To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) ~ Movie Review

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Watch the movie on NETFLIX! Buy the book HERE!

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★ (3.75)
Writing/Story: ★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★★ | Sound: ★★ | Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

Lara Jean Covey writes letters to all of her past loves, the letters are meant for her eyes only. Until one day when all the love letters are sent out to her previous loves. Her life is soon thrown into chaos when her foregoing loves confront her one by one.

MY 2 CENTS:

Now, I need to read the book! I’ve read a number of online reviews that say the movie stayed true to the book and if that’s the case, then like I said… I need to read the book.

Writing/Story: ★★★★

This movie was light hearted and fun. It’s not a “think piece” by any means. It isn’t meant to strike up political debate… or any debate for that matter. It’s just a cute, high school centered, feel-good movie… Well, feel-good in the ‘I’d never want this situation to happen to me, but watching it on screen is a lot of fun’ sort of way.

Since watching the film, I’ve read a lot of reviews… some good and some not so good. Honestly, I don’t get it. This movie is meant to entertain, and it does that. It’s a cute romcom and it seems like the actors are having a great time in their roles.

Cinematography ★★★★

There really wasn’t anything spectacular about the cinematography in this film, but there wasn’t anything bad about it either… so it gets 4 stars!

Sound ★★

Ok, I don’t usually put ‘Sound’ on my list, but this one stood out and not in a good way. There were a couple of times when the sound just went a little wonky, but the one that stands out the most was when Lara Jean confronts her bully in the girl’s bathroom. It sounded like a movie video that was recorded on a very old VHS tape recorder. Not good.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

I think what I liked most about this film was the characters. They felt real and they were relatable. Now, most of that has to do with the writing, I know that. The author of the novel as well as the screenwriter, who adapted the novel, did a great job with character development. By the end of the film, you feel like you know these characters and you can probably relate to at least one of them.

With that said, some of the credit also has to go to the actors. I thought this cast did a great job brining these characters to life.

Lana Condor, as Lara Jean, was cute, spunky, awkward, and the perfect girl next-door.

Noah Centineo, who I have to admit is hit or miss with his acting, did a much better job in this film than in Swiped (2018) a disaster of a film.

Janel Parrish, who played Lara Jean’s older sister Margot, commanded the screen even though her roles was rather small.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“My life was a mess… but I could clean my room.”

TO SUM IT UP:

If you like relaxing with a feel-good movie, then you should watch this one. Grab your popcorn and get cozy. Its 99 minutes of pure enjoyment, where you don’t have to think about all the other pressures in life!  

Have you seen ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’? Let me know your thoughts, in the comments below. As always, I do recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) Trailer:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (the novel)

Lara Jean’s love life gets complicated in this New York Times bestselling “lovely, lighthearted romance” (School Library Journal) from the bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.


Isn’t It Romantic (2019) ~ Movie Review

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SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★ (4.33)

Writing/Story: ★★★★
Cinematography: ★★★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.

MY 2 CENTS:

I won’t lie, I love romantic comedies… they are my guilty pleasure! Plus, I am a huge fan of Rebel Wilson, her comedic timing is amazing. So, after watching the preview, I was all in!

Writing/Story: ★★★★

This movie was clever! Think of every romcom cliché you can… now, imagine them all in one movie… what you get is ‘Isn’t It Romantic’. The thing is, in this film, it works. It’s a parody on romantic comedies… The movie is making fun of all romantic comedies well being one of the funniest, wittiest, and most beguiling romantic comedies I’ve seen in a while.

This story could have gone south… and tanked, but writers Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, and Katie Silberman obviously have a clear understanding of what works in a romantic comedy and what we all make fun of. They gave us a perfect balance of comedy and emotion.

Cinematography ★★★★

I have nothing bad to say about the cinematography in this film… nothing amazing either.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

Rebel Wilson was amazing, as she always is. Her comedic timing alone could have carried the film, if that had been necessary. However, with the cast line up this movie had, there was no question it would be fun to watch.

Having Adam Devine and Rebel Wilson playing off each other, yet again, seemed like one of the most natural things in the world. Their chemistry on film may have started in Pitch Perfect, but I have a feeling it will continue for years to come.

Liam Hemsworth, as Blake, did a great job playing the arrogant, good looking, rich guy… and a bit clueless too.

