Fantasia Festival 2017: Free and Easy (2016)

Free and Easy (2016)
Director: Jun Geng

Director: Baohe Xue, Benbin Gu, Gang Xu, Liguo Yuan, Xun Zhang, Xuxu Wang, Zhiyong Zhang

When a traveling soap salesman arrives in a desolate Chinese town, a crime occurs, and sets the strange residents against each other with tragicomic results. –IMDB

A peddling monk, a soap salesman, a reforestation ranger: What do these three characters have in common? Add in a God-loving man who is seeking for his disappeared mother, a jack of all trades kung fu instructor and a tough landlady. Throw together two cops who really seem to be both careless and clueless and this creates the mix of a 99 minutes Chinese movie set in desolate area in Northeast China. Free and Easy is an odd piece altogether. Is it trying to be comedic with its dry  humor? Or is it a societal statement about the world we live in pushing those into paths they don’t really choose no matter how good or bad they are? Perhaps, its a crime story when one of the characters die. Just like the story its telling, maybe the genre also steps somewhere in a grey area.

Free and Easy is however an interesting piece of cinema to talk about. With so many characters on screen, we mostly focus on the soap salesman and the monk at the beginning. The cops are the other end of the spectrum as they truly feel useless in their positions or simply bored. They talk constantly about things they probably shouldn’t and then they also take antibiotics like its candy. Not the authorities that we’d imagine them to be. In a community like this one, desolate and forgotten, even the cops are useless, it is a statement on how everyone has their own way to fend for themselves and survive day to day. They are thrown into circumstances that we eventually realize aren’t quite them however, it is all a sense of digging out that part of them that they need to live. The soap salesman and monk eventually have some insightful conversations throughout the movie that truly point us into knowing them more. Just as the reforestation ranger obsesses over who cut down his trees and we start seeing his mellow character go through a myriad of reactions to the situation. However, with the amount of characters here, the focus moves quickly through them. Their personalities, their facades, their conversations, their tricks all come together as what defines this world because we never know any of them well enough to know their history or even their story. We only know what they are now and those few days in this desolate area.

While, Free and Easy slowly progresses its story and it feels disjointed throughout the majority of it and there isn’t really a character to bond with, one of the best aspects is its landscape and cinematography. The way that the director composes their shots, capturing the wide angles and pulled out space. It truly expands on the desolate and emptiness in this area. Perhaps, it also is done to create a parallel for these characters who each have their own issues and all don’t seem to keen about what life they are in now. No one truly seems happy. However, the scenes here truly capture so much atmosphere and is structured carefully to capture exactly what it wants and hides some of the details off screen. One of the best scenes do go to one of the cops confronting four of the characters as they keep moving on and off screen.

Honestly, there isn’t a lot to say concretely about Free and Easy. The story needs a little more work particularly for the pace they are going at. The sound design is nice and the cinematography captures so much of the atmosphere and the area despite it being desolate and empty. The characters are plentiful but never fleshed out. The dry humor definitely is there however, it never seemed to work enough although humor is rather subjective. Free and Easy is a statement piece about society, at least from the first watch, it definitely seems to be leaning the most in that direction. Its a lot of reading between the lines and listening to the dialogue and conversations. Its a movie for those that enjoy dry humor, slow-paced and reading between the lines.

Personally, this doesn’t feel like a movie that I was meant to like. I do think for its vagueness in many of the issues, it makes it more thought provoking to figure out what they are trying to say. What message is it all about? I’m honestly kind of in between with this one.

Fantasia Festival 2017: Vampire Cleanup Department (2017)

Vampire Cleanup Department (2017)

vampire cleanup department

Director: Pak-Wing Yan, Sin-Hang Chiu

Cast: Babyjohn Choi, Min-Chen Lin, Richard Ng, Siu-ho Chin, Susan Shaw

Tim Cheung joins the Vampire Cleanup Department which is a secret task force for dealing Chinese vampire Goeng Si. He is instructed by his uncle Chau and he saves a female Goeng Si, Summer from her evil lord Goeng Si who buried alive her. – IMDB

For those familiar with the Mr. Vampire series decades ago and their introduction to the hopping Chinese vampires, the recent years has seen a resurgence to seemingly revive or perhaps catch Hong Kong’s own wave of the vampire popularity. In 2013, Rigor Mortis saw the debut directing work of Juno Mak get the cast of the originals and create a serious horror full of gore and symbolism. However, Vampire Cleanup Department this year aims to do the same thing but uses more of the horror action comedy angle, in turns more in vein with the original series while still taking the familiar actors. It feels like a true revival or remaster or perhaps modernized reboot of this Chinese cult favorite and not only appeal to the fans of the franchise but also grab a new generation and educate them about these hopping vampires. Screened in Cantonese, the English subtitles were done well enough to still carry the humor it wanted for the most part. We always like to make sure that the jokes will still carry well to an international audience.

