FlixChatter Review: LAST CHRISTMAS (2019)

Directed by Paul Feig
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson

The holidays are upon us and along with that – holiday films. From “A Christmas Carol” to “Die Hard” and even to “Eyes Wide Shut”, the genre covers a wide spectrum of styles and there is always something, some motif, setting, style or narrative that makes it what it is and marketable this time of year. Paul Feig’s latest “Last Christmas” falls within the conventional side of this spectrum and appropriately so.

Emilia Clarke plays Kate, an aspiring and struggling singer living in London who also works as an elf in a Christmas store owned by Santa (Michelle Yeoh). Kate or Katerina (her Yugoslavian namesake) is a bit of a train wreck, borderline homeless, careless, irresponsible and jaded. Along comes Tom (Henry Golding), a stranger who happens to show up when she is at her worst but seems to melt her icy cynicism little by little. Slowly, she starts to turn things around, even with a hovering mother (played by Emma Thompson) obsessively doting on her.

To say any more would be revealing too much but Last Christmas reminds us of Bill Murray’s character turn/development in Groundhog Day, another holiday classic. Last Christmas follows the holiday template almost to a T in its predictability. However, Emilia Clarke’s performance is so charming that the movie succeeds in its intention. I’d forgotten she’d been Daenarys of Game of Thrones’ fame. Her comic turn as Kate is so natural and effortless that it’s enough to carry the film throughout the clichés, forced subplots, and feel-good story. We end up rooting for her through thick and thin. Clarke’s performance proves she’s not one-dimensional – a sign she will overcome being typecast, and hopefully more opportunities for complex roles in the future.

Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding and Emma Thompson are all merely there as supporting characters but there are some nice touches here and there. Last Christmas is cognizant of the times and reflects some of the political climate of today’s Europe and the western world. This is the world of Brexit and racism. Thompson (co-writer) and the filmmakers can be commended for at least trying to present a more realistic and diverse London.

The soundtrack is rich – filled with Wham! and George Michael classics. Michael’s song is the inspiration for the story and also a tribute to the late singer. Last Christmas is a cookie cutter of a film and not quite the classic it’s striving to be but it does have its heart in the right place. For some that might be enough.

Vince_review


So did you get to see LAST CHRISTMAS? Let us know what you think!

Trailers of Movies I Can’t Wait to See… from arthouse indies to blockbuster movies

Hello everyone! Remember me? 😉

Feels like it’s been ages since I posted trailers on this blog. It’s truly been a whirlwind year for me. You already know about my short film which consumed the first 2/3 of 2017. As if that wasn’t busy enough already, I also still blogged for TCFF, my hubby and I became US citizens 🇺🇸 in late November… aaaand we’re moving to a new home! 😮

Suffice to say, not only do I not have any time to blog these days…  I barely have time to watch things either. But I do make time to watch trailers! I’ve always enjoyed trailers and they always make me excited about movies even when life is extremely hectic.

In fact, since I was home sick today, I watched a ton of trailers as I sat on my bed… and so I thought why not make a blog post of it. In any case, I like to mix up arthouse indies with huge blockbusters, so let’s start with this one…

A Wrinkle In Time

After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.


An intriguing scifi adventure by a female director (Ava DuVernay) w/ an all-star (mostly female) cast (including my girl muse Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Can’t wait to see this next March!


Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Based on Peter Turner’s memoir, the film follows the playful but passionate relationship between Turner (Bell) and the eccentric Academy Award®-winning actress Gloria Grahame (Bening) in 1978 Liverpool.


I remember hearing the title but just finally saw the trailer last night and was swept away by it!! I had never heard of Gloria Grahame but I do love Annette Bening and she looks phenomenal here. I haven’t been impressed by Jamie Bell since Billy Elliot but he looks good here. I love stories about star-crossed lovers and a reverse May-December romance where the woman is older.


Phantom Thread

Set in 1950’s London, Reynolds Woodcock is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.

Ok so interestingly enough, Andrew Llyod Weber’s Phantom of the Opera also opened around Christmas time (2004), a movie I still unabashedly love despite what the critics say. Now this one is likely gonna be known as Daniel Day Lewis‘ last film as he’s reportedly retiring. It looks pretty intriguing but given December’s packed schedule, I probably end up renting this one.


The Shape of Water

An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

Ohhh this trailer always gives me goosebumps from the first time I saw it in a theatre. The more I read about this film and all the rave reviews about Guillermo Del Toro‘s magical touch, I’m even more intrigued. Talk about the ultimate unconventional love story… starring the reliable Sally Hawkins (who I loved as Anne Elliot in BBC’s Persuasion), this one will run my tear ducts dry for sure.


Downsizing

A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.

I LOVE the premise of this movie and I sure hope the movie will deliver. But I enjoyed The Descendants and Nebraska from Alexander Payne, and he seems like the right filmmaker to do such a quirky dramedy. Yeah it’s yet another Matt Damon flick (this guy is everywhere!) but the story is pretty intriguing I’m still curious to check this one out.


Black Panther

T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.

Woo wee!!! Forget about what I said about superhero fatigue, I’m still very much in the mood for the genre (and guys in tight-fitting outfit), especially when they look as good as Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther! [meow!] The cast is pure awesomeness…  I mean, yes the boys are cool and all that, but I’m all about Angela Bassett & Lupita Nyong’o in the same movie!! Marvel Studios taking a chance on an another indie filmmaker, this time it’s Ryan Coogler and judging from the second trailer, this is gonna be epic!! February can’t come soon enough.


