TIFF 2018 Review: THE WEEKEND (USA 2018) ** Directed by Stella Meghie

A comedian goes away for the weekend with an ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

Director:

Stella Meghie

Writer:

Stella Meghie

THE WEKEND is a vast improvement over her last film JEAN OF THE JONESES, but that is not saying much.  Her films are catered to a select audience, the wealthy, young and good looking black community.  In THE WEEKEND, there is no black poverty or any white people on display.  The film has a strong female slant with a black female director and protagonist. 

 The film centres on an acerbic comedian (Sasheer Zamata).  She becomes romantically entangled with her ex (Tone Bell), his new girlfriend (DeWanda Wise), and another guest (Y’Lan Noel) who falls for her.  The film is called THE WEEKEND because all the action (or non-action) takes places during a weekend getaway, the story divided into the days of the weekend, ending with Sunday.  The film is not that funny just like the standup comic routine she gives that book-ends the film.  

Yes, it is all about her and the audience can figure that out quite soon into the movie and not really care about her soon after.   Does she get her man back?  No prizes for guessing.  

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6_uXQYbn0A

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Film Review: EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING (USA 2017)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

everything_everything.jpgA teenager who’s lived a sheltered life because she’s allergic to everything, falls for the boy who moves in next door.

Director: Stella Meghie
Writers: J. Mills Goodloe (screenplay), Nicola Yoon (based on the book by)
Stars: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose

Review by Gilbert Seah
 
EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING is the kind of film that teenagers in love would flock to see. It falls in line with the most awful films of the 70’s like THE BLUE LAGOON, YOU LIGHT MY LIFE and S.W.A.L.K. Young lovers fall in love despite all odds and love conquers all. All logic should be thrown to the wind.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING based on the book by Nicola Yoon tells the story of Madeline Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) suffering from some immune deficiency. It can hardly be believed that a book was actually written with this storyline. Any Harlequin paperback would have sufficed and been more believable. The deficiency (referred to as SID – severe immune deficiency in the film), as explained in Maddy’s voiceover prevents her from being exposed to the outside world. She lives in a locked and sealed glass house, with only her mother (Anika Noni Rose) and angelic private nurse, Carla (Ariana Grande) (a latino for political correctness) being her only human contacts.

So what happens? She falls in love with the new neighbour, Olly (Nick Robinson), gets the courage to leave the house and lives happily ever after with no more illness. How does this state of affairs happen? If you really need to know, it is best to read a review with the spoiler than watch this totally bore of a movie. After the first 10 minutes, I was dying for the film to end. No pun intended!

Worst of all, the audience is ‘treated’ to a trip to Hawaii. Apparently Maddy is smart enough to use mother’s credit cards or hack the internet to buy plane tickets for Hawaii and her Olly. They arrive in Hawaii. Lo and behold, they are able to travel in a jeep (courtesy of credit cards) and stay in a stunning resort by the sea. They go swimming and jump off cliffs.

The story skips the details of Olly’s life. The audience sees Olly beaten up by his father. The mother finally separates and leaves with the family to NYC. How can Olly’s family afford such a beautiful home next to Maddy with no solid income?

The attempted political inter-racial romance does not work either. The kissing scenes look awkward. At least the audience is spared from any graphic sex scenes. Kissing is as far as the romance goes. Of course, there is a lot of hugging and shots of smooth teenage skin.

It would have helped if the script by J. Mills Goodloe was at least a bit funny. The only humour present is Ollie’s lame attempts to amuse Maddy through the window. His antics of dropping of cakes as a joke looks more silly than funny. The use of the astronaut as a symbol for Maddy’s seclusiveness is odd. Whenever the couple communicate by text, the film shows them in ridiculous settings, like in a library or in outer space.

One thing that one might do when watching the film is to take out paper and list all the loopholes in the story. Bring lots of paper!
EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING has absolutely nothing to offer in terms of insight into young love, the sickness or family drama. EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING is totally lame in all departments – acting, story, pacing, direction and writing.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42KNwQ6u42U
 

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TIFF 2016 Movie Review: JEAN OF THE JONESES (Canada 2016)

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

jean_of_the_jonesesJEAN OF THE JONESES (Canada 2016) **
Directed by Stella Meghie

Starring: Mamoudou Athie, Gloria Reuben, Shailyn Pierre-Dixon

Review by Gilbert Seah

Writer/director Stella Meghie’s comedy concerning three generations of vibrant, vociferous, unforgettable women in the Brooklyn-based Jones family is the kind of film that is too smart for its own good.

Likely set in Brooklyn in order to be more commercial, the film would do better to be more originally set as an African Canadian film in a black Canadian neighbourhood. The film is slanted black all the way. When a man who shows up at the family home dies, the paramedic, Ray (Mamoudou Athie) who shows up in the ambulance is black. Whites are clearly a minority here and other minorities are absent.

The lead character is Jean (Taylour Paige) who falls for this annoying paramedic. The question is what she sees in him, or vice versa. Jean cannot get along with her sister or anyone she is trying to get a free place to stay with.

There is hardly anything to be learnt nor anything really humorous in this so-called comedy about an annoying family no one wants to meet. The only funny part is the segment where the sisters are caught smoking up in the car by their grandmother (Michelle Hurst) outside her house.

 

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com