Monster Monday: 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane follows Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) after she is wakes up in an underground bunker with an apocalyptic survivalist and another young man. It follows her confused journey to find out who she can trust, what is real, and if there is a world outside the bunker to return to.

The film’s marketing strategy alone sets the mysterious tone for the entire film. It is an expert retaliation against the blockbuster film advertising techniques of plastering their images and posters just about everywhere. This movie came out of virtually nowhere. Just like it’s predecessor Cloverfield, it was widely under advertised and seemed to simply appear after a spontaneous trailer placement preceding a Michael Bay movie. This movie fixes what Cloverfield failed spectacularly at, which is terribly handheld shaky-cam, horrible editing, ambiguous and poor dialogue. It takes a step back from the action and shows the same premise from the periphery of the same event, allowing it to actually maintain the mystery and make you care about the cast.

This film is what a thriller is supposed to be. In novels, I am a huge fan of the unreliable narrator. I like being genuinely surprised in a book or film because you are being exposed to information at the same time as the protagonist realizes it. I like this ambiguous sense of truth that keeps you guessing about who you can trust, and what you can take as an objective truth. With a plot so dependent on dialogue you have to take each character at their word. That’s what makes this movie so intriguing, you never know if anyone is telling the truth or what each character believes to be true because the only thing you have to base anything on is what they physically tell each other.

This movie does a fantastic job at creating a truly claustrophobic environment. The entire plot takes place in a bunker, which is composed of like three rooms. Claustrophobic films are so hard to pull off without a single flashback or voiceover narration, but this film nails it. It never feels boring, and the entire movie is pretty three people talking to each other and doing sneaky things. With this premise and setting, your dialogue and cinematography better be brilliant or the narration feels forced and the interactions don’t feel genuine. This film pulls it off brilliantly. The majority of the film takes place in a bunker, and the way it’s shot makes you feel just as trapped and gives you a genuine feeling of anxiety. It has a lot of expositional dialogue that feels natural because of the situation the characters find themselves in, and you don’t know how much is a lie, the truth, or possible delusions. The truth is only revealed in the last fifteen minutes and it packs one hell of punch.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is one of those “that girl” actresses that you see everywhere and always Google her because you recognize her from somewhere. For me it always leads to her portrayal of Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. She often falls into her go-to big eyed shocked face for every reaction shot, and she painfully reminds me of Lizzy Caplan in the first Cloverfield, but she still delivered a good performance. Still she pales in comparison to the amazing performance of John Goodman. Goodman is perfect as a villain/hero that toes the line so softly throughout the film that you genuinely don’t know which way he leans more towards until the very end. He is always unhinged and he switches from over-the-top to subtle and disturbingly calm constantly throughout the film. It’s a great and eerie performance reminiscent of Kathy Bates’ Misery character, Annie Wilkes.

This movie is expertly crafted, mixing genres and utilizing the full potential of an incredibly small cast. Their secretive marketing strategy provided an aura of mystery to the film before it was ever released, making the plot itself even more mysterious and thus more thrilling to watch unfold. The best, and possibly the only way to watch this movie is to go in completely blind. Don’t Google anything about it. Just immerse yourself in the story because it will genuinely lead you down quite the road until it just drops the ending on you out of nowhere. Which many can argue is a stupid way to end it, but I actually thought was an interesting shift. It can easily exist outside of the realm of the Cloverfield universe and still stand alone as a great thriller, but adding an extra dimension adds and interesting twist that can possibly propel a franchise.

Amy’s Recommendation: 9/10

Favorite Film Friday: Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz tells the story of a superstar London police officer, Nicholas Angel, who is involuntarily transferred to a quiet country town that is suddenly plagued by a series of “accidents”. From director Edgar Wright, director of Shaun and the Dead and The World’s End, comes another hilarious collaboration between Nick Frost and Simon Pegg.

This movie is an incredibly clever satire of both buddy cop movies and slasher flicks. A gory, fun twist on both genres, it breathes new life into the clichés that both genres rely upon. It points out the silly tropes movies like Bad Boys 2 and Point Break use, while also subtly playing on the expectations of slasher villains (i.e. involuntarily shooting into the air and a masked villain running around a small country town that “never sees crimes like this”).

The jokes are all quirky, but extremely clever and rely heavily on editing as well as delivery. The editing utilizes quick cuts to provide a frantic and new storytelling technique. Wright uses this technique frequently, most notably in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The slasher gore is over-the top and insane, but it’s so excessive it’s played out for comedic effect more than straight gross-out appeal.

