Romeo + Juliet

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Genre: Drama, Romance

A modern retelling (set in the 90’s when it was filmed) of the classic Shakespeare play of Romeo and Juliet that is done pretty great 🙂 . It brings the classic tale as modern as possible and still keeps you entertained throughout. I found this film very captivating and enthralling from the explosive beginning to the tragic end even if you never knew this story before (though how could you not know 😛 ). Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes are perfect as Romeo and Juliet plus their relationship is very sweet, endearing and believable. Their first meeting scene with the fish tank was memorable and their meeting outside her bedroom (after the party scene) was very good 🙂 . The action scenes and fights between the two households were impressive plus I liked it when the “dark skies” appeared when things got bad. The character of Mercutio (Harold Perrineau)  was great and I liked the look of Tybalt (John Leguizamo) 🙂 . The deaths of certain characters were played well and the end scene was tragic but performed great (the imagery will stick with you after the film ends 😛 ). I did appreciate that the words remained mostly faithful to the original but did not seems out of place. It flowed well with the acting and scenes while making you still believe it was normal way of speaking for a 90’s Verona 🙂 . The soundtrack is also amazing in this and I did like the use of reporters and news television broadcasts at the beginning and the end 🙂 . Also the use of flashbacks may be a tad cheesy but I think it works and I liked how they used guns for the daggers / swords. Overall, this is an adaption that is done fantastically well and is a great watch for any Shakespeare fan or those who love romantic tragedies 🙂 . Enjoy 😀

I give this film 4.5 Stars out of 5!

Panda Romeo + Juliet
My only love sprung from my only hate.

After The Ball

After the Ball (2015)

Genre: Comedy, Romance

This is another take on that Cinderella story so predictability was always going to be high with this movie. However, as predictable as it was this was a fairly entertaining film 🙂 . Its pace was light but easy to follow and has odd humour moments 🙂 . The beginning starts well and the new modern take of her stepmother and sisters being part of a family business works. They are obviously mean to her but it works in way that is acceptable for a modern world (that no-one else noticing the work harassment and so on 😛 ). The romance is also typical but sweet between Kate (Portia Doubleday) and Daniel (Marc-Andre Groudin) who you do want together (but the pull isn’t that strong as I don’t think I would have minded if they didn’t get together 😛 ). I think what saved this movie for me was about part way through switching from being another Cinderella retelling to a Twelfth Night. The main girl, Portia Doubleday, plays great  “Nate” and the humour excels in this part of the narrative 🙂 . I really wanted her to succeed and I think from this point on was when I felt a connection with the characters. However, on the downside the climax was not that big so the resolution became lukewarm because of it. Though it did end happily and the moment when Daniel realises who Nate is was a great and sweet scene. Plus the costumes are good and I was quite entertained and captivated even with its flaws 😀 . Overall, this is a light hearted, romantic comedy that is worth the watch for those love the romantic comedy genre 🙂 . Enjoy 😀

I give this film 3.5 Stars out of 5!

Panda After the Ball
What would you do if you were in my shoes?

The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance

What can I say, I love this movie and this film is what made me further my love for the original musical 🙂 . I was a child when I first saw this and I am still entertained watching it now as an adult. The adaptation from theatre to screen works wonderfully and the narrative is entertaining throughout 🙂 . It sets up well, has plenty of surprises and twists plus the constant darkness (anyone could be next feeling) works giving a new element to the movie. I enjoyed how the film began and ended plus I especially loved the beginning scene where we go “back” in time 😀 . The cast is great in this Gerald Butler, Emmy Rossum, Miranda Richardson and many more. Each created a believable character that I laughed at or with, cried, felt for and they added to the mystery of the movie 🙂 . The main thing to note is the songs in this and choreography! They are spectacular 😀 !! The voices were incredible and even those who were not as strong worked for the characters they were playing. My favourites (I loved them all but trying to only pick a few 😛 ) was The Phantom of the Opera (obviously 😛 ), Music of the Night, Masquerade and Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again. The songs plus décor and movement were spell bounding and awesome 😀 . I loved the movement in Masquerade the most. The set and costumes were really amazingly from the main star to the extra. You can’t help but sit there and admire it 🙂 ! Plus the love story is great but not too overpowering as the element of danger / darkness still slots in well. Overall, a fabulous adaptation that will have you captivated if you love musicals, romance or something that little bit darker 😛 . Enjoy 😀

I give this film 5 Stars out of 5!

