Film Review: FIVE FEET APART (USA 2019) **

A pair of teenagers with life-threatening illnesses meet in a hospital and fall in love.


Justin Baldoni

FIVE FEET APART is an American teen weepie based on a script written and sold (they paid for this?) by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis.

FIVE FEET APART belongs to the genre of teen romantic comedies, the type I used to avoid when I was a teen movie-goer.  Films like LOVE STORY with corny dialogue like “love means never having to say you’re sorry,” or S.W.A.L.K. (SEALED WITH A LOVING KISS) with Bee Gee songs gave me goosebumps.   I hate goosebumps! Now after all these years, arrive 5 FEET APART, a film about two kids suffering from C.F. (cystic fibrosis) falling in love that is supposed to tug (and perhaps break) ones heartstrings arrives.  The film will be a bit too much to take in for many but still there is a healthy market for these teen tearjerkers.  The film also comes filled with cliches including that dreaded one of the gay best friend.

The film centres on Stella (Haley Lu Richardson from COLUMBUS and SUPPORT THE GIRLS) who has made a home in the hospital – comfortable and friends particularly for her caring nurse (Kimberly Hebert Gregory).  She meets another C.F. patient. Will (Cole Spouse from RIVERDALE) who has a bacteria that requires him to stay at least six feet apart from anyone one else with C.F.  Death will and has resulted in the past, according to the nurse who insists the rule be maintained.  Of course, the lovers break the rule, 1 foot at at a time.  She gets a stick 5 feet long to keep herself and the now true love apart.

There are a few but too many coincidences in the story.  One is the nurse who has already experienced an identical situation that resulted in death.  “It won’t happen again, not on my watch,” she insists.  Stella has a dead sister, from a diving accident who will make her guilty with the sister appearing in her dreams to bring up the tears several notches.  The parents are conveniently left out of the story.  So obvious is this fact, is that when Stella’s father suddenly appears at the end of the film, audiences will likely wonder: “I never knew Stella had one.”  The parents never visit.

Actors Richardson and Spouse do what they can with the limited material and fare quite well, all things considering.

The film’s soundtrack is filled with indie songs.  But it is so manipulative to observe the way these tunes are drummed into the audience.  In the hospital scene, the nurse and others move in slow motion so that the song on the soundtrack can be finished by the time the scene ends.

To the film’s credit, it reveals a few points of awareness of the disease.  The film is also too obvious in being politically correct, which includes a nurse that has to be black.

Stay hundreds of feet apart from this one.




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preciouscargo.jpgPRECIOUS CARGO (USA 2016) **
Directed by Max Adams

Starring: Bruce Willis, Claire Forlani, Mark-Paul Gosselaar

Review by Gilbert Seah

There are a few reasons to go see this action flick, one of them being to learn how an action film can end up so odd. Another is the many references to James Bond, whether intentional or unintentional.

The film begins, actually quite well. In the starting segment, the hero Jack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is shot twice by blanks. The first time he falls to the ground, the pounding music quietens to silence. When Jack rises to his feet again to face his shooter, the music quickly resumes to the initial pounding before he is shot again, falling to the ground with the music quietening again. This little quirk is the film’s best part – and nothing else can match it.

The James Bond references are also pretty funny and weird which breaks the otherwise monotony of the film. Every Bond film begins with an unassociated plot action piece which is the most spectacular stunts sequence in the Bond film. The same goes in PRECIOUS CARGO. The opening credits with the diamonds and dancing figures also remind one of a Bond film. The hero is also surrounded by rival ladies and there are three in this film. But funniest is the villain’s right hand man (Daniel Bernhardt), one that never dies that has an uncanny resemblance to a solid and fitter Sean Connery in his youthful days. The actor is much sexier than Gosselaar which might be the reason he is never killed off. He also has the best dialogue in the film – especially the monologue telling off his boss’s bitches.

It is all these interesting little quirks that appear out of the blue that lifts the film out of boredom. But these are insufficient to lift the film above the average action flick. The plot (the lines and many incidents are predictable), the boat chase (there is conveniently a spare boat and two jet skis for the villains to chase Jack and crew who escape on one) and James Bond copied action fights are examples of cliched material. The film cannot be taken seriously nor is it funny enough to be classified as a spoof.

Jack and crew are professional crooks. Jack’s ex-girlfriend, Karen (Claire Forlani) runs foul of her crime boss lover Eddie (Bruce Willis) and wants to pull a $30 million dollar diamond heist. This will allow her to pay off Eddie and also allow Jack to retire.

Funny that the heist is so simply executed with no glitches but Jack running foul of Eddie and his gang becomes more of the problem.

Like Bond, Jack is a ladies’ man. Having three ladies after his chops would be something that would annoy the female audience in this day and age. The first is Karen. The other is Jack’s new vet girlfriend (Lydia Hull) and the third is a markswoman member of his crew, Logan (Jenna B. Kelly).

PRECIOUS CARGO originated as the prize winning student short film that Max Adams made. This is the expanded full length feature version.

The film ends with the end credits rolling over behind the scenes bloopers, which like most are inside jokes for the actors and crew and are less funny to the audience. But funniest is the caption of the film being dedicated to Grace. Grace is the dog Jack takes to the vet in a segment of the movie.

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