REVIEW: “LOVE SIMON” (2018) 20th Century Fox


What a wonderful teen angst movie Love, Simon is. Simply put, it reminded me of my teen years watching John Hughes films and I just felt like this is something he would have made had he ever done a film of the challenges of a teen coming out. Our storyline focuses on Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) and his one ‘big ass secret’ that no one in the world but him knows. As he is not the type of flamboyant, gay guy obsessed with musicals etc, he is just an average high school teenage boy with a seemingly picture perfect suburban family. He has a sister Nora (Talitha Bateman), whom he actually admits to liking, a very picture-perfect pretty mom Emily (Jennifer Garner), and the I-just-get-better-looking-with-age- Josh Duhamel as his dad Nick. He has his circle of best friends in Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) Leah (Katherine Langford) whom have known each other all throughout their childhood, and along with new addition Abby Suso (Alexandra Shipp) rounding out their little clique, they are just your average high school teens..or so it seems. They go to a fairly average high school with a rather funny, hammy-over the top, trying to hard to be cool, Vice Principal Worth (Tony Hale) as I don’t really remember any Vice Principal in the history of Vice Principal’s ever being, but hey, it’s a movie after all.

The story focuses on Nick’s coming out – or more the fact that he’s not done so. He has however, started emailing someone named ‘Blue’ who is also a ‘hidden’ gay student at high school. They found each other on “Creek Secrets”, the local school gossip site where Blue does a coming out, in a sense. He reveals he’s gay, but not who he actually is. Nick responds to this with his own fake moniker “Jacques”. Unfortunately the whole secret emailing starts to get really messy when fellow classmate Martin (Logan Miller), the school’s somewhat nerdy dimwit, stumbles upon the email exchange. It’s with this that he proceeds to blackmail Nick into manipulating all sorta of social situations so that he can ‘get with’ Abby, whom he wants in a big way. This whole thing goes terribly wrong and you guessed it – Nick is outed by Martin in the worst way possible.

Even with the dramatic outing – can you sometimes feel the movie is a bit homogenized? Sure you can – but it’s also sweet and likable. As someone who has many gay friends and knowing sometimes the total and complete trauma they’ve undergone in coming our and how many have never been fully accepted by family or friends – they did make that all on the more simplistic side of things with having supportive parents and friends and of course a magical ending of Nick finally meeting his ‘Blue’ and everyone living happily ever after. But even with those few nitpicks, and that’s all they are is nitpicks – I still highly enjoyed myself and ran the gamut of emotions of laughing, tearing up, smiling & being happy for them all. Jennfier Garner & Josh Duhamel are really wonderful here as the parents and the whole cast of teens are highly likable and do a completely believable take on these characters. From me to you, take the family, take your friends, take everyone as it’s a wonderful film for teens and adults alike.

Grade: B

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, February 22, 2018 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
LOVE, SIMON will be out in theaters Nationwide on Friday, March 16, 2018 // U.K. and Worldwide release to follow starting in April


REVIEW: GRINGO (2018) STX Entertainment / Amazon Studios


Over the past few years, Nash Edgerton has bounced – possibly literally – between being a top-notch stuntman and a career as a burgeoning director. After a stack of shorts and a 2008 feature The Square, co-written with his more famous sibling Joel, he now steps things up with “GRINGO”, a comedy-thriller-esque type movie that looks sharp in the trailers.

With brother Joel Edgerton on board as one of the co-leads, Richard Rusk – alongside Charlize Theron as his co-conspirator Elaine Markinson and David Oyelowo as the trusty but naive, Harold Soyinka what you have here is a south-of-the-border caper with blood, guns and medical marijuana. As the film opens, crooked business partners Richard and Elaine – post-boardroom bonk – get a call from their Harold, screaming that he’s been kidnapped in Mexico.

That’s just the start – or rather the mid-point – of a twisty amoral adventure where no one is to be trusted and most are to be feared or so they like you to be – but you’re not. Flashing back and forth, the film fleshes things out..sort of. In the process of ditching their Chicago pharmaceutical firm to a conglomerate, Richard and Elaine are looking to cut ties with one of their more shady partners in the business of manufacturing medical marijuana.

