Connect with us

Reviews

The Kissing Booth 3 Review | Mawkish and Horribly Manipulative

A disaster from all parties involved.

Published

on

“Oh, thank Christ it’s over,” said yours truly as the blooper reel came to an end in Vince Marcello’s The Kissing Booth 3, based on Beth Reekles’ Wattpad series of the same name. Unfortunately, Wattpad doesn’t equal literature, but Netflix, a studio desperate for content, decided to bring it to the mainstream by adapting Reekles’ series into a trilogy of films. The result proved highly satisfactory for the streamer: it’s their most successful franchise yet, pandering to teenage girls who look for wish-fulfilling entertainment with good-looking stars and a series of faux-problems that can be resolved through one apology sequence. The Kissing Booth 2, which had a 132-minute runtime (longer than Citizen Kane, heh) attached to it, was chock-full of faux-problems and egotism, in which every character desperately craved for attention and made others feel bad about their own existence if they didn’t spend enough time with them.

At least the previous two films had a story behind these faux problems. The first film was the blossoming of Elle (Joey King), and Noah (Jacob Elordi)’s relationship through a Kissing Booth. In contrast, the second film showed their relationship fizzle with the arrival of Chloe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) in Noah’s life and Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez) in Elle’s life. In The Kissing Booth 3, there is no story. Instead, Elle, Noah, Lee (Joel Courtney), and Rachel (Meganne Young) volunteer to take care of Mrs. Flynn (Molly Ringwald)’s beach house, as it’s going to get demolished by the end of summer. Elle and Lee decide to make their summer bucket list before she moves to Harvard, but Marco stumbles upon Elle’s life again, desperate to regain her love, while Noah wants to control her feelings towards him. It’s a baffling film to watch, but then you remember that it’s all based on a Wattpad series, which is exactly why this trilogy was never going to be good in the first place.

The basis of The Kissing Booth franchise are characters that don’t know better than thinking of themselves the entire time. When they think they’re doing it for others, they keep complaining about it until the “other” in question feels bad about existing. In this film, everyone is going after themselves in ways I never expected. Everyone creates drama for absolutely nothing, going so far as to purposefully hurt the “other” so that said person can appear as abusive. Noah Flynn, in particular, is the most controlling character of the entire franchise. In the second film, as Elle needs space, he pretends to be his father (Brad Jennings) on the phone to talk to her. In number 3, he’s so jealous of Marco’s super masculine qualities that he’ll try to literally kill him in a Go-Kart race. When he is left unharmed (and even wins the race, mind you), Noah’s only goal will now be to provoke Marco so he can appear controlling towards others.

I’ve never seen a character who desperately wants to control the lives of everyone around him because he feels so insecure about himself. And here’s the thing: Jordan Elordi has no charismatic qualities whatsoever as Noah. He’s shirtless all the time and for absolutely no reason too, but he has quite literally nothing to offer to Elle. Heck, I have no idea why they fell in love in the first place: he’s erratic, frequently gets into outbursts of violence, and always makes Elle feel bad about her life choices. That’s right, how dare does she spend time with her best friend before they live their own life for the first time since they’re born? She should only spend time with me! And as more new people get into Elle’s life, she doesn’t want to accept that her friend is moving on from her since it’s supposed to be all about ME! Notice how many characters say “I” or “my” in the film; it will astound you just how poorly conceived everyone is and how horribly manipulative Marcello and Jay Arnold’s script truly is.

There isn’t a point to any of the sequences presented in The Kissing Booth 3. Many of them will make you go crazy, particularly one involving recreation of Mario Kart through Comic-Con level-cosplays, fake bob-ombs, and bananas to attack its opponents (you may think I’m kidding, but you wait until you witness it. For reference, this is the scene where Noah wants to kill Marco over his feelings towards Elle, even though those said feelings are friendly, and nothing else), or a Volleyball competition between Marco and Noah that ends in a Hallmark-lite fistfight. All of these sequences are here to create fake tension and drama, for them to be easily resolved in half-baked apology sequences or scenes where the characters realize that, in conclusion:

