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Resort to Love Review | Clichéd, Yet Compelling

Never did I expect to be compeled this much in front of a Hallmark-lite production, but here we are.

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Right from the get-go, it’s clear that Netflix’s latest production, Resort to Love, doesn’t much care about quality. Its aesthetic emulates the glossiness of a Hallmark, or Lifetime Original, and its plot is so unfathomably clichéd to the point where you can easily guess everything that’s going to happen a couple of minutes after the film started. See if you can guess where it’s going: one year after her fiancé, Jason (Jay Pharoah), breaks off their engagement, singer Erica Wilson (Christina Millan)’s career takes a nosedive and is now sent lounge and wedding singing at a resort in Mauritius. Lo and behold, that resort is also the place where her ex-fiancé is getting married (what a coincidence!). Erica, who still has feelings for him, starts to develop a friendship with Jason’s brother, Caleb (Sinqua Walls), which starts a will they/won’t they quasi-love triangle, akin to a classic Hallmark production. What happens next? Whatever’s your first guess is probably right (or not).

Yet, the movie feels quite entrancing. From the opening sequence where an artist invites Erica to a “listening party” and destroys his album so the world will never hear it, Steven K. Tsuchida’s film has a strange aura of anti-conformism. Most films of this stature will start with innumerable clichés, and end with innumerable clichés. Resort to Love doesn’t do that, and builds up Erica’s arc first. There’s this great (and completely random) scene in which she sings Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive as a sign for the audience that she’s gotten over Jason’s rejection and has started a better life in Mauritius. The camera starts to widen to a more blissful aesthetic, as neons fill the frame and the song starts to dictate its intercutting to scenes of Erica enjoying the Island. Right then and there, I knew the film would be different than previous Netflix productions of the same vein, most notably Falling Inn Love (which also stars Christina Millan).

Millan brings much-needed heart to her performance as Erica and shares terrific chemistry with its male counterparts. At first, her portrayal seems contrived in typical emotional beats we’ve seen long before, but as she lands in Mauritius, there’s this clear shift in personality that makes her character more compelling than when we first meet her in New York. She’s more jovial, carefree and starts to have fun with Jason and her fiancé, Beverly (Christiani Pitts), who is completely impervious to the fact that they were previously engaged. This makes for predictable, albeit hilarious comedy where Millan plays with Beverly’s cluelessness and calls out Jason to great advantage. Once Beverly (obviously) finds out about Jason’s previous engagement, there’s an even funnier scene that I won’t dare spoil that had me in stitches.

However, that scene reverts to a more Hallmark-friendly screenplay once it gets into a more dramatic, or dare I say, sentimental mood. It doesn’t get haphazardly sentimental, or emotionally manipulative as most Hallmark films do, but is on the cusp of being exactly like one. Heck, it starts the exact same way as a Hallmark film does: in the middle of a conversation where expository dialogue will fill in the gaps on what we missed. Then we have the overarching conflict that the protagonist will have to confront. She’ll ultimately succeed and fall in love again…of course…not with the one she initially was in love with. That’s always how those films end and Resort to Love doesn’t want to change that formula.

And that seems fine for the most part. There’s nothing wrong with doing something so terribly clichéd if the core of your film is somewhat enticing enough. And for Resort to Love, that seems perfectly fine. Millan, Pharoah, and Walls are all great here, bringing legitimately funny comedy to the table and building upon human relationships that seem not only completely palpable but plausible to the viewer. That makes the viewing experience particularly enjoyable for the skeptical in me who thought this would be a chore to sit through. And guess what? While the story isn’t perfect and steals many tropes from other romantic comedies, it still doesn’t make it terrible. Sue me.

Resort to Love is now available to stream on Netflix.

 

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Animation

My Little Pony: A New Generation

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Like many cinematic universes so called phases, My Little Pony has come in stages. My Little Pony: A New Generation is the latest adventure based on Hasbro’s toy range created over 35 years ago. Its become one of the company’s biggest brands on toy shelves around the world, so with this latest interpretation of the franchise now in its fifth generation takes off as a fully CGI standalone film on Netflix. 



Set in the same world and years after the events of the Friendship is Magic series, A New Generation shows that Earth ponies, Unicorns, and Pegasi all live in fear of each other. But one earth pony Sunny voiced by Vanessa Hudgens has been raised differently and believes that the different species can be trusted, and she wants to build bridges so that they can all be friends again. However when a young unicorn, Izzy (Kimiko Glenn) , turns up in Maretime Bay, Sunny helps her escape. Going against her community, including childhood-friends-turned- local-law-enforcement Hitch (James Marsden) and Sprout (Ken Jeong), Sunny sets out with Izzy to contact the Pegasus community. There, they befriend Princess Zipp (Liza Koshy) and Pipp (Sofia Carson) and start to unravel the story behind the separation of the various pony communities. 

© 2021 Hasbro, Inc.

The new generation of Ponies set out on an adventure to prove that friendship is for every pony. this is my introduction to the franchise which seems to be a new renaissance for My Little Pony, but all jokes aside it truly was a lot of fun. It’s full of colour and positivity with themes of overcoming your fears and overall the powerful magic of friendship. You could also easily see the political messages in this film, however the target audience aka the young viewers will skip past that and enjoy the sweet characters and sparkly tone and songs featured in the film. 

Speaking of music, many of the songs find parallels with real life as the New Generation characters sing about welcoming others rather than building walls as a marching mob of ponies brainlessly out of fear follow their leader. Another aspect shows how a sheriff’s badge creates an unhealthy power dynamic. The film never gets too heavy as we are in Equestria, with its visually rich magical settings, heart and humour and great music. 

The star-studded voice cast truly bring these ponies alive. Vanessa Hudgens, Kimiko Glenn, James Marsden, Sofia Carson, Liza Koshy, Elizabeth Perkins, Jane Krakowski, Phil LaMarr, Michael McKean and Ken Jeong make up an impressive cast that performs a variety of songs ranging from edgy rock tunes to full on Broadway showstoppers. 

© 2021 Hasbro, Inc.

The animation is magical as the filmmakers have brought these Ponies into the CG world for the first time. They have built a colourful and modern take as each pony is given the same amount of care, making them look unique from one another, they’re very expressive thanks to the animators.



There’s tons of details that make the film aesthetically pleasing, such as the gold marbled city where the pegasus’ live to the old lighthouse that’s home to Sunny overlooking Maretime Bay. It’s also filled to the brim with product placements but with a pony twist. For example the film advertises Judgment Neigh, complete with an Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator inspired unicorn.

© 2021 Hasbro, Inc.

My Little Pony: A New Generation is surprisingly pleasing to the eyes and young children no doubt will especially enjoy it.

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Action

Netflix | Night Teeth – Official Trailer

A college student moonlighting as a chauffeur picks up two mysterious women for a night of party-hopping across LA. But when he uncovers their bloodthirsty intentions – and their dangerous, shadowy underworld – he must fight to stay alive.



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Genre:

Action, Crime, Drama

Release Date:

October 20, 2021

Director:

Adam Randall

Cast:

Sydney Sweeney, Megan Fox, Alexander Ludwig

Plot Summary:

A college student moonlighting as a chauffeur picks up two mysterious women for a night of party-hopping across LA. But when he uncovers their bloodthirsty intentions – and their dangerous, shadowy underworld – he must fight to stay alive.

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Business

Netflix Acquires Iconic Roald Dahl Story Company

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Netflix have certainly won Wonka’s Golden Ticket as they and the Roald Dahl Story company (RDSC) have joined forces to bring the worlds most loved stories to current and future fans in creative new ways. 



By acquiring RDSC, Netflix have been giving access to the full catalog of works by the famed and well loved British author. This deal and acquisition builds on the partnership that started three years ago, to create a slate of animated shows, including a series based on the world of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” from Taika Waititi

In addition, Netflix are working with Sony and Working title on an adaptation of Matilda The Musical, which will be directed by Matthew Warchus and starring Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull, Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey and Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough will play Matilda’s parents. 

These projects made Netflix truly invest in Dahl and opened their eyes to a much more ambitious venture. Which will be the creation of a unique universe across animated and live action films and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theatre, consumer products and more. 

Dahl’s books, which include Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG, The Witches and James and the Giant Peach etc, have sold more than 300 million and have been translated into 63 languages. His stories and characters have been delighting children and adults for generations, like myself who was brought up reading these sensational stories during bedtime and in primary school. Their messages of power and possibility of young people have never felt more relevant. 

I couldn’t think of a more deserving company to handle Dahl’s creations as Netflix will be able to bring these timeless tales to more audiences than ever before especially in new formats, but still maintaining their quirkiness, spirit and themes of surprise and kindness. 

Headquartered here in the UK, the Roald Dahl Story Company is led by Dahl’s grandson and managing director Luke Kelly, it has 26 full time employees across eight departments. Pending completion of the deal these employees will retain their positions and RDSC will then function as an autonomous unit within Netflix and it’ll expand the current plans for 19 tv shows, stage shows and live experiences. 



A significant part of the proceeds from the sale will go towards establishing a charitable trust, supporting existing and new charity partners of the RDSC in areas of Children’s health, anti-hate and anti-racism. Netflix and the Roald Dahl Story Company truly share a deep love of story telling and an ever growing global fan base. and as Ted Sarandos,  Netflix’s Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer says “Together, we have an extraordinary opportunity to write multiple new chapters of these beloved stories, delighting children and adults around the world for generations to come”.

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