Tall Girl: Falling Short On Having Anything Interesting To Say

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Yet another Netflix teen film with a terrible message.

This film is so vapid that it’s character can barely be called puddle deep. Clearly whoever wrote this film is not only widely out of touch, and doesn’t know how social media works and effects teens, but also has never met a teen girl before in their life, as the way the teens behave in this is barely even human.

Another thing that will annoy many about this film is the fact that though the central girl, played by Ava Michelle, has body confidence issues about her height it is just a small scale issue in the scheme of things. In a world were people are often bullied and beaten for their sexual orientation or skin colour, a narrative about a girl being sad because she is tall just comes off as privileged and again out of touch. I could give this film somewhat of a pass if it had something good to say about body confidence by the end of the film, but no the film instead gives out yet more toxic messages and then tries to wrap up.

Everything about this film sucks and honestly Netflix really needs to fire whoever runs their greenlighting process.

Overall, this is why everyone thinks Netflix only makes bad films.

Pros.

It is unintentionally hilarious

Cons.

It has a bad message

It is irritating

All of the characters have clear privilege

It has no depth at all   

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The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window: You’ll Need A Lot Of Wine To Get Through This

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A parody that forgets to parody and becomes what it sets out to mock.

What is this show?

It isn’t quite a comedy, it isn’t quite a thriller, what does it want to be and why do we have to witness it’s journey of self-discovery?

The only reason this gets half marks is because through it all Kirsten Bell is trying her hardest. Through every bad joke, through every dumb twist that the show thinks proves it is better than what it is mocking, and even through the incredibly predictable finale, Bell holds it all together and makes it bearable.

I understand that book based thriller films like The Woman In The Window are bad, but that doesn’t mean the parody of them will be good. No, for the most part this series devolves into simply copying these thrillers and thinking that for some reason it is above them and won’t fall into the same trap, this is obviously not the case and never was going to be.

Moreover, this series doesn’t seem to understand what parody is, admittedly maybe I am comparing it to the Movie films which in my mind are far better stand-ups of what they were trying to spoof than this. The knowing jokes in this show mostly fall flat and feel like the most baseline observational jokes you could write, they could have played up the camp, the strangeness, hell anything to make this better than it is.

Overall, it is watchable and watched as a binge it even has its moments, but it is average at best and if you stop watching it you are unlikely to return.

Pros.

Bell

Riley

Some of the sillier elements

Cons.

It becomes what it is parodying

It is not funny

It is deeply played out   

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Home Team: Adam Sandler Is Even Bringing His Kids Into His Films Now, Will The Nepotism Ever End?

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Adam Sandler’s dependence star in a true story about a disgraced NFL coach, played by Kevin James, who ends up coaching his son’s peewee football team.

This sports film just rehashes cliches, honestly there isn’t much more to say; I could end the review there. To expand, the plot of this film is not just overly familiar it is almost plagiaristic. The beats and forced emotion it is going for, but crucially never achieves, have been done so much better before elsewhere.

Moreover, I get him and Sandler are pals but whoever thought James was a good leading man? Does Sandler? Is that why he gets cast in the lead role in so many of Happy Madison’s productions? To answer some of those questions for you, nepotism is the only way James can get these roles as his talent just isn’t there. Whether playing happy, sad or quizzical James comes across with all the emotional range of a shopping bag.

Overall, it is fine, technically there is nothing wrong with it, however, if you want more than deeply forgettable then you will be left cold and disappointed.

Pros.

It is watchable

Taylor Lautner returns

Cons.

James

It is boring

It is generic

The nepotism is blatant

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The Karen Abroad: Flawed American Exceptionalism And The Use Of Regressive Stereotypes As Shown In Emily In Paris

Written by Luke Barnes

This will be a slightly different post to the ones I normally write. I want to write this as more of an in-depth look at what I think is a major issue within entertainment. American Exceptionalism abroad. Of course I am using the lens of Netflix’s Emily In Paris, a show about an American woman, played by Lilly Collins, who goes to France for a fashion job and the series charts her life there. I am not the first to make these points or come to these conclusions, but Emily In Paris is the embodiment of the faux idea of American Exceptionalism, the examples I give can also be referenced in hundreds of other shows and movies as well.

Upon the end of the show’s first season Emily In Paris got a lot of criticism for some of the issues I am going to bring up, the show then tried to address and change this in the second season which has just aired, but rather than actually fix things it seems like the show has just doubled down on all the things people hate and has flipped the audience off in the process.

To get to my first example from the show, when Emily first arrives in Paris she decides that everything her French co-workers have done is wrong and that only her American way can save the company. One can draw some comparisons to a white saviour narrative arc here however here it is not about race but nationality, this is the American saviour. Of course the natives, The French, are resistance to Emily’s American brilliance but of course she is shown to be right and they are all shown to be incompetent. This backs up the outdated world view that nowhere is as successful or as creative as America and that no company can achieve true success without an American’s help, which is widely insulting, but also embodies American Exceptionalism.