His first satirical target was the zombie horror genre with Shaun of the Dead in 2004, also starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. This film takes everything that worked with that film and reinvented it, upping the gore, upping the mystery, and upping the over-the-top British humor. And boy-oh-boy is this a British movie, with that ever fond dry British humor. It’s one of the few movies that I actually laugh out loud at most of the jokes. It begins as a rehash of the serious cop meets bumbling cop and become best friends while learning lessons from one another movie and then it just goes totally off the rails. You don’t even know it’s a slasher satire until halfway in, but once it’s gets going its just a hilarious but thrilling mystery about the secrets in a small town. The twist you don’t see coming because they just throw logic out the window and go for the outrageous explanation for all the events that transpired throughout the film. It’s just a really fun movie that looks amazing while utilizing quick and sharp writing and dialogue.

I really enjoy British humor, so I may have a preference, but I just love this film. I think Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are an unbeatable comedy team, and they always look like their having a great time together. Pegg plays the exact opposite character of Shaun from Shaun of the Dead, providing an honest testament to his acting chops. Some of Britain’s top names are in here including Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, and Olivia Colman, and they all play hilarious caricatures of either big city or small town officers. I recommend Hot Fuzz because it has just about everything: blood, mystery, nonsense, puns, and a whole lot of heart.

Amy’s Recommendation: 10/10

Throwback Thursday: The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch is a story about a summer in Manhattan where men work and cheat on their wives as their families vacation for the summer. A man trying to refrain from cheating falls into fantasies involving his upstairs neighbor (Marilyn Monroe).

The movie opens and already we have both misogyny and racism, so welcome to 1955. Where white people played Native Americans and the only African American people play busboys. This movie is incredibly misogynistic, like stunningly so. The whole premise is a man fantasizing about all of the women in his life being obsessed with him while his wife and bratty kid are in Maine. Of course he has to stay home in Manhattan and work. God forbid any of the married women have jobs, or this whole plot would be irrelevant.

Mr. Sherman, the main character, is bored with his life, often satisfying his need to be superior by slipping into sexist fantasies. He desperately wants to feel important. He can’t smoke or drink, and women don’t like him besides his wife so he feels emasculated, seeking hyper-masculine fantasies. So he fantasizes that he is some kind of hot, irresistible man. He talks about his wife getting old and ugly, since she’s 31 now (gasp!) and he hasn’t aged at all. He fantasizes about just about everyone he has some kind of power over. A friend, a nurse (who he smacks around a bit), and his secretary he tries to convince himself are secretly all in love with him.

The main man, Richard, is so creepy. I can’t deal with it. His fantasies are so creepy and almost predatory. He doesn’t cheat on his wife, but it’s all he talks about. He is a symbol of the patriarchy of the whole era. Every man is so predatory in this movie its so uncomfortable. The 1950s were such a different time, and this was considered normal behavior. Which is unfortunate. This is such a male gaze movie, and poor Marilyn existed as a sexualized sub plot. Poor Marilyn is always cast as the ditzy, sexually freewheeling blonde who exists to tempt men.

The best part of the whole film is Marilyn, who combats the blatant misogyny is the best of ways. She plays her own woman, combating his fantasies by being goofy and charming, and doing what she wants to do. As he believes his fantasy will finally come true, she turns it around by enthusiastically playing chopsticks on piano, for no other reason than she’s having a great time doing it. He tries to make out with her, and she goes for potato chips, which she dunks in champagne, because she wants to. The whole movie follows this kind of structure, the main protagonist (antagonist?) will fantasize something elaborate, and then act as if that fantasy were true and nobody else will live up to his expectations.

He doesn’t cheat on his wife, but after fantasizing about his wife cheating on him, he pursues Marilyn again. That’s the other thing, Marilyn’s character doesn’t even have a name and she is the only good part of this movie. She’s listed as The Girl. Still, she doesn’t sleep with him but every time she is onscreen she is sexualized by every other man around her. In the end Richard decides he needs his wife and leaves for the summer. I still don’t really know what to take away from this. That men are terrible and the minute wives aren’t there they all go “hunting” which they literally call it.

The movie is only good because Marilyn dominates every scene she’s in and she really is a captivating presence. She has to deal with the poor writing that always makes her seem dumb or hypersexual, but she plays it as best she can. She was just such a presence, and this is one of her better films. I also love Gentlemen Prefer Blondes where she is given so much more agency and attention, but this one equally shows her ability to command screen time.

