Showing posts with label What love looks like. Show all posts
Showing posts with label What love looks like. Show all posts

Friday, February 7, 2020

"What Love Looks Like" and The Week in Reviews

[I review a new Indie film available on Amazon Prime - "What Love Looks Like" - as well as DVDs "The White Crow" and "Finding Your Feet."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die" with "Dog Star Man."]

What Love Looks Like

A dramedy containing five interwoven stories that examine the ups and downs of finding love.

From time to time, I get contacted by young or indie filmmakers to review their films.  I mean, why wouldn't they?  I'm Rosy the Reviewer!  But seriously, I actually feel honored when asked. I like to do my bit because I know what it takes to get a film made in this day and age, and I want to encourage new and/or independent filmmakers.  It ain't easy so if I can help, I want to help.

Writer/director (and I think he does almost everything else!), Alex Magana has written five different millennial love stories: Summer (Jamie Shelnitz) and Calvin (Conner Wilkins) meet on Tinder and have a bad one night stand only to find each other again in a situation like that Rupert Holmes "Pina Colada Song." Nicole (Kate Durocher) and Owen (Josh Gilmer) are a couple, but Owen seems to care more about his phone than he does Nicole. Theodore (Jack Menzies) is a nerdy, shy guy who meets the equally nerdy, shy Bailey (Anna Ming Bostwick-Singer) in the park while walking their dogs. Finn (Kyle Meck) meets the lovely Penelope (Taylor Alexa Frank), but she is going back home to London the next day; and Sam (Nathan Kohnen) meets Evie (Ashley Rose McKenna) in the park, but he has not gotten over the death of his beautiful young wife. Will these young people all make a connection?

And, besides love, what do all of these stories have in common? A park! Most of the stories take place in or around a park, which is quite brilliant because when you are on a tight indie film budget finding a place to film can be a problem.  So a park?  Why not?

Magana has written a sweet screenplay with some fun little perks, such as meet cutes and funny pick-up lines, some of which I have heard before, some new.  He seems to favor close-ups, which gives the film a sort of TV look but also an intimate one, his soundtrack is great (he did that too), and the actors are all young and beautiful.  However, I was struck by the fact that except for Bostiwick-Singer, all of the actors were white, which in this day and age of diversity seemed to be a strange choice by Magana, but perhaps he had his reasons. And speaking of diversity, it also would have been fun to add an older couple.  After all "love comes in all ages!" Magana and all of these young actors are relatively unknown, toiling in the world of TV and shorts, waiting for their big breaks.  It's a reminder of what a tough world show biz is when you see these talented, good-looking actors and you have never heard of them.

So what does love look like?

There is no one look. Every love affair is different and unique with the inevitable bumps along the way, and Magana keeps the 88 romantic minutes moving along. Some of the stories work better than others and some of the actors are more polished than others, but it's a sweet 88 minutes.  It's early in Magana's feature film career, and I look forward to what he will do next.  I am all about supporting indie filmmakers, so if you like anthology rom-coms like Gary Marshall's "Mother's Day," "Valentine's Day," and "New Year's Eve," give this one a look!  You might like this one too.

Rosy the Reviewer says...what's not to like?  It's about love!
(available on Amazon Prime)

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


The White Crow (2018)

The story of how and why dancer Rudolph Nureyev defected from Russia to the West.

"Belaya Vorona" - describes a person who is "unusual, extraordinary, not like others, an outsider."

Yes, that could describe Nureyev who was born on a crowded train in 1938 and went on to become one of the greatest ballet dancers of all time. So w
hen Nureyev defected, it was an international incident and a crisis for Russia.

Told in a series of flashbacks and flash forwards, Nureyev, beautifully played by Oleg Ivenko, reflects on his life as he rides a plane on his way to Paris in 1962 where he is to perform with the Kirov Ballet.  This will be his first taste of the Western world and freedom.  It's the height of the Cold War and the Russian authorities are on high alert for defectors.

About flashbacks and flash forwards - I feel a rant coming on.

I am certainly able to discern what is going on, but I am kind of getting over the device and wish screenwriters and directors would get over it too.  It's over done these days.  I know exposition can be unwieldy but there are some more creative ways to get the points of the past across without disrupting the present. In this film, we are given the year early on, but later, the flashbacks are just willy-nilly, with no context, so we are pretty much left on our own, though Rudy's childhood is delineated in black and white. But in his adult years, it's difficult to tell where we are in the story at times because it's back and forth, back and forth, and Rudy looks the same at every age.  I know I also complained about this in my review for "Little Women," but at least director Greta Gerwig gave us some hints as to where we were in the story by changing a hair length and other clues.  

