking up.

I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007)

I Could Never Be Your Woman

Director (and writer): Amy Heckerling

Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Saoirse Ronan, Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, Fred Willard, Jon Lovitz, Tracey Ullman

A mother falls for a younger man while her daughter falls in love for the first time. Mother Nature messes with their fates. – IMDB

I Could Never Be Your Woman is an odd movie. Odd doesn’t mean that it wasn’t entertaining but rather that I can’t quite pinpoint how I feel about it. On one hand, it ticks the typical romantic comedy sort of story and feels a little like a partial Clueless reunion tour with Stacey Dash and Paul Rudd doing the high school things since Amy Heckerling did write and direct this movie. The movie feels like the other side of the camera of Clueless if anything. None of these things are bad things. Clueless is a fun movie and remains that way even if its dialogue and fashion is dated so in some ways, this makes this one feel slightly nostalgic levels. My only issue with it was really some over the top scenes that seem fairly ridiculous and made myself feel kind of embarassed to watching it happen. Maybe that was the film’s intention, who knows, right?

I Could Never be Your Woman

In terms of characters and performances, the cast here does a great job. I mean, we have a winning cast in Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Rudd and Saoirse Ronan. Its funny to talk about Paul Rudd because over the years, he has done some good stuff but when you ask me what, I only remember very few of it. Here, he delivers on his role and is quite fun to watch, especially when he does all his silly things to make the woman he likes smile. He has some boyish charm that seems to not fade away since his Clueless days. Playing opposite him is Michelle Pfeiffer as Rosie, a divorced mom who is the writer of this high school series with dropping viewership and trying to fight through her feelings against falling for this young guy. In many ways, Michelle Pfeiffer is always great for this role because you can see that she still is beautiful and charming no matter the age difference here. While I think the issue here is that I felt like the characters themselves were decent but as a romantic comedy, it did lack a bit of chemistry. If you were to watch this for its funny moments, well, there is a lot of those.

I could never be your woman

However, my favorite part of this was Saoirse Ronan who debuts in a movie role and it is so obvious how talented she is. She plays as Rosie’s 13 year old daughter, Izzie who is believes she is falling in love with a boy in school and trying to get his attention. She is genuine and believable and so creative. She reminded me deeply of how it was to be in some silly high school crush back in my high school days and going through the phase of making everything feel more significant than it should. Of course, part of the best parts is watching her change the lyrics of two 90s pop songs and its both brilliant and awesome. Izzie is way ahead of her time and in the world of learning about loving this boy, Dylan who seems not worth her time, there are some valuable lessons here, even if its about loving who you are and believing that you are good enough. It was an fun experience to watch Rosie and Izzie’s mother and daughter relationship here as they each go through their first step into love both in different stages of life.

i could never be your woman

Overall, I Could Never Be Your Woman is a fun and silly romantic comedy. It falls a little flat on the romance department but has enough comedic moments to make up for it. Its just some simple harmless fun with a great cast who delivers on their performances, regardless if its Paul Rudd and his boyish charms or Michelle Pfeiffer and her elegant wit and especially the Saoirse Ronan, who proves that she was talented right from her debut role here that she’s made for success. While I can’t quite pinpoint the Mother Nature angle, played by Tracey Ullman, that it started with, it still brought in some nice banter and humor.

Valentine’s Marathon: Before We Go (2014)

If you missed the announcement on My Weekly Adventures, I’ve decided to extend the Valentine’s Marathon throughout this month. For one, Twilight being the feature is already going to be watched throughout this month. With the blogathon overlapping Valentine’s Marathon, its slowing down my normal posts so to highlight all the fantastic entries we’ve gotten. I’ve honestly been slacking on watching romances and rom-coms in general so I do have a lot of stacked up to be watched so its a good time to work on that.

With that said, the next movie is one I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while and Chris Evans’ directorial debut called Before We Go. Its had pretty mixed reviews but I remain hopeful based on a few elements that I know about.

Let’s check out Before We Go!

