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?

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Sunday Lists: Must-Watch Romantic Movies [updated regularly]

Romance films has been a staple of my life. Whether its romantic comedies or romantic dramas, they all have a spot in my life. With that said, as much as I tolerate a lot of romance films and enjoy a lot of them, there are a selected few that make my must-watch list and because of that, they are also ones that I happen to watch on repeat.

This list is organized alphabetically and not by best to worst. This list will be updated regularly.

A Walk to Remember (2002)

Review

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Review

Blue Jay (2016)

Blue Jay

Review

Dirty  Dancing (1987)

Review

The First Time (2012)

the first time

Review

Flipped (2010)

Review

In Your Eyes (2004)

Review

Moulin Rouge (2001)

Mr. Right (2015)

Mr. Right

Review

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Review

Princess Bride (1987)

Stardust (2007)

Review

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Review

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

Whilesleepingposter

Review

That’s it for now! What are your favorite must-watch romance films?
Share them in the comments.

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.

Ultimate 90’s Blogathon: Sleepless in Seattle (1993) by Life of this City Girl

ultimate 90's blogathon

We are wrapping week 2 of Ultimate 90’s Blogathon with an entry by Natasha from Life of this City Girl. She’s here with a review of Sleepless in Seattle, a great follow-up with another Meg Ryan movie from last year’s When Harry Met Sally. If you haven’t been to Life of this City Girl, she does book, movies and TV series reviews. Remember to head over to give her some love after you’re done here!

Movie Review: Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Sleepless in Seattle

Hey everyone! Natasha here from Life of This City Girl. I’m so excited today to share with you a review I did for two of my favorite bloggers’ 90’s marathon. Thanks Kim and Drew for letting me take part! (and also making me watch this again)

I chose Sleepless in Seattle because 1) it meets the criteria and 2) I’ve really always been meaning to watch this film again. I’m not even going to pretend that I’m one of those girls who don’t love a good romantic comedy – I love them and I’m not afraid to admit it. The older ones are undeniably better than the newer ones, both in dialogue and acting, so it is always a real pleasure getting to them.

Sleepless in Seattle is really dialogue heavy. I like a film where the characters talk and there is sense to the chatter so for me to end up being frustrated with the amount of conversation going on, it must be quite intense. Some of the comedic timing seemed off and misplaced, and the parts I’m sure was created as jokes weren’t funny at all. It could have been the whole me-being-born-in-the-wrong-decade thing, and I simply don’t get the way they made jokes back then.

I also feel like I have to mention the amount of stereotypes the film bludgeoned into its’ watchers that I was none too pleased with. It was a given that these females were desperately looking for a husband – not someone to share a life with, just a title to change your name and status and follow the neat path the world set out for you. It is also downright insulting to all the wonderful single fathers out there that there is this constant insinuation that if you are a man, you need a woman with you to properly raise a kid. We all know it is not true! The director used a sledgehammer laced with zero subtlety informing us that women cry for romantic movies and men like action movies. I retched. Metaphorically, but I retched.

Apart from that, I found the film quite fun. Sleepless in Seattle is innocent and sweet. No kissy time even. The kid is adorable and I generally prefer movies without children. Rosie O’Donnell is one of those amazing women who emits sarcasm with perfectly pleasant facial expressions. It is a great attribute and gave me some good laughs during the film.

Sleepless in Seattle is not my favorite nineties film by far, but I can see why it is considered a classic. I also always have a good laugh about the fashion back then. I’m glad to report that everyone had better hair in the nineties than they did in the eighties, because that was bad, and although the clothes weren’t completely yet where we needed them to be, everyone was looking so much better. I am still really glad I didn’t have to wear all those bulky suits they forced women to wear when we started entering the workplace in earnest.
Sleepless in Seattle
The ending was naturally very cute and I enjoyed it, but sheesh, I wish we lived in a world where you’d be alive after meeting a random stranger in New York and immediately take his hand and go frolicking into the sunset. If he also looked like young Tom Hanks, I’d be so on board!

To sum this up I enjoyed this film more than just a bit. I wouldn’t rate it as first on a 90’s list or as a romantic comedy, but it is fun and sweet.

Thanks again guys!

Thanks to Natasha for a great review on Sleepless in Seattle! 🙂
Be sure to head over to Drew’s Movie Reviews on Monday for the next entry!

Valentine’s Marathon: Mr. Right (2015)

And the Valentine’s Marathon finally starts! There’s only like a five day countdown to the actual day, not that it really means anything much to myself but its a nice excuse to jump into some romantic comedies and other romance dramas. I finally managed to find time to get some of it done.

The first one was actually quite unexpected but I wanted to be spontaneous so I ended up choosing Mr. Right. Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell, what can go wrong, right?

Let’s check it out!

