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?

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Cinderella (2015)

Cinderella is the best girls night out movie and that’s exactly what we planned weeks in advance.  We all rushed out of work and met up at the theatres on Tuesday night. Its felt like its been a while since I’ve been to the theatres and I’m wondering if I’m actually on track with my one monthly theatre visit goal.  I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter. If you missed my anticipated list for 2015, this is one of them 🙂

Lets check out Cinderella!

Cinderella (2015)

cinderella 2015

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Cast: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Stellan Skarsgard, Helena Bonham Carter

When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger.- IMDB

Does Cinderella still have its magic after so many years? How about after turning it (like many other fairy tales) into a live action? I went into this movie pretty much with those two questions lingering in my mind.  I’ve skipped out on a lot of live reimaginings of fairy tales and all that sort of stuff but Cinderella is possibly one of the most popular and has a ton of movies inspired by them.  Even the not so at par ones tend to make me fall in love one way or another. So how does this 2015 version fair?

This live version Cinderella is almost an exact imagining of the Disney animated version that I love a lot.  It has the fairy godmother, the glass slippers, a gorgeous blue gown, mice, pumpkins, evil stepmother and two untalented and not very appealing stepsisters and of course, the Prince.  The only thing that;s different might be that Cinderella starts out as Ella and that we see her parents and living out her mother’s wishes to “have courage and be kind.” Even though you probably know exactly what is going to happen next, the magical appeal of Cinderella is still as apparent as ever, infecting me with lots of laughter and love and all those awesome feelings.

Cinderella 2015

This Cinderella may not have the songs in the animated version, but the soundtrack and sweeping score was absolutely beautiful. I’d buy it in a heartbeat and listen to it all the time.  It added to the magic.  While we are on the magic, the CGI was gorgeous, enforcing the whole enchanting experience.  That was a huge part in making this as wonderful as it was.  Just the whole fairy godmother sequence, transforming and preparing Cinderella for the Royal Ball was maybe THE best part ever! I’m sure a ton of you caught this but Cinderella keeps singing Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly and that is also a song from a 1940s Disney film.  I’ve never actually heard the whole song but it was kind of nice to see it here.

Cinderella 2015

Live action also means we can talk about the acting.  We already are well familiar with Cinderella’s characters.  First of all, no Disney princess story is memorable without the right villain.  In this one, the evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine, played by Cate Blanchett was stunning and so mean.  Those expressions and tones for her dialogue was so convincing. At the same time, this one also added a little extra for her character as to why she’s the way she is.  As small as it is, I like this version of the evil stepmother.  Nothing made me laugh more than how the stepsisters are actually just extremely spoilt and untalented. The idea of bringing back the singing off tune and saying stupid things really works for Drizella and Anastasia because thats the character we know, simply shallow and undesirable.  Oh, and their outfits don’t make you laugh and cringe at the same time.  I loved it!

Cinderella 2015

My last point to talk about are the couple: Ella and the Prince.  That is the essence of the story.  Before the movie, one of my girl friends was telling me how she didn’t find Richard Madden handsome.  In fact, sometimes the Prince isn’t that handsome, the person himself maybe, but its the character the he embodies that we fall in love with.  I’m not going to discuss whether I find Richard Madden handsome but I guess I’m simple as well but that man has a lovely accent in his voice and the way he captured the Prince stole my heart from the first time him and Ella met.  Suffice to say, I bought his Prince very much.  To be honest, I’ve never watched either Richard Madden or Lily James before this.  No, I haven’t seen Game of Thrones and no, I haven’t gotten to Season 5 of Downton Abbey (before you ask). Lily James as Ella kind of bothered me when I was watching the trailer.  I wasn’t completely sold on it but as the movie went along, she grew on me.  It may be because she’s so simple and pure-hearted yet courageous and strong.

cinderella 2015

And these glass slippers! OMG! 🙂

Regardless of the reasons, Cinderella is a simple love story and this version remembers to keep the elements of the original animated version except giving us a live version full of wonderful performances from cast.  It introduces lots of sharp colors, breathtaking location/set, beautiful CGI and an enchanting score to enforce the magic.  Sure, its not exactly as memorable as the animated Disney Classic but there’s still a lot to love about this. I’d gladly watch this again and get the Blu-ray when it comes out.  My suggestion, if fairy tales are your cup of tea, head out to the theatres to see it because its worth your time and money just to capture the true beauty of it.

Fun fact (paraphrased from the Cineplex magazine, March/April 2015): More than 250 metres of fabric was used in the making of the blue gown worn by Lily James.  Three time Oscar winning costume designer Sandy Powell also used more than 10,000 Swarovski crystals and three miles of stitching to complete the dress.  Impressed? Multiply those numbers by nine.  Nine copies of the ball gown were created for the shoot.

Have you seen Cinderella? Are you planning to? Just out of the blue, which Disney princess do you like best?