Amy’s Recommendation: 6/10

Wildcard Wednesday: Ask Me Anything

Ask Me Anything tells the story of Katie Kampenfelt (Britt Robertson), and her complicated relationship with her family, friends, and sexual partners. It reads as a coming of age story of a girl unable to deal with a complicated past and unsure future who takes to a public blog in order to work out her struggles.

I have a complicated relationship with this movie. It’s one of those movies that becomes so much better after you finish. It has a very powerful ending that may explain some of the issues I had during the body of the film. It helps square away all the little inconsistencies that drive me crazy in films. Like why does she talk about deferring from Tufts yet misspell a ton of words in her blog? Why is she so excited about getting a Volvo when her friend drives a Mustang GT? Don’t they live near each other? What are the class dynamics going on here?

Of course this makes a lot more sense once you factor in the ending, which honestly redeemed the entire movie for me, and I already liked the main plot. It doesn’t shy away from difficult topics involving complex sexual relationships, adultery, molestation, suicide, domestic violence, pregnancy, and sexual assault. Not to mention the scary notion that parents don’t always know the secret lives of their children, and the tendency for secret lives to come back to haunt you.

Britt Robertson plays a great part here. Her Rotten Tomatoes page is littered with rotten movie scores, but this performance is surprisingly poignant. She is a complicated character, and she plays her well. It’s a straightforward tale, but it’s an interesting and gritty look at the complex sexual relationships of a young woman and how she deals (often not well) with her problems. It has some problematic views on the molestation part of her life, and the orgasm flashbacks are a little weird and seem out of place, but besides that it deals with the tougher subjects pretty well.

It also is an interesting reflection on how young people live their lives with the Internet almost acting as another character. Katie’s blog serves as a lucky cop-out for narration purposes, but also as an interesting reflection on the millennial tendency to live their life for a web based audience. I mean, hell, I write movie reviews every day in the vain fallacy that people actually care about my cinematic opinion.

I recommend this film mostly for the ending. It is a genuine twist that I didn’t see coming, which is honestly rare nowadays. It hits a lot of difficult and often triggering topics, and sometimes I think they may have overdone it with the amount of topics they force into this girl’s life, but I think that overall it is a pretty good film.

Amy’s Recommendation: 7/10

Tearjerker Tuesday: Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station tells the story of the final moments of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old black man who was killed in 2009 by law enforcement.

This isn’t a spoiler, as you see real footage of his death at the start of the film. This is the directorial debut of Ryan Coogler, which is incredibly impressive considering how good this film is. A lot of times with sensitive biopics they sugarcoat the main character to make him a perfect martyr figure, but Coogler doesn’t do this. He creates a real person. A protagonist with flaws, he has aggressive tendencies, he’s been to jail, and he lies to his girlfriend and mother of his child. He isn’t a perfect person, but that doesn’t make his death any less tragic. A white officer who thought he was firing a Taser, not his gun, shot him in the back. He only served 11 months in jail, and even applied to have the conviction dropped so he could go back to being a police officer. The conviction was upheld, and his request was denied.

This is a powerful statement regarding police violence and the unheard lives it affects. It puts a story to a headline and humanizes a victim. The film shows the tragic ripples that police brutality has on both the macro and micro level. It disrupts and affects both communities and the families that make them up.

A few parts seem misplaced, like a scene involving a dog that is needlessly tragic, but overall it tells a gritty and true feeling story will realistic feeling characters. The casting is perfect, especially Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer. For a directorial debut, it is a fantastic film that has unfortunately flown under the radar. It is an important story that highlights the prevalent societal issue of systematic police brutality. We all know the names Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Freddie Grey. We deserve to know about Oscar Grant too.

Amy’s Recommendation: 9/10

Monster Monday: Dead Silence

Dead Silence follows Jamie Ashen as he tried to solve his wife’s murder after a mysterious ventriloquist dummy shows up on his doorstep. The mystery leads him to his hometown where a local legend haunts the town.

The overall plot of this movie has a lot of things going for it. Ventriloquist dummies are inherently scary, and you throw in a creepy rhyme and a spooky old lady ghost and it should be a simple scary ghost flick. There is even a clown doll thrown in there for some reason. It should be so simple, and it was just a train wreck. This was the most boring horror movie I have ever seen, and I may be the jumpiest horror movie viewer that has ever existed. I am easy to scare and I giggled my way through this one. It was just so stupid.