Secondly, Emily makes no effort to learn French or to respect local traditions or customs, this is somewhat remedied  in season two as they make a big point out of showing her trying to learn French. However, even in this capitulation the show is two faced. In the beginning the narrative suggests that Emily doesn’t need to learn French as those around her need to come to her and need to speak English, as by not they are being rude even though it is not an English speaking country. This furthers the entitled air of the show. With the second season having her learning French it is the bare minimum yet the show wants us to worship Emily and revere her for doing it, this shouldn’t be encouraged this should just be a standard, but no, in the world of Emily In Paris if a character doesn’t capitulate to Emily, thereby to America, they are in the wrong.

My final example and perhaps what some might call my smoking gun is the show’s use of stereotypes for the French and later Ukrainian characters. Many America shows carry with them somewhat of a xenophobia perspective, this idea of the American characters being normal and everyone outside of their country being off, bad, or somehow lesser to them. Nowhere is this better shown then in the use of stereotyping, you might see this when American shows portray the Irish as alcoholics, the English as having bad teeth or in the case of Emily In Paris the French as being rude, philanders who can’t keep to Emily’s own moral values. Many French critics have called out this show for its depiction of French people and French culture, as it has been highlighted as damaging and unenlightened. The way the show portrays French people is done as a means to lessen them in the eyes of an American audience, here we have Emily just trying to be nice and the mean foreigner is ignoring her.

Moreover, don’t even get me started on how the show tries to sexually shame the French people by showing them as constantly sleeping around, which of course karen Emily judges, only to later show highly questionable sexual behaviour herself. She sleeps with a minor and the show brushes it off as a joke and even has it be recurring. The hypocrisy is not lost.

In the second season the show changes it target after being called out too much for its depiction of the French and goes after Ukrainian’s, creating a new character who is a walking cliché shown as being a thief and terrified of being deported; if I were Ukrainian I would find that highly insulting. However, you see dear reader that it doesn’t matter where the foreign character is from they have to be brought low so that Emily and by default America can feel good about itself, because at the end of the day that is what American Exceptionalism, as flawed as it is, is all about. A vain effort to ignore all of the systematic issues of their own country by projecting themselves as the best people on the planet, with everyone else left as a stereotype.

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Bruised: Berry’s Career Receives A Knockout Blow

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

In her first directorial role Halle Berry has to give herself the lead role of a disgraced UFC fighter trying to get back in the game, as no one else is offering her roles. It is funny how life mirrors art, though I suppose Berry isn’t disgraced simply forgotten.

If this is how Berry wants to get back into cinema stardom then she has gone the wrong way about it, casting herself feels cheap and more than a little narcissistic, this wouldn’t be so bad if she was able to provide the film with a good performance, sadly that is not forthcoming.

As I have said in many other reviews the actor turned director often doesn’t have a lot of luck making good films that are well received by both audiences and critics, this provides us with another example. Berry certainly throws everything she has at this film, but it isn’t nearly enough. The pace of over two hours is simply grotesque and the story of a broken former star trying to regain past glories is about as played out as they come. If the film had better material to work with then perhaps it wouldn’t be as bad as it is.

As it stands this is just another bad and soon to be forgotten Netflix movie, though it does leave us with a lesson that not every actor has what it takes to excel behind the camera.

Overall, incredibly familiar, overly long and frankly an effort in egotism.

Pros.

It has a good soundtrack

The supporting cast are trying

Cons.

Berry

It is too familiar

It is too long

It is incredibly generic    

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He’s All That: Influencers Aren’t Actors

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A gender swapped version of She’s All That, the forgotten nineties film, this time with a random TikTok influencer because Netflix are cringe and seemingly more and more incapable of making good original content.

Whoever is in charge of original content development, or if one can call them that the film head, needs to be fired. The recent baffling stream of terrible content being churned out by Netflix would be enough to make anyone else in the space blush, but Netflix doesn’t seem to care because they don’t try and make good films they try and make ones that everyone will watch at least the first few minutes of.

The fact that this film stars and is about a TikTok star just speak to how desperate this film is to appeal to Gen Z, but guess what even Gen Z can see what a turd this film is. This film reads to me as though it was made by a group of out of touch old white guys who realised the kids liked TikTok so decided to base a film around it, whilst not really understanding what it is.

Moreover, Addison Rae has no business being in this film. She can’t act, isn’t funny and barely seems to have any on screen training at all. Whenever she said a line it was so painfully delivered that it took me straight out of the film and reminded me that the price of Netflix keeps going up and made me ask why am I still paying it?

Overall, if the quality of Netflix’s originals don’t start improving I will most likely cancel my subscription.

Pros.

It is unintentionally funny

Cons.

