REVIEW: ‘Bliss’ breaks down due to story, pacing issues

During my viewing of “Bliss,” I was starting to have flashbacks of 2019’s “Serenity,” another January release. At the very least, “Bliss” is better than that feature, but only slightly so.

Owen Wilson plays Greg in “Bliss,” a man who seems to be lost in thoughts of a dream home while at work. Unfortunately, his lack of attention ends with him being fired from his position. Not long after, he finds himself in a bar with Isabel (Salma Hayek), a woman who informs him that she can manipulate reality around them.

She’s able to do this because, according to her, the world they’re living in isn’t actually a real one. Basically, Isabel says the simulation theory is real and what she and Greg are in is an artificial reality. With this new information, Greg begins being pulled in two directions, and has difficulty in determining what’s real and what’s not.

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REVIEW: Repetitive dialogue makes ‘Malcolm and Marie’ mediocre

Zendaya and John David Washington do verbal battle in this new romantic drama on Netflix.

Washington stars as the titular Malcolm in this feature, a director who’s just coming home from the premiere of his first big movie. After getting home, with his girlfriend Marie (Zendaya), Malcolm begins talking about how his movie will be interpreted by the public as well as his thoughts and feelings about being a filmmaker.

As Malcolm continues, Marie interjects into the conversation, and the two begin talking about the film and its influences. Eventually, the talking turns to debating and as a result, their relationship is explored, along with their backgrounds.

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REVIEW: ‘Sylvie’s Love’ lacks romantic spark

Tessa Thompson trades the superhero genre for a romantic drama in this new Amazon film.

Thompson stars as the titular main character in “Sylvie’s Love.” At the start of the movie, Sylvie is working at her father’s record store where she meets Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha), a member of a jazz band in which he plays the saxophone.

The group is still looking for their big break so Robert decides to work at the record store to make extra money. After a short while,  Robert and Sylvie grow closer and a romance develops. However, their career ambitions and other personal commitments keep them from fully coming together for several years.

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REVIEW: Romance in ‘Ammonite’ has a spark, but never ignites

Two Oscar caliber actresses lend their talents to the screen in “Ammonite,” but what they have to work with doesn’t live up to their abilities.

“Ammonite” is the sophomore feature directing effort by Francis Lee. Taking place in the 1840s, the film follows the fossil researcher Mary Anning, who works along the shores to find preserved animals, like Ammonites. It’s quickly shown that Anning mostly keeps to herself, as the only company she has is her mother played by Gemma Jones.

However, one day a man fascinated by Mary’s work visits her office. After the’re introduced, he suggests his wife Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan) observe Mary’s work and research as a way to alleviate the young woman’s depression. As the two spend more time together, Mary and Charlotte begin to form a relationship.

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REVIEW: ‘Happiest Season’ is satisfying holiday cinema

Take a break from Hallmark and go to Hulu because the streaming service has a romcom of much better quality.

“Happiest Season” stars Kristen Stewart as Abby and Mackenzie Davis as Harper. The two are a couple who’ve been together for about a year or so and are deeply in love. So much so that Abby is considering a proposal over Christmas.

As the holiday approaches, the two set off to visit Harper’s parents to enjoy a family Christmas. However, on the way, Harper informs Abby that she’s still in the closet and that her parents don’t know about their relationship. Planning to tell her parents at the right time, Harper convinces Abby to pretend that they’re just roommates instead of a couple. Keeping the secret proves difficult, though.

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REVIEW: ‘Then Came You’ is neither compelling nor comedic

This is one of those films with some good ideas at play, but in need of stronger execution.

Kathie Lee Gifford, who also wrote the script, stars as Annabelle. A recent widower, Annabelle has decided to travel the world with the ashes of her deceased spouse, and the first destination is in rural Scotland.

There, she stays at a historic building-turned inn, which is operated by a man named Howard (Craig Ferguson). The two come from different backgrounds and at first don’t get along. However, the two grow closer as time goes on.

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A Minnesota-made movie: ‘Hearts Want’ review

In July I founded the Minnesota Film Critics Alliance and one of the best parts of doing so has been connecting with really talented people.

One of them is Ruth Maramis, who reviews films at FlixChatter. Her movie-related work doesn’t end there, though.

Maramis was also an executive producer and the writer for the short film “Hearts Want.” Since its release, the picture has picked up recognition from several film festivals.

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REVIEW: ‘Chemical Hearts’ hindered by screenplay

OK, I can handle the teenage angst, but when pseudo-intellectual babble is poured on top, it becomes too much.

“Chemical Hearts” centers on the character Henry (Austin Abrams), a senior who becomes the editor of the school newspaper in his final year. As the fall semester gets started, he meets a new student, Grace (Lili Reinhart), who joins the newspaper team.

Grace walks with a cane, as she has an apparent leg injury and keeps to herself for the most part. Henry, though, wants to get to know her and as time goes on, begins to form a relationship with Grace. However, she’s still dealing with trauma from an event in her past.

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REVIEW: ‘Babysplitters’ is mostly abysmal

Parenthood and the process of getting there has been the subject of comedies for quite some time and some, like “Knocked Up,” can be big hits.

However, these types of films usually require a balanced approach. Unfortunately, “Babysplitters” is too all over the place.

The movie focuses on the married couple Jeff (Danny Pudi) and Sarah (Emily Chang). The two have a good relationship, but they somewhat disagree on the prospect of having children.

Meanwhile, their friends Don (Eddie Alfano) and Taylor (Maiara Walsh) are having the same conversations. After having some discussions all together, they come up with a plan of sharing one baby, but their plan has complications.

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REVIEW: ‘Radioactive’ drags despite strong Pike performance

I’m not exactly a person who’s easily distracted. However, the song “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons kept making its way in my head during this movie.

Starring Rosamund Pike, “Radioactive” tell the story of Polish scientist Marie Curie, who accomplished her groundbreaking work in France. The movie depicts her relationship with her husband Pierre (Sam Riley), as well as their discoveries of the elements polonium and radium.

As the movie progresses, Curie’s life continues to be documented, and both the negative and positive impacts of radioactivity are shown. From this, the audience is able to learn how Curie’s life work went hand in hand with her relationships.

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