Movie Review x2

Yesterday, I binged watched several seasons of Torchwood (I’ll write a post on it later) as well as two (maybe four movies). I said maybe four because I started to watch two other movies but they didn’t grab my attention and so I quit watching them.

My viewing poison of choice is Amazon Prime.

Why? Because it has a lot of “free” content included in the yearly fee for the prime membership. I don’t want to pay a bunch of different fees for a bunch of different services and I’m quite happy with Amazon’s selection. If I want to rent a movie I can, it’s a little more expensive than Red Box but it beats having to drive somewhere to rent a movie.

My two favorite genres of movies are romantic comedies and science fiction/action. I know weird mix, but it works. Lately, I’ve been craving a good romantic comedy/ chick flick. I have to admit I tend to avoid the indie films because I am a brand snob but I watched two good movies last night.

Please Kill Mr. Know It All

 

2012/2013

 

Overall rating: B-

This film is a fresh take within the romantic comedy genre. The idea of an assassin being spotted and his likeness used for a fictional smart alec is really unique. It is way better than the usual theme of meet a guy, get mad at guy and fall in love with guy that is so very common in this genre. Instead, two very dissimilar people meet on a chance and I’m a fan of that; queue the Disney Princess music.

The premise of the movie is simple. A shy girl writes for a column and she suddenly finds her alter ego well known. Her friend fits into the troupe of scheming bestie but unlike most movies, the friend doesn’t have mean ulterior motives. Rather than reveal the truth about Mr. Know It All, Sally the main character, finds a guy and she draws a picture of him to use for the fictional Mr. Know It All. Unfortunately, her selection is a hitman.  Which as his friend, Bud, tells him being noticed is against hitman cardinal rules. There is some subterfuge as Sally and Patti (her best friend) lure Albert (the hitman) in so that they can get a video of him for their demanding publishers.

The overall plot follows the happy ending arc but while the idea was fresh the plausibility of some of what happened is questionable. The hitman is a murderer by trade and freaks out when his face is all over the TV but when the video of him pops up he doesn’t have much of a reaction. It was like the writers needed to reach the end and tossed out half of what needed to be included. Hint: This is why books are better than movies as you have the time you need to create a complete story arc.

The other thing that drove me a bit bonkers was the fact that Sally’s glasses disappeared halfway through the movie, it would have been nice to see it acknowledged by a “oh, you look different, new hair cut?” “No, I’m wearing contacts” or something like that. Otherwise why have her wear glasses in the first place?

The casting of the characters and their costumes fit with the direction of the movie. There were some good parts to the movie, especially the scene where Albert is debating whether or not to kill her. The music used to create the scene was well chosen.

However, I don’t think he actually ever told Sally his name. Also, how exactly did Patti and Bud meet? What about the guy who Albert owed a debt to? Those are the type of mistakes that can make or break a movie.

The end is cliche as the four of them are eating dinner, Sally and Albert on one side of the table, Patti and Bud on the other. The two couples discuss what happened during the “year” gap. It is announced that Sally is pregnant and queue happily ever after. However,   that ending left a lot to be desired. Where did Albert go, how long were they back together? How is Sally comfortable with a guy who was trying to kill her?

I gave this movie a B- because of the above mentioned. The beginning was also a bit odd, I almost stopped watching it because I was confused as to why there was a talk show in the first scene. The editor should have introduced the main characters first and then cut to the talk show scene. The movie’s saving grace was the fresh take on romantic comedy and the few moments of hilarious tension.  If they’d been able to carry that feel throughout the movie I would buy the film. For now, I recommend renting it or finding a way to watch it for free.

Barefoot

2014/2015

Overall Rating: B

Here is another unique drama/ romantic comedy film. This one still has the classic poor girl/ rich boy trope but it gets spun in a different direction. Actually, this could be a cleverly adapted Cinderella story. The story is about Jay and Daisy, Jay is a down on his luck bad boy with no morals and Daisy is a shell shocked girl whose schizophrenic mother just died. Because of this Daisy is taken to a mental hospital. The same hospital where Jay is a janitor.

Jay gets in trouble with the doctor of the facility when he gives alcohol to some of the patients. Because of this, Jay is forbidden to speak to or hang out with the patients. I’m not sure why the writers thought a janitor would report to a doctor. I highly doubt a doctor would deal with the janitors nor would they form any type of working relationship with the cleaning staff. An orderly? Maybe, but not a janitor.

Back to how Daisy and Jay meet: Daisy first sees Jay mopping the floors and they have that eye locking moment. Then they go about their day.

The idea that Jay is estranged from his parents is an overused plot conflict as is the whole ‘I have to go to my brother’s wedding but don’t have a date’. The story line doesn’t have a lot of life outside of the interesting take of bad boy meets good girl. There are good parts and one thing I really like is that Jay does have a good heart, even if his morals aren’t in the right place.

Jay unexpectedly finds a date for his brother’s wedding when he saves Daisy from a would be rapist.Scared and alone she follows him out of the hospital and begs to go with him. Rather than report the incident to the doctor, Jay lets Daisy come with him. Which doesn’t really make sense in my mind. If Jay is so worried about keeping his job why wouldn’t he call the doctor and let him know what happened? Why didn’t he call a nurse or call for help after he punched the dude in the face?

I have to say that Evan Rachel Wood plays the innocent girl well and I liked how she walked the line between child and adult. However at times, her character was a bit too puppy dog like; her fixation on Jay makes me wonder what would happen if Jay wanted space. As she seems to be glued to his side.Will Jay tolerate her devotion to him for the rest of his life?

Jay’s soft heart and his desire to keep Daisy safe is a nice take on the romance/ true love theme. The other unique thing about this is that while the characters address sex, Jay doesn’t take advantage of Daisy’s fondness for him nor does he take advantage of her innocence. What I like is that her innocence actually makes him more protective of her. One hopes that most people would strive to protect, rather than destroy innocence. In the movie the most Daisy and Jay share is a kiss.

This movie received a B because the characters were well played however the plausibility of some of the characters’ actions is questionable. In Indie films this seems to be a reoccurring theme, can someone figure out why?

Barefoot is a nice reminder that there are movies out there that don’t fixate on the sexual tension between to characters. I do think there are some issues with the way the characters develop. Primarily, the quick switch in Jay’s personality and how he seems to enjoy having a girl follow him around without her own opinions.The other thing that was a little weird was how they closed the story arc by having Jay’s dad bale him out.

Another thing to point out is how the doctors were unwilling to let Daisy out but then she is ‘freed’. The writers did a good jobs with filling in bits of Daisy’s past which explains why she is so compliant. I don’t like how the story seems to make mental health problems seem inconsequential as Jay asks the doctor to let Daisy leave and the doctor releases her.

The idea that love conquers all, fixes all, well, that is a bit of a reach. Love doesn’t fix mental health problems and schizophrenia is hereditary. What happens when Daisy starts to become schizophrenic? Will Jay still stand by her or will he throw her away? The idea of needing to feel connected and valued is something every person desires which this movie addresses nicely. Although, the message of the movie hints that even losers and mental health patients need someone is a nice message. The truth is that you can’t rely on someone else to take care of you or make decisions for you.

 

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