3.19.2019

Rom-Coms Streaming in April (2019)


Here are some rom-com titles you can find streaming online in April!



NETFLIX:

April 1st
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
P.S. I Love You


April 12th
The Perfect Date (Original)

April 15th
The New Romantic

April 19th
Someone Great

April 25th
The Ugly Truth

HULU:

April 1st
Bounce
I Think I Love My Wife
Jersey Girl
Playing by Heart
Practical Magic


April 17th
Overboard (Also available on Amazon Prime)

April 21st
Book Club (Also available on Amazon Prime 4/20)

3.17.2019

Bridget Jones's Baby (2016) - Review



Synopsis: Bridget's focus on single life and her career is interrupted when she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch ... she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby's father.

Old flame. New fling. Big problem.

As big of a fan as I was of Bridget Jones's Diary, I somehow missed seeing Bridget Jones's Baby in the theater when it premiered in 2016. Rewatching The Edge of Reason this month I realized I probably skipped the third movie because of my disappointment in the second. Not to mention the fact that Hugh Grant had dropped out and I think I was afraid of Patrick Dempsey being brought on to play Daniel Cleaver Lite. Plus, how much more Bridget and Mark drama could I really handle at this point?

In any case, after rewatching The Edge of Reason, I realized Sharon Maguire had come back to the director's chair for Bridget Jones's Baby, so I was eager to give it a try and see if it could recapture any of the magic from the first film. While it's not quite on par, Bridget Jones's Baby was a solid, satisfying ending to Bridget's story.

Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is now forty-three, pleased that she is at her "ideal weight" and has a pretty decent job as a television producer. She and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) have at some point broken up, and Bridget spots he and his wife Camilla at the funeral for presumed dead Daniel Cleaver. Shazzer (Sally Phillips) and Jude (Shirley Henderson) are both married with children and Tom (James Callis) is adopting with his partner Eduardo, leaving Bridget as the lone singleton in their circle. She decides to spend a weekend with her single friend and colleague Miranda (Sarah Solemani) at an outdoor music festival and while there, meets Jake (Patrick Dempsey). After a lot of alcohol and mistaking his yurt for her own, Bridget and Jake sleep together.

And of course, at the christening of Jude's baby, Bridget runs into Mark who reveals he and Camilla are getting divorced, and he missed Bridget. Lingering feelings and familiarity bring them together, though Bridget leaves a note with Mark the next morning explaining that she doesn't think the two of them trying again would be a good idea, given how they were unable to get over the finish line for the past ten years. It's a mature move for Bridget, who is perhaps afraid of getting hurt again. Unfortunately, thanks to some old, "eco-friendly" condoms that failed, Bridget finds herself pregnant and she has no idea who the father is.

After some typical Bridget-esque shenanigans and embarrassment, Bridget comes clean with both Jake and Mark about their circumstances. Both men handle the news differently, but they both want to be there for Bridget, and it's clear they both want to be the father. The movie could have made Jake a jerk to make the choice an easy one, but it was kind of refreshing that Jake was polite, sweet and clearly interested in Bridget even before she told him she was pregnant. He's a millionaire who made his fortune with an algorithm that helps people find love, and of course, he and Bridget are 97% compatible. Oh yeah, he's also pretty great with kids. Mark is, well, Mark. Still a bit snobbish and emotionally stunted, but still very clearly in love with Bridget - his compatibility with Bridget? An abysmal 8%. A major bonus to the movie is Emma Thompson who shows up in the wonderfully cheeky role as Bridget's droll OBGYN. She is the only one to tell Bridget she doesn't need actually need either man, that she could do this on her own if she really wanted to, despite the obvious amusement she finds in Bridget's unique situation.

Maguire keeps the movie moving along, following the same stylish structure that worked so well in the first film. While there is less humiliation to snicker at, it's still incredibly funny as Bridget comes to terms with this late life change. Zellweger is as delightful as ever and even after ten years, she hasn't missed a beat. She is still the same old Bridget, but with some traces of wisdom and a desire to own who she is and be content with it, with or without a man. Bridget remains as likable as ever, and despite a few uneven patches, the movie will still resonate with fans, even if they were disappointed with the second installment as I was. I won't lie, I was desperate for my Mark and Bridget happy ending and I might have gotten a little misty-eyed in the last ten minutes or so. There are so few rom-com trilogies that make the big screen, and Bridget as a character is so very near and dear to my heart. I'm glad she got the kind of send-off I had been wanting for her.

