Swiped – Netlfix review

If I don’t like something I won’t review it. I won’t recommend it and I won’t watch the rest of it. But, unbeknownst to me I stumbled upon a cursed movie. A movie so bad that I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I must share it with you and implore you to watch it whenever you get the chance. You’ll laugh yourself sore.

Swiped, starring teen heartthrob Noah Centineo is the WORST movie I have ever watched. It narrowly pips The Dark is Rising (2007), a movie me and my 13-year old friends walked out of. Just to clarify, I was 13 at the time too, I just wanted to give some context. I messed up. I don’t hang out with 13 year olds.
The reason it pips that to the post of biggest piece of shit movie I’ve ever seen is because I watched the whole thing. We walked out of The Seeker and had no regrets. But this time, me and my brother couldn’t take our eyes off of this absolute trainwreck.

This teen rom-com-dram tells the story of James, a talented by socially awkward coder who starts his first year of college. His roommate is ladies man Lance who, with his two friends whose names I’ve forgotten, recruit James to create an app for them that will blow all other dating apps out of the water. The quartet become wildly successful but James doesn’t agree with the ethics so keeps his involvement quiet. He becomes even more disillusioned when he knows his Mom is using the app and deletes the data, trying to help women realise that they don’t need apps for love. They need to trust themselves.

Christian Hutcherson, Nathan Gamble, Noah Centineo, and Shelby Wulfert in Swiped (2018)
Hannah reading, which is unusual for her

I think I realised that this movie was going to be trash when James asks his love interest, Hannah, what she is reading. Now, this is just after she told him she wants him to leave her alone but he follows her down the hall, asking her about her book. Hannah finally responds and tells him that she’s reading Pride and Prejudice. “Oh, Jane Austen,” James replies with no emotion because he’s a terrible actor.
“Oh, my God, you know Jane Austen?”. He’s a fucking first year college student in North America, Hannah, yes he knows who Jane Austen is.
Now, James and Hannah are badly written characters (Hannah literally goes around reading all the time and even in scenes that she is participating in and conversing in, every time someone talks to her she rips her head out of the book with a look of vague surprise as if she wasn’t aware where she was), but the whole cast is just horrible. Noah Centineo didn’t seem bad in To All the Boys I loved Before, and I actually liked that movie but in this one, despite being the best actor, he’s still the worst somehow. Maybe its because I know he can do better. Maybe I’m just disappointed.
Also, the actor who plays James, the main character, looks exactly like an old friend from secondary school and I’d just laugh and laugh every time he came on screen. This movie didn’t stand a chance.

Kendall Ryan Sanders and Noah Centineo in Swiped (2018)

There were so many laughably bad scenes dotted throughout the movie. The extras and background actors were abysmal, but the main characters were always worse.
I’ve already mentioned Hannah’s need to read but one scene in particular had me howling. So, just after deleting all the data for the dating app, James seeks refuge in the girl’s sorority house (first mention in the entire movie that they are all in the same sorority by the way, and this is with about 20 minutes left). Hannah greets him at the door, lets him in, introduces him to all the girls and intently listens to the start of James’s speech about women empowerment. The camera pans to James for the rest of his speech, he sees the other girls nodding and then ask Hannah what she thinks. Hannah is now reading and pulls her head away from the book, as if she wasn’t aware James was talking. Its almost as if she wasn’t in the scene just before and stumbled in to the living room while being engrossed in the same Jane Austen novel from the start of the year.

Another scene that made no sense was the one in which James’ sister, who has been extremely horrible to him all movie long and most probably his entire life, says she’ll miss him a little bit when he goes back to college. She hugs him and looks lovingly at him. This is off the back of constantly telling him he has no friends and will be a loser forever. She even cuts short his mother’s goodbye to him at the start of the college year because she had a party to go to. I just don’t even know about this film.

If you want to have a bit of fun with this movie, have a look out for Hannah reading in every scene she’s in. It’s almost Waldoesque. Pause the movie and if there’s a character studying or with a book, that’s our stereotypical studious love-interest who the main character doesn’t really have a hope with but will end up with anyways.

