Category: Romance

Today, Disney+ announced that Searchlight Pictures’ film FIRE ISLAND, the directorial debut from Andrew Ahn, will premiere on Disney+ under the Star banner in Australia on June 17.

Set in the gay vacation destination off of Long Island, New York, FIRE ISLAND is an unapologetic, modern day romantic comedy showcasing a diverse, multicultural examination of queerness and romance. Inspired by the timeless pursuits from Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, the story centers around two best friends (Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang) who set out to have a legendary summer adventure with the help of cheap rosé and their cadre of eclectic friends.

FIRE ISLAND, directed by Andrew Ahn, stars Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Margaret Cho, Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, Matt Rogers, Tomas Matos, Torian Miller, Nick Adams, Zane Phillips, Michael Graceffa, Peter Smith, and Bradley Gibson. From a screenplay by Joel Kim Booster, the film is produced by Tony Hernandez, John Hodges, and Brooke Posch of JAX Media, and was shot on location in the Pines, NY.

FIRE ISLAND will have its Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival on June 9th, 2022.

Robust parental controls ensure that Disney+ remains a suitable viewing experience for everyone in the family. Subscribers can set access limits on mature content and create PIN-protected profiles alongside the already existing Kids Profiles to give parents and guardians peace of mind.

Disney+ has unveiled the official trailer and key art for Original film “The Valet,” starring Eugenio Derbez (“CODA”), Samara Weaving (“Nine Perfect Strangers”), Max Greenfield (“New Girl”) and Betsy Brandt (“Breaking Bad”). “The Valet” premieres on Disney+ on May 20th.
In “The Valet,” world famous movie star, Olivia (Samara Weaving) faces a PR disaster when a paparazzi snaps a photo of her with her married lover, Vincent (Max Greenfield). The hard-working valet Antonio (Eugenio Derbez) accidentally appears in the same photo and is enlisted to pose as Olivia’s new boyfriend as a cover up. This ruse with Olivia thrusts Antonio into the spotlight and unexpected chaos. In this fish out of water romantic comedy, two worlds and cultures collide as both Olivia and Antonio start to see themselves more clearly than ever before. “The Valet,” directed by Richard Wong and written by Rob Greenberg and Bob Fisher, is the English-language remake of the hit French film.
The incredible cast also includes Carmen Salinas Lozano, Amaury Nolasco, Marisol Nichols,  Diany Rodriguez, Tiana Okoye, John Pirrucello, Ravi Patel, Noemí González, and Lunay. 
“The Valet” is directed by Richard Wong (“Dear…,” “Come as You Are”) and produced by Ben Odell and Eugenio Derbez (3Pas Studios).

Summary:  Mikey Saber is a washed-up porn star who returns to his small Texas hometown, not that anyone really wants him back.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates: 6th January 2022 (Australia), 11th March 2022 (UK), 3rd December 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 6th April 2022 (Australia)

Country: USA

Director: Sean Baker

Screenwriter: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch

Cast: Peter Bigham (Nash), Ethan Darbone (Lonnie), Brenda Deiss (Lil), Bree Elrod (Lexi), Judy Hill (Leondria), Karren Karagulian (Arash), Marlon Lambert (Ernesto), Simon Rex (Mikey), Brittney Rodriguez (June), Mason Shortland (Marcus), Suzanna Son (Strawberry), Shih-Ching Tsou (Ms. Phan)

Running Time: 130 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 18 (UK), R (USA)


David Griffiths’ Red Rocket Review:

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary:  Two writers are thrown together on a whirlwind book tour of Mexico.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  10th March 2022 (Australia), 17th March 2022 (Thailand)

VOD Release Dates: 4th February 2022 (USA)

Country: Mexico, UK

Director: Analeine Cal y Mayor

Screenwriter: Analeine Cal y Mayor, David Quantick

Cast: Fernando Becerril (Max Rodriguez), Alejandro Bracho (Julio – Event Organiser), Sam Claflin (Henry Copper), Antonio Clarke (Allison), Laura de Ita (Rosa – Interviewer), Veronica Echegui (Maria Rodriguez), Giovani Florido (Miguel), Ruy Gaytan (Diego), Edwardo Gurrola (Veronica), Daniela Luque (Martha), Remmie Milner (Jill – Bookshop Owner), Melissa Pino (Helena), Lucy Punch (Jen Spencer), Horacio Garcia Rojas (Antonio), Sofia Sisniega (Bertriz – TV Host), Galya Vidal (Francisca – Interviewer), Horacio Villabolos (Pedro)

Running Time: 106 mins

Classification: M (Australia), TBC (Thailand), 12 (UK)


David Griffiths’ Book Of Love Review:

Love is universal! Although the type of universal love that Hollywood has been talking about in romantic comedies over the years has often been pretty unrealistic – honestly when has anyone ever landed in an different country and found everybody, including the person they like, all seem to speak one language. That finally has been addressed in brand new romantic comedy Book Of Love.