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent
Directed by: Sharon Maguire
Rated: R
Watched: 03.17.2019
Fun Facts:
- The events in the novel, Mad About the Boy (Fielding's third installment of her Bridget Jones series) takes place after the events of this movie.
- Three different endings were filmed for the movie, but the cast did not know which one would be used until they saw it in the theater.
- Bridget now uses an iPad as a diary.
- Emma Thompson helped polish the screenplay.
Notable Song: Still Falling For You by Ellie Goulding
Rating:




3.15.2019

Love Happens (2009) - Review



Synopsis: A widower whose book about coping with loss turns him into a best-selling self-help guru, falls for the hotel florist where his seminar is given, only to learn that he hasn't yet truly confronted his wife's passing.

Sometimes When You Least Expect It...

After losing his wife in a car accident, therapist Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart) writes a best selling self-help book on how to overcome grief and ends up on the tour circuit. Reluctantly he agrees to host a grief seminar in Seattle where his wife was from, and where his estranged in-laws still live, and while he's there, he meets Eloise (Jennifer Aniston), a florist who has recently broken up with her cheating boyfriend. They have a rather bland meet cute in the hotel where Burke is hosting his seminar, literally bumping into one another, where Eloise initially pretends to be deaf to deter any potential of Burke hitting on her (because he's in a hotel and she assumes he's married and wants a piece on the side, of course!). Eventually this awkward first meet is cleared up, followed by a rather painful first date, followed by a heartfelt confession from Burke that he hasn't been on a date in three years, followed by Eloise appreciating his honesty and taking him to her floral shop.

Now we already know Eloise is 'quirky' because she likes to write odd words that require a dictionary on the walls behind the paintings in the hotel, and she collects copies of the more unique messages her customers send with their flowers. Her mother is a big fan of Burke, wouldn't you know. She drives a blue Volkswagon van and is quite clearly there to help Burke open his heart up again and face the fact that he's never really come to terms with the loss of his wife. Eloise has no real arc of her own, no real story to tell. This movie is about Burke Ryan.

His time with Eloise is secondary to the time spent with the group from his seminar. They've all lost a loved one and have been finding it difficult to move beyond their grief. One man, in particular, is Walter (John Carroll Lynch). Walter lost everything in his life after the death of his young son, and he is seemingly the focal point of Burke. Because if Burke can help Walter get his life back on track, maybe the same is possible for himself.

Love Happens might have been marketed as a romantic comedy, but it's anything but. I enjoyed pieces of the movie, but it didn't feel very cohesive as a whole. Frankly, it's not terribly funny, despite the always welcome presence of rom-com sidekick extraordinaire, Judy Greer and lovable Dan Folger. The topic of grief is a heavy one and can obviously be handled with humor if you have the right script and the right director, but the comedy aspect of the film really fell flat. There are a few amusing moments (particularly between the parrot of Burke's dead wife and Martin Sheen), but I spent more time feeling choked up whenever Walter talked about his son and how he died. Walter's arc was more interesting than the rest of the movie put together if that tells you anything.

Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart are two attractive people, but I wasn't really feeling their relationship. There was very little chemistry there and their romance definitely took a backseat to Burke's grief and journey to accepting his wife's passing and his role in it. It was a bit more melodramatic for me, to be honest. During Burke's emotional breakdown on stage in front of a packed auditorium, there is a slow clap when he reconciles with his father-in-law, which felt oddly inappropriate, and I couldn't help but think Burke and his father-in-law could travel from city to city and put on the same show to make some extra money. Cynical of me, I know, but it felt very cheap. Burke somehow met a woman, fell in love and finally released three years of buried grief in less than four days. Incredible!

