June 30, 2019

Movie Review# 61 Yesterday

Yesterday (2019) Himesh Patel, Lilly James, Ed Sheeran and Directed by Danny Boyle

"Life is what happens to you while you were busy making other plans." John Lennon

Every once in awhile somebody comes into a pitch meeting with such an electric high-concept idea that it is too hard to resist it, it's on the nose, it's probably not gonna live up to the hype, but it is just damn near impossible to resist. This is one of those of the ideas. Usually what happens is the studio will muck up the picture choosing a poor writer and a unqualified director and even mess up the casting if given the chance. I'm happy to inform you that none of those things happened here. Brilliant writer Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a FuneralNotting Hill, and Love Actually) adapts a clever story by Jack Barth (a sort of Jukebox, Sci-Fi/Romance) and one of my favorites, Danny Boyle (TrainspottingSlumdog Millionaire, and Steve Jobs) directs. How could this not work!!?? I try so hard to not let expectations get in the way of my movie watching experience, but it was impossible for me to not get excited for this film. It was scheduled to come out in September originally and the studio moved it up, I'm not entirely sure why (but I saw it just 2 days before I saw Sir Paul McCartney Live so I wasn't complaining). 

**This Review contains mild spoilers for Yesterday**

Yesterday starts with a simple idea, Jack Malik (played well by EastEnders alum Himesh Patel) gets hit by a bus after the power goes out Across the Universe, he comes to, in a world that has no cigarettes, no Coca-Cola, and well, no Beatles music. Curtis and Boyle waste no time getting the high-concept premise injected into the film and it does feel a tad rushed. Once Jack realizes what has happened, he starts trying to remember all the words to some of the greatest songs ever written (could you remember all the words to Being For The  Benefit of Mr Kite?). He is supported by his close friend Ellie (played by the always charming Lilly James), their relationship seems complicated even though it shouldn't. We have seen the friends that don't realize they have stronger feelings for each other until it's too late, one too many times, but that said their chemistry is very good and frankly I could watch garbage being compacted if Beatles music was the soundtrack. Simply put, what the film lacks in believable romance it makes up for in net charm. Ed Sheerhan (Playing himself) shows up to steal several scenes once challenging Jack to a song writing competition that ends with Jack "writing" The Long and Winding Road and poor Ed just looking sad (it's fucking genius!). The movie fails to explore a lot of what may be interesting about a world without The Beatles, but for every missed opportunity, there is a moment they get right. **Biggest spoiler, you've been warned** There is a moment where Jack visits a living John Lennon and they share a wonderful and earnest converstaion that will melt your heart. Even when it is revealed that other folks remember The Beatles, instead of anger, Curtis and Boyle choose to focus on gratitude with one person stating "I'm just happy you brought this music back into my life". I think Boyle does a brilliant job not closing or explaining the Sci-Fi element and just kind of letting it ride, its a choice a less experienced story teller would've got wrong. Boyle who is known for cinematic flare (of which he does so well) really holds back here and plays the film very straight, only injecting a few tilted shots and very mild surrealism into the film. Curtis for all his glory (he is cheesy, but man I love his version of cheesy), sticks the landing of the love story despite plot holes big enough for a small British car to drive through. All in all Curtis and Boyle chose not to over complicate this film and that is what keeps it good (after all the star is really the music itself). The movie is certainly more Paul, than John, Ringo, or George, and because of that we never really dive into any characters soul (like Boyle dived into Steve Jobs soul so expertly in his 2015 film about the man). At its heart it is just a lovely sing along and paying hommage to the greatest band of all time is never really a bad idea. If you like Beatles music you may love this movie, if you love, well love, you will enjoy this film, and if you are just sick of the explosions and car chases, then seeing this movie will feel like hot cocoa on a cold day. If All You Need is Love, then Yesterday is for you SEE IT!
(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) I was alone, I took a ride to the theater, I didn't know what I would find there...what I did find was a film that maybe didn't meet my lofty expectations but did satisfy the soul enough for me to give Yesterday a very respectable 6.5 on The Shawshank Scale (good enough for 2nd on the Top Ten films of the year list so far). It will make your heart warm, it will make your toe-tap, and it will satisfy your movie needs, even if it never asks tough questions about what the Beatles meant (mean) to the world. Danny Boyle sir, you have done it again! 

June 29, 2019

Talking Flick covers Weddings, (My Best Friends!), Wet Hot American Summer (nonsense), GOT finale's and Weekend at Bernie's! Tired of reading, listen!


Listen to my recent guest spots on Talking Flick a great movie podcast where we talk about the improv genius of Wet Hot American Summer, the glory of My Best Friend's Wedding, and the lackluster GOT finale (with a sprinkle of a dead guy named Bernie also). Available on iTunes, Sticher, Anchor, or wherever you listen to Podcasts: 

Links below. 

Talking Flick on iTunes      (Wet Hot American Summer Episode)

Talking Flick on Stitcher    (Wet Hot American Summer Episode)

Talking Flick on iTunes     (My Best Friend's Wedding Episode)

Talking Flick on Stitcher    (My Best Friend's Wedding Episode)

Talking Flick on iTunes    (GOT Finale and Weekend at Bernie's)

Talking Flick on Stitcher     (GOT Finale and Weekend at Bernie's)

June 4, 2019

Talking Flick covers Robert Pattinson as Batman, does Superman being evil work on film, and a host of other issues #IrideforBarry. Check it out!


Talking Flick: Listen to my recent guest spot on Talking Flick a great movie podcast where we talk about Brightburn, Robert Pattinson as the new Batman, Barry, and a host of other topics (Post Malone too many tattoos...your thoughts?). Available on iTunes, Sticher, Anchor, or wherever you listen to Podcasts: Links below. 

Talking Flick on Anchor (Brightburn Episode)

Talking Flick on iTunes (Brightburn Episode)

Listen and rate and review us! Send questions and comments to Talking flick@gmail.com or visit Talkingflick.com Talking Flick