The ventriloquist dummy shtick is not new. The Twilight Zone did it in 1962, and R.L. Stine had the “Night of the Living Dummy” series of episodes for Goosebumps in in 1996. If you want a ventriloquist dummy fix, watch those, and skip this one. The entire thing is filmed in this blue tone that looks like the red light in the classroom projector burnt out. The dialogue is bland and forced. The story is borderline incoherent.

Somehow Donnie Wahlberg got roped into this. I can only imagine that he was required to play a cop in something before they gave him his Blue Bloods role and so he picked the dumbest script and did the bare minimum. That is the only explanation for his inclusion in this movie.

So I decided to simple gather some of the dumbest questions I had whilst watching this travesty instead of a straight review, because honestly I just had so many questions. For a fun game watch the movie and then re-read these questions, because I guarantee you’ll have the same ones.

So here goes:

  1. How the hell did the dummy kill the wife? By bad editing?
  2. Why do they keep doing this “something spooky under a sheet thing”?
  3. How many zoom out of someone’s eye cliché shots can they do in a row?
  4. Who are these people in Raven’s Fair? Oh his parents? That’s pretty freaking convenient.
  5. His father looks like shit. Who is this woman with him? A nurse? Oh a stepmom, she’s going to be evil isn’t she?
  6. Aw a crazy woman, she’ll probably have all the answers right?
  7. This backstory is pretty freaking stupid. They couldn’t think of anything besides the “town kills the witch/witch haunts the town” narrative?
  8. So she has a thing for the Ashen family…why does she kill the coroner? And why not his wife?
  9. What kind of cop brings a sawed off shotgun in pursuit of a suspect? Where was he carrying it the whole time? Did I miss it?
  10. Why the heck is there a clown doll, he is the only one that doesn’t look exactly like the others…. but why? Did they just need to fill the clown quota?
  11. Why am I laughing so hard at Donnie’s death? This has no emotional depth!
  12. Why can people hold their breath in movies for a thousand years?
  13. Are you serious about this stupid ending? Are. You. Serious? This is the twist?

If you want a good laugh, and possible a waste of your time, this is the movie for you. I definitely had way more questions, but I’ll leave you to ask your own, because there are plenty. The ending is rushed, the editing is bad, and the plot is predictable but if you want a simple time-filler then this is for you.

Amy’s Recommendation: 1/10

Favorite Film Friday: The Last Five Years

The Last Five Years is a musical that follows the relationship of wannabe-Broadway star, Cathy (Anna Kendrick) and up-and-coming author, Jamie (Jeremy Jordan). Each song represents a stage in their relationship and the narrative skips through time as you see them fall in and out of love.

First things first, the music in this is fantastic. Jason Robert Brown creates a heartbreaking story that doesn’t require anything except the music and the believability of the couple. This is where Kendrick and Jordan shine in both departments. They most handle vocally challenging numbers with ease, and look great together while they do it.

There are cameos by some of the original cast and Jeremy Jordan’s actual wife, Ashley Spencer, who may have probably been a better Cathy than Kendrick, but it wouldn’t have attracted any attention except Broadway people like me. Of course, Cathy is supposed to be an aspiring Broadway actress, so to make her the best singer in the film wouldn’t make sense. She’s great, but she’s a much better actress than singer. Unpopular opinion. It’s only because alongside Jeremy Jordan, a Broadway veteran, he just handles the numbers better. Still, Jordan has the opposite problem; he is a better singer than a film actor. However, this performance is the so much better than his previous roles, like in NBC’s Smash, where he knocked every number out of the park but was either the blandest or over-acting actor in every scene. Together though, the perfectly balance each other and it really creates a fantastic piece.

I watch this movie all the time, and this must have been my tenth viewing since hunting down an independent theater in the city to see it on the big screen. It never gets old for me. It does what most movie musicals, and regular musicals, don’t do. They create a story out of only music. There are very few scenes of dialogue that aren’t a part of a song. Which Les Miserables does onstage, but when translated to the film genre it failed miserably. This of course was due to bad casting and a heavy runtime, and The Last Five Years doesn’t have either of those issues. The casting is great, and it’s only an hour and 34 minutes long.