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston, Dan Folger, Judy Greer, Martin Sheen
Directed by: Brandon Camp
Rated: PG-13
Watched: 03.09.2019
Fun Facts:
- Jennifer Aniston was never in Seattle during shooting of the film. They used a body double during the scenes depicting Seattle landmarks.
Notable Song: Have A Little Faith In Me by John Hiatt
Rating:





3.14.2019

Long Shot Red Band Trailer

I have been as sick as a dog for the last 5 days and have not accomplished anything! I did, however, watch Love Happens and will eventually get that review posted. Until then, Lionsgate released a red band trailer for the upcoming romantic comedy, Long Shot, which has been getting some pretty fantastic reviews. I can't wait to see it.



Also, in other rom-com news, The Perfect Date staring Noah Centineo, Laura Marano and Camila Mendes will be released on Netflix on April 12th.

3.09.2019

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) - Review


Synopsis: After finding love, Bridget Jones questions if she really has everything she's dreamed of having.

Same Bridget. Brand New Diary.

When I saw this back in 2004, I clearly recall not enjoying it as much as the first film. Yes, I still adored Renee Zellweger's performance, and I will always swoon over Colin Firth as Mark Darcy, but there was something missing from The Edge of Reason. I remember feeling the same way when I read the novel and while I appreciated the changes they made from novel to screen in Bridget Jones's Diary, the changes in The Edge of Reason just didn't work for me the same way.

The Edge of Reason picks up where the original film left us, with Bridget and Mark engrossed in the blissful first weeks of their new relationship. It's clear they're in love, but doubts soon begin to creep in as Bridget realizes she's not as worldly and sophisticated as Mark's posh friends and colleagues. Not to mention the fact that he's a (gasp) conservative voter and has a rather beautiful, young intern named Rebecca (Jacinda Barrett) constantly on his arm, sparking jealousy and insecurity within Bridget. She has a difficult time communicating this to Mark, who also has a difficult communicating much of anything to Bridget. After a few predictable misunderstandings and a pregnancy scare that reveals their different ideas for the future, Bridget breaks up with Mark.

From there the movie abruptly changes course, sending Bridget to Thailand with Daniel Cleaver (devilishly smarmy Hugh Grant) where the exotic beaches and romantic moon tempts Bridget into giving Daniel another chance. Then we get some sluggish nonsense where Bridget is framed for drug smuggling and this is where I had begun to remember why I hadn't really liked this movie in 2004. To be fair, I did enjoy it more during this rewatch, but only the first half, where we were dealing with Bridget and Mark's growing pains. In romantic comedies, we always wonder what happens after the 'happily ever after', and The Edge of Reason had the potential to show us, even if it meant veering away from the novel completely. Instead, we get a silly second half that goes from mildly silly to just plain ridiculous.

The performances are still wonderful, which actually made the movie tolerable. Even with a wobbly script Zellweger still perfectly embodies Bridget's charm. Firth and Grant stay true to their characters, and while not as iconic as in the first film, Mark and Daniel's second fight in a water fountain is still as fun, probably because it's a delight to see Mark show some real emotion, even if it's pent up anger and resentment.

If you're a fan of Bridget Jones's Diary, The Edge of Reason is certainly worth a watch, but it's simply lacking the heart that made Bridget Jones's Diary so successful. I'm not sure if this is because of the script, or the fact that the movie had a different director. I know that Sharon Maguire did return to the director's chair for Bridget Jones's Baby, so I'm hoping that the conclusion to the Bridget Jones Trilogy will be a much more enjoyable one than this was.

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jacinda Barrett
Directed by: Beeban Kidron
Rated: R
Watched: 03.09.2019
Fun Facts:
- Like the first movie, the fight between Daniel and Mark was not choreographed.
- Hugh Grant's character was so popular in the first film that his role was expanded for the sequel, despite his character only making a small appearance in the novel.
- Bridget references Pride and Prejudice when she says she wants to see Mark in a white, wet shirt (a nod to Firth's iconic lake scene in Pride and Prejudice where Mark Darcy exits the water in a white shirt).
Notable Song: Crazy In Love by Beyonce
Rating:




3.08.2019

Before Sunrise (1995) - Review


Synopsis: A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

Can the greatest romance of your life last only one night?