Mr. Right (2015)

Mr. Right

Director: Paco Cabezas

Cast: Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick, Tim Roth, James Ransone, Anson Mount, Michael Eklund, RZA, Katie Nehra

A girl falls for the “perfect” guy, who happens to have a very fatal flaw: he’s a hitman on the run from the crime cartels who employ him. – IMDB

It always feels good to start up a movie and right away, the comedy tone is exactly what you’d like. Mr. Right was exactly what I liked about it. It helps that I’m a fan of Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick. Mr. Right isn’t perfect for sure. The story itself has some pretty awkward and great moments. Some other fun times and there’s a tad of action here and there but the true stars of the movie in this rather messy plot line that seems to really work best when Sam Rockwell and/or Anna Kendrick is on screen. Lucky for us (and the movie as a whole), they are in a lot of scenes. Our villain is a little undefined because there’s Tim Roth’s character hunting down Sam Rockwell, that trickles into a somewhat silly but manipulative plot of these brothers and their feud, who are the obvious baddies. Mr. Right works in all the odd and awkward ways.

Mr. Right

Mr. Right has a great cast headlining for it. Anna Kendrick plays as Martha, a girl freshly broken up and in the recovering days, she meets Mr. Right (aka Francis), played by Sam Rockwell. Anna Kendrick as Martha sometimes reminds me a little of Tina Fey. That is a great thing because Tina Fey’s humor usually works for me. Anna Kendrick however carries herself nicely as the sweet but unique girl. Martha is a colorful character. She has weird thought processes and connects odd things together and right from the child of her aspiring to be a T-Rex, we already know we’re in for some fun times. There are not enough words to describe how fantastic Anna Kendrick plays this role into a believable manner. Its hard for us to find someone so awkward also but she does in Mr. Right, a hitman with a reverse psychology to not only dance his way out of situations, view a connection to the objects around him to predict when and where things will drop but also kill the people who hire him because murder is wrong. Mr. Right is on the run but when he misses Martha, he feels the connection right away and it changes who he is a lot because he doesn’t want to lose her. In just a short few days, the connection between Martha and Francis are amazing. Odd and awkward but incredibly cute and fun. Props goes to Sam Rockwell for being able to pull off such a crazy character but also to both of them for delivering incredible chemistry. Even without the action and fighting and guns, watching them both was charming and adorable and entertaining to no end.

Mr. Right

I’m a fan of Tim Roth. I’ve liked him since his role in Lie to Me. He was the highlight of 2015’s The Hateful Eight (even if I didn’t like the movie). Yet here, his character is interesting to say the least. Its hard to say its bad but probably more underused. Tim Roth plays Hopper, the mentor of Francis who is now hunting him down to set him straight from what he thinks is pathetic ways. However, Hopper also is a master of disguises and when he acts as a cop in New Orleans, his accent actually sounds pretty bad. Not that I’m an expert at accents but it felt a little fake, which it is, of course. In many ways, if this plot was only about Hopper chasing down Francis and then Francis falling for Martha, perhaps it would be more neat.

Mr. Right

However, we then step into the other plot point of the actual baddies which are brothers in feud where the younger Von, played by James Ransone, is trying to use Francis’s reverse hitman oddity to his advantage and get rid of his brother, Richie, played by Anson Mount who now runs the show. Von has the help of Johnny Moon, played by Michael Eklund (who I recently complimented for his role as the bad guy in The Call). These guys are all idiots on purpose, meaning the script wrote them like that and its these moments that give the movie a comedic action moments and in all honestly, with a story that doesn’t really have much going for it with these bad guys and whatever they are up to, that is what makes it all the more entertaining. It actually boosts the characters of Francis and especially Martha as she breaks out of her shell and embraces her crazy making her really the perfect match for her Mr. Right.

Mr. Right

You know what? The more I write about it and think about Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick as Mr. Right/Francis and Martha, I just can’t help but love them more and more. Sure, Mr. Right has a few flaws, mostly in a somewhat messy plot with supporting characters not used to their full potential but there’s something special here. Its entertaining and has some really great comedic moments. The chemistry between Francis and Martha is awesome and made me love them and cheer for them in all the weirdest ways to actually believing that they are in fact, perfect for each other. And Francis compliments Martha in the oddest moments during the movie and its kinda cute and sweet and hilarious all at the same time. Action-romantic comedy dose totally fulfilled here.

Have you seen Mr. Right? Are you a fan of Anna Kendrick and/or Sam Rockwell?

When Harry Met Sally by Life of This City Girl – Ultimate 80s Blogathon

We’re almost at the end of the Ultimate 80s Blogathon with just one more guest contribution tomorrow. Today’s fantastic choice is by Natasha from Life of This City Girl.
Head over and check out her review on When Harry Met Sally! 🙂

Drew's Movie Reviews

Welcome to the penultimate review from our guests for the Ultimate 80s Blogathon! Today, Natasha from Life of This City Girl takes a look at the romantic comedy classic When Harry Met Sally.  Natasha writes reviews for all kinds of movies and TV series, as well as participates in the blindspot series and 100 Happy Days, plus much more. There is a lot going on at her site so go give it a look if you don’t follow her already.  But for now, let’s look at her thoughts on When Harry Met Sally.


