Review by Paris Jade
The best explanation for the film Senior Year is an R-rated version of 17 Again featuring Rebel Wilson. However, it's barely R-rated and probably could have been toned down to a PG-13 rating by dropping fewer F-bombs. During her senior year, Stephanie Conway (Rebel Wilson) is on top. She's cheer captain, on her way to prom queen, and one of the most popular girls in school with the top jock on her arm. However, during an accident while cheering, Conway ends up in a coma, having her wake up 20 years later. Now she must navigate her way into this new environment and finish her senior year of high school while trying to bring back her popular status and get her life on track.
This is a very cliché film filled with a popularity-driven main character. There's nothing particularly special about this film other than the fact that Wilson is the main protagonist. She should stick to being a supporting character rather than the front lines. However, the supporting cast in this film was greatly appreciated and made Wilson a better performer. The plot itself was nothing different from other films similar to this one. Still, the culture shock that Wilson's character goes through in the movie is appreciated. From 2002 to 2022, she had a lot of catching up to do, and they pulled it off well. The antagonist, her high school enemy, brought great flavor to the mix and made the whole ordeal for the race to prom queen a bit more exciting.
Other than those factors, everything else is something you've most definitely seen in some other film where a teen is stuck in an adult's body. The only difference is that it's her own body, and she's just mentally stayed 17 due to her coma. The supporting cast is honestly the best part of this film, they all seem to have great chemistry, and each of them is thoroughly entertaining. Rebel Wilson also seemed to fit in well with the younger cast and played her role just fine. Yet seeing her as the main character is just something people aren't quite used to. Who knows, with future projects, she might prove that she can be better at starring roles than supporting.
Whoever researched how Gen Z operates positively did it by spending endless hours on social media. You can tell this isn't written by someone who actually knows Gen Z humor and just assumes that this is what it is. So if this film is targeting that audience, it might not be the best choice. This isn't something worth rewatching, but if you are really bored and are looking for a random cliché movie that's R-rated but doesn't need to be, you've come to the right place. If you want to see a good film with an entertaining plot all the way through, maybe save Senior Year for another day.
Senior Year is available on Netflix now.
Review by Paris Jade
We are coming up to summer 2022, which means it’s that time to bring out all the teen summer romance movies. To kick it off, why not watch Along for the Ride? Auden (Emma Pasarow) meets the mysterious Eli (Belmont Cameli) during her summer before college. While Auden keeps to herself, Eli tries to show her all of the fun, carefree experiences she could have by taking her on quests in the middle of the night.
This film is your classic love story. The girl is not like everyone, choosing to keep to herself. The boy likes the girl and makes her do fun stuff with him throughout the movie, and they slowly fall for each other. Meanwhile, there are family and life problems they have to face separately. It’s a cute film if you are into a regular teen romance. If you love clichés in that genre, you’ll have no problem liking this movie as well. The story is simple and sweet, and it’s entertaining enough if you really attach yourself to the characters. However, if you don’t go for this genre of film, then this will not be your favorite. You could easily either be entertained or incredibly bored. If you want something new and exciting, then steer clear of this film — it does nothing of the sort. The characters can be a tad boring, and it takes a bit for the plot to pick up.
However, even if it is a little boring, it’s a very pretty movie to watch. The cinematography itself is incredibly joyous considering that over half of the film takes place on a beach, one of the most perfect settings. It’s tough to mess up on making a beach look pretty. Scenes that involve the teens running around and having a good time will most likely be your favorite just from the fact that it’s set on the beach, and every shot is pleasing to the eye. This is all on top of the fact that the soundtrack fits right into the teen factor of the film. Every montage has the perfect song to go along with it.
The chemistry between the cast was great. You could genuinely feel as though you were watching two teens fall for each other. Even Auden and her friends all felt like they had really bonded and built relationships through the film, and that is the most refreshing thing to witness besides the ocean waves in the background. Because you’ve probably only ever seen Belmont Cameli in his role on the Saved By The Bell reboot, he plays quite the opposite in this film and proves that he can act very well and isn’t just some dumb jock. Along for the Ride is highly recommended to anyone who just wants to relax and watch a cute teen romance and doesn’t expect anything more.