Vampire Cleanup Department does many things right. It is hard to say that anymore in terms of comedy or horror. Two things the Hong Kong industry in general seems to have hit a snag as it settles for ineffective and trope-y horror or dumb and nonsensical humor. However, this movie is littered with clever jokes and puns and most of all, actors that deliver them seamlessly and perfectly. It also uses the CGI that they have access to in order to make these vampires and other action/horror effects feel more authentic and less campy. Its a re-skin and one that is done tastefully. For those who were too young when this released or never quite had access to it before or simply the new generation, Vampire Cleanup Department never forgets to educate its audience as it educates and trains its long awaited new blood. Using this story line works in this situation because we as the audience will also learn about how hopping vampires came to be, how to get rid of them as well as how this secret department originated as a new vengeful vampire is unleashed into the city accidentally.

Another great aspect of Vampire Cleanup Department is its veteran actors. Siu-ho Chin and Richard Ng are the main characters in this as they take a supporting role that links to the past. They are fun and entertaining. Siu-ho Chin contributes to a lot of the action as he is the younger of the original crew. Richard Ng brings a lot of the humor. Its truly hard to not feel nostalgic when watching them on screen as they have both been part of memorable films aside from the Mr. Vampire movies. They are the anchor of this film and despite the younger actors seeming to be a focus of the film. The scenes they are in keep the movie grounded as their opposite personalities in their characters also create a nice friction.

The one downfall of this flick truly goes to the young romance, Tim and Summer, played respectively by Babyjohn Choi and Min-Chen Lin. This factor is less to do with their performance but more with the more than familiar romance. Its sappy and redundant. In fact, the humor elements added into their budding romance makes it fun and cute however never lets us feel too invested either, at least not enough to feel emotional about their outcome. Sadly, the romance does take up a decent portion of the movie. While still successfully entertaining us for the most parts, it falls short from what the rest of the movie creates and could of been done a little more concisely.

Vampire Cleanup Department is a treat. Despite its rinse and repeat romance that doesn’t have the connection with the audience it is meant to have, everything else is done very well. It creates a beautiful balance of action, comedy and horror. It revives and reboots this Geong Si, aka hopping vampires, from the late 80s to 90s from the Mr. Vampire series. It also brings in some new blood to possibly (and hopefully) continue the franchise in a modern way. This film has found a way to keep itself self-contained while remembering to honor its predecessors by creating a link of the world the earlier movies created. It brings back the atmosphere those movies had while giving it a fresh look successfully.

Double Feature: Alleycats (2016) & As Above So Below (2014)

The next double feature is here! We are looking at two newer titles. In a lack of inspiration to decide what to watch on my Netflix list, I went back to my favorite way to choose, alphabetically. I had already watched Alleycats before making this decision so I decided to watch another A title that I had started coincidentally, As Above So Below.

Let’s check it out!

Alleycats (2016)

Alleycats

Director: Ian Bonhote

Cast: Eleanor Tomlinson, John Hannah, John Lynch, Josh Whitehouse, Sam Keeley, Hera Hilmar, Frederick Schmidt

When bike courier Chris witnesses what looks like a murder, his first instinct is to cut and run. But when his curiosity draws him back in, he’s soon embroiled in a world of corruption, political power, and illegal bike racing. – IMDB

Alleycats is an action thriller that is a bit too obvious before its reveal. However, it has its good moments where it has a bit of tension. The main character Danni is cool. While there is somewhat of a mystery aspect, the execution could have been done  little better to keep things a little more compelling. Although the pacing was pretty good, it still was missing an element of surprise because the one they had here was simply pretty easy to figure out early on and it is because it takes on a trope or two from other thrillers. Perhaps with the nature of bike racing and courrier, it does keep the action going and the pace moving along while adding in tension, its a shame that there weren’t more of those scenes and adds in a little too much drama for its own good, making it somewhat lost in its own plot. Sometimes, keeping it simple will make it more effective.

