Tag Archives: Drama

Greta

Everyone Needs a Friend.

Greta (2018)

A young woman befriends a lonely widow who’s harboring a dark and deadly agenda toward her.

Starring: Isabelle Huppert • Chloë Grace Moretz • Maika Monroe 

*Minor spoilers*

Bags of fun

Huh. Knowing this is directed by The Crying Game’s Neil Jordan, you would naturally go in expecting a high quality thriller. What you actually get is an enjoyable, yet ultimately empty and forgettable movie with questionable central performances. Which I’m gutted to type, honestly because ever since I saw the trailer, I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release date.

The premise alone is so intriguing. When nice girl Frances McCullen (Chloe Moretz) finds a handbag on the subway, there’s no question of what she will do. She returns it to its rightful owner, Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert). Greta invites her in for coffee and learning that she is widowed and missing her daughter, who lives in Paris, Frances takes pity on the woman – and a friendship is born.

Grieving for her own mother, who has passed away the previous year, Frances finds a natural connection with Greta. Frances’ BFF Erica (It Follows’ Maika Monroe) warns her that the whole scene is a little bit icky – and moreover, that Frances’ wholesome goodness will result in her being eaten alive by NYC. Frances doesn’t see it like that… until she discovers some new (and sinister) information about her new friend.

What on earth is Greta’s game and what does she want from Frances?

Chink chink motherfucker

Needless to say this is an intense stalker story that culminates in a nasty situation. But why? This is my issue with the story. We learn via a secondary source (played by Zawe Ashton), that things aren’t as they seem, particularly regarding the relationship between Greta and her daughter. There’s a vague hint at what G might be hiding but there’s no exploration of why she is what she is. And the climax is cool and all but it’s also shaky and predictable.

I was expecting so much more. I thought I’d be blown away by a motive I’d never even considered, with twists and turns I couldn’t imagine. Instead I got several shoddy false starts and a lot of head scratching time. That said, I still enjoyed myself – and while she’s not given that much to do, I liked Erica (when will MM get the consistently great roles she deserves?).

“I loved you in It Follows.”

About those central performances. I mean, c’mon! Huppert is a dream of an actress with a sting in her tail. Her turn in 2016’s Elle was wonderful – I expected more of the same, if not even more unhinged and delicious. Yet her Greta never really gets going in the way I hoped. It’s not a bad performance, it just doesn’t ever gain the momentum you’d expect. She is chic AF though, which is a given.

In turn, lovely Miss Moretz seems to phone her part in. I do find her acting hit or miss at times (even though I like her) but it’s as if she turned up to filming without really reading the script first. However, I can’t really blame the actresses for this, the film just doesn’t pack a punch and they can only do so much.

⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Mid90s

Fall. Get back up.

Mid90s (2018)

Follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 1990s-era Los Angeles who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.

Starring: Sunny Suljic • Katherine Waterston • Lucas Hedges

*Minor spoilers*

Mid90s-movie

You literally take the hardest hits out of anybody I’d ever seen in my life. You know you don’t have to do that, right? ~ Ray

Oh slow burning indie movies, how I love thee. Jonah Hill‘s directorial debut is beautiful and sweet there’s no denying it. However, I don’t know how long I will think about it now I’ve seen it.

Stevie (Sunny Suljic) comes from a single-parent home with a bully for a big brother. His mother Dabney (Katherine Waterston) is still young and gorgeous (having had her first child at 18) – and is dipping into the dating pool again. I would tell you more about her but apart from a couple of minor scenes, we know very little of her.

It is suggested that she’s had ‘a past’ that has included a revolving door of suitors – and this might be why older son Ian (Lucas Hedges) is so tormented (read: such a dick).

Stevie is yearning for something clearly, for when he stumbles across a group of skateboarders outside a local skate shop, he wants in – and makes it his mission to join them. Which is no mean feat when you’re just a kid.

Summer-summer-summertime…

Eventually he makes it into the crew and the new friends become the centre of his new world. The gang are: Ray, Fuckshit, Fourth Grade and Ruben – and they are all dealing with their own issues. Stevie rubs Reuben up the wrong way by quickly becoming the new golden boy – and this leads to an inevitable showdown between them.

The gang in general might not be as solid as they once were. Leader of the group Ray (played by the really fucking good Na-kel Smith) is drifting away from his BFF Fuckshit (Olan Prenatt), determined to leave the hood for something better. Can their friendship survive when Fuckshit is determined to just keep partying? Meanwhile, Dabney isn’t very pleased about her son’s behaviour now he’s part of something she can’t control – can she put a stop to it before it goes too far?

A mood

All in all, this is a lovely debut. There is a sex scene involving Stevie and an older girl which made me feel really icky though – so I am very glad it stopped where it did. Honestly, I get that this happens but he’s a literal child and I do not want to see him sexualised!

The female characters aren’t given much to do either. In fact the only women we actually see are Dabney and the skate groupies on the sidelines. That’s not great, Mr Hill. Come to my room and let’s discuss this further.

⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

The Category is… Live. Werk. Pose.

Pose is set in the world of 1987 and “looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the rise of the luxury universe, the downtown social and literary scene and the ball culture world.”

*Minor spoilers*

I’m fashionably late to the Pose party but I’m so glad I made it. Based around the 1980’s NYC ballroom scene, it focuses on new house-mother Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) and the freshly formed House of Evangelista.

Having just received bad health news, Blanca has decided to start really living before it’s too late. This means leaving the bosom of her own house-mother, the ferocious Elektra Abundance (Dominique Jackson) and going out on her own. Well, not on her own.

Since her house vows to be there for the kids in need, she soon gains her own children in the form of Angel, Damon and Lil Papi – and the rivalry between Evangelista and the House of Abundance rages on.

Yassss Queen

Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) has been kicked out by his parents and is living on a park bench when Blanca finds him. She takes him in with the insistence that he get an education while under her roof. Things start to look up when he’s accepted into an exclusive dance school but will his new friend Ricky bring trouble with him?

(I’m only three episodes in, so I don’t know these answers either).

And the category is… Stone Cold FACE.

ICE cold

Angel (Indya Moore) meanwhile, has fallen for businessman Stan (Evan Peters), a rising star who just can’t get enough of her exotic beauty. While he balances the pressures of work and family life, he puts her up in her own condo to keep her off the streets and his life.

TBH I don’t really care so much about Stan’s story arc. I care about our central characters – including mean Queen Elektra who is about to embark on gender reassignment surgery – and ballroom MC, Pray Tell (Billy Porter).

Pray Tell is going to break me, I just know it.

The scene is stunning, the costumes insanely beautiful and the series opener is absolutely breathtaking. I care about these characters and I want to spend time with them all. I’ve already cried through the first episode (Damon’s audition is so lovely).

Yassss Queen Part II

Plus not one Jeffrey Tambor playing a trans character in sight – and that is amazing. The only thing that pisses me off is that Peters, Kate Mara (as Stan’s wife) and James Van Der Beek get top billing in the credits and that is frankly appalling.

Get on it stat – especially if you’re a fan of the stunning Paris is Burning (1990) and its unofficial sequel Kiki (2016).

What are you watching?

Fleabag

*Minor spoilers*

Woooooo, Fleabag is back for a second series and I’m absolutely delighted! Written and starring the amazing Phoebe Waller-Bridge – the complex titular character Fleabag returns with new issues including a mammoth crush on a priest (Andrew Scott). Which is super hot, I won’t lie.

Fleabag is brilliant because it’s touching, relate-able (remember when I had my own crush on a priest? LOL) and devastating. Examining grief, guilt – the feeling of being completely inadequate – lust – it covers all angles. Even the constant breaking of the fourth wall doesn’t put me off (but only just because in series two it gets really SMUG).

Fleabag’s sister Claire (Sian Clifford) is struggling with her own feelings of resentment towards Flea, following the events of series one (I won’t spoiler, you just need to watch it).

Hot Priests R Us

Claire’s also commuting to and from Finland and dealing with pregnancy/relationship issues of her own. The best bits in many ways are the scenes between the sisters because they’re so bitchy and delicious. And there’s a hair emergency which had me screaming.

Flea also laments the current status of her friendship with Boo (Jenny Rainsford) which is very sad – and there’s a scene in which Flea ‘confesses’ to The Priest about how scared she feels all the time which realllly resonates with me. Olivia Colman is Godmother and soon-to-be Stepmother to the girls and she’s such a glorious bitch that all her scenes are the absolute best.

We’ve all been there…

My Sunday plans are to absolutely rinse the six-part series with copious amounts of tea and no regrets.

What are you watching?

Fighting With My Family

Fighting With My Family (2019)

A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.

Starring: Florence Pugh • Dwayne Johnson • Lena Headey • Vince Vaughn • Nick Frost

*Minor spoilers*

I love an underdog movie and the true story of Paige the WWE diva is a really satisfying watch. Sure, there aren’t many surprises and the narrative is pretty formulaic – but there’s a comfort in that.

If I’m honest I didn’t expect to love it as much and I think that’s mostly down to the casting. Saraya Knight AKA Britani Knight AKA Paige is played by the lovely Florence Pugh – an actress who first blew me away in Lady Macbeth.