Watch Along for the Ride now on Netflix.
Review by Paris Jade
As we've reached the year 2022, it's finally time for more queer films to rise into the industry. The world's latest LGBTQ+ flick is Crush, presented by Hulu. Thank you, Hulu, for giving the queer community the representation it needs, from Love, Victor in 2020 to now with Crush. Crush is positively directed at Generation Z, which isn't always a bad thing if you can pull it off right, and this film does.
This is honestly a simple, cheesy teen romantic comedy. It's a very predictable film as the plot goes; it's like any other romantic comedy. There are a few awkward moments in the dialogue, but some of it makes you laugh anyways. It goes through all the clichés. The main character, Paige (Rowan Blanchard), has an overbearingly supportive mother, a cheeky best friend, and of course, a crush on the most popular girl in school. If that's not the plot of every teen rom-com, then what movies have you been watching? The only difference is that it's queer. However, this does not make it a bad film. If you are a queer teen and love a good cliché film, this could be the film for you. It's incredibly relatable as a queer teen. Half of the things that Paige says in the movie are things said by almost any queer teen, which makes it so great and feel real. A great example is a joke that any queer teen has made regarding "the straightest thing they could do," which the main character makes.
This type of representation should be presented in more queer films. It's real, and it feels normal. Yes, the main character is a lesbian, but that is not what the plot is about. The main story is about someone blaming Paige for spray painting the school and putting graffiti everywhere. She decides to investigate and find the actual perpetrator, called the King Pun. She just so happens to have a crush on the most popular girl in school, which is the film's B plot. It's one of the more casual representations in a movie where her sexuality isn't her entire personality — a tendency in Hollywood which is most definitely annoying.
This casting was great. Rowan Blanchard did a fantastic job of playing a socially anxious lesbian; of course, she does identify as queer herself. Paige is a very cute and funny character. Her quirky way of having conversations makes you laugh. Anytime she is in an awkward conversation, she makes a weird fun fact that makes the other person uncomfortable. It's honestly adorable, and you can't help but laugh. The rest of the cast has excellent chemistry. They work incredibly well together. If you need a good cheesy laugh, don't want to watch anything serious, and are a queer teen looking for some refreshing representation, then Crush is the film to see.
Crush releases on Hulu on April 29th
Review by Paris Jade
Travel back to the 1950s, when Hollywood was a booming business that built legends and icons. One of the most glamorous stars of the day was none other than Marilyn Monroe: famous in life and death, especially her death. The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes is a documentary centered around the life and death of the eponymous starlet. It is told through archive footage of unseen interviews and audiotapes with friends of Marilyn, which came from author Anthony Summer.
This documentary was perfectly presented — the use of archive footage is a great way of storytelling. The editors and director did a fantastic job. While the plot itself is an incredibly sad story when you learn of the things that Marilyn had faced in her life, the group of storytellers making this film made it a very emotional journey.
The recorded tapes of Marilyn herself are put to great use in the film. As you watch the documentary, it's almost as if Marilyn tells you her life story. Her voice sounds as clear as if she were sitting in the room, and when it's over, you can't help but feel a blanket of sadness on you as you think about what you just watched and everything you've learned about Monroe. What is even more interesting and real is that once they finally get to Monroe's death, you don't hear from her again, which leaves a very eerie feeling.
The only real problem with the film was when tapes were played of conversations between Anthony Summers and someone else over the phone. They had actors lip-sync the conversation as if they were that person. You could honestly say it feels a bit cheap when you watch it, and it could do fine without.
If you know almost nothing about Marilyn Monroe, The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes is a great place to start your education on all things Monroe. However, if you already know all about the iconic star, you might already know everything there is to be theorized in this film. Summers goes into talking about her childhood and how her past traumatized her to her death, and the conspiracy theories of the cause. Any run-of-the-mill Monroe fan would know these types of things. Still, if you are a Monroe fan and just want a refresher course, you should absolutely watch this film because it is thoroughly well-made.
See The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes on Netflix, out April 27.
