So, I’m attempting to actually make these weekly wrap-ups of films I watch into a regular thing! This week there haven’t been as many high-profile releases – I’m actually really sad that Disney pulled Turning Red from a theatrical release, as I was really excited for it, but I do not have Disney Plus (I shall resist! Though the Obi-Wan Kenobi show is coming soon)…
Still, there’s plenty of other films for me to talk about this week! Let’s get into it!
Went into this one with almost no prior knowledge or expectations (which is often a wonderful way to go into a film!). The reward? An utter gem of a film.
Story-wise, the film revolves around Cheng and his son, who have moved from China to Finland. They are in search of an individual (“Fongtron”) for reasons gradually unveiled to the audience. Upon visiting a local diner in the Scandinavian countryside, the owner kindly shows them a local place to stay; however, when Cheng reveals that he is a professional chef, he finds a place at said diner in which to share his expertise and Chinese culture.
This is just the catalyst for a character-driven story full of both heart and humour. These people felt so real to me, in the way they grew to learn and understand each other – and, paired with the gorgeous Finnish backdrop, it’s a visual delight as well. Oh, and expect to leave this film hungry due to all the scenes of professional Chinese cooking…
Honestly, this was nearly a five-star film for me, as the quiet momentum just built and built into a film I almost didn’t want to end. The way everything resolves at the very end is admittedly slightly rushed for me, but that’s a very small criticism overall. I mean, I was getting Leave No Trace vibes throughout, and that’s a very good thing!
This was decidedly disappointing, sadly. The Adam Project is largely a very generic time-travel sci-fi story about the pilot Adam Read (Ryan Reynolds), who travels back in time from 2050 in search of his wife, and randomly happens to land in the back yard of his 12-year-old self.
Basically everything you might expect from this coincidence plays out; a bond forms over time, they uncover conspiracies, and so on. Now whilst predictable, that could still have been a fun time. However, this film has a serious issue with tone scene-to-scene; it can’t decide whether it’d like to be the newest wise-guy Reynolds pic (in the vein of Free Guy or Deadpool), or a more serious sci-fi story about lasting family (if you’re after that, I recommend searching out the superb Midnight Special).
There are several instances of jokes literally taken straight from other Reynolds pictures, and combined with some crude humour (which is really not my vibe), it left me internally groaning.
The thing is, there are moments around the mid-point of the film where The Adam Project does start to lean into the humanity of these characters and the scenario they’re in, and I was drawn back in slightly. That glimmer of potential was there for this to be more substantial, but in the final act it falls back into the aforementioned problems.
Look, this isn’t offensively bad. But it’s really just very uninspired, and relies a lot on name power to sell itself.
Before I say anything, I think it needs to be pointed out I am a fan of Taylor Swift – the person, and her music. It’s kind of a surprise it took me so long to get around to this (I only recently got Netflix, leave me alone).
For me, documentaries can sometimes fall into the problem of being too predictable in terms of structure. Another issue I sometimes have is that they are too surface level. This film does not have either of those issues; it’s a real behind-the-scenes look at key moments in the formation of Taylor Swift, both in terms of her character, and of the music she has created over time.
This is not a best-of reel of Swift’s success; rather, the film gives the viewers access to never-before-seen footage recorded by those close to her. It’s a joy to see the new clips of her working on songs in the studio, and it’s heart-breaking to hear about the ways certain events have affected here. Both of these elements, though, are a timely reminder that Swift is a person just like you and me.
Even if you aren’t a Taylor Swift fan, I think there’s a lot here to get you invested in the film and the story it tells. Personally, as a fan, this was basically everything I could ever expect from something like this in terms of earnestness and access. A brilliant and insightful documentary!
Not quite as many reviews as last week, but hopefully you enjoyed reading these! Now we’re finally at the week of the UK release for The Worst Person in the World, which is extremely exciting. Have an amazing day!