This is a short review, but I can promise this is a solid watch. If you hate musicals, maybe this isn’t for you. But the songs are beautiful, the numbers are visually beautiful (especially “A Summer in Ohio” at least watch that one) and you feel like you’re watching two people find and lose each other. Both main characters are flawed people but they feel real, and you root for them even you know it’s over by the first number. It’s not a spoiler it’s the first song I swear. But it’s absolutely beautiful and it will have you immediately adding its Spotify album to your queue. An easy, entertaining watch  that I can watch over and over, and I bet you all can too.

Amy’s Recommendation: 10/10

Throwback Thursday: E.T.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial is the tale of a little lost alien and his quest to get back home. Matched with an adorable young companion, Elliot, he tries to evade pursuers and reunite with his kind.

This movie is pretty close to perfect, so a review is difficult. Still, I probably haven’t sat down and watched this film in a decade, and I was stunned by how much I had missed as a kid. Back then, a novice media consumer and jumpy movie viewer, this movie genuinely scared me. I remember hiding behind the couch because I thought they were experimenting on E.T. in the final scenes but now I realize they were trying to revive him. I was terrified of how he spoke. It was a mess, so now being older I can finally appreciate what well-acted, visually stunning, and impressive film it is.

Still, to this day I am stunned at the acting chops of the main children. If you want an easy cry, watch Henry Thomas’ audition tape for Elliot and you’ll understand. E.T. itself is an amazing work of special effects. If this was remade, he would be some kind of CGI creature thing, but it would lose so much what made it so memorable. I miss this kind of practical effects mixed with special effects, it feels more palpable, and you believe that people are interacting with this alien. The alien puppetry itself is amazing. It breathes, the face is incredibly expressive, and even the pupils dilate when the light sources change.

They also don’t cram you with backstory for once. You really don’t know anything about E.T. or the galaxy that he and his kind come from. It’s a mystery, and this mystery works for the storytelling’s benefit. Elliot doesn’t badger E.T. for answers, or want anything from him. He just found a friend and blindly trusts him, which makes their connection so much more powerful.

My favorite choice Spielberg made was the way he hid E.T.’s pursuers using only camera angles and lighting.  You don’t even see the pursuers until the final thirty minutes. And the first face you see is Keys, who comforts Elliot, and accompanies him to the spaceship at the end. When all of the medical staff takes off their masks, you realize that they aren’t bad guys and they did try to save E.T. When they believe they failed, they all take off their masks and genuinely look upset. Prior to this unveiling, the pursuers are shown in shadow or looking away. They even first interact with the family donning massive spacesuits, which was such a brilliant scare, and made them seem so much more imposing.

This film combines the same two essential components that Spielberg later harnessed to pull off another masterpiece, Jurassic Park. These components are a brilliant score and practical effects. John Williams composed the scores for both Jurassic Park and E.T. and both are timeless and work to complete the film. That scene where Elliot and E.T. fly across the moon or the one that shows the spaceship close on E.T as he is backlit by the ship’s interior are made magical and emotional moments by the score.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial is a timeless story and deserves an immediate re-watch. I notice something new with each viewing. It’s a beautiful tale of friendship, family, and the incredible bond between a boy and his alien. It’s a stunning film and it never hurts to play “Try and Find All the Things Stranger Things Referenced from This Movie”, because it’s a lot. Happy Viewing.

Amy’s Recommendation: 10/10

 

 

Wildcard Wednesday: The Impossible

The Impossible tells the true story of a British family who vacation to Thailand for Christmas vacation. Suddenly they find themselves in the middle of the tragic Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, which hits the day after Christmas. It’s an unflinching and realistic depiction of environmental tragedy and the human will to survive. Separated by the flood a family fights to reunite, not knowing who is alive or dead.

It doesn’t take long in the run time for the tsunami to hit and holy hell does it hit. The way the destruction and chaos of the moment was captured was cinematically impressive and truly anxiety triggering. If you ever had a fear about drowning, or being trapped in the water, this is definitely not the movie for you. It really captured how truly sudden a wave of that magnitude can advance and just decimate an entire area. The film perfectly captures the brutality of nature and highlights how much damage it can inflict on people suddenly and unapologetically. It makes you realize how sudden an entire life can be uprooted, according to one character, “it was five seconds”.

On that note, this movie is not for the faint of heart. There are brutal scenes throughout and it’s a tough watch. I don’t understand how it earned only a PG-13 rating because it is agonizing to watch at parts. If you’re anything like me and you are incredibly squeamish, I can’t recommend this one for you. Obviously in the midst of an environmental disaster people die and people are badly injured but they don’t shy away from anything in this film. There are lingering shots of wounds, the dead, and the dying. This film can border on horror movie gore a couple times, and It’s incredibly difficult to sit through. But it really happened to this family, which almost makes it worse.

