Licorice Pizza (2021)

Set in San Fernando, 1973, Licorice Pizza follows the life of two young people- Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), a celebrity superstar and Alana Kane (Alana Haim).  Gary is convinced that Alana is the love of his life, but there is just one problem.  His new crush is twenty-five years old, while Gary is only fifteen. Nevertheless, Gary builds up courage and decides to go for it, introducing himself to Alana, who is taking photographs for portraits at his school.

At first, Alana finds his approach laughable and even makes jokes about him being just a little boy, but his confidence wins, and the two meet for a friendly drink. A new friendship is developed.  From this, viewers will witness the friendship the two share as they grow up, tackling worldly matters together and even creating new and exciting business ventures. Perhaps, in due time, the two may even develop a romance.

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Licorice Pizza is a comedy with moments of drama and substantial amounts of romantic themes thrown into the mix. Our two leading characters are both equally likeable, charming, witty, and fun to watch, and full credit goes to the actors themselves for delivering such wonderful lines of dialogue and bringing what feels like a real genuine friendship and connection to the screen.

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Like films such as Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Licorice Pizza’s settings and surroundings feel real. I honestly felt like I was transported back to another time and place, something that I truly loved experiencing. Elements such as costumes, backgrounds, locations and even the excellent soundtrack were all refreshing as they added to a fun cinematic experience.

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The plot is fun and pleasing, and we witness various moments in time where Gary and Alana are either interacting with each other or trying to make it on their own.  One constant is how Gary and Alana always seem to find themselves bumping into each other while moving forward in life. Along the way, the film also introduces many fun characters played by well-known actors, including Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, John Michael Higgins, Maya Rudolph and many more. Granted, most of these cameos are brief, but still, most of them provide a great element of both surprise and entertainment, especially actor Bradley Cooper who, for me, stole the film when he appeared.

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Overall, director Paul Thomas Anderson delivers a new kind of film, and he seems quite pleased and confident behind the camera for this one.  I found this film fun, dramatic and filled with heartfelt yet touching moments along the way.  Our leads are fantastic and deliver a realistic performance with well delivered and believable dialogue. The supporting cast is also a blast (especially Bradley Cooper), and elements such as costumes, filming locations, and a tremendous soundtrack will take movie buffs back in time.  With all of these positive results combined, Licorice Pizza is simply a feel-good movie that I was glad to experience in Cinema, and I look forward to rewatching it again soon.  Licorice Pizza (2021) is Now Available in Australian Cinemas!

9.5/10

Rating: 5 out of 5.

20th December 2021
Written by Peter Walkden

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Schemers follows Davie (Conor Berry) in the early 1970s, who is young and full of ambition to do great things. Davie was hoping for a career in the world of football, but after a one-night stand with the wrong woman, he finds himself with one of his legs in a cast....

Wrath of Man (2021)

Set in Los Angeles, Wrath of Man follows a man with the nickname of H (Jason Statham). H applies for a job with a cash truck company after the last company he worked for went bust. He has skills and qualifications that cannot be ignored, and naturally, he gets the...

Triggered (2020)

Triggered (2020) - Movie Review 28th April 2021 Written by Peter Walkden The film follows nine best friends who come together to celebrate a five-year high school reunion. The entire group are out camping at night in a forest, allowing us to witness the nine...

A Violent Separation (2019)

A Violent Separation (2019) - Movie Review 28th August 2021 Written by Peter Walkden Set in 1983 in a slow and quiet town, the film follows a deputy named Norman Young (Brenton Thwaites). Norman is known as a good man and a good deputy within his local community. On...

The Furnace (2020)

Hanif (Ahmed Malek) is an Afghan cameleer who has desires to leave the Australian outback. At the start of the film, we witness a horrific moment in Hanif's life that makes him fed up with his current ways, including his beliefs regarding religion. This tragic moment...

Twist (2021)

Twist (2021) - Movie Review 27th April 2021 Written by Peter Walkden Based on the well-known novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, here we have a new modern style on the classic tale.  The film introduces us to Oliver Twist (or Twist for short), who grows...

Who is Gatsby Randolph? (2019)

This is not based on a true story; this is a true story. The film introduces us to the legendary Gatsby Randolph through interviews by William Geoffrey, host of the TV show Lifestyles of the Elite & Famous.  William is invited into Gatsby's stunning home not...

Mortal Kombat (2021)

Mortal Kombat (2021) - Movie Review 22nd April 2021 Written by Peter Walkden Mortal Kombat (2021) follows Cole (Lewis Tan), an MMA fighter who tries to earn cash by putting on a good show in the ring.  He also fights to make money for his partner and young...

Land (2021)

Land (2021) - Movie Review 21st April 2021 Written by Peter Walkden Edee (Robin Wright) is dealing with a significant personal tragedy in the present day. Her sister encourages her to get counselling, which she tries, but nothing helps Edee's wounds and current...

The United States Vs. Billie Holiday (2021)

The United States Vs. Billie Holiday (2021) - Movie Review 21st April 2021 Written by Peter Walkden The United States Vs Billie Holiday follows the career of the talented jazz singer Billie Holiday.  We witness many highlights from Billie's life, including...

Six Minutes to Midnight (2020)

Six Minutes to Midnight (2020) - Movie Review 21th April 2021 Written by Peter Walkden Based on actual events from the year 1939 and a couple of weeks before WWII begins. A strange event occurs with a teacher working at a German all-girls boarding school,...

El Americano: The Movie (2016)

The film follows a small, male, Mexican parrot named Cuco. Cuco and his family are part of a well-known circus, but Cuco is sick of being in the family business; instead, he would rather become an ultimate crime fighter. When Cuco isn't working with the family circus,...

The Dry (2020)

Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) is a detective located in Melbourne, Australia. He receives word that one of his childhood friends has committed suicide after murdering his family. Aaron returns to his hometown to pay his respects, but what he hoped would be a short visit back...

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

A stranger is driving along a road when his car breaks down. Upon investigating, he finds spikes were laid on the street, popping all four of his tyres. He accepts a ride with someone who inspects his car, letting him know it will take $1,000 to fix.  Leaving his...

Nobody (2021)

The film opening shows us a stranger locked up in an interrogation room with a small kitty cat.  When questioned as to who he is, he answers that he is, in fact, a Nobody.  We are then shown flashbacks, telling us that the man's name is Hutch (Bob Odenkirk),...

Ascendant (2021)

A young woman named Aria Wolf (Charlotte Best) wakes up in an elevator, finding she is tied up and blindfolded. She soon breaks free from her bindings and discovers that she is alone in a high-speed elevator in Shanghai with no memory of her past. Aria also has no...

Gunda (2020)

Gunda is a documentary that examines the daily life of several animals living on a farm. Some of these animals include a large pig, a couple of cows and a one-legged chicken. The film takes its audience on a journey while watching these animals doing various...