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And Just Like That… Season 2 Review | Cringe Levels Are Down and The Sex Is Back

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Just wrapped up the first three episodes of the ‘Sex and the City’ reboot, “And Just Like That…” and I must say, one thing is clear—the SEX is back! After rewatching the first season and the initial episodes of the second season, it’s evident that the show has regained its essence.

The cast includes Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, Kristin Davis as Charlotte York-Goldenblatt, Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes, Sarita Choudhury as Seema, Nicole Ari Parker as Lissa Todd Wexley (LTW), Sara Ramirez as Che Diaz, Karen Pittman as Nya Wallace, and Mario Cantone as Anthony Marintino. In the first season, the absence of the fourth musketeer, Samantha Jones (played by Kim Cattrall), was addressed as she had taken a job in London after a fallout with Carrie. However, the major bombshell came in the first episode when Carrie’s long-time love, John James Preston (played by Chris Noth), known as ‘Mr. Big,’ died from a heart attack.

Miranda’s romance with the queer non-binary comedian Che Diaz was something that did not go down well with die-hard SATC fans as it was something that Miranda would not do, especially in the last season, she leaves her husband Steve (played by David Eigenberg). But as the first season progressed, the show did begin to get a life of its own which, to me, made me want the show to have a second season.

Charlotte, in the first two episodes, continues to be herself—the Charlotte we all love. In the first two episodes, there isn’t much in terms of character development—especially when you consider the season one finale—for this mom of two.

The chemistry between Franklin (played by Ivan Hernandez) and Carrie was something to die for. I was particularly excited for the fact that Carrie was trying to move on from Big and the first two episodes explored that—though not explicitly mentioning him, but the dilemma that she was in about whether she wanted a relationship or just a casual Thursday.

Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes. Photo Credit: AJLT/Twitter

However, come the third episode, you see Carrie narrating the book she wrote after Big’s passing. Narrating the words brought back memories of the night Big died and was unable to complete reading the chapter that detailed the specifics of that horrific night. This was relatable as it highlights the inability to move on from a loved one’s death.

For Miranda, all’s not well in sunny California as Miranda’s son Brady (played by Niall Cunningham) is experiencing suicidal thoughts after his breakup with Luisa. Cracks emerge between Miranda and Che. The two, who moved to LA, for Che’s Netflix show and Miranda were constantly worried about Brady. Che dismissed Miranda’s apprehensions about Brady and all Che could say was: “He’s just a kid”?  Miranda was in full Momma bear mode while speaking to Charlotte about Brady and returning to New York.

Meanwhile, Charlotte and LTW are excited about the fact that both made a list that has been circulating in their children’s school known as the “MILF list”. This is creepy on so many levels as the two are giddy about it—which is problematic as hell. Just when you thought the writers learnt from their mistakes in the previous season, they do this—meaning little to no growth on the writers’ part.

Nya’s story intrigues me the most. Her husband is on tour and both are having a rocky marriage as they battle the most common issue that every couple faces—wanting kids. While both initially wanted children and have been trying hard to have a baby (in Season 1), Nya felt the toll of wanting a baby emotionally. In the two episodes, I’d award the most cringeworthy moment to this scene was when Nya facetime Andre and finds him with another woman in his hotel room ‘writing songs’ and he says that he hasn’t cheated on Nya yet. But then it gets worse. Andre then suggests having a surrogate with the motel girl. Credit must be given to Nya for dumping him—and good for her.  In the third episode, you see her trying to move on from her husband and coming into her own. I am starting to like her.

Whereas Seema almost ditches going to the Met Ball to meet her boyfriend Zed’s son–an important step in her relationship with her beau. But there comes a twist—he still lives with his ex-wife which normally and quite rightly so is deemed a major red flag. But Seema’s hairstylist tells her that sometimes she simply looks for red flags where she ends up ditching her longtime stylist but then comes back to him after the new stylist messed her hair up.

I liked the third episode far more than the first two episodes as it was the one that resonated most with me. The third episode dealt with the theme of loss and the fear of losing someone. From Carrie not recovering completely from Big’s death to Seema almost losing her Birkin after being mugged while walking down the street. The Birkin meant something to her—it was not about the money. The two ladies—Carrie and Seema—hang out in a pub where they spot a group of attractive Australian men.

And here we go again with Che—the verdict is out: they’re a monster! From casually revealing that they’re still married to a man to dismissing Miranda’s fears when her son has suicidal thoughts, they hit peak narcissism and yell “You ruined the family scene!” which shows how petty and self-centred they are. Moreover, their comedy is so bad that I couldn’t even fake laugh at their ‘jokes’ not to mention—constantly gaslighting Miranda in the first season. While Che has been a lot more subdued this season, still does not make me like them. I wish Ramirez sang more—perhaps that would make Che a little less annoying. But the question must be asked? Have the writers given up on the idea of forcing us to like the Che-Miranda duo? If that’s the case, I am so for it. I would have preferred Nya to be Miranda’s love interest.

