Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Hello, hello!
I loved Knives Out, so much in fact that I went to see it at the cinema twice. I was both excited for Benoit Blanc to make a return as well as slightly concerned that I just would not live up to my expectations. So, let’s take a closer look!

The Plot (as found on Rotten Tomatoes):

Benoit Blanc returns to peel back the layers in a new Rian Johnson whodunit. This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron for their yearly reunion. Among those on the guest list are Miles’ former business partner Andi Brand, current Connecticut governor Claire Debella, cutting-edge scientist Lionel Toussaint, fashion designer and former model Birdie Jay and her conscientious assistant Peg, and influencer Duke Cody and his sidekick girlfriend Whiskey. As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbors their own secrets, lies and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect.

The Rating:

Damn this was a fun movie! Was it as good as Knives Out? No, not quite. But I still had such a good time watching it.

Obviously, this movie tremendously benefits from the amazing, star-studded cast. Almost every single role features a big name in this industry. Well, but even the best actors and actresses would have a hard time carrying this movie if the plot wasn’t it.

The story was filled with many interesting twists and turns, a good many that you definitely did not see coming. Not only is the plot written really cleverly, I also enjoyed that the movie is poking fun at the characters in it. What I will say, however, is that there are a lot of elements to the story that are very much of our time right now. For example, the film starts off during COVID, they reference testing, masks, and isolating, etc. While it is cool to see current events incorporated into a movie – especially one that most likely struggled during production because of COVID – I wonder how these aspects of the film will be received in the future. I was thinking the same thing when they discussed how one of the characters is a streamer on Twitch. Knives Out felt more universal and timeless whereas Glass Onion has elements that people probably won’t get in 20 years’ time. The movie is very much *now* and that is fun. As I mentioned it pokes fun at the characters and the characters are pretty much all reflections of people we have at the moment: the “self-made” pretentious annoying millionaire, the idiot celebrity influencer, the streamer dude with weird ass statements regarding women, etc. I’m pretty sure you all can think of at least one real person when you read those descriptions. So, right now this is fun, but in the future people might not get it – or at least not to the degree we do now. I mean, that totally makes sense, who knows if, for example, Twitch will even still exist then. So, obviously, nobody would know what they are talking about in this movie. But I guess only time will tell how this film will age. This is not really a criticism as I enjoyed the movie as it is, but rather something I’m curious about.

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Blonde

Hey guys!
Blonde certainly was among the most talked about films in 2022. After seeing the trailer I already had my doubts that this would be good, but naturally, I couldn’t resist and just had to check it out!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

Based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves.

The Rating:

What on earth was this movie?
Bad. That’s what it was. I rarely say this but honestly, don’t waste your time. There’s pretty much nothing good I have to say about Blonde.

Let’s start with Ana de Armas. She’s a wonderful actress and she really nailed the Marilyn look but her accent just was not it. I don’t care how long she might have spent working on it but you can simply tell that she’s not getting it right. In fact, it’s not even that she’s a little off. There are many instances in the movie where you can clearly hear Ana de Armas’ Cuban accent and I think we can all agree that that’s not what Marilyn sounded like. That already annoyed me to no end but it’s only a small part of what ruined this film for me.

While I might have been able to tolerate the accent to some degree, what I can’t overlook is the more than terrible writing. This movie is nothing but misery porn. It paints Marilyn Monroe as nothing but a series of tragedies, there’s pretty much no moment of happiness in the film. While I could accept it if they were trying to make an accurate depiction of her life and it really was this tragic, so many parts of it feel weird and oddly exaggerated if not fabricated. Maybe they are being faithful to what actually transpired, I have no way of knowing that. But if that is the case they sure did a shit job.

Throughout the film you get the clear impression that Marilyn struggled with never being perceived as who she is and then this movie sweeps in and instead of giving her more agency, somehow we only ever keep witnessing her through others or in relation to them. Even in a film titled Blonde, a film about Marilyn herself, she feels more like a plot device and object to connect other people the movie wants to feature than a real person, the one we should be focusing on here. It becomes quite evident when it comes to how she struggled with being perceived as a sex symbol. I’m sure this is an integral part of telling her story. Then somebody please tell me why on earth we get close-up shots of her naked breasts approximately every ten minutes. Not once or twice throughout the movie, but constantly. For no reason whatsoever. Literally, there is no explanation I could come up with as to why she had to be naked in all those scenes. Was it to show that struggle? Her vulnerability? Again, if that was the case, this movie that a shit job of conveying that. It just feels voyeuristic and unnecessary and annoying. Especially as it’s a contrast to what Marilyn is talking about in several instances.

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Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody

Hello, hello!
A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I randomly decided to head to the cinema. Among the movies playing that day, we opted for the Whitney Houston biopic which – up until that day – had somehow completely escaped my attention. Let’s see if it gets the job done!

The Plot (as found on Rotten Tomatoes):

Discovered by record executive Clive Davis, Whitney Houston rises to fame in the 1980s to become one of the greatest singers of her generation.

The Rating:

I was quite interested in this movie because obviously, I know who Whitney Houston is but at the same time, I don’t. Just like probably everybody else I know (some) of her music, and I have a vague memory of the news report on her death. But that’s where my knowledge of who Whitney was or what she did pretty much ended. So, I was definitely ready to sit down, learn something about her life and maybe discover some more of her music!

