Metal Lords: Yet Another Film About High School Outcasts Forming A Band

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of high school outcasts form a metal band.

My, my the originality of this film is honestly a little shocking, I am being sarcastic if that wasn’t obvious. How many films before have had this exact same plot, I would find it very hard to say but I would say it is a very large number.

I understand D.B Weiss, yes one of the Game Of Thrones writers who you thought had faded away into infamy, wrote this based on his own personal high school experience but there is so little love or personality here that it just sort of fades into the shadow of other better films like Deathgasm.

Adrian Greensmith was well cast and does manage to give us a truly haunting performance of a deeply troubled young man who is lashing out at a world that has never shown him any kindness. He and an oddly perfect cameo from Joe Manganiello do help to make the film somewhat more enjoyable, however it simply isn’t enough.

Overall, this is the sort of film that will be promptly forgotten about 10 minutes after watching.

Pros.

Greensmith

Manganiello

Cons.

It is generic

It adds nothing new to the genre

Most of the cast are deeply milquetoast

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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 Hottie And The Nottie: Perhaps The Most Toxic Film Ever Made

0.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Paris Hilton can’t act as such she never gets any acting roles, and the only ones she can get are when she just has to play herself an entitled ego maniac that thinks everyone wants to date her. That is very true here yet the film also revolves around her friend, played by Christine Larkin, who can’t get a date because she is ugly. As a whole the film is a toxic mess.

The obvious reason why this film is terrible is because it encourages people to be shallow. Yes, the ending goes in a different direction and has the shallow character grow, but that is after we have spent a whole film laughing at these character for being ugly. It teaches bad values and praises looking a certain way above all else, which is fairly twisted and fosters self-hatred.

Moreover, Hilton is a terrible romantic lead though I won’t belabour the point as I think everyone is already aware at this point that she can’t act. Her character in this film is so utterly up herself that I can’t see why any one would ever want to be with her. Perhaps being one of the most unlikeable rom-com protagonists ever.

Overall, a film constructed out of two things nepotism and putting people down based on how they look.

Pros.

It borders on so bad it is funny at times

Cons.

Its values and message

The characters are loathsome

It has a horrible pace

Paris Hilton can’t act

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Sex Appeal: Why Are The Kids Today So Damn Cringe?

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A young overachiever, played by Mika Abdalla, must enlist the help of her friend Larson, played by Jake Short, in order to get herself ready for her first time with her long distance boyfriend.

If that doesn’t sound like one of the most generic premises you have ever heard, then honestly I am worried about you. I feel like I have seen about fifty other films with that same premise at least. I am getting so sick of this smart girl breaking bad narrative, it worked well in Booksmart it doesn’t mean you need to copy it relentlessly Hollywood. It is also reductive to the cause as it implies that women can’t be both smart and sexually liberated and adventurous, it has to be one or the other.

The young cast are all incredibly unlikeable, and push the boundaries of cringe honestly some of the things they say and do feel so cringey that I almost had to turn the film off. It feels several years out of date to say the least, now I don’t know any American teens so maybe they do carry on like this but dear God I hope not. It feels more likely to just be old executives thinking this is how teens act.

This film did not need to be made, the money used to construct it could have been used for one hundred superior projects or even just given to charity and it would have made the world better, this film enriches nothing and no one, showing the most desperate side of the industry.

Overall, it is depressing that this film was made.

Pros.

It is short

Cons.

It is cringe

It isn’t funny

It is painfully derivative

It has no reason to exist

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The Package: Not For The Fainthearted

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of friends go on a camping trip together to celebrate spring break, however once the revelling starts Jeremy, Eduardo Franco, slices off his member- what follows is a desperate struggle to reattach it before he loses it forever.

Though in many ways this film might be base and crude, I found it to be enjoyable and funny and maybe even sweet at times. Not every joke lands, but enough do that you are laughing more often than not, and when you aren’t you’re smiling.

I truly do believe that much like with Blockers Geraldine Viswanathan is the standout of the cast. Viswanathan is quickly proving herself to be one to watch, here she gets a lot of funny lines but also she has quite a nice emotional arc over the course of the film wherein she realises what she deserves out of a relationship and moves onto someone less toxic.

I enjoyed this film as it was a feel good turn the brain off sort of film and in times like these we need as many of them as we can get providing they are good.

Overall, though not every joke lands there is enough here to make this film enjoyable.

Pros.

Viswanathan

A few strong jokes

A feel good ending

The message around toxic relationships

Cons.

A few pacing issues

Not every joke lands  

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Our Ladies: Life In A Small Scottish Town

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of Scottish school girls head up to the big city, in this case Edinburgh, for a school choir competition, however they are far more interested in drinking, partying and hooking up.

Damn this one is an unexpected punch in the feels, get ready so it doesn’t take you by surprise as it did me. You have been warned.

The premise as I described it to you above seems pretty breezy and fun, and though the film has elements of that there is far more going on below the surface. The plot of this film is far deeper than you might give it credit for and it runs the gambit of commenting on such issues as terminal disease, inequality, homophobia and many more. In many ways, this film tackles both the high points and the low points of life and doesn’t shy away from either.

I found this film to be depressing, but maybe that was the point, maybe you were supposed to leave it reflecting on how these girls have less life opportunities than other people based on their location, gender and class background. However, that is not to say I didn’t find any moments of enjoyment in the film, I did. There are several moments in the film that are not only enjoyable but cheer worthy.

I thought all the performers herein were entertaining and endearing and by the end of the film I cared enough about the characters that I wanted them to have a happy ending, sadly that is not how it pans out.

Overall, a surprisingly dark tale of teenage angst, love and life.

Pros.

A few funny moments

Likeable characters

Well-paced

Cons.