Directed by Analeleine Cal y Mayor (Treading Water) the film revolves around a young British writer named Henry Copper (Sam Claflin – Me Before You). Henry has written a romance book that he loves, but it seems like he is the only one because the book is not selling largely due to the lack of ‘sex’ in it. Despite the feedback Henry is still convinced that romance and sex should never be mixed together.

With the book virtually being given away in bookstores in the UK Henry finds himself called into the offices of his publisher, Jen Spencer (Lucy Punch – Into The Woods), where he is expecting to be fired. Instead though he is told that he is book has become a bestseller in Mexico and he must leave straightaway for a whirlwind press tour.

On arrival in Mexico Henry discovers that he is a superstar and suddenly he must have to deal with things such as social media and fans everywhere he goes. However, after meeting Maria Rodriguez (Veronica Echegui – Trust), and seeing how worked up the people become that have read his novel Henry soon begins to realise that the translation of his novel maybe a little different to the English version.

Book Of Love does have its moments and to be honest the characters of Henry and Maria are very, very likable but the thing that sets this film apart from most other romantic comedies is the fact that the director and screenwriter David Quantick (Veep) have attempted to make the film so natural that it is in both English and Spanish. When Henry arrives in Mexico he quickly realises that there are very few people that he can actually converse. So important is that to the plot of the film it becomes a central theme of the film and also provides a great deal of laughs as Henry tries to converse with people including Maria’s son.

While there is a lot to like about Book Of Love, including some of its witty dialogue, the film does have its flaws. There are moments that are so cheesy you will groan, wait until you see the poor acting when Maria’s ex-husband, Antonio (Horacio Garcia Rojas – Narcos: Mexico), is hit in the head with a book, and of course if you have seen enough of these films you will be able to pick the ending off a mile away.

But the film is still a fun ride as it plays out to get to that ending. As was mentioned previously both Henry and Maria are likable characters and you find yourself wanting to see them get together from the first moment they meet.

Quantick’s screenplay also surrounds the two with interesting enough characters. Antonio is a clichéd villain but still a villain that you will hate. Then there is Henry’s Mexican publisher who again is a walking cliché but still manages to pull the laughs. Mainly though the likable parts of this film play out between Henry and Maria and Henry and Maria’s young son – and it those moments throughout the film that keep the audience interested. And for the laughs – well they do come frequently during the film but are mainly from the many, many Mexican fans that will do or say anything to spend time with Henry.

Book Of Love does have its flaws but for the most part it remains a likable film. The filmmakers behind it need to be congratulated for having the courage to create a bilingual film because that in itself brings a realism to this film that makes it lovable.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Alex First, Greg King, Jacqui Hammerton and Peter Krausz’s Book Of Love Review:

Alex’s rating Out Of 5

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Music superstars Kat Valdez and Bastian are getting married before a global audience of fans. But when Kat learns, seconds before her vows, that Bastian has been unfaithful, she decides to marry Charlie, a stranger in the crowd, instead.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  10th February 2022 (Australia), 10th February 2022 (Thailand), 11th February 2022 (UK), 11th February 2022 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 11th February 2022 (USA)

Country: USA

Director: Kat Coiro

Screenwriter: Harper Dill, John Rogers, Tami Sagher

Cast: Utkarsh Ambudkar (Coach Manny), Sydney Blackburn (Sydney), John Bradley (Colin), Michelle Buteau (Melissa), Marritt Cafarchia (self), Adam Catino (self), Jack Chiaravelle (Jack), Olivia Chun (Chun), Chloe Coleman (Lou), Katrina Cunningham (Tyra), Scarlett Earls (Scarlett), Tristan-Lee Edwards (Tristan), Jimmy Fallon (self), Ryan Foust (Percy), Haj (self), Jameela Jamil (Anikah), Jim Kaplan (Jim), Hoda Kotb (Self), Jennifer Lopez (Kat), Lucie Lopez-Goldfried (Lucie), Diego Lucano (Jose), Maluma (Bastian), Khalil Middleton (Kofi), Tyrone Mitchell (self), Brady Noon (George), Connor Noon (Not George (Spencer)), Nic Novicki (self), Sarah Silverman (Parker), Rachel Singer (self), Charles Jacob Smith Jnr. (self), Teale Sperling (self), Nicole Suarez (self), Justin Sylvester (self), Stephen Wallam (Jonathan Pitts), Taliyah Whitaker (Esther), Owen Wilson (Charlie), Leslie Woo (self), Leah Jimenez Zelaya (Leah)

Running Time: 112 mins

Classification: PG (Australia), G (Thailand), 12A (UK), PG-13 (USA)


David Griffiths’ Marry Me Review:

There was a time when gifted filmmakers treated the romance genre the same way they treated every other film they approached. They wanted the film to be original and showcase their skills. The result was classic romance films such as Pretty Woman and When Harry Met Sally. Yes, they were still kind of sappy but they had something different about them that made them an enjoyable watch for both women and men alike.

Somewhere along the line though it felt like there was a major change in the romantic genre. The films became generic and predictable and it also felt that filmmakers and studios had forgotten that both sexes enjoy these films. That seems to have all changed with director Kat Coiro’s (A Case Of You) new film, Marry Me, which ends up being a much needed breath of fresh air in the genre.

The film explores what happens when single Dad, maths teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson – Marley & Me) is dragged along to a pop concert by his daughter, Lou (Chloe Coleman – My Spy), and over-zealous colleague, Parker (Sarah Silverman – Wreck-It Ralph).

The concert it is supposed to be the wedding of the year as world wide popstar, Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers), will celebrate the release of her new single, titled Marry Me, by tying the knot with her beau – singing sensation Bastian (Encanto).

The wedding is destroyed mid-concert though when footage of Bastian cheating on Kat comes to light. During a moment that her minders call a breakdown Kat decides to do something out of the blue and plucks the man she sees holding a ‘MARRY ME’ sign in the audience onto the stage and marries him – that man just happens to be Charlie.

While the world is expecting the marriage to be annulled the very next day Kat’s manager, Collin (John Bradley – Moonfall), sees their maybe PR potential in the ‘marriage’ so urges the couple to stay together for a few months.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Marry Me is the deep topics that the film explores. From what it is like being a single father in 2021 through to the pressure that a superstar feels to have the perfect personal life it is all explored in detail through the sensational screenplay delivered by a gifted team of writers and based on the graphic novel by Bobby Crosby.

The film doesn’t just brush over these topics instead it focuses on them and makes them a key point as Kat and Charlie try to get to know each other. Even more important is the fact that the film is often told by Charlie’s point of view which gives the screenplay the opportunity to explore the emotional storyline that Charlie feels that he just isn’t good enough for a woman of the calibre of Kat. This is not a theme normally explored in cinema, outside of teenage dramas, and the result is a film that will not only be enjoyed by men but may also be very important for single fathers everywhere.

The film doesn’t forget about its female audience though as it also sees Kat wondering whether at this time in her life she should just settle for a guy even if is a sleazy cheat while also showing the pressures that woman must endure when it comes to work and a personal life and what is ‘expected’ of them by society.

There is something kind of special about this film as it features a storyline that is easily going to captivate the audience watching it while delving into some deep topics and themes that nobody will see coming.

Making the film even more special are the performances of its main actors. Owen Wilson is perfect as Charlie and casting him opposite Jennifer Lopez turns out to be a stroke of pure genius. Lopez rises to the occasion as well and while a cynic may say she is playing herself as a performer she takes her performance to the next level and brings Kat to life in an almost fairytale way. Then there is Chloe Coleman. We have said with her past two films that she is going to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and Marry Me just further cements that prediction.

Marry Me is one of the biggest surprises of 2021. On the surface it appears to be a fluffy romance but dig down a little and you discover a film that has some very important things to say about what it is like to be a man or woman in the dating game of 2021. Write this movie off at your peril because this is something special and once again reminds us all that romantic films can be works of art as well.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Alex First, Greg King and Peter Krausz’s Marry Me Review:

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You can read our review of Marry Me that appeared in The Phuket News here –


Summary:  An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates:  26th December 2021 (Australia), 9th December 2021 (Thailand), 10th December 2021 (UK), 10th December 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 2nd March 2022 (worldwide)

Country: USA

Director: Steven Spielberg

Screenwriter: Tony Kushner

Cast: Brianna Abruzzo (Sorella), Yasmin Alers (Lluvia), Kyle Allen (Balkan), David Alvarez (Bernardo), Yesenia Ayala (Clary), Denia Brache (Old Lady Maria), Andrea Burns (Fausta), Annelise Cepero (Provi), Andre Chagas (Jochi), Kyle Coffman (Ice), Harrison Coll (Numbers), Ben Cook (Mouthpiece), Curtiss Cook (Abe), Kevin Csolak (Diesel), Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke), Ariana DeBose (Anita), Jeaneete Delgado (Ili), Kevin Delgado (Manolo), Gaby Diaz (Tati), Kellie Drobnick (Mamie), Yurel Echezarreta (Sebas), Ansel Elgort (Tony), Julian Elia (Tiger), Myles Elrick (Snowboy), Leigh-Ann Esty (Gussie), Sara Esty (Tat), Mike Faist (Riff), Carlos Sanchez Falu (Pipo), John Michael Fiumara (Big Deal), Adriel Flete (Julito), Jennifer Florentino (Montse), Paloma Garcia-Lee (Graziella), Carlos E. Gonzalez (Chucho), David Guzman (Tino), Jacob Guzman (Tino), Jamie Harris (Rory), Garrett Hawe (Skink), Patrick Higgins (Baby John), Ana Isabelle (Rosalia), Mike Iveson (Glad Hand), Sean Harrison Jones (Action), Eloise Kropp (Dot), Lauren Leach (Karen), Jesse LeProtto (A-Rab), Melody Marti (Pili), Ilda Mason (Luz), Skye Mattox (Maxie), Iris Menas (Anybodys), David Aviles Morales (Anibal), Rita Moreno (Valentina), Juliette Feliiciano Oritz (Cuca), Edriz E. Rosa Perez (Jacinta), Adriana Pierce (Natalie), Brittany Pollack (Mack), Josh Andres Rivera (Chino), Maria Alexis Rodriguez (Isa), Savannah Renee Rodriguez (Young Girl Maria), Julius Rubio (Quique), Daniel Patrick Russell (Little Moly), Tali Ryder (Tessa), Jonalyn Saxer (Rhonda), Sebastian Serra (Braulio), Gabriela Soto (Conchi), Corey Stoll (Lietenant Schrank), Halli Toland (Sweden), Ricky Ubeda (Flaco), Tanairi Sade Vazquez (Charita), Jamila Velazquez (Meche), Isabella Ward (Tere), Richard Zayas (Chago), Rachel Zegler (Maria), Maddie Ziegler (Velma)

Running Time: 156 mins

Classification: M (Australia), 12A (UK), PG-13 (USA)


David and Lee Griffiths’ West Side Story Review:

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Lee’s rating Out Of 5

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Stan, Australia’s unrivalled home of original productions, today released the full trailer for the upcoming Stan Original Series Wolf Like Me, starring award-winner Isla Fisher and Josh Gad. The six-part, half-hour drama will premiere 13 January, with all episodes available at once and only on Stan.

To watch and share the trailer, click here:

A genre-bending, heartfelt drama produced by Jodi Matterson (Nine Perfect Strangers), Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies) and Steve Hutensky (The Dry) at Made Up StoriesWolf Like Me is written and directed by three-time AACTA Award nominee Abe Forsythe (Little Monsters) and is inspired by his own experiences searching for love as a single parent.

Starring alongside series leads Gad and Fisher are Ariel Donoghue (Crossing Paths), Emma Lung (Entourage) and Anthony Taufa (Mr Inbetween), with guest stars including Jake Ryan (Stan Original Series Wolf Creek), Robyn Nevin (Stan Original Film Relic) and Nash Edgerton (The Invisible Man).

Everyone brings their own set of baggage to a new relationship and Gary (Josh Gad) and Mary (Isla Fisher) are no different. When Mary’s universe suddenly collides with Gary and his 11-year-old daughter, Emma (Ariel Donoghue), all the signs tell her they’re meant to be in each other’s lives. But, as their connection deepens, Mary and Gary grow more and more terrified their respective baggage will tear them apart.

The Stan Original Series Wolf Like Me is produced by Made Up Stories in association with Peacock, Endeavor Content and Stan. Jodi Matterson, Bruna Papandrea and Steve Hutensky from Made Up Stories serve as executive producers, alongside executive producers Abe Forsythe, Isla Fisher and Josh Gad. Filmed in NSW and financed with assistance from Screen NSW through the Made in NSW Fund.

The Stan Original Series Wolf Like Me premieres 13 January, only on Stan.