Another thought that crossed my mind: while it was nice to see that the fashion is back along with the brunches, I asked myself as I watched the three episodes: “Which NYC do these characters live in?” While the second season explores mature themes like grief, I couldn’t help but wonder why these characters’ glam bubble is not being busted when the real Big Apple is not as glamorous as AJLT portrays it to be. But in a world ravaged by war and a pandemic coupled with an out-of-control cost-of-living crisis, the second season of the ‘Sex and the City’ reboot is an escape from reality.

In TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) terms, the second season so far is a lot less cringe than the first.

And Just Like That… is streaming on Max in the U.S. and in the UK, it can be streamed on Sky Comedy and Now.

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Comedy

Netflix’s A Family Affair: Failed Attempt to Create a Classic Rom-Com?

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Netflix's A Family Affair

How would you feel if your mom started dating your boss? Well, hardly anyone would be a fan of that relationship. Netflix’s latest movie A Family Affair is based on that very concept that you’d consider awkward if it had happened to you. The film stars Joey King, Zac Efron, and Nicole Kidman as leads with Kathy Bates, Sherry Cola, and Liza Koshy in supporting roles. Directed by Richard LaGravenese, the movie follows a surprise romance that creates turmoil in Zara’s (Joey King) personal and professional life.

The Plot

Joey King’s character, Zara, works as an assistant for a famous actor, Chris Cole (Zac Efron), hoping to make it as a producer one day. From getting breakup gifts for his girlfriends to running errands for him at midnight, she is giving her all until she cannot. She feels lost in her career and quits, which makes Cole realize that he needs her to do his daily tasks. As Cole visits Zara’s house, he finds himself alone with her mother (Nicole Kidman) and shortly they begin drinking. One thing leads to another, and Zara finds them having s*x on her mother’s bed. Her life turns upside down as her mother continues to have a relationship with her boss.

Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron and Joey King in A Family Affair

Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, and Joey King in Netflix’s ‘A Family Affair’

What We Like

The movie begins with an interesting concept and a strong plot. It stars a stellar cast but Zac Efron shines throughout the movie. Each actor brings out their unique style and talent to enhance the story in the movie. Nicole Kidman and Kathy Bates’ relationship in the movie focuses on an important message. Their connection boasts women’s friendship and how they need to understand one another – which is easily one of the best highlights of the movie.

A Family Affair is one of those rom-com movies you might want to watch on a Friday night after a stressful week. The amazing locations and cinematography are soothing to the eyes.

What We Don’t Like

The movie starts strong but ends up falling weak in the middle. The plot becomes thin and predictable. The film makes you wonder if it’s one of those Hallmark Christmas movies, especially during its Christmas scenes. At times Kidman’s character feels unnatural to her and looks fake on the screen. There is almost zero chemistry between her and Efron which makes the romance look forced. The story seems rushed and illogical at some points. The hair and makeup department surprisingly failed to keep the movie realistic. Nicole Kidman looks older than her character’s age, she even looks older than usual with her hair and makeup like plastic.

You may even feel like giving up on the movie as it gets a little hard to watch after 30 minutes in. It starts to look similar to Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine’s The Idea of You, which makes you wonder if it’s worth watching anymore. The plot gets unrealistic, and weak with dialogues that make you cringe.

Joey King and Liza Koshy in A Family Affair

Joey King and Liza Koshy in ‘A Family Affair’

Is It Worth Watching?

The negatives outweigh the positives but in simple words – yes. If you are a fan of rom-coms or want to watch a no-brainer movie alone, or with someone then yes, the movie is worth watching. Although, it’s hard to see it as a classic rom-com movie that you’d love to often revisit in 10 years. A Family Affair is a decent watch, but it fails to stand with classics like 13 Going on 30, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Runaway Bride, etc.

A Family Affair is now available to stream on Netflix.

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Action

Bad Boys: Ride Or Die Review – Smith and Lawrence Deliver Explosive Entertainment.

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Bad Boys: Ride or Die [credit: Sony Pictures Releasing]

Hollywood has been struggling as of late and a lot is riding on the success of the fourth installment of this beloved franchise. The directors Adil and Bilall have had a tough time after their last feature Batgirl was shelved, Sony is looking to move on from the Madame Web debacle and Smith is gearing up for his big comeback after the slap. Hollywood history also tells us that there aren’t a lot of franchises that are able to deliver blockbuster business in their fourth installments.

 

I went into this movie cautiously optimistic with Adil and Bilall returning to direct. They also directed the last entry, which turned out not only the highest-grossing movie in this franchise but also the highest-grossing movie of 2020, which are quite the achievements. This franchise is almost 30 years old now, but these two directors found a way to give it a modern touch while staying loyal to the legacy of these characters. In this entry, they take it up a notch and give us some of the most creative camera work and they never seem to run out of ideas throughout this movie.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die [credit: Sony Pictures Releasing]

The main attraction of these movies has always been the chemistry between Smith and Lawrence. Smith brings the style, and Lawrence brings the charm. As always, they are unreal together on screen and the movie is at its strongest when it is focusing on both of them. I was curious to see if the slap would affect Smith’s screen presence or his comic timing, but he seemed cool for the most part. Although, I did sense a hint of nervousness a couple of times. On the other hand, Martin Lawrence was having a blast.