HarrySallycover2 Plot : Harry and Sally have known each other for years, and are very good friends, but they fear sex would ruin the friendship

Rating: 8.5/10

Goodness! I am so happy that Kim and Drew got this idea – it made me actually sit down and watch this movie, something that I’ve been meaning to…

View original post 425 more words

Valentine Marathon: No Reservations (2007)

Next up in the Valentine Marathon is another little movie with a lovely actress that I haven’t watched in a while, Catherine Zeta-Jones.  I’ve never even heard of this one until it popped up on Netflix.  When you put rom-com, food/cooking and a fine cast together, there is no question how this one, No Reservations, ended up on my rundown.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

NO RESERVATIONS (2007)

no reservations

Director: Scott Hicks

Cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin, Patricia Clarkson, Jenny Wade, Bob Balaban, Brian F. O’Byrne

 Kate is one of the best chefs in town running the kitchen at 22 Bleecker Restaurant in Manhattan. She lives by a set of rules and her life is the restaurant neglecting everything else that she needs.  Her boss, Paula (Patricia Clarkson) makes her go to therapy to hopefully ensure that she won’t offend any more clients.  However, when her sister has an accident, she is given the role to take care of her young niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin). While she’s away, Paula hires an opera singing, Italian cuisine-inspired Nick (Aaron Eckhart) to help out in the kitchen. Somehow, Nick makes her throw her rulebook out the window as she becomes more and more attracted to him.

No ReservationsI don’t know if it happens to other people but writing reviews for romantic comedies get a little challenging after writing a whole bunch.  A lot of times, its not so much to look at.  No Reservations was one that I enjoyed.  It was surprisingly fun to watch and although there was emphasis on food, the story itself was pretty formulaic and predictable.  I’m not saying thats a problem for me but that is a flaw that most romantic comedies tend to have.  Just being objective.  While it was an extremely simple story, the cast really made this a lot better than what it should be. Looking at the cast, can you doubt any of their skills? I’m not such a connoisseur of Catherine Zeta-Jones but she is a classy lady.  Aaron Eckhart has been an increasing favorite and lets not even get me started on my personal favorite of Abigail Breslin.  And although Patricia Clarkson has only supporting roles most times, I can’t remember one that I didn’t like.

no reservations

Whats a romantic comedy without talking about the chemistry of the leading man and lady? We’ve already established that the cast is what won me over in No Reservations.  Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the very uptight Kate and because of that, sometimes the things she says and does are pretty funny.  She’s not so good at dealing with people: not her therapist, not customers who criticize her food, or people who question her lead in the kitchen and especially not a little girl that she had to suddenly take on.  And thats how the balance of her when we see Aaron Eckhart’s Nick jump on screen, there’s a lot of funny moments.  Her issues are suddenly diminished because of his appearance even without her knowing it and when she does break out of her shell and takes life out of her kitchen and focuses on the more important things, her character becomes even more lovely to watch.

no reservations

Aaron Eckhart’s character, Nick is written pretty standard but somehow he adds a little flare and charm to it.  Who expects this guy who comes from Italian cuisine and Kate expects him to challenge her master chef position but in fact, he turns it around and shows her respect making her think that he wants to be there because he praises her cooking but still keeping his style.  He comes in singing opera and having the whole kitchen do it with him and then he’s the one that helps Kate convince and open up her niece’s appetite and then he kind of charms his way into her life by opening her eyes to the world outside of her rules. Aaron Eckhart has this rebellious charm always and anyone else with less presence on the screen with this role wouldn’t have had the same effect.

no reservations

If we talk child actresses, Abigail Breslin in her younger roles always took my heart away.  She is not only adorable but she has this strong character that makes her really fun to watch.  Plus, she knows how to use those emotions and capture a role.  In here, she’s a little girl who loses her mother suddenly and is forced to live with her aunt who really doesn’t understand her really well, nor does she actually care enough and doesn’t even seem to make that much effort.  Zoe’s role in this is the bridge to Kate and Nick’s relationship and the little adventures that Nick and Zoe have are absolutely fun to watch: making pizzas and pancakes and making a pretty boring and routine lifestyle that Kate leads into something with a lot more excitement.

Overall, No Reservations is a romantic comedy that took me by surprise and it was a pleasant surprise.  I might not remember it or run out to add it to my collection right away but it gave me a few laughs here and there.  Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta-Jones brought on a really sweet chemistry and Abigail Breslin made me smile because she was so lovable and adorable to watch.  Its a little formulaic and predictable but somehow this somehow charmed me 🙂

Have you seen No Reservations? What are you thoughts on Aaron Eckhart/Catherine Zeta-Jones/Abigail Breslin? Do you have any favorite movies with them?