Betty Gilpin, as Whitney, was fantastic. The part is a bit underrated but Gilpin made the role something to remember. If you don’t know Gilpen, then you need to watch GLOW… she is brilliant!

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“My life’s become a mother-BEEPing romantic comedy and it’s PG-13.”

TO SUM IT UP:

If you like Romcoms… laughing… and just an all around feel good movie, then you should watch this one. Grab a cozy blanket, a bucket of popcorn, a couple glasses of wine (or your favorite beverage), your significant other, and settle in for a great date night in!

Have you seen ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ yet? Let me know your thoughts, in the comments below. Tell me what you thought of the movie. As always, I do recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Isn’t It Romantic (2019) Trailer:

Bright Side by Kim Holden ~ Book Review

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RATING OVERVIEW 4.75 STARS

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★★

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

Secrets.
Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

WOW… I ate this book up, binge reading it in just a couple of days. It is a super-fast read with so much amazing detail.

WRITING (★★★★★): Kim Holden draws you right in with her playful dialogue between life long friends Kate and Gus. Immediately we feel their connection and realize that these two friends have just been separated as Kate left for college and Gus is still home in southern California following his dream of being a Rockstar.

The way Kim tells the story, each chapter from one character’s perspective, really pulled me into the book. It makes you, as a reader, feel more involved and it gives the story an overarching personal feeling that telling it from third person just wouldn’t have accomplished.

STORY (★★★★): This story takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get pissed… but, if you’re like me, you’ll love every minute of it.

A little warning though, this one is for mature audiences. Topics covered in Bright Side include loss, disease, eating disorders, homosexuality, sex, drinking, and SO MUCH MORE!!!

CHARACTERS (★★★★★): As an author, Kim Holden understands character development. She has to be one of my top 5 authors for character development. She had me emotionally connected, not only to the main character Kate but also with Gus, Keller, and everyone else. Seriously, even Kate’s college roommate, who is kind of a jerk, is written in a way that makes her misunderstood… I found myself wanting to know more about her. Who knows, maybe Kim will write a book for her at some point too.

Kate, also known as Bright Side, is a beautiful person inside and out. She is optimistic in every sense of the word and sadly, life has just not been kind to her. She has been dealt a terrible hand, but she doesn’t let it get her down. With every line… even when she is saying Dude every other word, we get a sense of who she is. That is the magic of good character development.

APPEARANCE (★★★★★): Simple… Intriguing… and totally Bright Side! The cover made me smile even before I opened the pages to meet Bright Side!  

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Today, my life is awesome. I don’t want to think about tomorrow. Or the day after that. So I repeat to myself: Today, my life is awesome.”

“Don’t judge each other. We all have our own shit. Keep your eyes on yours and your nose out of everyone else’s unless you’re invited in. And when you get the invitation, help, don’t judge.”

“Imagine for a moment that you were free of all the expectations in your life. What would you do? How would you live your life with no one watching? What would your future look like?”

“Do Epic.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kim lives in what she calls the greatest city in the world: Denver, Colorado. Some of her favorite things: reading, writing, her husband and her son, her bicycle, Facebook, iced coffee, and music. She also loves dreaming. Her advice to anyone reading this, or any of her books… follow your dreams. It’s never too late. Get started today … heck get started RIGHT NOW! Make your dreams reality.
She loves to hear from fellow readers. So, if you want to reach out, find her on Goodreads at author/show/7445352.Kim_Holden

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Also by Kim Holden

GUS (Bright Side Book 2)

This is the story of Gus.
Losing himself.
Finding himself.
And healing along the way.

“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half … the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”

Note from the author: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is recommended for mature audiences.

FRANCO (Bright Side Book 3)

Franco Genovese is the drummer for world renowned American rock band, Rook. He’s got it all. A killer smile. Tattoos. Talent. Razor sharp wit and humor. And a heart as big, and generous, as they come.
Life is good. Steady. Uncomplicated. Just the way he likes things.
Until one night at an unassuming L.A. bar changes everything.
Enter Gemma Hendricks.
She’s a successful young architect from Northern England with an adorable smile, sarcasm for days, and an unparalleled trusting heart.
The attraction is instant.
So is their friendship.
It’s also temporary because they’ll both be heading home, thousands of miles apart from each other, in a few days.
Or is it?
There’s something Gemma wants more than anything else.
And when Franco propositions her to provide what she’s looking for, everything changes.
Will it transform friendship into love, or will it be their ruin?

