I know I’m a little late on the whole Valentine’s Day thing, but Netflix just released their new Original Series, LOVE, and I just finished binge watching it so cut me some slack. To keep things connected, I’m also recommending SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK which is maybe the most bizarre love story you can image… right next to this new ‘Love’ show, that is.

And as always, make sure to check out Episode 15 and Episode 14 if you can’t get enough.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK – Dir. David O. Russell (2012)

MV5BMTM2MTI5NzA3MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODExNTc0OA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_I might have tricked you a little bit, because SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK isn’t really a love story. There might be some romance sprinkled around the edges, but mostly it’s a story about two people trying to get their lives back on track. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in their 17th movie together (exaggeration) as a former teacher recently released from a mental health facility and a crazy dancer, respectively. Through some strange cause of events they team up to win a dance competition while Pat (Cooper) attempts to regain the affection of his ex-wife.

As you can see, this has all the makings of a standard romantic comedy, albeit a littler weirder than usual. However, it’s actually a really incredible and human story that fails to fall into the tropes and stereotypes we’re all so used to by now. Cooper and Lawrence have amazing chemistry together as they usually do and are helped out tremendously by the wonderful supporting cast of Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, and Chris Tucker. This is the first film by David O. Russell following his triumphant return with 2010’s THE FIGHTER. He’s always proven that he can tackle these intimate stories by making them relatable and ever so quirky in the most charming way. So, if your significant other is looking for a cute movie to watch this weekend, give this a try and hopefully it doesn’t cause a tear in the relationship.


LOVE – First Season (2016)

love-posterNetflix has another hit with the new series from Paul Rust, Lesley Arfin, and Judd Apatow, writer and director of KNOCKED UP and THIS IS 40. Rust stars as a 31 year old, socially awkward tutor who falls in love with Gillian Jacobs of COMMUNITY fame. Both of the leads struggle through their own love lives and intimacies, ultimately coming together and finding that what they both wanted isn’t always what they need. It’s awkward, hilarious, and each episode leaves off on a note making you want more.

Generally, I have a difficult time empathizing with a character as awkward as “Gus” because it’s not easy to relate to someone so strange, but within a few episodes it was apparent that all of the characters in LOVE are deeply written with faults and quirks individual to themselves. A similar thing happened with Jacobs’ character, “Mickey” who starts off as a terrible person, who is fun but kind of detestable. Throughout the course of the series, they both grow and develop in a very genuine way that makes them more likeable and realistic to the situations they find themselves in. The strongest aspect of the show is the writing. The dialogue is well paced and hysterical and the individual arcs are quite satisfying. Be warned, however, that the show ends in a cliffhanger, so try not to get too attached until Netflix announces a second season (an announcement that should come any day now).

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 is the fourth and final installment in The Hunger Games series. So, if you haven’t seen the others, forget about seeing this one (although, I assume you could have figured that out on your own). While I have never been a fan of The Hunger Games book trilogy, and I think the previous movies were lacking, Part 2 was actually quite enjoyable.

The film starts shortly after MOCKINGJAY PART 1 ended, when (SPOILER?) Peeta was rescued and promptly attacked and attempted to strangle Katniss (END SPOILER). The rebels are still going strong as they make their way through the capital with the objective of finally ending the rebellion and assassinating President Snow. Unfortunately, the film takes some time to get going, but once it gets through the boring politics, it turns into a really exciting and captivating action/military flick. However, it certainly suffers from the “Part 2 Syndrome” of having to fit most of the action and little of the actual story into the series’ climax, but I’d argue that it walks that thin line with an incredible amount of grace and is actually my favorite film of the entire series.

My problem with the other films and even the books was that I had a difficult time finding Katniss to be an interesting character. It’s not as though she’s suddenly intriguing in this film, but she definitely complains much less. She still complains, but not as often. What’s strange to me is that Jennifer Lawrence is an amazing actress and always gives spectacular performances, but the character of Katniss is simply dull and nothing Lawrence could do can really change that. I also felt as though many of the big character deaths (yes, people die in a dystopian war film) were rushed and did not emotionally impact the story as much as they should have. With a run time of over two hours, there’s no reason why they needed to gloss over such important events.

Of course the emotional through-line of the series is the relationship triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale, which obviously comes to its conclusion by the end of the film. To be honest, it was probably the best aspect of Part 2. As you probably know, Peeta just went through an extreme amount of brainwashing at the hands of the capital and now views Katniss as a threat and a liar. Their relationship has never been more exciting! Gale is still… well Gale is boring. I suppose I’m on #TeamPeeta if that’s something we’re still doing. Nonetheless, I’ve always found the dichotomy between Katniss and Peeta to be extremely interesting and one of the only things to continually bring me back to the series. That and the capital mutts. Those guys are awesome.

The bottom line is, if you like any of The Hunger Games films, you’ll easily enjoy Mockingjay – Part 2. After all, I didn’t like the other Hunger Games films and I still enjoyed it. It has great action sequences, solid arcs, and ends in an uplifting way that the book didn’t really capture. But don’t go out of your way to catch up with the series if you’re not already a fan.




3.5 / 5 Stars


Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson

Run Time: 137 minutes