Harold, the only good guy amid this nest of ever growing scumbags, and yes, even his wife Bonnie – played by Thandie Newton – is doing the dirty on him with no less that his own boss and supposed friend, Richard. Harold gets wind that he’s going to be out of a job and this is when he realises that his employers couldn’t care less about the fact he has been kidnapped, he sets out to turn the tables. But little is straightforward in a dense plot that also ropes in Amanda Seyfried and Harry Treadaway as tourists and Sharlto Copley as a mercenary with a conscience.
Double-crosses, cases of mistaken identity… just trying to keep up and make sense of what’s going on at this point, leaves you out of sorts with a plot that really isn’t going anywhere. The script is guilty of trying way to hard, to go into sub-Tarantino area – and completely not succeeding in this endeavour.

Performances vary: Theron’s foul-mouthed act wears thin very fast and honestly, I thought she would be a lot funnier than she was, Edgerton passes you by again, not speaking in his own voice (I’m really so very over this Joel), but Copley provides a few live wire moments. Oyelowo isn’t known for his comedic turns and you will see why here with a mostly blah performance with one or two ha! ha! moments by him. While it’s a pity talents like Seyfried and Treadaway are just a weird almost background note here, as their characters almost seem as if they were given something to do, they would be funny. This is one of those films where the trailer shows you all the fun, best moments of a film that’s not terrible, but very easy to forget.

Grade: C-

Media Review Screening: Friday, February 23, 2018 ~ Courtesy of STX Entertainment
GRINGO will be release nationwide & UK on Friday, March 9, 2018 ~ Worldwide release throughout Mar/Apr



It’s HERE!! The Holy Grail of all Holy Grail’s aka High Holy Day otherwise known as ‘THE OSCARS’. And for the last time this year – I give who I think will win – and what my pick would be – as those two choices sometimes differ.


Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges and Marco Morabito, Producers
While this was a sweet film and a good coming of age story, it was also long, slow & plodding. A great speech at the end does not a great movie make.

Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten and Douglas Urbanski, Producers
Again, one of those more drawn out pictures but with a twist. I learned things from it. I understood more about what happened at Dunkirk here than I did the actual picture called ‘Dunkirk’ – that shows a lot to me and while I won’t give it a win, it was good.

Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
So – another war movie with an attempted storyline to make it more watchable. And mind you, it was watchable, but it was also lacking a lot.

Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele, Producers
I get confused by this film somewhat. Not the message behind it, that I got thank you very much. Where I am confused is they made it out to be some scary horror picture when it’s not. It’s suspenseful at times, and more of a comedy than it’s given credit for. I mean the best friend is hysterical. As Jordan Peele himself says, he sat down to write a horror movie, not a statement movie, so with that I can’t be behind it as just a horror movie. It most definitely has a chance of an upset due to that statement behind it though.

Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill, Producers
Again, a wonderfully sweet yet strong teen angst movie. I can probably relate to this one more having once been a teen girl who did many of the strange things done here. It’s real people – we do this. And while I loved that part of it, it didn’t resonate as ‘great’ to me. Sorry Greta – but please keep doing movies!

JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupi, Producers
I am still trying to figure this one all out. Do I like I love it.. do I hate it.. it’s a tough one – but I do know this – it’s not a best picture win for me.

Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
Sure it’s examplary what Katharine Graham did being the first woman publisher and of a major paper such as The Washington Post no less. But there is also parts of this story that because it’s a movie, they pass up on. Like the fact that she was friends with many politicians and some think that’s how she got her stories. No matter what the what there.. it still wasn’t a great drama at times just boring. A no win for me.

Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale, Producers
I almost don’t know where to begin with the next two films on this list. First, thank you Fox Searchlight for bringing this amazing film to us and going outside the box. If someone had told me before seeing this movie, ‘oh it’s about a deaf, mute girl who falls in love with a fish-man, you’ll love it’ – I probably would have rolled my eyes and just went ‘uh huh’ – instead I didn’t know what it was about at all and I loved every single minute of it. And yes, I will cheer if it wins because it’s a stunning piece of work.

Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, Producers
Which brings me to this movie. The day I saw this, I had actually a cram-packed schedule of a screening of another movie in 70mm at 11am, work and then this screening. I could have, and almost did, skip this one because the initial 70mm movie that I saw in the morning, were scheduled for the same time. Thank goodness I didn’t. I walked out of Three Billboards absolutely speechless. I knew I had just seen the Best Picture. As I ran into the people leaving the other film on the lot, I was asked if I liked the movie. I told them I thought it should win best picture and they all looked at me crazy like as I was forgetting – they had all just seen the other movie. I told each and every one of them to see this one. I know some don’t like it, you’ve got your reasons and that’s fine, but I love it and my reasons will hopefully add up to Oscar gold.