However, Alleycats is a decent action thriller. It may not have big names attached to it but the story is a good one that wraps up political power, corruption into a fast-paced mystery that may be predictable but still intriguing enough to watch.

As Above So Below (2014)

as above so below

Director (and writer): John Erick Dowdle

Cast: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Francois Civil, Marion Lambert, Ali Marhyar, Cosme Castro

When a team of explorers ventures into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead. – IMDB

I still remember when As Above So Below first showed up in my trailers feed and it looked so good. I don’t know why I didn’t end up seeing it. Maybe its the found footage which I’m indifferent to or its the fact that I remember there being a lot of unenthusiastic reviews, or maybe I just had something better to see. Whatever the reason, its on Netflix Canada and I finally decided to give it a go. Found footage is tricky to get right and not turn it into a nauseating experience. As Above So Below does a few things well. The found footage part is done very well. It uses the light and dark really well to build an atmosphere as they go deeper into the catacombs. However, that is where the movie also falls apart.

Its never good to watch a movie and feel like its a lesser version of another movie just in a slightly different setting and that is how I felt for a good portion of this movie. Sure, it takes the fact that going down is the only way out as they go for a treasure/artifact hunt and enter into what is to be hell, pretty obvious if you look at the poster above to be honest. As Above So Below is referred to as part of some ancient scripture describing the journey to hell and the gates of hell or something. It lost me a little somewhere. To be honest, regardless if that is true or not, those parts were pretty cool to listen to as the main characters, Scarlett (played by Perdita Weeks) and George (Ben Feldman) talk all this fancy talk that I didn’t understand about old scriptures describing the Philosphers’ Stone and whatnot. Also, this movie goes through a decent part of it with no deaths. It may seem uneventful but those parts was all about building the atmosphere of the claustrophobic danger underneath.

I’m slightly indifferent to As Above So Below. There are some nice concepts here and to be honest, it felt like National Treasure crossed over with The Descent. Some scenes even paralleled to the latter title mentioned. However, I can’t say that I disliked it. At a certain point, I felt like I just wanted it to end and at other points, it felt like the characters didn’t make a ton of sense in their actions of how things just flipped around. I just thought it could have maybe been more. It has the potential and the story is there, just the execution of the story could be better. Its a shame.

There you go! Our double feature!
Have you seen either of these movies?

Medicine in the Movies Blogathon: My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

Medicine in the Movies Blogathon

Medicine in the Movies Blogathon by Charlene over at Charlene’s (Mostly) Classic Movie Reviews was this past weekend and sneaking in my almost kind of late entry is for My Sister’s Keeper. Over ambitious post drafting will eventually backfire one day on me and it did this time. Before I start, I’d like to say sorry to Charlene for the tardiness. Trust me, it was not intentional. As the name indicates, this blogathon is all about medicine in the movies and my thought right away went to this movie adapted from Jodi Piccoult’s book with the same name.

My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

My Sister's Keeper

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Cast: Abigail Breslin, Cameron Diaz, Sofia Vassileva, Alec Baldwin, Jason Patric, Evan Ellingson, Heather Walquist

Anna Fitzgerald looks to earn medical emancipation from her parents who until now have relied on their youngest child to help their leukemia-stricken daughter Kate remain alive. – IMDB

My Sister’s Keeper is an interesting one to talk about. On the surface, its about a family dealing with their older daughter’s fight to live as their younger daughter fights for her freedom of use of her body that she’s lost. What sounds like a heartless thing to do as this decision abandons her sister from her chance of survival and surprising as a top attorney will do it almost pro bono for her cause because he believes in what she is fighting for. However, behind all the medical battle, its also a highlight on how the family has broken apart in pieces. As everyone focuses on one person in the family, everyone else has needs and desires that are overseen or neglected and the only person that sees this is Kate, while ill still sees clearly what her sickness has caused over the years. What helps with this is that there are narratives of each of the characters to see how they are reacting and their thoughts on what is going on: whether it is about Kate or Anna’s decision to earn medical emancipation. My Sister’s Keeper uses sickness in a family to not only highlight each of their characters but also takes the approach to show us how it can break each other apart or keep them together more and also brings up many questions about who to side for and is there a side in this cause? Of course, nothing is that simple. My Sister’s Keeper, while not delivered quite as effective as the book in my opinion, still manages to bring some decent performances to showcase the story and dilemmas in this situation while letting us learn more about each of these characters.