Review by Paris Jade
Marvelous and the Black Hole tells the story of a young girl trying to navigate her way through life after the loss of her mother. She finds an outlet through magic. This is the type of film that immediately introduces the protagonist as this whiny teen who never wants to listen to anybody because she has it worse than everyone else when, in reality, she doesn’t. Of course, like every coming-of-age film, the lesson of the story is someone has it worse than you, and it gets better. The problem with this film is that you just don’t empathize with the main character. Yes, she lost her mother, and that is very sad. Her family is trying to move on, but this girl constantly acts like it’s the end of the world. However, Sammy is a 13-year-old girl, and they all seem to act this way.
Other than the main character, almost every other character is unlikeable as well. Sammy’s sister Patricia (Miya Cech) can also be a bit annoying at times. Throughout the entire movie, all she ever cares about is playing a game and telling on her sister. Then we have Margot (Rhea Perlman), a complete stranger who takes Sammy under her wing and shows her how to do magic and how it can make you feel. Here is the thing — Margot is an older woman who meets Sammy in her school’s women’s restroom. She then takes her to one of her gigs for a classroom of little children. Just from that description, this movie could take a sharp turn from coming-of-age to kidnapping thriller. Not only is our main character a brat, but now she is also an idiot for following a total stranger around and will forever believe that all strangers who know magic must be nice and will have no other intentions. However, Rhea Perlman does a great job of being the guardian and mentor you never knew you needed.
This film is nothing but frustrating when it comes to the actions of Sammy. Throughout the entire film, mistake after mistake, Sammy is still a moody teenager thinking the universe is out to get her. Her sister makes it worse by going against her instead of trying to have an actual conversation. Her father can’t have a conversation with her because he honestly doesn’t know how to and won’t admit it. You are frustrated until the very end, and you don’t even feel for this girl.
The writing may not have been great, but the best thing about this film was the soundtrack and score. It had great music that moved along well with the movie, and it’s the only reason you’ll ever feel something during this movie. Composer Tim Kiefer did a fantastic job of storytelling through music and deserves every bit of recognition. Along with Kiefer, the cinematographer Nanu Segal made every shot seamless and at least made the film something pretty to look at.
If you love a movie with a constantly complaining teenager, this is the film for you. Otherwise, you should skip it.
Watch Marvelous and Black Hole in theaters and on VOD on April 22.
Review by Paris Jade
(L-R) JESSICA WILLIAMS as Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, CALLUM TURNER as Theseus Scamander, FIONA GLASCOTT as Minerva McGonagall, DAN FOGLER as Jacob Kowalski, JUDE LAW as Albus Dumbledore and EDDIE REDMAYNE as Newt Scamander in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy adventure "FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. © 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
After four years, we have finally gotten the long-awaited Fantastic Beasts sequel, making this series a trilogy. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore has finally arrived. This film was just amazing. Immediately your attention is grabbed in the beginning with the stunning effects. If you hadn't watched the first two films, you might be a bit confused because it immediately goes into the storyline and picks up where the last movie left off, which is perfect for a person who wants to deep dive into the plot.
Let's first discuss the casting for this film, as we have a brand new Grindelwald in replacement of Johnny Depp. Mads Mikkelsen makes a great villain; he's a very menacing looking man. The only problem with this particular film is that whoever did the casting decided they wanted someone who looked and sounded just like Mikkelsen. Oscar Masucci plays Anton Vogel, the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, basically meaning he called all the shots for the wizarding community. There was a scene where it kept cutting back and forth between Vogel and Grindelwald, and you swear it's the same person. The amount of times you'll be confused about who is on your screen is way too many. So when you do decide to see this film, remind yourself that Grindelwald is the one with a baby grey streak in his hair, obviously a very big distinction. Other than that mishap, the rest of the cast is perfect as they were in their previous films and truly know and understand the characters they are playing.
Regarding the effects, Warner Bros. one-ups themselves when it comes to the Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts franchise. Every new movie delivers great new effects, and this one does not stray away from that. This is a film that you have to experience in theaters. Every fake creature that we discover in the movie looks incredibly real, which only makes you more attached to them.
