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This Week's Film Reviews (Apr 10, 2020)

13 Apr 2020

All cinemas are closed.  But there are two new films opening this week.  Both are Netflix originals available right now on Netflix.  If you don't have Netflix, regsiter for a free trial.

 

FILM REVIEWS:

LOVE WEDDING REPEAT (UK 2020) ***

Directed by Dean Craig

LOVE WEDDING REPEAT has such an impressive comedic premise that it comes to no surprise that the film is a remake of the 2012 French never-heard-of comedy hot PLAN DE TABLE that never reached North American screens.

While trying to make his sister's wedding day go smoothly, Jack (Sam Clafin) finds himself juggling an angry ex-girlfriend, an uninvited guest with a secret, a misplaced sleep sedative, and the girl that got away in alternate versions of the same day. 

LOVE WEDDING REPEAT is a Netflix original film from the U.K. with no star names except for Olivia Munn, but with no lack of talent.

The film opens with a missed opportunity, which is reminiscent of one of the greatest love stories of all time BRIEF ENCOUNTER.  The couple were obviously made for each other but they part due to fate, just like their last encounter in BRIEF ENCOUNTER at the train station is interrupted by a busybody at the couple’s table.  But LOVE WEDDING REPEAT takes the comedic route.  The film moves forward to the present when the two meet again, at Jack’s sister’s wedding.  Here is his chance to make his move on her again and not miss the opportunity the second time around.  But that is not the only thing happening at the wedding dinner.  The bride’s ex-lover shows up uninvited with the aim of declaring his love thus destroying the wedding.  The bride gives Jack a super strong sedative that he put into the empty champagne glass at the table where the ex-lover is sitting.   But he does to drink the sedative as the name cards get re-arranged as a children’s prank.  But what happens at the wedding dinner could have happened another way.  Just as there are so many ways of seating 8 guests around a table.  (The answer I calculated is 16,128).  So the incidents end up one way.  After two thirds of the movie, where everything has gone wrong, the alternate universe dictates some other way if someone else took the sedative as a result of a different seating at the table. 

The film offers another neat trick.  When the couple meet again after a span of 3 years, there is obviously a lot to catch up on.  But each gives the other 10 seconds to relate what has happened in the past 3 years.  He does it in 10 but she takes 12.

The wedding guests and party are made up of a solid group of interesting individuals, each with a reason the create havoc to the well planned ceremony dinner.  The groom is Italian which makes a nice accompaniment to the typical English wedding.

LOVE WEDDING REPEAT is a good twist in the genre of the romantic comedy genre.  It opens on Netflix Easter Friday the 10th and is an entertaining watch together with another Netflix romantic comedy TIGERTAIL, also opening the same day.

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/video/vi3431120409?playlistId=tt5096470&ref_=tt_ov_vi

 

TIGERTAIL (USA 2020) ***
Directed by Alan Yang

A Taiwanese factory worker leaves his homeland to seek opportunity in America, where he struggles to find connection while balancing family and newfound responsibilities in this multi-generational drama. 

The worker is played by three different actors, as a boy as a teen (Hayden Szeto) and as a senior (Tzi Ma, recognizable from MEDITATION PARK where he played Cheng Pei-Pei’s ungrateful husband).

The film questions the meaning of love in a relationship.  The answer, as verbally conveyed by the daughter to the father after being questioned of her impending man in her life  tat she has known for only 8 months is: “I know he is a good man,  He makes me happy.” is as good and sincere an answer as it comes.

TIGERTAIL holds few surprises but tells its story in a straight forward and heart-breaking way.  Fate and ambition enters the life of Grover which leads him in the path that he has taken.  But Grover had a choice and had taken the path - regrets or not.  This is a story that writer/director/producer Prime Time Emmy-award winner Yang considers an epic in the life of Grover.  Yang has directed 3 TV-series FOREVER, PARKS AND RECREATION and MASTER OF NONE and the film’s pace is consistent with the pace of this Netflix feature.  TIGERTAIL still has its emotional moments, especially ninth reunion scene with the older Grover and his childhood girlfriend (now played by Joan Chen).

The film starts off with Grover s a kid in the rice fields of Taiwan before moving forward to him in his senior years.  The period of his teen is told in flashbacks, intercutting the present with the past.  To Yang’s credit, the flashbacks are well worn together for dramatic impact as well as for storytelling.

TIGERTAIL is a Netflix original feature that could have been stretched out into a mini-series featuring Grover.  The part with Grover as a kid is the most interesting, set in the time of political unrest when he had to live with his grandparents, unregistered and had to be in hiding from the authorities.  The cinematography of rural Taiwan is beautifully captured by cinematographer Nigel Black.

Huwei, the village in Taiwan where Grover comes from translates in English to TIGERTAIL and hence the title of the film.  TIGERTAIL The film is shot in English, Mandarin and Taiwanese.  The subtitles for the Mandarin are shown in white and the Taiwanese are shown in brackets for those unfamiliar with the different Chinese languages.  Being from Singapore, I can tell the difference.

TIGERTAIL is an entertaining film for the family with no swearing or nudity (the sex scene is implied when the teen Grover is seen in the segment with his shirt off).  There is one swearing scene where an older man complains that the meatball tastes like shit.  But this what is written in the English subtitles when the real words in Mandarin translate to: ‘The meatball are hard to eat.”  The film makes a nice diversion to forget the Covid-19 self isolation or lockdown.

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/video/vi2560278041?playlistId=tt8902948&ref_=tt_ov_vi

 

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