It is too dark

It leaves you feeling depressed

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The Exchange: In Search Of A Similar Soul

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A small town teen, Ed Oxenbould, sets out to get a sophisticated French pen pal in order to find someone else like him. However, the exchange student he gets proves to be more than he bargained for.

Beneath the teen coming of age comedyiness of this film there is actually something quite soulful and human there. For every joke about sex, or some other teenage cliché, there are several deep comments about self-acceptance, racism and finding your place in a world where no one is like you.

I thought the cast across the board was strong, Oxenbould has come a long way since his days rapping in The Visit, and here he manages to capture acute social anxiety and embody the outsider better than any other actor I’ve seen in a teen film in a long while. Moreover, Avan Jogia is a delight here, he is the heart and soul of the film, and his character is beautifully written. Though he might seem like a young man with everything he could ever want in the world, he is actually far more troubled than that. I thought it was an ingenious choice to never really elaborate on what Jogia’s Stephane has experienced back home, but rather elude to it.

I would say the film’s humour is hit or miss. For the most part I didn’t find the teenage humour particularly funny, but I did find Justin Hartley to be hilarious. Hartley is truly an underrated talent; I found his man child character to be easily the most broken and most amusing character of the whole film.

Overall, a surprisingly insightful comedy film with a lot going on under the surface.

Pros.

Jogia

The deeper trauma

The coming of age elements

Oxenbould

Cons.

Not all the jokes land

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The Binge: The New Fashion Trend Of The 2020-2021 Season Is To Remove And Then Draw On Your Eyebrows, Poorly

The Binge is a comedy film directed by Jeremy Garelick. The plot serves as a novel adaption of the Purge concept, however, rather than have all crime be legal for 12 hours this film imagines a world were drinking and doing drugs is totally illegal with the exception of one night a year where citizens around the world are allowed to binge drugs and alcohol to their hearts content.

This is the second film in my unintentional Vince Vaughn marathon, and I have to say Vaughn really shines here. Of course this film focuses on a group of high school boys who are planning to take full advantage of the binge whilst also being scared of it, continuing the traditions of its forbearers such as American Pie. However, Vaughn plays the principal of the school they all attend, his character is shown as very much anti-binge and he is also the father of Lena (Grace Van Dien), one of the main boy’s love interest. As a result of this Vaughn is set up for many of the best lines and is genuine hilarious multiple times over the course of the film, I especially enjoyed him as a father figure to Griffin (Skyler Gisondo), later in the film.

I also enjoyed the fact that this film was not afraid to get weird with its already terrific premise, there is a whole drug inspired dance number midway through the film that I thought was simply absurdist perfection.

The main and obvious criticism of this film is the same that can be levelled at numerous films in the sub-genre and that is the male focus, this film does not focus on both the male and female characters being rowdy, rather it uses the female characters almost as goals for the male characters or more aptly as plot devices. This is something that ‘sex comedy’ or the ‘teen’ film really needs to change as focusing on one gender over the over is reductive and it would be nice to see these sort of films start to explore both sides of the teen perspective.

Overall, if you like ‘teen’ comedies then you will like this, it has many funny moments mostly from Vaughn and has an inspired and humorous premise.

Pros.

The premise

Vaughn

It is funny

The absurdity

Cons.

Very male centric

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Wild Child: The Most Confusing Accent You Have Ever Heard

Wild Child is a teen comedy film directed by Nick Moore. The plot follows spoilt suburban girl Poppy as she is (Emma Roberts), sent away to a stuffy English boarding school; a beneficial culture clash ensues.

This film won’t win points for originality, as this plot line has been done to the point of nauseum. However, the dry comedic talents of Roberts managed to save this film, honestly if it hadn’t been for her then I would have probably stopped watching. She was believable as the brat, but also loveable when she turned it around; she had a lot of that all important rootability.

The humour of this film is very relatable, it reminds you of a lot of the concerns you had when you were a teen. I enjoyed seeing the friendships develop between the girls, with the romance getting a back seat; normally in these sort of films it would be front and centre.

My favourite moment of this film was the short cameo from Nick Frost, it made me laugh quite a bit. I don’t fully understand what sort of accent he is supposed to be doing, but he is still my favourite bit about this film.

Overall, a fun teen romp that is made by Emma Roberts, with a surprisingly great cameo from Frost and the wise choice to focus on friendships over relationships.

Pros.

Emma Roberts

Nick Frost

Focusing on friendship over relationships

It is very relatable

Cons.

You have seen this before

3.5/5

Reviewed by Luke    

The To Do list: Exploring Your Body

The To Do List is a romantic comedy film directed by Maggie Carey. The plot sees Brandy (Aubrey Plaza), make a to do list before she goes off to college, the twist however is that the items on the list are sexual in nature as Brandy is quite inexperienced, so she sets out to change that.

This has been in my Netflix queue for quite some time and I finally watched it, and I have to say I am glad I did. I ended up enjoying it way more than I thought I would, and it is easily one of the best films I have seen recently.

I thought the sex positive message of the film was very good and very enlightening for teenage viewers. The idea that sex is a natural thing and nothing to be ashamed off is something that is not said often enough, especially for Women. It is nice to see a new wave of media with a sex positive female focus, other example of my point would be Book Smart, Blockers and Fleabag.

I also thought the film was hilarious and it often had me laughing. I thought Clark Gregg as the overprotective, uncomfortable with sex father was the standout in this regard, his character often had me in stiches, and he paired with Connie Britton’s sex positive mum worked wonders.

Overall, a hilariously good, funny film that I highly recommend everyone watch.

Pros.

Clarke Gregg

Aubrey Plaza

Bill Hader

It has a very good message

It is hilarious

The cameos

Cons.

None

5/5