CRUSH (2022)

 Directed By: Sammi Cohen 
Written By: Kristen King & Casey Beckham 
Editor: Melissa Remebalich-Aperlo

Cast: Rowan Blanchard, Auli’i Cravalho, Isabella Ferreira, Tyler Alvarez, Teala Dunn, Rico Paris, Aasif Mandvi, Michelle Buteau, Megan Mullally, Addie Weyrich

An aspiring artist and high school student who is forced, against her will, to join her high school track team. However, the situation isn’t entirely bad, as it gives her an opportunity to pursue a girl that she has had a long-term crush on. However, things get even more complicated when she finds that she is falling for another teammate entirely. Soon she will see what real love feels like.


This is the most agreeable teen film I have ever seen. As it seems most of the characters have open sexualities. Though this movie is definitely centered around the teen LGBTQ community or at least the characters. Most of the characters are teenagers and the few adults seem more quirky and horns than anything. So they never come Off as imposing and definitely not in control. 

Especially Megan Mullally who is the main character, an enthusiastic oversexed sex-positive mom. Who seems similar to Emma Stone’s parents in EASY A. 

Nice to see Rowan Blanchard back on the big screen and in a leading role no less. She is not as out there as she was in the show GIRL MEETS WORLD, but here has a more solid character to play. Who you root for throughout the film. 

It is a wonder why the main character is so shy when it seems like every character is supportive throughout the film. This school seems to have no bullying or even a social class system. As everybody hangs with everyone and the worst thing that can happen is not being LGBTQ but into a renaissance.

Even the straight kids seem to be the minority. Speaking of which it is noticeable that this film is diverse. As most of the cast is made up of different races and it is never brought up. So that it feels like a breath of fresh air 

The film is predictable as a girl meets a girl tale and while trying to go after her crush realizes she is more compatible with someone. She never expected and luckily the crush isn’t some kind of evil or vapid character, just not who she wants when she wants her. 

The film moves fast and is so good-hearted and cute it is hard to be mad at it. It keeps you fully entertained while you wait for the inevitable and makes you care when it hits the familiar beats. Where you want everything to work out for everyone. 

Even the characters who seem or come off as stereotypes prove to have some depth and character.

While this film matches the good-hearted romantic comedy teen movies that have become a growing genre on streaming. This film is one of the rare ones where it feels like this could have been released in theaters and found a loyal audience. It’s not as strong or dramatic as some of the others and not as believable but it does entertain and offer characters to either identify with or wish you had in your life.  

Grade: B-

GOOD ON PAPER (2021)

Directed By: Kimmy Gatewood
Written By: Iliza Shlesinger
Cinematography: Giles Dunning 
Editor: Kyla Plewes 

Cast: Iliza Shlesinger, Ryan Hansen, Margaret Cho, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Beth Dover, Kimia Behpoornia, Matt McGorry, Alison Becker 

After years of putting her career first, a stand-up comic meets a guy who seems perfect: smart, nice, successful and possibly too good to be true.


this film has the right premise which is based on a true experience of the star of the film Ilza Schlesinger 

So that the high concept premise works but the scenes feel somewhat flat or trying too hard to be madcap but keep an emotional heft and explore the main character’s mentality that it is trying too hard and too much. 

Which then makes the film also play kind of more like a stupid comedy aimed at a female audience.

The film is obviously a star vehicle for stand-up comedian iliza who plays a version of herself and it explores her issues romantically and professionally. As she seems to always End up with good-looking jerks and this guy charms her more by seemingly being himself but then she discovers he seems To be a pathological liar.

The film then busies itself with her and her friend played by Margaret Cho trying to catch and expose him. Luckily Cho steals all of her scenes and you wish there were more of her in the film.

By the time we get to the third act, the film takes a turn of standing up against toxic masculinity. As the boyfriend character ends up being a fake nice guy and less of a misguided romantic and it has a message of wine supporting one another instead of being in competition in general and worse for the pleasure of men. 

All good messages. One just wishes it was told In a better project. As this one comes off as indulgent and has sparks of humor. That never quite catches fire. So that it feels monotonous and almost like a sitcom. Where you are left wondering. How much evidence do you need to be convinced and why are you still bothering? 

