HBO Max Original: UNPregnant Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

UNpregnant is one of the best films of the year! It is a buddy comedy, that rekindles the relationship between two former best friends, Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson) and Bailey (Barbie Ferreira), as they journey across state lines to get an abortion. It is adapted from the novel, under the same name, written by Jenni Hendriks.

First of all, this film is incredibly important because of how informative it is on the topic of abortion. In previous films or television shows, the topic of abortion has always been this difficult thing to openly talk about. The right measures are usually never taken and it is always shown in a negative light. UNpregnant addresses all these unanswered questions and brings them to the forefront, all while adding a very humorous duo to keep the balance.

This is THE coming of age film that no one saw coming. Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira were dynamite together! They complimented each other so well and I really appreciated that they were both unapologetically themselves. Veronica and Bailey acknowledged their flaws and toxic traits but embraced who they were, which was great to see. What I really enjoyed was the exploration into each of their backstories and how they became separated from each other in high school.

The film had great pacing and there was never a dull moment because they continued to reveal small pieces of their friendship puzzle, throughout the film. On their journey to Albuquerque for the abortion, they meet some funny characters who end up helping them along the way. Veronica and Bailey also grow to understand the other a bit more and realize that their friendship holds more value than they remembered.

Courtesy of Berlanti Productions, HBO Films and Picturestart
(left) Barbie Ferreira and Haley Lu Richardson

The most important scene in this film is the entire abortion clinic sequence. It is done in such a tasteful manner because of the wonderful writing and direction from these two women, Jenni Hendriks and Rachel Lee Goldenberg. The right to choose and having the proper information are both incredibly important. I appreciated the fact that they created a safe, dreamlike space, to go through the entire process with Veronica.

UNpregnant is a totally fun, raunchy, and heartwarming coming of age film. This film will most definitely be discussed for its boldness, but timely position, on the topic of abortion. It is addressed in such a lighthearted way that the emotional moments are placed perfectly in the film, to rope you back into the reality of the situation. Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira are definitely the duo of the year!

Make sure to catch UNpregnant on HBO Max September 10th!

Enola Holmes Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

The game, is most definitely, afoot!

Enola Holmes was surprisingly delightful, witty and incredibly charming, thanks to the wonderful Millie Bobby Brown. The film had its own style, while still trying to incorporate, previous iterations of Sherlockian themes. While it is set in the Victorian Era, it still tethers the voices of women all over the globe, spanning generations of fighting the patriarchy.

On Enola’s fourteenth birthday, her mother (Helena Bonham Carter) disappears and leaves clues for her young daughter. Her sons, Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Clafin) return home to find their sister all grown up. Sherlock assessed Enola, the second he saw her and noticed similar character traits that they share. Brown, Cavill and Clafin all gave great performances, it truly felt like they were born to play these roles and I would love to see them in a sequel.

Courtesy of Netflix (left) Millie Bobby Brown as Enola and Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes

The most entertaining aspect of Enola Holmes, was that there were two different mysteries trying to be solved, at the same time and it wasn’t lacking at all. Enola crossed paths with young Lord Tewksbury (Louis Patridge) who is on a mission of his own. The pair go on their own little adventure, trying to escape the hands of a hired hitman. They instantly grow fond of each other because they both feel unwanted in their own home. So being alone, together, is something that they both seem to be fine with.

What was really beautiful and heartwarming about the film was the journey Enola went on. She felt lost without her mother and Mycroft was forcing her into a ‘proper’ lifestyle, she never felt like she could be apart of. On this journey, Enola uses the “ideal” standard of dressing in gowns and makeup to her advantage, as she navigates her way through the case without anyone knowing she’s present. She’s incredibly versatile, as she dresses in clothes for men and women throughout the film.

Courtesy of Netflix (center) Millie Bobby Brown as Enola Holmes

Enola not only finds out who she is meant to be, but she becomes educated on what is happening in London and how being a woman is more than a role that is constructed by the patriarchy. Enola slowly realizes how important of a role she plays in the evolution of women’s rights in her own country. Enola also changes the mind of Sherlock, as he folds into loving his younger sister and caring for her more than he ever did.

