Valentine’s Marathon: What If (original title: The F Word, 2013)

And we are finally here! The first random movie to kick off the Valentine’s Marathon is a romantic comedy. I have honestly taken a huge break from these the last few years mostly because a lot of them didn’t seem that appealing. However, Daniel Radcliffe post-Harry Potter phase and the lovely Zoe Kazan sounds like a fun time. So here we are!

Lets check it out!

What If (aka The F Word) (2013)

Director: Michael Dowse

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan , Adam Driver, Megan Park, MacKenzie Davis, Rafe Spall

Wallace, who is burned out from a string of failed relationships, forms an instant bond with Chantry, who lives with her longtime boyfriend. Together, they puzzle out what it means if your best friend is also the love of your life. –IMDB

What If is adapted from a play called Toothpastes and  Cigars. Honestly, I’ve never heard of the original source material so obviously, I have nothing to compare to. With that said, the original title of The F Word seems to be more fitting for this story because we do spend a lot of time with Chantry and Wallace as really good friends. But then, I guess What If works on the level like the all time question, “What If  *insert good friend’s name* was my boyfriend or girlfriend?”  The story itself being a romantic comedy and all, is somewhat familiar and if you are looking for some breakthrough unpredictable story, then you probably aren’t looking for that. However, if you are like myself who enjoys a fun little romantic comedy, What If does deliver on it because of its fun and sharp dialogue between the characters which brings me back to something like why I love Gilmore Girls so much along with a lovely chemistry between the two main characters. There are some annoying parts in What If and we’ll talk about that as well. Plus, the setting is in Toronto. I love Toronto and go visit it at least once each year and always have a great time so let’s say I’m slightly biased as well.

what if 2013

With that said, the setting being as charming as it is, the true bright light of What If is its two main characters. Zoe Kazan has caught my eye since I saw her in In Your Eyes (Review) which is probably one of my favorite movies that I watch at least once a year. She’s very natural in her roles and in this one as Chantry, she’s incredibly charming and silly to watch. Its easy to fall in love with her character. Opposite her is Daniel Radcliffe who plays Wallace. I’m going to admit that post Harry-Potter Daniel Radcliffe, there’s only been one film that I saw and that’s The Woman in Black (review). The fact that I’m a decent fan of Harry Potter even if the movie adaptations at times did fall short from the novels themselves, it really is hard to break away that image. However, something about him playing Wallace seems to work quite well here. Maybe its the weirdness he has or just having the right person to act with. Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan bring Wallace and Chantry to life especially when paired up with their fun dialogue back and forth with random responses that truly are quite amusing. Most romantic comedies start off with characters that loathe each other and then see another side and then realize they fell in love with each other (most rom com scenarios, there are exceptions, I know), but this one builds them up as really good friends first and I think that is much more realistic.

What If 2013

Adam Driver, aka all you Star Wars fans’ Kylo Ren, was in What If as one of his roles. Putting Star Wars aside and whether you think he’s adequate as Kylo Ren, he plays Allan, the cousin of Chantry and something like a good friend of Wallace. He gives some good and bad advice and has this somewhat of a sleazy goofball sort of expert thing going on here as Wallace is more of a closed and introvert guy who needs a bit of guidance due to his many failed relationships in the past. While some parts worked, I wasn’t a huge fan of the character here. A few of the things felt so over the top that it seemed to break out from the friendship/relationship between Chantry and Wallace that felt quite believable and grounded. I know that a lot of the character of Allan and his girlfriend, Nicole (played by Mackenzie Davis) was meant to be funny however, it felt much less sophisticated that seemed to throw off the balance a little. Like I always say, humor is subjective.

With that said, What If is one of those romantic comedies that I really did enjoy. Zoe Kazan and Daniel Radcliffe really give some great performances that cancel out the negative things I felt about the film. A pleasant surprise is always a great way to start a marathon.

The Woman in Black (2012)

If you were following my blog when I was doing the Halloween month, you would know that I had to take all the courage out of me to sit through the last part of intense horror movies which resulted in maybe 2 weeks of sleepless nights.  If you weren’t, don’t feel left out, you can hope over HERE to check out the list of what I watched in the three parts.  However, I have learned a lot about myself and horror movies and a few years back before that stupid incident watching The Haunting of Connecticut which literally haunted me since then into not ever being able to watch a horror movie, I am capable to do it so I’ve been trying hard to get back into it.