The plot itself was very entertaining. You are pulled into instantly, and you want to know what happens next. The film starts with a regular conversation between two characters and then shoots you into an epic battle. Suddenly, the stakes are high, and you are on a journey to defeat Grindelwald. The build-up during the film is great. You can feel the tension between Dumbledore and Grindlewald, you can feel the stakes of everyone's lives rising until the final scene, but then there's not much payoff. The ending doesn't feel grand enough for such a big build-up, and it's honestly a little disappointing. There is a bit of a happy ending, but it didn't feel like enough for everything that happened. You leave the film wanting more and not in a good way. However, even with an ending like that, it is still a great film, and you should still watch it, especially if you are already a fan of the series because that's who it is made for.
Catch Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore in theaters on April 15th.
Review by Paris Jade
The Bubble tells the story of a cast and crew trying to make a sequel to a blockbuster franchise amid the global pandemic of COVID-19. The cast and crew quarantine inside a luxurious hotel, slowly driving themselves insane. This film is your cliché pandemic movie. You enter and immediately are immersed back into good ol' 2020, everyone's favorite year. Whoever thought it was a good idea to make films set in one of the worst years of all of our lives, congratulations, you've created a new movie genre for people to hate.
The film begins by introducing the movie's main character Carol Cobb (Karen Gillan) being offered the sequel to a franchise. This is a fine setup. You're intrigued, and it pulls you. Who doesn't love a film about making a film? Unless, of course, you aren't into the meta-ness of it all. However, as the film drags on, it gets worse and worse. By the end of the movie, you don't know what just happened. It is a rollercoaster ride of a film, and you will most definitely be in shock the whole way through. As you keep watching, you forget that it's all one movie because the plot changes and gets wilder every 10 minutes.
The most entertaining aspect was the movie they were making in the film. It looked absolutely ridiculous, but you kind of want to watch it. This movie is so bad that you just have to hate-watch it. Other than that, the film is quite comedic. It's a bad movie with bad comedy, but you somehow end up enjoying it. Certain scenes are so bad you just have to laugh because what else are you supposed to do? The special effects look pretty low-budget, but it's on purpose for comedic effect, so you could say they are good. Director Apatow only has his comedy to rely on, with films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin under his belt.
If you need a quick, cheap laugh and want a bad film to watch, The Bubble is that movie. However, if you're not in the mood to hate-watch something because you'd rather love the world and not be reminded of the horror that was 2020, please skip out on watching this film. It's not the worst movie out there, and it will be a guilty pleasure to watch when you are feeling low, but remember that there are other films.
The Bubble streams on Netflix beginning April 1.
Review by Paris Jade
Windfall tells the story of a couple that comes home in the middle of a robbery. In the beginning, the robber (Jason Segel) is caught in the middle of robbing a wealthy couple's vacation home. He decides to take them hostage in request of money, and so the movie follows them waiting on the cash to arrive at the house. What is interesting about this film is that you do not get a single name out of any of these people. The husband (Jesse Plemons) seems to be a very famous CEO, but his name is never said. He never says his wife's (Lily Collins) name, and of course, the robber never shares any details on himself.
This is definitely an entertaining film. You watch as this regular man tries to finesse his way into robbing this couple. Immediately you can tell he has no clue what he's doing. He doesn't seem to be evil, so why did he decide to rob them? You can quickly tell how frightened he is, and he ends up being friendly towards the wife, having an entire conversation about her life with her husband. You are hooked almost immediately to the plot when starting this film. Watching the dynamic of the three characters is incredibly entertaining. You honestly don't know what will happen next, and much happens throughout the film.
Because this robber has no clue what he is doing, the interactions between him and the couple are almost comical. The couple begins to bicker and show how terrible their relationship is. Meanwhile, the robber is trying to figure out what to do with himself and get out of his situation. As the film continues, the husband basically helps him rob him, like raising the amount of money they should give him.
There are certain moments where the husband is extremely annoying, and you feel pretty bad for the wife. You also root for her to escape and for the robber to get away. However, you are easily entertained from start to finish, even though the pacing is just a tiny bit slow. Although, the ending makes up for it all. There are twists and turns, and when you think you're reaching the end, something else occurs, and suddenly you don't know what will happen. The cinematography and score are great and make you feel the tension in the room as they wait for the money to arrive. If you are looking for a comical thriller, this is the film for you.
Windfall is now streaming on Netflix.
