59 posts categorized "Romantic Drama"

June 08, 2020


Today's Cole Smithey Film-To-Stream: HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU —This 2009 A-list packed romdramedy plays heart strings and gives sucker punches in equal measure.

You'll pine for the pre-smart phone days when there was a thread of humanity, and the milk of human kindness was something you could find. Drew Barrymore spills with charm in this underrated American comic classic. 


Tears will fall. 

4 Stars


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March 22, 2017


Punch Drunk LovePaul Thomas Anderson has done the impossible; he has written a romantic leading role for Adam Sandler that functions well on a dramatic level. Sandler’s on-the-spectrum character Barry Egan is a bundle of social anxiety thanks to a long history of abusive treatment by his seven sisters. He has a furious temper thanks to his sisters’ relentless bullying about a childhood episode wherein he broke a plate glass door with a hammer in response to their repeatedly calling him “gayboy.”

Note Anderson’s reference to Lina Wertmuller’s film “Seven Beauties” (1975), which follows the wartime adventures of Pasqualino (Giancarlo Gianini), a henpecked Italian dandy who murders one of his sister’s lover. Audiences can have a field day picking out Anderson’s subtle nods to films by other directors (“Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday,” “The Bandwagon,” and “The Graduate” for example), as well as to his own (“Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia”).


“Punch Drunk Love” is a squirmy love story about a guy with a good heart in need of romantic rescue. Anderson’s inspired casting of Emily Watson as Sandler’s savior works like a charm for a minimalist character study with a dash of magical realism. It may only be a minor chamber piece, but “Punch Drunk Love” sticks with you.  

Rated R. 95 mins. (B) (Three Stars — out of five / no halves) 

We're drinking BANISH THE DARK for our discussion of Paul Thomas Anderson's PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE with special guest co-host Kenji Mason.

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September 03, 2016


The-Light-Between-OceansNicholas Sparks has some new competition in the meepy melodrama realm. Newcomer M.L. Stedman sees his 2012 debut novel adapted by the once promising director Derek Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine”) in a lackluster soap opera of a movie that comes complete with a terribly miscast Alicia Vikander. The current it-girl who impressed in last year’s “Ex Machina,” gets hung out to dry in her second ill-fated outing attempt at period drama. Vikander may have pulled the wool over some people’s eyes with her marginal performance in “The Danish Girl,” opposite the versatile Eddie Redmayne, but her lacking ability to inhabit character from past epochs torpedoes this film as much as its insipid source material of tear-stained pap.

I won’t spoil the plot, but the arrival of an infant to a couple isolated on a remote lighthouse, sets off an emotionally charged chain of events that are predictable as they are pedestrian.

Light Btwn Oceans

The capable if overrated Michael Fassbinder carries the film as Tom Sherbourne, a World War I veteran (read, scarce survivor) who takes on a position as a lighthouse keeper on the island of Janus. Tom falls for the love-at-first-sight charms of Isabel (Vikander), and soon marries the woman who will ruin his life.

Complete with an obnoxiously heavy-handed musical score (by Alexandre Desplat), “The Light Between Oceans” gets a late start that shifts into an excruciating audience experience for anyone under 80. That said, this is not the movie to list as the last thing you see before passing on to the great beyond.

Long gone are the days when James Ivory made meaningful period dramas that audiences could sink their teeth into. See “A Room With a View” (1985), “Howards End” (1992), and “Jefferson in Paris” (1995), just to name a few. Make the most of your movie-watching time; catch “Howards End” during its current revival run, and forget about “The Light Between Oceans.” There isn’t any.

Rated PG-13 132 mins. (C-) (One star — out of five / no halves)    

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