THE OTHER SIDE

There are two sides to every story.
The surface reality that’s presented to the world…
And then there’s the other side.
The real one.
The one that matters.
Seventeen-year-old, self-proclaimed asshole, Toby Page, is alone.
No friends.
No family.
He trades maintenance work in exchange for room and board.
Every day he fights demons no one else can see.
Every day he wants to give up.
But he can’t.
Not yet.
When Alice Eliot moves in downstairs, she offers Toby some light in his dark world.
At a crossroads and barely hanging on, it’s hard to have perspective.
It’s difficult to see your own worth when you’re the villain in your story.
Luckily for Toby, Alice brings things out in him that no one else ever has.
As the two sides of Toby’s story are revealed, and the full reality comes into view, truth is gained, unlikely heroes emerge, and improbable alliances prove that kindness is fundamentally human.
The question is, Will it all be enough to save him?

ALL OF IT

Seventeen-year-old VERONICA SMITH has it all: a loving family, a funky car named Jezebel, and a plan to go to college after graduation. On the first day of senior year, she meets DIMITRI GLENN–a mysterious transfer student with gray eyes and a mischievous smile who seems determined to win her heart. But there’s something odd about Dimitri, leading Veronica to wonder if there’s more to him than meets the eye. Before long she finds herself in a whirlwind romance that seems too good to be true–until a series of devastating events leaves her questioning everything. It’s not until she chooses to think with her heart instead of her mind that she can rise from the ashes to learn the truth of their connection.

SO MUCH MORE

This is a glimpse into divorce: the lead-up, the aftermath, and the redemption that follows.
Love is strange. It comes out of nowhere. There’s no logic to it. It’s not methodical. It’s not scientific. It’s pure emotion and passion. And emotion and passion can be dangerous because they fuel love…and hate.
I’m now a reluctant connoisseur of both—an expert through immersion. I know them intimately.

When I fell in love with Miranda, it was swift and blind. She was the person I’d elevated to mythical status in my head, in my dreams.
Here’s the thing about dreams, they’re smoke.
They’re spun as thoughts until they become something we think we want. Something we think we need.

That was Miranda. She was smoke.

I thought I wanted her. I thought I needed her.

Over time reality crept in and slowly dissected and disemboweled my dreams like a predator, leaving behind a rotting carcass.

Reality can be a fierce bitch.
So can Miranda.

And I can be a fool…
who believes in dreams.

And people.


Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco ~ Book Review

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  • Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
  • Author: Kerri Maniscalco

RATING OVERVIEW: 4.25 STARS
Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★★

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

I’ve always been fascinated with the minds of serial killers. Not in a creepy way, but in a ‘how could anyone possible do that’ sort of way. My mind tries to understand that which cannot be understood… With that said, I’ve read a number of books about Jack the Ripper and I’ve even played his final victim in the play, The Belles of Whitechapel by Wayne Miller. So, when someone asked me to read and review this book, I jumped at the opportunity.

WRITING (★★★★): Maniscalco’s writing style is detailed and fluid. I love how easily I was swept away to the late 1800’s while Jack the Ripper was roaming the streets. Although, at times, the story seemed to drag, bogged down by unnecessary scenes, it didn’t distract me from the over all story. I loved Maniscalco’s style and am eager to read more.

STORY (★★★★): Audrey Rose, our heroine, is a member of high society expected to attend tea, brunch with the ladies, and accept her place in society as an uneducated woman. However, Audrey Rose doesn’t accept that. She has a passion for knowledge and a curiosity for forensic science. Sneaking behind her father’s back, she studies under the tutelage of her uncle, spending many days elbow deep in the viscera of the latest cadaver.

The author leads us down a few paths, making the reader question who the killer, Jack the Ripper, really is. I’ll admit, I made a couple wrong guesses, but I got it right on my third try about half way through the book. If you pay attention, the clues are there.