We start off in a decent place, learning out Whitney’s roots – and already some surprises for me! Actually, a lot of the events depicted in the movie are great, are impactful but the main problem I had was that things felt a bit too disjointed. Somehow, they failed to connect the individual snapshots well. I fully understand that it’s difficult. This is not a random narrative somebody thought up, this is a real person who leads a life full of interesting moments. It’s a challenge to pick and choose what to show. I’m not saying that they chose wrong in terms of what to include, but the connection between the bits just wasn’t strong or clear enough at times. So, while many of the scenes by themselves were intense, overall the movie felt a bit bland. Maybe it’s because we stay very much on the surface level. Because there are so many things to tackle, everything gets brushed slightly but not really explored. For example, Whitney expresses her desire to be in movies. We get essentially one scene where she is shooting Bodyguard and that’s it. At some point, somebody mentions that Whitney was in three movies, and I was really surprised. I hadn’t been aware of that and it also is never shown or addressed in this film other than in an off-hand remark. Sure, probably there wasn’t time to depict all the stuff she starred in, but for example, showing more of the aftermath, the success, the criticism etc. of Bodyguard would have been interesting to see. If you bring it up at all, do something with it. That’s how most of the moments we get to see feel. You get an intense scene but then it’s like “and now what?”. Nothing really gets explored on a deeper level. So, while I learned a thing or two about Whitney Houston watching this, overall I still feel like I know almost nothing.

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Enola Holmes 2

Hello, hello!
Today I’m back with the review for a movie that I had very much been looking forward to. So, let’s talk about Enola Holmes 2!
(By the way, if you haven’t read that yet, I wrote a book vs. movie post for the first film when it was released)

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

Fresh off the triumph of solving her first case, Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) follows in the footsteps of her famous brother, Sherlock (Henry Cavill), and opens her own agency — only to find that life as a female detective-for-hire isn’t as easy as it seems. Resigned to accepting the cold realities of adulthood, she is about to close shop when a penniless matchstick girl offers Enola her first official job: to find her missing sister. But this case proves to be far more puzzling than expected, as Enola is thrown into a dangerous new world — from London’s sinister factories and colorful music halls, to the highest echelons of society and 221B Baker Street itself. As the sparks of a deadly conspiracy ignite, Enola must call upon the help of friends — and Sherlock himself — to unravel her mystery. The game, it seems, has found its feet again!

The Rating:

Oh, I was so excited about Enola Holmes 2 finally coming out. I tremendously enjoyed the first part, the second one just had to be great as well, right?

I’m very happy to say that they didn’t disappoint. Interestingly, this film is not based on any of the Enola Holmes books but rather rooted in reality. The story is inspired by real-life events involving the match girls’ strike. To be honest, I hadn’t heard about that before, but the movie sure sent me down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. The translation to the movie screen was done in a captivating way, featuring some cool twists. They sure tried to keep you on your toes.

I really enjoyed that in this film we got to see Sherlock and Enola interacting with each other. That was barely the case in the first movie, but it comes together so nicely here. After all, they are siblings and are both interested in the same things. I appreciate that it wasn’t done in a patronizing way. Enola can very much hold her own, but it doesn’t hurt to get help sometimes. I think they found a nice balance between her being badass but at the same time simply acknowledging that she is a) very young and b) a woman. As we can tell, both of those features were certainly not helpful in the time the movie is set in.

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The Gray Man

Hello, my darling readers!
I’m still catching up on my backlog of movie reviews, so today we’re going to talk about a Netflix action flick that seemed to be everywhere for a while: The Gray Man.

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

When the CIA’s most skilled mercenary–whose true identity is known to none–accidentally uncovers dark agency secrets, a psychopathic former colleague puts a bounty on his head, setting off a global manhunt by international assassins.

The Rating:

I haven’t watched a proper action flick in some time, so when Gray Man dropped on Netflix it was quite welcome for me.

Let me preface this by saying that if you are looking for your basic bitch action flick where you can just switch off your brain while watching it and enjoy the explosions, this is the film for you! It certainly ticks all the boxes of things you could expect from an action movie.

However, there are a few things I have to criticize. You’ll notice all of the points I’m gonna raise if you expect even 1% more from the film than what I laid out before.

First and foremost, I must ask: what the everloving fuck was this editing and the camera work? There were so many fast cuts going with the camera twisting and turning to a degree where it almost became painful to watch. I was actually paying attention to the film, but it became extremely difficult to situate yourself in the scene, and figure out where we are, where we are going! This was the editing/filming equivalent of blinking lights that might induce an epileptic seizure.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Hello, my darling readers!
Guess who went to see the Doctor Strange movie the moment it hit the cinema and then didn’t sit down to write a review for the longest time?!

Well, I’m finally getting around to it, so let’s talk about the Multiverse of Madness!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

In Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.

The Rating:

I liked this movie, a lot actually. The story was good and really intriguing. The pacing was great as well. Somehow superhero movies are sometimes either too fast-paced with not enough story or seem to drag on forever just for the sake of cramming in action scene after action scene. This Doctor Strange film has the balance down quite nicely. There’s plenty of fighting and action for those who showed up to watch some asses getting kicked. But there is also enough story to actually carry this whole thing and keep you interested.

While a good chuck of said story is fairly dark and has tragic elements (looking at you Wanda!) there is a lot of humor in Multiverse of Madness. They actually did a good job in combining those two things without it seeming unfitting or awkward at any time.

All that being said, I’d just also like to talk about the MCU for a second. There is ‘so much* going on in Multiverse of Madness and it required you to have seen not just the previous movies but also some of the shows such as WandaVision and What If…?

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