Adapted by David Hare from the book "Rudolph Nureyev: The Life" by Julie Kavanagh and directed by Ralph Fiennes, the film follows Nureyev's rise to stardom, which didn't start right away.  He starts at the Leningrad Choreographic School where his teachers were not impressed and he doesn't like his teachers. He wants the ballet master, Pushkin (Fiennes). Already at a young age, Rudy is arrogant and sure of himself.

The film does a good job of capturing the hard work it takes to make it in the ballet world as we see Rudy practicing the same move over and over and over, though I think the women have it harder.  I mean, they have to wear those damn toe shoes.

Despite my complaint about the way the film was presented, it is still a fascinating story, especially if you are a ballet aficionado - how a boy who grew up poor behind the Iron Curtain could work hard to hone his craft and to then have the courage to defect, taking nothing with him and ultimately rise to such heights of international fame.  The ballet performances are astounding, but, all in all, the film could have been shorter.  It bogged down a bit after the first hour. I mean, it's basically the story of Rudy being a hard worker, wanting to dance but being seduced by the pull of the West.  Oh, he was also seduced by his teacher's wife, but, still, it shouldn't have taken that long to tell this story. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you love ballet, you might love this film.  If you don't love ballet, you probably won't love this film.

Finding Your Feet (2017)

A snobby middle class housewife discovers her husband is having an affair with her best friend and is forced to move in with her bohemian sister in a lower class neighborhood.

"Finding your feet" - reinventing oneself in the golden years when things start falling apart.

Some of your favorite British character actors star in this film where another kind of dancing plays a big role. It's about Sandra Abbott (Imelda Staunton), who throws an elaborate retirement party for her husband (John Abbott) who is going to be made a Lord - and she is very, very proud, especially since she will become Lady Abbott, only to discover during the party that her husband has been having an affair with her best friend for years.  Naturally she is gobsmacked, but her sister, Bif (Celia Imrie), tells her it could be a good thing.  She can get out from under her husband's shadow.  

Bif is a free spirit, engaged in life and making her own way.  Sandra is married and likes being protected and safe. She has the proverbial stick up the proverbial bum, but naturally she "finds her feet" by reacquainting herself with her sister, who she hadn't seen in ten years, and embracing a different lifestyle. She also meets Charlie (Timothy Spall), who lives on a houseboat and who doesn't like her much at first, but we know they will get together. That's always how these things go. Oh, and there is a dance recital so our heroine finds herself through dancing. 

Like the film "An Unmarried Woman," this is another one of those movies where the wife must go through a transformation after her husband's affair is discovered. And like "Poms," where the ladies of a certain age find new life by becoming cheerleaders, these ladies "find their feet" through dancing, but where "Poms" was a really awful movie, this one is charming. 

Written by Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft and directed by Richard Loncraine, we know how it will end because the title tells us - well, most of it anyway - but as they say, it's the journey. Though it's a bit far-fetched and contrived, these well-known British actors are lots of fun and make it all worth the ride.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a fun celebration of sisterhood, female friendship and family.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

44 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Dog Star Man (1964)
(Part I)

An experimental film about a man and his dog ascending a mountain.

And that's basically the plot, if you could say this film has a plot.  Director Stan Brakhage trudges up a mountainside with his dog, accompanied by all kinds of visual stuff that looks like a lava lamp swirling around.

The film consists of five parts, a Prelude and then Parts I-IV, though it's Part I that is listed in the "1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die" book, and trust me, that one is enough. No real rhyme or reason to the film, just a visual miasma -- and no sound! I guess Brakhage thought sound detracted from the visuals.  You don't want to sit through all 78 minutes of all of the parts unless you want to take acid and play some metal music.  That might work.

Why it's a Must See: "Arguably the most prolific
 and influential figure in all of American avant-garde cinema, [director] Stan Brakhage made films so profoundly personal that viewing them is like plunging into the tumultuous processes of thought itself."

---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Yeah, or like plunging into a quagmire!

Rosy the Reviewer says...after enduring many, many egregious film experiences as I make my way through the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," all you have to say to me is "experimental film" and "avant-garde," and I know I'm going to hate it.  I did. 

(Available on YouTube)

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"The Rhythm Section"


The Week in Reviews
(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See

Before I Die Project"

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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.