Another gem of a scene is when Lance reveals to the world that James is the actual creator of the dating app in an attempt to do something. They never actually say what their intention is. It is very odd. I assume it is to stop him getting friendly with the girls which the guys feel they have ownership over. That must be it.
Anyways, the whole world knows that James is the master coder who created Jungle (sorry, I never mentioned the name of the app. The awfulness of this movie consumes me). James’ Computer Science teacher, upon hearing the news, whips her glasses off her face, staring into the distance, perplexed by the news. It’s phenomenal acting, akin to the scene where Chaz Palminteri drops his coffee cup as Keyser Soze limps off into the distance.

Kendall Ryan Sanders and Kristen Johnston in Swiped
Keyser Soze and Dave Kujan


Also, Lance is the biggest piece of shit in the movie but is given a redemption arc. He outs James as the creator of Jungle to destroy him and tries to force him to work for him when he doesn’t want to anymore. After trying to destroy James and never apologising for it, he decides he wants to treat one of the girls better and asks her on a date. She agrees and he immediately makes a joke about their marriage. Like, run sis, he’s gonna use and abuse you. He’s in love with Lara Jean and everyone knows it!

One thing I do feel bad about in this movie is that as the directors name came up on the screen at the very end I flipped the bird on each hand and yelled ‘F**k you Director Fishman’, and me and my brother laughed and laughed. Just then, an in memorian sign to her parents popped up on the screen and I just deflated. As shit as the movie was and as shit as the production value was, it is still someone’s work that is up on Netlfix and I should respect that.

0/10.

Stranger Things 3: Tokyo Drift

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Please forgive my title. Whenever I see a sequel or a spinoff I always try and give it the ‘Electric Boogaloo’ treatment or assign it a title from one of the many Fast & Furious Movies. It’s a disease that I will not be seeking help for because it makes me laugh every time.
Anyways, I’m here to tell you about the majesty of Stranger Things 3. I won’t lie, I wasn’t that hopeful going into this season. I mean, how many times can the demigorgon or the mind-flayer terrorise the town of Hawkins without the townsfolk or the people of America taking notice. Every year there was a new story explaining away the deaths of a significant number of members of the community. I think, then, that you’ll forgive me for not waiting with baited breath for Eleven and her comrades. I think, then, that I should hold my hand up and apologise because it was the best season yet.

This season expanded its horizons. The younger kids are growing up and pairing off while the older kids are trying to figure out what to do with their life. The danger has moved away from Hawkins lab and migrated to the Starcourt mall while it is no longer just corrupt Americans that Hopper and the gang have to fight. The Russians have found their own source to the Upside-Down and are trying to break in. It’s what will break out as a result that will be the problem.
I really enjoyed the fact that they explored the kids development and showed them as they tried to navigate relationships and girls. I didn’t care for all the smooching they showed between Mike and Eleven but that’s just me. There are several hilarious scenes between Mike and Lucas in which the latter tries to explain how girls behave when he has no clue himself. He just has a girlfriend for a few months longer than Mike.
This season delved deeper into Hopper and Joyce’s will they/won’t they charade, with comical results in the form of Murray Bauman, the eccentric man who sheltered Nancy and Jonathan in Season 2.
This season also packed some serious emotional punches. While the last two seasons seemed formulaic almost, in the fact that I knew there was no credible danger to the main cast members, this year they differed from type and really let loose with the deaths. I’ll go into detail later.
Overall, a fantastic season and one that will live long in the memories of fans. Unless, of course, you binge watched it and have forgotten most details as it all turns into one massive blur of character, plot and theatre.

Breakout

D’Acre Montgomery, known for his portrayal of Jason in Power Rangers (2017) gave a powerful performance as the tortured Billy. In Season 2 we just saw an angry young man intent on fighting with the local guys and making out with the local girls. He was a colossal douche to his little sister, Max, and was generally unlikable. He was never involved in any of the dealings with the monsters and to the best of my recollection was just used as a device to get the kids to stand up for themselves.
He arrives in season 3 as the hunky lifeguard at the pool. He is the eye candy for every single female in there, especially Mike and Nancy’s mom. He has the town of Hawkins and every female in it at his feet. Unfortunately, he is infected by the mind-flayer and used to do the monster’s dark bidding around the town. His turn as the demented destroyer that Billy evolves into is mesmerising and there seems to be no way out for Eleven and the gang. His final scene in the final episode is beautiful, yet devastating to watch. Montgomery already has plenty of credits under his acting belt but he really showed his acting chops throughout these eight episodes.