Hands up if you love Florence Pugh!

As Saraya – or Ray to her family – tackles minor success and then the absolute brutality of what fame and fortune really requires from her, Pugh takes her through every emotion. Elation, guilt, despair – determination. She is an absolute joy to watch.

Ray’s family are a dream too – in the form of Mum Julia (Lena Headey) and Dad Ricky (Nick Frost) – and brother Zak (Jack Lowden), her wrestling partner-in-crime. The unit live and breathe the sport and run their own, barely surviving wrestling gym. Both Ray and Zak teach the community kids and generally keep them out of trouble and off the streets.

The kids and all the side characters peppered around the gym are really fun, as are the appearances of Hugh (director Stephen Merchant) and Daphne (Julia Davis) – straight-laced parents of Zak’s baby mama. The dinner party scene really made me chuckle a lot.

Adopt me, please.

When the siblings finally get the opportunity of a lifetime to audition in front of WWE trainer (Vince Vaughn), it has massive consequences for the family and Ray – and more so for the relationship between brother and sister. In both good and bad ways.

Ray travels to Florida to try out with the big boys and girls – and the standard could not be more different. Can she embrace who she really is and find her own place in this world?

There are some really interesting themes explored here – not least the devastation of being left behind felt by Zak. As his sister lives out their shared dream, he has to come to terms with focusing on a new one and it takes him a while.

In happier times…

Ray has to decide how much she really wants to be part of the WWE’s main roster and – who knew – the girl also has a lot of growing up to do. Well, she is only EIGHTEEN.

She (now going by Paige) struggles with the other girls, making lofty assumptions about them because they’re mostly models and dancers. Her illusion that they deserve their places in try-outs less than she does her no favours. Can she claw it back with these women and make a couple of much-needed friends along the way?

“Think we’re gonna need some Girl Power in this joint ASAP…”

Well, thankfully there’s a shift in both perspective and fortune for Paige – and I loved it. As soon as the girls start working together, it gets better for all of them. They’re even there are the end when Paige inevitably overcomes all her self-doubt, her guilt and her demons to absolutely smash it.

FWMF is funny, sweet, touching and very good. I’m a fan of the feel-good and now I want to know everything there is to know about the real Paige.

I definitely recommend catching this while it’s still in the theater.

⭐⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

The Aftermath

The Aftermath (2019)

Post World War II, a British colonel and his wife are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction, but tensions arise with the German who previously owned the house.

Starring: Keira Knightley • Jason Clarke • Alexander Skarsgård

*Minor Spoilers*

I always know I’m going to have a good time when Keira Knightley is wafting about in period costume. It’s just something I enjoy, sue me. Is she the greatest actress of our generation? Hell no but she looks good doing it and I like her, so there.

In this she is Rachael, the wife of a colonel stationed in Hamburg after World War II. On arriving at her new home, a grand house commandeered from a German man and his daughter, Rachael is shocked to see what the war torn city actually looks like.

Cheer up, love

She’s uncomfortable in her new digs which isn’t helped by the fact her husband, Lewis (Jason Clarke) is largely AWOL, leaving her alone for long stretches. She’s further aggrieved when Lewis decides to let widower Stefan (super babe Alexander Skarsgård) and his teenage daughter Heike remain in the house instead of moving to the camps.

Heike is understandably fucked off to be banished to the attic of her own home and enjoys rebelling against polite behaviour. Lewis for the most part is a compassionate man who feel sympathy for the Germans while still having to bring the 88 (Nazi Party) to justice.

Stefan just misses his dead wife and wants life to go back to the way it was, while Rachael is fighting her own battle, the loss of her son who was killed in a London air strike. It soon becomes clear that Lewis has been throwing himself into work instead of comforting his wife (and facing his own grief), giving us more of an understanding of what’s bubbling beneath the surface of their marriage.

“I’ll have you know I give great head…”

When Lewis is required to go away for an extended period, Rachael begs him to stay for once in his life – to sort out their differences sure but also to nip her burgeoning attraction to Stefan in the bud…

In the meantime, Heike is getting into her own mischief, involving herself with the worst kind of bad boy, a Nazi sympathiser. You just know that can’t end well.

The Aftermath looks amazing obviously, while the chemistry between Keira and my boy Alexander is hot AF. As the two do a very poor job of fighting their attraction to one another, they also bond over their respective losses. Is this enough though for them both to start over?

Well, I expected there to be more of a twist if I’m honest. There’s quite a bit of hinting about Stefan’s own affiliation with the Führer and I wanted there to be more to the story than there was. However, the ending is sweet and hopeful, and although Jason Clarke seriously reminds me of a young, better-looking Piers Morgan, I was rooting for him.