Enola Holmes was playful and energetic, just like Millie Bobby Brown, who also broke the fourth wall multiple times. The fourth wall break, was what really brought this piece together because you felt an instant connection with her. This is one of my favourite Netflix original films and hopefully it gets a well deserved sequel!

Make sure to catch Enola Holmes on Netflix September 23rd!

I’m Thinking Of Ending Things Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

Charlie Kaufman’s long awaited Netflix Original Film is very unconventional and bold, but the screenplay suffers from over explaining the philosophy of life. What starts out as a young woman, questioning her relationship, ends up being a convoluted study on ageism and life itself. I’m Thinking Of Ending Things has a very intriguing first half and then it somehow falls apart, as it spirals into an ending that doesn’t quite suit what came before it.

At first, Kaufman explores the layers of what it means to be in a relationship, or rather, how to get out of one that didn’t feel quite right. The Young Woman, played by Jessie Buckley, has this internal monologue that highlights what is wrong in her relationship by doing a voiceover, while her boyfriend Jake, played by Jesse Plemons, is talking to her. They both gave solid, individual performances but the script is what caused this to be so confusing and sometimes uncomfortable.

It just felt really messy and oversaturated with philosophical symbolism, by the end it seemed like Kaufman got lost in what he was trying to convey as well. The tonal shifts throughout the film were very abrupt, which put a damper on trying to make any thematic connections whatsoever. Every time I thought I understood what Kaufman was trying to say, he took it to an entirely different place leaving me confused with what was happening in The Young Woman’s mind.

As they both travel to the outskirts of farm country to have a formal family dinner, to meet Jake’s parents, The Young Woman becomes more cynical and she is now scared of her future.

“Humans can’t live in the present, so they invented hope.”

The Young Woman (Jessie Buckley) ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

In a way, the home of Jake’s parents became the layers of The Young Woman’s mind, as she assessed the lives of his father (David Thewlis) and mother (Toni Collette). There are so many ways to study the psychology of these characters because The Young Woman feels stuck and envisions her future with her in laws.

I’m Thinking Of Ending Things is a mixture of an existential crisis, relationship issues and family dysfunction, that loses all meaning in the 3rd act. It becomes unbearable to listen to The Young Woman ramble on about life without actually making any points. It’s almost as if Kaufman is trying to recreate his previous work to continue his ongoing theme of heartbreaking relationships that address mental illnesses. This one just falls through entirely because he tried to do too much with it.

Project Power Review


By: Amanda Guarragi 

Project Power is a jam packed, action film, that explores having unique, superhuman abilities by taking a yellow pill. The powers last for a total of 5 minutes and each pill carries a different power. The streets of New Orleans is crawling with these unpredictable yellow pills, young teenage Robin (Dominique Fishback) and Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a local cop must team up with ex-soldier, Art (Jamie Foxx) to dismantle the group who created the pill. The film, co-directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman is a generic action film, with an interesting story written by Mattson Tomlin.

The concept of this film will remind audiences of the mutant powers in the X-Men, but it is able to change up the superhuman abilities a bit more because of how unpredictable the pill can be. Within 5 minutes of taking the yellow pill, it can affect everyone differently, it could cause death, or they could suffer serious ailments after taking it. It is symbolic for holding power in your hand, whether it is good or bad and it could affect your life within those 5 minutes. Tomlin’s script is really well thought out but the execution is what was lacking for this film.

The cast give great performances and they really carried the film until the very end. Dominique Fishback, Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt all had great chemistry with each other and had very strong backstories that came together nicely. The connection between Robin and Art was interesting because she reminded him of his daughter and the flashbacks to show how he lost her flowed nicely in those scenes they shared. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the undercover cop was such great casting, he was so good in his role and it’s always great to see him in an action film.

The story was really detailed and the information about how the yellow power pill came to fruition, unfolded nicely as the film went on. The issue with the film was the pacing, special effects and the execution of certain actions sequences. The editing was messy to the point where it was hard to understand who was fighting on screen. The different superhuman abilities were also confusing because they never explained how or why each pill was different.

Project Power has strong writing and performances but lacks in executing action scenes that work with the concept. The special effects were pretty mediocre but the ideas that were put in place for these superhuman abilities were commendable. It has the typical action film clichés, some questionable moments regarding political commentary and some choices that will surprise you. It is another original concept from Netflix and that is the important thing because we have to support original films.

Liebster Award Nomination

This morning I woke up to find out, that I was nominated by Film: Uncharted EIF for a Liebster Award. I am truly grateful for the time you have taken to read my reviews and am honoured by the nomination!

Without further ado, the official rules of the competition are as follows:

  1. Thank the nominator in your award post.
  2. Place the award logo somewhere on your blog.
  3. You must state up to 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Complete the questions that your nominator provided.
  5. Nominate as many bloggers as you’d like (11 is the maximum).
  6. Ask your nominees a series of questions (11 is the maximum).

Facts

  1. I consider myself a full Italian, even though I was born and raised in Canada. 
  2. I was a musical theatre junkie growing up and I even starred in stage plays.
  3. I went to a Regional Arts Program in high school for Theatre. 
  4. I have been to Las Vegas and New York over 4 times now.
  5. I am an only child. 
  6. I am an arachnophobe.
  7. The Aviator (2004) was the very first film that made me fall in love with everything that goes into making a film.
  8. I have attended TIFF for the past seven years and each year is better than the last. 
  9. My favourite dish to make is Risotto, love mixing it up a bit.
  10. I fractured my nose when I was 4 and now it’s crooked but you can’t really tell, only I can, which is somehow worse.
  11. Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video still haunts me until this day.

Questions:

1. If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?

I would love to have dinner with Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin because they represent two, very different eras, in the industry and I would love to find out how they coped with the politics during their given period.

2. What would be on the gag reel of your life?

I have fallen way too many times. I think falling of a skateboard or a bike would most definitely be on there. I also think falling from the top bunk bed while playing hide and seek would also be on there for a gag reel.

3. Which fictional character would be the most boring to meet in real life?

I think Harry Potter would be boring in real life. I mean, without all the Voldermort drama, he really is just a dude who does magic and he can’t do magic in front of muggles (assuming I am one), so really, is he all that he’s cracked up to be?

4. If you could read minds, whose would you want to read?

I would love to read Martin Scorsese’s mind. He’s a walking encyclopedia of film knowledge and I think it would be fun to hear his actual thoughts while watching other movies.

5. What problem or situation did TV / movies make you think would be common, but when you grew up you found out it wasn’t?

I think house parties were the biggest myth, I was so disappointed when I got to high school, to find out that it’s mainly just sitting around and talking. It’s actually more awkward than anything they painted it out to be.

6. Do you judge a book by its cover?

I think everyone does at first but then they do attempt to get to know others and that’s what changes their perception of them. Rumours and gossip also tends to ruin the perception as well. I personally don’t, I like to look at things on my own terms and try to assess things from the inside out.

7. What wastes the most time in your day to day life?

Twitter, I’m looking at you.

8. What’s the one food you could never bring yourself to eat?

I have stayed away from horseradish my whole life because I hate the smell.

9. If your life as a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles
Thunderstruck – AC/DC
Independent Women Part. 1 – Destiny’s Child
Love Shack – The B-52s
Giulia – DJ Lhasa
Gloria – Laura Branigan
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard

10. What terrible movie do you love?

Since Adam Sandler is universally hated for some reason, I’m going to go with Billy Madison (1995), that movie is a classic and I love it so much.

11. If you had to live in a different country, what would it be?

Italia, always.

Nominees:

  1. Eddie Harrison – Film Authority 
  2. Jordan and Eddie – The Movie Guys
  3. Leo – Geekly Goods
  4. Shawn and Todd – Movies Matrix 

Questions: 

  1. Name one film that you would watch on repeat for the rest of your life?
  2. What are your Top 3 Best Picture Winners
  3. Name one film that is critically acclaimed but you just didn’t get the hype?
  4. What was your favourite childhood film?
  5. What is your favourite movie theatre snack?
  6. How many films have you watched in a single day?
  7. What is the one place that you’ve always wanted to travel to?
  8. What are the Top 5 films you would recommend to someone?
  9. What is your go to comfort film?
  10. If you could be in any comedy film, which one would you be in and why?
  11. If you watch one director’s filmography for the rest of your life, whose would you choose?

 

Have fun!