As I was approaching my fiftieth review on Letterboxd (and then here), I took to Twitter to ask everyone what movie should be #50. The choices were Before Sunrise, The Jane Austen Book Club and It Happened One Night. Before Sunrise had no problem winning the poll with 53%! I was a little nervous watching this, as it's one I've never seen before but I've seen nothing but glowing reviews for the Before Trilogy as a whole and I was afraid of being let down. Thankfully Before Sunrise met my expectations quite effortlessly. I felt like this is what I had wanted Destination Wedding to be, but it ultimately hadn't.

Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is an American on a train to Vienna to catch a flight back to the States. Celine (Julie Delpy) is on her way back to Paris after having spent some time visiting her grandmother. An arguing married couple on the train causes them both to flee to the lounge car together, and from there they get to know one another. So intrigued by Celine is Jesse that when the train stops in Vienna, he convinces her to depart the train and spend the night wandering Vienna with him before he has to catch his flight. Feeling the same connection as Jesse had, Celine agrees.

And thus begins a magnificent hour and forty minutes of character study and romance. There are no crazy late night shenanigans in Vienna, just Jesse and Celine walking around the city, experiencing the sights and each other. Their first kiss might be one of my top ten favorite first kisses in cinema. Understated and romantic with no need for sweeping music or intense declarations of love. Delpy and Hawke's chemistry is incredible and the dialogue is so natural that yes, even I thought for most of the film that the actors had to be improvised. When I found out every conversation was scripted and rehearsed all the way down to the overlapping lines, I was even more impressed with the movie.

Linklater is incredibly patient with the building of Celine and Jesse's love story. Obviously, there is an instant connection and attraction, but there is also uncertainty and awkwardness which makes their relationship increasingly relatable. I loved that there was no melodrama here, and the lack of sex between the characters was a relief, as I feared that brand of intimacy would ruin what the two characters had already built together. Celine and Jesse don't have any conversations that could be considered life-changing. They're just talking about who they are and what they believe. They're not flawless.

I have to say there are two scenes in this movie that stole my heart. The first is in the record store, where Celine and Jesse huddle together in a cramped listening booth to listen to Kath Bloom on vinyl. They are standing close, each stealing glances at one another as soon as the other looks away. The timing between the sweet glances is spot on and Delpy and Hawke both brilliantly project the air of newfound infatuation mingled with just a tiny bit of awkwardness, and oh jeez, haven't we all been there?

My second favorite was their fake phone calls to one another in a restaurant, where they each pretend to call their best friends back home to tell them about their experience that night in Vienna with a stranger they met on the train. They're able to be honest about their feelings for one another under the guise of talking to their friends, and it might just be the most mesmerizing scene in the entire movie.

I'm actually a little relieved that it took me this long to see Before Sunrise because I'm not sure I would have wanted to wait another nine years to find out if Jesse and Celine ever saw one another again. I'm excited to watch the remaining films and see where time ultimately took Jesse and Celine's story.

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Rated: R
Watched: 03.08.2019
Fun Facts:
- Richard Linklater has said that the inspiration for the movie came from an evening he spent with a woman named Amy in Philadelphia. They stayed in touch for a while but eventually lost contact. He never heard from her again and discovered in 2010 that she had died in a tragic accident just before the release of the 1995 movie.
- Actor Adam Goldberg has a cameo as a passenger on the train at the beginning of the movie. Goldberg and Delpy later dated in real life and starred together in 2 Days in Paris.
- Delpy and Hawke contributed to the script but were not given screenwriting credits. They did, however, receive writing credits for the two sequels and were nominated for two WGAs and two Oscars.
- Despite the natural dialogue and easy conversations between the two leads, the film was not improvised as many had thought.
Notable Song: Come Here by Kath Bloom
Rating:

3.07.2019

'Someone Great' Trailer



From Netflix: Aspiring music journalist Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) has just landed her dream job at an iconic magazine and is about to move to San Francisco. Rather than do long distance, her boyfriend of nine years (Lakeith Stanfield) decides to call it quits. To nurse her broken heart, Jenny gathers up her two best friends Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow) for one outrageous last adventure in New York City. Someone Great will be released April 19th!