Dacre Montgomery in Stranger Things (2016)
Dacre Montgomery as Billy

Millie-Bobby Brown turned in another electric performance as Eleven, or Elle. I didn’t see her in Godzilla because I had no interest in the movie, but I heard nobody really came out of that movie looking great. However, if she goes on to other shows and features while putting in the types of performances she has while playing the pre-teen superhero, she will be one of the best actresses of her generation.
In the penultimate episode she is almost struck down and must rely on her friends to save her. Her depiction of unbearable pain and despair was so real that I almost forgot it was a t.v. show for a moment. The agony was etched onto her face and just showed that as well as being the best character in the show, bar Hopper, she is the best performer.

Sadie Sink and Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things (2016)
Millie Bobby Brown and Sadie Sink as Eleven and Max

Final Goodbye?

I told ye that I would go into detail about the emotional punches that are landed on your heart and soul throughout this season. It was tough guys. It was like Game of Thrones Season 3 when most of the Starks die. Except a bit more lighthearted throughout the rest of the show and not all doom and gloom.
In the final episode, as the final battle with the shadow monster rages on elsewhere, Joyce and Hopper have a chance to end it once and for all. Due to Russians and other unforeseen circumstances, Hopper gets caught on the wrong side of an explosion that will close the gap between worlds forever. Our Dad-bod hero is gone and it seems like there is no way back for David Harbour in the show. It wasn’t his death that got me, although that was devastating; it was his final look at Joyce and into the camera and the emotion that he showed. As his eyes welled up a chill went up my spine and I realised that Hopper had no way out. He would finally give his all to save Eleven, Hawkins and Joyce.
Now, there is a cut scene at the end which shows a prisoner being sacrificed to one of the demidogs from season 2. The scene is set in Russia in a military compound and as the guards approach a certain cell that is blocked from view, they say, “No, not the American.” Certain speculation has gone up online in which the ‘American’ could be Hopper who was somehow rescued from the blast or miraculously survived.
If the Police Chief is to return in the next season, he would have to be changed somehow by the blast and would not be himself. It could be a totally different American but for the moment we have to believe that Harbour will return for another outing as chain smoking legend Jim Hopper.

Winona Ryder and David Harbour in Stranger Things (2016)
Winona Ryder and David Harbour as Joyce and Hopper

What Next?

Will, Jonathan and Joyce are moving away from Hawkins and Elle is going with them. The rest of the gang are staying put. How will the story be played out next time? We know there is a creature in Russia used to eat prisoners and that that creature will most likely facilitate the spread of the monsters again.
Despite the explosion and the inference that the portal to the Upside Down is gone forever, we get no verbal confirmation that this has happened.
Where did the Russians get the demidog?
Will Elle get her powers back? Does she even want them back? She has a chance at a proper normal life now. Well, as normal as being psychologically tortured up until her teens, not getting a chance to know her mother and losing the only caring father she ever knew can be.
Will Mike grow out of being a shithead teenager? Pressing questions indeed.

Verdict

A solid 8/10 for this season. Loses a few marks for all the smooching I was subjected to and that we didn’t get to see more of Wheeler’s mom in a swimsuit. I am but a man.

Shaft: Movie Review

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Let me just start this by saying that this is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time. Each of the three shafts are hilarious in their own way, as well as Regina Hall as Samuel L. Jackson’s ex-wife. Leave your brain at the door for a couple of hours and enjoy the comedy as well as the impressive camera work during the action scenes.

Jess T. Usher is J.J. SHaft who enlists the help of his estranged father for a case on his presumed murdered friend. I am looking forward to seeing Usher in more movies, especially comic roles. His timing is perfect.

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Jackson is himself and plays it so well. Whether he is Shaft, Fury or Kincaid, he is a joy to watch on screen and generates the most laughs.
Rountree also proved that he can still cut it in the action world, breaking through highrise windows and stabbing bad guys for fun.
Regina Hall is fantastic as the protective mother and bitter ex. Her scene in the bathroom of the restaurant towards the end of the movie is comic gold.