The Jokes and situations fall flat constantly and even the jokes seem more than a little grating and awkward. At least the film seems to know it’s low aiming and not that serious.

Ilza is an appealing actress and a humorous stand-up with a unique point of view but here it feels like the middle of the road, not enough bite or point of view to give it the stakes it seeks, and also the humor is too lightweight to make any kind of impression. It’s like having a Twinkie instead of the big cookie 

As this is a movie where mostly the secondary characters and bit role players are more interesting in their little amount of screen time over the leads who are in most of the movie. 

Grade: D+

SOMEONE LIKE YOU (2001)

Directed By: Tony Goldwyn 
Written By: Elizabeth Chandler
Based On The Novel “ANIMAL HUSBANDRY” By: Laura Zigman
Cinematography: Anthony B. Richmond 
Editor: Dana Congdon

Cast: Ashley Judd, Hugh Jackman, Marisa Tomei, Greg Kinnear, Ellen Barkin, Donna Hanover, Catherine Dent, Nicole leach, Peter Friedman, Colleen Camp, Mirelle Enos, Veronica Webb, Naomi Judd

After being jilted by her boyfriend, a talk show talent scout writes a column on the relationship habits of men which gains her national fame.


Way before the ADELE song on the same name. This movie came around when Ashley Judd was getting used to being a star. This was the film where it would really rest on her shoulders.

The problem is that this film is so generic. That even at the time it came out there felt outdated. It’s one of those films that came out in the 90’a and while you can tell it is a studio film it still comes across as no-frills. As there is no particular style everything’s made to look bland. So that when something that looks sharp in style and person. It is jarring. The film feels like it could have been a storyline on the television show FRIENDS rather than getting its own movie.

It also feels like everyone is too for their roles and especially to still have the character’s mindsets.

This film is disposable. So disposable I watched it recently and don’t remember much of this film. I know enough that I would never watch it again.

Hugh Jackson plays a cad who somehow becomes roommates with a co-worker played by Judd. She has recently broken up with her boyfriend and at first, they can’t stand each other (then why live together in the first place. It is New York after all so I guess desperate measures) slowly but surely, of course, they fall in love and he changes his ways.

I enjoy Hugh Jackman a lot. He is like one of those classic leading men from the 1940s and ’60s and at least the film in a scene shows why his character is so jaded and cruel as a ladies’ man. Though here he rarely has any chemistry with his female co-stars which really doesn’t help if you are making a romantic comedy. (Nor does the theory of double negative where the chemistry is supposed to be bad that it comes off charming eventually) Though there is something innately watchable about him.

Watching this film less for the romance and more for the comedy. As there is already little romance and more talk of it than anything. The comedy also never really comes other than some catty one-liners more from Jackman than Judd

At least Hugh Jackman seems to know he’s not in a necessarily good movie. He is just biding his time until each scene ends and is happy with the work. Not to mention a paycheck.

One can’t get mad at this film totally as it fits its conventions and lets you know what type of film it is. It doesn’t try to misdirect to make itself seem like it has more depth or one-of-a-kind filmmaking. Still even for its genre while competently filmed it is majorly disappointing in most aspects.

By the end, it also makes it obvious that the main character needed the break-up to happen for her to grow. As she would have been noted and settled into marriage with the wrong person in the first place and Even Though would have been happy. She also would have been bored and stuck 

The film is strictly painted by numbers and off the assembly line. I don’t even have that much more to say about it.

Grade: F

SUMMER OF 85 (2020)

Written & Directed By: Francois Ozon

Based on the book “Dance On My Grave” By Aidan Chambers

Cinematography: Hichame Alouie

Editor: Laurie Gardette

Cast: Felix Lefebvre, Benjamin Voisin, Philippine Velge, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Melvil Poupaud, Isabelle Nanty 

When 16-year-old Alexis is caught up in the deceitful Normandy sea, David heroically saves him from drowning. And, this is how Alexis meets the person of his life. But, how long will this tumultuous, dreamy relationship last? Will the dream last for more than one summer, the summer of 85?


The film doesn’t go where you expect it to go. What keeps you guessing and mystified when it comes to his film is how it plays with time throughout and leaves you expecting the worse when things are mostly innocent 

It feels a bit similar to CALL BE BY YOUR NAME. As it is a coming-of-age love story between two males of intense feelings and obsession, but yet always feels a bit more of a thriller than a true romance. Though then again young love can be innocent and messy.

