Movie reviews: Isn't It Romantic, Vox Lux
ISN'T IT ROMANTIC (PG13)
This Netflix film was not on my radar as Rebel Wilson's brand of comedy often gets on my nerves.
However, Isn't It Romantic turns out to be a romcom parody that lampoons the genre's tropes.
Wilson plays Natalie, a cynical architect who is constantly bullied at work and finds herself stuck in an alternate romcom world after waking up from a bad concussion.
It is candy-coloured, filled with cheesy soundtracks, slow-mo running and flirtatious hunks like Liam Hemsworth's Blake.
There are several laugh-out-loud moments, like how every cuss word is bleeped out by either the beeping sound of a reversing truck or an alarm clock going off.
Being stuck in a PG13 setting, Natalie does not get to second base with Blake either.
As expected, she has to learn a vital love/life lesson before she can return to the real world. However, this rather clever anti-romcom sadly succumbs to cliches at the end, which is a letdown.
JOANNE SOH - 3 Ticks
VOX LUX (NC16)
This musical drama follows the story of Celeste (Raffey Cassidy, with Natalie Portman as the narcissistic adult version), a school shooting survivor who is propelled to stardom after she performs a song with her sister (Stacy Martin) at a televised memorial.
It deals with relevant issues - the dark side of show business and terrorism - presented through dazzling cinematography and haunting music.
If you can get past Portman's cringey working-class New York accent, you will see how she captures the troubled, bratty pop diva trapped in the emotional age at which she became famous.
Despite the heavy tone of the movie and violent outbursts, an overarching air of dark humour brightens it up slightly, through Willem Dafoe's philosophical narration and Jude Law's performance as the nurturing but sleazy manager.
But there is something incomplete about Vox Lux, which ends abruptly with a colourful comeback concert by Celeste and leaving you with characters you love to hate. - SERAFINA BASCIANO - 3 Ticks