Rae

The TikTok focus

It has no reason to exist

When it is trying to be funny it is painfully unfunny    

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The Lost Daughter: Olivia Colman’s Unintelligible Trip To Greece

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Another actor who has achieved moderate success, this time Maggie Gyllenhaal, turns their hand to directing. The film follows a woman, played by Olivia Colman, who is not a natural mother and whilst on holiday becomes fixated on another woman’s life and family.

Being a well respected actor does not make you a good director, I feel this needs to be underlined. The films of George Clooney come to mind as I write this, with his directing fair ranging from passable to incredibly weak and pretentious. Gyllenhaal airs on the latter side.

The main reason this film has such a low score from me is because for the most part you will be hard pressed to understand what is going on without looking up the plot online. The way the film constructs its narrative is deeply flawed using flashbacks scattered in randomly which seem to contradict each other to try and fill in the back story, but again unless you look it up you are still unlikely to understand what is going on.

Colman is as good as ever, even if her character is immensely dislikeable but hey not every lead needs to be a good person or likeable. Colman seems to be having fun and manages to deliver a few funny lines here and there which help you to get through the rest of the film.

Overall, this is one that the Oscars Crowd and certain online critics will love and say is the best thing ever, but for most everyone else you will be left scratching your head and feeling like your time was wasted. I know I was.  

Pros.

Colman

I liked Ed Harris but thought his character was not developed anywhere near enough

Cons.

The flashbacks

It is hard to watch at times

It doesn’t make sense

It drags on

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Death To 2021: 2022 Doesn’t Look Much Better

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A comical stand-up of major world events from 2021.

For the most part I thought this was good, it made me laugh several times though not every joke landed. Moreover, I also appreciated the fact that though it covered some hot button issues it never really came down hard on one side or another politically and just tried to lampoon everything, that is how comedy should be.

In terms of the fictional talking head characters created for the special I thought Hugh Grant’s MBE wielding combater of the woke had many strong comedic lines and Cristin Milioti’s QAnon tinged Kathy Flowers once again stole the show. It is a huge shame that the world has yet to learn about Milioti’s fantastic comedic chops enough to land her leading roles in comedy films, hopefully soon that will be rectified.

My only real criticism would be that there were pacing issues in parts and not all of the jokes landed, these two things weren’t major issues but they did team up and when they did it led to a few bad segments where unfunny jokes were stretched out for far too long.

Overall, a funny stand up to an otherwise quite troubling year.

Pros.

Grant

Milioti

The jokes

It never chose one side politically

Cons.

Pacing issues

A few bad jokes

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Yes God Yes: Chat Rooms, The Portal To Self Discovery

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A catholic school girl, played by Natalie Dyer, learns the importance of self-love after she gives in to sin.

I thought this film was in many ways genius, I think for a long time the sex comedy genre has been heavily male dominated and in recent years we have seen more sex comedy films told from the female point of view and this is much needed, this is one of those films. I think it is important to do this to demystify ideas around female sex and masturbation and in many ways these have been stigmatised within society.

I would say the film is funny about three quarters of the time, not every joke lands but enough do that it still works as a comedy. In terms of the dramatic elements I think the film does a good job of making us see the repressed world of this catholic school girl just looking to explore her sexuality and shows the adversity she faces.

Dyer does a good job here and does more than enough to distance herself from her other role of Nancy Myers on Stranger Things, I think there is a believable naivety here and a believable innocence that really plays into the performance and makes it seem more genuine.

Overall, an important film for many reasons but one that doesn’t totally stick the landing.

Pros.

The female focus

Demystifying female sexual experiences

The jokes

The ending

Cons.

Not all the jokes land

Pacing issues, it may have worked better as a short

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Robin Robin: Whilst You Sleep At Night Mice Steal Your Food

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A young robin called Robin, voiced by Bronte Carmichael, is taken in by a family of mice, but must then find out who she is after she realises she doesn’t make for a very good mouse.

My track record with Aardman Animation is mixed, I liked Wallace and Gromit and thought Early Man was okay, but I really didn’t like Chicken Run. So when it came to watching this I was mixed, however I have to say this is easily the best Aardman feature to date and if this is any indication for what they are going to produce through their collaboration with Netflix then I am very on board for what is to come.

I thought the film was sweet and really sold its message of being yourself and being proud of who you are well. I enjoyed all the characters and thought each had their moments to shine over the features run time. I thought the pace was well decided as well, as by keeping it short it allowed the film to have a real momentum that lead to it be constantly engaging and never boring.

Finally, there is a musical element to this film which could be hit or miss for people, for me I thought it worked and I enjoyed almost all of the songs, bar the final proper one during the third act, but for the most part I thought the songs added to the film’s charm.

Overall, a lovely little animated Christmas film.

Pros.

It is sweet

It is well paced

It has fun characters

The songs work well

Cons.

The third act could use work as it is a little played out  

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