Panda Phantom of Opera
Listen to the Music of the Night

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Genre: Drama, Romance

I have loved this movie as a child and it still has not disappointed when watching it again now 🙂 . It is a great adaptation from Jane Austen’s book that is mostly faithful but still makes you feel like you are watching a new story 🙂 . There is a stellar cast in this movie such as Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant and many more 😀 . Each character was as realistic as possible and made us feel for (and believe) these characters because of their extremely excellent performance in this movie. I quite liked all the main characters equally and don’t think I can pick a favourite 😛 . The pace of the film runs well and gives us plenty of details without boring us with too much 😛 . There is a good level of humour still added in this movie with some odd scenes and clever dialogue. This movie does more focus on the romance element but that is expected as this is a Jane Austen tale. The heartbreaking scene with Marianne is stunning (the one in the rain later in the film) and memorable 🙂 . Each of the sisters (Elinor and Marianne) has a sad moment which makes you feel for them and could make one quite tearful. The relationships are quite believable between the characters and makes the tale very interesting. The film ends well plus the costumes and set of this movie are stunning 😀 ! This is a fantastic period drama movie that can keep a fan entertained from beginning to end. Plus the movie has a nice 90’s nostalgia that works in the film’s favour 🙂 . I would definitely recommend this if you love period drama romances 🙂 Enjoy 😀

I give this film 5 Stars out of 5!

Panda Sense & Sensibility
What do you know of my heart?

American Beauty

American Beauty (1999)

Genre: Drama, Romance

This is one of those films that go down in history for being completely unique and stunning in their script writing. This movie was recommended to me for a long time and when I did watch this, it was definitely worth the watch 😀 . The acting is superb in this movie throughout especially from Kevin Spacey who plays the main role Lester Burnham. He plays a suburban father who is having a mid-life crisis and became obsessed with his daughter’s friend Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari). He does become it bit creepy as his infatuation grows but this also makes him rather captivating throughout 🙂 . The film was quite dark especially how it began as it hinted to how the film would continue and was a very interesting start 🙂 . I liked how the film was narrated by Lester as this brought us closer to the film and wanting to see how things would end. I liked how the film did not just focus on just Lester but others too and I liked the character of Ricky (Wes Bentley) especially as you learn what his family is like 🙂 . I loved how each character’s problems built together and all lead to the last scene which was my favourite section. The ending was shocking, different and has stuck with me since I watch it 😛 . The film is very arty and this works in its favour because the scenes are quite memorable (such as the roses on the ceiling scene 😛 ). It’s a very psychological film that will have you thinking and questioning the idea of the “American Dream”. This may not be to everyone’s taste and to be quite honest, the ending was the best part of the entire movie for me. But it deserves a watch once and it is unique 😀 . Enjoy 🙂

I give this film 4.5 Stars out 5!

Panda American Beauty
…Look Closer

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve (2011)

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Another film based off the style of Love Actually that spawned many movies in its wake 😛 ! This one (about New Year’s Eve 😛 ) is not too bad! The story is nice and entertaining enough for you to follow 🙂 . It is an easy watch that has a decent line up (Katherine Heigl, Halle Berry, Robert De Niro and many more 🙂 ). I liked some of the ways the characters intertwined together especially that joke in the “running to their lover” moment which I loved (when you see it you will know 😛 ). My favourite couple to follow was Paul (Zac Efron) and Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer). They were funny, the most likable characters and their goal was an interesting one to follow. However, as much as I know the style of this movie and I know what to expect , I felt like there were too many characters. So many that I barely got to understand them or care if they got their goals or not. It felt more like a spot the celebrity and tourist advertising for New York City 😛 . There are elements in some of the stories that were good and could have been great if they were focussed on more. Instead of shoving as many stories as possible into one movie 😛 . Don’t get me wrong this is a pleasant enough film that I have been able to watch and enjoy. But it is nothing exciting and it more suits as being a chick flick where you don’t mind talking throughout while it plays. Also parts were too cheesy and were almost boring. This film isn’t worth the watch unless you don’t mind watching unchallenging plot lines and a bit of romantic fun. Though this movie is worth it just for that dance scene in the end credits (I won’t spoil 😛 ). Enjoy 😀

I give this film 3 Stars out of 5!

