For advent last year, I tried to watch a Christmas every day leading up to Christmas. I’m pretty sure that I managed it but I can’t actually remember. I was supposed to be posting each film on my Instagram story but I kept losing track of which day I was on. In the end, it was just better for everyone that I gave up. This year, I’ve vowed to do the same thing and, hopefully, keep up with my Instagram story record. I was already getting into the festive spirit thanks to The Princess Switch: Switched Again. So, I decided to keep the joy going with the most ridiculous looking film that I could find on Netflix. To be fair, I have already watched a lot of the shitty Christmas films on there for the TBT posts in past years. It left with one of the horrifying Nativity series or this monstrosity.
Book Review – Q by Christina Dalcherbooks, reviews
As we’ve already discussed, I’m a petty and stubborn person. I stayed up way too late on the 31st August to make sure that I finished this damn book before the month was over. After all, I had already included it in my August Reading Wrap-Up and I didn’t want to miss my book count of 10. Thankfully, I did manage it and I didn’t end up being too late a night. The question is, was the book worth it? I wasn’t exactly expecting a great deal from this book because I really hadn’t thought much of Vox. When I wrote my review of Christina Dalcher’s previous novel, I discussed the rise of feminist dystopia and how bored I was with it. I guess, on the plus side, Dalcher has taken a broader approach. Women don’t exactly have it easy in this one but at least it wasn’t another literary world specifically created to torture women into submission.
TBT Review – How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)films, reviews, TBT
As I suggested in my review of How to Build a Girl, there was an obvious choice for a companion TBT film. Almost Famous is a clear bedfellow for Caitlin Moran’s coming-of-age tale. The only problem is, I never want to watch Almost Famous again. I know that I’m in a tiny minority of people but I really don’t get what the fuss was about. It just seemed a bit too overindulgent and facile. It was pure Hollywood and didn’t really speak much to me or my experiences. I don’t understand why people adore it so much. So I needed to find an alternative. I went for another Kate Hudson film. Not one I was any more excited to watch but one that I could at least sit through. Handily, she plays a journalist who tries to get ahead by being unnecessarily mean. Oh, and it has “how to” in the title. Not a bad companion film after all.
Book Review – Those People by Louise Candlishbooks, reviews
I must have bought a copy of this book when it was super cheap on the Kindle store because it definitely isn’t the kind of thing that I normally have much hope in. I’ve also never read anything by Louise Candlish before. Still, there was obviously a time when it appealed to me and I ended up buying the ebook and audiobook version. After finishing Animal Farm last week, I decided that I wanted to read something silly and an audiobook sounded like a great idea. I’ve been so tired that even reading exhausts me. I had reached a point when I couldn’t get my way through a chapter before I started falling asleep and I hate stopping halfway. It just makes me feel uneasy. As if I’ll have no idea where I am when I start reading again.
Tuesday Review – Love Wedding Repeat (2020)films, reviews
As we’ve seen in the past few Tuesday Reviews, I’m not a fan of Netflix comedies. What I’m even less of a fan of is romantic-comedies. What I’m even less of fan of than romantic-comedies are quirky romantic-comedies based around weddings. So, a Netflix original quirky romantic comedy based around a wedding really wasn’t the film I was desperate to watch. Under normal circumstances, I’d have pretended that this film didn’t exist and go on my merry way. But this is the “new normal”. We have to get used to a new way of life and maybe that includes not ignoring everything that looks really shit?
There’s a point in Love Wedding Repeat where it looks as if we’re about to go back and replay all of the story again but with one element slightly altered. When that moment arrived, I was almost sick at the thought of having to sit through everything again. Thankfully, it doesn’t go quite that far but it should tell you everything about the first half of the film. Was this the first comedy film that Netflix got right? Not at all. What we get is a very uninspiring and overused premise. Somebody clearly thought that this film was going to revive the rom-com tradition that Richard Curtis made work for him in the 90s but, instead, this is just embarassing. It has a feel of Steven Moffat’s Coupling about it but it has the terrible writing and boring storylines of Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner for Doctor Who.
Love Wedding Repeat is actually a remake of a French film, Plan de Table. It takes us to Rome and the day that Hayley marries her Italian fiance, Roberto. When an old flame of Hayley’s turns up ready to ruin the wedding, she asks her brother, Jack, to help out. By giving him a dose of her potent sleeping drops. Jack puts the drugs into Marc’s empty champagne glass. Unfortunately, a group of meddling kids move the names around so everyone is in different seats. Instead of Marc, Hayley’s actor friend, Bryan, is drugged. This means Jack can’t concentrate on flirting with Hayley’s American friend, Dina, who he met in Rome 3 years ago but failed to make a move on. Instead, he has to run around preventing Marc dropping a bombshell and making sue Bryan doesn’t make a fool of himself in front of a famed Italian director.
The central idea for this film is how many possible paths there are to take in life. The knowledge that it takes a certain chain of events to end in one particular moment in time. Just take the 8 people sat around a table at a wedding. They could be arranged in thousands of different ways and each one would cause a different outcome. Life is about taking chances and hoping that it’s the right one. Through several brief glimpses of alternate timelines, we see that very few of the arrangements of people at the table will lead to a happy ending for the newly married couple. Love, we are told, can be derailed by the slightest thing. So, the message here is that love is kind of meaningless and just comes down to chance, right? Or are we being told that such tiny odds means love is all about fate? I don’t know and I doubt anyone making this film knew either.
It feels like this film didn’t really have a plan besides the create an ensemble farce that takes place at a wedding bit. Love Wedding Repeat has the air of a much more intelligent film but it’s just stupid. It doesn’t even know how to be funny and has to rely on dick jokes and people slipping roofies into champagne. This kind of story should write itself but it’s gone horribly wrong somewhere. There are a few sort of funny moments and some strong-ish performances. However, the majority of the actors are just dull and flat. And let’s be honest, even though I was glad we didn’t properly repeat the narrative a bunch of times, the way the film gets around it is sloppy and adds nothing to the plot. It’s a waste and it makes it hard to see what the point of that motif is.
Remember when Deadpool came out and Olivia Munn made a really bitchy comment about how she turned down the role of Vanessa because she didn’t want to play a girlfriend again? She wanted to fight and not just be eye candy. Obviously, she went on to play Psylocke and we know how that turned out. But, watching this film, I have to wonder what she thought she was signing up for with this film. Her role as Dina is the definition of eye candy. Yes, there is a moment where they try and give her a tragic backstory but it’s never presented with any weight. Nobody involved in the film, either in reality or on screen, gives a shit who Dina is or where she comes from. She’s just there for slow fuzzy zooms on her beautiful face. Although, it might explain why she didn’t want to play “the girlfriend”. Her lack of chemistry with Sam Claflin here suggests she wouldn’t be able to sell it.
I’d be tempted to suggest that Love Wedding Repeat is one of those Netflix films that was purposefully made to be as bad as possible. The ones like A Christmas Prince where the streaming service relies on word of mouth to get people to watch it. They know people love shit films so they continually knock out cheap and shit films so people criticse them on social media. But I’m not actually sure that’s what is happening here. For one thing, it’s not as over-the-top in its shitness as most of their films are. For another, this film lacks that self-awareness that the majority of their romantic-comedies have. Someone, somewhere clearly thought that they were onto a winner here and I don’t see why. There’s is nothing funny nor particularly romantic about this film. It’s not so bad that you remember if after you’ve seen it. I can still remember almost everything that happened in A Christmas Prince but I had to Google so much of this film. I only saw it yesterday. Netflix is really scraping the barrle with this one and that’s saying something.
TBT – Tekken (2009)films, reviews, TBT
I’m not much of a gamer these days because I don’t have the time. I thought about jumping on the Animal Crossing bandwagon but I haven’t picked up my Switch since my birthday. It’s not worth spending the money for a few minutes use. Maybe when it’s cheaper. Back in the day, I spent most of my spare time playing video games. I’m not one of those gamers who likes MMOs but I enjoyed the classics. I recently started playing San Andreas again for the first time since I was a kid and it’s amazing. Yeah, the graphics are a bit dodgy by today’s standards but you can’t fault it as a whole. When we were kids, my sister and I used to be obsessed with the Tekken franchise. Mostly Tekken 3 on our Playstation. God, we played that game loads. My absolute favourite character was Julia Chang. She did this triple kick that was amazing. But that’s really beside the point. The point is, I’d never seen the Tekken film until this week. I just didn’t want to risk. We all know how terrible films based on video games can be.