CHARACTERS (★★★★): The book has a small cast of primary characters, the two main characters being Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell. We’re also introduced to Audrey’s Uncle Jonathan, her brother Nathaniel, her father Lord Edmund Wadsworth, her Aunt Amelia, and her cousin Liza with a few other thrown in throughout the story.

Audrey Rose isn’t your typical 1800’s lady, but I found her to be fun, feisty, and all around relatable. Like many teenagers, she often acts without thinking, she jumps to conclusions, and she puts herself in dangerous positions. She is strong willed and brave. It’s that bravery and courage that I enjoyed the most about her character. The way she didn’t care about blending in… fitting in… she was who she was and she didn’t care what other people thought about her.

Thomas Cresswell, who fancies Audrey Rose from just about the moment he spots her is the devilishly handsome, smooth talking, bad boy. Or at least that’s what he wants you to believe. I loved the way that he and Audrey play off each other. There is chemistry between them from the start, but back in the 1800’s it wasn’t proper to act on emotions so there is also a lot of restraint. That push and pull of emotions is fun to read.

APPEARANCE (★★★★★): The cover is beautiful. We have a clear image of what Audrey Rose looks like, although, I’ll admit she isn’t the girl I was picturing as I read the book. We also get a visual of her world, the dark streets of Victorian-era London. I think the cover artist did a beautiful job.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”

“Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.”

“In my spare time I flay open bodies of the deceased. Two of whom were victims of leather Apron. The scent that hung in the room would drop a man to his knees, and I aided my uncle during the postmortems while standing in gelled blood. Whatever you have to show us won’t be too much for my stomach to handle, I assure you.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Also by Kerri Maniscalco

Becoming the Dark Prince

In this irresistibly-priced short story, catch a glimpse of the inner struggles and triumphs that drive Stalking Jack the Ripper‘s endearing but troubled hero.
Enigmatic, brooding, and darkly handsome, Thomas Cresswell has always been the one mystery Audrey Rose has never been able to fully solve. As brilliant partners in crime investigation, they understand each other perfectly…

but as young lovers, their passionate natures have led to both euphoria and heartbreak throughout the Stalking Jack the Ripper series.
This novella features a collection of scenes that takes place during and after the pair’s horrifying Atlantic voyage in Escaping From Houdini. Experience new and familiar scenes from Thomas’s unique point of view, including an intensely personal look into his plea for Audrey Rose’s hand in marriage.
With a romance for the ages, Audrey Rose and Thomas reach the conclusion to their epic, irresistible partnership in their final adventure, Capturing the Devil.


Hunting Prince Dracula

In this New York Times bestselling thriller, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life? FEATURES BONUS CONTENT EXCLUSIVE TO THIS PAPERBACK EDITION!

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.


Escaping From Houdini

Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell find themselves aboard a luxurious ocean liner that becomes a floating prison of horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer.

The #1 bestselling series that started with Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula continues its streak in this third bloody installment…. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, Audrey Rose

Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow more and more bizarre. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation before more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?


Capturing the Devil

In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer—or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London.

But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve encountered before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device—is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end—together and in love—or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?


Alita: Battle Angel (2019) – Movie Review

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  • Title: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
  • Director: Robert Rodriguez
  • Writers: James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis
  • Stars: Rosa Salazar (Alita), Christoph Waltz (Dr. Dyson Ido), Jennifer Connelly (Chiren), Mahershala Ali (Vector), and Keean Johnson (Hugo)
  • Genre(s): Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller
  • Runtime: 122 minutes

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★ (4.333)
Writing/Story: ★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★★★ | Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★


IMDB STORYLINE:

Alita is a creation from an age of despair. Found by the mysterious Dr. Ido while trolling for cyborg parts, Alita becomes a lethal, dangerous being. She cannot remember who she is, or where she came from. But to Dr. Ido, the truth is all too clear. She is the one being who can break the cycle of death and destruction left behind from Tiphares. But to accomplish her true purpose, she must fight and kill. And that is where Alita’s true significance comes to bear. She is an angel from heaven. She is an angel of death. Written by Anthony Harmon


MY 2 CENTS:

Writing/Story: ★★★★

This movie was Based on a graphic novel series by Yukito Kishiro. I haven’t read the graphic novel series so I can’t compare them to the movie. I’m just reviewing what I saw on screen and I personally think that James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis did an awesome job with the adaption and that Robert Rodriquez was exactly the right director to bring it to life.  

Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Complete Series Box Set

Right from the start of the film, you are swept away in this mysterious, dangerous new world where nothing is as we know it today yet the societal struggles of class are all too familiar.  

The only think I really had a problem with was the unnecessary romantic storyline. I didn’t really believe the relationship between Alita and the local boy who falls in love with her.

Cinematography:  ★★★★★

I don’t usually call out the cinematographer by name, but this film was so much fun to watch and the imagery that Bill Pope gave us on screen was truly beautiful. The world created in this film is stunning and the effects are amazing!

The motor ball scenes which depict this world’s sporting event are insane. Basically, the players go around a race-track with a metal ball that they have to capture. Its violent and fast-paced, and so exciting. As a movie goer, I was drawn right in.  

The visuals in this world are insane!!! The fight sequences are so exciting. I love a strong female character, but I do think that Alita is a character than all movie goers can enjoy.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

Rosa Salazar was fantastic as Alita and the special effects associated with her character were astounding. I will definitely be checkout out more of her work.

Christoph Waltz was good as Dr. Dyson Ido. You could really feel his fatherly love for Alita as well as his internal struggle with what he was doing just to survive.

I’m a Jennifer Connelly fan but with this film, I felt that her character was really under-utilized. There just wasn’t much character development with her character. I felt like they could have done so much more with her.    

Mahershala Ali was another actor that just felt stagnant in this film. There wasn’t much to his character. He was a puppet and I felt like just about anyone could have played his role.

Keean Johnson who plays Hugo, Alita’s love interest, actually surprised me. No, I didn’t believe the romance between them, but he did a great job with his internal struggle. He so desperately wanted to get up to the upper world and will do, and has done, literally anything he has to do to get there. Then, when he meets Alita his starts to struggle with some of his decisions.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“This is just a body. It’s not bad or good. That part’s up to you.” ~ Dr. Dyson Ido

“You’ve been given a chance to start over with a clean slate. How many of us get that?” ~ Dr. Dyson Ido


TO SUM IT UP:

Overall, I loved this film. I’ve seen some less than flattering reviews on it, but I really enjoyed it and think it was a lot of fun. Sometimes you really just want a fun, strong, unstoppable character and that’s what you get with Alita.

Have you seen Alita: Battle Angel yet? If you have let me know, in the comments below, what you thought of it!

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

View the Official Trailer Below:


Ben Is Back (2018) #SundayScreening Movie Review

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Title: Ben is Back (2018)
Director: Peter Hedges
Writer: Peter Hedges
Stars: Julia Roberts,
Lucas Hedges, and
Courtney B. Vance
Genre: Drama
Length: 1 hr. and 43 minutes

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★ Cinematography:  ★★★ Story: ★★★★ Acting: ★★★★★ Overall: ★★★★.★ (4.25)

STORYLINE:

Ben Is Back follows the charming yet troubled Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben’s wary mother Holly Burns (Julia Roberts) welcomes her beloved son’s return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm’s way. During the 24 hours that may change their lives forever, Holly must do everything in her power to avoid the family’s downfall.

AWARDS:

Lucas Hedges won the award for Best Performance by an Actor 23 and Under at the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Awards. I’m actually surprised this movie didn’t bring in more awards.

MY 2 CENTS:

Writing: ★★★★★ Let me start by admitting that I’ve never suffered with Addiction or known anyone who has, not really. Watching this film, I was moved. The truth in the scenes and the raw openness of the dialogue draws you in rips your heart out. Writer Peter Hedges, who also happened to direct this film, does a wonderful job of telling Lucas’ story. I think the message was powerful and devastating. He doesn’t sugarcoat the pain, deceit, and manipulation involved in an addict’s life.

Cinematography:  ★★★ There was nothing special or different about the cinematography in this film. It wasn’t great… it wasn’t terrible… it just was.

Story: ★★★★ I recently watched ‘Beautiful Boy’ with Steve Carell… another movie about a son who is an addict, only this time it focuses on a father-son relationship. If I had to compare the two movies, I’d say ‘Beautiful Boy’ was more realistic. With that said, I’ve read a number of reviews for ‘Ben Is Back’ stating that the story is unrealistic, the events would never happen, and that Julia’s character would never do the things she does in the film. As a mother, I will say, there is very little I wouldn’t do to help my children.