Just one of the swishy dresses on display

This is a pretty looking lament on grief and seeing things through to the bitter end. It won’t be particularly memorable but isn’t the worst way to spend a couple of hours. Plus, KK wears at least three iconic frocks which will stick fondly in my memory. So there is that at least.

⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Yes or No?

 

A slice of Thai LGBTQ dramarama this week, courtesy of Netflix, which boasts an impressive selection of gay world cinema if you ever fancy it. The main thing I have taken from this viewing experience is the fact I have little to no patience and should probably take a step back and try to enjoy the sloooooooow burn. Was it worth the wait? Read on to find out, loves.

Yes or No? (2010) Yes or No: Yaak Rak Gaw Rak Loey (original title)

Pie is a sweet girl who moves into a new college dorm room where she finds out that her new roommate Kim, is a tomboy who looks and dress like a boy. As their friendship develops, Pie and Kim begin to wonder if the feeling they feel for one another is just an ordinary friendship…

Starring: Sushar Manaying • Supanart Jittaleela • Arisara Thongborisut

*Spoilers*

Uh despite what the synopsis above says, Pie (Sushar Manaying) ain’t that sweet. Not to begin with anyway. She changes dorm rooms at university because she can’t handle the drama from her friend Jane (Arisara Thongborisut), a pretty lesbian who falls in love more often than she changes her knickers.

So, full of excitement for her new start in a new room, she’s peeved to learn her new roommate is a ‘tomboy’. That’s a girl who lacks femininity, dresses like a dude and dates girls if you’re not au fait. Kim (Supanart Jittaleela) isn’t so sure this is what she really is, given that she’s never fancied a boy or a girl but Pie has already taken against her. She quickly sets out clear boundaries, instructing Kim to keep to ‘her side’ (in case dyke germs are contagious) and screaming at her not to make any noise.

A mood

Like I said, kind of a twat. You see, Pie is influenced heavily by what her mother thinks and unfortunately ma is a monster with a very narrow mindset. Kim is a cutie and doesn’t deserve the shit she keeps getting thrown at her so it’s nice when Jane develops a crush on her. But, love is complicated and you’ll never guess who she really has heart eyes for… really, you’ll never see it coming.

Slowly but surely Pie and Kim begin to bond much to Jane’s dismay. Pie also has an on-off love interest skulking around in the shape of mum-approved Van, a dude who constantly turns up unannounced with flowers and tells everyone that he’s Pie’s man.

Honestly, there isn’t an awful lot to this story. Pie and Kim are attracted to each other but Pie is scared and confused by her feelings because of her bitchy mother and her friends, who might take the piss. Kim seems pretty comfortable in her own skin to be honest, as she wraps her head around her feelings for Pie. And she’s forever bringing her slices of cake so she’s definitely a keeper.

“How much can you bench?”

When it all becomes too much and the two lover/friends reach the point where they need to make a decision – yes or no FFS? – will they both have the courage to see it through?

Well, this is the angstiest film I’ve seen in a long time. It’s like an extra, extra long episode of Home and Away from my teen years. I’m not against it for this at all, in fact once I’d got into the groove with the main characters I was enjoying myself. It’s just that it took us nearly two hours to reach any sort of conclusion – and there’s only so much will they/won’t they I can stand. You’re not Tim and Dawn from The Office, guys (UK edition).

I also really hated half the secondary characters. While I wasn’t supposed to agree with anything Pie’s mum had to say – about sexual abomination and going against nature – I expected her to come around for the love of her daughter. Perhaps she did off camera or will in the sequels (of which there are two on Netflix, no less) but I stayed mad at her as the credits rolled.

Pie and Jane’s crew include a grouchy girl named Nerd and the token boy called… Boy. Boy is a highly-sexed oddball who propositions every man or boy within spitting distance and I kind of love him for it. He also sports the exact same haircut that I had in secondary school.

Justice for Jane

My main beef though, pace not included, was that Kim never tells Jane she’s not interested and I feel she deserved better. I mean, yes she falls for a new love every other week but she’s a romantic, give her a break. Also, there’s a really unfortunate rape joke thrown in about two thirds in and a clunky attempted suicide scene which isn’t very sensitive. Don’t play these two things for laughs guys.

I’m here for lesbian love stories though and it’s always refreshing to enter an almost entirely female space so I’m not mad. It’s not very good, the acting is shaky at best and it’s so OTT I felt like throwing my own tantrum just so I didn’t feel left out – but at least it isn’t Peppermint.

⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What did my lady love Jill think of this angst-fest? Would she banish it to the other side of the room or push their beds together? Find out here.