Isn’t it Romantic flips the romantic comedy genre on its head. Like the director’s previous effort, The Final Girls, it humorously picks apart a certain genre. While also leaving room for story. Being a hopeless romantic myself, I’ve seen many iconic love stories. Although I’ve never gone to the theater to see one, Isn’t it Romantic looked hilarious the second I happened upon the trailer. Some people claimed it looked too similar to I Feel Pretty, but I like Rebel Wilson (and her Pitch Perfect co-star Adam DeVine) way more than Amy Schumer. Natalie is a plus-size architect who’s grown to resent how unrealistic romantic movies are. After getting knocked out, she finds that her life has been transformed into one. Isn’t it Romantic pokes fun at just about every rom-com cliché and character. A flower filled New York setting, a lead with fabulous outfits, a nice apartment, a flamboyant gay sidekick, a rival co-worker, a philosophically charming love interest, an obvious true love best friend who’s dating an insanely hot woman, out of nowhere musical numbers for catchy pop songs, and stopping a wedding. The fact that it’s PG-13 is also mocked. What I like most is how they embrace the clichés as much as they mock them. Isn’t it Romantic is a rom-com that’s fun to laugh at, but easy to love.
Alita: Battle Angel is a film 16 years in the making. Based on a manga titled Gunnm or Battle Angel Alita in America. 9 mature volumes that were surprisingly never adapted into an anime series. Only receiving an OVA (original video animation) which consisted of two 30 minute episodes. It turns out James Cameron was a big fan of the story who wanted to get a Hollywood movie made for a long time. Since Avatar seems to be the only thing he wants to do now, he tapped Robert Rodriguez to direct it. An odd combination, but you can see both sides. The first trailer definitely took me off guard. With its use of big anime eyes for Alita. I never lost interest though. I read the first 4 volumes and watched the OVA. Becoming an instant fan of the sci-fi story. Despite several push backs I remained confidante, but my reaction turned out to be more mixed than I thought. Battle Angel Alita has a strange yet engrossing story that begins with her recovery in the junkyard of Iron City. Her cyborg body is rebuilt by Ido, she learns to fit in, becomes a Hunter-Warrior, falls in love, and eventually plays Motorball. All of which are separated by volume. The movie just sort of mixes things up. Making it difficult to get invested in a story that never officially ends. The dialogue is a little clunky too and the PG-13 rating only sort of worked for me. On the other hand, the fluid fast-paced CGI fight sequences (especially Motorball) bring anime to life. She may not be Asian, but Rosa Salazar captures Alita’s innocent fighter’s spirit. Making the eyes less distracting than you might think. Alita: Battle Angel is as close to a good manga adaptation as you can get.
Happy Death Day 2U is a serious case of déjà vu. With a really clever title. Since the sequel to Edge of Tomorrow seems to be on an indefinite hold, Happy Death Day is the first time loop movie to get a sequel. Something I had no idea how to react to the first time I heard about it. I loved the first movie, but I certainly wasn’t thinking it would get a sequel. How do you make a time loop sequel without repeating yourself? Well this is what Happy Death Day 2U does. It takes place right where the first movie left off. Only this time from the perspective of the roommate that walks in on Tree and Carter. It turns out he is now experiencing the time loop. Where an unexpected new Babyface killer is after him. Once Tree is made aware of what’s happening, she discovers what was causing the loop in the first place. Let’s just say the explanation is present in the first movie. Tree winds up back in the loop herself and must now figure out a way to get back while also avoiding another new Babyface killer. The spoilerific first trailer made Happy Death Day 2U look absolutely ridiculous. With even sillier death scenes than before. As it turns out, the stronger focus on comedy and romance is perfectly balanced with its horror. Along with the inclusion of science fiction elements. Jessica Rothe gives another great performance and so do the minor characters that are given way more screen time. Happy Death Day 2U convinced me that sequels to time loop movies don’t have to repetitive.
Preceded by: Happy Death Day
Get Him to the Greek is a comedy I would never have seen if I didn’t know it was connected to Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Since the character Aldous Snow was such a stand out, they decided to make an entire movie centered around him. I said before that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Russell Brand (I found him a bit annoying), however both films made me like him a bit more. Since his long hair and unusual personality fits a rock star like this. His songs may be exaggerated, but they could totally work in the real world. After a controversial song and break up drives Aldous Snow back to drinking, a talent scout makes it his mission to get him a comeback performance at the Greek Theatre. Despite appearing as a huge fan of Snow’s in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jonah Hill actually plays a new character. Aaron Green, who has to put up with his shenanigans while traveling from London to L.A. Although I definitely wasn’t crazy about every raunchy joke (some of it goes too far for my taste). There are a few good standouts. Like the furry walls drug freak out, the happy Jonah Hill meme, or most of what P. Diddy does. While it may be a spin-off, Get Him to the Greek is still a rockin’ fun Judd Apatow production on its own.
Spin-off of: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is all about trying to move on from your ex. Something most people can relate to. Unless your ex just so happens to be a famous TV star. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was always a comedy I was more curious about then others. Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of Judd Apatow productions or Russell Brand. Whether it was the intriguing premise or the lovely Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis. I just knew I wanted to check it out. Forgetting Sarah Marshall makes use of its R rating immediately. When Sarah Marshall breaks up with her composer boyfriend Peter played by a full frontally naked Jason Segel. His dream is to make a Dracula themed rock opera starring puppets (what is it with Segel and puppets?). Sarah Marshall is known for her role on a terrible show called Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime. Rather then continue his downward spiral, Peter instead retreats to Hawaii. Where he meets new girl Rachel working at the resort and Sarah Marshall also happens to be there. The movie makes great use of its beautiful tropical setting. While the humor is mostly derived from cutaway gags. Along with the usual Apatow staples like Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, and Kristen Wiig in the unrated version. The biggest stand out character is easily Aldous Snow. A rock star guru Sarah marshall is dating. In the end, Forgetting Sarah Marshall turns out to be a lovable raunchy take on love loss and love again.
