Netflix April Catch-Up + Guava Island - 2019
The Highwaymen – 2019
Bonnie and Clyde held the United States hostage for two years in the early 1930s, with their rampant crime spree that included robberies and murders. Thirty years later it captured the imagination of American audiences at the box office, with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway playing the leading roles. Now forty years later director John Lee Hancock and writer John Fusco explore the pair of Texas Rangers (Costner and Harrelson) that came out of retirement and capture Bonnie and Clyde... and bore them to death. This film is a two-hour long exploration of the men that followed the trail of bodies that were left there off the screen and focused on men broken down due to the years of killing they did in the name of the law. This focus leads to a slow, boring and repetitive story that makes you yearn for 1967's Bonnie and Clyde film. Not worth your time.
The Perfect Date – 2019
Last year was the return of the rom-com genre, and one of the biggest reasons for this comeback was Netflix's original films (To All the Boys I've Loved Before and The Set Up). This year it looks like Netflix is doubling down on the genre and one of its stars, Noah Centineo. In The Perfect Date, we follow Brooks, a teenager looking to get into Yale, even though his father cannot afford the tuition. Brooks comes up with a dating app to raise money. He meets Celia (Marano) through his services and strikes a friendship with her and tries to help her land the boy of her dreams. And romcom things happen. Centineo charm and natural charisma shine through his performance, as he seems completely comfortable with everyone around him, in particular, Marano. The movie clicks whenever they are sharing the screen, and you have fun watching this story even though it follows all the story beats of a rom-com, with a few updates to fit our modern society - like Marano saying no instead of running to a man that shun her, and making him earn her trust again. If you are a fan of the genre, you will have fun watching this film.
The problem with this film is not that it easily invites comparison to 2018's A Quiet Place, or even its lesser version, Bird Box. One can easily compare it to the million better versions of the creature feature films that came before it; the problem is that nothing close to entertaining happens during the forgiving 90-minute runtime. Stanley Tucci and Miranda Otto are game, and try their best, but are let down by a bland, generic script, a low budget that shows, and dull visuals that make you want to side with Steven Spielberg when he calls Netflix films "made for TV" replacements. You are better off watching anything else on Netflix or in the back of your hand.
The story follows Kit (Larson), as she must move back in with her parents after getting kicked out of art school. She is contacted by a mysterious salesman (Jackson) and offers her very own Unicorn. She needs to meet a specific set of requirements before the delivery of her Unicorn, setting her down a path of self-discovery. This film will quickly test your limits with whimsy, rainbows, and glitter - but if you have a high tolerance for this, you will find a charming and quaint story of a woman trying to find her place in an adult world that has long since outgrown the glee of painting with your hands and feet. Larson has a steady hand and a good eye behind the camera, drawing inspiration from directors like Jeunet, Anderson, and Baumbach as she creates a particular tone and feels for her character and world. Fun film if you are looking for a quick and quirky story to fill your time.
Donald "Childish Gambino" Glover and Rihanna dropped their secret project during Coachella, and it premiered on Prime last night for everyone outside the festival to see - while they are calling this animated, music video, musical, short film - a film, the one thing it, I can safely call it is a vanity project for Childish Gambino and his music. Fans of Gambino's music (me being one of them) will have some fun watching this short film that jumps into his songs sporadically, but you cannot avoid the feeling that it could've been far more especially with the lack of singing from Rihanna, and the lack of screen time for Letitia Wright. That said it is beautifully crafted thanks to director Hiro Murai (Atlanta, Barry, and Legion), and cinematographer Christian Sprenger, having some visually compelling scenes, that utilize color and blocking to its fullest potential - even when the story behind said visuals are lacking. Fun quick watch for fans of Gambino's music.
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