Ok – getting to the nitty-gritty here on Day 6 of my ‘SEVEN DAYS OF OSCARS’ countdown with “Best Director”. Once again I give who I think will win – and what my pick would be – as those two choices sometimes differ.


Christopher Nolan
While I liked Dunkirk – it was also scattered character wise and pretty much overall. War movies are always difficult to tackle with having to give the truth, but also add a cohesive storyline to it.

Jordan Peele
I know some people just love this film – and for a first film, I do give it kudos. But it’s just not a great film for me. I also think winning your first time out is a tough card to put forth. And if it wins, which there is a really good chance it can, it shows that experience means nothing and I do believe it does.

Greta Gerwig
Another strong first timer here and if I had to pick between the two, I would pick Greta. While I feel the same about this film as Get Out – as in I liked but not loved it – the storyline maybe resonated with me a touch more having once been a teenage girl. ha!

Paul Thomas Anderson
I am a fan of Mr. Anderson body of work for the most part – but this movie just isn’t a winner in this category for me.

Guillermo del Toro
Not only am I a huge fan of del Toro’s work – well for the most part, but this stunning story was just done in such a great fashion with such great direction – all with a miniscule budget. The imagination alone was enough to win for me. Plus he truly is one of the nicest, most fun guys I’ve ever had the honor to meet. Hands down – no questions asked – the winner for me.



Here we are – Day Five of the ‘SEVEN DAYS OF OSCARS’ countdown and we are at ‘Best Actress”. Once again I give who I think will win – and what my pick would be – as those two choices sometimes differ.


The Shape of Water
Sally gave a truly wonderful performance here as she so comically put it when del Toro asked her to be in the picture at a party and said “Hey I have a film I’d like you to be in, you play a deaf mute who falls in love with a fish” to where she replied ‘Sure’ – I just love that. And no, I won’t be mad if she wins.

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Francis this little golden man is meant for you – and thank you for an amazing performance in this movie that I just loved.

I, Tonya
Margot – you were good in this film considering you had never even heard of Tonya Harding or Nancy Kerrigan. I just don’t think Oscar-type good and for me personally, I just can’t be onboard with the idea of celebrating Tonya Harding at all.

Lady Bird
Ms. Ronan has definitely proved herself to be a good young actress, she just happens to be in the category with some truly GREAT actresses.

The Post
I feel like I go through this every year. We love Meryl, we love her body of work, just please stop using her as filler in the best actress/best supporting actress categories. sigh.



Here we are – Day Four of the ‘SEVEN DAYS OF OSCARS’ countdown and we are at ‘Best Actor”. Once again I give who I think will win – and what my pick would be – as those two choices sometimes differ.


Call Me by Your Name
A lovely young actor to burst upon the scene and while I think he has a good career ahead of him, this isn’t really a winning performance for me.

Phantom Thread
Oh Daniel, mind you I’ve only just seen this film, but I do wish he was going out with one of his really truly amazing performances rather than this being it.

Get Out
Good performance, but was it really enough to win? I guess we will find out as there is a chance of this, and more than just an outside one. While it’s not my choice, I do know it’s a definite possibility. No matter, again a great career ahead for this young actor.

Darkest Hour
Gary, Gary, Gary – you have always been one of my favourites, and I really hope this is finally your swan song.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.
While I love Denzel, I do think this nomination was what we can call ‘the Meryl Streep’ where they throw you in to fill the category. And since they couldn’t nominate James Franco, that’s what they did. Sad, but true as it’s a basic good Denzel performance – just not great as we all know he can do.



We are only on Day Three of the ‘SEVEN DAYS OF OSCARS’ countdown and already we are at ‘Best Supporting Actress’. You know that magical time of year where once again, I give a countdown of my top Oscar categories- who I think will win – and what my pick would be – as those two choices sometimes differ.


Just flat out no.

I, Tonya
As if we couldn’t love Ms. Janney anymore – she comes out with the crazy, over-the-top role playing an actual real person, who is only mean, but funny. Hands down best performance.

Phantom Thread
okay now honesty gets the best of me here and I can say I haven’t seen this yet – Will be doing so this week so I can’t fairly judge this performance…yet.

Lady Bird
Laurie Metcalf was the best thing about this movie and I wouldn’t be mad if the Academy granted it to her.

The Shape of Water
Before I saw I, Tonya or Lady Bird, my pick would have been Octavia. To me, she is always a standout in any movie she is in. I can love that she got nominated once again.