THX 1138 is the first ever movie directed by George Lucas. Before American Graffiti and the Star Wars saga. Most people (myself included) had no idea it even existed. For the longest time I just assumed it was some kind of documentary for the THX sound company. Turns out it’s the other way around. We all know the sound company with the loud deafening noise. This forgotten flop from the early 70’s is what it’s named after. THX 1138 is the name of a man living in a dystopian future where robots police the society and drugs suppress emotion. Sex, and by extension reproduction is against the law. Causing THX to get imprisoned when he engages in these acts with a woman named LUH 3417. It’s interesting to see George Lucas’s early take on sci-fi. People have shaved heads, the color palette is monochromatic, and the sounds are eerie. It just didn’t do anything for me. Not like some Star Wars fans who started a cult following. Although it nearly put me to sleep, THX 1138 is worth a look if you want to see George Lucas at his most raw.
Eraser is one of very few Arnold Schwarzenegger movies I never saw when I was a kid. Not that every movie he did was instantly appealing to me. Eraser is one of the bigger standouts in that regard. Since it features a fairly standard government conspiracy storyline and didn’t seem to feature many one liners. The titular “Eraser” is a U.S. Marshall named John Krueger. His job is to erase the identities of individuals caught up in life threatening situations. Like a more extreme version of witness protection. His main client is a woman who gets caught up in a conspiracy involving futuristic weapons of mass destruction. It’s an interesting premise, but Arnie can be easily swapped out with a different actor. Not that he doesn’t at least do a few over-the-top things. Like jumping out of a plane, shooting a crocodile, or shooting 2 of the EM-1 Railguns at once. He even gets a few one liners out. Like “You’ve just been erased.” You can’t go wrong with Vanessa Williams as the female lead, but James Caan is a bit of a mismatched villain. Eraser has good action, but it’s forgettable among Arnie’s bigger hits.
Bridget Jones’s Baby is really the Bridget Jones sequel I wanted to see straight away. Due to the large 12 year gap and surprisingly positive reception. While Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason was too hung up on copying the first film. Bridget Jones’s Baby is entirely original. It’s not even based on a Helen Fielding novel like the first two. Now she’s the screenwriter. Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, and the rest of the primary cast all returns (along with a more contemporary soundtrack). With the exception of Hugh Grant. Who’s absence is addressed in an unexpected way. He’s replaced by America’s own McDreamy Patrick Dempsey. Which is why Emma Thompson was added to balance out the Britishness. Bridget Jones is back and more lonely then ever. Now dealing with the fact that her biological clock is ticking. Until she winds up pregnant with no clue who the father is. It could either be new guy Jack Qwant or her true love Mark Darcy. Both of whom are equally likely candidates. Leading to plenty of hilarious clashes between the three of them as they try to sort this mess out. Unlike the second film, the humor is brought back to the relatable standard of the original. I was especially pleased by how heartwarming I found it to be. It’s refreshing to see that (despite the unorthodox circumstances) the film still treats a baby as a miracle. Bridget Jones’s Baby is the best way to close this romantic trilogy.
Preceded by: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is simply Bridget Jones’s Diary 3 years later and less funny. Mainly the reason romantic comedies shouldn’t have sequels. After the big kiss, where else is there left to go? Which is why Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason tears down all the progress in favor of telling the story all over again. That’s why you’ve likely never heard of this sequel. Even though Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant all return. Bridget Jones has been living happily with Mark Darcy since the last time we saw her. Only now she feels like she’s not good enough for him. So that’s where things regress to the plot of the first film. Complete with Bridget returning to her cheating ex Daniel Cleaver. Save for a trip to the ski slopes and an even longer trip to Thailand. Everything else is practically the same. It begins with a Christmas gathering, Bridget gets embarrassed at a party, her arse is shown on live television, Mark and Daniel fight in public, declaring her love for Mark in an awkward way, she even tells off Daniel with a bloody Aretha Franklin song following it just like in the first film. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is all the same only far more concerned with putting Bridget in unfunny wacky situations. At least the music’s still good.
Bridget Jones’s Diary is a high standard romantic comedy. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Today I figured I would talk about one of the most well liked rom-coms of the early 2000’s. Bridget Jones’s Diary is a film I at first only knew for its history and reputation. Bridget Jones was for her time considered to be the quintessential modern British woman. Created by the equally beloved British author Helen Fielding. So you can imagine the controversy that sprouted when the very American Renée Zellweger was cast to play her. Fortunately for her, Zellweger’s English accent is practically flawless. Being American myself, I know how difficult it can be to sustain one. So I was very impressed. I’m not overly familiar with the story, but the book/movie is based loosely on Pride and Prejudice. Bridget Jones has more than a few hang ups. She smokes, drinks, often says the wrong thing, and has a habit of wearing overly large knickers. So she decides to keep a diary in order to better improve herself. Along with the accent, Renée Zellweger gained weight and worked in a publishing company in order to prepare for the role. Even earning an Oscar nomination for her trouble. Bridget finds herself in a love triangle between her sexually aggressive boss Daniel Cleaver and the always present Mark Darcy. Of course played by rom-com staple Hugh Grant and Britain’s favorite Colin Firth respectively. Leading to plenty of humor, sentiment, and a fun American soundtrack. As well as notable moments such as Bridget’s botched speech or wearing of a bunny outfit. Not to mention her last second dash through the snow in smaller knickers. Bridget Jones’s Diary is just an all around charming experience full stop.
Followed by: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason