9/8 Movie Trip
Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, gives us his review of Only Murders in the Building, Red, White, and Royal Blue, and Sitting in the Bars with Cake.
ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING Season 3 (Hulu)
Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez are back for another crime to solve in Only Murders in the Building. Season 2 ended with a big tease of what was to come this season with Paul Rudd joining the cast as Ben Gelroy, the hot shot lead actor in Oliver Putnam’s new Broadway play. Martin Short is in prime form this season as Oliver. It’s opening night when Ben is murdered leaving a trail of suspects along the way. Selena Gomez’s Mabel feels inspired all over again to bring the podcast back for her, Oliver, and Steve Martin’s Charles to figure out the whodunnit. Is it Meryl Streep’s Loretta, who is making her Broadway debut after a lifetime of rejection? Maybe it’s Ashley Park as Kimber, a young actress and influencer. Jesse Williams also stars as Tobert, a documentarian whose recording every step of Ben’s road to the stage.
-Starring: Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Meryl Streep, Paul Rudd, Jesse Williams, Tina Fey, Andrea Martin
-10 x 30 minute episodes, streaming weekly on Hulu
–Only Murders in the Building was created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman who have made the series a huge hit for Hulu. They’ve rightfully made season three the biggest season to date amping up the guest stars and notably taking some of the action out of the Arconia Apartment.
-Having the third season center around a bunch of Broadway actors leads to a heightened collective of larger-than-life personalities that bring out the humor even more so than the other two seasons. You can feel Steven Martin and company leaning into the ridiculous nature of what’s happening this season.
-The season comes with two narratives. You have Mabel and Charles trying to solve the crime while Oliver takes it upon himself to remember that the show must go on. While his opening night may have been a flop, he’s insistent on turning the play into a razzle dazzle musical that’s just as absurd as the play was.
– The writing team of Only Murders in the Building knows their audience is smart and can’t rely on the same formula again. They’ve included so many red herrings that any time you think they’ve left a clue about the killer, you just have to assume it’s a misdirection.
–Only Murders in the Building Season 3 is part farcical theater, part satire on the true crime genre and influencer culture, and just as funny and clever as before. You’ll want to binge this so have some time to crank out a few episodes at a time.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE (Prime Video)
Casey McQuiston won over readers with her dreamy queer love story “Red, White & Royal Blue.” Red, White & Royal Blue features Taylor Zakhar Perez as Alex Claremont-Diaz, the First Son of the United States under President Ellen Claremont, the first female president of the United States. She’s played by Uma Thurman. On a recent trip to England to celebrate the marriage of Prince Phillip, he runs into Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) who he finds snobby and arrogant. They make headlines together after causing a wedding cake disaster and are forced to go on a publicity tour for damage control and to make amends. It’s an opposites attract love story when a texting relationship spirals into flirting and a hidden love affair. It’s only a matter of time before word leaks that the First Son and the Prince of England are having a secret romance.
– Yes, there are some changes to condense the story and reframe it for the medium of film, but none of them deter from the main story.
-Sparks fly early on between stars Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine which helps keep the momentum up knowing it’s a long distance relationship. Once they are together, Lopez and his two leads aren’t afraid to push some boundaries and making the love scenes aggressive and passionate instead of the usual PG fair.
-Everyone involved knows the movie they’re making and the audience its meant for, so they play into all the tropes of a fast moving, high profile secret affair. Think of a modern-day Jane Austen meets Romeo and Juliet which includes a soaking wet Alex professing his love to Prince Henry.
-There’s an easiness between Perez and Galitizine making this a sexy, dreamy, and hopelessly romantic film.
-The love story works well, but Red, White & Royal Blue goes the extra effort to not sidestep the political backdrop its set in. Alex works hard for his mom’s campaign and knows the potential she has for a second term. It’s a subtle reminder that the younger generation is very fired up about modern day politics and has a big voice with voter turnout. For Prince Henry, he feels the burden of The Crown, which should ring very true from what we know about Prince Harry’s life after leaving the monarchy.
–Red, White, & Royal Blue will no doubt steal your heart if you’re looking for a frothy rom-com.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
SITTING IN BARS WITH CAKE (Prime Video)
Can a cookbook be turned into a movie? That’s the goal behind the new Amazon Prime Video movie Sitting in Bars with Cake. The new movie is based on the cookbook by Audrey Shulman detailing her journey toward baking cakes hoping to win over a boy in a bar. In the movie, she’s named Jane and played by Yara Shahidi. Jane is studying for her LSATs but loves to bake cakes for her roommates and friends. This is on top of working in the mail room at Capital Records. Her roommate, Corinne (Odessa A’zion), also works as an assistant to a big music agent played by Bette Midler. Jane takes a birthday cake to a bar to celebrate Corinne’s birthday thus kicking off an idea to make fifty cakes taking them to various LA bars to meet a future boyfriend. Shortly after this fun adventure begins, these two best friends are tested again after Corinne receives life altering news.
-Director Trish Sie opens Sitting in Bars with Cake with a cute and bubbly aura as we watch Jane dancing around her kitchen watching a cake video on her iPad. I feel like we’ve all been there when we decide to be adventurous in the kitchen.
-Author Audrey Shulman also wrote the screenplay and states its inspired by true events claiming, “I swear by my measuring cups.”
-Could easily be described as Waitress meets Beaches with its journey of the ups and downs facing two best friends.
-Seeing Jane’s cake adventures gives voice to young entrepreneurs out there hoping to follow their inner passion.
-The film takes a sharp turn after Corinne’s sudden diagnosis. Jane’s cake baking basically takes a back seat in the movie to Corinne’s treatment.
-Director Trish Sie can’t quite get the balance right on keeping the zest that opened the film with Jane’s new baking adventure while dealing with the heavy nature of Corinne’s sickness.
-She has a winning cast that will keep you invested from Ron Livingston and Martha Kelly as Corinne’s eccentric parents to Yara Shahidi and Odessa D’Azion as the best friends. They both have such a natural authentic quality on screen while retaining the individual quirks of each of their characters.
-Bette Midler has a bit part here, and it would have been fun to see more of her.
–Sitting in Bars with Cake has all the right ingredients for an endearing film, but the proportions are off. There needs to be a better focus or an adjustment on making both narratives stand out or drive each other.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS