TL;DR – Charming, awkward, delightful, weird, and a hell of a good time.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – Stay for the mid-credit song
Well, Netflix is currently creating a niche for itself with the romantic comedy
genre and today we get to look at another entry into this lineup. However,
while some might feel that this is the service limiting itself, I don’t, especially
when we get gems like this. Today we look at a film that completely knows what
it wants to be, and how best to use their main leads to achieve that as we dive
into the world of garage bands and upmarket transcendent Asian restaurants.
So to set the scene, we open in on Sasha (Miya Cech) who lives with her parents
in San Francisco but often spends time alone because her parents work for long
hours at their shop. However, Sasha is not really alone because her best friend
Marcus (Emerson Min) lives next door and his parents Harry (James Saito) and
Judy (Susan Park) teach Sasha about cooking and the joy of using scissors for
everything (seriously scissors are an amazing tool in the kitchen). For years
they were best friends until one fateful day when Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall
Park) became a bit more than friends and then it all fell apart. Fifteen years
later, they are both in completely different places in their lives and in different
relationships when their old friend and Sasha’s business partner, Veronica (Michelle
Buteau) puts them on a collision course with each other.
As a guy, it might not be kosher, but I love a good romantic comedy, one that
you can sit back, laugh, but also be moved by the characters. However, this is
a genre that has kind of been on the backburner in recent years with only Crazy
Rich Asians being the one to come to mind when I think of good
works to draw from. Today, thankfully, I get to add another film to this list
with the joy that is Top End Wedding.
So to set the scene, we open in on a couple living in Adelaide who are both
having very important days. Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) is having her first major
client meeting and if it goes well she will get a promotion for the firm she
works in under Hampton (Kerry Fox) who is often referred to a Cruella.
Meanwhile, Ned (Gwilym Lee) is trying to live up to his father’s memory in the
courtroom but finds the job difficult because he has no passion for it. Well,
Ned decides to quit his job and proposes to Lauren, the only catch is that
Hampton will only give Lauren 10 days off for the wedding, as in the next 10
days, and Lauren has always dreamed of having her wedding in Darwin where she
is from. While this should be easy to put together, things take a turn when she
arrives home to find her father Trevor (Huw Higginson) and mother Daffy (Ursula
Yovich) had recently separated and no one knows where her mother is.
TL;DR – While it is a bit stodgy at times, it has a real heart to it and an interesting premise.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
In recent times, one strength that Netflix has really leaned into is producing
quality rom-coms a genre that had been left wanting in the cinematic landscape
recently. Indeed we have even been getting the highs of To
All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and given that our lead here with the
impressive eyebrows is finding a niche in this genre I was interested to see
how it would go. Well, it was fine, but the more it meant on the more it felt
like while it had an interesting premise, it didn’t quite stick the landing in
So to set the scene, as high school is coming to the end, the world is finding
out what to do next. For Brooks Rattigan (Noah Centineo), it trying to get into
Yale, he wants to change the world, even though he has no idea what it is that
he needs to change. He has the chance to go to a public college but he wants to
go to Yale but how is he going to pay for it or even get in. Things change one
day when one of the rich kids at his school Reece (Zak Steiner) was lamenting that
he had to take his cousin Celia (Laura Marano) to a high school social and
Brooks steps in because he needs money. During the ‘date’ Celia mentions that
he would make a great stand-in boyfriend, well one app made by his friend Murph
(Odiseas Georgiadis) later and a new business is made.
TL;DR – During the film, I along with the whole cinema, laughed, cried, gasp ‘oh no you didn’t and I can’t remember a film that had that same reaction
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
There are some films that simply be being made are making a statement of intent. These are films like last year’s Black Panther (see review) and Wonder Women (see review), films that “conventional” Hollywood wisdom states that they shouldn’t be made because they won’t make any money. There is a long history of information coming from focus groups that people are not interested in films helmed by women and people of colour, information which is inevitable proven wrong time after time when the box office numbers are released. To put this in perspective, the last live-action film from Hollywood to feature a predominately Asian cast was The Joy Luck Club twenty-five years ago in 1993. This means a whole generation of people have grown up and not seen their stories or people like themselves up on the big screen, and well folks this is why representation matter. So while Crazy Rich Asians is important for just existing, it is even more power from the fact that it is also a fantastic film in its own right and one of my films of the year so far.
TL;DR – At times hilarious, at times incredible farcical, and at times a deeply moving look at the trials of friendship.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene
For a long time, there has been this growing bubble of particular dry absurdist comedy coming out of New Zealand. You see it in the work of Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Rhys Darby, Rachel House, and also some of Peter Jackson’s early films. These are films that mix comedy and emotional understanding in equal measures. Whenever one of these movies like Hunt for the Wilderpeople (see review) or Hibiscus & Ruthless (see review) make it across the ditch I always really look forward to seeing it. Well, today we get the chance to look at a new entry into this wonderful genre The Breaker Upperers, from the comedic team of Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek.
TL;DR – A great story about love and everything that it takes to get there.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There was no post-credit scene
Your last year in high school is difficult at the best of times, but when you have a secret that could rip your life apart, it adds to it a bit. In Love, Simon, that secret is that the titular Simon (Nick Robinson) is gay, and he hasn’t told anyone yet. So today we are going to look at a story that is part coming of age, part love story, and party mystery novel.
TL;DR – A good reminder that we are all united as one because we all do stupid, stupid, stupid, things for love
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
I’ve been sitting here looking at my screen on and off for the last hour wondering how to start this review. This is such an important film, a real water shed moment for Australian cinema, but how do you properly articulate that without sounding overbearing. To add to this, I am a white Australian with not a lot of experience with some of the cultural and religious iconography, this means that I am desperately trying not to accidentally say something truly stupid. So I hope you will excuse the lack of coherence and come with me as we jump into the world of Ali’s Wedding. Continue reading →