After a crazy few days catching up and watching and reviewing a whole bunch of rom-coms and romantic dramas, yesterday on Valentine’s Day I decided to give into my boyfriend’s ultimate love and watch a horror movie, the one named up in the title –The Woman in Black.  Take a guess as to how last night went for me…Oh right, with that said, remember that I’m mega easily scared so if you’re a hardcore horror fan, you definitely won’t feel the same level of fright.

the woman in black

Director: James Watkins

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Liz White,Janet McTeer
A lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is given one last chance to prove his worth in his office and sent to take care of an outstanding account of checking and getting Eel Marsh House ready for sale after the recently deceased Mrs. Drablow.  On the train he meets, Sam Daily (Ciaran Hinds) who offers to take him to his hotel in Cryphin Gifford. He starts feeling that he is unwelcome and even the man that was supposed to help him with the paperwork for Eel Marsh House arranged to sent him back.  However, he decided to go to take care of it himself.  As the house is surrounded by marshlands, it is restricted to certain times where he could not get back onto the mainland until the tide recedes.  On his first visit to the house, he sees a strange woman in black lurking in the woods nearby.  However, the mysterious woman disappears from his view.  When he gets back into town, he learns that the children in this town has been dying off in weird ways.  He also comes to know that one of the children lost is Mr. Daily’s son, Nicholas.  As a result, Mrs. Daily (Janet McTeer) has been unstable mentally, and at times, she seems to believe that she is possessed by the spirit of her son.  He soon learns that he is unwelcome because whoever sees the woman in black will cause a death of at least one child in the town.  Mr. Daily disregards the superstitions and agrees to help Arthur to get to Eel Marsh House against the others wishes.  It is there Arthur finds papers from a woman called Jennet (Liz White) to Mrs. Drablow, accusing her of the murder of her son and sending her off to a mental institution.  The night Arthur spends in the house turns out to be more than he expected: a vengeful ghost and the secrets that the manor held.

woman in black

As I’m writing that summary up there, I was turning around and feeling my heart rate go up. Technically, I have to say, my boyfriend should be doing the review.  I spent probably the second half of the movie with my hand covering a part of my face or looking partially at the screen when I needed my hands to cover my eyes.  You know those sudden scares that we call cheap scares, right? They showed up a lot.  And I seriously get creeped out when its about 1) ghosts 2) children and this flick had both. To me, this was a really good horror movie.  My boyfriend was startled a few times also.  This one was definitely creepy and if you’ve seen this, I’m saying right now…that ending is just a creepy good way. My guess is that if you are horror fan, you might still get some enjoyment out of this but this movie is a bit predictable.  But since I’m easily scared, even when I predict something to happen, I’ll still not exactly know how its executed so it still scares me, but I still managed to know when the director tried to startle the audience.

woman in black arthur

Now that we’ve acknowledge this horror flick achieved its scare factor on me, I’m going straight out to say that Daniel Radcliffe’s first movie after Harry Potter is quite good.  They gave him a good story.  I always have this issue with how certain actors always jump out of a franchise and get these horror movie scripts and half the time, its some retarded flick (and thats coming from me, the ultimate easily scared audience).  This one was really good in that level.  He did great as a mature lawyer, a father of a little boy and at the same time a mourning widower.  Its a big change from Harry Potter is all I’m saying.  Plus, the people in this town and the child actors blew me away.  They all did such a great job at securing the creepy, weird, eerie vibe of a town thats gone through a lot of tragedy and death.  As much as there were times with other people, Daniel Radcliffe did carry a good portion of this movie by himself in the haunted manor.  I do look forward to what else he has to offer after this.

woman in black children

I need to stop the writing this review because I’m getting all creeped out thinking of the movie.  A good horror movie with cheap scares and eerie atmosphere that does what it sets out to do.  You bet that I won’t be picking up this movie (or any other horror ghost related  flick) in a while.  I do recommend this.  I do know some people probably won’t get a lot of scares out of this but, its a decent movie.

What type of horror movies usually creep you out: ghosts/spirits, zombies, slasher, possession, etc?