My Sister's Keeper

Perhaps the best way to look at My Sister’s Keeper is to take a look at the performances. Dramas are usually pretty clear cut and the story and message is here and it all relies on these performances. First of all, the parents are played by Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric. Cameron Diaz has had her ups and downs (also my opinion) in her movie roles however she does capture the overprotective mom very well. She is focused and committed to keep Kate alive, however she also does play the mother who is much stronger that she does seem to have forgotten about her other children. She defends this by saying that she takes care of the family but Kate is the one that is most in need right now. On the other hand, while not exactly rejecting his wife’s choices, Jason Patric plays the father who is much softer. Being a firefighter and the only person still bringing money to the family, he also isn’t home as much but he somehow  notices a little more of Anna’s life and sees her charm just as much as her older daughter however he does neglect his son who in this mess is the one that gets lost in the mix the most. Jason Patric’s role isn’t very big in this and his father role only appears in glances and observations of the situation. Cameron Diaz does deliver quite a believable performance as the mom here that you can dislike for her neglecting the need of both of her daughters or playing favorites with Kate but then in the situation, the question her character brings is: where is the balance? When is the time to let go? Will you ever want to let go of any chance to save your children?

My Sister's Keeper

My Sister’s Keeper came on my radar because of Abigail Breslin. I’ve expressed on multiple occassions how I think she is a brilliant young actress with a ton of potential. As a child actor, she’s done many great performances and as Anna, she is no different. The script writes her character as a young girl who understands what she is asking for and wants to be able to live her life. The stance she brings is that while she was conceived to help her sister, she also has the right to be acknowledged and to be able to live freely and not have to be careful and limit herself. Does that make her selfish for choosing to do that? Should she feel guilt for not helping? Why is she suddenly doing all this? Helping her in this cause is another not very big in terms of screen time but important character nonetheless played by  Alec Baldwin, the attorney that decides to help her because he is saddened by her reports and with a little personal cause that makes him want to fight for Anna’s fight for the freedom of her own body. He helps bring to the table the questions that matter in this family whether everyone has been taken care of. In fact, perhaps this also brings a highlight on the judge in this movie, Joan Cusack who feels like a character that could have been developed more however she brings the angle of someone who has already suffered loss looking into the Fitzgerald family.

My Sister's Keeper

While the family and the whole case of medical emancipation plays a great deal of part here, there is no doubt that the main person in focus is the narration of Kate. The timeline of My Sister’s Keeper hops by and forth quite a bit and the first time watching this, its easy to get lost in it a little. However, Kate, played by Sofia Vassileva is quite a powerful one. Perhaps playing a sick child automatically gives some pity points however we can sense the true despair of her pain as she deals with leukemia and how she can’t express or connect with others even the ones that love her the most. However, she does find someone who sees her for who she needs in Taylor (played by Thomas Dekker), another young patient dealing with cancer who eventually becomes her boyfriend and makes her see the world in a much more colorful way despite it not in reality.

Overall, The Sister’s Keeper is full of decent to powerful performances and that comes in building and developing characters well. However, there are many story lines and tangents here and this is where we lose a little focus as some characters don’t get the development they need and at times the timeline can be a little confusing to follow. But, it does deliver a lot of questions to truly ponder. There is perhaps no right answer to any of this but the true double edged sword in this whole affair is learning when to let go no matter how hard it is. My Sister’s Keeper is a powerful book and did a decent job at adapting it into the movie. The ending particularly as everything comes to light is a bittersweet sort of ending that did make me tear up a little. I like movies that make us question these hard decisions and the right and wrong of any situation to see that there is really no clear cut answer.

Have you seen My  Sister’s Keeper or read the book?

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Monday was a holiday for us here in Canada as we celebrated Victoria Day. I had taken an extra day off on Friday with my accumulated overtime from April’s deadline turning it into a four day weekend and it was still incredibly busy and hectic however, my husband and I did manage to take some time to go see Alien: Covenant. The goal this year is to at least see all the anticipated movies in theatres, so far I have only missed one which is pretty good for an almost half year mark.