“It’s not about me. It’s about WE.”– Anthony Robbins

Some realization. And it takes innumerable tedious sequences for the characters to get to that point because they’re so wrapped up in their own self-interests that they can’t realize the harm they’re doing to others. None of the acting is particularly memorable; even Joey King & Joel Courtney, who usually had enticing chemistry together in the previous two films, don’t hold their own here since they’re continuously fighting over what they think is right for themselves. When Elle isn’t going to Berkeley anymore, Lee decides to befriend someone else (who will go to Berkeley) and ditch Elle for his own self-interest since she hasn’t respected the fake rules they made up as a child. Yeah, the rules are another way to make Lee and Elle feel bad about their own existence when both characters need space: “What about Rule #? Or Rule #?” It’s particularly annoying when you realize that these rules were conceived when they were kids, and their refusal to grow up has made them the most selfish characters in any teen film I’ve seen in recent memory.

If you’re a teenager aching for wish-fulfilling fantasies on teenhood and high school, maybe you’ll adore The Kissing Booth 3’s presentation on the drama that arises when the main characters are asked to move on from teenhood to adulthood. But the film is horribly manipulative as it continuously makes the protagonists (and the audience) feel bad about their own existence to spend more time with one self-centered protagonist after another. The only character that awakens from their egotist self is Molly Ringwald’s Mrs. Flynn, whom, in a burst of rationality, realizes that maybe the beach house isn’t worth selling after all (of course, as soon as she says she’s selling it, you don’t believe she’ll go through with it). Well, good for you, but maybe this franchise wasn’t worth adapting to film after all. Oh wait, anything related to fanfictions and Wattpad shouldn’t even be transposed to another mode of entertainment. Now that would be something.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

HORROR

Halloween Kills

Published

on

Michael Myers terrifies the townsfolk of Haddenfield once again. halloween Kills uses elements from the 1978 original and fuses them with tense, gruesome and gore, it’s BLOODY BRUTAL!!!

In 2018 David Gordon Green’s Halloween, starring icon Jamie Lee Curtis, killed at the box office, earning more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing chapter in the four-decade franchise and setting a new record for the biggest opening weekend in history for a horror film starring a woman. 

However that Halloween night when Michael Myers returns isn’t over yet as the movie picks up right where we left off from the last one. Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (And Matichak)  have left the masked monster caged and burning in Laurie’s basement, Laurie however is rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries and believes that she’s finally killed her lifelong tormentor. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

But when Michael manages to free himself from Laurie’s trap, his ritual bloodbath resumes. As Laurie fights her pain and prepares to defend herself against him, she inspires all of Haddenfield to rise up against their unstoppable monster. 

The Strode women join a group of other survivors of Michael’s first rampage who decide to take matters into their own hands, forming a vigilante mob that sets out to hunt Michael down, once and for all.

Evil Dies Tonight. 

And speaking of evil, everything about this depiction of Michael is phenomenal. From his onscreen chilling presence, to his mask and the way he commits these brutal murders. Michael’s rampage through Haddenfield is pure carnage, he absolutely demolishes everyone and everything is his path. He’s let loose and becomes an even bigger dangerous threat, which is to be expected from masked killers. 

His kills are inventive and vicious and he’s gone one step ahead with the performance of killing someone as I felt that Michael has some theatricality aspects and truly admires his work by the way he displays their bodies. However I felt that some kills were forgettable due to the fact that we don’t get to care for some characters as by the time they’re in Michael’s line of sight, you know they’re a gonna. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

For fans of horror and violence in movies, there are many spine-chilling moments such as Skull crushing, eye-gouging, gunshots and plenty of bodily horror. 