Avengers Infinity War

DC sort of have ‘ruled’ 2017 with Wonder Woman and Justice League. Ok so not exactly ruled the box office given all the talks about how JL underperformed. Well, 2018 will likely bring Disney even more s*&$-load of cash (but then again every year is ‘Disney just take my money’ year since they owned EVERYTHING).

Just three months after Black Panther, we’ve got the whole gang back together. Everyone’s got their faves, but for me I’m most excited to see T’Challa and Capt (sporting longish hair and rugged beard, yowza!!)

Heh I think DC is missing out with the whole Henry Cavill mustache-erasing fiasco, methinks Supes looks pretty darn sexy unshaven… a la Chris Reeve in Superman III 😉

Dayum, that Alan Silvestri‘s score in that last slo-mo scene promises us SO much epic-ness. I rolled my eyes when they’re gonna do the last Avengers in two parts (of course, why not stretch those mighty dollars right?) but heck I trust the Russo brothers to bring us something truly worth watching, as the last two Captain America films are on the top list of fave superhero films ever!


Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.

I can’t believe I didn’t include this one. I was actually watching it (three times in a row) as I wrote the post, then got sidetracked by the Jimmy Kimmel episode with ALL of the cast from the new flick (including Laura Dern!). So yeah, even though I wouldn’t call myself a SW fan but I’m actually really looking forward to Episode VIII more and more. Glad I don’t have long to wait (seeing it this Monday, yay!!)

I’ve only seen Looper from director Rian Johnson, which I quite like. I always like the idea of having indie filmmakers joining big franchises (a la Marvel) so hopefully it’ll pay off once again. The trailer certainly promises more drama in the epic saga of the most dysfunctional family in space 😛


Ok last one… I know this one is just a teaser and the movie isn’t out ’til next June! But man Deadpool‘s marketing team ought to win some awards for creativity and pure silly good fun! I hadn’t even heard of Bob Ross before but the teaser made me search for clips of him on youtube and it’s freakin’ hilarious!! I’m not a huge Ryan Reynolds fan but he totally owned this character! Nice to see that kid from Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Julian Dennison, making an appearance in this flick!


Ok these are just a sampling of stuff I’m excited about… what are some recent previews that got your heart pumpin’?

Get ready for MTOS this Sunday! The topic is Christmas Movies

Hello all! I’m happy to announce that this coming Sunday, I’ll be hosting #MTOS for the first time! Some of you probably know and have participated in it in the past, but to those new to this fun movie event, here’s the scoop from #MTOS founder Raghav of Ticker Talks!:

Movie Talk On Sunday is an initiative to get the Twitter Film Community together at one time and one day each week to discuss various film related topics. The aim of the whole exercise, besides having fun is to find new individuals who share the same passion for films as you do and also in the process find out about different aspects about movies. You can count on finding about new movies, interesting facts, and who knows even gossip.

How Does It Work?

It really is simple. There are 10 questions. We will throw out 1 question relating to the weeks topic every 10 minutes starting at 20:00 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) every Sunday. All the questions and subsequent answers/discussions, by you, should simply be followed by #MTOS. In your Twitter “search” you can type in #MTOS and follow what everyone is saying and henceforth answer back and take part. If you “like” someone’s answer simply Re-Tweet it like you would normally on Twitter.

In order to make #MTOS more interactive we have started asking everyone to post their blog links related to the topic of the week throughout the week with the hashtag  (#MTOS) so that everyone can simply search #MTOS at any time and read interesting write-ups before the actual event that Sunday.

#MTOS is all about you. We will try and make the questions open ended with multiple answers. Let the discussions go off in a tangent if you find someone who agrees/disagrees with what you think. Just remember to #MTOS everything so someone neither one of you follow can also join in.

Important : Please, please, please avoid profanity and behave in a civilized manner.

The topic this Sunday is a timely one…

CHRISTMAS MOVIES!

  1. Favorite Christmas Classic movies? i.e. Miracle on 34th Street, etc.
  2. What’s the WORST Christmas movie you’ve ever seen?
  3. Favorite character in a Christmas movie? You can also name your favorite movie Santa.
  4. Favorite scene from a Christmas or holiday movie?
  5. Funniest Christmas movie you’ve ever seen?
  6. What Christmas movie you always recommend?
  7. With the release of Arthur Christmas this month… what’s your favorite animated/non-live action Christmas movie? i.e. A Charlie Brown Christmas
  8. Any romance-themed Christmas movie you like? i.e The Bishop’s Wife, Love Actually, The Holiday
  9. Favorite action movies set around Christmas time? i.e. Die Hard, Joyeux Noel, etc.
  10. Lastly, what movie(s) do you traditionally watch during the Christmas season?

As #MTOS is growing and the purpose of the whole exercise is to promote the Film Community, we have started having a “Host” for each event on Sunday. If you would like to host a #MTOS please drop @raghavmodi or @askimrach a line and we will sort it out. As a host you will work with us and come up with a topic and then subsequent questions relating to the topic to post on the Sunday of your hosting. You get to blog about it in advance and it’s also a great way to get more twitter followers.

The host will be blogging each week (Tuesday) about the topic and the 10 questions in advance so that you can visit the post and be prepared come Sunday.


So folks, join us this Sunday at 20:00 GMT (2PM Central Time in the US) and join the #MTOS festivities! If you’re not on Twitter but want to share your answers to these questions, please do so in the comments section.