 

Eric Dane is menacing as our main villain here, which is also thanks to the directors’ presentation of his character. Jacob Scipio is awesome in action sequences, while Alexander Ludwig and Vanessa Hudgens are great together. Rhea Seehorn and Ioan Gruffudd are our other new additions to this entry, but both of them seemed nowhere near their best. It was mostly due to the fact that they were portraying unlikeable, cliche, and predictable characters. But the real MVP here is Reggie. He gets his moment and it is awesome. There are also quite a few cameos which are all well-handled.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die [credit: Sony Pictures Releasing]

BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE

The story is easily the weakest part here with not a lot of character development, especially for the supporting cast. The plot is thin and doesn’t have too many layers to it and even the twists mostly fail to surprise. But that doesn’t mean that the adventure that our characters are on isn’t fun. One can clearly see that the focus in the structuring of this movie was to make it as fun as possible. There are also some questionable editing choices, but the pacing of the narrative is really good.

 

Bad Boys: Ride Or Die delivers an explosively entertaining ride in one of the franchise’s best entries. It embraces its outrageousness and gives some wild action sequences. Smith and Lawrence’s chemistry is unreal, while Adil and Bilall bring their A-game. Audiences will eat up this hilarious ride that will surely be one of the best movie-going experiences of the year. A treat for fans of the franchise. Hopefully, we get more of these.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRFY_Fesa9Q&pp=ygUSYmFkIGJveXMgNCB0cmFpbGVy

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Adventure

‘SEIZE THEM!’ Review | A Rollicking British Comedy Adventure

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This review was made possible by watching an early preview thanks to Escapes supported by the BFI and the National Lottery for organising free nationwide screenings designed to encourage everyone to rediscover the joys of independent cinema

Seize Them!” is a riotous British comedy that marries the best traits of Monty Python, Horrible Histories, Blackadder, and Carry On into a rollicking adventure with a valuable message at its core about finding your song. Director Curtis Vowell delivers a clever, fast-paced film that doesn’t hold back on sword fights, crude humour, and unexpected friendships. The Dark Ages provides us with a British comedy classic. 

The film is a comedy road movie set in the Dark Ages that follows the story of the clueless Queen Dagan (Aimee Lou Wood), an egotistical ruler who is unexpectedly overthrown and toppled from her throne by the charismatic and ruthless Humble Joan (Nicola Coughlan). As Queen Dagan embarks on a quest to reclaim her kingdom, she is joined by unlikely companions, including Shulmay, a former servant with a lot of secrets (Lolly Adefope), and Bobik, a shit-shoveler who ultimately wants more out of life (Nick Frost). Both companions add depth, warmth, and hilarity to her journey as Dagan begins her quest for justice and ultimately faces every conceivable hardship and danger as she embarks on this voyage to win back her throne. She also has to face up to the very worst parts of herself and ultimately answer if she can ever become queen again, can she become a better person while she does it? And what if she has to choose?

© Entertainment Film Distributors

At the heart of this adventure is Queen Dagan, a master of all she surveys, with an ego to match, played outstandingly with delightful arrogance by Aimee Lou Wood. who finds herself headfirst with the revolution-led Humble Joan, portrayed by the charming Nicola Coughlan. The Queen, however, becomes a fugitive in her kingdom, alongside a hefty bounty that’s been put on her head. The dynamic between these two leading ladies is electric, setting the stage for a quest filled with laughter, heart, and a surprising dose of self-discovery.

© Entertainment Film Distributors

The ensemble cast, including the hilarious Lolly Adefope and the ever-charismatic Nick Frost, adds depth and nuance to the story, creating a compelling tapestry of characters that you can’t help but root for. The chemistry between the actors is infectious, making their journey from foes to friends a joy. We also get appearances from some of the U.K. and Ireland’s best comic talent, such as Jessica Hynes as Leofwine, Paul Kaye and John MacMillan as Kings Ivarr and Guthrum, Jason Barnett as Thane Tostig, alongside James Acaster as Felix the Ironmonger. 

Visually, “Seize Them!” shines with its detailed production design and cinematography, which immersed me and the audience at my screening into the mediaeval world of the film. The practical effects and action sequences are seamlessly integrated, adding an extra layer of excitement to the already engaging plot. 

But what truly sets this film apart is its sharp, witty dialogue that harkens back to the comedic genius of its predecessors. Written by Andy Riley, the clever banter and quick wit keep the pace brisk and the laughs coming, making “Seize Them!” a thoroughly entertaining ride from start to finish. 

© Entertainment Film Distributors

Overall, “Seize Them!” is a delightful blend of humour, heart, and adventure that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Whether you’re a fan of British comedy or simply looking for a feel-good movie with a meaningful message, this film is sure to delight you. So, seize the opportunity to watch this comedic gem and prepare to be swept away on a whimsical and hilarious journey across the Dark Ages. I applaud and give this film a high fünf! just make sure to be in a circle of safety when Big Liam arrives.

Seize them! will be in UK Cinemas from April 5th.

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