And if you’re a fan of the original 1978 Halloween film, you’ll be pleased to see many of the actors who were once children, teenagers in the original reprise the same roles in Halloween Kills as adults. It feels so believable and genuine to see the likes of Kyle Richards (Lindsey Wallace ), Nancy Stephens (Marion Chambers) and Charles Cyphers (Sheriff Leigh Brackett) . The film truly pays homage to the original that started it all. many other characters return from the 2018 film and another classic character returning is Tommy Doyle, though recast and now played by Anthony Michael Hall. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

With all these characters the film switches the narrative by focusing in on how the town itself responds and reacts to Michael as the Haddonfield townspeople are fed up and exhausted after 40 years of trauma which was brought on by Michael Myers. We follow groups of unlikely heroes throughout the town armed and ready to take out an unstoppable force of nature by any means necessary. Tommy rallies the whole community to band together. They don’t listen to the Police so this film shows what happens when a town is dissatisfied with a failed system and a useless authority. All hell breaks loose and a mob is formed, this becomes a story that isn’t about Laurie vs Michael, instead about Michael vs Haddonfield itself. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

The movie’s central location takes place within a hospital, we see bodies being swarmed in as a result of Michael. Fear starts growing within the town which unfortunately morphs into panic and eventually utter complete chaos when misinformation and rumours star to spread. I felt that the residents of Haddenfield’s true enemy was their own idiotic decisions, society and rage has made them the monsters. 

Cinematography is certainly elevated this time with unique camera angels showcasing the murders. John Carpenter’s score is beautiful and certainly adds suspense to certain scenes. I also love the film’s nods and nostalgia throughout flashbacks to 1978. 

Overall Halloween Kills is a solid setup and middle chapter of this trilogy. It’s a fun popcorn flick with the right amount of slasher, horror and humour. It also sets into motion what will eventually become Halloween Ends. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

Reviews

After We Fell- Review

Published

on

After We Fell is the third instalment of the “After” series, based on a series of fanfiction published on Wattpad in 2011 by Anna Todd. The film stars Hero Fiennes Tiffin as Hardin Scott and Josephine Langford as Tessa, the leading couple. This film follows the pair as they face troubles as Tessa makes a life-changing decision, her estranged father gets back in touch, and Hardin’s family secrets begin to unravel. Check out the trailer below.

The film is laden with issues. The script is awful, you can really tell it was fan fiction from Wattpad. The dialogue makes you cringe and it really doesn’t sell that these people and their relationships are real. The direction is just about competent, the acting is barely passable, and the story is predictable and vapid. I’m sure the cast has great acting chops, but they can’t flex them here in the slightest. Every ‘twist’ is set up so badly that when the jaw-dropping reveals happen, anyone who has been paying attention has seen it coming for the last hour. The story isn’t engaging. It sets things up that don’t really go anywhere. The characters outside of the central duo are completely interchangeable and they feel superfluous to the story. Anyone who isn’t Hardin or Tessa feels like they’re there just to fill the vacuum between awfully shot sex scenes until the credits mercifully roll.

I could go on for hours about how this fails on every level as a film, but honestly, I don’t think its intended audience cares about cinematography, screenwriting, or production design etc.- which is fine, most people don’t care about those things as long as the story is engaging and enjoyable- (if they did this wouldn’t have many fans). The film clearly knows its target audience is teenagers, the type of person who reads fan fiction on Wattpad about One Direction. The film has a few, shall we say, ‘intimate’ scenes, which are cleverly edited to ensure a 15 rating. During those cleverly edited moments, there is always a shot where the camera cuts away to show Harden getting a condom and opening it, so the audience knows that even ‘bad boys’ like Harden Scott use protection. And then during one scene where they don’t show Harden getting a condom, the next morning the two mention how they didn’t use protection the night before and have a brief discussion about contraception. Which is great, encouraging safe sex is always great, regardless of how you do it. However, people should not be having sex with someone as manipulative and toxic as Harden, even if he is wearing a condom. This is a nice segue into the real problem with After We Fell.



The biggest issue with this film and the whole After series, in general, is the relationship at the centre of it. Hardin is controlling, possessive, and aggressive. One evening in After We Fell, Tessa and Hardin are enjoying a romantic time in a hot tub. After being interrogated by her boyfriend, Tessa eventually confesses to briefly having feelings for someone else while they were broken up and Hardin storms off and ignores her for the rest of the night. He disrespects a waiter who is innocently talking to Tessa, he stalks her, harasses her. In some scenes, it feels like he is only a step away from hitting her. At best their relationship is toxic and at worst it’s abusive and manipulative. And despite all of this, their relationship is presented as romantic and merely “troubled”. Hardin is dominating and proprietorial, he refuses to listen to Tessa, he lashes out at her, invades her privacy, and then someone assures Tessa: he only acts this way because he loves her. He is the way he is; he does the things he does, out of love. The writers and the characters act as though Hardin being extremely toxic and pretty much abusive is sweet and caring. It’s difficult to write a review of the film when the overarching concept and theme is just too wrong to look past. This is not a well-made film, but I’ve seen many poorly made films that are an absolute blast. This being a bad film, though, doesn’t matter because its issues run so much deeper than just below-par technicalities.