Panda New Years eve
Let the countdown begin.

Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo (2011)

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family Film, Romance

Monte Carlo is one of those teen romance movies that you might watch with your friends when you are in the mood for a light hearted chick flick. The story is very simple to follow, there are not any big surprises waiting in the narrative and it ends as expected 😛 . Though, it does have a very warming and happy feeling throughout that keeps you entertained. It ends pleasantly and fitting enough for the film 🙂 . The main actresses (Selena Gomez, Katie Cassidy and Leighton Meester) act okay enough for the roles of the narrative but I can’t say the film shows the best acting I have ever seen.  Though, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they are to blame as I think it has something to do with the average and typical narrative plus the film in general. The scenery is great and the whole fairytale aspect is good 🙂 . At times it did make me smile and I was most intrigued during the “almost found out” section near the “climax” of the movie. I also loved the growing romances though some could have been focused on more but at the ending one couple finished wonderfully 🙂 . I also wished they had made the distinction between Grace and Cordelia Winthrop Scott clearer, so the humour of Grace trying to imitate could have been funnier. Overall, an alright movie that I surprisingly liked but can’t deny this isn’t the greatest in romantic comedy genre movies. Good for a girly night in or for younger teens 🙂 . Enjoy 😀

I give this film 2.5 Stars out of 5!

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She’s having the time of someone else’s life.

Fifty Shades Darker

Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

Genre: Drama, Romance

The sequel to the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey that I am sure plenty of women (and their partners) are filling the cinema to see 😛 . The narrative is entertaining enough and the story did not suffer too much to the amount of sex in this movie. Let’s get to big issue of this movie. The sex is not too bad. There is plenty enough in there for those who want it but I did feel like there was less compared to the first movie. But the content was enough for those who want to see this movie just for that 😛 . The story and it’s “darker” theme isn’t really that much darker. The way the movie ended suggested that the last movie will be more darker compared to the title of the second 😛 . There are moments that were darker than the first movie which I did like 🙂 . Such as Ana’s “Stalker” and “the helicopter scene” were quite good and the one with the stalker did make me jump. However, these ended too quickly and could have been dragged out longer. Even the moment with Ana’s boss could have been much darker. I also liked the scene where Christian broke down his barrier for Ana (won’t say no more as I don’t want to spoil 😛 ). I haven’t read the book so I don’t know how close or true it stayed to the original but this film is alright. It’s entertaining enough and it does make you want to see the last movie. It’s a perfect film for those who loved the first 🙂 . Enjoy 😀

I give this film 4 Stars out of 5!

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Every fairy tale has a dark side.

La La Land

La La Land (2017)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical , Romance

The musical that has all the awards and recommendations that has taken the world by storm. I can admit this is a fabulous musical that has entertained and surprised me 🙂 . I loved the feeling of this movie 😀 . The wonderful musical nostalgia filled every scene that allowed moments like the “floating in the observatory” to be accepted. The story line was very entertaining and captivating as you felt for both characters Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling). They both acted very well and their relationship was believable. The dance sections were far and few between but when they appeared, they were good 🙂 . My personal favourites were the opening, the “A Lovely Night” sequence and the end dance montage. The songs are also sublime and I loved “City of Stars” and “The fools who dream”.  I also loved the colour of the set and costumes plus I really enjoyed the first section 🙂 . Unfortunately, near the end I was disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I was still captivated and still enjoyed it. The ending was perfect, just not my cup of tea 😛 . It kind of suggested you can either have true love or dreams, you can’t have both. I know technically it’s a happy ending but I am true romantic I just wished it ended differently. A great movie that I do recommend and probably deserves it awards… it just depends on what you want from a musical. Enjoy 🙂

I give this film 4.5 Stars out of 5!

P.S. Happy Chinese New Year!

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Here’s to the fools who dream.