Even though nonchalant It’s not even truly coming out film. As it is all relatively handled with no big revelations. Though shows itself as a love story and not one of lust or dangerous obsession 

The film runs on expectations. So that as it goes along. You constantly feel a sense of dread. Always looking for clues, hints, or motives. 

All seems to go well until a girl is thrown into the mix. Even when she had the best of interests. Proving to be loyal to all.

The main characters are the rebellious carefree type versus an introverted romantic. At first, he believes it is all in his head and just an innocent friendship. Then he realizes he is being seduced. Even though the more aggressive character might be bisexual or a sensationalist, narcissistic and not prepared for his feelings. Especially being so young, not ready for the intensity.

By the end, you find instead of a thriller you have gone through a dark drama. That also feels like a string after-school special or a coming-of-age film that has thriller elements. 

Grade: B-

THRASHIN’ (1986)

Directed By: David Winters
Written By: Paul Brown & Alan Sacks
Cinematography: Chuck Colwell
Editor: Lorenzo DeStefano & Nicholas Smith Production Designer: Catherine Hardwicke

Cast: Josh Brolin, Robert Rusler, Pamela Gidley, Josh Richman, Sherilyn Fenn, Chuck McCann, David Wagner, Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, Brooke McCarter Jr, Brett Marx, Mark Munski

Two skateboarding gangs battle each other for supremacy, and a member of one gang falls in love with the sister of his rival.


Now I have to give a curve to this skateboarding movie. As it is nostalgic fun that I probably would have enjoyed if I had watched it when I was younger and when it had initially come out, but watching it now. 

It is funnier in unintentional ways other than just the styles of yesteryear. Though the film does raise some questions and gives way to many observations like… 

Why do the corporate sponsors and owners of skate and Nike companies in these 80s movies come across as pedophiles? As they are way too old and way too giddy to be around young people. 

The daggers are way too obvious in their sabotage. Especially laughing while their victim is getting stitched up. Right in his face. Is this a machismo thing? Or just I dare you to say something? 

Also, why is it a gang when it involves minorities but a crew or group of friends when all caucasian? In this movie and beyond. Nice to see Robert Rusler as the suave skateboard villain leader of the daggers. Even if his casting makes you wonder exactly how old these characters are supposed to be. 

It always amazes me to see Josh Brolin in early roles as until MOD SQUAD the movie I really didn’t start recognizing him from movies like THE GOONIES, but you know you’re in another era of movies. When the integrated skate park gang are the villains. 

The film has the usual teenage romance in between the skateboard drama as well as lame jokes. Though I am not a prude it is shocking how fast Josh Brolin and Pamela Gidley’s character hook up on their first date practically but I guess when it’s true love you just know. 

This is more a film for teen girls to watch and fall in love with probable hunky poster boys at the time, but strangely also a film that bypasses that audience making the film more advertised for teenage boys, who might be into the fad of the time skateboarding. Leaving a definite unintentional homoerotic charge throughout the film and in the scenes. As even the villain of the film seems more into his look and glamour above all else

The highlight of the film is the joust skate off and just how trusting and willing a female character is to hitchhike her way to California with random truckers, but hey this movie is presented all in good fun and in supposedly simpler times. 

And the RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS are in this movie performing!!!! Some added cool points for the film. Though you will find them in quite a few films. It also makes it feel more like a teen movie by having a noted band in the film and their performance being a centerpiece almost.

If looking for a totally tubular nostalgic blast from the past check out this film. Even though for all of its ridiculous juvenile fun. I just couldn’t get on the same wavelength. 

Grade: D+

SWITCH (1991)

Written & Directed By: Blake Edwards 
Cinematography: Dick Bush 
Editor: Robert Pergament 

Cast: Ellen Barkin, Jimmy Smits, Perry King, JoBeth Williams, Lorraine Bracco, Tony Roberts, Bruce Payne, Lynette Anthony, Victoria Mahoney, Basil Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Kevin Kilner, David Wohl, Tea Leoni, Jim J. Bullock, Rick Aiello 

Steve Brooks is a sexist and the prototype macho. Unfortunately one day he is killed by one of his girlfriends. In heaven, though, there is no place for men like him and he is sent back to earth in the body of a woman so that he can see how women are treated by men like the one he once was.


Initially, it seemed this was a movie that was going to be a comedy of comeuppance and body-switching that had a kind of. Resurgence with moves like VICE VERSA, LIKE FATHER LIKE SON and 18 AGAIN or the teenage version SOMETHING SPECIAL 

This film is definitely outdated. The premise is Intriguing when it came out and caused some controversy when it did. It seems like a movie that is intentionally trying to be provocative and subtle In its own way. 

Watching it now it seems a bit tame but it does feel like a lothario male getting his come upance and Learning life lessons as having to go through life as an adult woman to try and get into heaven.

Learning through trials and tribulations. Though the film is trying to be pro-female and their rights. It still comes off as sexist. While allowing for plenty of sex scenes and nudity that it comes off as a sexual farce. 

The film does have Its fair share of funny scenes and Ellen Barkin is really Terrific in the lead role. Showing she has comedic timing and is thoroughly believable throughout. This is actually one of her better and more memorable roles. Where she isn’t necessarily the bad girl sexpot for a change. Normally this would have been more of a star-making role for her. As it is one of her unfortunately few leading roles in a film.  

Though the third act is rough. Having a child by means of drunken encounter pretty much seems at least as far as the character goes as date rape as she didn’t really give consent and finding a kind of happiness afterward with her best male friend who falls for him In Female form. 

Though ridiculous it doesn’t come off as physical or far-fetched as his previous movie SKIN DEEP. As here it seems that legendary writer/director Blake Edwards is trying and has invested interest in this film. Though he definitely seems to be trying to push some buttons when it comes to the subjects. While at times crasser than it needs to be. It definitely is more outdated than expected

There is still plenty of physical comedy throughout which is his specialty and some satire though towards the end it gets more serious and dramatic from its sillier early antics. 

Though this caused a bit of controversy at the time. This might have been a film that was made too early or too late for the times. As it is certainly a high concept and would have probably been more insulting than thought-provoking if made in the 1980s

The film also treats the killing of the main character so easily as flippant and more like a plot device rather than needed or really felt. As he never lied to these women so their murder seems madder at themselves for falling for him. Not only that but the film treats the fact that he was promiscuous as more his major sin and maybe his attitude towards women as we never Hear or even see him really treat any of the women. So the film generalized and tries to make a point figuring the audience will go with it 

Grade: C+

JUMBO (2020)

Written & Directed By: Zoe Wittock 
Cinematography: Thomas Buelens
Editor: Thomas Fernandez 

Cast: Noemie Merlant, Emmanuelle Bercot, Bastien Bouillon, Sam Louwyck, Tracy Dossou

Jeanne, a shy young woman, works in an amusement park. Fascinated with carousels, she still lives at home with her mother. That’s when Jeanne meets Jumbo, the park’s new flagship attraction.


This film will remind some audiences in the know of Titane. As they have particular storylines that are similar but are in Totally different ways.

The French film, TITANE is dark and about more than necessarily meets the eye. Where it has things to say about many subjects. This film Is sweeter and has no pregnancies though it is a fairy tale based On reality and tries to keep matters at hand. 

This film has a sweetness but doesn’t ignore its own implausibility. As it even has the character question her sanity. Though her own faith shows through. We in The audience begin to question as we see erratic behavior and every time there is something fantastical involving others we never see it as random there is a logical reason for it all. 

The film doesn’t shy away from sex but it doesn’t make it feel tawdry it feels erotic but more out of innocence. 

Even those close to her who doubt her and her sanity. We are left to wonder if they are doing it for their own self-interest and out of jealousy. 

As the main character feels like a typical one you would find in a quirky romantic French film. She looks and dresses like a shy teenager even though she is a young woman in her 20’s.

The movie starts off innocent and as it goes along it gets more serious and into more issues and questions that are surprisingly asked. That is usually left out in films with scenarios such as these. 

Noemie Merlant really shines in this film. She stays believable and strong even though her character can be weak at times and doesn’t speak up for herself. She seems to run away rather than confront. Though she gains our sympathy and soon finds ourselves rooting for her. As we watch from the beginning her character is a tomboy but wears such shapeless clothes we wonder if she is in arrested development. through it all even in various sex scenes. She still seems like an innocent more than anything.

Emmanuelle Bercot as her mother is also strong. As a hard-driven woman. She has had her heart broken quite a few times and wants to believe in love but finds herself defined by the company she keeps usually male. She wants the best for her daughter but that seems in the daughter more or less getting into a relationship and finding a man. As she tries to act more like her sister than her mother. She is tough to a certain degree but has a soft spot for her daughter that she rarely shows.

This is a film that might not always make sense but it does have a charm that is constantly on display and tries to always stay in reality. Even with its more fantastical elements.

Grade: B

UNDINE (2020)

Written & Directed By: Christian Petzold
Cinematography: Hans Fromm 
Editor: Bettina Bohler

Cast: Paula Beer, Franz Rogowski, Maryam Zaree, Jacob Matschenz, Anne Ratte-Polle, Gloria Andres De Oliveira 

Undine works as a historian lecturing on Berlin’s urban development. But when the man she loves leaves her, the ancient myth catches up with her. Undine has to kill the man who betrays her and return to the water.


Writer/Director Christian Pertzold, Always seems to bring nostalgia and powerful epic love stories into the modern age. 

The film feels like a short story compared to his other films that felt like full novels even if the same length. This just doesn’t feel as strong or as Rich. Making it feel somewhat lightweight, not as daring or demanding. Which can be forgiven. As not every movie needs to be a fraught tragedy. 

As this like most of his films is expressive, vivid, and powerful. Usually unforgettable with a romance that you might aspire to have and dream of despite their tragedy. To love is to gamble and lose big at times. Even when getting what you want it hurts to a certain degree and you lose or have to sacrifice a bit to be affected in the end.

Amazed by what you went through and proud of it. As an expression of passion in all ways. Your own epic story that is universal. Only you can truly understand. As you have your own point of view and are telling this particular tale as a memoir. That is what went through my brain while watching this film.

This film feels like a more modern fairy tale, but the emotions are deep. As it is detailed and textured as one without the lore though. The tragedy is that the tale feels like it ends too soon. Never knowing what you have until over and the characters obsessing over it. Raising it to a level of legend.

Think about how you feel when you break up with someone and feel you will never get over them. Then you meet someone new and realize how bad the other relationship really was. As you never reached the same happiness or highs as is the new one

This film Feels too short. Yet it doesn’t disappoint as it has the same strength and emotions affecting two lives immeasurably but seems to have the substance of a shorter story. That here gets by more on emotions. A brief romance that packs a full love story rather than one that takes place over a longer time period. 

That has an intensity where you wonder if given more time together. Would it have flamed out? Had more stories to tell that reinforced and made this love story as rich as Uncle Scrooge’s vault from DUCKTALES or with time made to realize it was a footnote and more a blueprint for future relationships to revolve around and know what you want and how you want to feel.

It Seems after romantic epics such as PHOENIX and COLD WAR. That Writer-Director Christian Petzold has set his sights on a smaller story that while not having as much of an expanse. its depths are just as strong

Grade: B

FIRST LOVE (2019)

Directed By: Takashi Miike
Written By: Masa Nakamura 
Cinematography: Nobuyasu Kita
Editor: Akira Kamiya 

Cast: Masataka Kubota, Sakurako Konishi, Shota Sometani, Jun Murakami, Masayuki Deai, Cheng-Kuo Yen 

Leo is a young boxer, successful but unable to show emotion. He has a fight scheduled and is sure that he will win. Instead, his opponent knocks him out. This triggers a chain of unpleasant events involving drugs, corrupt cops, the Yakuza, a female assassin – and Monica, an escort that he must rescue. It’s one hell of a night for Leo.


The film is brutal in its Violence at times but what else would you expect from director Takashi Miike. Though it similarly stays silly and fun. It also keeps an emotional connection. 

This is a film that will feel immediately familiar but tries to be different in the details. As this isn’t lovers on the run but two characters with nothing to lose on the run. Who seem to fall for one another while on the run and trying to survive. 

Throughout the film, you will be able to identify what inspired the movie, characters, and scenes.

The male is More motivated and driven as the only reason he goes out of his way for her. Is that he believes he is dying. 

For the female character, the boxer is The first instance or ideal of the perfect person who did something above and beyond then for them and not fully realizing or taking time to see who the person truly is. 

Some people experience this. When they experience it fully with knowing a person. All around can be rewarding rather than just connecting for a moment.

Though strangely the couple is the least interesting part of the characters. As they are pawns In a larger story but needed to advance the story. Is more of a crime Story involving two different mobs who end up in a war over a stolen shipment set up by a dirty cop and inserting 

Each monster fang either tries to double-cross or is out for vengeance. Though each of them, also seems to have its ridiculous quirks.

The film offers some well-contained action sequences and constantly involves misunderstandings and double-crosses that leave you wondering who is out for who half the time. 

The problem here is that as the tale goes on it builds momentum and smartly to a degree doesn’t keep building and putting out its Scenes slightly distanced. So it gives characters time to breathe before the next crazy scene instead of overloading and best one after another.

The drug deal subplot and mobsters do remind the viewer of the movie TRUE ROMANCE. But other than the simpler coincidences this tale goes its own way. As this film has a bit more humor.

Though the main characters are interesting in their reasoning and characters. Including one a drug addict who is beloved, she is haunted by her father who is always in his underwear. It’s the supporting characters who

Are more interesting and keeps the film interesting and on its toes.

Grade: B

PUMPKIN (2002)

Directed by: Anthony Abrams & Adam Larson Broder
Written By: Adam Larson Broder 
Cinematography: Tim Shurstedt
Editor: Richard Halsey & Sloane Klevin 

Cast: Christina Ricci, Hank Harris, Brenda Blethyn, Dominique Swain, Marisa Coughlan, Sam Ball, Harry Lennix, Nina Foch, Caroline Aaron, Melissa McCarthy, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Michael Bacall, Erin Bartlett, Amy Adams, Michelle Kruseic, Shaun Weiss 

Perky, perfect Carolyn and her Alpha Omega Pi sisters plan to win Sorority of the Year by impressing the Greek Council with a killer charity: coaching mentally challenged athletes for the regional Challenged Games. When Carolyn’s assigned to coach Pumpkin she’s terrified at first, but soon sees in him something she’s never seen before: gentle humanity and honest clarity that touches her soul. To the horror of her friends and Pumpkin’s overprotective mother, Carolyn falls in love, becoming an outcast in the process. As Carolyn’s “perfect life” falls apart, Pumpkin teaches her that perfect isn’t always perfect after all.


This film tries to be subversive in that it tries to satirize 1950s forbidden romance melodramas. While also trying to be one with a few modern sensibilities. As well as more humor that tends to be cynical at times.

Where it seems like the whole world will be shattered because of this romance between a sorority college girl and a mentally challenged man she meets while trying to do charity work.

That at times can be seen as in bad taste, but ultimately remains sweet. 

Most of the characters here come across as stereotypes at first until the film allows them to show more depth. At first, it seems fairly typical but then becomes more subversive.

Though there is sex it is delivered in a more subdued manner, Except for one scene.

The film plays more like a teenage melodrama. Though too mature for them. So it might appeal to college-aged audiences. It is also a film full of bright colors 

The film seems to try to be naughty and a little controversial to gain more interest. Almost like a stunt, but as it goes along proves itself to be a little more conventional.

Though it does show a nice transition for the characters. From living their lives in a kind of young dreamworld and then being awakened to the harsh truth of reality and the world outside of college.

The soundtrack is very catchy and achieves a life of its own. As I was obsessed with it and one particular song immediately after watching the film. It ended up being the thing I remember most about the film:

The reason I discovered it was the cast. Especially Star Christina Ricci. As this was a time when she seemed to be the independent film girl. After BUFFALO’ 66 and THE OPPOSITE OF SEX. Though this doesn’t rise to the same level as those films. Here she gives an earnest performance. As most of the film is built around her character.

This feels like a film that is missing writer/director John Waters’ touch as he might have made it a little more sharp and grotesque to a degree. Though the filmmakers here seem to win for his territory with a little more modesty and sweetness, that can be bitter, with touches of bad taste. Lacking the camp needed. As a throwback to simple times and exposing the ridiculous class traditions with humor 

GRADE: C