The idea of young people watching this and imagining that this kind of relationship is not only normal but romantic and passionate is genuinely concerning. If this is the standard filmmakers set for romantic relationships for young people, it is extremely worrying. This film is rated as appropriate for 15-year-olds. However, the subject matter and the type of relationship this is romanticising warrants an 18 rating. No 15-year-old girl should be watching this and thinking that it is a good relationship, that Hardin is a troubled but sweet person, which is how the film presents it. This is really one of the most irresponsible film series being made right now; it’s borderline dangerous.

After We Fell hits Amazon Prime on 22 October.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

Comic Book Movies

Venom: Let There Be Carnage A Dark Comedy Infused With Fast-paced Action

Published

on

‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ was absolutely Full of CARNAGE. It’s a dark comedy infused with fast-paced action and the relationship between Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and Venom was like watching an old married couple. And Woody Harrelson’s performance was CHAOTIC in a good way. 

After so many potential release dates due to the film being delayed, Venom: Let There Be Carnage was officially released in Cinemas here in the UK on Friday the 15th of October. It is the sequel to Sony’s 2018 film Venom in where the Symbiote links himself with a host and used their bodies to service. Venom now lives amongst us but Eddie Brock struggles to adjust to his new life as the host of the alien symbiote. Venom grants him super-human abilities in order to be a lethal vigilante. Brock attempts to reignite his Journalism career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), who becomes the host of the symbiotic Carnage and escapes prison after a failed execution. 

The film wastes no time and dives straight into the storyline which dives deeper into the origin of Serial Killer Cletus Kasady. Harrelson’s performance as said earlier was Chaotic in the best way possible as his character encapsulates the rage and insanity. His performance was brilliantly matched by Tom Hardy who reprises his role as Eddie Brock, his chemistry with Venom is once again the true highlight of the film. The duo of Harrelson and Hardy work great as frenemies.

Speaking of venom this is truly where the film shines. Since this is a continuation from the first movie, Venom fells more settled inside his host and is more comfortable as Eddie’s conscience. However their rocky relationship has caused a lot of problems for Brock as both want to do different things for example, Eddie just wants to get on with his life and get his career back up and running, Venom does comply however he lusts for brains and chocolate. he feels stuck and wants to be free, but unfortunately cannot control his impulses. 

They argue, fight and trash Eddie’s apartment. This is a very venomous love affair between them both but in an interesting scene, Venom attends a rave and opens up and i’m not kidding about his love for Eddie. Director Andy Serkis opens up about this particular scene saying that it was Tom’s idea to have Venom sort of Come out and go to a party that was a ideally an LGBTQIA festival. Venom speaks for freedom of others by asking to stop this cruel treatment of aliens. 

At it’s heart this film is a love story about the extraordinary relationship between symbiote and host. 

Reprising their roles from the first film are Michelle Williams (Anne Weying) , Reid Scott (Dan Lewis) and Peggy Lu as Mrs. Chen. I felt all have less screen time during the film but these characters are vital to help Eddie’s journey and Venom’s. 

However I felt Naomi Harris was criminally underused. Her character Shriek acts more as a walking plot device than an actual character, though she does brilliantly on what the writers have given her to do. Another Character i felt that had potential but little to do was Stephen Graham, his character felt more like another plot device to tease the sequel. 

With a new director to the franchise, Andy series brings a new quality to the story and action due to his knowledge of motion capture, the VFX on the symbiote’s are outstanding and realistic.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a step up from the first film. It’s a fun 90 minutes and OMG do not miss the credits!!!!!

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Popular Now

Advertisement

Top Box-Office

Trending

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x