Before We Go (2014)

Before We Go

Director: Chris Evans

Cast: Chris Evans, Alice Eve, Emma Fitzgerald, John Cullum, Mark Kassen

Two strangers stuck in Manhattan for the night grow into each other’s most trusted confidants when an evening of unexpected adventure forces them to confront their fears and take control of their lives. – IMDB

As I was looking through how other people felt about Before We Go, I don’t quite understand why it has such low ratings, particularly on Rotten Tomatoes (which isn’t surprising since I rarely feel that similar to what they think, I’m odd that way, I suppose). With that said, Before We Go has a lot of great elements going for it but it does stumble a little on everything. It does have a decent run time on its side and the mesmerizing New York landscape along with a one night run through town. It is nowhere near the fun and joy that Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist has since it is a more mature type of story and some might even wonder whether it would be considered a romance as its not exactly a romance between these two strangers so much as they are working through their feelings about a little bit of everything. I’m a sucker for one night, chance meetings sort of stories. I love the spontaneity and the discovery and the character development elements and it feels like a journey to learn about someone else as you see the two characters grow. I also love movies with a small cast so that it really gets a chance to zoom into the people element. So, Before We Go had a lot of elements that I liked before I even started watching it. It may not have entirely delivered as I would have liked however, it still has its charm.

before we go

Before We Go is quite a small film. It is set in one location, over one night and focuses on two people. Usually, these movies depend highly on the characters and how the actors take on the roles. In this case, I have a bit of pros and cons. For one, Chris Evans is fantastic as Nick. He is very enlightening as he works through his feelings and faces destiny and how his connection with Brooke (played by Alice Eve) grows throughout this spontaneous meeting as they hunt down her purse and he tries to at least be her hero in what he feels is a somewhat unsuccessful life. There is a ton to love about the character of Nick, both in the way he thinks and the way he acts. His script is really charming to watch and mixes in some lighter dialogue which truly does help a lot with making him a really great character to love. Playing opposite him is Alice Eve, who plays Brooke. I have to be honest that I wasn’t a huge fan of Brooke to begin with. She packed on these personality traits that didn’t quite click with me and it was what make the start of the movie feel a little bit contrived. I understand that the entire situation here is set to be contrived however, it felt much  more deliberate especially for her character. Over the course of Before We Go, Brooke does get quite the character development and turns out to be much more tolerable. In fact, she might seem lost and confused in where she stands in her love life and the decision she has to make at the beginning but in the end, Brooke seems to learn a little more. Perhaps, the better way is that, maybe this is where the realistic elements are where they do meet each other and there is some skepticism and some simple good deeds element but as the night goes on, their chemistry also builds up as their connection strengthens as they learn more about each other and talk to each other about their own little dilemmas that they need to resolve. And that really does work out here.

Before We Go

The one night adventure journey also has a decent pacing. On one hand, it all starts with trying to chase down Brooke’s stolen purse with Nick’s New Yorker schemes and knowledge. Then it turns into the hunt for a way to get her home. They end up with quite a few dicey situations: both bad and good calls from both the characters. They meet some friends and strangers who also end up lending them a hand here and there to better understand their own situation. The pacing here is nice because the script slices in these dilemma heavier moments to some funnier moments when they do have their many situations that occur. Perhaps one of the best parts of the film are when they sit down or walk around just the two of them as they talk. We learn about these characters just as they do and surprisingly, they feel fairly realistic. I mean, in a real life situation, probably  we won’t start spilling our relationship problems to a stranger completely, but as a movie, somehow it still manages to keep it real because they don’t just spill everything in the first scene and it takes time for their trust to set in.

Before We Go

There’s not a whole lot to talk about for Before We Go. Its a very simple movie, set in one night, one city, two people and a few supporting characters. There are adventures and situations and heart to heart chats. The movie relies heavily on its two main characters. Chris Evans, probably because he is also the director, grasps his role incredibly well. Alice Eve, on the other hand, left a little to desire in the beginning but does truly see the character grow throughout. There are some odd dialogue and some things that don’t quite feel right in the beginning but once you get past that part, the story and Nick and Brooke’s city adventure is thoughtful and fun. It might not be as deep or even thinking harder about it, work completely, but for myself, its a nice simple movie thats fun. I’m a sucker for these sorts of movies with these kinds of premise so maybe that is why I found it intriguing in its own way. Let me just say that the ending though..not sure how I feel about it. Before We Go definitely isn’t for everybody but if you are like me and like movies with this kind of premise (Already  Tomorrow in Hong Kong is another example), then you might want to check this one out.