The best part about this movie has to be the eldest son, played by Tom Holland. He is a talented actor and each scene he’s in feels believable. He has a few heartwarming moments, highlighting human kindness and decency in a tragedy, and he has some heartbreaking scenes of real emotional depth as well. Ironically, he is cast to be the next Spider-Man, in Spider-Man: Homecoming, so if he is half a good comedic/action actor as he is a dramatic one, it should be one of the better Spider-Man films yet. The cinematography is great. The suspense is well paced. The acting is fantastic. It was a pleasant surprise in the bleakest movie I’ve seen in a long time.

I wish I did this movie on Tearjerker Tuesday, because this movie is a rough one. There are stunning performances by the whole cast, including the child actors, which is a rare thing nowadays. This also may be one of Ewan McGregor’s best performances to date, but the shining star is Tom Holland’s character, Lucas. Overall, don’t watch this movie is you’re squeamish or want a feel good family film. It’s brutally honest, heart-wrenchingly true, and will make you realize how fragile life truly is and how suddenly it can change.

Amy’s Recommendation: 8.7/10

P.S.- The original family this movie is based on is a Spanish family, and they were changed  to a British family in film. The family was also present for most of the filming, so why they  never brought up the white-washing is a bit ridiculous. Not cool casting people. Not cool.

Tearjerker Tuesdays: Remember Me

Happy Valentine’s Day, all! Every Tuesday is Tearjerker Tuesday, and today is no exception. Of course, many a valentine’s day is spent indulging in the saddest of love stories, Titanic, The Notebook, Moulin Rouge…the list is endless. But today I decided to review the 2010 heartbreaking romantic drama Remember Me.

Remember Me, directed by Allen Coulter ( Critically, it didn’t do well, and there are some aspects that are problematic. The end in particular is a bit much. I won’t spoil this one, because the twist really does come out of nowhere, which is part of the problem.

The film is centered on the romance between Tyler (Robert Pattinson) and Ally (Emily de Ravin) and branches to their complex relationships with their families. After a run in with a cop, who happens to be Ally’s father (of course), his roommate, Aiden, convinces him to ask Ally out for revenge against her father. This formula has happened one too many times in these romantic movies and it drives me crazy. It’s just the old hunk enters relationship under false pretenses but suddenly falls for the girl and girl finds out why the relationship started and freaks out cliché. This weighs down the plot and makes it feel old and recycled.

However, the chemistry between the leads is palpable, and I would argue this is the best Robert Pattinson has ever acted. Yes he goes for his old introverted, brooding poet shtick, but he’s so charming. He is fun to watch, he is believable, and he’s just a character you understand and thus root for. His relationship with the little sister feels genuine and his frustration with his father (Pierce Brosnan) feels warranted. He sometimes falls into the rich kid that whines about problems he doesn’t have to have category, but for the most part you understand the motivation for all of his interactions with each person.

The other highlight is the romance itself. It takes the time to develop which so many romantic dramas and comedies don’t do. They have a repertoire with each other that makes them both likeable and relatable. They seem like a real and plausible couple, and together help each other get over their shared tragedies. They make sense together and it’s refreshing. They take time, they go on dates, you see them actually falling for each other. It’s a well-done progression.

The only problem I have with the film has to be the ending. It is a sudden twist and I commend it, but I would have just scrapped the last ten minutes. The montage of reaction shots seems forced. Peirce Brosnan’s is the absolute worst. He looks like he just got a Botox injection and has no idea what facial expressions are. If he was witnessing what was going on, I really doubt that would be his reaction. I also don’t really know how the end made Ally conquer her fear of the subways. I guess it ties to their initial restaurant conversation about never knowing what could happen. Still, it just seems like a weird inclusion.

Still how they chose to end it felt like they didn’t have any idea how to tie up the story lines and just picked a tragedy and used it to have something concrete to end on. I understand they wanted to tie up the many lose story points, and show how people heal after tragedy, but how they shot it came off as hokey and almost offensive. They should have finished with the zoom out shot and cut to black. Let the audience dwell on the scene. It would have been a much more powerful ending. The ending is a mess, but besides that I think Remember Me is a well-acted, well-shot romance that is guaranteed to make you cry this Valentine’s Day.

Amy’s Recommendation: 9/10