Review by Paris Jade
Measure of Revenge tells the story of Lillian Cooper (Melissa Leo), a mother of a famous musician who has suddenly died of an overdose. With the help of a drug dealer (Bella Thorne), Lillian pursues answers, justice, and revenge. If reading the synopsis makes you question whether this movie was entertaining, here is your answer: it's not. The pacing is incredibly slow, and none of the characters are likable or relatable. You learn absolutely nothing about Lillian's son before he dies, and he honestly acts like a jerk until his overdose.
The movie starts with Lillian's son, Curtis (Jake Weary), coming back home from rehab. His mother is so happy to see him again, yet he acts like such a brat towards her. How are you supposed to care that this character is dead when he isn't even that great of a character? After he and his pregnant girlfriend pass from an overdose, Lillian believes that someone intentionally wanted them gone, so she decides to investigate the murder of her son. How does she do this, you ask? She consults his past drug dealer and friend. This definitely won't go badly, right? At first, the drug dealer is unwilling to help Lillian, but as the plot follows, she gives her little tips here and there. As the story continues, you watch as the mother spirals into her investigation, and you can't help but feel bad for her. She literally drives herself mad trying to get to the bottom of who gave her son these drugs. You can't help but wonder if Bella Thorne does terrible movies on purpose.
The other thing about this movie is that while the characters are bland, the pacing is very slow. No action happens until an hour into the movie. How do you plan to grab an audience's attention if absolutely nothing is happening for the film's first half? Even when something happens, all you can say is "saw that one coming," or "well that happened," then move on like it never occurred. The editing is nothing special, regular cinematography. Just no "wow" factor. Where is the thing that makes the audience's mind blown? Not even the ending was anything special.
So many moments, you just sit there and think, "Well, that was random and weird." Lillian wasn't even on drugs herself, but it sure felt like it! There are also moments when you completely forget that Bella Thorne is in this film. She's on the poster; you'd think her character was essential, but no. You sit through a mom reeling through her son's death, driving herself crazy with some commercial breaks of Bella Thorne either selling or doing drugs. It sounds like the perfect movie for the family! You are absolutely wasting your time, but if you'd like to watch a rollercoaster of a film that, once finished, you question what you just watched, Measure of Revenge is for you.
Measure of Revenge is now in theaters and on VOD.
By Paris Jade
With his Alzheimer's getting worse, Jimmy decides that he wants to die on his own terms. He ends up throwing a FUNeral for himself, inviting everyone he's ever known, showing that the art of living is actually the art of dying. This comedy was absolutely entertaining and inspiring. Moon Manor is a beautiful film from start to finish, telling the life story of actor James Carrozo.
As Jimmy prepares for his funeral, he invites a writer to sit and talk about his life in hopes that the story will keep him immortal. The audience basically goes on the same journey that the writer is going on. Throughout the film, you grow attached to the main character as he sits and tells you his life story. You can't help but feel like your own grandfather is telling you stories of his youth. Even as you go on and get attached, the film reminds you that this man will die at the end of the film, which is incredibly sad, and yet, you can't wait for him to get there because it's what he wants. He has planned this last day perfectly for himself, and everyone in his life is there to help keep it perfect. As for the supporting cast, you do not get attached to them as you do to Jimmy; however, you do feel for them, especially in Jimmy's final moments. With such an abnormal funeral, you know these characters are trying their best to hold it in. They do it well and celebrate with Jimmy.
The cinematography and transitions were absolutely perfect throughout the entire film. You just can't help but admire how the story is being told — it is absolute art. Certain moments in the movie feel a bit strange and abrupt, specifically when Jimmy spirals and thinks about his death; however, when he reels back in, you understand why it happened. By the end of the film, you have learned who Jimmy is as a person and understand why he would want to die on his own terms, especially when seeing him deal with his Alzheimer's.
Even as a comedy, there is still some heart to the film. You might even find yourself crying at the end but also laughing. Who would have thought a movie about death could be so lighthearted. This movie is sad, poetic, funny, and everything you want out of a good, inspiring film about life. If you want to watch a movie that celebrates life and death, then Moon Manor is the film for you.
Moon Manor is out on March 11 in theaters and on demand.