Acting: ★★★★★ Really, there are only two performances that need to be discussed; Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges because they carried this film. Without them, there wouldn’t be a story.

I’ve always loved Julia Roberts, she gives everything to every roll she takes and with this one… she is raw, exposed, desperate, and unconditionally loving. She gave an outstanding performance and, as a mother, left me in tears.

Lucas Hedges really impressed me with his performance. Sure, he is the director’s son and it probably got him the roll, but I think he held his own. I am not at all surprised that he won an award for this performance. In this brief 24-hour glimpse into his life we are both swept away by his playful nature with his younger siblings and blindsided by the devastating admissions into his past. Hedges does a beautiful job portraying not only the victim but the instigator.   

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“You don’t know what you’re doing. I’m not worth it. If you really knew me, you’d be done with me.” ~ Ben Burns

I think the reason I love this quote so much is because it shows just how much someone can fail to see their own self-worth. Ben is convinced he is no good, can do nothing right, and will always fail. But when he says this, he is talking to the one person in the world who will never be able to see him that way, his mother.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

View the Official Trailers Here!

Interview with Julia Roberts on Good Morning America

My 2 Cents… Room (2015)

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RoomTitle: Room (2015) 
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Writers: Emma Donoghue (novel and screenplay) 
Stars: Brie Larson (Ma), Jacob Tremblay (Jack), and Sean Bridgers (Old Nick)
Genre(s): Drama/Thriller

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Cinematography: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★ (5)

Buy it HERE!

BLURB:
Held captive for 7 years in an enclosed space, a woman and her young son finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time.

STORYLINE:
ROOM tells the extraordinary story of Jack, a spirited 5-year-old who is looked after by his loving and devoted mother. Like any good mother, Ma dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories. Their life, however, is anything but typical–they are trapped–confined to a 10-by-10-foot space that Ma has euphemistically named Room. Ma has created a whole universe for Jack within Room, and she will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous environment, Jack is able to live a complete and fulfilling life. But as Jack’s curiosity about their situation grows, and Ma’s resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world. Written by A24 (IMBD)

MY 2 CENTS:
WOW! Back when this movie first came out, I remember seeing the previews and thinking it looked pretty good. I just never got around to actually watching it. Then, when the academy award nominations were announced and Room was up for Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay I was even more intrigued.

I still didn’t find time to watch it.

Now, four years after the theatre premier, I’ve finally watching it… Thank you Netflix.

Actress Brie Larson won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Room. I can tell you this… it was well deserved.

As a mother, I can’t imagine losing my child to an obduction. Nor, could I imagine being abducted and raising a baby in a confined space like the one depicted in this film. This film, pulled at my heartstrings in so many ways. I hated Old Nick, played by Sean Bridgers. That’s the sign of a great performance. You’re not supposed to like his character.

With the first half of this film taking place in a single 10’x10’ space, you wouldn’t think that the cinematography would be much to talk about. However, the way the camera makes the view feel claustrophobic and the actors (Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay) make you feel hopeful forces the viewer to really take in everything that is happening. The acting and the cinematography, together, pull the whole story together.

This movie will make you think… question reality… question the world in ways that might make you uncomfortable… and even question your own beliefs.

There’s a saying, “No matter how much you think you do, you can never really know someone.” This movie made me realize how true that is. Your next-door neighbor, the postman, the person running the cash register at your local grocery store… You can’t really know them. Isn’t there a change – no matter how small – that they could be hiding an abducted woman or child in their home? You can’t know, and that is my point.

This film brings out the paranoid in all of us. It certainly brought out the paranoid mother in me. I would do anything to protect my kids… this movie shows us that sometimes, no matter what we do, we can’t protect them from the evils of the world.

Have you seen Room? If so, what did you think. If you haven’t, what is stopping you?

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“There’s so much of ‘place’ in the world. There’s less time because the time has to be spread extra thin over all the places, like butter. So, all the persons say ‘Hurry up! Let’s get going! Pick up the pace! Finish up now!’.” ~ Jack

“When I was small, I only knew small things. But now I’m five, I know everything!” ~ Jack

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

You can watch the official trailer here: