CHERRY (2021)

Directed by: Joe Russo & Anthony Russo 
Written By: Jessica Goldenberg & Angela Russo-Otstot 
Based On The Novel By: Nico Walker 
Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel
Editor: Jeff Groth

Cast: Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Forrest Goodluck, Jeff Wahlberg, Michael Rispoli, Michael Gandolfini, Damon Wayans Jr. Kelli Burland, Daniel R. Hill, Pooch Hall, Thomas Lennon

Cherry drifts from college dropout to army medic in Iraq – anchored only by his true love, Emily. But after returning from the war with PTSD, his life spirals into drugs and crime as he struggles to find his place in the world.


It might be that one really wanted this film to succeed. As it is the first film for the Russo brothers directing after THE AVENGERS  movies and a starring role for Tom Holland in a more dramatic role. Not to mention actress Ciara Bravo in a leading female role after the streaming Series WAYNE was unfortunately canceled before it’s time and she was so good on it. That the film’s problems might’ve taken a little more personal. 

While I never read the book. I know it was critically acclaimed and had its fair share of fans. 

This is a clear case of style over substance. As the film gives us a story adapted from the book of the same name.

Though throughout the film flirts with so many different genres a mind types that it never has time to settle into any of them flirting but never quite sealing the deal. As they are just escapades that help us get to the next part of the story.

The film mainly revolves around two characters and at heart is a love story of two people trying to find themselves in one another. While dealing with constant mistakes that seem to get bigger whenever trying to solve the last problem.

It is also a drug addiction story. While the two leads are capable Tom Holland and Ciara bravo they look so young which might be the age of the characters, but they look Ike they are playing dress-up half the time. Especially as their characters get older and for Tom Holland especially the later scenes where he grows a mustache Looks more like make-up than a naturally grown character. Though Ciara bravo tries very hard with her character. Her more adult scenes just never hit home. As she is a good actress.

When it comes to the direction of the film. It is overly stylized which can be appreciated when done with just enough panache. The problem here though is that the story never quite earns it so it usually feels over the top. Though it does give the film an operatic presentation. It feels overdone and at times like it is taking suggestions from other films but is never quite as sharp as those other films. So that even in some scripted scenes that are more comedic it still falls flat.

Even as it tries to base itself on the book and present each new time period in their lives as a new or different chapter. Trying to elevate the material higher.

Even the bank robbery scene has no flair. We get that they are trying to show it’s not like the movies are glamorous or necessarily well thought out, but they just feel lifeless. As the film goes on everything feels familiar but the film keeps trying to present it in a different way that ends up going overboard and not actually adding anything to the overall experience or film. Be

The film seems to go out of its way to show that life isn’t fair as the good moral characters have a way of always having hardships or dying. While the characters who showcase bad moral behavior sometimes are punished but at other times seem to succeed or at least survive. At least In our time with them.

One of the problems is that throughout the movie the scenes feel melodramatic and examples of emotional beats you have seen done bigger and better and more deserved in Other films. Making the film again feel like it is more trying to be like films of this type instead of just being itself. It’s let’s put on a show rather than let’s stay true and tell a story.

It’s not a bad film but like the main character, it feels full of ambition but never quite makes it to where it wants to go or wants to be. Though it is a nice try. It ends up feeling like it is trying to show off to prove it belongs and in doing so showcases why it doesn’t.

It might be that the film feels more like a dramatic graphic novel with its style and with the filmmakers behind it. It just feels like a movie of moments that might have been handled better emotionally,  gritty and dramatic rather than grand and so visual and surreal. 

There is a plan here it just doesn’t match the story or material 

It’s an interesting try that in the end doesn’t quite stick to the landing. By the end, you have a film that will keep your interest but you might not have anything to really grab onto to remember or even truly feel.

Grade: C

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (2019)

SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME

Directed By: Jon Watts
Written By: Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers
Based On Characters Created By: Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Cinematography: Matthew J. Lloyd
Editor: Leigh Folsom Boyd & Dan Lebental 


Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gylenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Cobie Smulders, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalan, Tony Revolori, Martin Starr, J.B. Smoove, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Peter Billingsly, Angourie Rice 


Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation. However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent.


This is a review of the first version not the extended cut.

This is immensely better than the previous spider-man movies. As far as the THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN movies go. As these feel less interferes with. Yet manage to stay just as marketable and enjoyable. They also stay true to the character origins.

The film works as as a teen comedy on its own and packs an emotional sincerity about loss. It fits in with the franchise as well as you don’t have to see the previous films but helps. And is also generally funny.

Here the film also becomes more about the romance especially with being overseas in Europe in these classic cities where love is happening all around them. So much so that while trying to be a superhero and defeat villains. He also has to go against a romantic rival. So here he has to face more parallel responsibilities.

This feels more like a film. Not so much a calculated product or stepping stone in a franchise that leads to an even bigger piece of an overall universe necessarily.

What I enjoy about these series of films is that with each series of films in this franchise not only has a different vision that is allowed as far as the directors go. Which also reminds me of the comic book series where you had The comic book series THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN and actually SPIDER-MAN. Which is almost the same of these franchises having all these continuing adventures and different universes.

As also each spider-man series of films has allowed the director’s vision to be complete with the character. They shaped those universes as no one replaced them And had to renew or copy the previous directors. It also gives every generation their own set of spider-man movies.

This feels like the most fun as it gives the fans more of what they want and can still appeal to teenagers and also offering minor or overlooked villains giving them More their due and giving them A rich back story and motivation.

They also have great action sequences that do have you on the edge of your seat.

Here what could easily have been a by the numbers superhero film offers quite a few twists and from what could have been a weak villain though one of my favorites from the comic book. Not the strongest of origins but allowable in this universe that it could be easily believable for the characters to believe the multiple universe theory especially with the spider verse movie coming out last year And even with that films excellent quality this is still a good runner up.

What we have here is a longer cinematic version of peter dealing with the death of a mentor. Usually we see this side with the death of uncle Ben. Here we are dealing with the aftermath of the death of Tony Stark.

Wondering if this life is worth it when it might be easier to take less responsibility and pass the work onto someone else. So that he can leave and enjoy his own life. Only here he learns his merit and worth more. A kind of rebirth of confidence. Where as soon as he becomes comfortable his works is rocked yet again.

Tom Holland is charming with a certain innocence and physicality making him a constantly entertaining lead and presence. As his character is so strong yet fragile emotionally and still shy when it comes to his feelings.

Zendaya is a star and here she is so good. As the sarcastic love interest who shows some vulnerability this time. As well as similar romantic feelings.

Have to give credit to director Jon Watts who has really helped to resurrect the franchise by design and content and so far has not made a bad movie on his resume.

This film even let’s the minor and supporting characters have their moments. Which only adds to the fun of the movie.

This film actually supplies a shocking ending. Which might make up for the obvious twist the film offers in the middle of the film that anyone who follows or has read in the comic saw coming ever since the preview for this film.

Grade: A-

HOW I LIVE NOW (2014)

Howilivenow

Directed By: Kevin McDonald
Written By: Jeremy Brock, Penelope Skinner & Tony Grisoni
Based On The Book By: Meg Rosoff
Cinematography By: Franz Lustig
Editor: Jinx Godfrey 


Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, George MacKay, Harley Bird, Danny McEvoy, Anna Chancellor, Amy Dawson

American teenager Elizabeth “Daisy” is sent by her estranged father away from New York to the countryside of England to stay with her Aunt Penn. Her distant cousin Isaac welcomes her at the airport and drives her home. She is introduced to her cousins, seventeen year-old Eddie and young Piper and to their friend Joe. However Daisy is a resentful, needy of love and aloof girl who believes that she is cursed and that bad things happen wherever she goes since her mother died in her delivery. Aunt Penn is a busy woman who is studying the war scenario in England, which is on alert due to an imminent terrorist attack, and needs to fly to Geneva. However, the next morning, a nuclear bomb explodes in London and the authorities of the United Kingdom declare a state of siege. Meanwhile Daisy and Eddie fall in love with each other, but they are separated by the military, which sends girls to one camp and men to another. Daisy and Eddie promise to meet each other again. In a country at war, Daisy and Piper flee their lodging and cross England under martial law, trying to find Eddie and Isaac.

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THINNER (1996)

thinner-pic-1

Directed By: Tom Holland
Written By: Tom Holland & Michael McDowell
Based On The Novel By: Stephen King
Cinematography By: Kees Von Oostrum
Editor: Marc Laub 

Cast: Robert John Burke, Joe Mantagena, Lucinda Jenney, Kari Wurher, Michael Constanine, Bethany Joy Lenz, Howard Erskine

A fat Lawyer finds himself growing “Thinner” when an old gypsy man places a hex on him. Now the lawyer must call upon his friends in organized crime to help him persuade the gypsy to lift the curse. Time is running out for the desperate lawyer as he draws closer to his own death, and grows ever thinner.

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