I’d recommend this movie for a hangover or just a chill night with bae. If you don’t have a bae that’s cool too, watch it with your brother who has a better social life than you and who probably feels bad for you, like I did. Happy memories.

3.5/5.

Netflix Selection: After Life and Paddleton

Ricky Gervais has found himself, or put himself, in the news again talking about snowflakes and people getting easily offended. While I agree with him about people being a little too quick to jump the gun on what they think is offensive nowadays, he has been spouting the same stuff for well over a decade now. However, it is always good publicity when a new show comes out. Today I’ll be going over his new show After Life and the indie comedy Paddleton that he is not affiliated with.

After Life

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Gervais plays Tony, a miserable, suicidal man mourning the death of his wife. He has a penchant to say horrible things that pop into his head because, as he sees it, he’s going to be shaking off his mortal coil soon. He works at the local free paper and is nasty to his boss who happens to be his brother in law, and everyone else who crosses his path.

I liked the show. I enjoy Gervais, especially as David Brent and in his animated show from a few years ago with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. I appreciate that he is not everybody’s patronising cup of tea. He doesn’t do himself any favours with his constant harping on about offensive material, although i do agree, and the amount of fat jokes aren’t helping him with anyone.
All in all though, I’d recommend this show and would urge people to leave their sensitivity at the door. It is a tad bit predictable but that last episode is worth it.  It’s not for everyone, but the sweet moments are tearfully emotional and the jokes are  barbwire sharp.

Paddleton

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This indie buddy-comedy starring Ray Romano and Mark Duplass is another one that hits in the feels. Romano and Duplass are Andy and Michael, two socially awkward neighbours turned best friends. They hang out every night, watch Kung Fu movies, eat pizza and play a made up game derived from squash called Paddleton. Michael is diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer, sending the two on a roadtrip for a special kind of medication which lands the two in an emotional, funny and charming look into friendship and love.

As everybody knows I enjoy almost everything I watch. This was no different, although I wouldn’t say I was hooked. It is very slow and the hijinks the guys get up to on their trip are marred by their ineptitude at talking to women and people in general.
There are some poignant moments that are totes, dare I say, emosh, but I’d give it a skip. You won’t miss out if you miss this one.

I’ll be back Sunday with a Paddy’s Day post and/or Monday with more reviews/news and sports.

Netflix Selection: Umbrella Academy and Russian Doll.

The digital streaming behemoth has had a great start to the year. After producing some dubious figures and some questionable stats about the viewing figures of a number of shows, Netflix has come good again with a selection of Originals, their own personally funded and produced shows, and new additions from established artists.

The Umbrella Academy

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The first of these shows that I watched was Umbrella Academy. Revolving around a group of unwilling superheroes who were plucked from their mothers at birth by the eccentric and mean Sir Reginald Hargreeves, the story centres on the apocalypse and how life, or the end of all life, pulls you back to the ones you are closest with; in this case, your superhero brothers and sisters.

I really enjoyed this show. 10 episodes at 55 mins approx. each might seem like a lot but it flowed easily enough. There was a spot around episodes 6, 7 and 8 that dragged a bit but the end of the 8th episode and the final two installments are superb.
Robert Sheehan plays Klaus, one of the troubled supers, almost like a supercharged Nathan from Misfits. He is so effortlessly funny, flighty and camp while also developing as a character throughout the season. Although his accent doesn’t stay true the entire time, much like his role as Darren in Love/Hate, he still steals the show for me.
Aidan Gallagher as Number Five was also a joy to watch, as was Mary J. Blige as one part of a fiersome hitman team out to get Five. Colm Feore’s turn as the madcap billionaire was fun to watch in flashback scenes, even if you did feel for the neglected heroes.

I’d definitely recommend this show to most people and would urge you to power through the mid season lag.

Russian Doll

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Another show that deals with the marching of time and also the reset, is Russian Doll. Natasha Lyonne stars and produces in this show about Nadia, a thirty-something New Yorker who spends her nights drinking, smoking and doing whatever she wants. It is her birthday, and after going home with a smooth talker, she gets knocked down while running across the street for her cat. In the blink of an eye she is back up at her party the night before while all the other guests carry on as normal.
Nadia thinks she is on her own until she meets Alan in a hurtling elevator shaft before impending death. He reveals he has the same affliction; they both die and reset to the same point in their lives. The two go on to try and solve their problem, learning some dark truths about each other and themselves along the way.