Book Review – Blood Orange by Harriet Tycebooks, reviews
Recently, there was a drama on Channel 4 starring David Tennant called Deadwater. I was really excited about it because, you know, David Tennant but I only ended up watching the first episode. It just didn’t grip me but that’s okay. The reason that I bring it up is that I read a review about it that revealed a big plot twist. The review talked about how great and unexpected it was. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The twist was so obvious that you could tell from the trailer. It’s infuriating. Am I seeing something different from other people? Or are they just unwilling to see what’s right in front of their face? Maybe I’m just too cynical to take anything at face value? I don’t know but what I do know is that psychological thrillers never surprise me these days. Just look back at all my book reviews for this genre and you’ll see the phrase “painfully obvious” crop up plenty of times. I just don’t think anyone has any original ideas anymore. All psychological thrillers try and do is be darker and sexier than the last one. And, though I’m happy for those things to exist in a book, they shouldn’t be the only reason for a novel’s existence. There is no substance in novels like that. It’s just a writer trying to shock but not being good enough to hide their intentions. It makes me angry to see so many shit books being published and then praised by so many people. Of course, I also never learn and continually get drawn into them. Most recently with this one.
Bonus Review – Cats (2019)films, reviews
Do you know who I blame for Cats? All of you. All of you who came out of Les Miserables thinking “that wasn’t bad”. All of you who applauded Ann Hathaway’s Oscar win for being snotty while singing a song that made Susan Boyle famous. All of you who proclaimed that Russell Crowe wasn’t as bad as you’d thought. All of you who thought Amanda Seyfried was anything other then screechy. All of you who thought Tom Hooper’s decision to stick a camera really close in his actor’s face was anything but him showing off. You made his already ego trip of a movie seem justified. Les Miserables wasn’t a good representation of a musical. It was just one long film where Tom Hooper was showing off. But it fucking worked. And now he’s made this abomination and its all your fault. I knew this would happen. Okay, I didn’t know exactly this would happen but I knew we were playing a dangerous game. If you’ve seen Cats and you regret it, just remember, the few of us who didn’t like Les Mis tried to warn you.
TBT – Daddy’s Home 2 (2017)films, reviews, TBT
I watched the first Daddy’s Home film because I have a secret of Mark Wahlberg. And by love, I mean I appreciate how much he’s willing to make fun of himself. It must have been after watching The Other Guys, the first film he did with Will Ferrell. It was so much better than I ever would have believed and Wahlberg was a big part of that. Although, I can’t pretend that I enjoyed the film. I didn’t. I just think the pair were super funny together. Funny enough to make me want to see their next team-up Daddy’s Home. Once again, it failed to do anything exciting and was a big disappointment. So, I decided to skip the festive follow-up when it was released.
Bonus Review – The Knight Before Christmas (2019)films, reviews
I’m not saying I’m her biggest fan but Vanessa Hudgens has done some good stuff, right? Well, she was in Spring Breakers at least. So it does beg the question, how has she got stuck making awful romantic comedies for Netflix every Christmas? You have to wonder what they have over her? Do they know something she wants to keep secret? Or are they holding someone she loves hostage? We’ll probably never know. What we do know, is that she deserves better than that. Last we had her Christmas version of The Parent Trap/The Lizzie McGuire Movie with The Princess Switch. It was dreadful and she was forced to speak with a dreadful British accent for one of the roles. This year, she’s back with The Knight Before Christmas. And I have to say, I bloody love that title. Obviously, I love a pun in any situation but a Christmas pun too? There is a lot of potential in that title alone. But surely, knowing what we do about Netflix Christmas films, it wouldn’t live up to?