Currently browsing the "Romance" category.

Review: The Half of It

If you’re looking for a light as air romantic comedy, Netflix has you covered with its latest Cyrano de Bergerac retread. In this version, set in a Pacific Northwest high school, a Chinese-American girl with prodigious verbal gifts agrees to ghostwrite a love letter for an inarticulate jock to a beautiful girl who becomes the object of both their desires. It’s a sweet version of the old story and surprisingly charming.

Review: The High Note

Drama? Check. Music? Check. Romance? Check.

The High Note delivers all the required elements for a satisfying, mainstream-friendly chick flick, though it could have scored higher if not for a few flaws: there’s a twist you’ll see coming a mile away; it could use more music, drama and romance; and the character development is a bit on the shallow side. But it’s still an entertaining watch in, or out of, quarantine. The movie is reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada except that it’s set in the LA music scene rather than the NY fashion scene, and it features the overworked personal assistant to a notorious pop diva, rather than the overworked personal assistant to a notorious magazine editor.

Quickie Review: The LoveBirds

Oh, LoveBirds, how cruel you are! Setting us up to believe we’re in for a fun, engaging romantic comedy, then plunging us into the depths of stupidity for a solid hour before ending with a formulaic flourish. If you took only the very worst parts of Issa Rae’s recent romantic drama The Photograph and Kumail Nanjiani’s recent action crime comedy Stuber, then you’d have the bulk of The LoveBirds. The movie takes the likeable pair and puts them in the middle of a painfully absurd murder mystery that even by Netflix romcom standards is a major disappointment.

Quickie Review: The Wrong Missy

File this one under “lame escapism.” I’ve taken to watching new films that are trending on Netflix since that’s about as close as we can get right now to what’s new at the box office. If I’d gone to see The Wrong Missy in a theater, I’d probably want a refund. But as quarantine entertainment, The Wrong Missy gets a wide berth. It’s a formulaic, sometimes raunchy, sometimes absurd, occasionally funny adult romantic comedy starring an unlikely pair of romantic leads in comedic actors David Spade and Lauren Lapkus. It’s not suitable for family viewing: There’s significant over-use of the F-word; a lot of sexual content (albeit clothed); and some situational gags that clearly scream “don’t try this at home.”

Review: Love Wedding Repeat

My “Cinema Clash” podcast partner Charlie asked if I had watched Love Wedding Repeat on Netflix yet, suggesting it was a “Hannah movie.” In theory, he was right. It’s a chick flick, a romantic comedy with a potentially engaging premise, and British actor Sam Claflin (Me Before You, Adrift, Journey’s End) channeling the RomCom sensibilities of Hugh Grant. Given the dearth of new releases during the current pandemic, I figured it was worth checking out. Sadly, I was the one checking out mentally as the 100-minute movie meandered along at a surprisingly slow pace. I kept waiting for the plot to kick in. Or the romance. Or the comedy. Love Wedding Repeat is short on all three. Claflin’s chops – and charm – are sorely wasted. Even the film’s backdrop – Italy! – is wasted, as most of the “action” takes place during an indoor wedding reception.

COVID-19 Streaming List

Just in case you’re caught at home wondering what you can do to pass the time, here’s a list of films that, if you haven’t seen, you should, and if you have you might want to watch again. There’s something for everyone. All of these are streaming right now and we’ll post more later, if need be.

Review: I Still Believe

I Still Believe is squarely aimed at the faith-based crowd and fans of popular Christian music singer Jeremy Camp. So if you fall into that particular demographic, then I do believe that I Still Believe will strike a chord. It tells the true-life story of Camp’s meet-cute and instant attraction to Melissa, a fellow student at Calvary Chapel Bible College in California. They married in 2000, and she died four months later of ovarian cancer at the age of 21. The personal tragedy inspired Camp to write what would become a hit worship song called – you guessed it – “I Still Believe.”

Review: EMMA.

I generally don’t go out of my way to see a period drama (especially one with a period in the title), and I never got around to reading much Jane Austen. But I did rather like the 2016 film adaptation of Austen’s 1790 novella Love and Friendship, and EMMA. appeared to be cut from a similar cloth, so I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did. It’s another solid, well-acted and pleasant romantic dramedy that Austen fans in particular will surely find amusing.

Review: Ordinary Love

Ordinary Love offers a master class in quiet, meaningful, relatable and subtle performances from two veteran actors, Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) and Liam Neeson (Taken, Schindler’s List). They play Joan and Tom, a loving, long-married couple whose comfortable routine is disrupted by an unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer. The film shines a light on the everyday challenges a couple can face while attempting to navigate uncertainty, illness and grueling treatments with a sense of humor, grace and intimacy. There’s also tremendous sadness, anxiety, frustration and fear.

Review: Olympic Dreams

Olympic Dreams is an odd little indie meet-cute that takes elements of a romantic dramedy, sports movie and documentary, puts them in a blender, and spits out an uneven story that is overshadowed by a very cool setting: the 2018 Winter Olympic games in PyeongChang, South Korea. It’s about a relationship that develops between cross-country skier Penelope (Alexi Pappas) and volunteer dentist Ezra (Nick Kroll). They are two lost souls at a crossroads in life.