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Quick Reviews: Week Of 07.29.2022
Flash Reviews Of This Weekend's Movie Releases
Its been a tough week health-wise in the Mendez household. After two and a half years, social distancing, masks, vaccines and boosters, COVID finally came to our door. Thankfully as of this writing my wife is starting to come out of a minor fever and cough fits, and I have not yet tested positive myself or experienced any symptoms. I give thanks to the good lord up above and the miracle vaccine that was available to us that it didn’t end up a much worse situation. Regardless, thanks to this health scare I was not able to cover any theatrical releases this weekend, leaving me with just two small straight to streamer releases.
Anyhow, here are my thoughts on the movie releases from the weekend of 07.29.2022 in alphabetical order of their respective release dates. A reminder, you can click this link to see how I grade films when I review them.
- Plot: An ambitious young woman, desperate for followers and fame, fakes a trip to Paris to up her social media presence. When a terrifying incident takes place in the real world and becomes part of her imaginary trip, her white lie becomes a moral quandary that offers her all the attention she’s ever wanted.
- Review: There’s something about movies that ask us to see their tale played out from the perspective of bad people. Its not an easy thing to pull off. Chicago did it, many great mob films have done it, but that’s a credit to the great filmmakers behind those movies. After all, we’re supposed to like and identify with the central protagonist so we can root for them as we watch the film unfold.
Enter Zoey Deutch playing the lead for the new straight to Hulu film, Not Okay, in which she is cast as Danni Sanders - a selfish, self absorbed, horrible version of the Generation Z influencer crowd. The movie even warns us that she’s not a good person! We’re not necessarily rooting for this person, rather than taking in the satire and commentary from this dramedy about the current social media landscape and celebrity culture.
So does the movie make us somewhat care about following a woman who lied and manipulated her way to fame on the backs of terrorist victims? I didn’t feel like it did, and yet the filmmakers somehow managed to still deliver an interesting social commentary on the price of fame and the addicting power it can have. I didn’t cringe at times for Danni’s sake so much as for morality’s. Every time I felt uncomfortable, I also felt like nodding along at the message the film was giving out even as I grew more and more frustrated with our protagonist.
The humor is well done in parts, but the mix of drama and comedy doesn’t fully come together in others. Deutch proves she can carry a movie though, and Mia Isaac shows why she may one of the up and comers in the industry with her part as an actual survivor of a horrific tragedy in the role of Rowan.
Overall, There’s things about this movie I liked, but also things about it that either I didn’t find well executed or I felt was just a little too uncomfortable for me. The protagonist will divide some folks given she’s never meant to be seen as a moral person, though they try hard to give her some sort of redemption towards the end. I’d say this remind me of movies from earlier in the year like Fresh and Deep Water where I found myself on the fence but ultimately barely side on the more positive side. If you got Hulu and find the not okay side of influencer culture fascinating, this could be a good “one and done watch” for you on a lazy day.
- Initial Grade: B/C
- Plot: An aspiring musician agrees to a marriage of convenience with a soon-to-deploy Marine, but a tragedy soon turns their fake relationship all too real.
- Review: Another weekend comes and yet again Netflix delivers to us another straight to streamer romance in Purple Hearts. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these movies are either going to work for those of us who don’t mind Hallmark-style comfort food movies that we likely only watch once in our lives, or they’re going to be insufferable light films for those who are going to need to see a little more effort put into the production of these.
Getting it out of the way, I liked this just enough in the same way I did previous Netflix romance movies. What can I say? I’m a sucker for watching two people find themselves coming together to form a romantic relationship, and I don’t mind knowing I’m watching what to some are “junk food movies”.
The case I’ll try and make for Purple Hearts for those who aren’t usually so easily won over by these is that it does attempt a more serious and heartfelt drama then this type of project usually does. Romantic leads Sofia Carson as aspiring singer Cassie and Nicholas Galitzine as her marine husband Luke do a competent enough job in their acting and chemistry. The trials and tribulations this couple go through are different than those other films as the plot involves marriage early on, where as usually we have to sit through ninety minutes plus to see a couple come together. Granted it a marriage of convenience but it creates a different dichotomy for the arc of their story. And I did find myself caring enough by the end to see if they would come together - as predictable as the outcome almost always is.
That said there are certainly some lazy moments with this script; and again there’s nothing here that is re-inventing the wheel. This is the movie version of picking up a paperback romance novel at the grocery store. If you’re a fan of something along those lines, this should win over your heart. If not, you may find yourself heartbroken.
- Initial Grade: B/C