We both love the Alien franchise. To be more accurate, I love the Alien franchise because my husband sat me down years ago in our early dating days to watch it and it was awesome. We both enjoyed Prometheus and now, time for some Alien:Covenant.

Lets check it out!

Alien: Covenant (2017)

alien covenant

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz

The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape. – IMDB

 Alien: Covenant is back and it takes place 10 years or so after the events of Prometheus. The crew and their ship of 2000 colonists is on their way to a planet called Origae-6. After many tests, Origae-6 has proved to meet all the tests for colonization. Despite taking years upon years, the crew is set on cryosleep. However, in a not so routine way of waking up, they are intercepted which affects the functionality of the ship, Covenant which ends up hearing signs of civilization in a fuzzy transmission and with the simple analysis, their new captain Oram (played by Billy Crudup) ends up making the decision to land to scout out the area despite the reluctance of his second, Daniels, played by Katherine Waterston. As part of the crew stays in the ship and the rest land, the crew on this remote planet ends up finding a familiar scene that we all know from Prometheus. Here is where the link starts and they start getting weird occurences that as the audience, we get to see have started affected the crew and people who know about the franchise already know very well which this direction will be. Except, Alien: Covenant takes a turn to make sure that its story isn’t all about aliens but rather its a new direction to hint towards advanced technology and android versus humanity and playing God. Whether that is a good change or not? I guess that depends what you expect from Alien: Covenant. For us, it does make a nice change because it gives the Alien franchise a new direction instead of their rather predictable Xenomorphs slaughters the space crew storyline. Xenomorphs are fantastic and if you are a fan of them, they are also wildly underused here. However, their presence can invisibly be felt in the latter half as they have been yet again changed a little more.

Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant is a hard one to review and its taken me a few days to sit down and think about it a little more to let me feelings sort out further. The results of my thinking is there are pros and cons to this movie. It is important to say that I have seen and enjoyed (for the most part) the Alien franchise. We are huge fans of Prometheus as well as the first two movies and we honestly don’t have a huge issue with the 3rd and 4th although we do acknowledge that it is rather flawed in many ways however, the entertainment value is still there. With that said, Alien: Covenant has a lot of good, in fact there are some great moments here. One of the biggest pros here is the visuals. Visually, this movie is fantastic. There are so many scenes that build so much atmosphere and character to the remote planet they land on. It is incredible to see. There is quite a bit of detail as well. Leading to that, Ridley Scott, whether we are talking about Alien or Prometheus and even in Alien: Covenant is masterful at building tension and creating atmosphere. There is a lot of that here as well. The world is elevated mostly because of these two elements. Finally, the cast here that gets more screen time does a good job. There is no doubt that Michael Fassbender is a great actor. He has been in many movies that has proved that he can do a wide array of different roles and capture what the character he needs to portray and deliver something great. In Alien: Covenant, he is one man with two roles. If you were wondering what happened to David from Prometheus, you will get your answer here. He also plays mostly as Walter, who is the resident android on Covenant, as he calls himself an updated version which has its pros and cons as well which the movie will slowly let you learn. In this case, Michael Fassbender as David and Walter create some of the most engaging scenes as well as create depth for the story they want to tell here.

Alien: Covenant

However, the one thing I’m hesitating on being incredibly enthusiastic about here is the story arcs they choose to take. It definitely doesn’t fall in the fault of execution because like I said, the tension and atmosphere was done well and if in the hands of someone less capable than Ridley Scott, this might be less appealing. Here’s where my dilemma lies. An Alien movie should have more aliens, the Xenomorphs here are far and few. They have some pretty generic scenes that are pretty predictable at this point. They almost mirror the first movie such as the Xenomorph hanging out in the ceiling before attacking or the egg with the face huggers and then we have the little creatures breaking out of bodies. I don’t think these are spoilers mostly because they are expected in this franchise at this point, however, perhaps playing with the audience’s anticipation of these moments comes in the equation here where we know more than the characters in the story and if we connected with those characters, we would feel more tense and stressed out because we already know what is going to happen. Maybe this is where the uneasiness comes as well because there are a lot of characters and the only reason I even know their names is thanks to IMDB because they completely went over my head while I was watching it. It also says something about how memorable they are especually when our femal protagonist Daniels played by Katherine Waterston did a good job but somehow everyone was overshadowed by what seems like the main plot with Michael Fassbender who was a much better developed character(s). Somehow with a mesh of characters that didn’t quite get the depth they deserved and a plot that was rather predictable and familiar but also lacking in the appearance of the Xenomorphs. Especially when it attempts to surprise in some parts and yet somehow didn’t manage to do it for myself. 

While it sounds like I didn’t like the movie, I honestly did. Alien:Covenant does a lot of good. I’m a sucker for movies with great atmosphere and beautiful settings because its not only visually appealing but a thrilling and engaging world. While I might have liked more Xenomorph appearances, I do like that they are trying to expand the story to give it another fresh direction. Plus, even if some characters did lack depth for the most part, the few that got the development was done well. Not to mention, it still felt self-contained despite linking back to a previous movie. 
Have you seen Alien:Covenant? Do you like the Alien franchise? Which is your favorite movie from the franchise?

Addicted to Screwball Blogathon: Addicted to Love (1997)

Today is the anniversary of Addicted to Love and in honor of that, Paul at Pfeiffer Philms and Meg Movies has put together this Addicted to Screwball blogathon event. You read more about it here or by clicking on the banner above.

Now, before I start, I do want to be completely honest that I really have a lot of classic movies to catch up on and seeing as the rise of screwball comedy also lies in a lot of these iconic titles that i haven’t seen, I am almost completely unfamiliar with this subgenre. However, Paul did give me some suggestions and I ended up choosing to write about Addicted to Love with Meg Ryan.

Lets check it out!

Addicted to Love (1997)

addicted to love

Director: Griffin Dune

Cast: Meg Ryan, Matthew Broderick, Kelly Preston, Tcheky Karyo, Maureen Stapleton

Maggie’s and Sam’s former partners are in love; she wants revenge and he wants his lost love back, so they work together to break up the happy couple. – IMDB

If screwball comedy is what Addicted to Love is, count me in for more. Addicted to Love is such a great film. It is a ton of fun to watch with a lot of great characters. I love Meg Ryan and this movie is exactly why. She is so versatile in her acting capabilities. In Addicted to Love, there is a completely different side to her that we don’t see in some of the other romantic comedies. Let’s face it, maybe I don’t know how to talk about this in the whole screwball comedy spectrum but I’m watching this because there’s Meg Ryan.

Addicted to Love

Here’s a good time to switch over to talk about the characters and performances on Addicted to Love. Our leading lady here is Meg Ryan who delivers a great character, Maggie who is the opposite that needs to accomplish this sabotage plan. On the exterior, Maggie is calm and calculated with the plan. She is determined to achieve her revenge on this man that used her and broke her heart. A lot of who she is is already shown to us by how she makes her entrance into the movie as she breaks in and appears in her motorcycle get up and starts getting straight to work. Deep down, there is a softer side and as the story goes on, she has these layers that we see. Now that I am done fangirling over Meg, Matthew Broderick also delivers quite the performance. I always have a hard time pinpointing where I have seen him before in movies but his role here as Sam is a lot of fun. Sam is the opposite to Maggie in many ways. He really is calm but also a scientist so he believes in charts and predicting when certain signs will mean a breakup. He believes it will end naturally until he realizes that everything he believed in doesn’t apply in love. Sam’s character breaks out of this shell and becomes more daring as he turns into the guy who starts off lacking discretion and letting his feelings get in the way of the plan but turns into the guy who hatches the ultimate plan.

Addicted to Love

Addicted to Love is charming because of these two leading roles however, the charm extends to the outrageous scenes that are set up here. While Kelly Preston plays the not very special Linda, playing opposite her is the odd French chef who seeks perfection, Anton. Anton does catch most of the heat in the situation as they make him suffer mostly and creating the most unbelievable situations for him to explain his way out and create suspicion. Anton himself gets more screen time and much more focus in the last third of the movie when things start spiralling apart from the revenge/stalker plot of the exes team-up. The dynamic was turned around and we actually get to learn more about this character of Anton. The goal is not to care about him but rather to guide Maggie and Sam to realize what they have/feel for each other.

Overall, Addicted to Love is a really fun romantic comedy in the veins of a revenge of the exes storyline. While many things are still foreseeable, the charming cast particularly Meg Ryan’s Maggie shines as she takes on a fun and tough role opposite Matthew Broderick as Sam, an astronomer who breaks out of his own shell. There is a good blend of outrageously fun scenes and a lot of humor.

Double Feature: The Fitzroy (2017) & Suicide Squad (2016)

The new structure for here onwards will be double features, my lovelies. If you want great full-length movie reviews, I can refer you to a ton of bloggers. At least it will be spoiler-free guaranteed as always. There may be some exceptions but for now, this will be the format for the most part.

This week’s double feature starts with one of the first projects that I backed on Kickstarter that finally made its premiere and as I am not in the UK, I received a 48 hours access to watch it digitally. Next up, we jump into a more action and comic variety of villains turned heroes in a way with Suicide Squad.

Lets get started! 🙂

The Fitzroy (2017)

the fitzroy

Director (and writer): Andrew Harmer

Cast: Cerith Flinn, Jan Anderson, Kenneth Collard, David Schaal, David Gant, Stuart McGugan

The Fitzroy is a live action black comedy set in an alternative post-apocalyptic 1950s. The world is covered in poisonous gas, and the last place for a traditional seaside holiday is The Fitzroy hotel, an abandoned submarine just off the coast of England. The film centers on Bernard, the hotel’s bellboy, cook, maintenance man and general dogsbody, as he faces a constant battle to keep the decaying hotel airtight and afloat. But when he falls in love with a murderous guest, he is thrown into a mad day of lies, backstabbing and chaos. As Bernard struggles to hide her murders from the other guests and suspicious authorities, his world literally begins to sink around him. – IMDB

One promise that I make is when this comes out officially and I actually receive my copy of it that I’ll write up a full review on this. The Fitzroy arrived on a pretty busy weekend and we managed to squeeze out some time late at night to watch it. The Fitzroy is a compelling movie to watch. Its a tad predictable but the characters are so fleshed out along with a well-written and entertaining script that it has a lot of laughs and fun characters to watch come alive on screen. There is no doubt that The Fitzroy is indie though. There is a lot of charm to the movie along with creativity for the world they have set. Plus, it really is almost all set in one enclosed area with a few exceptions. The danger is also in its environment. The movie is extremely quirky and I mean it in the best way.

Kickstarter projects are always a toss of luck and I don’t remember when this project launched why I backed it and I am sure over the years, my taste on movies have shifted however, I had a great time watching this one.

Suicide Squad (2016)

suicide squad

Director (and writer): David Ayer

Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Cara Delevingue, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jared Leto, Scott Eastwood

A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse. – IMDB

Once again, in case you are new here, I need to start with the fact that I have not read any comics so if this is based on any source material of that variety, for myself, this is a standalone. Also do know that I have not caught up with Man of Steel or Batman vs. Superman so while I feel like the mention some of those events, I don’t know if there is a link however, Suicide Squad feels and is standalone for myself.

The best way to describe Suicide Squad is with the word fun. There is a lot of fun. Humor and a ragtag team of villains and fighting and the likes. With the cast they got, its pretty entertaining. However, my husband described it the best the end as he called it very comic-like in the way its made. It isn’t criticism since many movies do a great job using that approach. It is why it keeps it rather light. Suicide Squad also works as an intro to these characters in case we don’t know them: their stories and what motivates them to stay alive. It works because for myself, it didn’t feel like we were invading someone’s story.

Perhaps the best part of Suicide Squad is its cast. Will Smith is fantastic as Deadshot, Margot Robbie was incredibly entertaining as Harley Quinn: other familiar villains like Killer Croc has a role. I love Viola Davis a ton so her role here fit so well with her. I think if I was to rant a little would be the underuse of The Joker because it was played up so much in the publicity about how he did a fantastic job when he was there for like 5 minutes (or what felt like that). At least not enough for me to think that he did a particularly good or bad job. There’s so much here that is much more than that and that has to go to finally not focusing around The Joker which is something that us over at Game Warp have appreciated in some of the Batman games because its gives space for other villains to grow as well.

Suicide Squad still has a rather predictable flow of events however, the script gives these characters a little more than fluff and while it is very comic-like, it is really just an entertaining time.

Have you seen Suicide Squad or heard of The Fitzroy?