Cinema Clash Podcast: Antebellum; Blackbird; The Way I See It; H is for Happiness; Cobra Kai

Currently browsing posts by Hannah Buchdahl.

Review: Enola Holmes

Raise your hand if you knew legendary fictional detective Sherlock Holmes had a sister? I didn’t. But then again, I grew up in the Nancy Drew era. I wasn’t aware of the emergence of the Nancy Springer young adult book series “The Enola Holmes Mysteries,” starting with “The Case of the Missing Marquess” (2006). Those books, and the Enola Holmes movie, honor the Sherlock Holmes canon (launched by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887) while offering up a fresh, female perspective designed to inspire and empower girls and young women. Now let me clue you in:

Quickie Review: Kajillionaire

Kajillionaire is flush with quirk. It’s an odd dramedy about a family of con artists comprised of Theresa (Debra Winger), Robert (Richard Jenkins), and their 26-year-old daughter Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood). All her life, Old Dolio has been taught to swindle, steal and scam at every opportunity. It’s all she knows, because it’s all her parents know. But then, during a hastily-conceived heist, a stranger named Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) enters their midst and turns Old Dolio’s world upside down. Melanie gives Old Dolio a chance to experience normal human interaction and childhood pleasures (pancakes!) for the first time, leaving Old Dolio to question whether her parents truly love her or simply view her as a pawn in their endless game of chicanery.

Cinema Clash Podcast: Antebellum; Blackbird; The Way I See It; H is for Happiness; Cobra Kai

Need a break from reading? Take a listen to the Cinema Clash podcast to hear me (Mainstream Chick) debate and discuss a slew of flicks including Antebellum, Blackbird, The Way I See It; and the Aussie feel-good flick, H is for Happiness. Plus, a shout-out to my latest guilty-pleasure binge watch, “Cobra Kai” on Netflix. And hear my cinema nemesis Charlie give his take on a few things I did not have a chance to watch – The Devil All the Time, I’ve Got Issues, and The Long Way Up. Check it out.

Review: H is for Happiness

Some weeks are more crowded than others with viewing options so H is for Happiness almost escaped my radar. Don’t let that happen to you! The synopsis – and my craving for a feel-good film – reeled me in: “Set in the colourful Australian coastal town of Albany, H IS FOR HAPPINESS is a classic feel-good film for all ages that will make you laugh, cry, and cheer with delight. Based on the award-winning book ‘My Life as an Alphabet’ by Barry Jonsberg, it is the genuinely heart-warming and unflinchingly honest story of one twelve-year-old’s determination to bring her family back from the brink and spark happiness in their lives.”

That pretty much sums it up. H is for Happiness is a delightful movie, starring two kids with extremely bright futures in the acting biz.

Review: The Way I See It

Lest you be reluctant to watch another ‘political documentary’ as we steam toward Election Day (I know I was), please take note: The Way I See It is not so much about politics as it is about humanity, compassion, integrity and leadership – as captured in a series of fascinating photographs featuring two iconic Presidents – Republican and Democrat. And, it is most definitely worth seeing.

Quickie Review: Antebellum

Antebellum could have been a seminal film for the times – if the story made any sense. It aims high, but gets bogged down in a metaphorical morass about past and present issues relating to race, class and gender. The film is billed as a high-concept psychological thriller/horror movie from the producers of the Jordan Peele gems Get Out and Us. But it fails to measure up, and the ending is far from satisfying. Fortunately, it was under two hours so the time did not feel like a total waste. More like a disappointment.

Review: The Broken Hearts Gallery

After a string of romantic dramedies best described as watchable but weak, along comes The Broken Hearts Gallery, a funny, smart and satisfying meet-cute that is – rather sadly – opening only in actual theaters. The movie puts a fresh spin on a tried and true formula with a pair of likeable leads in Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan, Blockers) and Nick (Dacre Montgomery, TV’s Stranger Things). Plus, a dash of Bernadette Peters!

Review: The Social Dilemma

Let’s say I write up a quick review on this documentary about the double-edged sword that is social media, search engines and our addiction to smart phones. And then I post the review to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Then you like, comment, or share it (wishful thinking, perhaps). And then you start getting ads and posts relating to what you commented on. And like-minded friends (and maybe a few strangers) weigh in on what you liked, commented on, or shared. And then you start getting all sorts of similar posts and ads relating to the subject matter of this review.

That, in a nutshell, is the point of The Social Dilemma, available now on Netflix. We apparently are all puppets on a social string, manipulated by a small number of engineers in Silicon Valley tasked with monetizing all those “free” services and platforms we devote “x number of hours” to on a daily basis. Cue the alarm emoji!

Quickie Review: Love, Guaranteed

The only thing guaranteed about Love, Guaranteed is that you’ll barely remember watching it. In fact, I almost forgot to write this review. As Netflix original romcoms go, this one is just plain weak. The premise seems engaging enough: An earnest do-gooder of a lawyer named Susan (Rachael Leigh Cook) desperately needs to pay some bills to keep her small office afloat. So she agrees to take the case of Nick (Damon Wayans Jr.), a charming, high-paying client (Damon Wayans Jr.) determined to sue a dating website for fraud. He’s followed all the rules, and the fine print – going on at least 1,000 dates (“breakfast, lunch and dinner”) – but alas, no love match. He not only wants his money back – he wants damages as well. To the tune of, say, one-million dollars. Or at least a half-million. Certainly not the piddly 100k the site owner (Heather Graham) is willing to shell out to settle the case. As if you can really put a price on love anyway!

Review: Mulan (2020)

Fortunately, she still brings honor to us all. Only this time, it’s in live action. That means Mulan kicks butt as a warrior – without breaking into song (as she did in the popular 1998 G-rated animated version). The trade-off: strong acting, scenery, and special effects. It’s a bit like watching a Chinese version of Wonder Woman.