Lyonne is fantastic as the witty, clever and self-sabotaging Nadia, still suffering from her mother’s abuses and struggling to see a happy ending. I haven’t watched OITNB but she is brilliant in this, playing the tough talking, streetwise New Yorker with ease.
Charlie Barnett plays Alan, Nadia’s unfortunate companion in their horrible situation. He is the polar opposite to Nadia; he is clean, rigid and sticks to a schedule. He is also hiding some mental health issues and refuses to face them, prompting both to wonder why they are in this mess. Barnett comes alive when he shows real emotion and both Lyonne and he work well together.
I enjoyed this show also, partly because it was set in New York and I got to live vicariously through the characters and remember my time there. A word of warning, though, is that the show gets incredibly dark in the last three episodes. The show is not for everyone.

Tomorrow I will review Ricky Gervais’ After Life and the indie buddy-comedy Paddleton, starring Ray Romano and Mark Duplass.

 

 

 

Angela’s Christmas

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This 30-minute wonder of a film is on U.S. Netflix and is perfect for small kids, parents (the 1st time), and people who work the night shift. Now, if you’re not a kid, not my cousin Bridget who has been forced to watch it hundreds of times by her two-year old, or me on the nightshift, maybe you won’t want to give it a chance. But I promise you, it is only half an hour and a nice story with only a small dash of sadness and death. Just like any other Irish film!

Angela’s Christmas, based on the novel ‘Angela and the Baby Jesus’, by Frank McCourt, is a beautiful little tale about Angela, of course, and the adventure she gets up to on Christmas Eve night.
Angela, her two brothers, younger sister and mother are heading to Christmas Eve mass, and Angela is holding them up while getting ready. Her older brother Patrick is complaining about her and incessantly whinging. Straight away, we see that Patrick is suffering from middle-child syndrome and just unlikeable. Ugh, I wanted to punch the screen. Feck off Patrick, the movie’s called Angela’s Christmas, not Patrick’s Day.
On the way to the church Patrick and Angela bicker back and forth, with Patrick maintaining his annoying personality. After finally sitting down, Angela realises that the baby Jesus in the manger does not have a blanket or a jacket on. Being five, she doesn’t realise that he is a statue and he therefore cannot feel the cold. She formulates a plan, and when her family leave mass to return home, she steals the baby Jesus so she can keep him warm.
On her own way home, Angela bumps into a blind, one-legged beggar, a kind policeman and a bar full of elderly drunks. Once in the door, she tucks the baba into bed and sings ‘Angela’s Song’, a lovely little lullaby. Unfortunately, Patrick the prized pr*ck rats her out, and she fears she may be in trouble. Thankfully, her mother, instead of getting annoyed and punishing Angela, tells the story of Angela’s birth, and how important it is to be together as a family at Christmas. Angela, apparently being able to understand subtext at 5 years old, knows she must bring the baby Jesus back to the manger.

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The whole family set off to return the statue, the world not seeming so scary for Angela on her own anymore. Despite returning 8 pound 6 oz, newborn infant Jesus, don’t even know a word yet, but still omnipotent, baby Jesus, the family are caught by the priest. He calls a guard over to throw the thief in jail but, lo and behold, it is the same guard from earlier! He shows more kindness and lets them free to be together on Christmas Eve.

A truly heartwarming tale, I was shocked to find out that some people wrote to me and said that there is a popular fan theory that Angela, in her quest to first steal the baby Jesus, hits her head on her fall from the pew. The rest of the movie is actually in Angela’s head as she survives in the hospital. I would just like to say that that is not true and those people should never, ever contact me again. Freaks. No better than Patrick in the movie. Although he had a sweet redemption arc.
Dolores O’Riordan sings Angela’s Song during the credits and it is worth it for that alone, seeing as it is almost a year since she sadly died.

Catch this flick on Netflix or get it on cheap blu-ray at the flea markets in Chelsea.